New Dangerous Liaisons: Discourses on Europe and Love in the Twentieth Century by Luisa Passerini, Liliana Ellena, and Alexander C. T. Geppert(Making Sense of History: Berghahn) In Europe, love has been given a prominent place in European self-representations from the Enlightenment onwards. The category of love, stemming from private and personal spheres, was given a public function and used to distinguish European civilization from others. Contributors to this volume trace historical links and analyze specific connections between the two discourses on love and Europe over the course of the twentieth century, exploring the distinctions made between the public and private, the political and personal. In doing so, this volume develops an innovative historiography that includes such resources as autobiographies, love letters, and cinematic representations and takes issue with the exclusivity of Eurocentrism. Its contributors put forth hypotheses about the historical pre-eminence of emotions and consider this history as a basis for a non-Eurocentric understanding of new possible European identities.
The project 'Europe: Emotions, Identities, Politics', held at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, Essen, was intended to study the complex connection that has existed during the last two and a half centuries between the sense of belonging to Europe, on the one hand, and the concepts of courtly and romantic love, on the other. Since the Enlightenment, the claim was put forward that the sense of belonging to Europe was characterised by a type of love considered unique to the relationships between the genders in this continent and to the type of civilisation developed in Europe in the modern era. The sentiment, originating from the courtly love sung by the Provencal troubadours, was treated as if it evolved — seamlessly — into the feeling exalted by romanticism. Among its characteristics were the insurmountable distances between the lovers and most often a destiny of dissatisfaction and unhappiness, even in the case of reciprocated love.
The claim that this type of love was exclusively European informed the dominant discourses on Europeanness and on love starting in the last decades of the eighteenth century and then fully developing in the second half of the nineteenth. Some of its assumptions, found in political and literary essays but also in fictional and artistic works, were that heterosexual relationships involving a high degree of sentiment and an appreciation of the woman were not possible in relationships between Europeans and non-Europeans, since those could include only sexuality. Love in inter-racial relationships was considered particularly impossible, and therefore doomed to a disastrous end. However, this claim has been disputed in the second half of the twentieth century by those philosophers and anthropologists who argue that these types of love can be found in all cultures and in all epochs. Nevertheless, questions about the very prominent place that love has been given in the European self-representations from the Enlightenment onward remain. This love, stemming from private and personal spheres, was given a public function and used as a distinctive characteristic of one civilisation (European) over others (originally African and Asian, and later on in the US). The intent of our research has been to criticise all forms of exclusive Eurocentrism in this field, but while doing so also to produce hypotheses about the historical role of these emotions in the European sense of belonging and to consider these 'other' histories as a basis for a nonEurocentric understanding of new possible forms of European belonging.
The novel by Pierre-Ambroise-François Choderlos de Laclos, from which comes the metaphor used for the title of this book, was written between 1779 and 1781 and published in 1782, at the beginning of the age during which the connection between the discourses on Europe and love was constructed, and then gradually became one of the pillars of European superiority in the symbolic domain. In this epistolary novel, two libertines who are also lovers, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Viscount of Valmont, engage in an intrigue aimed at obtaining revenge for the infidelity (toward the Marquise) of a count who should now marry a relative of hers, Cecile deVolanges, a young woman just out of the convent, who however is in love with the young Danceny. [The plan of the libertines is that Valmont, already involved in the seduction of the virtuous and devout Mine Tourvel, should seduce Cecile before her marriage. Valmont succeeds in the double seduction, falls himself in love with the devout lady, but interrupts this relationship because of the influence of Madame de Merteuil. The ending is tragic: Mme Tourvel dies in despair in a convent and Cecile, after an abortion, enters a convent as well. The Marquise, disfigured by smallpox, is abandoned by everybody and the Viscount dies in a duel with Danceny, who had been in his turn seduced by the Marquise.] At the end, the complicity between the two libertines-lovers breaks and they betray each other. One dangerous liaison, writes Cécile's mother, is enough to generate a chain of many tragic misfortunes. But, as the Marquise had already written to Danceny, there are dangers for the libertines as well, if their liaisons become known.
Les liaisons dangereuses is useful to illustrate the main figurations of the amorous subject (in the Barthian sense of figures) within the tradition of the European love discourse: the courtly couple (Tristan and Isolde); Don Juan; and the woman renouncing a reciprocated passion, such as the protagonists of La princesse de Cleves by Mme de La Fayette (1678) and Julie in the Nouvelle Héloise by Jean JacquesRousseau (1761). Originally, all of the three figures are dangerous for orderly society and challenge power relationships in it: a fusion love leading to death; a lover (usually, but not necessarily, male) that deceives his many beloved; a lover (usually, but not necessarily, a woman) that decides to give up a love that is fully reciprocated, for reasons that vary between the 'repos' chosen by Mme de Cleves and Julie's idea of loyalty. It is historically significant that the ways of subtracting oneself from the tyranny of love by Don Juan and by Cleves Julie are opposite in gender attribution, as the erotic excess is attributed to the man and the withdrawal from passion is attributed to the woman. The novel may also be used to study the parallels between the conquest of lovers and the conquest of colonies.
No doubt, all three figures were formulated in Eurocentric terms and can have other formulations. For instance, a variety of similar figures exists in Asian literature: the first is represented, for instance, by the Persian tale of Leyla and Majnun by Nezami, the second by the Japanese novel on Prince Genji by Lady Murasaki and the third by the many gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology that at a certain stage of their lives withdraw in order to save a love (a theme brought up to date, for instance, by the character Gopal in the novel A Matter of Time by Shashi Deshpande). Future research should indeed compare such similar figurations in different cultural traditions.
In the European tradition, the three figurations are connected between themselves. The first two are parallel and symmetrical (Don Juan is often reduced to the opposite of, or interpreted as a rebellion to, Tristan, while Cleves-Julie is a reaction to both). Therefore, there is no chance that Liaisons is, precisely like Don Quixote, the parody of a chivalry novel, as Michel Butor has noticed; in this novel, libertinage imitates and mocks chivalrous love and its warlike language, and the language of courtly love is largely used. The Liaisons can be seen as a summary of the three figurations, alternating Don Juan (Valmont and the minor character Prevan, and above all its feminine version, the Marquise de Merteuil) and Tristan (Danceny), with Mme Tourvel, who in the first part of the story looks somewhat like a 'sister' of Rousseau's Julie.
