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The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity

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The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A provocative, profoundly moving literary debut--part personal history, part cultural commentary--that announces a writer of dazzling originality.

In an emotionally charged narrative that weaves together past and present, the personal and the scholarly, a young critic and classicist takes us on a search for the meaning of identity--while showing, through remarkably fresh and accessible readings of such classical Greek and Roman writers as Catullus and Sappho, Ovid and Sophocles, how ancient stories continue to hold truths for us today.

The landscapes through which Daniel Mendelsohn takes us: the deceptively quiet streets of the suburb where he grew up, torn between his mathematician father, who sought after scientific truth, and his Orthodox Jewish grandfather, who told "beautiful lies"; the Southern university, steeped in history and secret traditions, where he first experienced seductions both sexual and intellectual; Internet chat rooms and the streets of Chelsea, Manhattan's newest gay ghetto, where "desire for love" competes with "love of desire"; the quiet, moonlit house where a close friend's small son teaches him the meaning of fatherhood.

And, in a narrative tour de force that marks the book's conclusion, Mendelsohn's themes--desire and sexuality, the hidden meanings of classical and Hebrew writings, the restless search for cultural and personal identity--come together in a final revelation. In a neglected Jewish cemetery, the author uncovers a family secret that demonstrates the universal need for storytelling, for inventing myths of the self.

About the Author

Daniel Mendelsohn was born on Long Island in 1960 and was educated at the University of Virginia and at Princeton. His articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, George, Lingua Franca, and the New York Observer. A Lecturer in classics at Princeton, he lives in New York City and in New Jersey.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375400957
Subtitle:
Desire and the Riddle of Identity
Author:
Mendelsohn, Daniel
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Emotions
Subject:
Gay Studies
Subject:
Gays
Subject:
Identity
Subject:
Specific Groups - Male Gay Studies
Subject:
Gay men
Subject:
Desire
Subject:
Catullus, gaius valerius
Subject:
Jews -- Identity.
Subject:
Jewish gays
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Publication Date:
June 1999
Binding:
Trade Cloth
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.68x5.92x.94 in. .90 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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