A refreshing and sharp theoretical contribution to a politically burdened debate. Weeks (Sociology/South Bank Univ., England) assumes the daunting task of theorizing morality, values, and sexuality. Noting the widespread sense of uncertainty and the lack of shared values and community with which most Western people live, Weeks believes a discussion of morality is more important now than ever. He draws on many important thinkers, among them Susan Sontag and Michel Foucault, to examine the current state of crisis. Weeks sees AIDS as symbolizing a general sense of doom, as well as the complexities of contemporary identities, sexual relationships, and new solidarities between people affected by the virus. He concedes that the modern world is one of contingency, in which choice can be a burden and decisions are not always easy. As for living with diversity, particularly sexual, Weeks makes an important distinction between tolerating diversity (a passive response to difference) and embracing it (welcoming difference). The challenge then becomes to accept diversity without succumbing to absolute relativism, which Weeks believes leads individuals toward isolation once again. Without prescribing a particular morality, and certainly without outlining all the answers to living with diversity, the author proposes an ethics of love based on four principles: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. A responsible love, for example, is based on the recognition that what one does has consequences for others. Safe sex, then, can be seen as the building of respect for self and others, a public and private response to AIDS, and an active way of ``recovering the erotic.'' When based on this ethic of love, many forms of erotic life can be morally valid. Weeks succeeds in suggesting values for a moral society that must live with diversity, and he presents a hopeful vision of a world community based on an ethics of love.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1995

ISBN: 0-231-10410-3

Page Count: 205

Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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