marriage as a fine art

51pcBCAbP5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Vivian Gornick at The New Republic:

Marriage as a Fine Art is a book of conversations between the celebrated French power couple Julia Kristeva and Philippe Sollers, in which they open themselves to a barrage of questions about their own marriage. This subject matched with these participants must seem highly suspect to many: Kristeva is a world-famous psychoanalyst and feminist theorist and Philippe Sollers a novelist, critic, and magazine editor well known in France. The couple has been married for 50 years, and has for just as long been part of an elite circle of intellectual theorists—including such figures as Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan—where defending marriage as such is the last thing on anyone’s agenda. So what were these two now up to?

In her preface to the book, Kristeva promises “to tell all about a given passion, with precision, without shame or shirking, without altering the past or embellishing the present, and steering very clear of the flaunting of sentimental fixations and erotic fantasies so prevalent in the current ‘selfie’ memoir.” Sollers adds that when “people get married out of calculation or delusion, time wears down this fragile normality contract, they get unmarried, they remarry, or else they stagnate in mutual disappointment. Nothing of the sort with us: Both partners equally preserve their creative personality, each stimulating the other all the time.” It’s a “new art of love,” he proposes, one that he believes society may not, however, be ready to accept. Thus, from the very start, both respondents took pains to establish their attachment as an example of the intelligence and courage that it takes to rescue the words “husband” and “wife” from their ever-increasing lack of prestige.

more here.