MARRIED LOVE AND WESTERN LITERATURE. De Rougemont’s LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD is a book of literary criticism. (Google Books prints a number of pages from the first part of the book which I found here.) De Rougemont has a lot of interesting arguments which trace the view of love in Western literature to the tradition of courtly love and ultimately to the Cathars and the Albigensian heresy. De Rougemont says that Christian marriage was diametrically opposed to Catharism, which held that “the soul actually becomes the prisoner of a body with terrestrial appetites and subject to the laws of procreation and death.” (p.80).
What do I think of the book? I take these propositions as the core of the book: “Happy love has no history—IN WESTERN LITERATURE [emphasis in italics in the original]” (p.52) and “[Passionate love] stands for a radical condemnation of marriage.” Like Updike, I have seen confirmations of these propositions all about me—in books, poems, plays and movies. And, of course, I have also seen many happy marriages.

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