Love & Friendship by Allan Bloom called to me from the top shelf of my TBR pile. It’s just the kind of book I need right now, a long and intellectual treatise type of book on sex and relationships.
Snug in the middle of a stack of books far over my head, I didn’t have the patience to go get a step ladder to reach it. Instead, I stood on my tippy toes and pulled a few books off the stack with my fingers outstretched while my husband watched from his office chair.
I could hear his thoughts as I struggled, “Should I get up and help her? No…let’s see what happens.”
I didn’t drop them, not even a single one. So, there! I thought I would. Several times the thought of pausing a moment and getting some kind of help did cross my mind. But what can I say? I’m childish and impatient in most things, so I kept reaching and pulling books down a couple at a time until I got to the book I wanted.
This one is going to be fun. I read Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind, at the beginning of our homeschool career fifteen years ago. Seeing the author’s name is what made me grab this one out of the free book pile back in December and add it to my TBR shelf to read this year.
Looking for a new book to read this week, my eye was immediately drawn to Love & Friendship because it’s a subject I’ve been agonizing a lot over the past couple of years. The past few weeks of having an empty nest have brought it even more to the forefront of my mind.
Once I had the book in my hand, I flipped it over for a bit more information. Is this the book I need to read right now?
“Allan Bloom argues that we live in a world where love and friendship are withering away. Science and moralism have reduced eros to sex. Individualism and egalitarianism have turned romantic relationships into contractual matters. Images of sexuality surround us, but we are unable to deal with the hopes and risks of intimacy.”
Yep. That sounds exactly what I need to be reading right now.
I read the introduction this morning and realize this will be a slower read than usual. My competitive spirit made me hesitate for a moment. If I read this, I may not read anything else this month. My number of books/pages will go down.
Screw statistics! This is where I need to be.
“Isolation, a sense of lack of profound contact with other human beings, seems to be the disease of our time.”
This was published in 1993, ladies and gentleman. Thirty years later, are we any closer to a solution or are we moving further from the sense of intimate community we once created to help us move out of the world of animals?
I’m looking forward to reading this in depth, but I’m also worried that it will depress me further to dwell on how far away from the ideal we have traveled. I’ve spent my adult life attempting to create a better world (in my home and personal relationships) for the people around me. I continue to try to make that circle a little larger, a little more intimate and emotionally close. Is anyone else out there making these efforts?
Have you read any of Allan Bloom’s work? Have you read Love & Friendship? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!