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The Four Loves (Harvest Book)
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The Four Loves (Harvest Book)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  23,483 ratings  ·  719 reviews

"We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves."

We hear often that love is patient and kind, not envious or prideful. We hear that human love is a reflection of divine love. We hear that God is love. But how do we understand its work in our lives, its perils and rewards? Here, the incomparable C. S. Lewis

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Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published (first published 1943)
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Doug
Overall a fascinating read, though a bit more "high-brow" than my usual fare. Having a background in the classics, as in OLD classics, would help to make more of it understandable. And sometimes I got a little lost in his logic. However, the points of view on the different types of love were very useful to me, in reflecting on my own life and relationships. If I were to sum up the effect on me in one word, it would be "clarifying."

I am an incurable romantic; nevertheless through the years I hav...more
Suzanne
Read this in college when most of it went over my head...then life happens. After a life full of joy and tragedy and senseless loss at times...this work sits in my nightstand drawer so I can be renewed, reawakened and reminded of higher purposes when the world is too much with me.
Charity
With clarity C.S. Lewis outlines the four loves as he understands them. As I read I recognized the roles these loves play, and have played, in my life and in the lives of those I know. People and possible motives for their actions became apparent to me. It is a book that captures reflections to share with the reader and allow them to create more of the same. Below is an excerpt that I wished to share.

"There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart...more
Jonathan

The other works of C.S. Lewis that I have been reading recently, tackle more of the concept of Christianity. Lewis, arguing in those works concepts that I agree with. Namely that Christians aren't any more moral than any other people, nor are they any more spiritual (after all there can be spiritual good and spiritual evil), but that Christianity is more about returning the natural to the supernatural. However, here in this work of non-fiction, he chooses to discuss the topic of love.

Love is one...more
Chak
I talk about how much I dislike Lewis and yet read two of his books in the space of a few days. Hypocritical much? If you enjoy Lewis' continual didacticism, this is the book for you. I found it hard to get through (though I persevered) due to sexist anachronisms (women, as homemakers, cannot understand a man's world or thoughts) and statements with which I vehemently disagree presented as facts (don't get me started). Admittedly, I don't read philosophy or dogma well, and this is both. However,...more
Jason Koivu
The fantasy novels of CS Lewis can barely touch the fanciful nature of love, but in The Four Loves, his work on the subject feels so in tune with the complexity of its forms that it seems as if it MUST be written by some learned/aged Don Juan reflecting back on the lusts and loves of his past, so much so that you forget all about Lewis, the pasty white English professor and his faerie books. The Four Loves made a strong impression on me in my youth. Perhaps I didn't, and maybe still don't, take...more
Terri
This book was something I looked forward to reading and then I was totally bored and disgusted with it. What frustrated me the most is how he would take an opinion or outright incorrect statement such as Pagans worship trees (way way way out of context and incorrect) and then use that false statement to support his arguments. That is basic logic 101 class and made most of his arguments invalid. I wanted to like what he was saying but couldnt because he was just down right incorrect in so much.
Lavinia
'the four loves' [1960] sau 'cele patru iubiri', pentru norocosii care au prins cartea de la humanitas, aparuta in 1997, impreuna cu 'problema durerii' si 'despre minuni'.

cartea pleaca de la cei patru termeni care definesc dragostea, intilniti in noul testament: storge [afectiunea], fileo [prietenia], eros [atractia/dragostea sexuala] si agape [caritatea sau mila, in trad. romaneasca]. lewis merge pe ideea ca primele trei iubiri, cele 'naturale' sint complet diferite, rupte de agape, dragostea p...more
Tim
At his best Lewis can be very good (Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity), but at other times he can be a bit frustrating. He has an excellent mind overstuffed with knowledge of many fine things, he’s often insightful, and he’s able to write engagingly and accessibly while fleshing out a carefully conceived and detailed plan. But when he’s not at his best there can be too much wordplay and other cleverness combined with an over-certain pedagogy, or at least that’s how it comes off for me. It’s p...more
Marcie
I hadn't read any CS Lewis in years, and I remember not being especially impressed the first time I read this book; it didn't seem to have a cohesive thesis. However, I ran across a used copy at a flea market in NYC (irresistible) and couldn't put it down on the airplane home. I can see why I thought Lewis was tangential, and I assume I overlooked the genius because at the time I was too naive of love (& it's pitfalls) to understand his meditations. No doubt the book will be even more meanin...more
Judith Acosta
I read this book about once a year to remind myself of the basics: to Whom I am accountable, what true love entails and endows, and why I wake up every day.

