Since the end of the eighteenth century, the pursuit of ‘true love’ has been enshrined
in the expectations of Western societies. We regard this pursuit as out right, and
organise our lives around it. However, the possibility that love is becoming more
difficult to achieve in the West has begun to attract considerable attention. The
consensus is that love is both deeply desirable and extremely difficult to find.
This highly original book explores two aspects of the nature if the apparently socially
essential ‘glue’ of love. The first theme concerns the sources of our ideas about
love: where the concept originated and, most importantly, what its relationship has
been to morality and moral systems. The second theme is our determination to find
love: whatever the social and personal costs, the desire for identification with
another person drives us to impossible expectations and occasionally damaging alternatives.
In a compelling critique, this book rejects the high romantic version of love as
well as what could be described as a contractual version of love. In their place,
it describes a love that depends upon reasoned care and commitment and argues that
we should abandon love in its romanticized and commercialised form.