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The Four Loves (1960)

af C. S. Lewis

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6,260351,156 (4.03)1 / 45
C.S. Lewis's famous work on the nature of love divides love into four categories: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity. The first three are loves which come naturally to the human race. Charity, however, the Gift-love of God, is divine in its source and expression, and without the sweetening grace of this supernatural love, the natural loves become distorted and even dangerous.… (mere)

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I was introduced to this book during a C. S. Lewis class taught by Jerry Root in 2006. It quickly became one of my favourite Lewis works -- and I have gone through three or four copies simply because I keep giving them away to people that I know will greatly enjoy it as well. My copies tend to be full of underlined paragraphs and phrases, and I have clippings from this book in blogs, on post-its, snuck into essays, in letters, tucked into journals, jotted down in cards. And this too is one that I reread every year or two, and each time, I find something new and relevant in it. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Simple straightforward observations on the 4 types of love. Basic information that can enrich anyone's understanding of human relationships. Listened to the only recording of the author himself via audiobook. The four categories are Storge (near relations), Philia (friendship), Eros (obvious), and Agape (God). These Greek concepts are nothing new. But the parallels and clear examinations of human interaction Lewis writes about are timeless. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
C. S.Lewis contemplates the essence of love and how it works in our daily lives in one of his most famous works of nonfiction. Lewis examines four varieties of human love: affection, the most basic form; friendship, the rarest and perhaps most insightful; Eros, passionate love; charity, the greatest and least selfish. Throughout this compassionate and reasoned study, he encourages readers to open themselves to all forms of love—the key to understanding that brings us closer to God.
  StFrancisofAssisi | Apr 30, 2019 |
Before I die, I hope to read everything Lewis ever published. Every time I begin one of his works, I feel I'm shaking hands with a dear old professor who welcomes me back to a chair beside his fire and offers me tea (and then we laugh as I show him the Panera frozen caramel drink I brought with me, knowing he would offer tea). Then he speaks, and I listen. I know I could ask questions; he wouldn't mind. But he's going to get to his point eventually, and if I rush him, I'll miss something. So I hold my peace.

The homesick reality is that I'm only holding a book, not visiting the author. But what dear books Lewis gave the world. I'm highlighting on every other page. I'm smiling at his honesty and his humility. I'm learning, even when I don't fully agree (sometimes with his conclusion, sometimes with the validity of the analogy that got him there). He diverges sometimes from what I thought was the topic, but always there's a reason for the rabbit trail. He analyzes things I never bothered analyzing before. He challenges and teaches and writes with such accessible scholarship. And with every new read, I'm richer inside.

A few lesser known but, I thought, notable quotes from The Four Loves:

Mere is always a dangerous word.

Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me.

The truly wide taste in reading is that which enables a man to find something for his needs on the sixpenny tray outside any secondhand bookshop. The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has to meet every day.

The rivalry between all natural loves and the love of God is something a Christian dare not forget.

The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. [...] Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers.

I have no duty to be anyone's Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
Los cuatro amores fundamentales de la condición humana son el afecto, la amistad, el eros y la caridad. Este ensayo lúcido y directo ofrece una psicología del amor, un atisbo de las profundidades del alma humana que el amor pone en juego.
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  ASCbiblio | Nov 24, 2018 |
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That our affection kill us not, nor dye. -- Donne
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"God is love," says St. John. When I first tried to write this book I thought that his maxim would provide me with a very plain highroad through the whole subject.
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But very few modern people think Friendship a love of comparable value or even a love at all.
(p. 87)
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C.S. Lewis's famous work on the nature of love divides love into four categories: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity. The first three are loves which come naturally to the human race. Charity, however, the Gift-love of God, is divine in its source and expression, and without the sweetening grace of this supernatural love, the natural loves become distorted and even dangerous.

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