Women in Love

The concept of romantic love emerged in the Western culture in the Middle Ages. It was different from the views of love that had existed before that, although hints of it can be found in earlier societies and cultures.

In the fourth century BCE, the form of loved described by the Classical Greek philosopher Plato (429 to 347 BCE) referred to finding a person to complement a part of oneself in a bid to recover an original unity of souls. The object of this Platonic love could be of the same or of different sex, although for Plato the love of youths was held much higher than the love of women. In the first century BCE in Roman society, where women had a higher standing than in Greece, the conclusion was that love brought inevitable misery to men.

During the Middle Ages, women and love had little influence in literature, which was mainly written by the clergy. However, women could be patrons of literature and some believe it was this patronage that played a key role in the development of romantic love. A few women made an impact here, including Heloise d'Argenteuil (1101 to 1164) in her love letters to Peter Abelard (1079 to 1142) in the 12th century. Poet Marie de France (her actual name is not known, this is her writing name) wrote traditional love literature and writer Christine de Pizan (1363 to 1430) was described as an early feminist for her work.

According to researchers, there is a difference in the way men and women describe love. Men often describe themselves as more involved in game playing, while women's descriptions of themselves include them being more friendship-oriented and practical. Men idealize an altruistic love more than women do, while women are more realistic. Both men and women emphasize the importance of passionate love, which is a phenomenon no longer confined to the Western world.

There are different kinds of love, such as the love of a parent. Mothers in particular feel for their babies and this is viewed as one of the deepest emotional connections. Parental love changes over time as children grow up and become independent. According to psychologists, love is a combination of intimacy, commitment and passion. This is true for all kinds of love, including parental love, affection and loyalty between friends, a romance between lovers, or warm feelings for a pet.

According to the Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung (1875 to 1961), a woman has an unconscious male spirit, called the "animus", while a man has an unconscious female spirit, referred to as the "anima." Jung believed that people often fall in love with those who are representations of their own inner male or female spirit. Referring to the death of popular silent film star Rudolph Valentino in 1926, Jung said it left women across the world weeping as if they had lost their own lovers. Jung felt that women really must have been weeping over the loss of their inner male spirits.

Jung argued that the relationship between the animus and anima was the most perfect relationship. He saw the animus and anima as archetypes that contain a person's preferences and psychological characteristics to fit their personality. When a man meets his anima, and the woman meets her animus, Jung says this is a perfect combination. The argument goes that they feel ‘magically' connected to one another and cannot separate without suffering depression for the rest of their lives.

Jung believed that such a partner was like a part of a person's body and that there were many obstacles an individual would face to prevent him or her living with their true love. He advised that in the search for love everyone should be patient about getting involved with someone, especially if they may not be the ideal partner. Jung warned that an extremely difficult situation could result if a person had a relationship with someone who is not his or her soul mate.

In general, psychologists in this field argue that the abstract, conceptual ideology of "love" obscures the reality of a woman's individual experiences and struggles, gender relations and patriarchy. As a result, essential issues and problems are concealed, making everything seem fine. The symbolic discourse of love can be seen in sharp contrast with the reality of women's experiences with love.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Women in Love
D. H. Lawrence; David Bradshaw.
Oxford University Press, 1998
The Vital Art of D.H. Lawrence: Vision and Expression
Jack Stewart.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Expressionism in Women in Love," Chap. 5 "'Primitivism' in Women in Love," and Chap. 6 "Futurism and Mechanism in Women in Love"
D. H. Lawrence: The Man Who Lived
Robert B. Partlow Jr.; Harry T. Moore.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1980
Librarian’s tip: "Homoerotic Feeling in Women in Love: Lawrence's 'Struggle for Verbal Consciousness' in the Manuscripts" begins on p. 168, and "Women in Love and the Myth of Eros and Psyche" begins on p. 207
Theorizing Lawrence: Nine Meditations on Tropological Themes
Gerald Doherty.
Peter Lang, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Women in Love: Live Tropes and Dead Bodies" and, Chap. 5 "Women in Love: The Art of Leaping"
Death and the Rhetoric of Representation in D.H. Lawrence's 'Women in Love.'
Doherty, Gerald.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 27, No. 1, March 1994
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
D.H. Lawrence's "Dark Page": Narrative Primitivism in 'Women in Love' and 'The Plumed Serpent.' (English Author)
Neilson, Brett.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 3, Fall 1997
The Myth of the Fall in 'Women in Love.' (D.H. Lawrence)
Stewart, Jack F.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4, Fall 1995
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
D. H. Lawrence: The Failure and the Triumph of Art
Eliseo Vivas.
Northwestern University Press, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nine "The Form of Women in Love"
The Novels of D. H. Lawrence: A Search for Integration
John E. Stoll.
University of Missouri Press, 1971
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Dissolution and Reassertion: Women in Love"
Writing against the Family: Gender in Lawrence and Joyce
Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Women in Love begins on p. 102
A D. H. Lawrence Miscellany
Harry T. Moore; D. H. Lawrence.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: "Symbolism in Women in Love" begins on p. 83
Staging the Gaze in D.H. Lawrence's 'Women in Love.'
Ingersoll, Earl.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 26, No. 3, Fall 1994
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
D. H. Lawrence: Pleasure and Death
Friedman, Alan W.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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