Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage

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Penguin, Feb 28, 2006 - History - 448 pages
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Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn’t get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?" In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes readers from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is—and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the nineteenth century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today’s marital debate.

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Enjoyed reading this fascinating and wonderfully researched book. If you want to delve into the basics of today's breaking marriages, you must refer to history; and this book is so great in that. We have gone so far from the point where women were subservient to men to the concept of romantic love discussed in this book as a substitute for marriage. Hats off to the writer who dissects it so well. 


Title Page
The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love
The Invention of Marriage
Soap Operas of the Ancient World
The Marital Legacy of the Classical World
Aristocratic Marriages
Marriage Among the Common
Western European Marriage
Beneath the Surface of Victorian
Marriage in the Great
The Long Decade of Traditional
Part Four Courting Disaster? The Collapse of Universal
The Transformation of Marriage at the
How the Transformation of Marriage

Emergence of the Love Match
Sentimental Marriage

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About the author (2006)

Stephanie Coontz is the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families and teaches history and family studies at The Evergeen State College in Olympia, Washington. She divides her time between Makaha, Hawaii, and Washington. The author of the award-winning The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, she writes about marriage and family issues in many national journals including The Washington Post, Harper’s, Chicago Tribune, and Vogue. Her work has been translated into Japanese, German, French, and Spanish.

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