Intimate Relations: The Natural History of Desire

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Yale University Press, 1995 M01 1 - 147 pages
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Intimate Relations advances a radically new view of love and marriage. Liam Hudson and Bernadine Jacot show that early psychological development leaves adults of both sexes ill-equipped to understand one another's intimate needs and fears. But they go on to demonstrate that these patterns of difference are also the substance of heterosexual fascination, responsible for the rewards as well as the pitfalls familiar to each of us.
In their earlier book, The Way Men Think, the authors described those aspects of the male imagination which make men strange in the eyes of women. The authors now focus on patterns of female emotional development, and conclude that these too are the source of an emotional burden or disability: an 'incubus' that women carry through life, and that renders their intimacies with men a source not only of gratification but of depression.
The authors describe in vivid detail the lives of remarkable women - Vera Brittain, Kate Millett, Margaret Thatcher and Margaret Mead - establishing the subtle nature of sex differences. They also use material from the novels of Julian Barnes, Doris Lessing and Marguerite Duras, and from the career of the painter Walter Sickert, to reveal the processes whereby turbulent emotion is transformed into manageable form.
Hudson and Jacot reject the discussion of passionate relationships in terms of 'sexuality'. Erotically charged intimacy, they argue, is an exercise of the individual's imaginative powers. Consequently, it is the parallel between intimacy and art which is the royal road to a better understanding of desire and of the ways in which it is expressed.

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INTIMATE RELATIONS: The Natural History of Desire

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Hudson and Jacot (The Way Men Think, 1992) make a perplexing and incoherent effort to analogize intimacy and art. The authors declare ``that psychological differences between the sexes are both deeply ... Read full review


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