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Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time (Norton Professional Books (Paperback)) Paperback – February 17, 2003
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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To delve into the subject of love with relational psychologist Stephen A. Mitchell is to race headfirst into an enormous haystack with a kid who's intent on finding not one, but probably a dozen, needles. In Can Love Last? Mitchell's boyish curiosity and profound intelligence virtually set fire to the subject, both enlightening and challenging his readers. Mitchell's premise is that romance, in its many forms, is key to a life worth living.
Why, then, does the sizzle so often fizzle, especially in committed relationships? More importantly, what forces compel humans to actively douse romantic flames in favor of more "stable" love? Mitchell's probings of these and other questions take him on a fascinating journey through times and topics historical as well as contemporary. From Plato to Freud, Homer to Kris Kristofferson, Mitchell weaves history, philosophy, literature, and (of course) psychology into a surprisingly sensible pattern. Yes, a few loud threads stand out, including his well-supported theory that "stable" love is actually much riskier than romance. But over all, differing theories on love and desire, stability and adventure, or surrender and control find more parallels than crossroads under Mitchell's tender care, making this book an intellectual gift to the masses. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
When New York University professor and popular psychoanalysis theorist Mitchell died in December 2000, he left behind a robust body of work that made Freudian theories accessible to all. It's not surprising, then, that this postmortem work should have broad appeal. A combination of clinical case studies, psychoanalytical thought and practical advice, Mitchell's riff on the fragility and necessity of romantic love is written with warmth and intelligence. He manages to simplify some of Freud's most complex theories and give them new significance for those who wonder why love is often a battlefield. Real-life examples, taken from his practice, are an invaluable addition. In a section on guilt, for example, he briefly describes how Freud considered the emotion to be "the linchpin of our ascent from the bestial to the civilized," then brings in the work of Viennese-born analyst Melanie Klein and concludes with the story of "Will," whose tendency toward feeling guilty created havoc with his romantic relationships. By mixing the case study method, so common in self-help books, with scholarly insight, Mitchell creates a work on romance that is rich and multilayered, giving the individual stories more weight and the intellectual commentary more humanity. In his conclusion, Mitchell writes like a loving father penning a wedding day message to his child, gently advising that romance isn't about "a labored struggle to contrive novelty," but instead about tolerance and understanding. It's common advice, but given the rest of the work's depth, humor and rigor, these familiar words take on new, and much welcomed, meaning. (Feb. 14)Forecast: Mitchell was always adept at user-friendly writing, and this work follows in that tradition. Can Love Last? would do well on its own merit, and the Valentine's Day pub date should push sales further.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Does passion always fade? Do we need to choose relationships at the base of the pyramid of needs-- passionless but sustaining, predictable but safe? Can we ever sustain that passion that we feel at the beginning of a relationship?
What Mitchell says (with quiet authority that makes me believe him) is that yes, we can, if we are brave enough to really want that to happen. What he argues is that passion, while desirable, is ultimately quite threatening and that it takes both personal mastery and courage to be willing to let it into your life. Mitchell asserts that it is not romance which is the illusion, it is safety which is the illusion. Romance is the thing which brings the reality of the world to us-- with all its danger and complexity. Safety is a veil which we throw over others potentially close to us to keep them from coming close enough to hurt.
Mitchell created a readable book which should appeal to professionals in the field as well as ordinary folk looking for some answers to complicated problems. He builds his arguments carefully using a combination of prior work and original thinking derived from his practice and patients.
Very impressive, thought provoking, and blessedly free from overly complicated language.
not an easy journey but can be done if one is aware and the partner is also. For psychologically
minded adults or those who wish to be....brilliant.