Cupid's Arrow: The Course of Love through Time / Edition 1

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Love is strange. It can be the source of both profound inspiration and deep misery. Its complexities and dimensions have possessed us since the beginning of time, and no emotion is as linked to human history as love. It defines who we are, what we do, and how we live and yet remains an enigmatic presence in our lives. In Cupid's Arrow, renowned psychologist Robert J. Sternberg presents a unique psychological approach to our understanding of this powerful emotion. He explores human relationships, revealing how and why people fall in and out of love. The book draws on fields ranging from history to cognitive science to folklore, offering a fascinating and comprehensive account of love in its many forms. Sternberg applies his "triangular theory," examining the many varieties of love through combinations of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Using this theory as a focal point, Cupid's Arrow delivers both a fresh perspective on the experience of love during the lifetime of the individual, and a rich history of the conceptions of love throughout the ages. This book will prove to be enlightening and engaging reading for anyone who has ever dared to try to understand love. Robert J. Sternberg is IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University. He has received numerous awards, including the Sylvia Scribner Award of the American Educational Research Association in 1996. He has authored hundreds of articles and dozens of books, including Thinking Styles (Cambridge, 1997) and Successful Intelligence (Simon and Schuster, 1996).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An eminent professor of psychology and education at Yale, Sternberg sifts through love's vicissitudes in search of a few general tendencies...Readers who translate psychological factoids into tools for introspection will likely find Cupid's Arrow interesting and helpful." Publishers Weekly

"IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale, presents diverse views of love in one concise volume without sacrificing scholarship or humanness. ...this is highly recommended for all libraries." Library Journal

"Cupid's Arrow is an informative and entertaining introduction to the psychology of love, written by one of the most distinguished experts in the field. The book is solidly based in research facts and findings yet its lively, entertaining style and vivid stories get the message across in clear, easy terms." Roy F. Baumeister, author of Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Love intoxicates, complicates, sustains, blinds: you name it, love does it. An eminent professor of psychology and education at Yale, Sternberg sifts through love's many vicissitudes in search of a few general tendencies. He elaborates upon three components of love (intimacy, passion and commitment) that combine in different ways to configure how we fall in and out of love. Opening with a review of Sternberg's social psychological research, the book in general reads as self-help with a strong scientific twist. Clinical vignettes illustrate how love's three components are present in varying amounts in most heterosexual relationships. For example, when lovers report strong feelings of intimacy and passion but lack a sense of commitment, they have "romantic love." Romantic love figures at an early point in a couple's courtship but wanes as passion yields to commitment, and is influenced by cultural and developmental constraints: some cultures celebrate romantic love; others deride it. Sternberg's statistically derived theory turns love into a set of love phenomena: our need for interpersonal attachment; cognitive tasks adults employ to appraise their love life; trends regarding attraction, relationship satisfaction and how relationships change. So, on viewing love's components in perspective, even such distinct phenomena as the frisson of romance and the anguish of a "loveless marriage" become predictable--not so mysterious or unforeseeable after all. An energetic chapter on "love through literature" further renders love's heartache oddly routine. Readers who translate psychological factoids into tools for introspection will likely find Cupid's Arrow interesting and helpful. Wrestlers and poets may prefer to struggle: "Stella!" (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521478939
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. The Composition of Cupid's Arrow: What Is Love?: 1. A three-component view of love; 2. Seven kinds of love; 3. Many different triangles of love; 4. Measuring the triangle of love; Part II. Aiming Cupid's Arrow: Love over Many Lifetimes: 5. The prehistory of love; 6. The history of love revealed through culture Robert J. Sternberg and Anne E. Beall; 7. The history of love revealed through literature Robert J. Sternberg and Susan Hayden; Part III. Firing Cupid's Arrow: Love in our Lifetime: Beginnings: 8. The role of childhood and adolescence; 9. The role of adulthood; Part IV. Cupid's Arrow in in Flight: Love in our Lifetime: Middles: 10. The role of reward; 11. The course of relationships; Part V. When Cupid's Arrow Falls: Love in our Lifetime: Endings: 12. Decay of relationships; 13. Dissolution of and new beginnings for relationships; Notes; Index.

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