Marriage, a History

Marriage, a History : How Love Conquered Marriage

3.94 (2,055 ratings by Goodreads)
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Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn't get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?" In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes readers from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is--and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the nineteenth century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today's marital debate.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 27.94mm | 204.12g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • 014303667X
  • 9780143036678
  • 36,781

Review quote

"Brilliant and invariably provocative. . . . Pick a favourite presumption and Ms.Coontz proceeds to unravel the mythical conceit."
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About Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie Coontz is the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families and teaches history and family studies at The Evergeen State College in Olympia, Washington. She divides her time between Makaha, Hawaii, and Washington. The author of the award-winning The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, she writes about marriage and family issues in many national journals including The Washington Post, Harper's, Chicago Tribune, and Vogue. Her work has been translated into Japanese, German, French, and Spanish.On the web: http: //
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Table of contents

Part One: In Search of Traditional Marriage
Chapter 1: The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love
Chapter 2: The Many Meanings of Marriage
Chapter 3: The Invention of Marriage

Part Two: The Era of Political Marriage

Chapter 4: Soap Operas of the Ancient World
Chapter 5: Something Borrowed: The Marital Legacy of the Classical World and Early Christianity
Chapter 6: Playing the Bishop, Capturing the Queen: Aristocratic Marriages in Early Medieval Europe
Chapter 7: How the Other 95 Percent Wed: Marriage Among the Common Folk of the Middle Ages
Chapter 8: Something Old, Something New: Western European Marriage at the Dawn of the Modern Age

Part Three: The Love Revolution

Chapter 9: From Yoke Mates to Soul Mates: Emergence of the Love Match and the Male Provider Marriage
Chapter 10: "Two Birds Within One Nest": Sentimental Marriage in Nineteenth-Century Europe and North America
Chapter 11: "A Heaving Volcano": Beneath the Surface of Victorian Marriage
Chapter 12: "The Time When Mountains Move Has Come": From Sentimental to Sexual Marriage
Chapter 13: Making Do, Then Making Babies: Marriage in the Great Depression and World War II
Chapter 14: The Era of Ozzie and Harriet: The Long Decade of "Traditional" Marriage

Part Four: Courting Disaster? The Collapse of Universal and Lifelong Marriage

Chapter 15: Winds of Change: Marriage in the 1960s and 1970s
Chapter 16: The Perfect Storm: The Transformation of Marriage at the End of the Twentieth Century
Chapter 17: Uncharted Territory: How the Transformation of Marriage Is Changing Our Lives

Conclusion: Better or Worse? The Future of Marriage

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Rating details

2,055 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 29% (601)
4 43% (886)
3 22% (447)
2 4% (86)
1 2% (35)
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