First Edition of Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving; Inscribed by Him
The Art of Loving.
Item Number: 98633
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956.
First edition of this groundbreaking international bestseller that has shown millions of readers how to achieve rich, productive lives by developing their capacities for love. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Fur Hans und Ruth…Eric August 1957.” Very good in a good dust jacket with some wear. First editions are uncommon signed and inscribed.
The Art of Loving argues that the active character of true love involves four basic elements: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge (p. 24). Each of these is difficult to define and can differ markedly depending on the people involved and their circumstances. Seen in these terms, love is hard work, but it is also the most rewarding kind of work. One of the book's concepts is self-love. According to Fromm, loving oneself is quite different from arrogance, conceit or egocentrism. Loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one's strengths and weaknesses). In order to be able to truly love another person, one needs first to love oneself in this way. Fromm calls the general idea of love in contemporary Western society égoïsme à deux – a relationship in which each person is entirely focused on the other, to the detriment of other people around them. The current belief is that a couple should be a well-assorted team, sexually and functionally, working towards a common aim. This is in contrast with Fromm's description of true love and intimacy, which involves willful commitment directed toward a single unique individual. One cannot truly love another person if one does not love all of mankind including oneself. The book includes explorations of the theories of brotherly love, motherly and fatherly love, erotic love, self-love, and the love of God (pp. 7–76), and an examination into love's disintegration in contemporary Western culture (pp. 77–98). To be able to fully comprehend the ideas illustrated in Fromm's book, one must understand the concept of paradoxical thought, or the ability to reconcile opposing principles in one same instance. Fromm himself explains paradoxical thought in the chapters dedicated to the love of God and erotic love.