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Document Details :

Title: Eros zonder perversie?
Subtitle: Eros without Perversion?
Author(s): THONÉ, Astrid
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 57    Issue: 3   Date: 1996   
Pages: 281-304
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.57.3.2002419

Abstract :
What are the essential features that a phenomenology of eros should take into account in order to do justice to the complexity of this reality? In order to put some light on this phenomenon, we have compared two contemporary French studies, that of Emmanuel Levinas in 'Totality and Infinity' and that of Sartre in 'Being and Nothingness'. We started by pointing at the new way in which subjectivity is experienced in eros. Sartre emphasizes the fact of feeling justified in one's life, Levinas accentuates the feeling of being liberated from the burden of oneself (part 1). Both authors nevertheless agree on the fact that eros is fundamentally ambivalent (part 2). Unless Levinas, according to whom the ambiguities constitute the richness of the erotic relation, Sartre has shown that those ambiguities can always be experienced as a threat. They indeed threaten the typically human desire of the lover to control the other (in oneself) (part 3). Sartrian love is not only ambiguous, but has an essentially paradoxical character. Nevertheless, if the lover tries to free himself from this threatening feature, perversion is imminent. As such, love is threatened from within by perversion. Sartre uncovers an essential feature of eros, whereas Levinas can only consider perversion to be the consequence of an inauthentic desire of fusion (part 4). The essentially conflictual character of eros is illustrated by an analysis of the erotic gaze (part 5). In conclusion it can be stated that true love cannot be found in a relation without conflicts, but supposes lovers to handle the tension proper to the erotic relation without ever being sure of the result.