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The Making of Romantic LoveLonging and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE$
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William M. Reddy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226706269

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226706283.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Making of Romantic Love

William M. Reddy

University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter discusses the main themes covered in this book, which explores the historical origins of the Western conception of romantic love. It shows that this very specific, Western conception of romantic love was first formulated in the twelfth century. The making of “courtly love,” the medieval version of romantic love, in twelfth-century Europe is compared to the very different practices of sexual partnerships in two other places: in regional kingdoms of Bengal and Orissa in the ninth through twelfth centuries; and among the imperial aristocracy of Heian Japan in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The chapter also discusses the “longing for association” as a type of emotion; the current science of sexual desire; the anthropology of romantic love; how romantic love appears to lock men and women into very rigid roles; and romantic love and the history of sexuality.

Keywords:   romantic love, courtly love, Bengal and Orissa, Heian Japan, sexual desire, sexuality

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