Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them

Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them

by Betsy Prioleau


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Swoon is a glittering pageant of charismatic ladies’ men from Casanova to Lord Byron to Camus to Ashton Kutcher. It challenges every preconceived idea about great lovers and answers one of history’s most vexing questions: what do women want?

Contrary to popular myth and dogma, the men who consistently beguile women belie the familiar stereotypes: satanic rake, alpha stud, slick player, Mr. Nice, or big-money mogul. As Betsy Prioleau, author of Seductress, points out in this surprising, insightful study, legendary ladies’ men are a different, complex species altogether, often without looks or money. They fit no known template and possess a cache of powerful erotic secrets.

With wit and erudition, Prioleau cuts through the cultural lore and reveals who these master lovers really are and the arts they practice to enswoon women. What she discovers is revolutionary. Using evidence from science, popular culture, fiction, anthropology, and history, and from interviews with colorful real-world ladykillers, Prioleau finds that great seducers share a constellation of unusual traits.

While these men run the gamut, they radiate joie de vivre, intensity, and sex appeal; above all, they adore women. They listen, praise, amuse, and delight, and they know their way around the bedroom. And they’ve finessed the hardest part: locking in and revving desire. Women never tire of these fascinators and often, like Casanova’s conquests, remain besotted for life.

Finally, Prioleau takes stock of the contemporary culture and asks: where are the Casanovas of today? After a critique of the twenty-first-century sexual malaise—the gulf between the sexes and women’s record discontent—she compellingly argues that society needs ladies’ men more than ever. Groundbreaking and provocative, Swoon is underpinned with sharp analysis, brilliant research, and served up with seductive verve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393068375
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/04/2013
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Betsy Prioleau is the author of Seductress and Circle of Eros and was a scholar in residence at New York University where she taught cultural history. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Great Seducers: The Men, The Myths 1

Part 1 Anatomy of the Great Seducers

Chapter 1 Charisma: Lightning in a Bottle 32

Chapter 2 Character: The Goods 60

Part 2 The Seducers Way

Chapter 3 Lassoing Love: The Senses 97

Chapter 4 Lassoing Love: The Mind 134

Chapter 5 Locking in Love 159

Chapter 6 Torching Up Love 191

Chapter 7 The Great Seducer Now 221

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 249

Text Credits 319

Illustration Credits 323

Index 325

What People are Saying About This

Molly Haskell

Betsy Prioleau’s witty and compelling book is a fresh take on the question of what women want. I wholly agree with her nicely elaborated thesis that the true seducer is not the swaggering Don Juan of myth and melodrama, but the perfectly ordinary-looking man who likes, loves, and listens to women.

Andy Borowitz

I read Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them in the hope that some [of] its subjects would even slightly resemble me. I loved the book anyway.

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