Love's Work by Gillian Rose
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

Love’s Work is at once a memoir and a book of philosophy. Written by the English philosopher Gillian Rose as she was dying of cancer, it is a book about both the fallibility and endurance of love, love that becomes real and endures through an ongoing reckoning with its own limitations. Rose looks back on her childhood, the complications of her parents’ divorce and her dyslexia, and her deep and divided feelings about what it means to be Jewish. She tells the stories of several friends also laboring under the sentence of death. From the sometimes conflicting vantage points of her own and her friends’ tales, she seeks to work out (seeks, because the work can never be complete—to be alive means to be incomplete) a distinctive outlook on life, one that will do justice to our yearning both for autonomy and for connection to others. With droll self knowledge (“I am highly qualified in unhappy love affairs,” Rose writes, “My earliest unhappy love affair was with Roy Rogers”) and with unsettling wisdom (“To live, to love, is to be failed”), Rose has written a beautiful, tender, tough, and intricately wrought survival kit packed with necessary but unanswerable questions.
 

About Gillian Rose

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Gillian Rose (1947-1995), who is now recognized as one of the most important and influential critical thinkers of her time, was a British philosopher and writer. For many years she taught at Sussex University, drawing large numbers of research students, before she accepted a chair in social and political thought at Warwick University. Her major works, which ranged from Continental philosophy to Judaism, include The Melancholy Science, Hegel Contra Sociology, Dialectic of Nihilism, The Broken Middle: Out of Our Ancient Society, Judaism and Modernity, Mourning Becomes the Law, and Paradiso. Michael Wood teaches at Princeton and is the author, most recently, of Yeats and Violence.
 
Published July 23, 2010 by NYRB Classics. 176 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Love's Work

The Guardian

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Here there are no soupy platitudes which deal with that near-miraculous unlikelihood, the happy and eternal love affair: Rose is the enemy of fatuity, which you had better be, if you are going to give any honest, meaningful answer to the question of whether the agonies of love are worth its joys ...

Jun 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Love's Work (New York Review ...

The New York Review of Books

With droll self-knowledge (“I am highly qualified in unhappy love affairs,” Rose writes, “My earliest unhappy love affair was with Roy Rogers”) and with unsettling wisdom (“To live, to love, is to be failed”), Rose has written a beautiful, tender, tough, and intricately wrought survival kit packe...

May 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Love's Work (New York Review ...

Full Stop

The paradigmatic case of failed love is between Rose and an idealistic priest, where the “vast, open space of unpressured love” is closed with the most mundane of phrases – “I hate conversations like this” – and gestures – “He covers his eyes with index finger and thumb.” It is here, in love’s l...

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Love's Work (New York Review ...

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org

Eliot's Four Quartets.Speaking of poetry, the New York Review of Books reissue of Love's Work includes as a kind of postscript a poem by Geoffrey Hill, and it's this poem, In Memoriam: Gillian Rose, that I briefly want to look at.

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Love's Work (New York Review ...

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