May 12, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 18

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    Olin conference: 'Reflections on Love and Friendship'

    "Reflections on Love and Friendship," a conference examining how love and friendship are described in classical works and novels as well as in philosophical and religious texts, will be held from Friday, May 20, through Sunday, May 22, in Social Sciences 122. The conference, organized by the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry Into the Theory and Practice of Democracy, is free and open to the public.

    " 'Reflections on Love and Friendship' draws its original inspiration from Allan Bloom's book 'Love and Friendship,' " said Nathan Tarcov, Professor in Political Science and the Committee on Social Thought and Director of the Olin Center. Bloom, who died in 1992, was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and Co-Director of the Olin Center. "Our conference is not about his book, but we agree with Bloom that reductionist and individualist tendencies in contemporary thought have the effect of rendering problematic the understanding and experience of both love and friendship. A fundamental task therefore is the recovery of the profound understandings of love and friendship offered by great writers of literature and philosophy. This is necessary for any attempt at self-knowledge as well as any attempt at knowing the world. Our conference is meant to be a small contribution to this."

    Hillel Fradkin, Visiting Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, will open the first session with "Friendship and Love in the Old Testament" at 10 a.m. Friday, May 20. The session will also include "The Christian Theology of Love (Medieval)," by David Tracy, the Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School, and "Love in 'Don Quixote,' " by Henry Higuera of St. John's College. The afternoon session will feature "Homer's Penelope" by Amy Kass, Senior Lecturer in the College, and "The Erotic Character of Platonic Philosophy" by Mark Lutz of Notre Dame.

    The conference will continue at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, with "Flaubert's Friendships," by Janis Bellow of Boston University; "Natty and Chingachgook: Archetypes of Love and Friendship in the American Novel," by Bette Howland, Visiting Professor in the Committee on Social Thought; and "Dostoevski's 'Idiot': Myshkin as the Truly Loving Human Being," by Donna Orwin of the University of Toronto. The afternoon session will feature "Shelley's 'Prometheus Bound': The Solitary Genius and the New Romantic Morality Based on Love," by David Bromwich of Yale; "The Scandal of Love," by Jean Elshtain of Vanderbilt; and "Kant on Friendship," by Roger Scruton of Boston University.

    The concluding session of the conference, beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 22, will feature "All Psychology Is Moral Psychology: Nietzsche, Eros and Clumsy Lovers," by Robert Pippin, Professor in the Committee on Social Thought; "Friendship or Eros in Nietzsche," by Tracy Strong of the University of California, San Diego; and "Plato and Freud on Eros," by Jonathan Lear of Yale.

    For more information, call 702-3423.