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Eros the Bittersweet

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About the Author

Anne Carson is the author of Glass, Irony and God; Autobiography of Red; The Beauty of the Husband; Men in the Off Hours; and other books.


This slim volume consists of numerous brief chapters on various aspects of the Greek concept of Eros, particularly as propounded in lyric poetry (especially that of Sappho) and in Plato's Phaedrus. If the essay has a theme, it is that many Greeks saw Eros as a sense of lack that fruitfully combined both pain and pleasure. This thesis is not new, but the author's style is, combining subtle interpretation with a sometimes startling poetic sensitivity. The result leaves one wondering about the intended audience. The general public may find its textual emphasis and frequently elusive tone an obstacle, while specialists may question the validity of various exegesesor of this theory of Eros, which is only one of many. But overall there is a fine beauty to the work, and it deserves a reading. Thomas M. Robinson, Classics Dept., Univ. of Toronto

Anne Carson is a rare talent-brilliant and full of wit, passionate and also deeply moving. -- Michael Ondaatje

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