LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD. While I was posting on John Keats and Fanny Brawne, I was surprised to see that the Search feature for this blog showed that I had not yet posted on LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD by Denis de Rougemont—surprised because many of my hobby horses have already made it into the blog. The main message of LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD appears on the first page: “Love and death, a fatal love—in these phrases is summed up, if not the whole of poetry, at least whatever is popular, whatever is universally moving in European literature, alike as regards the oldest legends and the sweetest songs. Happy love has no history. Romance only comes into existence where love is fatal, frowned upon and doomed by life itself. What stirs lyrical poets to their finest flights is neither the delight of the senses nor the fruitful contentment of the settled couple; not the satisfaction of love, but its PASSION [Italics in original]. And passion means suffering.” I thought of LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD in connection with John Keats and Fanny Brawne because their real life tragedy evokes the themes lovers separated by sickness and death.

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