Erotic Love in Sociology, Philosophy and Literature : From Romanticism to Rationality
Author(s): Finn Bowring
Why is 'love' taken for granted as a part of human experience? And why is sexual or romantic love in particular so important to us? This book aims to find out, tracing the intellectual history of sexual love, from the ancient Greeks to the modern day.
Erotic Love shows how discourses of love have intersected with social and cultural trends, as well as with personal events and experiences. Beginning with the queering of love in Greek antiquity, it looks at how sexual love has been sung about, fictionalized and theorized as a cornerstone of the formation of Western culture. From the courtly love of twelfth-century troubadours and the rise of affective individualism in the eighteenth century, to the way the novel helped catalyze and crystallize the hopes and contradictions of love and marriage, these are decisive episodes in the history of romantic love. Lastly, the book deals with how sociologists and feminist theorists have made sense of the liberalization of sexuality over the last fifty years, especially given the post-romantic pragmatism of commercialized dating practices.
Arguing against the over-rationalism of intimate life, Erotic Love recognizes the need to liberate love from patriarchal, racist and homophobic prejudices, and highlights the value of literary and sociological traditions to emphasize how they dignify the rhapsodies and the sufferings of love.