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

Love’s Shadow

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Product Details


$62.00 • £49.95 • €56.00

ISBN 9780674977150

Publication Date: 01/12/2021


464 pages

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

3 illus.


At once a lament for the decline of the humanities and a manifesto on how to save them… Bové‘s summons to his fellow academics and aspiring cultural critics [is] to step out of the long shadow of Benjamin’s melancholy and to come into the light reflected by poetry, comedy, and the essay—a more expansive form of expression.Boston Globe

Providing a sweeping look at the history of literary criticism, Bové argues that the proper (Aristotelian) goal of the critic is to choose the framing of the poet and essayist, and to learn new humanistic insights from them, instead of simply seeking a reaffirmation of one’s own melancholic mindsets.Choice

Bové’s close readings make for a critical tour de force. This passionate call offers a refreshing contribution to the philosophy of criticism.Publishers Weekly

An intellectual feast of the highest order. Bové’s monumental work is both magisterial and personal. He holds himself and others to the highest standards of poetic and critical excellence. And he writes with a strong sense of righteous indignation about the failures of the academy, the deterioration of intellectual integrity, and the decay of the life of the mind in our market-driven time.—Cornel West

A bracing journey into the mind’s powers, this book is a dynamic invitation to think thought through and to imagine otherwise, an uncompromising feat of inquiry, especially necessary in these sodden times. For anyone who believes close reading or literary criticism is dead, Bové’s pages—especially his heady retrieval of poetic making in ‘The Auroras of Autumn’—bear witness to their indelible presence.—Colin Dayan, author of In the Belly of Her Ghost and Animal Quintet

Modern criticism, Paul A. Bové suggests, has fallen in love with the ruins of meaning. We all are tempted by this perspective; who could entirely resist the sorrowful vision of Walter Benjamin’s angel, history piling up as mere debris? But there are alternatives, and this book explores in subtle detail the work of those—notably Rembrandt, Shakespeare, Stevens, and Adorno—who can teach us what some alternatives are.—Michael Wood, author of On Empson and Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Bové’s thinking has brought him to a fundamental insight about poetry and poetics: reality and its pressures cannot constrain humans’ ability to imagine the criteria required to meet their dreams. At once responsive and inventive, Bové’s book makes the case for the creativity and power of imagination that delights in movement of thought. I have not felt as elated by an intellectual experience since first reading Nietzsche’s On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense.—Donald E. Pease, author of The New American Exceptionalism

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