Sex and Death: A Reappraisal of Human Mortality
November 2002, Polity
This fascinating book exposes the way in which the preoccupation with transcendence in both religious and secular thinking has distorted our sense of what it is to be human. At the same time, Sex and Death offers an alternative approach to the debate, based on an acceptance of mortality that emphasizes the depth and profundity possible in human life. It is an argument which will be essential reading for students of philosophy or religion, as well as the general reader interested in these debates.
Chapter 1: Transcending Mortality: Plato's Philosophy and Augustine's Theology.
Chapter 2: Transcending the Void: Sex and Death in Sartre and Beauvoir's Existentialism.
Chapter 3: Eros, Thanatos and the Human Self: Sigmund Freud.
Chapter 4 : Sex and Death in a Meaningless Universe: The Marquis de Sade.
Chapter 5: Living in Accordance with Nature: Seneca.
Conclusion: Sex, Death, and the Meaningful Life.
References and Bibliography.
- Systematic exploration of the puzzling relationship between sex and death
- Examines the views of a wide range of authors, including Plato, Augustine, Seneca, the Marquis de Sade, Freud, Sartre and de Beauvoir
Develops a fresh perspective on sex and death as the basis for an alternative understanding of meaningful life
"All of us were born; all of us will die; all of us are sexual.
Beverley Clack's new book takes an intelligent and
thought-provoking look at these basic human realities, showing how
spiritual meaning and physical reality conjoin. It is a
wide-ranging and carefully argued book that makes unexpected and
imaginative connections. It is also a book of compassionate
humanity." Grace M. Jantzen, University of Manchester
"Western accounts of the best human life have usually pictured
masculine reason and will as battling to transcend and escape from
nature, sex and death, and have been marked by a weirdly negative
attitude especially for the female reproductive apparatus. Beverley
Clack rejects that whole tradition and instead sees the good life
as growing out of an acceptance of the body, transience, sex and
death. She boldly tackles, not just Augustine and Freud, but also
Sade, head-on. This is a vigorous and enjoyable study, and (of
course) she's right." Don Cupitt, Emmanuel College,
"This is an engaging and thoughtful piece of work, convincing in
its own terms"Elizabeth Stuart, Theology
"...it [the book] leads readers to engage philosophically with arguments that have the potential to change their fundamental attitudes" Stan van Hooft, Philosophy in Review