The Silver Fox is in the house, everyone! Talking to us about love and romance...
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." ― Dr. Seuss
I thought I would take a look at the history of ‘romance’ and maybe focus on the time-honoured portrayal of romance and love in the media… literature, cinema and music will be our test subjects, always remembering that these are my personal thoughts…
Firstly, although it might seem like it, Hollywood did not invent romance, nor in fact did books, even though the Greeks were pretty keen on a bit of romance…there are at least 20 ancient Greek writings that deal with love, Chariton's ‘Callirhoe’ from the mid-1st century is one of the oldest. I have never had the pleasure of reading it though :-)
No, I reckon that from the very beginning of time, love has been ‘in the air’… an example would be The Laetoli Footprints in Tanzania, dated to 3.7 million years ago, preserved footprints of a couple of our earliest ancestors strolling along… one set of feet is much smaller than the other, and they are side by side… a young romantic couple walking hand in hand… well, that is my interpretation and I’m sticking to it!
The Laetoli footprints
There are skeletal remains of a Roman couple, showing that the pair have been holding hands for 1500 years! That is something I would like for me and Serenity… not yet though. The 1369 tomb of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick has Thomas holding the hand of his wife Katherine Mortimer… ahhh, and there are many more examples to find.
Thomas de Beauchamp and his Mrs
Clearly love and sex are a major (if not THE major factor) factor in human life. We crave love and we cherish love when we have it. It may not always work out in the end, but in the moment, we feel love. The comedian John Cleese once said that his marriages (of which there are a few) are not failures…he had one successful marriage that lasted 5 years, another that lasted 10 years and so on. I think he has a point.
For writers, romance has been a central plank in what they do for centuries…metaphysical poets such as John Donne or Andrew Marvell in the 17th century wrote the most wonderful thoughtful poetry… I present a very short snippet of ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’… you really should look at the rest of it… great stuff, and a bit saucy too… high five John Donne!
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,
My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds, is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Next time I want to ramble about Shakespeare and the regency take on romance…
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