To study the phenomenon of love, how to
begin? What to Read on Love, Not Sex
examines Sigmund Freud’s career-long
attempt to articulate a psychology of love
based on fiction and art spanning the
Western cultural tradition since Plato.
The first practicing psychoanalyst
envisioned psychology as a robust science,
so why did he consult non-clinical sources?
His reading list wasn’t long: some Plato,
a few plays, stories of a young person’s
transformation and of the origin of faith,
and some paintings by an artist who felt
his work was always incomplete. What
might contemporary mental science learn
from Freud’s sources, which address,
variously, the relationships between women
and men, parents and children, people and
their work, and the love of a personal god?
A future science of love might reveal new
truths about our greatest emotion, but in
what way has a tradition of imaginative work
wrestled with the truth all along? See more