There are other and more in-depth reasons, besides this general one, for borrowing the title by Laclos. A first one is that it indicates relationships that are dangerous for the oppressive aspects of the existing social and cultural order. Less ambitiously, we have been working with the aim of creating new links in the field of cultural history and cultural studies, links trying to innovate and discard the Eurocentric order in the symbolic field and to produce a critique of a cultural Fortress Europe that in various forms reappears today in the debate about the 'Christian European roots' and the cultural role of migrants on the continent. Some of our already published collective work offers examples of new dangerous liaisons or of old liaisons understood in a new sense. Such are the analyses of 'simultaneous' or double love in the debates on love, modernity and feminism in the German speaking areas of Europe during the first part of the twentieth century; of the 'cultural love affair' consisting in the literary fascination with Russia that was experienced in Spain during the three first decades of the same century;' and of the symbiotic relationship with Africa as incarnated by homoerotic and homosexual links between Spanish and Moroccan men.' While these examples mostly concern intra-European relationships, dangerous liaisons have been explored in our research also for what concerns external relationships, equally constitutive of Europeanness. Such are the question of miscegenation between Africans and Europeans,' and the relationship between Europe and Islam in the field of love.'
However, the Liaisons represents a source of inspiration in a further and deeper sense. Its narration establishes an order that transgresses the existing social order. But the subjects of transgression, the libertines, transgress the new order that they establish as well, starting with the libertine who falls in love with the devout lady. Thus the conflict between the two orders results, with a pessimistic ending, in the victory of conventional and hypocritical morality. The final order can only be that of the narration, including the virtuoso conclusion by which the novel destroys its own construction and puts an end to itself. In such a textual perspective, it is the reader that is put in danger by reading about dangerous ways of loving and that is left with no clear option: rationalist and materialistic theories about love such as those held by the protagonist Merteuil lead her to self-destruction, because they do not respect the reasons of the heart; but on the other hand, the reasons of love lead Tourvel also to renunciation and sacrifice and finally to death.
This is a second level of suggestion for our research: to put in danger/in question both the subject of the socio-historical disciplines and some rules of these disciplines. In this sense, the first and pivotal dangerous liaison is the connection between Europe and love, which leads to establish new connections between the disciplinary traditions of political philosophy, on the one hand, and those of literature, psychology and cultural studies, on the other. Some of our previous work as well as the present collection can be seen as examples of such inter- or intra-disciplinary contaminations. We have indeed benefited from contributions from intellectual and cultural history, anthropology, film studies, philosophy and area studies.
Historicising Love: Points de repère/Points of Reference
The structure of this collection has been thought of as a way of breaking traditional classifications, such as those that separate colonial history from the history of European identity, which divide too harshly the internal from the external of the continent. The present construction tries to show the links between these two dimensions of the construction of Europeanness. Moreover, its articulation privileges two theoretical knots, public/private and cultural borders, because these are considered as cultural and political priorities in the present post-colonial situation.
The first two essays of this collection, respectively by Jack Goody and William Reddy, establish a tension — a risky liaison — between two different positions that I want to put in a dialectical relationship. The whole collection will find its context in the space created by such tension. The essays that follow the first two are meant to construct an itinerary representing the crucial conceptual elements in the link between Europe and love. One does not need to share all of the views expressed by the authors — and in fact I do not — in order to recognise that their writings converge to create/support a construction in which they act as pieces of a mosaic. Each step will therefore present a different type of `danger' and novelty. We will indeed find more specific dangerous liaisons as we go on, as examples or enlargements of the one between Europe and love.
The position taken by Jack Goody has the merit of criticising the Eurocentrism implicit in many studies on love. Therefore, his attitude is a starting point for our research, in as far as it warns us against any temptation to repeat the 'theft of history' that Europeans have done by appropriating romantic love as exclusive to their own culture. Important points of Goody's warning are the recognition of the specificity of European Christianity and its debts toward Judaism and Islam. Within his critical framework, Goody insists that love, equality and freedom are fundamental features of the ethical teaching of Islam (with a particular attention to Turkey), as is a concern for the individual. This obliges anybody who takes these points seriously to give up the claim to a general European exclusivity of such values and, more relevantly, to look for the historical particularities in which love has been lived and configured in the European context. This is in its turn contextualised by Goody in a global setting, where differences between European culture and the cultures of other continents cannot be taken for granted, as historiography has often done. The attention to African societies, such as the LoDagaa of northern Ghana, allows Goody to perform a double operation: implicitly criticising the universalism claimed by Europe and yet appealing to a shared repertory of humanity, which gives way to innumerable variations on the same themes. By considering a wide range of cultures in all times, Goody shows the weakness of the thesis according to which the free choice of partner has become idealised globally over the past century, being often identified with love and with modernisation. In his view, there is nothing to suggest that such a type of love is absent from the so-called simpler cultures or from ancient Egypt or from Hindu society. His firmly empirical approach proceeding by accumulation of details allows us to see the common and the different in transcultural relations. Thus, he relativises the claim by Europeans to have 'invented' the courtly and romantic forms of love (Goody takes the stand, in the century-old debate on the origins of Provençal poetry, that the notion of courtly love was derived from the Islamic culture of Spain), and is ready to give up such claim, thus displaying the novelty that there can be a European specificity without being exclusive and hierarchical, capable of experiencing certain types of love in its own way without denying a similar experience to others.
In the 1960s, a partially similar position taken by some scholars such as Francis Newman denied any specificity of the European courtly love, including the very term. In this way, the critique of Eurocentrism went so far as to take away precious elements that can allow those who want to consider themselves as Europeans not only to feel that they share a certain cultural repertoire, but also to recognise the relevance of the historical interchange with others. Indeed, recognising the specificity of European forms of love cannot be done without recognising their derivations from other continents. Throwing away anything labelled as European would be equivalent to avoiding the patient work necessary to understand the long process of osmosis and syncretism that constructed 'Europe' out of exchanges with Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. Goody's essay stops short of the danger of losing those forms of love, because it does not dissolve them into a presumed universalism, but it insists on their historicity, and precisely on the 'reflexivity of the written word', that produces romantic love.
