- Series: Harvest Book
- Paperback: 156 pages
- Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (September 29, 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156329301
- ISBN-13: 978-0156329309
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 391 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Four Loves 1st Edition
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The Four Loves summarizes four kinds of human love--affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. Masterful without being magisterial, this book's wise, gentle, candid reflections on the virtues and dangers of love draw on sources from Jane Austen to St. Augustine. The chapter on charity (love of God) may be the best thing Lewis ever wrote about Christianity. Consider his reflection on Augustine's teaching that one must love only God, because only God is eternal, and all earthly love will someday pass away:
Who could conceivably begin to love God on such a prudential ground--because the security (so to speak) is better? Who could even include it among the grounds for loving? Would you choose a wife or a Friend--if it comes to that, would you choose a dog--in this spirit? One must be outside the world of love, of all loves, before one thus calculates.His description of Christianity here is no less forceful and opinionated than in Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain, but it is far less anxious about its reader's response--and therefore more persuasive than any of his apologetics. When he begins to describe the nature of faith, Lewis writes: "Take it as one man's reverie, almost one man's myth. If anything in it is useful to you, use it; if anything is not, never give it a second thought." --Michael Joseph Gross
"A rare and memorable book." —Saturday Review"The Four Loves deserves to become a minor classic as a modern mirror of our souls, a mirror of the virtues and failings of human loving." —New York Times Book Review"[Lewis] has never written better. Nearly every page scintillates with observations which are illuminating, provocative and original." —Church Times"What is interesting about these chapters is the extent to which a non-believer can follow the argument and receive enlightenment … Lewis has a keen eye, a large measure of human sympathy, wit, and a command of simple words … By writing so well and so perceptively about ‘natural’ human conduct, Lewis makes the strongest case for examining his conclusions with respect. He is writing, presumably, for the unconverted as well as for Christians, and whatever the former may believe or disbelieve about God they are persuaded that he could only exist as a culmination in absolute terms of their deepest moral convictions."—Times Literary Supplement
Top customer reviews
The entire book is not only profound in basis and thought, but Lewis brings a sense of humor and levity to what could be (and sometimes is in the book) a very weighty subject. Writing from a Christian perspective, Lewis ends up tying all love back to divinity through comparison and contrasting.
A great book. Well worth the few hours it will take to get through for the first time. It may end up a treasured part of your collection.
Building upon a necessary base of knowledge, Lewis begins to explore the nature of love beginning with that love which might be the gray area between the words love and like, or either of the two, as spoken in the English language. Lewis continues his endeavor by tackling what people often consider the more significant forms of love such as friendship, erotic love, and the love of and for God. While no attempt will be made here to convey the significance of the final chapter regarding actual Love in fear of diluting a brilliant message, each of the chapters leading up to that point share common threads. That is, Mr. Lewis illustrates the difficulty which can be had with love in any form if left to our own devices. This illustration is achieved in the author's typical fashion of profound analogies and appeals to common experiences. One can be certain that while this recognition of the volatility of human love is of extreme importance, it is the overriding concept that only by surrendering these loves to Love that one can achieve happiness, solace, and purity in Love which makes this work unquestionably valuable to those that are fortunate enough to read it.