A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century

A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century

by Cristina Nehring

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Overview

"A fierce and lively book. . . .This is one of those rare books that could make people think about their intimate lives in a new way." — New York Times Book Review

“A rousing defense of imprudent ardor and romantic excess. . . . It’s difficult to deny that [Nehring] is on to something.” — Wall Street Journal

A thinking person’s “guide” that makes the case for love in an age both cynical about and fearful of strong passion. Bold and challenging, A Vindication of Love has inspired praise and controversy, and brilliantly reinvigorated the romance debate. A perfect choice for readers of Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life and Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060765040
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

A highly acclaimed and consistently provocative critic and essayist, Cristina Nehring has written for Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, the New York Times Book Review, Condé Nast Traveler, New York magazine, American Scholar, the Los Angeles Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. She lives with her daughter in Paris, Los Angeles, and Chania, Greece.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Women in Love 1

1 Cupid Doffs His Blindfold: Love as Wisdom 17

2 The Power of Power Differentials: Love as Inequality 49

3 The Blade Between Us: Love as Transgression 81

4 There Must Be Two Before There Can Be One: Love as Absence 109

5 "On My Blood I'll Carry You Away": Love as Heroism 143

6 "Anonymous Except for Injury": Love as Failure 193

7 Carving in the Flesh: Love as Art 235

Epilogue: Waging Love: Toward a New Definition of Eros 271

Acknowledgments 277

Select Bibliography 28l

Notes 293

Index 319

What People are Saying About This

Ingrid Norton

“An eloquent plea for romantic daring and idealism…A bold, high-flying polemic which sets out to do nothing less than reclaim romantic love for our times.”

Jessa Crispin

“A wild appreciation of men and women . . . who passionately and fearlessly and recklessly redefine romance. . . . The passionate creatures who refuse to play it safe and settle down now have an intelligent, like-minded advocate.”

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Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
neurodrew More than 1 year ago
This is an impassioned piece of social commentary, arguing for the return of intense and passionate loving between men and women, love that takes risks. The author argues that feminism, and the need for safety and predictability has squeezed the romance out of relations between the sexes. The feminists argue that creativity and passion in love are not fit subjects for a woman and serve only to keep her subservient to men. The author presents many literary and historical models of loves that were daring, and un-apologetic. Her command of literature finds many gems, and her writing style is clear and brisk. It is refreshing to have a definite point of view, argued forcefully Quotes: "It never troubles the sun," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in one of his later essays, "that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the cold and crude companion. If he is unequal, he will presently pass away; but thou, thou art enlarged by thy own shining." What Socrates is saying above all else in Symposium is that love makes us think. Love makes us explore. Love makes us blaze through new subjects and new cultures; it makes us hatch new visions. Youth and beauty is a form of power, as anyone knows who has read a Philip Roth novel in which the decrepit celebrity intellectual is awestruck by an unknown young shiksa whom he perceives as omnipotent; as anyone knows who has ever loved a person of lesser years or greater physical attractiveness. German poet Rainer Maria Rilke: 'In all things except love, nature herself enjoins men to collect themselves, while in the heightening of love, the impulse is to give oneself wholly away." The problem is that , "When a person abandons himself, he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up in order to come close to each other, there is no longer any ground beneath them and their being together is a continual falling." Emerson challenges us to choose what it is we most wish to befriend in our companions, for we cannot have everything. "Are you'" he demands, "the friend of your friend's buttons, or of his thought? To a great heart, he will be a stranger in a thousand particulars, that he may come near in the holiest ground." "There are some theories which are much weakened by the unfortunate presence of facts" "It is impossible," declared the Countess of Champagne in the thirteenth century, "for true love to exert its powers between two people married to each other." "For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks, the ultimate, the work for which all other work is but preparation." Rainer Maria Rilke It was your manner of telling me about [the doctor] Pagello, of his caring for you and your affection for him, and the frankness with which you let me read your heart. Always treat me so; it makes me proud. My dear, the woman who speaks thus of her new lover to the one she has just left, and who still loves her, accords him the greatest proof of esteem that a man may receive from a woman.
MickeySkinner More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book at the Barnes and Noble store in Redlands , Ca. I had a young female clerk find the book so that I might check it out before buying. i told her that it was probably a chick book. Boy was I ever wrong. It is a powerful book about love throughout the ages from, Socrates to the present. Ms. Nehring asked the question; "should people looking for love find it above their status or below?" Basically love finds you when you least expect it. Or a person might become infatuated with someone that they can never have and live their whole life in the shadow of that person. Sometimes love is gentle, sometimes mean and hateful, but it is always love. Cristina Nehring has a well researched and written book that is a winner. Which makes me a winner just by reading a Vindication Of Love.
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Vindication of LoveChristina NehringThis is an impassioned piece of social commentary, arguing for the return of intense and passionate loving between men and women, love that takes risks. The author argues that feminism, and the need for safety and predictability has squeezed the romance out of relations between the sexes. The feminists argue that creativity and passion in love are not fit subjects for a woman and serve only to keep her subservient to men. The author presents many literary and historical models of loves that were daring, and un-apologetic. Her command of literature finds many gems, and her writing style is clear and brisk. It is refreshing to have a definite point of view, argued forcefullyQuotes:¿It never troubles the sun,¿ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in one of his later essays, ¿that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the cold and crude companion. If he is unequal, he will presently pass away; but thou, thou art enlarged by thy own shining.¿What Socrates is saying above all else in Symposium is that love makes us think. Love makes us explore. Love makes us blaze through new subjects and new cultures; it makes us hatch new visions.Youth and beauty is a form of power¿ as anyone knows who has read a Philip Roth novel in which the decrepit celebrity intellectual is awestruck by an unknown young shiksa whom he perceives as omnipotent; as anyone knows who has ever loved a person of lesser years or greater physical attractiveness.German poet Rainer Maria Rilke: `In all things except love, nature herself enjoins men to collect themselves¿ while in the heightening of love, the impulse is to give oneself wholly away.¿ The problem is that ¿ ¿When a person abandons himself, he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up in order to come close to each other, there is no longer any ground beneath them and their being together is a continual falling.¿Emerson challenges us to choose what it is we most wish to befriend in our companions¿ for we cannot have everything. ¿Are you¿¿ he demands, ¿the friend of your friend¿s buttons, or of his thought? To a great heart, he will be a stranger in a thousand particulars, that he may come near in the holiest ground.¿¿There are some theories which are much weakened by the unfortunate presence of facts¿¿It is impossible,¿ declared the Countess of Champagne in the thirteenth century, ¿for true love to exert its powers between two people married to each other.¿¿For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks, the ultimate, the work for which all other work is but preparation.¿ Rainer Maria RilkeIt was your manner of telling me about [the doctor] Pagello¿ of his caring for you and your affection for him¿ and the frankness with which you let me read your heart. Always treat me so; it makes me proud. My dear, the woman who speaks thus of her new lover to the one she has just left, and who still loves her, accords him the greatest proof of esteem that a man may receive from a woman.
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Melancholia More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating literary study of love affairs throughout literary history. It is really enjoyable when the author relates lives like those of Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of my favorite poets. It bogs down about 2/3 through. It's a good mixture of info and polemic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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