The Paradox of Love

By Pascal Bruckner; Steven Rendall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
I Love You: Weakness and Capture

To say to someone: I love you, is to tell him:
You shall not die.

GABRIEL MARCEL

There are people who would never have fallen in love
had they never heard people talk about love.

FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD

I tell a woman that I love her…. Have I not simply
promised … that this word will have the meaning
we give it by living together? We are going to create
it, and that is a great task. Has it waited for us to give
it the meaning that we shall give it? And if our goal is
to give it a meaning, that is because we are going to
work for it, not for us, and thus it is our master.

BRICE PARRAIN, Recherches sur le langage

We know the famous scene in Molière where the “bourgeois gentleman” is learning rhetoric, an art dear to the Précieuses of his time, and repeats with delight, turning it this way and that, the sentence: “Marquise, vos beaux yeux me font mourir d’amour.” Even when the sentence is reversed, it

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