Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis

Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis

by David Shumway
     
 

“My ideas of romance came from the movies,” said Woody Allen, and it is to the movies—as well as to novels, advice columns, and self-help books—that David Shumway turns for his history of modern love.

Modern Love argues that a crisis in the meaning and experience of marriage emerged when it lost its institutional function of

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Overview

“My ideas of romance came from the movies,” said Woody Allen, and it is to the movies—as well as to novels, advice columns, and self-help books—that David Shumway turns for his history of modern love.

Modern Love argues that a crisis in the meaning and experience of marriage emerged when it lost its institutional function of controlling the distribution of property, and instead came to be seen as a locus for feelings of desire, togetherness, and loss. Over the course of the twentieth century, partly in response to this crisis, a new language of love—“intimacy”—emerged, not so much replacing but rather coexisting with the earlier language of “romance.”

Reading a wide range of texts, from early twentieth-century advice columns and their late twentieth-century antecedent, the relationship self-help book, to Hollywood screwball comedies, and from the “relationship films” of Woody Allen and his successors to contemporary realist novels about marriages, Shumway argues that the kinds of stories the culture has told itself have changed. Part layperson’s history of marriage and romance, part meditation on intimacy itself, Modern Love will be both amusing and interesting to almost anyone who thinks about relationships (and who doesn’t?).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814798317
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
08/01/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
269
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: A Brief History of Love
I Romance
1 Romance in the Romance and the Novel
2 Romancing Marriage: Advice Books and the Crisis
3 Marriage as Adultery: Hollywood Romance and the Screwball Comedy
4 Power Struggles: Casablanca and Gone with the Wind
II Intimacy
5 Talking Cures: The Discourse of Intimacy
6 Relationship Stories
7 Marriage Fiction
Conclusion: Other Media, Other Discourses: The Crisis Continues
Notes
Index
About the Author

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