Thursday, July 31, 2008

Philosophy & Bachelorhood

An interesting essay which explores the cultural history of bachelorhood and examines why so many great minds of western civilization never tied the knot. There are a few dubious examples in the list it has though, like Proust, who was gay and also a few who though never married, did lead a colourful life when it came to relationship with women, like Sartre. The essay has this tongue-in-cheek comment by George Steiner:

“The name of Socrates' wife has passed into the language as that of an ignorant shrew. Philosophy is an unworldly, abstruse, often egomaniacal obsession. The body is an enemy to absolute logic or metaphysical speculation. The thinker inhabits fictions of purity, of reasoned propositions as sharp as white light. Marriage is about roughage, bills, garbage disposal, and noise. There is something vulgar, almost absurd, in the notion of a Mrs. Plato or a Mme. Descartes, or of Wittgenstein on a honeymoon.”

A feminist blog at Salon is not very happy about all this.

link via bookforum

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