Johannes is an aesthete, dedicated to creating the possibility of seduction through the careful manipulation of young women. He stealthily pursues the innocent Cordelia until she becomes increasingly drawn to him. But when she is ready to give herself completely, she realizes she may have got everything wrong. United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds.
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The plot is simple, and the book is very short, but all the same I became easily involved with the characters. He likes women only until they have given him everything: it is then that he leaves them, and searches for a new love.
In an autobiographical confession, Johannes writes,. I am an aesthete, an eroticist, who has grasped the nature and the point of love, who believes in love and knows it from the ground up, and I reserve for myself only the private opinion that no love affair should last more that a half a year at most and that any relationship is over as soon as one has enjoyed the ultimate. The story is told by Johannes, a man ten years Cordelias senior, who spins a web, to bring this young girl of seventeen, into womanhood through an erotic seduction of the mind.
Johannes, a brilliant intellectual, uses the ripple effect of thought to determine the out come of each move that he plots.
For instance, when you drop a stone into water, it sends out a ripple of rings, each one, a different path to take, each with its own set of consequences.
Her circle of friends, her family, her daily schedule. Then he makes sure to intervene unnoticed. For example, he knows that at 11 in the morning she will be walking down a particular street, he makes a point to walk past her. A day of shopping, to be in the store where she is at. But he never approches her, always standing in the shadows. But Johannes only uses Edward — to his own advantage of course — exposing Cordelia to the differences between Edward and himself.
Eventually, Cordelia takes notice, and poor Edward is soon discarded. The Aunt agrees, and Cordelia and Johannes begin their journey. The seducer seems to embody in actuality what being a libertine means. Marriage and friendship are both an infringement on his freedom and a potential detriment to his quest for amusement.
Engagement is, in its essence, laughable. He fears boredom and cannot comprehend why one would want to have a child. One can observe his implementation of the rotation method in the variety of ways in which he refers to the seduction itself. He is not even content to call his seduction by a single name.
Frequent attention is given to the subject of possession. He encourages her; she tries but cannot. We should note that the narrator includes three letters from Cordelia to Johannes which are placed at the beginning of the diary.
This entire project is his: his seduction of his prey to be described with painstaking detail in his diary for his recollection of his victory of his game. These memories are meticulously planned beforehand, masterly orchestrated, and eloquently described on the pages of the diary.
We get the impression that, for Johannes, the events exist so that they might be recorded — not the other way around. This is a very effective medium for communicating his content. More importantly, for Kierkegaard, this is indirect communication. And what should I do about it?
Many of want to live a merely aesthetic life, and yet we do not want to embrace the dark melancholy which is a necessary part of the aesthetic sphere of life. If you have ever been in love, truly in love, you will feel it written within the pages of this book.
The kind we may only find once in our lives, if we are lucky enough for fate to expose it with open eyes. I believe that Johannes found the truest, purest love, with Cordelia, but chose to play a game of the mind, instead of listening to the heart. Which in the end, haunted him the rest of his life. Hi Twiggy,it sure looks like quite an interesting read….
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You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. In an autobiographical confession, Johannes writes, I am an aesthete, an eroticist, who has grasped the nature and the point of love, who believes in love and knows it from the ground up, and I reserve for myself only the private opinion that no love affair should last more that a half a year at most and that any relationship is over as soon as one has enjoyed the ultimate.
I can imagine him able to bring a girl to the point where he was sure she would sacrifice all then he would leave without a word let a lone a declaration a promise. The unhappy girl would retain the consciousness of it with double bitterness because there was not the slightest thing she could appeal to. She could only be constantly tossed about in a terrible witches' dance at one moment reproaching herself forgiving him at another reproaching him and then since the relationship would only have been actual in a figurative sense she would constantly have to contend with the doubt that the whole thing might only have been an imagination. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
The Seducer's Diary
Appearing in two volumes in under the pseudonymous editorship of Victor Eremita Latin for "victorious hermit" , it outlines a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an essentially hedonistic, aesthetic mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment. Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, with the prose of the work reflecting and depending on the life view being discussed. For example, the aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions , discussing aesthetic topics such as music , seduction , drama , and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibility , critical reflection , and marriage. The book's central concern is the primal question asked by Aristotle , "How should we live? The aesthetic is the personal, subjective realm of existence, where an individual lives and extracts pleasure from life only for their own sake. In this realm, one has the possibility of the highest as well as the lowest.