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Marriage, a History: From Obedience to…
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Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered… (urspr publ 2005; utgåvan 2005)

av Stephanie Coontz

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7041623,373 (3.87)33
Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn't get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?" In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes listeners from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is-and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the nineteenth century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today's marital debate.… (mer)
Medlem:lyndagdodd
Titel:Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage
Författare:Stephanie Coontz
Info:Viking Adult (2005), Hardcover, 448 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Marriage, a History: from Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage av Stephanie Coontz (2005)

Senast inlagd avmapesm, privat bibliotek, Steve_Walker, obdurateesther, doengels, 500books, buffygurl
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» Se även 33 omnämnanden

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This book made me stop at nearly every paragraph to ponder everything I ever thought I knew about the institution of marriage. (And with quite a lot of varied personal experience in and out of that arena, I had the silly notion that I was beginning to comprehend a good bit.)

Coontz traces the best understandings of the origins of marriage beginning way back in prehistory and describes the amazing variety of forms marriage has taken all around the world. As the narrative moves from prehistory to the present, the scope correspondingly narrows to predominantly north America and western Europe, but that is truly the only short-coming in this deeply resourced study. (Because it was published in 2005, the work ends before the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, holding the fundamental right to marry is constitutionally guaranteed to same-sex couples.)

"Marriage, a History" examines marriage from inside and out; the societal, religious, familial, economic, and political forces that act on marriage and the ways in which marriage acts right back; and the hopes, dreams, and expectations that individuals have about and within marriages. Coontz concludes that marriage is no longer and can never again be an institution into which virtually all people can be plunked and expected to remain for the entirety of their adult lives. She reaches this conclusion not out of any subjective or judgmental view about whether marriage is right or wrong, good or bad, but rather as a result of the clear-eyed analysis of the facts gleaned from the history and progression of marriage in the world.

Thanks to my daughter for loaning me this book! ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Mar 18, 2020 |
3.5 stars

Love has only been a precursor to marriage the past couple of hundred years or so. Before that, marriage was mostly for financial or political reasons. Love may or may not have come later. So what many call “traditional marriage” is not really as “traditional” as some might have one believe. What’s often seen as traditional or ideal was really only what marriage was (seen as) in the 1950s for just over a decade. Of course, what went on behind closed doors is not exactly what “Ozzie and Harriet” would have us all believe, either.

The author is a family studies professor. The book takes a look at the history of marriage during different times and cultures in history (though the focus, certainly for modern marriages, is on the Western world). I found this quite interesting. The book has an extensive “Notes” section at the end for those of us who also like to peruse through it for extra tidbits of information. As someone who has never been married, for some reason, I added this to my tbr ages ago! ( )
1 rösta LibraryCin | Apr 5, 2019 |
ok, i read approximately 15% of this book and got the jist: marriages throughout cultures and history have common threads, but all are actually very different from each other, and our modern perception of marriage for love is incredibly new. I just didn''t really care for her style of writing, which was to essentially provide many short examples of different types of marriages in a row, so i forgot what the overarching topic of the section even was. Essentially, the first 40 pages of this book was a list of examples of marriage in different cultures, designed to make the reader say "man, that's crazy!!!!" But it got old pretty quickly. Regarding books on the topic of marriage, I'd definitely recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage" to get a broad introduction to the history of western marriage, grounded in a personal point of view. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
This is a sweeping history of the institution of marriage (including how it shifted from being an institution to a relationship). People used to marry for political or economic reasons instead of primarily for love and personal fulfillment: to make an alliance with powerful or wealthy families, or to join together with the person whose farmland was next to yours. The in-laws were as important as the two people in the marriage. Now marriage is generally regarded as a choice two individuals make, and it is becoming more of an equal partnership - not for the first time, but as it used to be.

Quotes

Introduction

In those days there were few two-career marriages. Most people had a two-person, married-couple career that neither could conduct alone. (6)

Today most people expect to live their lives in a loving relationship, not a rigid institution. (10)

The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love

...in early modern Europe most people believed that love developed after marriage. (18)

The Invention of Marriage

The story that marriage was invented for the protection of women is still the most widespread myth about the origins of marriage. (35)

I do not believe...that marriage was invented to oppress women any more than it was invented to protect them. (44)

Soap Operas of the Ancient World

...in most cases, marriage was still a matter of practical calculation rather than an arrangement entered into for individual fulfillment and the pursuit of happiness. (65)

For thousands of years...the economic functions of marriage were far more important to the middle and lower classes than were its personal satisfactions, while among the upper classes, the political functions of marriage took first place. (69)

