NYPL Lecture Series

At the New York Public Library

Saturdays, November 15, 22 & December 6, 2014 (3-5pm)

Expectations about romantic loving are grand, but reality often falls short of the ideal. Finding the one and living happily ever after is alluring but illusory, because romantic relationships often involve conflicts and disappointments.

Existential philosophies provide narratives by which we can examine roots of frustrations within our everyday ideas about romantic loving, and explore possible solutions. Existential notions as freedom, power, choice, authenticity, and anxiety, challenge our assumptions regarding the nature and meaning of romantic loving. This course will draw on such thinkers as Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.

Nov 15: The rise of romantic love

Nov 22: An existential critique of romantic love

Dec 6: An existential guide to authentic loving

All programs and courses are Free and Open to the Public.

This course will be presented at the Jefferson Market Library in the first floor Willa Cather Community Room.

Registration required:  sign up, in person, at the second floor desk starting Saturday, November 8.  Limited to 20 students.

Recommended (not required) readings: 

  • Rowley, Hazel. Tête-à-Tête: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
  • Beauvoir, Simone de. She Came to Stay. 1943. Trans. Moyse, Yvonne and Roger Senhouse. London: Fontana, 1975.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. Either/Or. 1843. Trans. Hannay, Alastair. London: Penguin, 1992.
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul. “Concrete Relations With Others”. Being and Nothingness. 1943. Trans. Barnes, Hazel E. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992.

Some reading selections will be offered in class.

Professor:  Skye Cleary received her Ph.D. from Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia). Her book Existentialism and Romantic Love is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. She is a Certified Fellow with the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, and is the co-founder of the Manhattan Love Salon (with Sam Smith) and film and philosophy evenings. She works at Columbia University in communications.

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