7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A study which argues that passionate love orginated in the twelth century,
This review is from: Love in the Western World (Princeton Paperbacks) (Paperback)
One of the better non-fiction analyses of 'Love' Rougemont presents a detailed study in chronological order of why he believes passionate love originated in the twelth century.
The structure of the book is excellent - with clearly outlined chapters and sections which are fascinating in themselves; 'The Love of Love' and '"It's Wonderful to be in Love"' for example. Rougemont sets out his case at the start of each chapter and section well and clearly too.
However I find the content and argument not historically substantiated - he's over reliant on what he describes as the 'Tristan Myth'. The content is consequently sometimes totally incomprehensible and slightly mad: 'We are returning to the age of abduction and rape, though minus the ritual that has surrounded such violence in Polynesia'. And 'Passion means suffering'.
Book VII is excellent; 'Active Love or keeping Faith' even the title of the one of the chapters 'Paradoxes of the Western Attitude' fascinating. The beginning of the book where Rougemont is talking about the twelth century which he obviously knows about is also quite good, but the middle section of the book is incomprehensible - to me anyway. There is a good appendix where Rougemont, rather defensively it has to be said, answers his critics.
However after reading the book, I was left definitely disagreeing with him, and wishing there to be more research and material of a more historical and substantiated nature to answer Rougemont. Passionate Love (whatever that means) did not originate in the twelth century. By not even mentioning the period prior to the twelth century Rougemont has left himself wide open to attack.