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De l'amour by Stendhal
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De l'amour (original 1822; edition 1980)

by Stendhal, Stendhal (Auteur), Victor Del Litto (Sous la direction de)

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5121119,905 (3.55)14
Member:jgcorrea
Title:De l'amour
Authors:Stendhal
Other authors:Stendhal (Auteur), Victor Del Litto (Sous la direction de)
Info:Gallimard (1980), Poche, 562 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:essays

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Love by Stendhal (1822)

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» See also 14 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I'm so happy to be done with this. I can't imagine anyone, even in the 19th Century, could take most of what was written to heart and think it actual philosophy. Half of what he was on about he had to pull out of his rear. ( )
  Cathyvil | Apr 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As Stendhal was obsessed with love, in many ways we all are. We all can understand passion, of not always having that passion or love returned, and of discovering different varieties of love as we experience life. This long essay really brings home how universal love is: the book was written in 1822 and yet it seems nothing about love has changed since then.

Love being so strongly and universally felt, it is easy to understand how difficult it would be to write down exactly what love is. And so while enjoyable to read from the standpoint of being relating, the book is also incomplete, fleeting, and sometimes arbitrary in its discussions. And yet, that is exactly how we all experience it. ( )
  briantomlin | May 29, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you love French literature, and if you have never read Stendhal yet, please take your earliest opportunity to read something by him, including this volume, On Love, or one of his famous novels, like The Red and the Black.
This book is a explanation of love that exhausts just about every angle and sub-topic that could be thought of. Of course in the early 19th century, the Scientific Revolution was well underway, so hardly surprising. Just like any other scholarly work, the author wants to tip his hat to all the earlier authorities, some well-known, some quite obscure, who have written on this subject. Therfore, be prepared for numerous quotes throughout the text.
I estimate that if this had been written in the 21st Century, it would probably come out as a how-to book, such as "How to Be Successful in Love," or some other such title. Of course anyone who has been in a bookstore has seen examples of this type of book, some of which boil down to a crash course on "How to Score with Chicks." But really, after all, above is a false assumption that I have thrown into the ring. No crass sentiments in this book.
Rather, the author says very clearly on the very first page that "I am trying to understand this passion, all of the truest forms of which are characterised by beauty." (page 3.)
I always enjoy name dropping. Therefore, I like to read all of the quotes Stendhal gives from other literary works, and then see how he comments on them.
Wondering what Stendhal thought of Sir Walter Scott. I can find out indirectly following these two steps. First, read his excerpt from Ivanhoe on page 66, Chapter XXIX (On Feminine Courage): "I tell thee, proud templar, that not in thy fiercest battles hadst thou displayed more of thy vaunted courage, than has been shown by woman when called upon to suffer by affection or duty."
Second, by reading the comments on page 67, and reminiscing back to the characters in The Red and the Black, I can see how the author says or doesn't say similar things about both works.
Yes, reader, if you enjoy reading about "Love"--and how many great novels are not about love in one way or another--this is a great way to take a break from novels. This is your chance to see how one of the world's greatest love-novel authors gave us the inside track to fhe theories or ideas that may have helped to generate his novels.
  libraryhermit | Sep 12, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I must admit, I had a difficult time reading Stendhal's On Love, the first time through. It seems disjointed (ADHD comes to mind). Thinking that perhaps this was more a function of how I was reading the volume (bits here and there), I re-read and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Given the numerous, short chapters (40 in less than 110 pages), it is tempting to read in short bursts-- don't!! Looking at the volume as a whole, Stendhal walks us through his four types of love (passionate, mannered, physical and vain), the seven stages of love and in particular, a detailed discussion of one stage - crystallisation. On the way he addresses topics such as Hope, Modesty, Infatuation, Intimacy and Jealousy (including tips on how to fend off a rival!) I could not help thinking of the term "trophy wife" while reading the section on Vain Love. Historically Interesting from the vantage point of early 18th century roles of men and women with some added insight as to what other authors Stendhal was reading. An example of the eye-brow raising advice he offers is:

"Many husbands ensure long years of a loving marriage simply by taking a little mistress two months after the wedding."

