The Oxford Book of English Love Stories

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Adulterous love, marital love, virginal love, religious devotion, agape, lust, eros: there are an infinite variety of meanings that can be packed into the four letters that spell love, and writers of fiction have been trying for centuries to plumb its depths. We turn to literature in large part to learn what love is and what it should be, and readers of The Oxford Book of English Love Stories will find consolation and inspiration in equal measure from some of the sharpest ...
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Overview


Adulterous love, marital love, virginal love, religious devotion, agape, lust, eros: there are an infinite variety of meanings that can be packed into the four letters that spell love, and writers of fiction have been trying for centuries to plumb its depths. We turn to literature in large part to learn what love is and what it should be, and readers of The Oxford Book of English Love Stories will find consolation and inspiration in equal measure from some of the sharpest observers of this most essential human emotion.
From the bittersweet ending of Trollope's ultra-Trollopian "The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne;" to the intricate rituals of courtship in Sylvia Plath's "Stone Boy with Dolphin;" to Paul Theroux's sardonic study of innocence in "An English Unofficial Rose," this collection is a looking glass into the many moods of love. Editor John Sutherland has searched two centuries of English literature to select twenty-eight wholly original works, choosing those that best represent the rich and varied nature of love itself. Readers will find stories by Mary Shelley, W. M. Thackeray, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, John Galsworthy, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene, and many others, all of which explore the infinite varieties of love and its shifting rules. Indeed, the rules of the game of love tend to change with every new set of players and with each generation. In D.H. Lawrence's "Samson and Delilah," the game is violent and fraught with physical injury. In Katherine Mansfield's "Something Childish but very Natural," love is more reminiscent of two people playing chess blindfolded. And, in Joyce Cary's "The Tunnel," it seems that the lovers cannot, tantalizingly, even get themselves on to the same playing field.
Bittersweet endings, ironic angles on traditional platitudes, and other surprises make the insights of writers such as Elizabeth Bowen, W. Somerset Maugham, or V. S. Pritchett always fresh and challenging. Simple or sophisticated, sometimes hilarious and often very moving, The Oxford Book of English Love Stories brings a delightful perspective to the mysteries of love.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sophisticated and simple, sometimes comic and often moving."--Women's Weekly

"Love's endlessly fascinating possibilities and varied forms --virginal love, adulterous love, gay love, and so on, are robustly portrayed in a collection which also succeeds in showing how the twenty-eight authors included, approach their theme according to both the social and literary conventions of the their day."--Helen Rennie, Oxford Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192832689
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/17/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor:
John Sutherland, Professor of English at University College, London, has edited numerous World's Classics. He is Associate General-Editor of the Oxford Popular Fiction series, and is currently editing The Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Adventure of the Black Lady 1
The Picture 7
The Trial of Love 9
The Heart of John Middleton 23
Dennis Haggarty's Wife 44
The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne 63
To Esther 90
Enter a Dragoon 101
Olive's Lover 120
The Wish House 131
Miss Winchelsea's Heart 147
A Long-Ago Affair 163
Claribel 167
Episode 181
Fifty Pounds 201
The Legacy 216
Samson and Delilah 223
The Tunnel 239
Something Childish but very Natural 246
Love and Money 264
Hubert and Minnie 284
A Love Story 295
Blind Love 311
The Blue Film 351
Stone Boy with Dolphin 356
An English Unofficial Rose 379
The Loveliness of the Long-Distance Runner 392
A Small Spade 400
Biographical Notes 443
Acknowledgements 451
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