A Natural History of Love
Random House, 1994 - 358 páginas
Following the triumphant success of her A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman has turned her formidable gifts to that greatest gift of all - the elusive, eternal, and endlessly interesting matter of love. The result is pure Ackerman: a splendid, serious, scientific, poetic, playful, and lyrical "tour d'horizon" of love's many forms and faces. Ackerman draws on a variety of sources, both classical and from her immediate experience. The historical, cultural, religious, and biological roots of love are all explored and illuminated. She gives a fresh new reading to Freud ("mapping the war zones of the heart"), Stendhal (love as fantasy), and Proust ("the erotics of waiting"), and draws lessons from lovers across time. Her attention then moves to the physical - the chemistry, biology, and neurophysiology associated with love in the brain, mind, and body. She discusses the "evolution of the face", the cuddle, both as caress and as chemical, and the customs of marriage. There are astonishments everywhere. Her distinctive touch, aided by her personal adventures and explorations, enriches our understanding of women and horses, men and mermaids, sex and flying, and other equally enticing subjects. The book begins: "Love is the great intangible". Diane Ackerman then proceeds to make it more tangible, traceable, breathable, and ... well, lovable.