The Marriage, A History

The Marriage, A History

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
A historical analysis of the traditional institution of marriage traces its role as a practice designed to acquire favorable in-laws and improve a family's labor force, detailing how marriages have evolved from loveless, arranged unions to their present-day state, in an exposé that reveals the impact of Victorian-inspired marital intimacy, divorce, and alternative lifestyles.

& Taylor

An analysis of the institution of marriage detailing how marriages have evolved from loveless unions to their current state, in an exposâe that reveals the impacts of Victorian-inspired marital intimacy, divorce, and alternative lifestyles.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2005
ISBN: 9780670034079
Branch Call Number: 306.8109 COONT
Notes: Includes index


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BPLNextBestAdults Jun 05, 2012

We have been led to believe that the Leave It to Beaver format marriage of the 1950s is the most natural. However, if one looks at the institution over the ages, it is but a blip and not necessarily natural. Throughout the ages, marriage customs have been influenced primarily by politics, economics, and social conditions. Marriages were often arranged to forge alliances between kings and nobles, or to acquire a neighbour’s field. Although love and passion were factors in the affair between Antony and Cleopatra, politics also played a large role. The roles of husbands and wives changed constantly. To be sure, sometimes love entered into the equation and, if lucky, the love was between spouses.

Stephanie Coontz describes the various types of marriages that existed and the conditions that influenced them. She discusses how they were influenced by religion and laws and how they, in turn, influenced religious tenets and laws. She often relates anecdotes of arrangements at particular periods in history based on diaries and letters written by men and women at that time.

Ms Coontz talks about the evolution of marriage to recent times, when individuals became important and, since the early 18th century, love in a marriage became a necessary ingredient. She is not judgmental, but presents the advantages and disadvantages of each model. She ends on a hopeful note that we have learned from the past and that man/woman relationships will be more satisfactory to both.


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