Love in Western Literature

This book tries to draft a historical route through Western Literature (particularly European, from Middle Ages to Stendhal) focusing the matter of love. Is such a trail a journey to glory, or a descent down to failure? The author leans heavily toward the second hypothesis. By failure we mean a progressive lowering of love sublimity, a gradual loss of sense, an opaque rising dullness. The unlucky love has been the glory of passion for Courtly and Petrarchan ages. But the desacralization of love will be the actual destiny of this culture, in diffraction and delusion. Even the adulterous liaison, tragic and sublime to the full extent in Paolo and Francesca or Tristan und Isolde, becomes boring, worthless and indecisive in novels by Constant or, later, Eça de Queiros. This essay deepens some of the countless ways in which love fails in Western tradition.

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