Cover: Love’s Shadow, from Harvard University PressCover: Love’s Shadow in HARDCOVER

Love’s Shadow

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$59.95 • £47.95 • €54.00

ISBN 9780674977150

Publication Date: 01/12/2021

Text

464 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

3 illus.

World

A case for literary critics and other humanists to stop wallowing in their aestheticized helplessness and instead turn to poetry, comedy, and love.

Literary criticism is an agent of despair, and its poster child is Walter Benjamin. Critics have spent decades stewing in his melancholy. What if, instead, we dared to love poetry, to choose comedy over Hamlet’s tragedy, or to pursue romance over Benjamin’s suicide on the edge of France, of Europe, and of civilization itself?

Paul A. Bové challenges young lit critters to throw away their shades and let the sun shine in. Love’s Shadow is his three-step manifesto for a new literary criticism that risks sentimentality and melodrama and eschews self-consciousness. The first step is to choose poetry. There has been since the time of Plato a battle between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy has championed misogyny, while poetry has championed women, like Shakespeare’s Rosalind. Philosophy is ever so stringent; try instead the sober cheerfulness of Wallace Stevens. Bové’s second step is to choose the essay. He praises Benjamin’s great friend and sometime antagonist Theodor Adorno, who gloried in writing essays, not dissertations and treatises. The third step is to choose love. If you want a Baroque hero, make that hero Rembrandt, who brought lovers to life in his paintings.

Putting aside passivity and cynicism would amount to a revolution in literary studies. Bové seeks nothing less, and he has a program for achieving it.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, by Lindsay Chervinsky, from Harvard University Press

Why You Should Participate in an (Online) Book Club

Online book clubs can be a rewarding way to connect with readers, Lindsay Chervinsky discovered, when she was invited to join one to discuss her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Since my book was published in April 2020, I’ve discovered that my work appeals to three main audiences. First, the general readers who are enthusiastic about history, attend virtual events, and tend to support local historic sites. Second, readers who are curious about our government institutions and the current political climate and are looking for answers about its origins. And third, history, social studies, and government teachers