Mid-Twentieth Century Meditations on Love in Europe Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Giachetti, Alexis
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • "Mid-Twentieth Century Meditations on Love in Europe" draws from works of European philosophy and literary and cinematic narratives by Roberto Rossellini, Ermanno Olmi, Natalia Ginzburg, and Agnès Varda. It posits mid-twentieth century Europe as a pivotal (yet overlooked) time period for its contribution to Western thought on romantic love. During this transitional and turbulent segment of history, a new paradigm surfaces among certain philosophers and like-minded authors and filmmakers that synthesizes prior opposing notions of love as transcendence to the divine (as in the nineteenth-century Romantics) and love as a mere psychological construction (e.g., Stendhal, Proust, and Freud). This new matrix of beliefs retains a spiritual dimension of love but substantiates love in lived, human experience. I challenge the notion (made popular by the works of Antonioni, Godard, Fellini, Sartre, Camus, and others) that love in postwar Europe is characterized by futility and the failure of two beings to connect. I argue for a more nuanced understanding of love in the mid-twentieth century. Drawing on multiple disciplines, I recognize a number of artists and intellectuals that defend and affirm love while trying to make sense of its complexities during a time period of cultural and social upheaval.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Amago, Samuel
  • McGowan, John
  • Chambless, Amy
  • Luisetti, Federico
  • Collins, Marsha Suzan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2018

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