How the French Invented Love

How the French Invented Love : Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance

3.66 (418 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Absolutely marvelous...lively and learned....Marilyn Yalom's book is a distinguished contribution to our experience of a great literature, as well as an endearing memoir."
--Diane Johnson, author of Lulu in Marrakech and Le Divorce

"[An] enchanting tour of French literature--from Abelard and Heloise in the 12th century to Marguerite Duras in the 20th and Philippe Sollers in the 21st."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

How the French Invented Love is an entertaining and masterful history of love a la francaise by acclaimed scholar Marilyn Yalom. Spanning the Middle Ages to the present, Yalom explores a love-obsessed culture through its great works of literature--from Moliere's comic love to the tragic love of Racine, from the existential love of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre to the romanticism of George Sand and Alfred de Musset. A thoroughly engaging homage to French culture and literature interlaced with the author's delicious personal anecdotes, How the French Invented Love is ideal for fans of Alain de Botton, Adam Gopnik, and Simon Schama.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 132.08 x 198.12 x 27.94mm | 340.19g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • United States
  • English
  • New
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0062048317
  • 9780062048318
  • 277,946

Review quote

"Marilyn Yalom reclaims her enchantment with love stories from France. She explores the mysteries and complexities of love as they have been bequeathed by the French from centuries of their literature....She goes beyond the recognizable cliches to offer a comprehensive study, a rich psychological and cultural survey."--Pierre Saint-Amand, Brown University; author of The Pursuit of Laziness: An Idle Interpretation of the Enlightenment
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Back cover copy

Oh, how the French love love! For hundreds of years, they have championed themselves as guides to the art de l'amour through their literature, paintings, songs, and cinema. A French man or woman without amorous desire is considered defective, like someone missing the sense of smell or taste. Now revered scholar Marilyn Yalom intimately examines the tenets of this culture's enduring gospel of romance.

Basing her delightfully erudite findings on her extensive readings of French literature, as well as memories of her personal experiences in la belle France, Yalom explores the many nuances of love as it has evolved over the centuries, from the Middle Ages to the present. Following along, step-by-step, on her romance-tinged literary detective hunt, the reader discovers how the French invented love, how they have kept it vibrant for more than nine centuries, what is unique in the French love experience, and what is universal.
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Rating details

418 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 22% (93)
4 37% (155)
3 30% (124)
2 7% (29)
1 4% (17)
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