Appropriately, William Reddy intervenes at this point with an attentive consideration of the specificity of the Western tradition of romantic love in comparative perspective. For him, the thesis of the universality and naturality of love is based on a terminological confusion; he acknowledges `(some) common features' of romantic love, but he insists on the centrality of reciprocity and exclusivity in Western ideas about love partnerships. He observes that 'romantic love', which in this tradition started as courtly love, involves reciprocal feeling and exclusivity, but that the prevalence given to this type of feeling is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, he provides an impressive excursus for it, a useful platform for our collection, on the ways of understanding love, from the troubadours, Dante and Petrarch, through the iconography of the unicorn, and the philosophies of Kant and Cousin, to present lesbian's and gay's movements for full marriage rights, bringing examples from poetry, iconography and literature. Reddy notices that since the Middle Ages, love had become more and more an emotion connected with marriage, although the fact that it was the foundation of marriage to the exclusion of other considerations came to be widely accepted only with the Enlightenment, in the last decades of the eighteenth century. The cultural process thus envisaged developed in the nineteenth century and was interrupted by the First World War, after which the new media of film and radio marketed stories about romantic love which often led to marriage, to a widely extended audience. On the basis of this historical overview, Reddy argues that love's peculiar accommodation with regulation turns to a unique Western distinction between love and lust, a distinction that no other cultural tradition applies to the understanding of emotional connections between sexual partners. Thus, Reddy takes a very different stand from Goody's, as he claims that the romantic love complex is historically unusual, in breaking with sexuality at the same time as embracing it. However, I would say that only by taking into account the general claim by Goody, of the possibility that a basic emotion of love can appear in many cultures, can we safely — i.e., without falling into Eurocentrism — not only accept Reddy's approach and vindicate romantic love to the modernised West, but also introduce the limitation of regulatory thinking, which dates back to the Middle Ages.
Reddy sets this story in comparison with elements from Japan and India, showing the different meanings of 'passion' in Murasaki Shibiku's Tale of Genji (eleventh century), and in the Gitagovinda (twelfth century). His conclusion is that the rule of love in many Western countries today is a peculiar and rather recent configuration of some traditional Western ingredients. Romantic love, he argues, continues to stand in contrast to lust, and to include spiritual expectations that can be realised only through a sexual partnership. In some areas of the world, such as South Asia and northeast Brazil, romantic love is regarded as an innovation of modernity, but in the West it is considered as an old and natural thing. Reddy concludes with a plea to historicity our own time: if love is our inheritance, modernity is not such a secular age as it claims to be. Thus, he converges with Goody's criticism of a narrow and Eurocentric concept of modernity, and interprets love as a secularised form of religion or spirituality.
Another piece of the historical and theoretical puzzle that is emerging is added by Alf Lüdtke, with the articulation of the links between public and private loves in the European tradition. His analysis allows us to see that the specificity of the forms of love experienced in Europe is not at all based on an anthropological or even cultural difference generating a particular way of loving, but it largely depends on the European contexts of power (statehood) and work. His argument is confined to the twentieth century, while the two first essays are set in a longue durée perspective. Thus, it operates as a transition to the rest of the volume, dedicated to this century. Lüdtke pays attention to some central features of this period, such as the relationships between the masses' affections — in the very processes of massification — and the power of the state, a theme crucial for understanding the authoritarian and totalitarian regimes that characterised the century. He too insists on the historicity of cultural codes of love, or 'modulations' as he calls the interconnected ones that reinforced each other in the twentieth century: sentimental love between spouses; love for `father-state'; and attachment for one's task in work. The originality of Lüdtke's approach is to consider this interconnectedness, and thus to overcome the dichotomy between public and private. He refers to Reddy in pointing out that the singling out of specific feelings misses their specificities and thus the meanings of feelings, because they never appear in isolation, and at any one time there will be a variety of feelings for individual actors and groups. Lüdtke applies his hypotheses to a specific geohistorical area, Germany, and to specific sources, such as letters by soldiers, which are very relevant for exploring the means of the acceptance of power, even extremely oppressive power, a point that will reappear later on in the collection. This approach dispels illusions on the natural good feelings of the masses and discovers usually invisible liaisons between individual and collective emotions.
The construction of the dyad Europe-love that is slowly emerging refers not just to the internal history of Europe. Liliana Ellena provides a case study vividly illustrating the fact that the discourse on love at the heart of European modernity cannot be charted just within Europe, because it was the product of continuous exchanges with the rest of the world and particularly with the colonies. The chosen case is that of an Italian journalist and writer, Arnaldo Cipolla, who wrote between 1907 and 1938. In many of his novels and short stories, the encounter between a 'European' man and an African woman is depicted as an allegorical representation of the colonial opposition between European violence and Africa equated with nature, which is often presented as female and threatening for the 'male' and decadent Western civilisation. The novels are set in Belgian and French Congo, an overcharged colonial space that stands for 'Central Africa', considered as the anti-Europe par excellence, and at the same time is represented as one of the elements in contrast with which Europe defines itself. They show the peculiarity of Italian Fascist colonialism, but also the shared heritage of whiteness and Europeanness in the colonial situation. Both Europe and love emerge, on the one hand, as abstract forms, and, on the other, as normative meanings, not only for Africans, but also for Italians, sometimes portrayed as too close to each other for attitudes and skin colour. The lability of the self-definition as European and capable of romantic love therefore appears fully in the colonial situation, where the white subject is at the same time shown in its weakness — in competition between nationalities and constantly in danger of losing himself— and affirmed as powerful and virile. Its inconsistency can be overcome by no inner strength, but only by contrast, opposition and superiority stated on the basis of weapons. This essay establishes another dangerous liaison: between the self-definition of Europe and its violent impositions on others; between the creation of an empty self and the creation of a projected other. Again, this theme will be picked up in the subsequent sections of the collection.
