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An alluring, thoughtful reflection on why falling in love is never enough—even though we wish it could be. Gleaning surprisingly practical insights from sources as diverse as Dante, St. Augustine, and Jane Austen, John Armstrong lends a philosopher’s expansive insight and his own personal humor to the often over sentimentalized topic of love. This charming, intellectual discussion considers why we are so keenly fascinated with the rhapsodic initial phase of “falling in love,” even though what we most desire is lasting, long-term love—an emotionally involved relationship not only between lovers but also among friends and family. Armstrong’s exploration of the awkward transition from romantic passion to mature love captures characteristic moments in the unfolding experience of intimacy, such as recognition, imagination, flirtation, infatuation, happiness, and, of course, sex. He traces the influential ideas—from Plato to Freud, via Stendhal and Tolstoy, through evolutionary psychology and Woody Allen’s psyche—that have shaped the conditions and expectations that we carry as lovers today. Ultimately, Armstrong’s accessible, witty musings deliver the optimistically lighthearted message of carpe diem.
Publisher: W. W. NORTON & COMPANY