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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life (1995) by Gillian Rose

Book Review
Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life (1995)
by Gillian Rose

  Gilliam Rose was a serious philosopher- English- of Jewish heritage.  She played an important role in English language discussion of Continental philosophical figures like Theodor Adorno, Marcuse and Derrida. The was also diagnosed, at a young age, with ovarian cancer, and she died from it.  Love's Work is a slim book about her experience.  It is, of course, philosophical but also incredibly sad and moving, and clearly a work of literature with canonical value even though it is nothing like a novel or really any other book that the editors chose to include in the 1001 Books list.   While I enjoyed it- particularly her matter-of-fact description of having a "stoma" after a cancer related colon surgery.  I'll spare the uninterested the details of what, exactly, a "stoma" is, but if you know, you also know that it is probably one of the most disturbing things that can happen to a human.

  Death is not something most people chose to think about- thoughts about death that last for long periods or that become overwhelming are a frequent sign of mental illness in the healthy, and as Rose points out in calm detail, there are many, many, many ways that a human diagnosed with cancer faces a frightening ordeal when seeking treatment.


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