And finally, to conclude this first section, we find the deep division within Europe itself, i.e., East and West. Almira Ousmanova deals with a cinematic representation of the experience of post-Soviet subjects marked by the collapse of the socialist economic and political system. This essay can be seen not only as a study of a dangerous liaison between Russia and a Western Europe as represented by Paris, but also as a contamination between visual studies and the history of the reciprocal political representations of various parts of Europe. In her approach, love in a metaphorical sense (for Paris, for Europe, for culture) is interrelated and interwoven with the more literal meanings of love, linking the narrative conventions of the love story with the symbolic meanings of the filmic text. Here too we have a case study, the analysis of the film Window to Europe (a Russian expression to indicate relationships with the West), directed byYurij Mamin in 1993, which narrates a story of instant transfer from St. Petersburg to Paris through a magic window; the transfer results into a dangerous liaison, the love story between a French woman and a Russian man. This time it is Europe that appears in the shape of a charming woman, an embodiment of ideal femininity, 'the personification of a dream shared by both Soviet men and women', while Europe is a place where utopia and romantic love continue to live. Difficulties in communication between the lovers metaphorise difficulties of cultural relationships between countries: is Russia still in some ways a part of Europe, as so much of its cultural heritage witnesses? Or does it foster a separate identification, in which pride and rancour testify a more complex relationship, a plea on the part of Russia for fuller recognition from 'Europe'? In both cases, are not the two subjects definable only on the basis of their reciprocal and conflictual relationship through the ages? And why cannot a double sense of belonging, to Russia and to Europe as a whole, be established as it happens in other countries? What emerges clearly is that the memory of the communist past no less than that of older relationships shapes present cultural attitudes much more that it has appeared in the media during the last decade, and this should be taken into account when posing the question of Europeanness regarding Russia. The choice of this case study — using a filmic text' — for studying such questions proves advantageous in many ways, such as showing that deep emotional aspects are involved in the contested link, although no final answer is provided. We are left wondering about what can a Europe without its Eastern part be, a cultural and political space that seems to have been accepted by many on the basis of the assumption that the Eastern part cannot enter the European Union. Whatever the outcome of the debate on the Eastern boundary of Europe, I see it as a reason for keeping the gap between the European Union and Europe wide open.'
At the end of the first section, we can summarise that the points of reference of the collection are the following: 1) the dyad Europe/love must be considered in the double perspective of deconstructing Eurocentrism and, at the same time, recognising the historical specificity of European forms of love; 2) a central aspect of these forms is the varying distinction between public and private; 3) the construction of Europeanness cannot be separated from the consideration of the colonial past; and, 4) cultural borders affect deeply the cultural sense of European belonging within love relationships.
Public and Private Loves
The issue of public/private could not be absent from this collection: the question 'Europe and love' can be seen as a specification of the more general question of the intertwining between the two. This has already emerged in the first section, and it becomes the focus of the second one. The second section explores what could be defined as a historical typology of the relationships between Europe understood as public and love considered as private. It does so by taking into consideration the interwar period, a particularly significant time for the study of our topic. It is in the period between the wars and particularly in its second decade when huge changes appear in the relationships between the public and private love, which will have a repercussion on the second half of the century. The three first essays of section two allow us to compare such changes in very different situations: in the revolutionary situation in Poland, in the democratic framework of Great Britain and under the dictatorial regime of Nazism in Germany.
Against the background of a climate of revolutionary hopes, Marci Shore analyses in rich detail the life of the generation of Polish futurist poets born at the fin-de-siècle, the first to come of age in independent Poland. They were cosmopolitan (many were 'non-Jewish Jews'), and polyglot, being versed in Russian, German and French, and nourished in European literature from many epochs and countries, from St Augustin to Machiavelli to Proust. They united public and private in an inextricable knot, as their loves were love itself, poetry Poland and the Revolution. For the poets of Cafe Ziemianska in Warsaw, the Revolution was only secondarily dialectical materialism; more importantly, it was the fulfilment of their European cosmopolitanism, and, above all, it was romantic love. Shore portrays their life and fantasies in the cafés and cabarets of Warsaw starting from the early 1920s through the 1930s to the 1960s, their multiple relationships with other European countries through the work of artists such as Marinetti, Mayakovsky, and their romances. Some extraordinary figures of women and men emerge against this background, living their experiences to the extreme, with great passion brought to the scene of sexual love as well as of to the scene of the political party. While their hopes to collapse public and private loves in a single engagement failed under the pressures of a public sphere dominated by Stalinism, their experiences leave a vivid testimony of such utopia. They succeeded in keeping alive, even under Stalinist totalitarianism, a space for private language and intimacy. 'Europe' was a point of reference in such efforts, not as a model, but quite to the contrary as an heritage beyond which they wanted to go, as an avant-garde capable of overcoming the destiny of degeneration and the death of European civilisation. Their tragic ending was to be 'destroyed by Marxism', by the choices they made to embrace Marxism: some were killed and some committed suicide, while some survived in exile with bitter feelings. For them, living the revolution in their daily life was self-actualisation through self-annihilation, the consummation of subjectivity through its abandonment and the transcendence and the fulfilment of both their Polishness and their Europeanness.
Alexis Schwarzenbach chooses an ideal case to study attitudes toward love in Europe and the United States, focussing on the reactions to the abdication of Edward VIII in order to marry Wallis Simpson, a US divorcee, in December 1936. The case became famous, stirring a world-wide press campaign and mobilising public opinion. In this picture, a prevailing silence in Britain is compared with the 'sympathetic understanding' in the United States and with an attitude of 'restraint' in the rest of Europe, from Switzerland to the Scandinavian countries. The story was generally presented as a romantic love in which the feelings of the protagonists should have prevailed despite all obstacles. However, what most interests us is the opposition established in the great majority of the free press in Europe's democracies, between romantic love considered as a progressive or a disruptive social force, on the one hand, and social and political stability, on the other. This explains why left-wing and liberal newspapers had a more favourable view of the story than the conservative media. While the local press in Britain showed anti-US prejudices and some rancour to the king for not having 'found some sweet British girl', the very numerous letters to the king made such prejudices much more explicit. Thousands of such letters were indeed written during the abdication crisis, which show a remarkable cross-section of public opinion from all classes. The letters are interesting also because they display two concepts of masculinity, one stipulating that good masculine behaviour should have put duty above love, and the other on the contrary considering that such a behaviour was fulfilling the pursuit of personal happiness. The two concepts belonged to different generations, the former being held by the late-Victorian generation (Edward's father) and the latter by the generation coeval with Edward himself.
