Few topics have been more central to so much creative literature than love, which can be defined in many different ways—platonic love, spiritual love, love of character, erotic love, love of family, and more. This volume explores the different kinds of love from various viewpoints, and examines works about love from different literary genres. This work is deliberately pluralistic, raising many questions about different kinds of love.
This volume, like all others in the Critical Insights series, is divided into several sections. It begins with an introductory piece, “On Being in Love, and on Modern Love” by Jeremy Tambling which discusses the connection and presence of love in literature throughout time.
Following the introductory essay, a collection of four critical contexts essays are intended to treat the topic (1) from a historical vantage point, (2) in terms of pre-existing discussion of the topic, (3) using a specific critical lens, and (4) by comparing and contrasting at least two different texts. This section opens with an essay by Tracy Hayes titled, “Masculine Love at the fin-de-siècle,” This essay examines the recognition of masculinity as a spectrum rather than a monolithic social construct aided understanding of the gradations between the homosocial, the homoerotic, and the homosexual. This is followed by a piece written by Joyce Ahn, “History of Western Love: An Overview,”
The following two articles are written by Brandon Schneeberger and Edwin Wong respectively. The first, “Fine Constantia Wine: Sacrificial Love and Eucatastrophe in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility,” discuses Austen’s use of wine and other liquors as a way of inciting humor or encouraging conversation, and wine is often served as an act of good hospitality, or used as a restorative in times of trial. Furthermore, it points to the intricate relationship between love and suffering, a recurring theme in all of Austen’s novels. The final essay, “Love and Chance in Comedy and Tragedy: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Plautus’s The Rope,” discusses how closely love and chance are intertwined, but the difference of how each impacts a couple in a tragedy compared to a comedy.
Following these four Critical Context essays is the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays:
- Sir Walter Ralegh’s “Farewell, False Love”: An Experiment in Pluralist Criticism, by Robert C. Evans
- Othello and Desdemona: Their Love Depicted in Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Play, by Rhianna Ragan
- Love as a Theme in Thomas Campion’s Poems with Female Speakers, by Robert C. Evans
- The 1970 Film of Wuthering Heights: A Survey of Reviews, by Jordan Bailey
- The 1992 Film of Wuthering Heights: A Survey of Reviews, by Kelly Snyder
- Forms of Love and the Question of Passion in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, by John Rignall
- Stepping Over the Line for Love: Reflections on Robert Penn Warren, by Steven D. Ealy
- No Love for the Jedi: The Banishment and Persistence of Love in the Star Wars Saga, by S.G. Ellerhoff
- Thom Gunn’s “Lament”: Beauty and Love in a Poem Describing Death from AIDS, by Robert. C Evans
- Sexuality and the Psyche: Kissing in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, by Sarah Fredericks
In the final section, Resources, a select bibliography of additional works that are pertinent to the theme is provided. Each essay in Critical Insights: Love includes a list of Works Cited and detailed endnotes. Also included in this volume is a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and an alphabetical Index.The Critical Insights series distills the best of both classic and current literary criticism of the world’s most studies literature. Edited and written by some of academia’s most distinguished literary scholars, Critical Insights: Love provides authoritative, in-depth scholarship that students and researchers will rely on for years. This volume is destined to become a valuable purchase for all.