Eros the Bittersweet

Eros the Bittersweet

Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
Shipping calculated at checkout.

By Anne Carson

Introduction by Sandra Newman

ISBN: 9781628973860

Publication Date: 7/19/2022

Epigrammatic, witty, ironic, and endlessly entertaining, Eros is an utterly original book.

A book about romantic love, Eros the Bittersweet is Anne Carson's exploration of the concept of "eros" in both classical philosophy and literature. Beginning with, "It was Sappho who first called eros 'bittersweet.' No one who has been in love disputes her," Carson examines her subject from numerous points of view, creating a lyrical meditation in the tradition of William Carlos Williams's Spring and All and William H. Gass's On Being Blue.

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time.


"Anne Carson is a rare talent, brilliant and full of wit, passionate and also deeply moving." —Michael Ondaatje

"[Eros] first stunned the classics community as a work of Greek scholarship; then it stunned the nonfiction community as an inspired return to the lyrically based essays once produced by Seneca, Montaigne, and Emerson; and then, and only then, deep into the 1990s, reissued as 'literature' and redesigned for an entirely new audience, it finally stunned the poets." —John D'agata, Boston Review

"In prose so taut and graceful that it almost seems braced against her destabilizing theme, Carson teases out the wily contradictions of the desiring imagination, from what is “sweetbitter”—glukupikron, Sappho’s coinage, which put the pleasure before the pain—to its tendency to recast the absent beloved as a ghostly enemy. Gradually, irresistibly, a thesis steals up from the readings. Eros, with its painfully sharpened awareness of the boundary between self and other, is inseparable from the shift that split speech into the privacy of speaking and writing, and words into fragmentary vowels and consonants ... it’s thrilling to accompany one of the most sensitive and formidable minds that ever reckoned with [love and language]."  —Julian Lucas, The New Yorker

"There is a fine beauty to the work, and it deserves reading."Library Journal

"When was the last time you saw love compared to a sweetbitter creature stealing up? These translations are almost the best part of Carson’s inquiry into this elusive thing we call love. You don’t even have to know ancient Greek or Latin to appreciate their poetic intimacy which is an insight itself into the versatility of the languages. On every page, Carson prods with these translations to produce observations that you’ve never thought of before but instantly know are true ...  Like every good book, Carson tells us a little of what we already know, and then pushes further." —The Rumpus

"What we learn from Eros the Bittersweet while being spun alive by its brilliance is that its author is a philosopher of much cunning and an agile reader, a scholar with a mind as fresh as a spring meadow, no dust anywhere on her." —Guy Davenport

Biographical Information

Anne Carson is a Candian poet, essayist, professor of Classics, and translator.Her honors and awards are many, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the American Academy in Berlin. She has also received the Lannan Literary Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Sandra Newman is the author of five novels, including The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever DoneThe Country of Ice Cream Star, and The Heavens, along with a memoir and a guide to Western literature.