Schwarzenbach concludes that two love stories were at stake in the public debate: that between Edward and Wallis Simpson on the one hand, and on the other, that between the people and the king, which finds its context in the general history of European monarchies. The link between the monarchies and their subjects included a deep sense of mutual love and a legendary aura, so that Edward represented a 'fairy prince' in the true sense of the word. Schwarzenbach rightly observes that three years after the event, in 1939, Denis de Rougemont published his book L'amour et l'Occident, in which he saw the European attitude toward love as beginning to risk the imitation of the one that he believed was prevalent in the United States, where the high-rate of divorce was coupled with a Hollywood-styled romance as the only basis for getting married. We should add that Rougemont also coupled the type of romantic love leading to a fusion between the lovers with the attitude of adoration by followers toward Hitler, while he saw similarities between the type of love presiding to conjugal marriage and the type of union present in federal democracies. In this light, it is significant for our purposes that both Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson were known to have good relationships with the Nazis, from the German ambassador in London, von Ribbentrop, to Hitler himself. Although Schwarzenbach has not found evidence for these political sides of the abdication, they certainly fall into place in the interpretative frame proposed by Rougemont.
Rougemont's hypothesis about the link between Europe and love is also pertinent to the other essay in the present collection using private letters to the powerful — Alexander Geppert's analysis of love letters to Hitler. Geppert takes into consideration such 64 letters, out of a huge number ranging in the many thousands. We already knew that in the dictatorial regimes between the wars, the private sphere was forcibly drawn into and under the public, so that all moments of the lifecycle of the masses were 'nationalised', from birth to death. However, while we know of the Nazi and Fascist use of women's capacity to give birth as well as to be part of the labour force in peace and war tasks, we cannot help being struck by the phenomenon of collapsing together of intimate and public that these letters display. They are written in the jargon of love, and as with all love letters, they use affectionate little words, transforming the name of the beloved into childish forms thanks to diminutives and sweet often uncertain of being recognised as European, on the contrary considering itself as a periphery, or a banlieusarde in the terms used by Salvador de Madariaga. Its case study allows us to see other variations on the theme of Europe and love, with particular reference to the category of gender, which here, while we have already seen it appearing in other essays, becomes central.
Alison Sinclair, under a title borrowed from Doris Lessing, studies one aspect of the Revista de Occidente, which was founded in 1923 and was directed by Jose Ortega y Gasset, who was central in promoting Spain's cultural relations with Europe. The major contribution of the journal in the period 1923-1936 was to bring Spain into a relationship with ideas of civilisation, specifically those of European civilisation. Those years cover two different periods in Spanish politics: the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the Second Republic, which, however, do not differ sharply for what concerns the topic under discussion, gender relations. The articles hosted by the Revista de Occidente in this period include authors such as the German sociologist Georg Simmel, the scientists Gregorio Maranon and Gustavo Pittaluga, both champions of eugenics, and the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Through the analysis of the themes touched by these authors, which range from Don Juan to the emancipation of women, Sinclair traces a line of argument that unites the Europeanness of Spain and an essentialist view of gender differences. She interprets this view as an 'imaginary of consolation' for the anxiety and social unrest predominant in Spain at the time. The articles of the Revista de Occidente are seen as a sign of the desire to participate in European modernity, and are understood as a masculine model accompanied by a nostalgia for its opposite. A defensive discourse about modernity was thus developed precisely in connection with the increased contacts with Europe, which embodied it.
In a pendant essay, Jo Labanyi examines the myth of Don Juan between the 1920s and the 1930s as treated by three Spanish intellectuals of different political attitudes: Ramiro de Maeztu, whose positions were equivalent to those of Action Française, the liberal humanist Salvador de Madariaga and the Fascist Ernesto Giménez Caballero. Don Juan, defined as one of the European myths par excellence because its theme connects, in its numerous variants, many different parts of Europe, is aptly chosen as an indicator of positions toward the Europeanness of Spain. Maeztu saw Don Juan as the embodiment of hedonistic individualism, understanding him as the outcome of modern humanism and rejecting him in favour of Don Quixote's chivalric notion of altruistic service, a metaphor for an alliance with the European Catholic right that would allow Europe to confront the hegemony of the United States, while the Spanish legacy should allow Spanish America to do the same. Giménez Caballero set Don Juan in dialogue with Petrarch's Laura, thus proposing him as the charismatic leader of a Spanish-Italian fascist alliance, and considering him as an embodiment of both the cultural miscegenation of West and East and the mixing of races in Spanish America. Madariaga also treated Don Juan as the incarnation of European individualism and imperial conquest, and rejected him as a sexual predator, as the unacceptable face of European imperialism, while romantic love represented the fusion of races in Spain and Spanish America. All three writers used the trope of love, which they considered as specifically European, to position Spain in relation to Europe as well as to the Americas. For all three, Spanish culture and history offered models for rethinking Europe.
The case of Spain shows that a crucial aspect in the processes concerning public and private loves in the interwar period was the change in gender relations. The redefinition of gender roles and imagery invested in not only concrete men and women, but also in the symbolic level for what concerned cultural understanding of masculine and feminine, in the course of being deeply modified by the emancipation of women and the crisis of masculinity.
In this section, the nexus of Europe and love has proved useful in exploring the relationship between public and private love and its transformations in the interwar period. It has shown that it was particularly in this field that the processes of publicisation of the private and of the penetration of the public into the private were happening. The use of our central dangerous liaison has made visible various elements: not only the private sphere, but also the most intimate one — situated in the bedroom and in the boudoir, invoked by the Marquis de Sade as the site of the final step of the revolution — was at stake in the moving of boundaries affecting the public and the private in reciprocal interpenetration, and suggests directions of research for comparative studies. This interpenetration constituted an overall similarity, in spite of the important variations introduced by national and political features. Although these processes took up extreme characteristics in situations either of violent social and cultural unrest, such as a revolution, or of totalitarian oppression, they were at work even in democratic countries. In fact, the political situation accentuated the impact of economic forces that were already going in that direction. Similar processes took on a psycho-pathological nature in totalitarian regimes, while in democratic situations the collapse between public and private was more restrained, so that the two were never flattened together, and the emotional implications of the collapse were less restrictive of individual spaces and were more manageable by common people in their daily lives.
