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Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present Paperback – 1 Jul 1985


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First Sentence
In a sixteenth-century French work by Pierre de Bourdeille, Seigneur de Brantome (1540-1614), entitled Lives of Fair and Gal Ladies, which deals primarily with the amorous exploits of the females of the court of Henri II, the author includes a lengthy sec on lovemaking between women. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A text for women who are "wondering" 13 Jan. 2009
By Amy D. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recently I was asked for a list of books for "an adult who is just beginning to explore whether or not they may be bi or lesbian". As someone who went through this many, many years ago and has written extensively on this topic, Faderman's book was one of the first that came to mind.

As individuals exploring our own sexuality - regardless of what that is - gaining historical context and perspective is a critical part of self-discovery. This is not the only book I'd recommend and it has a scholarly aspect which borders on clinical for a woman (or man or other) on the road to self-discovery.

I cannot count how many copies of this book I have purchased over the years, highlighting various passages which held out special meaning or purpose for me, and passed on to others. In the end, we all have our own paths and Ms. Faderman's book manages to cross most of them.

For those on a personal path, or those looking to understand the concerns and needs of a loved one trying to understand their place as a lesbian and bisexual in today's world, this is an excellent text for reading and gaining historical perspective. Bravo to Ms. Faderman for not 'updating' a historical text but letting her original research prevail.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.5 stars but this thing doesn't do halves 28 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author forcefully insists on the real passion between the women that she studies; this becomes to me repetitive and distracting. However, given the historical context of this book, in which a "lesbian recovery" of history was less accepted, I see the purpose of her tactics. In any case, the author draws together a wealth of evidence that makes for fascinating and provocative reading, even if she does lean a bit too much on literary examples as proof of what attitudes were "really." She makes a strong case, though. Recommended.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Really Compelling Stuff 6 May 2008
By Page Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm surprised there's only one other review for this book! It's absolutely fascinating, and should be on the list of anyone interested in not only womens' issues, but human relationships in general. It will definitely make you think, but it is not a difficult read, and Faderman covers an impressively vast array of sources. I'll be recommending this one to everybody.
This volume is important in pointing out that love between women is different and more important than love ... 28 July 2015
By Hu(man) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This volume is important in pointing out that love between women is different and more important than love of women for men. The female loves another as she loves a child (even if she has not actually given birth to one). Males do not love others in this way, never having experienced gestation, the growth inside the body of another human being who then becomes a part of that body living outside of it. Each child is for the woman who gave birth to it a part of herself. Love by a female for another is based on this narcissistic model. To the extent that she loves herself, she will love her child. Only females who do not love themselves will not experience this kind of love. They may then reject their nfant. It is not clear how prevalent this is, but infanticide is probably more frequent than is estimated. Then comes a potential sexual partner in the form of a male. She will love him on the same model, which many males enjoy since it repeats what they experienced as infants with their mother. Other males, who were not loved by their mothers or neglected, will not desire such a relationship. The ideal discussed in this book is love between two women understood as potential or actual mothers and really has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It is very likely that most women feel this love deeply in the family setting, but there it is repressed since the children of a female and her male partner take up the bulk of her loving as described. Unmarried, childless women are the population that realizes the ideal Faderman describes.

As a note: Males experience females on the model of Romantic love as idealized beings capable of the miracle of producing a child. Females are elevated and protected because of their child bearing potential. But such Romantic love is not of the same sort as the female's love. It is love of an embodied abstraction, clearly not once part of the male's body.

We can expect such love that "surpasses the love of men" to become more prevalent in society as family life becomes less important. The divorce rate is 50% in the States.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, if you're into lesbian history. 5 Feb. 2012
By Ashley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting and informative, Surpassing the Love of Men is a long anthology of romantic friendships from the 16th century until the 1980s, when the book was written. Although this book is interesting, it is not exactly a page turner. The focus is a bet repetitive and reads somewhat like a textbook. However, I do not regret buying this book and I am still reading it, about five chapters in.
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