Valentine’s Day, one of our most popular holidays, has evolved into a cult of consumption. Everywhere you turn there are sappy love-themed, cupid-ridden ads meant to draw in consumers. But what is the deeper meaning behind all of the candy-coated romance? Fordham spotlights a few books that examine the many dimensions of love.
On Love: In the Muslim Tradition by Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, is a study of the Islamic faith, most specifically Sufism. In addition to being an astute scholarly collection, the book looks at the relationship between love and faith, knowledge and spirituality. Sufism is Islamic Mysticism, but the book is written in a language that is universal and simple to understand–like the language of love itself.
In Poets of Divine Love: The Rhetoric of Franciscan Spiritual Poetry, Alessandro Vettori examines the vernacular of a different faith–that of the pre-Renaissance Franciscans. The poets in this case are St. Francis of Assisi and Jacopone da Todi, two Franciscans writing in Umbria during the 13th century. The resulting poems form a backbone of vernacular Italian literary tradition, and establish an essential relationship between faith and love.
Switching gears completely, Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age takes a look at love through the lens of modern technology–what is love’s place in our contemporary plugged-in culture? Love, as Dominic Pettman sees it, is every society’s interpretation of self in relation to others. So in today’s world, is love just another form of technology? For Pettman, the articulation of love is a technique of belonging: a way of responding to the basic plurality of everyone’s identity, a process that becomes increasingly complex as the forms of mediated communication, from cell phone and text messaging to the mass media, multiply and mesh together. This book brings love from the romance-cloaked past firmly into the here and now.
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