Titlu Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation
Autor Eva Illouz
Categorie Limba Engleză
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Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation

By our own standards, Catherine and Emma’s pain seems extreme, but it is still intelligible to us. Yet, as this book seeks to claim, the romantic agony that both of these women experience has changed its content, colour, and texture. First of all, the opposition between society and love which each enacts in her suffering is hardly relevant to modern societies. Indeed, there would be few economic obstacles or normative prohibitions preventing either Catherine or Emma from making their love their first and only choice. If anything, our contemporary sense of appropriateness would command us to follow the dictates of our heart, not of our social milieu. Second, a battery of experts would now be likely to come to the rescue of a hesitant Catherine and of Emma’s passionless marriage: psychological counselling, couple therapy, divorce lawyers, mediation specialists, would massively appropriate and adjudicate over the private dilemmas of prospective or bored wives. In the absence of (or in conjunction with) experts’ help, their modern counterparts would have shared the secret of their love with others, most likely female friends, or, at the very least, occasional anonymous friends found on the Internet, thus considerably diminishing the solitude of their passion. Between their desire and their despair, there would have been a thick flow of words, self-analysis, and friendly or expert advice. A contemporary Catherine or Emma would have spent a great deal of time reflecting and talking about their pain and likely found its causes in their own (or their lovers’) deficient childhood. They would have derived a sense of glory not from the experience of grief, but precisely from having overcome it, through an arsenal of self-help therapeutic techniques. Modern romantic pain generates an almost endless gloss, the purpose of which is both to understand and extirpate its causes. Dying, committing suicide, and running away to a cloister no longer belong to our cultural repertoires.

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