The End of the Novel of Love
Posted by Cassia on October 29, 1997 at 19:06:22:
I've been reading reviews for a new book called The End of the Novel of Love and I've finally decided I must read it. The author Vivian Gornick argues that love is no longer a strong enough force to drive a novel the way it was in Madame Bovary, or Anna Karenina. We no longer expect that love will reveal something about self. Perhaps this is why I've heard Possession called middle-brow so frequently, some people believe the above idea to be true.
Sherry mentioned The Bridges of Madison County and it is an apt comparison. Yet it is a comparison that doesn't satisfy. The denouments of the stories offer different versions of the world. I sometimes envy anyone who lived before Freud. I envy that everything was not discussed and dissected and catagorised to death in their world. That it was possible to go to a lover new; without having seen everything there is to see time and again in snippets of film. I envy their sense of wonder at their bodies and the discovery of the bed. I envy that things between two people could be kept between two people. I envy their privacy. I envy that they never had to doubt that they had hearts, minds and souls as well as bodies and that these things mattered.
How could love become to weak an element to drive a novel? Does this mean that our hearts no longer matter? That we are what we eat, buy, own? Is there no more room for the sublime emotions in the world?
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