The Wisdom Of The Ancients

In its passion for “emotional truth”, the twentieth century may actually have been stricter about fidelity than earlier ages, or tried to be. The Elizabethans took it absolutely for granted that all wives were incessantly unfaithful, and this seems also to be the world of Les liaisons dangereuses.

Now, shame-based cultures don’t care what you do as long as you don’t actually rub other people’s noses in it. Perhaps the typical expression of what marriage really meant to most people in most places, therefore, was the medieval chanson mal marié: “Why does my husband beat me, then…. I did nothing bad, Did not say a mean word to him. And I embraced my sweet beloved in secret.”

How such a verse is to be regarded naturally depends on whether it was penned by a man or a woman: if by a man it is misogynistic paranoia of the Così fan tutti persuasion, but if by a woman, it celebrates a woman’s taking control of her own sexuality.

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 07:14 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, The Cult Of St. Joseph

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