The Anatomy of Love

No. 2 - Year 7 - 06/2017


In All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks observes that we are constantly exposed to messages telling us that the workings of love are mysterious and its agency unfathomable; that love is, in other words, only invaluable if it remains unexplained and unknowable. hooks argues that knowledge is a crucial element of love and that understanding its forces does not detract from its importance and value; on the contrary, it enriches the experience of love. More recently, Alain Badiou has in In Praise of Love similarly claimed that love is a ‘truth procedure,’ the kind of experience through which the truth about Two is constructed.

What we hoped to accomplish when we started preparing this issue was precisely a look into the mechanisms that underlie the construction of this kind of truth, as well as its representations. The presented selection of articles certainly does not profess to constitute an encyclopaedia of knowledge on love or offer definite and irrefragable conclusions on its position within humanities. What The Anatomy of Love texts manage to achieve is to provide a map across disciplines, which outlines some topical issues and invites further explorations into the complexities of the feeling which to a great extent shapes and gives meaning to our lives. Anders Johansson, in the article which opens this issue, discusses the performance of love in contemporary media, focusing on the impact that phenomena such as dating sites have had on the ideology of romantic love. Ioana Unk provides a psychological reading of love in Alain de Botton’s novels, approaching the topic from the perspective of the triangular theory of love as a composite of passion, intimacy, and commitment. This is followed by Justine Shu-Ting Kao’s examination of the narrative of eroticism and romance in Nabokov’s Lolita, with special reference to Humbert Humbert’s The Enchanted Hunters as a form of mechanical reproduction related to desire, seduction, and violence, and rooted in mythological imagery. Violence, destructiveness, and death drive, as constitutive though somewhat obscured elements of desire and romance, are also the focus of research in Sonja Novak’s and Sabira Hajdarević’s articles. Sonja Novak analyses three film adaptations of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, more particularly, the representations they offer of a love that cannot die and its transformations into a love that cannot live. Sabira Hajdarević provides a philological analysis of erotic expressions in Alciphron's Letters, moving beyond them to scrutinize the overall role of violence as part of erotica in Greek fictional epistolography.

In addition to the thematic segment dedicated to love, this issue also presents two reviews – Goran Đurđević’s appreciation of the Croatian edition of Jacques Le Goff’s Faut-il vraiment découper l’histoire en tranches? (Treba li povijest zaista dijeliti na razdoblja?), and Antonio Sanna’s report on Dead but Not Forgotten, a collection of short stories edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

Finally, we round off our loving venture that this issue is in the usual way, with a set of masterfully selected and translated texts. DBC Pierre, Ondjaki, Rosa Montero, Chika Unigwe, and Bronka Nowicka, whose literature is as colorful and vibrant as the sound of their names pronounced one after another, represent an international love pentagon that deals with different forms of love and its interrelations with other constructed truths in our lives: love vs. time, romantic love vs. family love, love and religion, love and faith, love and pain, love and hope. DBC Pierre’s “Immaculate” represents a humorous, witty, and even slightly Sci-Fi coexistence of different times and spaces; an entertaining (but, as always, incredibly lucid) clash of the modern, pre-modern and Biblical, sacred and profane, with a surrealistic, oneiric touch. Ondjaki’s “Lábios em lava” in a way continues in that direction and even – when you thought it was impossible – takes one step further.In her story “She Seems so Sweet,” Rosa Montero also explores obverse and reverse of a love story, its public and private side, ebbs and tides, tempests and calms. Chika Unigwe in “Waiting” examines the concept of motherly love, that unbreakable bond with her child that, like all forms of love, can be as painful as it can be gratifying. Finally, Bronka Nowicka’s prose/poem metaphoric microsequences introduce us to an even more vague space of uncertainty, mirage, and phantasmagoria. Isn’t that where real love is?

Ana Stanić

Tijana Parezanović