European Borders and Cultural Differences in Love Relations
The topic of the third section of this book translates the general theme of the book into the conflicts articulated in terms of territory and political borders. Essays in this section refer either to borders, which are considered traditionally as peripheries of Europe (Portugal and the Balkans), or to the issue centre/ periphery within two crucial European nation states, such as Germany and France. In this perspective, these essays share a positionality that, starting from an allegedly marginal situation, transforms itself into a novel point of view reconsidering the historical dynamics between supposed centres and peripheries. Such historical dynamics evidences different tropes of love and sexuality and includes the emergence of various forms of longing for a different Europe, thus showing the topic of the second section in a new light. Methodologically, the essays share the effort to combine various categories of cultural difference, be they gender, race, ethnicity and/or location.
The section is opened by Margarida Calafate Ribeiro's longue durée view of Portugal's colonialism: its alleged role of mediator between worlds finds an adequate exemplification in romantic love that is understood as capable of creating mediations at a universal level. The excursus starts with The Lusiads by Camões, for whom love is the ultimate purpose of the human quest. Then the author goes on to use as a case study Jornada de Africa by Manuel Alegre, a novel on the colonial wars, which evokes a new version of Barbara, the beloved black slave celebrated by Camões, in love with a rebellious officer of the Portuguese colonial army; the woman, 'free, but colonised by love', is significantly an Angolan member of the MPLA, the movement for the liberation of Angola from the colonial rule. Calafate Ribeiro points out that the mediation operated by Portugal is based on the combination of a peripheral geographic position, since it is the head of the first European empire. During the period of the 1950s to the 1970s, this same peripheral position allowed Portugal to be the last European empire. The colonial wars, to which this peripheral condition led Portugal and its empire, sought to defend the fiction that Portugal was a centre, but these wars also initiated the journey back to the metropolis and to Europe. In this frame, the image of Barbara — a metaphor of a conquered Africa and of Portuguese love for the continent — still represents the ambivalences of Portugal between the memory of the empire, with its roots in the South Atlantic, and a European future. Calafate Ribeiro's essay implies the need of a re-elaboration that this suspended and drifting double sense of belonging will require, in a process in which the destiny of love and gender relations appears particularly undecided. This state of indecision finds an echo in the present situation, in which Europe is suspended between accepting the new multiple forms of subjectivity that inhabit it, thanks to the processes of post-coloniality, and its dressing itself once more as a fortress in the cultural field.
Sandra Mass focuses on three case studies concerning the border territories of the Weimar Republic: the Rhineland of the campaign against 'Black Horror', i.e., the stationing of African colonial soldiers in the territory under French occupation; the Eastern border, which German Freikorps defended against the Red Army and the Baltic nationalists; and the African colonies. Mass shows how sexuality was used not only as a metaphor of the wounds inflicted on the nation, but also more directly to illustrate the analogy between the nation seen as a body and the individual body. The first case, love relationships between German women and French African soldiers, became the target of a campaign that pointed out the unity of Europe and the white race endangered by France; the relationship being German and being white included the belief of belonging to the community of the 'white race', sharing a common European heritage and presumably sharing a superior civilisation. In the second case, German soldiers were seen as threatened by Communist women, on which they would exercise bloody and sadistic revenge. In the third, the violence of colonisation was transformed into the 'ardent love' for the second Heimat, Africa. Here again, as we already saw in the essay by Ellena, Africa is presented as nature, the maternal earth characterised as both virginal and violent. And again, the individual and the collective are collapsed in defining the European subject as the male colonial hero. In the picture drawn by Mass, gender and race appear closely interwoven, and love shows its connections with sexuality, but also with pain and death. The dark sides of both Europe and love emerge once more in a sinister way, connecting the internal history of Germany with the history of its borders.
Gender is central also in Svetlana Slapsak's essay, which theorises on love as one of the civic activities pertaining to collective identity and citizenship. The author considers love as one of the fields of public discourse and activity that can oppose war and be interpreted as reducing the immeasurable dimension of war compared to any other human activity. Slapsak takes her inspiration from antiquity, mentioning Aristophanes' Lysistrata in the context of the opposition to the Iraq war in 2003, and analyses the philosophy of love in three women's works: Anica Savic Rebac (born in 1894 in Novi Sad), Olga Freidenberg (born in 1890 from a Russian Jewish family) and Edith Stein (born in 1891 into a Breslau Jewish family); all three women were active during the Second World War. Slapsak maintains that in the case of the first two, they have been treated as outsiders in academia on the basis of gender instigated censorship, while in fact there is much European about them and their work. For instance, in Anica Savic Rebac's approach to what she calls 'pre-platonic erotology', it is a distancing herself from the Platonic tradition that evidences her Europeanness ex negativo, as a desire to go beyond it and explore and enlarge the sources of the philosophical discourse on love. Slapsak also sees a shared context for all three women in the historical model of intellectual closure (monasteries, universities, salons) and in multilingualism; far from saying that these are unique European features, she refers to the European historical versions of such worldwide phenomena. For all three women studied by Slapsak, love is neither a symbol of hope nor a form of escapism; rather, it is a proposal for a public civic attitude, affecting upon and originating from public life, against any romanticising of love in its Western bourgeois sense. What allows Slapsak to take this approach is a position that she defines as 'feminist practice' and that connects the author of the essay and the women she studies, although in very different historical situations. This essay is a good indicator of how the central and Eastern areas of Europe — considered peripheral for a long time — can become crucial in order to create new connections. The three women never met and possibly never even heard of each other.
Thus, it is a gaze from the present, which is rooted in the same geopolitical areas those women belonged to that puts them together, constructing a point of convergence equivalent to a hazardous and illuminating liaison.
