The Summons of Love

Mari Ruti

Columbia University Press

The Summons of Love

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Pub Date: August 2011

ISBN: 9780231158169

192 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $29.00£23.00

Pub Date: August 2011

ISBN: 9780231527989

192 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $28.99£23.00

The Summons of Love

Mari Ruti

Columbia University Press

We are conditioned to think that love heals wounds, makes us happy, and gives our lives meaning. When the opposite occurs and love causes fracturing, disenchantment, and existential turmoil, we suffer deeply, especially if we feel that love has failed us or that we have failed to experience what others seem so effortlessly to enjoy.

In this eloquently argued, psychologically informed book, Mari Ruti portrays love as a much more complex, multifaceted phenomenon than we tend to appreciate—an experience that helps us encounter the depths of human existence. Love's ruptures are as important as its triumphs, and sometimes love succeeds because it fails. At the heart of Ruti's argument is a meditation on interpersonal ethics that acknowledges the inherent opacity of human interiority and the difficulty of taking responsibility for what we cannot fully understand.

Yet the fact that humans are often irrational in love does not absolve us of ethical accountability. In Ruti's view, we must work harder to map the unconscious patterns motivating our romantic behavior. As opposed to popular spiritual approaches urging us to live fully in the now, Ruti treats the past as a living component of the present. Only when we catch ourselves at those moments when the past speaks in the present can we keep ourselves from hurting the ones we love. Equally important, Ruti emphasizes transcending our individual histories of pain, an act that allows us to face the unconscious demons that dictate our relational choices. Written with substance and compassion, The Summons of Love restores the enlivening and transformative possibilities of romance.
The self-help field is saturated with books on love, yet Mari Ruti's book, The Summons of Love, is in a class by itself—elegantly and beautifully written, superior in every way. Henry Kellerman, psychologist, psychoanalyst, and author of Love Is Not Enough: What It Takes To Make It Work and The 4 Steps to Peace of Mind: The Simple Effective Way to Cure Our Emotional Symptoms
The Summons of Love distills decades of psychoanalytic wisdom into a graceful, engaging, and eminently useful exploration of the ups and downs of romantic love. Whether a veteran or novice in the ways of love, the reader takes away an enriched understanding of what it means to invest in deep relating. Margaret Crastnopol, psychoanalyst and clinical instructor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
Ruti is simultaneously clarifying and obscuring, perhaps inevitably in keeping with her subject. Publishers Weekly
A psychological look at love relationships and their pragmatic benefits that cleverly blends scientific language and romantic concepts. Kirkus Reviews
offers a series of wonderfully counterintuitive insights about what one learns from love and pain and sadness one must sometimes endure to get it, keep it, and survive it. Choice
Mari Ruti's The Summons of Love is a self-help book with a unique twist: it's grounded in Lacanian psychoanalysis. The insertion of high theory into the advice-book genre is on its face wildly audacious. In its execution, Ruti's book offers a very smart and perceptive discussion of love, and I recommend it highly. David Sigler, Foucault Studies
Introduction
Love as an Existential Nudge
An Invitation to Self-Actualization
The Risks of Love
Love's Panoramic Calling
Love as a Gamble
1. The Hall of Mirrors
The Quest for Wholeness
The Beloved as Mirror
The Pitfalls of Narcissism
The Specificity of Desire
The Speck of Corruption
2. The Patterns of Passion
The Compulsion to Repeat
Repetition as World-Structuring
Missing Our Step
Riding the Turbulence
Managing the Repetition
3. The Sliver of Eternity
The Human and the Divine
The Nick of Time
The Fall into Tenderness
The Process of Becoming
The Reinvention of Identity
4. The Midst of Life
The True Self
The Touch of Madness
The Flight from Passion
Beyond Romantic Nihilism
Passion's Enduring Imprint
5. The Edge of Mystery
The Enigma of the Other
Messages That Motivate
The Clearing of Unknowability
The Softness of Silence
The Craving for Solitude
6. The Ambivalence of Ideals
Between Reality and Fantasy
The Generosity of Ideals
Ideals That Deplete
Keeping Desire Alive
Love beyond Ideals
7. The Intrigue of Obstacles
Jumping Hurdles
When Satisfaction Threatens
The Desire to Desire
The Bedrock of Desire
Love's Apprenticeship
8. The Initiations of Sadness
The Aftermath of Loss
From Sadness to Creativity
Moving beyond Melancholia
Giving Up Pain
The Wisdom of the Past
9. The Lessons of Love
The Transience of Romance
The Mission of Love
Respecting Love's Rhythm
The Fidelity to Love
Love as a Process
Conclusion
The Ethics of Relationality
A Call for Accountability
Steering Clear of Masochism
The Other Side
Continuing to Care

About the Author

Mari Ruti was educated at Brown University and Harvard University. She is professor of critical theory at the University of Toronto, where she teaches contemporary theory, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, and gender and sexuality studies. She is also the author of Reinventing the Soul: Posthumanist Theory and Psychic Life and A World of Fragile Things: Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living.