Did the French invent love? Renate Stendahl reviews Marilyn Yalom’s new book and looks for the answer:
Did the French invent love? Or would it be more true to say that love is endlessly reinvented every moment, in every culture, every epoch? What the French did is what Arabian and Persian cultures had done before them: invite the beastly, sexual part of human nature into culture. The French cultured and cultivated love from the Middle Ages onward until it became l’amour à la française — a reason for national pride. The clichés of French sexiness, French charm, French people’s ease about their own and their presidents’ affairs are hard to dispute; they go together with the well known sensuous importance in France of food and flirtation, verbal brilliance and fashion. There has been a recent flurry of books by Americans attempting to decode the better sex lives of the French and the enduring mystery of French women. (Among them, What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind; Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide for Finding Her Inner French Girl; All You Need to Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, and Little Secrets of French Women; French Women Don’t Sleep Alone; The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret; and La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life.) Marilyn Yalom’s new study, How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance, reaches beyond the stereotypes by focusing on literature, making an erudite, elegant, and charming case for France’s love “invention.”
Click here to read the rest.
I’m actually shocked by the number of books there are on this subject. Is there really such a huge difference between French and American romance cultures?
^ That’s a question I’ve always asked myself too.
Other women (especially American and English) are always romanticizing French people and “French love”, so annoying…I’m yet to see a genuinely happy and normal French couple, without their “amants” and all. I can no longer bear to hear foreign women speak of French men because they are so delusional and believe in their fantasies. And Mystery and French women? that’s a first lol.