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The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution (Hardback)
  • The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution (Hardback)
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The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution (Hardback)

(author)
£20.00
Hardback 314 Pages / Published: 22/08/2013
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Love has a history. It has meant different things to different people at different moments and has served different purposes. This book tells the story of love at a crucial point, a moment when the emotional landscape changed dramatically for large numbers of people. It is a story based in England, but informed by America, and covers the period from the end of the First World War until the break-up of The Beatles. To the casual observer, this era was a golden age of marriage. More people married than ever before. They did so at increasingly younger ages. And there was a revolution in our idea of what marriage meant. Pragmatic notions of marriage as institution were superseded by the more romantic ideal of a relationship based upon individual emotional commitment, love, sex, and personal fulfilment. And yet, this new idea of marriage, based on a belief in the transformative power of love and emotion, carried within it the seeds of its own destruction. Romantic love, particularly when tied to sexual satisfaction, ultimately proved an unreliable foundation upon which to build marriages: fatally, it had the potential to evaporate over time and under pressure. Scratching beneath the surface of the apparent 'golden age' of marriage, Claire Langhamer uncovers the real story of love in the twentieth century, via the recollections of ordinary people who lived through the period. It is a tale of quiet emotional instability, persistent subversion, and unsettling change. At its end, the idea of life-long marriage was in serious decline. And, as Langhamer shows, this was a decline directly rooted in the contradictions and tensions that lay at the heart of the emotional revolution itself.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199594436
Number of pages: 314
Weight: 502 g
Dimensions: 220 x 143 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[E]ngrossing ... Reading The English in Love is like watching a flickering black-and-white home movie. The cacophony of voices pull us back to the moment when seamed stockings gave way to minskirts and the golden age of marriage gave way to spiralling divorce. * Frances Wilson, The Sunday Telegraph *
[A] wonderfully evocative, nuanced and readable examination of the changing status of romantic love in the middle years of the 20th century. * Hilary Hinds, Times Higher Education Supplement *
Langhamer is admirable in her even-handed use of intriguing material. * Jane O'Grady, Financial Times *
[An] intelligent and thoughtful book. * Lara Feigel, The Observer *
Engaging ... The most original part of this work describes the unmarried interwar person's struggle with the definition of love and the difficulty of disentangling it from sexual desire. * Jad Adams, History Today *
The English in Love is full of interesting observations. * The Economist *
[Claire Langhamer] has written a wise and important book that deserves the attention of policymakers and opinion formers as well as historians ... It is the best sort of history, which makes intelligible the problems of our time and gives a subtle lesson in past and present mistakes ... Her bracing good sense stands in splendid contrast to the nonsense in which the English entangled themselves whenever they approached the bedroom door. * Richard Davenport-Hines, New Statesman *
[Claire Langhamer] is a lively writer, and what is most enjoyable about the book is the vast collection of real-life experiences she has gathered together. * Ysenda Maxtone-Graham, Country Life *
[Odd and unexpected facts make] turning the pages of this serious and well-researched book seem more like fun than homework. The English in Love doesnt advise, deplore or make judgements about how we should behave; but its an engaging portrait of a subject and a period that are so often misunderstood. * Literary Review *
Langhamer lays out vivid evidence for small changes amounting to something so radical she calls it a revolution. * Alexandra Harris, The Guardian *
The key strength of this ambitious book is Langhamer's ability to skilfully trace a number of complex emotional shifts decade by decade across her chosen time period. The English in Love leaves readers with a lasting impression of the shifting and changeable nature of romantic love in history. * Dr Sally Holloway, Reviews in History *
What makes this volume exceptional is the carefully detailed and nuanced social history it charts of how love became entangled with marriage and functioned as a means of self-fashioning and self-fulfilment for 'ordinary' people. This new conception of love as a means of transcendence represented a quiet but unstable 'emotional revolution', triumphing over more pragmatic reasons for marriage in the early twentieth century, as well as ideas of self-restraint ... The English in Love is an absorbing, richly detailed book which presents a fine-grained picture of ordinary lives and loves and introduces new theses to consider * Hsu-ming Teo, Family and Community History *
In this important monograph ... Langhamer creates a social history of how the English understood the interaction of heterosexual love and commitment during that 50-year span. * Lisa Z. Sigel, American Historical Review *

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