The Hesperus volume has a strong cover (all of their volumes I have received have been very well built), extended flaps that can serve as bookmarks, is well annotated (provdes great contextual information) and has a good Foreword by AC Grayling setting the stage for the volume. ( )
  jsoos | Jul 22, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was lucky enough to snag an Early Reviewer’s Copy of the Hesperus Press paperback edition of Stendhal’s On Love. Having always wanted to read some Stendhal and not having got around to it yet, this was a good opportunity to remedy that with a short book on a topic that everyone ponders at some point in their life. Love. A.C. Grayling, in his forward, says, “…this is a gem of literature, one of many possible windows into the human soul, a book one must at some point read and meditate upon.”

First of all, I’d like to say something about the edition that Hesperus was kind enough to send me. This is a high quality paperback. Nice thick covers that fold over in the front and the back and can be used as a bookmarker if you so choose. Good quality paper that is not so transparent as to be distracting, copious footnotes and endnotes. Hesperus Press, as suggested by the Latin motto 'Et Remotissima Prope', is committed to bringing near what is far - far both in space and time. Works written by the greatest authors, and unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English-speaking world, are made accessible through new translations and a completely fresh editorial approach. Through these classic works, the reader is introduced to the greatest writers from all times and cultures. This is book is apparently part of their “on” series…I would certainly buy their editions over the usual paperbacks you see on the market these days.

I really liked this book and the way Stendhal broke up love into four different types: Passionate love, mannered love, physical love, and vain love. Physical love is where we all start around our teens. We may move on to experience the other types of love at different times in our life, although I don’t think Vain Love, or what I call “arm candy style” love, is one I hope I never succumb to. He further describes seven states of love: admiration, increasingly thinking about the person, hope, the birth of love, the first crystallization, the appearance of doubts, and the second crystallization.

The crystallization process is very interesting in and of itself. This is the process of “beautifying” and covering up the faults and slights of our lover with exaggerations and emphasis of their charms. I believe it’s called “spin” in our times! But it’s not necessarily a bad think in the case of love, as Stendhal goes on to describe in detail. He calls it the “beautification of a loved one in the act of loving”.

Stendhal was a lover of love and a lover of women. Grayling calls him a feminist in that he believed that “the encounter with the feminine in the special circumstances of courtship is valuable in itself, one of the life-enhancing experiences.” He goes on to state that the task of writing about love fully and coherently is difficult if not impossible.

Some of my favorite quotes:

'Indeed, half - the most beautiful half - of life is hidden from one who has not loved passionately'

'If both are perfectly at ease, the happiness of two individuals ends by melting into one. Thanks to affinities and other laws of human nature, this is quite simply the greatest happiness we can wish for.'

'There are some moments with one's beloved that the imagination never tires of replaying and embellishing. This is what makes it so difficult to forget a woman with whom one has found happiness.'

'Besides, there cannot be ingratitude in love: the pleasure of the moment always seems to reward even the greatest sacrifices. The greatest mistake, in my opinion, is lack of honesty, for a lover ought simply to show his true feelings.'

'The difference between the meanings of unfaithfulness for the two sexes is so great that a woman in love may pardon an infidelity... Here is an authoritative rule for distinguishing truly passionate love from that founded on 'pique': for women, infidelity will practically destroy the one but will strengthen the other.'

'It seems to me that the entire art of love comes down to saying exactly what the current moment's degree of intoxication requires; in other words, it is all about listening to your heart. Of course, that is easier said than done.' ( )
  jveezer | Jul 18, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (64 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stendhalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stendhalmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Berges, ConsueloEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertela, MaddalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grayling, A. C.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, B. C. J. GIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, SophieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moravia, SergioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortega y Gasset, Josésecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sale, GilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sale, SuzanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, JeanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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