Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession

Article excerpt

by Rosemary Sullivan

HARPER COLLINS, 2001

Review by Bev Greenberg

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In her latest work, literary biographer Rosemary Sullivan addresses the notion of romantic obsession, a subject that has captured the imaginations of women throughout the ages.

According to her, when such an obsession occurs, "life stops us suddenly in our tracks and we love in a way that we didn't know was possible." Under these circumstances, women continue to think, talk, dream and obsess about the other person to the point where "life is suspended on the thread of one other human being."

Counting herself among those women who have at one time succumbed to obsessive love, Sullivan had often questioned the reasons for its appeal. However, it was her research findings about the life of romantically obsessed writer Elizabeth Smart that further aroused Sullivan's curiosity about the nature of these relationships and led her to write about them.

The book's opening chapter presents an eloquent narrative in which a lonely Canadian woman visits Mexico and embarks on an intense affair with a local man. …