My favorite quote: "...in the act of love we are not merely ourselves. We are also representatives. It is here no impoverishment but an enrichment to be aware that forces older and less personal than we work through us..."

Amen.
Gail
What can I say about C.S. Lewis that others haven't said before me on here? The guy is just ... so brilliant. SO SO brilliant. I think, more than any other person whose put pen to page, Lewis captures what it means to be a Christian better than any other author I've ever read. Maybe it's the fact he, himself, was an atheist for so many years, but his approach in describing my faith is so powerful, I wish everyone would give him the brain space (and you'll need a little... dimestore novel readin'...more
Jen
This is an interesting book. C. L. Lewis describes his four categories of love: affection, friendship, Eros (romantic love) and charity (love of God and selfless love of others). I like his analysis of each kind of love and how affection, friendship and Eros can all have destructive sides to them. I also appreciate that he points out that the first three kinds of love need charity (need God) in order to thrive. However, while I think separating the loves for the purpose of description is useful,...more
Rebecca Hicks
I used to think this book was really amazing. Now, although I can still enjoy it, after my own experiences of deep friendship and affection, I find myself disagreeing with some of the details of Lewis's ideas.

For example, Lewis seems to think that true friendship is almost impossible between a man and a woman. Try telling that to my male best friend! (although, to give him credit, maybe such a friendship was less likely in his time than in ours) Also, he seems doubtful as to whether women can ev...more
Jess
I loved this book. The first read through, was confusing because he would often refer to the other loves without having explained it. But the second time through, I understood how Lewis was piecing together his categories of love.
The greatest point I think this book makes is that all other loves are unsustainable unless they are consumed and supported by Charity. Without Charity, a divine love, all other loves with "go bad" on us, because we are human. But our ability to love God and His love f...more
Carlos Carrasco
A wonderful, little book that is a powerful study of the many-splendoured nature of love.

In short, Lewis distinguishes between 3 natural loves, affection, friendship & erotic love and one supernatural love, Charity. Proceeding from the principle that 'The highest does not stand without the lowest' he goes through the 4, exploring the pleasures, problems and occasional perversions of the 3 natural loves and the great potential for perfection presented to us through the fourth, supernatural l...more
James
"Love becomes a demon when it becomes a god."

Usual Lewis brilliance. Loved it.
Colleen
The Four Loves is based on the four Greek words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. Lewis defines each of these types of love and how they affect our lives. It was a short, lovely read. It was at times a little highbrow, but remember that it was written in the 40's by a Cambridge professor. Still Lewis has a wonderful way with words, and some of the reflections and quotes were quiet resonant. Such as this one:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung...more
Dan Glover
This was truly excellent. Although nearly all of Lewis's works could be described as such, this one doesn't get the recognition it deserves. I think this work will become a regular annual re-read for me, like The Screwtape Letters. I originally listened to the first version of this work in Lewis's own voice, as re-recordings of his original radio talks. I enjoyed hearing his voice, but this book is superior to the talks, having been reworked and greatly improved by fleshing the talks out further...more
Bill
This was a stimulating but somewhat dry analysis of the different ways we use the word, "love." Lewis discusses four kinds of love: affection, friendship, eros, and charity. Affection refers to the love of parents for children and vice versa. It is expected, and because it is expected it is subject to abuse and manipulation. Friendship love is the love between individuals who share a common interest. The shadow side of friendship love is its possible result in indifference to outside opinion and...more
Rebekah Choat
Lewis begins by drawing a distinction between "gift-love" and "need-love," defining the first as the type of love which motivates a man to work and plan for his family's future well-being although he will not live to see its fulfillment, and the second as that which sends a frightened child running to his mother. There follows a scholarly yet warmly conversational discussion of the four loves known to man: affection, friendship, eros, and charity. In conclusion, the author says, "We must try to...more
Kevin
Let me start by saying that I like C.S. Lewis - that is, I like the way he writes. When I'm reading his books, I imagine that I'm sitting on one side of a large, wooden desk in his personal library and he's sitting on the other, just talking to me. His style of writing is so much like having a conversation... albeit, a one-sided one.

