Books: Vindication of Love

Angelica Kauffman. The Farewell of Abelard and Héloïse (1780)

Some subjects are more difficult than others to convey without sounding nutz, and Cristina Nehring book "Vindication of Love" may sound off kilter to many. In my own lopsided brain, the theme sounds like a cloud separating in the sky to form a sun burst. Harper's review takes no prisoners while Katie Roiphe's review in this week's New York Times digs deeper and perhaps becomes more personal.

The book: Call it spin! Not that old fashioned wringer of clothes, but rather that weaver of romantic tales.

Given only two choices, a solid marriage/partnership or a fortnight of passionate courtship, which to chose.

What do we lose on either side of this lopsided see-saw?

Do all marriages bring joy? Do all romances bring passion?

I am suspicious of both sides of the playground we call love.

Take one of the referenced romances: Abelard and Heloise.

A canon of the Roman Catholic Church, Abelard tutored the young Heloise, and then bedded her.

We are talking 12th century. Exposed, his punishment is cruel, physical and morbid. But he goes on with his life.

Heloise, equally exposed, received what appears the lesser punishment: permanently sequestered in an abbey. She, however, cloistered in the Paraclete, fuels her passion with letters and entreatment to her lost love. He conversely is free to roam the French countryside, extorting conventional church practices, and thinks naught of his once beloved Heloise, and little of their love child, Astrolabe.

Was their passion and/or love worth the price?

Would we know of their love if it had ended in a 40 year marriage?

Just pondering!

No certain answer!

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