How the French Invented Love by Marilyn Yalom
Harper Perennial, 2012
400 pgs, 5 stars
Before I start let me say I’m feeling a lot of cover love right now. Just look at it!
It’s gorgeous and the woman looks like a Titanic-age Kate Winslet. I catch people staring at it…probably thinking it’s a romance :D
ABOUT THE BOOK: How the French Invented Love is a non-fiction book of epic proportion! Not in size but in length of time that it covers. Marilyn Yalom takes an in depth look at love in fiction and poetry over a period of 900 years, starting circa 1100 AD through the 20th century, and she even touches on the 21st century! It is amazingly informative without being pedantic or boring. Her literary examples were the kind that really stick with you and encourage you to explore texts that you normally wouldn’t (unless you were in a French Literature class). My reading list is ever growing…
Yalom is American but is extremely invested in French culture. This gives her a unique perspective that helps us understand how French literature and culture (which is so different from American) molds how the French think about love and romance (and why it’s such a different view than what Americans have). As a feminist, an academic, and a woman devoted to her husband of many years, Yalom is a kindred spirit. She can’t help but add her own views of love in the texts she chooses to present and the way she discusses them. Yalom is a romantic who worries about the present and future of romance but without being accusatory.
This book touches on heterosexual and homosexual romance through history which is fascinating! I wanted to learn more about homosexuality in a historical context, but had no idea that I would do so in such an interesting manner and so soon. This book focuses mostly on France, but does discuss the literature and laws of England at the same time.
Ohhh enough already. It’s fantastic! It’s a literature major’s dream :)
ABOUT THE OUTFIT: My little historian, you are an American woman in love with love and coincidentally the French. This perfume by Chanel (a feminist French woman in love with love) mirrors your own ideas about romance: take a Chance. Americans are too cautious, but the French know how to love without looking back.
Let the heat of passion show on your cheeks with this Lancome blush. And carry this French manicure pen around in your white clutch for touch ups. Your hands will look lovely as you’re turning the pages of a Proust novel.
Your graphic tee all too clearly represents your sentiments about amour. But these leather leggings show your dominatrix side. Romance doesn’t have to be chaste. In fact it shouldn’t be!
No matter what your age, you are dressed to impress. So don your bright pink Christian Louboutin booties and your sparkling blazer and hit the town. With your heart on your sleeve—figuratively and literally with this heart charm bracelet—love will find you.
PS. I’m adding Yalom’s book Maternity, Morality, and the Literature of Madness to my list because that’s #myshit #nerdout
About Marilyn Yalom
Marilyn Yalom is a former professor of French and presently a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She is the author of widely acclaimed books such as A History of the Breast, A History of the Wife, and Birth of the Chess Queen, as well as The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds, which includes a portfolio of photographs by her son Reid S. Yalom. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, the psychiatrist and author Irvin D. Yalom.
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