Normally, I like this conversation. I like sitting and listening to Lewis telling me about Mere Christianity, or in my more child-like moments, a Lion, a Witch, and...more
Ben
Love. That’s all you need, or so the Beatles said. God is love, or so John the Apostle said. Love seems to be the driving force behind a tremendous amount of human activity and whether it really is all that we need or whether it is the substance of God, it is remarkably hard to classify, and all the more important for it. C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves tackles love from a Christian perspective. Whether Christian, agnostic, or a believer of some other sort, this work has highly relevant insights on...more
Josh

This book was a special treat for me, as I was able to listen to an original audio recording by C. S. Lewis himself.

This is, in my opinion, the definitive book on the subject. As much as I like the five love languages, this book is a far deeper and more meaningful study of the different types of love out there. Especially the section on Agape is the most profound explanation that I have ever heard. It is the most important part of the book, that binds everything else together, and it can profo...more
Jeanie
I had high hopes in reading this book. However, in CS Lewis works, you will always find treasure. Just in this one, you had to do some digging. The Friendship chapter and the Charity were the only chapters that had any depth. This book was not high in scripture but more philosphy in his discription of the different kinds of love. Our need of love cries to God from our proverty, however, only when we know and understand our need of Him. Affection does not expect much, only when it does it is cent...more
mirela Darau
I was expecting some stunning new things about love and encountered known, sensible remarks wrapped in a beautiful language. Yes there were things that I have not realised so far, things I did not think to think of. I like the way he built up his book, starting with debating natural, inherited things, building up to Affection which is the closest to the animal world, then Friendship the so much appraised in the past and pretty much despised in our days, to the not so much valued in the past but...more
David
What is love?

CS Lewis’ great little book, The Four Loves, examines love from a variety of angles. There is affection, friendship, eros (romantic love) and charity. Each of these types of love has a proper place and each can be twisted into something rotten.

One of the best lessons from this book for contemporary audiences would be Lewis’ description of need-pleasures and pleasures of appreciation. Need pleasure is, as could be expected, rooted in our needs. We have a desire for something – a glas...more
Karly Noelle Abreu
An excellent meditation on the character of love, the forms it takes, and what it means for the Christian life. As the title suggests, this book hones in on the four loves, which Lewis defines as Affection (what one feels for the familiar), Friendship (which he defines as the most "pure" and underrated form of love), Eros (romance, not simply sexuality), and Charity (the love for God and from God).

What sets this book apart from similar works is the fact that Lewis points out the redemptive and...more
Amazing Grace
After coming across with few quotes of this book(I found them interesting!), I decided to give it a try and read it.
The author is analyzing thoroughly four different types of love, that are based on four Greek words describing love: Storge(affection), Philia(friendship), Eros(romance) and Agape(charity). These four loves are described from a Christian and philosophical perspective, that made it hard for me to get through.
It took me few pages(ok, maybe chapters!)to get used to his writing, this b...more
Briana
Insightful look at what love is...rather like The Reflections on the Psalms, not a whole lot that's really striking, but a fresh look at a topic not often covered in Christian doctrine. Like the Psalms, love is something often cited by Christians without depth of understanding. This is a helpful analysis from Lewis as to what love must and does entail.

I really like the last few thoughts that Lewis concludes on...that the only place besides Heaven that is free from the perils of love is Hell. On...more
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  • The Everlasting Man
  • On the Incarnation
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  • The Knowledge of the Holy
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  • Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
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  • The Mind of the Maker
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
  • Deliver Us from Evil
  • The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
  • The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God
  • Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church
  • The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul
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CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than th...more
More about C.S. Lewis...
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6) Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

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“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."” 66287 likes
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” 14232 likes
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