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The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution Hardcover – 22 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (22 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199594430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199594436
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 3 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

[E]ngrossing ... Reading The English in Love is like watching a flickering black-and-white home movie. The cacophony of voices pull us back to the moment when seamed stockings gave way to minskirts and the golden age of marriage gave way to spiralling divorce. (Frances Wilson, The Sunday Telegraph)

[A] wonderfully evocative, nuanced and readable examination of the changing status of romantic love in the middle years of the 20th century. (Hilary Hinds, Times Higher Education Supplement)

Langhamer is admirable in her even-handed use of intriguing material. (Jane O'Grady, Financial Times)

[An] intelligent and thoughtful book. (Lara Feigel, The Observer)

Engaging ... The most original part of this work describes the unmarried interwar person's struggle with the definition of love and the difficulty of disentangling it from sexual desire. (Jad Adams, History Today)

The English in Love is full of interesting observations. (The Economist)

[Claire Langhamer] has written a wise and important book that deserves the attention of policymakers and opinion formers as well as historians ... It is the best sort of history, which makes intelligible the problems of our time and gives a subtle lesson in past and present mistakes ... Her bracing good sense stands in splendid contrast to the nonsense in which the English entangled themselves whenever they approached the bedroom door. (Richard Davenport-Hines, New Statesman)

[Claire Langhamer] is a lively writer, and what is most enjoyable about the book is the vast collection of real-life experiences she has gathered together. (Ysenda Maxtone-Graham, Country Life)

[Odd and unexpected facts make] turning the pages of this serious and well-researched book seem more like fun than homework. The English in Love doesnt advise, deplore or make judgements about how we should behave; but its an engaging portrait of a subject and a period that are so often misunderstood. (Literary Review)

Langhamer lays out vivid evidence for small changes amounting to something so radical she calls it a revolution. (Alexandra Harris, The Guardian)

The key strength of this ambitious book is Langhamer's ability to skilfully trace a number of complex emotional shifts decade by decade across her chosen time period. The English in Love leaves readers with a lasting impression of the shifting and changeable nature of romantic love in history. (Dr Sally Holloway, Reviews in History)

What makes this volume exceptional is the carefully detailed and nuanced social history it charts of how love became entangled with marriage and functioned as a means of self-fashioning and self-fulfilment for 'ordinary' people. This new conception of love as a means of transcendence represented a quiet but unstable 'emotional revolution', triumphing over more pragmatic reasons for marriage in the early twentieth century, as well as ideas of self-restraint ... The English in Love is an absorbing, richly detailed book which presents a fine-grained picture of ordinary lives and loves and introduces new theses to consider (Hsu-ming Teo, Family and Community History)

In this important monograph ... Langhamer creates a social history of how the English understood the interaction of heterosexual love and commitment during that 50-year span. (Lisa Z. Sigel, American Historical Review)

About the Author

Claire Langhamer is Senior Lecturer in History at Sussex University. Her first book was Women's Leisure in England, 1920-1960 (2000). She is a trustee of the Mass Observation archive and is an editor of the journal Twentieth Century British History.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Archie B. Manvell on 15 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book aims at a history of love and marriage in Britain between around the the end of the first war and the election of Thatcher. Its central thesis is that marriage evolved from being a socially necessary and pragmatic mechanism for citizenship and parenthood to be being a vehicle for exaggerated hopes of self fulfillment via love. This change Langhamer contends undermined the institution and led to the later high divorce rates and indeed the current unprecedented low rates of betrothal. The book makes excellent use of individual stories to create a convincing theory of marriage and its relationships with love, sex, politics and the economy. I would however have liked it to have included a bit more on the post 1979 period when marriage has been recast again in the context of increased economic insecurity,individualism and sexualisation of society.
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