When her parents died and her marriage disintegrated within the span of a few months, art historian and performance artist Joanna Frueh entered a painful period of grief and mourning. This book is about how she healed herself and in the process explored the vast range of her potential as a woman, for mind inseparable from the body, for being truly alive. ""Swooning Beauty"" is an ornate, intimate memoir of discovery and healing. Frueh's path to recovery lay through a profound examination of her intuitions, desires, fantasies, dreams, and emotions; her capacity for pleasure - visual, sensual, intellectual, gastronomic, and erotic; and her sense of her own heroic female identity. Hers is the passionate voice of a creative, intelligent woman scrutinizing the nature of love in all its forms - including self-love - and the ways of being that make us free, flexible, more fully real and more fully human. The result is an engaging view into the rich and colorful inner life of a woman at the threshold of middle age, of the blossoming of mind and spirit that comes after suffering and self-realization. Pleasure, she concludes, ""is the absence of lack. Self-love is a necessary plenitude. Vigilance in love brings us freedom. Freedom is not an absolute whose attainment is humanly impossible. Yogis say that the self that is not ego is free. That self is the spacious heart, the spacious mind."" Frueh offers us wisdom and comfort for the journey into middle age, and the deep pleasure of encountering a generous, lively spirit and a remarkably spacious mind.
Joanna Frueh is a professor of art history at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a well-known performance artist. Her publications include essays, scholarly articles, edited volumes, and two books, Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love and Erotic Faculties.