Synopses & Reviews
Love’s Work is at once a memoir and a work of philosophy. Written by the English philosopher Gillian Rose as she was dying of cancer, it is a book about both the fallibility and the endurance of love, love that becomes real and lasting through an ongoing reckoning with its own limitations. Rose looks back on her childhood, the complications of her parents’ divorce and her dyslexia, and her deep and divided feelings about what it means to be Jewish. She tells the stories of several friends also laboring under the sentence of death. From the sometimes conflicting vantage points of her own and her friends’ tales, she seeks to work out (seeks, because the work can never be complete—to be alive means to be incomplete) a distinctive outlook on life, one that will do justice to our yearning both for autonomy and for connection to others. With droll self-knowledge (“I am highly qualified in unhappy love affairs,” Rose writes, “My earliest unhappy love affair was with Roy Rogers”) and with unsettling wisdom (“To live, to love, is to be failed”), Rose has written a beautiful, tender, tough, and intricately wrought survival kit packed with necessary but unanswerable questions.
Gillian Rose (1947–1995), who is now recognized as one of the most important and influential critical thinkers of her time, was a British philosopher and writer. For many years she taught at Sussex University, drawing large numbers of research students, before she accepted a chair in social and political thought at Warwick University. Her major works, which ranged from Continental philosophy to Judaism, include The Melancholy Science
, Hegel Contra Sociology
, Dialectic of Nihilism
, The Broken Middle: Out of Our Ancient Society
, Judaism and Modernity
, Mourning Becomes the Law
, and Paradiso
Michael Wood teaches at Princeton and is the author, most recently, of Yeats and Violence.
About the Author
Gillian Rose (1947–1995) was a professor at the University of Warwick in England, where she taught modern European philosophy, social and political thought, and theology. Her books include Nihilism, The Broken Middle, Judaism and Modernity, and Hegel.