Such a neurophysiological pattern reflects a common shift from passion towards another kind of love that Fisher labels attachment: where the former is, as we have seen, a short-lived drive associated with successful reproduction, the latter accompanies longer-term relationships, and appears to be governed by different evolutionary and cultural pressures.
But if it takes only twenty words a day to maintain exclusive sexual access to you, why should he bother uttering more? His motivational system has evolved to deploy his courtship effort where it makes a difference to his reproductive success — mainly by focusing it where it improves his rate of sexual intercourse.
Men apparently did not evolve from male ancestors who squandered high levels of verbal courtship effort on already-established relationships. Yet Patricia Ball and Kerry McSweeney have argued that a significant change did occur within this sub-genre during the nineteenth century, as cultural and philosophical developments in Victorian Britain led a number of poets to write about long-term love relationships as they existed within specific social contexts.
Felix may be writing from within a marriage in The Angel in the House , but he is primarily writing about a courtship. Shortly before the children make their presence felt, the couple jointly conceive a plan for a true poem of marital love:But this is only a projection two pages from the end of the book. Perhaps the poetry of attachment is more likely to be found in the celebrated records of loss and mourning collected in the first part of The Unknown Eros.
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Coventry Patmore took not only the adulterous intent out of love poetry, then, he ultimately took the flesh and blood out of it altogether, leaving us with visions of disembodied passion rather than records of attachment. The chief poetic witness to the Christian marriage ceremony turns out to have been a high priest of eros. Victorian society may have placed great value on marriage and on family relations, but in truth love poems by celebrated authors such as Patmore, Matthew Arnold, both of the Rossettis, Browning and Barrett Browning, Tennyson, Swinburne and early Yeats to name but a few speak far more frequently of the exquisite afflictions of passion than of the consolations of attachment.
When we move into the twentieth century, poems of attachment begin to crop up more frequently, and in the least expected of places: the poetry of Robert Graves, for example. He was not, as we know, talking about remaining in love with the same woman. The succession of muses who inspired Graves's love poetry can, in retrospect, be seen as a logical if morally questionable result of his belief that the true poet must endure a constant state of passion, a state that — as we have seen — has evolved a limited shelf-life.
Endure is the operative word, here. Graves's sometimes vociferously proclaimed fealty to the White Goddess, who was establishing Her presence in his mind at exactly the same time as Beryl was establishing the marital home in Deya, made him uniquely susceptible to the lure of passion, and there is no shortage of poetic residue from this. Graves's poem revises an idealistic vision of marital love in age by R. As it turns out, then, the most committed and passionate of twentieth-century love poets — or at least the poet most committed to the aesthetics of passion — also writes convincingly and originally about marital attachment, and this from within marriage, not in anticipation of wedded bliss, or reflecting idealistically on past union.
It would, of course, be somewhat perverse to recast Robert Graves as an artistic role-model in this regard. A more suitable candidate could be the similarly long-married Seamus Heaney, some of whose best poems — I would argue — have been inspired by conjugal love. Not all readers concurred with Alvarez, however. Having said that, what Morrison perceptively identifies as unusual about these poems is their apparent accommodation of both kinds of love: a conjunction as rare in practice as it is pervasive as a cultural aspiration. The brain scanner tells a disenchanting story: passion and attachment are two distinct phenomena, the coexistence of which appears to be physiologically unsustainable over the medium to long term.
How does he manage this unlikely trick? I want to suggest that he achieves it by temporarily superimposing the perspectives of passion and attachment.
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A breath of the unknown renews the claim of the known. Everything here is sharply defined, but everything gestures a little beyond the usual, an impression reflected by the combination of feminine endings and end stops held breaths? The reader can fully appreciate the narrator's tension when informed of it because a tantalising atmosphere has already been created by the poetry. With its overtones of obsessive and predatory sexuality, of trespassing across restricted and foreign territory, and yet also the sense that the erotic charge has been projected onto this territory by the observer, voyeurism is a classic symptom of eros.
The actual peeping of stanza six is, then, considerably less stimulating than the metaphorical peeping of stanza two, confirming our impression that we have now moved from the realms of eros to those of agape. For, as the final stanza reveals, this is a poem that recalls and relives passion but speaks of, and from, attachment. The poem is, then, recalling eros in the light of agape and playfully re-envisaging agape in the light of eros , superimposing the tantalising absence and amatory display of the skunk onto the familiar presence and bedtime routine of the wife. In his own famous poem of skunks and voyeurism, Robert Lowell pictured himself crawling kerbs in his Ford, drawn out of the marital home by the fecund air of Fall in New England.
This is no battle between eros and agape ; rather, the combination of the wild and the domesticated allows the poet to, aesthetically speaking at least, both have his cake and eat it. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Universal Love.
Passion and Poetry. The Poetry of Attachment? Editor's Choice. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Introduction One of several ways in which C. Universal Love C. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Add to Cart. Also by David Whyte. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Praise " The Heart Aroused is truly extraordinary. Related Articles.
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Pass it on! In groups or alone? This wasn't a how-to guide and he didn't give any suggestions as to how one should bring poetry into the work culture--only that it would help people navigate the complexity of the world. It's certainly an interesting concept. Almost a right brain vs. Having a really hard time in understanding what you are talking about, friend Sage Guess, me is not Einstein Love, cat.
I'll have to look up that book. If for no other reason that to try and find out which corporations actually have a soul. I know "progressive" corporations exist, but I am clearly not skilled nor educated enough to have ever worked for any. I'm thinking the level of folks that work at places like Microsoft or Google. Now that is an interesting book! Hi Sage - he's obviously a highly respected poet and philosopher.. Thanks for bringing him and his book to our attention..
While it's not my type of reading material I appreciate you letting us know about it. Business is about the suppression of risk, and contradictory, profit comes from risk. But corporations as they are run today are but thought experiments within thought experiments and are sterile. Ultra controlled and without true vision. Meaning it really doesn't matter which industry or product they are trading.
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This does sound interesting and very different from what I was expecting when I saw the cover and read the title. Thanks for sharing. Hello I'm just back from a vacation down south, and just in time for a real autumn here.
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