2004 Abstracts Stage 2

Love, Literature and Philosophy

Claire Couriel, 2004, Stage 2

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Existential Condition of Love based on a Literary Analysis of Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’. Key Concepts: being, existence, reality, individuality, subjectivity, freedom, will, authenticity Aims: in short, to combine love, literature and philosophy. This project will investigate the notion of love as philosophical concept. In taking the notion that the discipline of philosophy is essentially a quest for knowledge and truth, I feel that love is perhaps neglected within the subject. The concept (i.e. love) is of such breadth (as well as depth) that I have specified it to the Existential period. The tool I am using is literature, as it seems to be the most accessible for the topic in hand. The novel has a feeling of timelessness about it at the same time as holding the quintessence of a certain philosophical epoch, i.e. Existentialism. Structure: The first part of my project is an introduction into love as philosophical notion with regards to epistemology, ontology etc. The second part of my project will be entitled simply ‘Existentialism’ and will explore the definition and nature of it, which instead of being a simple definition will contain key themes which are indicative of it. This will be followed by studies of philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Sartre, Nietzsche and Heidegger. The third part of my essay will draw upon Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in relation to the previous two sections. i.e. existentialism and love. Primary Sources: Flaubert: Madame Bovary, Sartre: Being and Nothingness & Existentialism is a Humanism, Kierkegaard: The Works of Love, Heidegger: Being and Time

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