Beyond Romance

By M. C. Dillon

Subjects: Human Sexuality
Paperback : 9780791450987, 208 pages, October 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450970, 208 pages, October 2001

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Table of contents



1. Names of Love

2. Aletheia, Poiesis, and Eros: Truth and Untruth in the Poetic Construction of Love

3. Natural Law and Sexual Morality

4. Sexlove: Marginality and Rectitude

5. Romantic Love

6. Virtual Bodies / Bodies of Flesh

7. Motherlove and Sexlove

8. Sex Objects and Sexual Objectification: Demonization and Decontextualization

9. The Flesh of Love

Conclusion: Practical Implications




Critiques the predominant romantic ideal.


Beyond Romance critiques the romantic ideal that predominates contemporary thought and practice—it defines, explores, and advocates authentic love as a preferable alternative. The author claims that you can't genuinely love a person you don't know, and that the quality of love depends on the quality and extent of the knowing. Drawing heavily from the work of Merleau-Ponty, Dillon also takes up the classical treatments of love from Plato to the present, emphasizing Hegel, Freud, Sartre, and Derrida. Dillon argues that much of contemporary erotic malaise is traceable to the flaws in the romantic model, and that authentic love addresses these mistakes and promises relief.

M. C. Dillon is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at Binghamton University. He is the author of Semiological Reductionism: A Critique of the Deconstructionist Movement in Postmodern Thought and the editor of Merleau-Ponty Vivant, published by SUNY Press, as well as the author of Merleau-Ponty's Ontology and the editor of Écart & DiffeŒrance: Merleau-Ponty and Derrida on Seeing and Writing.


"Dillon articulates the Western understanding of sexuality in relation to its dominant dualistic philosophical and theological heritage and stimulates thought about the consequences for an understanding of a sexuality broken free of that heritage. He has brought a distinctive contribution to the overlap between philosophy and cultural studies." — Thomas W. Busch, author of Circulating Being: From Embodiment to Incorporation: Essays in Late Existentialism

"The book makes a contribution to a long, if marginalized, tradition of philosophical reflection on the positive relation between carnal knowledge and the good life. It is an original contribution to articulating the implications of Merleau-Ponty's sort of understanding of embodying for intimate relations and ethics." — Agnes B. Curry, Fordham University