Warren Ward | Lovers of Philosophy

“Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his blood.” Nietzsche

I am currently reading Lovers of Philosophy by Warren Ward and I am completely enjoying it. I am fascinated by relationships of notable people and how it affects their work; painters, poets, musicians and yes, philosophers, hence I was very excited when I saw this book publicized (I don’t remember where). I bought it straight away and I am glad to say it does not disappoint.

Lovers of Philosophy explores the love lives of seven philosophers, and how their most intimate experiences came to shape their ideas. In these pages, the reader learns about the significance of Kant’s infatuation, Hegel’s premarital liaisons, Nietzsche’s heartbreak, Heidegger’s hypocrisy, Sartre’s promiscuous polyamory, Foucault’s sexual liberation, and Derrida’s dalliances in extramarital desire. Source

The stories of these philosophers’ love lives are told against a backdrop of Europe undergoing tumultuous change. Beginning in the eighteenth-century Prussian Enlightenment, the book traverses the French Revolution, Napoleonic wars, Industrial Revolution, two World Wars, and events of May 1968 before arriving at the culture wars of the late twentieth century.Source

For anyone who has struggled to understand continental philosophy’s vast array of movements, from German idealism through to phenomenology, existentialism, post-structuralism, and deconstructionism, Lovers of Philosophy also provides the reader with an easy-to-follow overview of the progression of ideas from Kant to Derrida. Source

Filled with insight and more than a little excitement and intrigue, Lovers of Philosophy is enjoyably readable. Source

With dramatic flair, Ward recounts the excitement of the first meetings between the philosophers and their future lovers. He describes the consummation and growth of their relationships, and their experiences of devastating collapse and stinging rejection. While it is impossible to purge all scandal and salaciousness from such a work, Ward treats his subjects with dignity and thoughtfulness.Source

Philosophical events are brought to life too. Ward builds palpable tension as he enrols us into the bustling crowds awaiting Sartre’s famous public lecture, “Existentialism is a Humanism”. We are led discreetly into a hushed hall to witness Foucault’s scintillating defence of his thesis under searching cross-examination. Source

Warren Ward is a psychiatris, hence his psychological insights are thoughtful and commonsense.  Source

Lovers of Philosophy similarly serves as a point of entry for all those who need reminding that philosophical giants are flawed and complex human beings, just like the rest of us.Source

Lovers of Philosophy is a highly recommended read for anyone with interests in history, philosophy and human relationships and how they influence someone’s work and thought processes.

Sources and more

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