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Against Love: A Polemic Paperback – September 14, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
We're asked to consider many things about relationships, not just marriage and not just heterosexual relationships...why is it such a difficult thing for two people to get along, let alone love, over an extended period of time? She rightly says that the 50% divorce rate doesn't include the people who remain in marriages of misery. Kipnis offers adultery as a way in which people can feel the rush of coming to life, but she doesn't hesitate to describe the difficulties of taking that route and that it can easily be only a temporary escape. Why does our culture almost desperately hold marriage up as a standard, even while many of those promoting it most seem to have the greatest difficulty practicing what they preach?
When I finished the book I thought of the Buddhist idea that the source of suffering is desire. I also thought of how our society promotes desire as a universal good that should be followed at all times, particularly if the path leads into a store. Is it just a coincidence that while I am shopping for food at the grocery store I can hear love songs being played over the public address system? We want people to want, the encouragement, the inducement is constant. It drives our economy. With every taboo falling or fallen we are consumed with desire without restraint, arriving at our destiny as perfect consumers.Read more ›
In the chapter titled, "Domestic Gulags," Kipnis rebuts the idea that lasting relationships are hard work. "When monogamy becomes labor, when desire is organized contractually, with accounts kept and fidelity extracted like labor from employees, with marriage as a domestic factory policed by means of rigid shop-floor discipline designed to keep the wives and husbands and domestic partners of the world choke-chained to the status quo machinery-is this really what we mean by a `good relationship'?" (19). Kipnis holds up adultery as the acting-out of what our collective social unconscious already holds true. ". . . if adultery is a de facto referendum on the sustainability of monogamy-and it would be difficult to argue that it's not-this also makes it the nearest thing to a popular uprising against the regimes of contemporary coupledom (28). The current and rising levels of divorce and the increase in complicated extended family grouping (one expert calls it a family shrub instead of a family tree-because families now tend to grow horizontally, with exes and steps and ex-steps, etc.Read more ›
This is actually a pretty good read if you're comfortable with the smart-arsed academic, tongue-in-cheek variety. There is a completely unnecessary but fun-to-read bit at the beginning about what Kipnis intends through the polemic form, and like most books written on wide ranging subjects by the professoriat, Kipnis keeps so many argumentative balls in the air at once it's like watching a Benzedrined juggler. But the notion that adulterers are a species of avant gardists who are necessarily challenging the confines and assumptions of a social institution that needs some serious thought--if not a complete overhaul--is not without merit. (Actually, it's got a lot of merit, if you give her arguments half a chance.) That we are all in thrall of the notion of monogamous domestic coupledom, and use it almost as a substitute for notions of God in a secular world, or as something approaching an Aristotelian Form, is actually pretty consonant with the evidence. Almost everybody buys into the notion that a "True Love" is "out there somewhere," that it's just a question of object (the right person--you know "The One") but almost nobody questions these things. Or that the only receptacle for adult love is religiously sanctified, state sanctioned permanent monogamy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book with some hilarious insights. The huge list featuring all the things that people in relationships are not allow to do is golden. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Darren ODonnell
I could not finish it. It sounded like a good, brash polemic at first, and that's what I bought it for. Read morePublished 6 months ago by mbk
I can count on one hand the number of books that have changed my perspective on life and relationships. This book transformed my life for the better. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Wolf
In a nutshell: Kipnis is encouraging having an affair to anyone feeling stuck in a long term relationship or marriage and feeling completely sexually turned off. Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Beatrice Izzey
Kipnis has dissected the modern relationship down to its core fibers. This polemic turned out quite interesting. Exactly what I expected and more.Published on February 26, 2014 by Casey Barton
A brilliant and witty, but emphatically, argued polemic against the sexual, political, and social repressiveness of the institution of marriage—obsessively depicting marriage's... Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by H. Blissberg
Delightful, original, hilarious, penetrating and startling--and that's just the first page. The nature of romantic love is examined without a shred of sentimentality and with more... Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by Donna
I ordered this book after reading the reviews and I was nervous about some warning that her writing style was awkward but I still did. Read morePublished on July 23, 2013 by SMC2020