The essay by Ruth Mas concludes this section and the whole book by focussing on a burning issue for today's Europe: the place of Islam in Europeanness. Mas addresses the issue through the analysis of a case study of the mixed marriage of a Franco-Maghrebian woman, as done by the psychoanalyst Fethi Benslama. The case study considers gender and generational differences, countering fixed and naturalised borders between communities and cultures. It reverses the usual relationship, which sees love as a private emotion displaced within the political domain, by showing how colonial legacies embodied by notions of inter-cultural love and sexuality work on individual subjectivity by doubling experiences of trauma and exile. Mas criticises both the colonialist notion of métissage and that of mixed marriage as a solution of racism and of women's subordination, and sees Benslama's discussion of métissage as problematising the 'liberating' potential of mixed unions and showing the feminine subject as situated in a complex web of power relations to which she is subjected. Mas concludes that Benslama has allowed for an understanding of Islamic subjectivity that disrupts the hegemony of the French nation state and deconstructs the oppositions of Islam/West and of all monolithic conceptions of Islam, producing a plural vision of the relationships between Islam and liberalism. What appears at the same time, however, are the limits to the possibilities for the Franco-Maghrebi Muslim feminine subjects to find resources for imagining an ethic that respects dissent; deconstructing the traditional way of conceiving métissage opens new ways, but it leaves deliberately suspended the crucial question of repositioning the feminine Muslim subject. We can only hope that painstaking analytical efforts, such as the one exemplified in this essay, can contribute to opening the way to configurations of subjectivity and emotionality, both collective and individual, that will allow new ways of being European and Muslim women at the same time to occur.
The section highlights how the tension between love and sexuality underpinning romantic love has informed forms of political imagined community. The case studies discussed by Calafate Ribeiro and Mas highlight the embracing movement of love between self and other and the violent reduction of difference to abstract oneness, while the German case studied by Mass implies that women's bodies and sexuality are the material ground on which the borders of the nation are naturalised and controlled. This perspective adds further elements to the intertwining between the private and public spheres by questioning the gender hierarchy grounded in the European (male) love subject. The dangerous links between love and the political domain gives particular relevance to the feminist critique of romantic love suggested by Slapsak, which entails both a de-naturalisation of love and a refusal of its 'imaginary of consolation', already pointed out by Alison Sinclair, by rooting love and the labour of love within practices of public responsibility.
The final section of the collection presents — because of its closeness to some crucial problems of the present, such as those linked with racial and cultural differences in Europe today — some pessimistic undertones. Love, sharing the dark sides of European history, appears as a battlefield involving power inequalities that cannot be solved. Not only Europe, but also Europeanness appear divided between the senses of belonging to various areas such as East/ West and North/South and between the identifications with different communities. Europeanness seems still to be configured — culturally speaking — as a defensive fortress in many instances. The historical study of the nexus between Europe and love can help us in recovering the utopian hope of a united and not exclusive Europe and of a love conjugating passion and respect. By being aware of the dangers that the liaison between Europe and love can imply in an essentialist and Eurocentric perspective, we can discern the value of the actions and thoughts of individuals and groups that had the emotional capacity to contrast their own communities and to envisage new hazardous liaisons between personal and collective emotions.
Three Faces of Love by Rolf M. Johnson (Harvard Philological Studies, 49: Northern Illinois University Press) What is love? Johnson, a philosopher who has spent his career teaching and thinking about the nature of love, inquires into a topic of interest to virtually everyone.
Johnson draws upon ancient myth, modern poetry, and classic novels, as well as works of philosophy, religion, and psychology, to understand love as a phenomenon that defines our humanity. He identifies three distinct yet related kinds of love‑appreciation, caring, and desire for union‑and shows just how these three forms of love are interconnected.
Extending his conceptual analysis, he explores the distinctive ethical, psychological, metaphysical, and spiritual? dimensions of each farm of love. Guided by his unique typology of love, he succeeds in peeling away much of the confusion and ambiguity that surrounds the concept, while leaving love's inherent mystery intact.
Students and teachers of philosophy, psychology, and religion will appreciate Three Faces of Love, as will anyone seeking a fresh way to look at this most powerful and mysterious aspect of human life. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and counselors will be particularly interested in the chapter on the dark side of love, obsession, and possessiveness.
Throughout most of this work I will ignore the distinction sometimes made between words and concepts‑that words are specific to the languages in which they occur whereas concepts are more universal and common to different languages‑and will sometimes speak of the word "love," sometimes of the concept. Only near the end of our journey will the question be addressed as to whether the analysis in which we have been engaged applies to the English word alone or is of more universal significance. Every effort will be made, however, to make clear when we are considering the meaning of the word or concept "love" and when our subject is love itself. We shall be concerned with both throughout, moving back and forth between them on nearly every page; for if "love" has more than one primary sense (as I shall maintain), these different senses must correspond to distinguishable forms of loving. Thus, while conceptual clarification is this work's central objective, frequent excursions will be made along the way into matters psychological, ethical, metaphysical, and theological, as we attempt to uncover the phenomena to which the concept points.
Often, when theorists undertake an investigation of this subject, they limit their inquiry to a specific kind of love such as romance, friendship, or neighbor love or to some more encompassing category such as personal love. This, decidedly, is not the intent here. I wish to investigate the full range of "love's" meanings. In my view, it is more profitable to scrutinize specific types of love after the generic concept has been clarified. Particularly troubling is the tendency to use the word "love" as if it meant simply "romantic love," or to treat this complex and rather peculiar form of love as a kind of paradigm for love in general.
What follows is a new typology of love, a proposal for classifying both the ways in which we love and the range of meanings of the concept. The most familiar ways of dividing love into types are those based on major historical notions such as "eros," "phila," "agape," "caritas," "courtly love," and "Romantic love" (love as conceived by the Romantics) and those based on ordinary language distinctions such as "friendship," "neighbor love," "romantic love," "mother love," "filial love," and so on. Both these approaches are useful, the first especially when the investigation is historical in nature. The second provides insights into distinctions that already are part of our language, thereby enabling us to use it with greater intelligence and precision.
