All About Love, By Lisa Appignanesi


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The Independent Culture

The subtitle of Lisa Appignanesi's life history of love, "Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion", reflects the task she sets herself. It is an unpindownable emotion indeed, though she takes us deep into its literary, philosophical and psychoanalytic depths in hope to explain the "arc of love" from Freud's "oceanic" feeling and first amours to marriage, adultery and finally love in families and friendships.

Sprinkling analysis with anecdotes, she says "Now, as I get older, I rarely think of love as divine or carnal rapture" (Valentines beware) and glimpses it more in "through thick-and-thin" partnerships and in children. Are we any the wiser by the end? Only in our certainty that love is truly unruly, even after such thorough documentation.