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Mari Ruti combines theoretical reflection, cultural critique, feminist politics, and personal experience to analyze the prevalence of bad feelings in contemporary everyday life. Proceeding from a playful engagement with Freud’s idea of penis envy, Ruti’s autotheoretical commentary fans out to a broader consideration of neoliberal pragmatism. She focuses on the emphasis on good performance, high productivity, constant self-improvement, and... more...

Levinas and Lacan, two giants of contemporary theory, represent schools of thought that seem poles apart. In this major new work, Mari Ruti charts the ethical terrain between them. At first glance, Levinansian and Lacanian approaches may seem more or less incompatible, and in many ways they are, particularly in their understanding of the self-other relationship. For both Levinas and Lacan, the subject's relationship to the other is... more...

The Singularity of Being presents a Lacanian vision of what makes each of us an inimitable and irreplaceable creature. It argues that, unlike the "subject" (who comes into existence as a result of symbolic prohibition) or the "person" (who is aligned with the narcissistic conceits of the imaginary), the singular self emerges in response to a galvanizing directive arising from the real. This directive carries the force of an obligation that cannot be... more...

Psychoanalytic perspective on what Western philosophers from Socrates to Foucault have called “the art of living.” How are our lives meaningful? What is the relationship of loss to creativity? How can we best engage and overcome our suffering? From Socrates to Foucault, Western philosophers have sought to define “the art of living”—the complex craft of human existence that elicits our thoughtful participation, and the idea that even though... more...

Should we feel inadequate when we fail to be healthy, balanced, and well-adjusted? Is it realistic or even desirable to strive for such an existential equilibrium? Condemning our current cultural obsession with cheerfulness and "positive thinking," Mari Ruti calls for a resurrection of character that honors our more eccentric frequencies and argues that sometimes a tormented and anxiety-ridden life can also be rewarding. Ruti... more...

Praise for The Case for Falling in Love "Why play 'hard to get' when you can just get what you want? Mari Ruti's lively research, from Plato to Freud to Gossip Girl to her own bedroom, finally puts an end to playing games, and provides a resource for lovers and the love-scorned alike. A must-read for anyone who has ever fallen in love, wants to, or wants to know what went wrong." -Arianne Cohen, creator of TheSexDiariesProject.com... more...

We are conditioned to think that love heals wounds, makes us happy, and gives our lives meaning. When the opposite occurs and love causes fracturing, disenchantment, and existential turmoil, we suffer deeply, especially if we feel that love has failed us or that we have failed to experience what others seem so effortlessly to enjoy. In this eloquently argued, psychologically informed book, Mari Ruti portrays love as a much more... more...