My own intention in offering a typology is more analytic than historical and springs from the wish to dig deeper than the distinctions already embedded in language. The Greek concepts mentioned above have sometimes been used with this intention as well but with less comprehensive results and without penetrating as deeply as will be attempted here into the underlying structure of love. My aim is to create a system of classification that embraces all that we call "love"‑from simple attractions to exalted passions, from self‑sacrificial giving to all-consuming obsession, and much else besides. Historical concerns, however, will never be far away, since any analysis of the concept that does not embrace within its range of meaning all of the major historical ideals mentioned above must be considered inadequate.
There are those who are opposed to philosophical or scientific investigations of love on the grounds that the subject is so personal and subjective neither reason nor research can shed much light on it‑or even that love itself, or our ability to practice and enjoy it, may be harmed by rational inquiry. Both of these concerns have merit. Our experience of love is highly personal. Yet writings on love across the ages and from a wide variety of cultures demonstrate how similarly lovers express the feelings and experiences they consider so unique. Still, it is wise to recognize that our ways of thinking and feeling about love have been shaped by personal experience and that any systematic reflections on the subject are bound to be influenced by the theorist's personal history. One may attempt to disguise the fact by using objective‑sounding language or references to scholarly works or by citing empirical research, but regardless of attempts to conceal it we all see love through the filter of our own life experience, however much expanded by imagination, reflection, and vicarious experience.
There is merit as well to the charge that love's nature is not adequately revealed through empirical generalizations and conceptual analysis, which are necessarily external to love itself. The heart does have reasons of which the mind knows not, but then mind and heart are not natural enemies, nor are they inherently closed to each other's territory. It is only when the intellect insists on explaining away what is to be understood, or reducing it to something simpler and less, that it violates what it investigates. Rather than riding roughshod over the subtleties of its subject, however, philosophical analysis ought to peel away confusion, ambiguity, and vagueness, allowing genuine mystery to stand forth. Such at least is the goal of this inquiry.
Chapter I begins by considering whether any coherence can be found in the multiplicity of uses of the word "love." It will be argued that the concept is coherent and has three primary senses: (1) care for or about the love object, (2) the desire to unite or merge with it, and (3) appreciation or delight in the love object as an end. These will be called respectively, "care‑love," "union‑love," and "appreciation‑love." Chapters 2 through 4 and also Chapter 6 investigate in detail these three primary senses of "love" and the ways of loving to which they correspond. We will explore the objectives of each form of love, its affective character, the nature of the relationship between lover and object, and the sorts of objects most appropriate to each. These chapters begin with purely conceptual considerations but proceed to matters ranging from ethical and psychological to metaphysical and spiritual. In covering such wide territory the style of writing may vary as well, for I do not believe that it is an intellectual or scholarly virtue to make the affective or the sacred sound academic. A comprehensive philosophy of love should speak to heart and spirit as well as to the intellect.
Chapter 5 is concerned with the important question of valuation in loving and how subjective, objective, and/or realistic those valuations are. Irving Singer's views on these matters will be analyzed at length. Chapter 7 will present a brief but more philosophically technical discussion of the interrelations between the three forms of love. We shall consider how the three loves (or their concepts) presuppose, imply, give rise to, or even conflict with one another. It is here where we consider whether the argument contained in this book concerns only the English word, or applies more universally. In Chapter 8 we turn our attention to the intriguing matter of love's darker side, showing how the typology developed in the preceding chapters can be used to analyze and classify some of love's less wholesome possibilities.
The epilogue will show how this same tripartite typology enables us to see how there are three distinguishable spiritual ideals of love. Having given much attention throughout to the differences between care-love, union‑love, and appreciation-love, to their logical independence from one another, and to the potential for conflict between them, the focus now will be on how interconnected they usually are--and how and under what conditions they harmoniously blend. As an example of such an integration, we shall look especially at the Buddhist vision of love.
The Lover Within: Opening to Energy in Sexual Practice by Julie Henderson (Station Hill) can alter both how we think about love and sex and what we do in intimate practice. The focus is neither on manipulative technique nor personal history, but on the process of energy itself. It provides exercises to be experienced alone or with a partner and offers insight into how to move energy, collect it, heighten it, and share it. This updated edition adds new exercises and reader testimonials. This expanded edition includes a new chapter on working with the energy of feeling through Movement, Breath, and Sound.
Preface to the Revised Edition:
I like this book very much. In fact, I feel like the mother of a much loved child who has grown up quite well, but not as expected. Of course, it's me that has changed. When I was writing The Lover Within in 1984, I included in it all the most exciting and helpful and pleasurable things I knew about then. It's not the book I would write now, but fortunately it doesn't have to be. It has its own life and its own value.
What I knew then as new and exciting is now an "ordinary" but vital part of maintaining my well‑being in everyday life. I am very happy that Station Hill has asked me not only to introduce new people to the book but to add some enticing tidbits of things I have learned since.
For people‑and there are many‑whose experience of energy and presence is more familiar and convincing to them than the sensations of being a body, this is a good book. It can be particularly beneficial for people who have been led to believe that their perceptions are bad or crazy. It isn't true. It isn't even uncommon to perceive in terms of pattern and flow. Many great artists and athletes describe their most satisfying accomplishments in these terms.
Many people see or hear or sense, at least occasionally, in a range beyond what is usually called "normal." Most of us, in fact, perceive in a broader range of experience than the one we bark our shins against. Mostly, though, since it isn't admitted to be normal, we may deny or suppress our access to this information. The Lover Within has the virtue of speaking openly about the possibilities of extended perception in a relaxed and ordinary way. This means that people can get on with "seeing things that aren't there"‑or hearing them or sensing them or tasting them or smelling them‑with some playfulness and discipline rather than with the bother of worrying about their mental health, at least on the grounds of their extended perception!
For people who long for an experience of sex that is also an embrace, the keys are here.
For people who want to free themselves from the whiplash of habitual reactions to people and situations and their own history, the approaches here can show you how.
For people who love each other but who have lost the energetic "distance" that must exist so that it can be crossed ecstatically, The Lover Within offers the real possibility of restoring intensity to love union.
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