Erotikon brings together leading contemporary intellectuals from a variety of fields for an expansive debate on the full meaning of eros. Renowned scholars of philosophy, literature, classics, psychoanalysis, theology, and art history join poets and a novelist to offer fresh insights into a topic that is at once ancient and forever young. Restricted neither by historical period nor by genre, these contributions explore manifestations of eros throughout Western culture, in subjects ranging from ancient philosophy and baroque architecture to modern literature and Hollywood cinema.
An idea charged with paradox, eros has always defied categorization, and yet it cannot—it will not—be ignored. Erotikon aims to raise the difficult question of what, if anything, unifies the erotic manifold. How is eros in a sculpture like eros in a poem? Does the ancient story of Cupid and Psyche still speak meaningfully to modern readers, and if so, why? Is Plato's eros the same as Freud's? Or Proust's? And what is the erotic dimension in Nietzsche's thought? While each essay takes on a specific issue, together they constitute a wide-ranging conversation in which these broader questions are at play. A compilation of the latest, best efforts to reckon with eros, Erotikon will appeal not just to scholars and educators, but also to artists and critics, to the curious and the disillusioned, to the prurient and the prudent.