How do we define love? "It feels like hunger pains, and we use the same word. Pang. Perhaps this is why Cupid is depicted with a quiver of arrows, because love feels at times like being pierced in the chest. It is a wholesome violence. . . . People search for love as if it were a city lost beneath the desert dunes, where pleasure is the law, the streets are lined with brocade cushions, and the sun never sets." So writes Diane Ackerman in her insightful introduction.
Here is a panorama of fine writing about love's many moods and majesties, from all the veils of flirtation, seduction, and marriage to the tempests of suspicion, jealousy, and heartache. Here is a treasury of more than two hundred selections from Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?" There are excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, Madame Bovary, Justine, The Odyssey, Lady Chatterley's Lover, as well as the letters from Baudelaire to Sabatier, George Eliot to Herbert Spencer, and Henry Miller to Anais Nin.
General readers and scholars alike will delight in this anthology's mix of the contemporary and the classic.