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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Wolman, T. (2001). Love in a Time of Loneliness: Three Essays on Drives and Desires. By Paul Verhaeghe. New York: Other Press, 1999, 222 pp., $22.00.. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 3(3):293-298.

(2001). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 3(3):293-298

Love in a Time of Loneliness: Three Essays on Drives and Desires. By Paul Verhaeghe. New York: Other Press, 1999, 222 pp., $22.00.

Review by:
Thomas Wolman, M.D.

Love in a Time of Loneliness by Paul Verhaeghe is an exploration of human relationships aimed largely at a popular audience. However, only a small part of the discussion is devoted to love; and loneliness is barely mentioned. Part of the book's interest lies in the way it places love at the periphery, without in any way denigrating its importance. This approach contrasts with other current books, such as Love and its Place in Nature (Lear, 1999), which make love the keystone of the psyche. The overarching theme is the fragility of the human tie faced with a host of divisive forces. The book's three essays, perhaps inspired by Freud's Three Essays on Sexuality (1905), allude to these divisive forces in their titles: The Impossible Couple, Fathers in Flight, and the Drive. The essays range over every level of human society from the individual, to the couple, the kinship network and even the anonymous “crowd.” The author warns that contemporary society is at risk for social dissolution, leaving behind a mere collection of individual “egos.” However, that risk is far from inevitable; hence the twin possibilities of “Love” and “Loneliness.”

The author is Paul Verhaeghe, professor of psychoanalysis at the University of Ghent in Belgium. His known lacanian orientation helps to explain why Love in a Time of Loneliness is not typical pop-psychology. The multiple cultural references alone—everything from Easy Rider to Greek tragedy—removes it from this realm. The book is both entertaining and intellectually challenging. The reader comes away with a nicer appreciation for the problems of human connection, but with no definitive answers, let alone easy answers. Indeed the author states his intent as a series of questions that include: “What is love?” and “How can we understand the relations between death, eroticism and power?” (p. x). Love in a Time of Loneliness is an elegant meditation on these questions.

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