Love: A History

March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Used under CC license from Flickr, some rights reserved by Vector Hugo.

Simon May has written an excellent book on the history of Western Civilization’s development of the abstract notion of love in Love: A History. He follows the Hebraic roots, as well as delving into Greek and Roman civilization, examines psychoanalytic theories and famous philosophies over time to show how love has developed over time.

The history of love, of course, is a much larger topic than May could comprehensively discuss in this well-written book. He doesn’t ever mention Kierkegaard or other influential philosophers of sex and love, but does manage to highlight the main ideas. I wouldn’t call this an actual history of love, but rather a look at love throughout western civilization.

This is a really good book and anyone curious about how love has more or less developed to its cultural standards or ideals today would find this book fascinating. Anyone in a relationship might also benefit from reading about some of the philosophies of love and seeing where your own love weighs in–without having read much Spinoza, I apparently have been a proponent of his theories in my relationships to some degree.

This book is available for checkout at BD436 .M375 2011. The Library has 14 other titles related to Love History. Why not watch the BBC documentary Love from Films on Demand (if you’re off campus then you’ll need to log in.):

Science tells us a lot about sex, but what can it tell us about love? This program highlights research on the neurochemistry and psychology of love, suggesting ways to improve—and

even salvage—long-term relationships. Four couples undergoing various types of relationship stress are put through a battery of experiments, while a team of research scientists try

to determine the physiological and neurological factors that make love last. In the most daunting stress test that many couples will ever face, the scientists discover unique

biochemical reactions to conflict and create a communication-building plan designed to turn troubled relationships around.

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