How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance
By Marilyn Yalom
Harper Perennial, 2012. 416 pgs. Nonfiction.
In this fascinating analysis, Yalom starts with the earliest instances of French literature and oral storytelling traditions and demonstrates how each era of writing has created different aspects of the French national identity and culture of love that is completely unique from the love culture in any other part of the world. From Proust to Voltaire, from the French troubadours to modern authors, Yalom's analysis shows how each has made an important contribution to making the French the symbol of love internationally.
Even though I am not an expert in French literature by any means, Yalom's exposition was clean and precise, and accessible to the lay reader. She may be an expert, but she generously does not expect her audience to be one, providing concise summaries of the works she cites and explaining French culture to the rest of us. A fascinating and unique insider's look into how the French became the icons of love that they are today.