An orgy of kissing and hugging has broken out across the Western world. And while the words ‘I love you’ are rarely heard anymore, people you’ve barely met end their emails with ‘Love’. Why have all the rules gone out the window? How can order be restored? Can Pushkin or Elizabeth Strout be of any use here? Acclaimed writer of fiction, autobiography and the occasional essay, Robert Dessaix, takes a stand.

Supported by the University of Sydney.

Robert Dessaix (Australian)

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Robert Dessaix is a writer of fiction, autobiography and the occasional essay. His best-known books, all translated into several European languages, include his autobiography A Mother's Disgrace, Night Letters, Corfu and a collection of essays and short stories (And So Forth). In 2012 he published the collection of originally spoken pieces As I Was Saying, and in 2014 he published the meditation What Days Are For. His latest book is The Pleasures of Leisure.

Luke Fischer (Australian)

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Luke Fischer is a poet, philosopher, and scholar. He is the author of four books, including the poetry collections A Personal History of Vision and Paths of Flight and the monograph The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poems. He is currently co-editing a volume of essays on the philosophical dimensions of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus. He is an honorary associate at the University of Sydney.