El cuerpo del amor
Norman O. Brown
Norman O. Brown, (1913-2002), the Californian son of an Irish mining engineer and a Cuban mother, enjoyed an exceptional education at Balliol College Oxford as an outstanding disciple of Isaiah Berlin and graduated in Greek and classical languages at the University of Michigan (Madison).
He taught the classics for a couple of decades at Wesleyan University, when he published his essay on the figure Hermes ("Hermes the Thief", 1947) and his highly praised English version of Hesiod s Theogony ("Theogony", 1953), until he began "an in-depth study on Freud", the first and extraordinary result of which was Life Against Death (1956), the book that we now present as "Eros y Tánatos".
This reading of Freud had a huge impact on Brown. Shortly afterwards, following a stay at the University of Rochester, he moved permanently to the University of California (Santa Cruz), now as a Humanities lecturer, where he extended his focus of attention from the ancient world to a no less classical reflection on human nature and its destiny. At that time, he was already an intellectual reference in California comparable with Herbert Marcuse. After seven years of dedication, Brown published "Love's Body" (1967; included in this collection as "El Cuerpo del Amor", 2005), possibly his masterpiece, which he presented as "a continuation of the journey which began with "Life Against Death", especially of the last chapter, dedicated to "the resurrection of the body".
In the early 50s, Norman O. Brown was fascinated by Freud’s thinking and was determined to go beyond his psychoanalysis. In “Life Against Death” (1959, published in this same collection as “Eros y Tánatos”) Professor Brown gave the first step, driven by the “need to revaluate the nature and the destiny of man.” “Love’s Body” is the continuation of this voyage, which made of him an intellectual leader -together with his friend Herbert Marcuse- of the counter-cultural movement that arouse in the 60s in the United States, although much to his regret, as Brown preferred being known as a researcher and professor, and not as a radical and revolutionary. With this masterwork, Norman O. Brown falls within the line of thought of renowned authors of the 19th and the 20th century, such as Nietzsche, Blake, Freud, or Emerson. The most respectable American critic has come to qualify it as a modern version of “Thus Spake Zarathustra”. More than 40 years after its publication, it still is an essential text. Its edition in Spanish offers new generations the suggestive reading of the best contemporary philosophy.
Norman O. Brown – 2005
Paperback, 23.5 cm x 16 cm / 9.25″ x 6.3″
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