The Summons of Love

Hardcover | August 9, 2011

byMari Ruti

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We are conditioned to think that love heals wounds, makes us happy, and gives our lives meaning. When the opposite occurs and love causes fracturing, disenchantment, and existential turmoil, we suffer deeply, especially if we feel that love has failed us or that we have failed to experience what others seem so effortlessly to enjoy.

In this eloquently argued, psychologically informed book, Mari Ruti portrays love as a much more complex, multifaceted phenomenon than we tend to appreciate-an experience that helps us encounter the depths of human existence. Love's ruptures are as important as its triumphs, and sometimes love succeeds because it fails. At the heart of Ruti's argument is a meditation on interpersonal ethics that acknowledges the inherent opacity of human interiority and the difficulty of taking responsibility for what we cannot fully understand.

Yet the fact that humans are often irrational in love does not absolve us of ethical accountability. In Ruti's view, we must work harder to map the unconscious patterns motivating our romantic behavior. As opposed to popular spiritual approaches urging us to live fully in the now, Ruti treats the past as a living component of the present. Only when we catch ourselves at those moments when the past speaks in the present can we keep ourselves from hurting the ones we love. Equally important, Ruti emphasizes transcending our individual histories of pain, an act that allows us to face the unconscious demons that dictate our relational choices. Written with substance and compassion, The Summons of Love restores the enlivening and transformative possibilities of romance.

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From the Publisher

We are conditioned to think that love heals wounds, makes us happy, and gives our lives meaning. When the opposite occurs and love causes fracturing, disenchantment, and existential turmoil, we suffer deeply, especially if we feel that love has failed us or that we have failed to experience what others seem so effortlessly to enjoy. I...

Mari Ruti was educated at Brown University and Harvard University. She is professor of critical theory at the University of Toronto, where she teaches contemporary theory, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, and gender and sexuality studies. She is also the author of Reinventing the Soul: Posthumanist Theory and Psychic Life and A...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:August 9, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231158165

ISBN - 13:9780231158169

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Table of Contents

IntroductionLove as an Existential NudgeAn Invitation to Self-ActualizationThe Risks of LoveLove's Panoramic CallingLove as a Gamble1. The Hall of MirrorsThe Quest for WholenessThe Beloved as MirrorThe Pitfalls of NarcissismThe Specificity of DesireThe Speck of Corruption2. The Patterns of PassionThe Compulsion to RepeatRepetition as World-StructuringMissing Our StepRiding the TurbulenceManaging the Repetition3. The Sliver of EternityThe Human and the DivineThe Nick of TimeThe Fall into TendernessThe Process of BecomingThe Reinvention of Identity4. The Midst of LifeThe True SelfThe Touch of MadnessThe Flight from PassionBeyond Romantic NihilismPassion's Enduring Imprint5. The Edge of MysteryThe Enigma of the OtherMessages That MotivateThe Clearing of UnknowabilityThe Softness of SilenceThe Craving for Solitude6. The Ambivalence of IdealsBetween Reality and FantasyThe Generosity of IdealsIdeals That DepleteKeeping Desire AliveLove beyond Ideals7. The Intrigue of ObstaclesJumping HurdlesWhen Satisfaction ThreatensThe Desire to DesireThe Bedrock of DesireLove's Apprenticeship8. The Initiations of SadnessThe Aftermath of LossFrom Sadness to CreativityMoving beyond MelancholiaGiving Up PainThe Wisdom of the Past9. The Lessons of LoveThe Transience of RomanceThe Mission of LoveRespecting Love's RhythmThe Fidelity to LoveLove as a ProcessConclusionThe Ethics of RelationalityA Call for AccountabilitySteering Clear of MasochismThe Other SideContinuing to Care

Editorial Reviews

Mari Ruti's The Summons of Love is a self-help book with a unique twist: it's grounded in Lacanian psychoanalysis. The insertion of high theory into the advice-book genre is on its face wildly audacious. In its execution, Ruti's book offers a very smart and perceptive discussion of love, and I recommend it highly.