Episode 16: King Lear’s Vision

After a hiatus over the summer, I am back to recording and releasing new episodes of Sacred and Profane Love!  For all of the podcast’s fans, thank you so much for your patience and encouragement over the long summer. I am planning to release new episodes from now until late May, as many as I can manage in light of an insanely busy writing, teaching, and speaking schedule.  So, if you enjoy this humble podcast, be sure to subscribe and to share it with your friends.

In episode 16, “King Lear’s Vision,” I speak with Professor and poet Troy Jollimore about the connections between love and perception.  In his recent book, Love’s Vision, Jollimore, drawing on Plato and Iris Murdoch, argues that true love consists in grasping the objective value of the beloved rather than the projection of it.  This vision involves the bestowal of patient, loving, and imaginative attention on the objectively valuable qualities the beloved truly possesses. We explore this theme of love’s vision (or lack thereof) in Shakespeare’s darkest and wildest tragedy, King Lear.  Reading Lear, we conclude, can help to open our eyes to the fact that we need to get out of our own way—i.e., to put aside our deep insecurities and vices—in order to see and love people for who they really are.

Works referenced in this Episode:

  • Stanley Cavell, The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear.  In Must We Mean What We Say? Cambridge University Press, 1976
  • Troy Jollimore, Love’s Vision, Princeton University Press, 2011
  • Iris Murdoch, “Literature and Philosophy: A Conversation with Bryan Magee” and “Vision and Choice in Morality,” in Existentialists and Mystics, Penguin Books, 1992.
  • Plato, The Symposium, in Plato: Complete Works, edited by John M. Cooper, Hackett Publishing, 1997.
  • William Shakespeare, King Lear, in The Arden Shakespeare, edited by R.A. Foakes, Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1997.
Troy Jollimore holds a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton and currently teaches at California State University, Chico. He is the author of three books of philosophy, including Love’s Vision and On Loyalty.  He is also the author of three collections of poetry: At Lake Scugog, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, and Syllabus of Errors.  He has received fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Jennifer A. Frey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research lies at the intersection of philosophy of action, ethics, and law, with a particular focus on the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition.  She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology

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