978-0-393-04184-2 / 9780393041842

Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance Over Time


Publisher:W. W. Norton & Company



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About the book:

To delve into the subject of love with relational psychologist Stephen A. Mitchell is to race headfirst into an enormous haystack with a kid who's intent on finding not one, but probably a dozen, needles. In Can Love Last? Mitchell's boyish curiosity and profound intelligence virtually set fire to the subject, both enlightening and challenging his readers. Mitchell's premise is that romance, in its many forms, is key to a life worth living.

Why, then, does the sizzle so often fizzle, especially in committed relationships? More importantly, what forces compel humans to actively douse romantic flames in favor of more "stable" love? Mitchell's probings of these and other questions take him on a fascinating journey through times and topics historical as well as contemporary. From Plato to Freud, Homer to Kris Kristofferson, Mitchell weaves history, philosophy, literature, and (of course) psychology into a surprisingly sensible pattern. Yes, a few loud threads stand out, including his well-supported theory that "stable" love is actually much riskier than romance. But over all, differing theories on love and desire, stability and adventure, or surrender and control find more parallels than crossroads under Mitchell's tender care, making this book an intellectual gift to the masses. --Liane Thomas

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