June 16th, 2004

Double Flame: Love and Eroticism

by Octavio Paz, was the book we discussed at my book club tonight. (I don't own the club or run it; it's mine in the sense that I'm a member.)

It's an unusual book, to say the least. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I would hesitate to recommend it to many of my friends. Paz was a famous Mexican poet and essayist, and his style is very poetic and metaphorical, and very Latin. He is precise in his way, but he loves a good paradox, and the book ranges wildly over topics related to live, life, the erotic, the materialistic philosophy of the modern era, the birth of the poetry of courtly love in Provence, and on and on.

As to his personal outlook on love, I'd say he was a Romantic Existentialist. I know that's paradoxical, but so is he.

I enjoyed it partly because I am reading love poems at the Objectivist Center's Summer Seminar, so it's a good get-you-thinking book.

At our discussion we spent a fair amount of the time discussing marital commitment and fidelity. In one respect, this is peculiar, since it is a topic Paz never addresses as such, although he does think that exclusivity is essential to real love. I suppose it came up because bunch of us are mostly married themselves.

Rhyme of the day:

Paz thinks love's a proclivity
Involving exclusivity.