Since the end of the eighteenth century, the pursuit of a true lovea has been enshrined in the expectations of Western societies. We regard this pursuit as our right, and organize our lives around it. However, the possibility that love is becoming more difficult to achieve in the West has begun to attract considerable attention. The consensus is that love is both deeply desirable and extremely difficult to find. This highly original book explores two aspects of the nature of the apparently socially essential a gluea of love. The first theme concerns the sources of our ideas about love: where the concept originated and, most importantly, what its relationship has been to morality and moral systems. The second theme is our determination to find love: whatever the social and personal costs, the desire for identification with another person drives us to impossible expectations and occasionally damaging alternatives. In a compelling critique, this book rejects the high romantic version of love as well as what could be described as a contractual version of love.
In their place, it describes a love that depends upon reasoned care and commitment and argues that we should abandon love in its romanticized and commercialized form.
Mary Evans is at the Centre for Womena s Studies, Darwin College, University of Kent.
Acknowledgements. Chapter One: What is This Thing Called Love?. Chapter Two: Going Back. Chapter Three: The Language of Love. Chapter Four: The Rules of Love. Chapter Five: The Limits of Love. Chapter Six: The Future of Love. Bibliography. Index