Last Night in Paradise ) couples her penchant for social cri"/>

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles, 1919–1939

Katie Roiphe, Author . Dial $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-33937-7

In this astute and engrossing examination of seven artsy marriages from 20th-century England, Roiphe (Last Night in Paradise ) couples her penchant for social criticism with her training in English literature (she holds a Ph.D. from Princeton). The book's title is apt, for some of the unions Roiphe describes may strike even today's jaded readers as outré. Feminist writer Vera Brittain proposed that she and her husband, George Catlin, be joined in their household by her dear friend, Winifred Holtby. Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry found that their highly romantic conception of love failed to sustain them through illness and other crises. Roiphe also examines the unions of H.G. Wells and Jane Wells; Elizabeth von Arnim and John Francis Russell; Clive and Vanessa Bell; Ottoline and Philip Morrell; and Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge. Roiphe writes not just as a disinterested historian. She wants to know what she can learn from Brittain and the rest about marriage, and the themes Roiphe focuses on remain relevant to 21st-century marriages: is domesticity compatible with long-term emotional engagement, or are marriages destined to become boring? Roiphe finds that once people began to think of marriage as an arrangement that ought to produce human happiness, monogamy was no longer a given. Fans of Pamela Paul and Cathi Hanauer will enjoy this volume, which is vintage Roiphe: provocative, dishy, substantive and fun. (July)

Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
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FORMATS
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-1-84408-271-1
Open Ebook - 978-0-440-33703-4
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-0-385-33938-4
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