Thursday, 27 September 2007 18:39

Love taught me not to love

In his article Falling In and Out of Love, Bob discusses love, or, better, about how to control one’s feeling… French literature gives us famous examples of thwarted loves due to State reasons (’Berenice’ by Racine) or moral necessities (’The Princess of Cleves’ by Madame de Lafayette). In each case, love does not triumph at the end but has to be sacrificed in the name of what must transcend the only selfish and individual desire or feeling… They all tell stories of renouncement; fewer are the stories that describe the pain felt after breaking up.

Why is it so difficult to let go a lost love and especially a love that one knows full well it is not suitable? Proust gives his own explanation of that phenomenon: “Talking about love, it is easier to renounce a feeling than to give up a habit” (’La Prisonniere’). Indeed, the narrator in the book, despite thinking for a long time about breaking up with his lover, once she’s gone before his call, just feels a great emptiness and the irresistible desire to go after her…

In ’The Dangerous Liaisons’, Madame de Tourvel just dies after receiving the famous letter sent by Valmont but dictated by la Marquise de Merteuil, “Angel, this is not my fault…” Indeed, when a relationship ends, whose fault should it be? Who should bear the responsibility? At least one should know that people are not just here to do their bidding.

The end of a love relationship is like a small death. In French, we are used to saying “to do the mourning of a relationship” to describe the fact that someone has to come to terms with having split up. Indeed, it is not only the loss of the loved one that makes the situation so painful but also the loss of the comfort, the reassuring sensation of not being alone to face and discover the world…



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