Sunday, December 26, 2010

358 / Erotic Stories

Erotic stories can be of genuine literary interest. The stories of Anais Nin, for instance, who is pictured here, are thought by many critics to have literary value. And, of course, "sex sells," which accounts for the headline I have placed on this edition of my daily blog. Anyone who has followed my blog over the last year will remember some provocative pictures, intended to stimulate the casual reader to sample the blog's rather more philosophical than erotic content.

What is actually on my mind today is not, so much, the Delta of Venus, as the book Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse. Published in 1962, my freshman year in college, Marcuse's book was "big" on campus. Eros and Civilization is subtitled, "A Philosophical Inquiry Into Freud," and we studied it in my "Utopia" seminar.

"Civilization" is another name for the human world that we create. Query whether we can ever create a world which is congenial to human life if that world is not founded, in some way, on our "erotic" instincts, and is a world in which "Eros" defeats "Thanatos," which Marcuse identifies mostly with the fear of death, the tool of repression, as opposed to death itself.

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