The Making of Romantic Love : Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE
In the twelfth century, the Catholic Church attempted a thoroughgoing reform of marriage and sexual behavior aimed at eradicating sexual desire from Christian lives. Seeking a refuge from the very serious condemnations of the Church and relying on a courtly culture that was already preoccupied with honor and secrecy, European poets, romance writers, and lovers devised a vision of love as something quite different from desire. Romantic love was thus born as a movement of covert resistance. In "The Making of Romantic Love", William M. Reddy illuminates the birth of a cultural movement that managed to regulate selfish desire and render it innocent - or innocent enough. Reddy strikes out from this historical moment on an international exploration of love, contrasting the medieval development of romantic love in Europe with contemporaneous eastern traditions in Bengal and Orissa, and in Heian Japan from 900 to 1200 CE, where one finds no trace of an opposition between love and desire. In this comparative framework, Reddy tells an appealing tale about the rise and fall of various practices of longing, underscoring the uniqueness of the European concept of sexual desire.
- Paperback | 432 pages
- 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
- 07 Sep 2012
- The University of Chicago Press
- University of Chicago Press
- Chicago, IL, United States
Other books in this series
"Let the debates begin! Drawing on an astonishing panoply of sources, from European courtly and troubadour literature to Heian Japanese poetry, from canon law to Puri temple dancing, William M. Reddy's important new book challenges our basic assumptions about eroticism, heroism, the nature of marriages, and the legacy of the Middle Ages in modern culture. Reading this impressive study will leave you a different person." (Barbara H. Rosenwein, Loyola University Chicago)"
About William M. Reddy
William M. Reddy is the William T. Laprade Professor of History and professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of a number of historical works, including The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions.