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Against Love: A Polemic Paperback – Sep 14 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Sept. 14 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375719326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375719325
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 13 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kipnis comes from the Susan Sontag school of writing and the rules are:
1) Be witty and make clever observations.
2) If you disagree with someone, put them down with snide comments rather good arguments.
3) Don't bother doing any research as being bloated from a diet of popular culture is a good substitute for the collection of facts.
This isn't good enough.
I would have been much more impressed if Kipnis had spent time examining the biology of love. A few pages of what actually goes on in our neurobiologies when we fall for someone would have disillusioned much more than a cynical survey of the results of those neurochemicals firing. Think how Darwin destroyed religious superstition with his research. Instead, Kipnis shows how silly people act and how silly people think who criticize how people act when under the influence of romantic/erotic love.
Love is literally dopey (due to the brain's dopamine). People who waste years of their life looking for love are morons. And Kipnis missed an opportunity to tell it like it is to her mostly female readership.
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By Dorothyanne Brown TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Okay, this and the wonderful History of Celibacy should be on every woman's bedside table, to be hauled out to read when you are contemplating ditching your latest paramour and returning to your own personal space.
But seriously, this is a wonderful rant about love, to be valued both for the points Kipnis makes and the way she makes them. In a way, this book reminds me of Pema Chodron's instruction to abandon hope, as one can't have hope without despair. Kipnis teases love apart and leaves us looking over the entrails, wondering what ever made us think such an enterprise was worthwhile, and yet, and yet...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Gunderson on May 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
This long essay (it hardly lays claim to the stature of book) is delightfully well written, and it mounts a very convincing series of arguments against the institution of marriage and the false ideas about the eternality of love that are associated with it. It is certainly well worth the read.
Unfortunately, Kipnis' argument that adultery is a significant form of political resistance to oppressive social mores is far less successful than her argument against marriage. While there is undoubtedly a political element to cheating (inasmuch as marriage is an inherently social phenomenon), she wildly overstates its subversive power. In fact, it would not be at all difficult to argue that adultery oftentimes prolongs the misery of a bad marriage. One could even argue that cheating simply carries the delusions typically associated with marriage into non-married territory.
People who cheat on their spouses are like the Luddites, the factory workers who attacked the factory machinery instead of the plant owners--their rage is real and valid, but entirely ineffectively directed.
Opposed to marriage? Don't get married, and don't hesitate to tell people why you think marriage is a bad idea. Unhappy in a marriage? Get divorced. But whatever you do, don't try to couch fundamental dishonesty in the rhetoric of righteousness (as Kipnis does here)--we get enough of that from our corporate CEOs and politicians.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan on May 26 2004
Format: Hardcover
Marriage, as the basis of family, is by the far the most venerated social institution in the United States. It is where two uniquely attracted people can supposedly fully realize true love. Yet, half of all marriages do not last. That fact coupled with the actual characteristics of surviving marriages leads the author to a rather strong critique of the entire institution.
The author finds that passion and attraction, those things that make courtships so exhilarating and that are considered to be core elements of marriages, disappear rather quickly. Frequently, what remains are relationships bubbling with rancor that have become deadened. All manner of surveillance of the marital partner is used to squash any possibility of infidelity. Large doses of blame are doled out because of perceived failures to attend to, and even anticipate, the psychological and emotional needs of the partner. The reactions are withdrawal, subservience, or hostility. Among the counselor community this state of affairs may need adjustment, but is regarded as basically normal. The author derides the notion that this state of affairs is in any way normal and all that is needed is "hard work" to increase marital harmony.
The author compares the control regime and lowered expectations of marriages with workplace environments and even citizenship. In an era of economic dislocation, the admonition to work harder is hardly liberating. Rebels, meaning those who actually attempt to grasp for more and counter established authority, are dealt with harshly. This is the context in which the author places adultery. When passion suddenly appears, many will take large risks to escape marital suffocation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TSmith on April 15 2004
Format: Hardcover
A barbed expose of the myths surrounding the sacred cows of marriage and monogamy. I found myself shaking my head in agreement many times while reading this book. I also laughed until tears rolled down my eyes at the long list of things one mustn't do while in a long-term relationship.
The only thing that kept me from giving this book five stars was Kipnis' excessive use of run-on sentences. Otherwise, good job!
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