Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Suzanne Lilar: Love in Western Society
Has anybody heard of Suzanne Lilar? I discovered her recently. Her Aspects of Love in Western Society (1962) (in French: Le Couple), is the best single broad treatment of the topic that I've found. Better than Denis de Rougement's well-known Love in the Western World, because Lilar knew Greek philosophy, and Plato in particular, much better then de Rougement did. She was a passionate feminist, but with a classical education—in Christian as well as Greek literature—that few writers on general topics have any more. Very interested in Jung, but free of psychological jargon. Probably only in France (actually she was Belgian, writing in French) has there been a deep enough tradition of writing about love and Neoplatonism that these could be combined with a very lively sense of mid-twentieth-century social and political realities. She was a lawyer and a successful playwright, produced in Paris. Wikipedia has a good article on her. I'm thrilled to have found her.