Love Is . . .
A Short Anthology of Great Writers on the Most Eternal Subjectby Various Authors
Love is patient, love is kind. It knows all things, bears all things. But all the poems, all the songs, all the stories and images through the ages cannot fully contain it. If we’re attentive and lucky, we live in it, and it flows through us. And as Eudora Welty wrote, what are our lives if not the continuity of our love?
In that spirit we offer some timeless observations about love and marriage.
It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.
—Raymond Carver, “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love”
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
At the door he took her in his arms once more and felt her cling to him. If he had held her a moment longer he would have given her all the reassurance she needed for some time to come, but he remembered the people downstairs, and let go. It was not his failure entirely. Women are never ready to let go of love at the point where men are satisfied and able to turn to something else. It is a fault of timing that affects the whole human race. There is no telling how much harm it has caused.
—William Maxwell, Time Will Darken It
Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species.
—W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up
You said, “I love you.” Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? “I love you” is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them.
—Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
The true beloveds of this world are in their lover’s eyes lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, a child’s Sunday, lost voices, one’s favorite suit, autumn and all seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory.
—Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms
He folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.
—Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things