Cassandra Falke

Feb 15, 2021

The Phenomenology of Love and Reading

Bloomsbury Publishing 2016

In this episode, I interview Cassandra Falke, professor of English Literature ad UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, about her book The Phenomenology of Love and Reading (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016). In the text, Falke situates herself within the current revival of the interest in ethics in literary criticism, which coincides with a rise in neuroscientific discoveries about cognition and emotion that similarly have been incorporated into literary studies. Aware of these recent developments, Falke argues that literary study must ground itself philosophically—rather than just scientifically—in order to speak convincingly about literature’s relationship(s) to our ethical lives. To do this, The Phenomenology of Love and Reading recasts French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion’s articulations of a phenomenology of love onto the event of reading.

The Phenomenology of Love and Reading accepts Jean-Luc Marion's argument that love matters for who we are more than anything—more than cognition and more than being itself. Falke shows through deft readings of both philosophical and literary texts, as well as ruminations on the experience of reading, how the act of reading can strengthen our capacity to love by giving us practice in love´s habits—attention, empathy, and a willingness to be overwhelmed. Confounding our expectations, literature equips us for the confounding events of love, which, Falke suggests, are not rare and fleeting, but rather constitute the most meaningful and durable part of our everyday life.

Britt Edelen is a Ph.D. student in English at Duke University. He focuses on modernism and the relationship(s) between language, philosophy, and literature. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email.


Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Britton Edelen

Britt Edelen is a Ph.D. student in English at Duke University. He focuses on modernism and the relationship(s) between language, philosophy, and literature. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email.

Learn More

Also Hosted By Britton Edelen