Something Borrowed

The world's first experiment in democratic government did nothing to improve the rights and social status of wives....Athens was one of the few societies in history prior to the nineteenth century that idealized the role of wives as dependent homemakers rather than as work mates for their husbands. (76)

Like many contemporary boosters of the sanctity of marriage, [Octavian/Augustus] did not let his own divorce and many sexual liaisons inhibit him from trying to impose marital virtue and "family values" on others. (83)

How the Other 95 Percent Wed

Women were not necessarily impoverished by divorce in the medieval world. Because no one in the Middle Ages ever claimed that the man was the main breadwinner, a divorced wife was entitled to a percentage of the household estate in line with the labor she had contributed to it. (105)

...until the 17th century the most typical prior consent suit was brought not by a deserted woman or unwed mother by by a man trying to force a woman into marriage after she had rejected him or even married someone else. (109)

In urban as well as rural areas, marriage expanded a man's authority while restricting a woman's....A married woman...was covered by her husband's identity and lacked any legal standing on her own. (115)

From Yoke Mates to Soul Mates

It was harder to dismiss calls to extend equal rights to women when people no longer believed that every relationship had to have a ruler and a subject. (153)

"women's labor was radically undervalued in the world of cash transactions" (Catherine Kelley,156)

The new theory of gender difference divided humanity into two distinct sets of traits. The male sphere encompassed the rational and active ideal, while females represented the humanitarian and compassionate aspects of life. When these two spheres were brought together in marriage, they produced a perfect, well-rounded whole. (156)

"Two Birds Within One Nest"

"Two birds within one nest;
Two hearts within one breast...
A world of strife shut out,
A world of love shut in."
Dora Greenwell, "Home," 1863 (p. 163)

"A Heaving Volcano"

...the conviction that men and women had inherently different natures remained an impediment to the intensification of romantic love and intimacy. (184)

There was a remarkable continuity in the legal subjugation of women from the Middle Ages until the end of the nineteenth century. (186)

"The Time When Mountains Move Has Come"

Traditionalists worried that...changes in sexual expectations might lead women to put their own happiness above that of their husbands. Instead, historian Nancy Cott suggests, "sex appeal" replaced "submission" as a wife's first responsibility to her husband... (204)

The Era of Ozzie and Harriet

The cultural consensus that everyone should marry and form a male breadwinner family was like a steamroller that crushed every alternative view. (229)

At every turn, popular culture and intellectual elites alike discouraged women from seeing themselves as productive members of society. (236)

Winds of Change

It was by reading about what marriage ought to be that many women saw what their own marriages weren't. (252)

Uncharted Territory

The big problem doesn't lie in differences between what men and women want out of life and love. The big problem is how hard it is to achieve equal relationships in a society whose work policies, school schedules, and social programs were constructed on the assumption that male breadwinner families would always be the norm. (299-300)

Over the past century, marriage has steadily become more fair, more fulfilling, and more effective in fostering the well-being of both adults and children than ever before in history. It has also become more optional and more fragile. (301)

Conclusion

This is a recurring pattern in periods of massive historical change. The gains that social change produces in some areas of life are usually inseparable from the losses it produces in others. (308)

Notes

"The Last User of a Secret Woman's Code," NYT, 10/7/2004
"A Language By Women for Women," WaPo, 2/24/2004 ( )
  JennyArch | Feb 14, 2016 |
ok, i read approximately 15% of this book and got the jist: marriages throughout cultures and history have common threads, but all are actually very different from each other, and our modern perception of marriage for love is incredibly new. I just didn''t really care for her style of writing, which was to essentially provide many short examples of different types of marriages in a row, so i forgot what the overarching topic of the section even was. Essentially, the first 40 pages of this book was a list of examples of marriage in different cultures, designed to make the reader say "man, that's crazy!!!!" But it got old pretty quickly. Regarding books on the topic of marriage, I'd definitely recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage" to get a broad introduction to the history of western marriage, grounded in a personal point of view. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
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George Bernard Shaw described marriage as an institution that brings together two people "under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions."
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Wikipedia på engelska (3)

Just when the clamor over "traditional" marriage couldn't get any louder, along comes this groundbreaking book to ask, "What tradition?" In Marriage, a History, historian and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz takes listeners from the marital intrigues of ancient Babylon to the torments of Victorian lovers to demonstrate how recent the idea of marrying for love is-and how absurd it would have seemed to most of our ancestors. It was when marriage moved into the emotional sphere in the nineteenth century, she argues, that it suffered as an institution just as it began to thrive as a personal relationship. This enlightening and hugely entertaining book brings intelligence, perspective, and wit to today's marital debate.

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