I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage

Susan Squire, Author . Bloomsbury $25.95 (258p) ISBN 978-1-58234-119-4

In breezy, irreverent prose, Squire (The Slender Balance ) catalogues the history and religious significance of the institution of marriage from Adam and Eve to the Renaissance and beyond. Writing as if gossiping with a girlfriend, Squire argues that marriage was developed to establish paternity by controlling the sex life of women. We learn that the men of Athens had hetaera (courtesans) to entertain them, concubines for their daily “need” and wives with whom to breed legitimate children; the women of Rome, on the other hand, learned how to use their power to threaten male rule of society. The New Testament offers equality to husband and wife, at least in the marriage bed; the association of lust with Eve’s original sin can be attributed to Augustine. Squire explores sixth-century penitentials on sexual sins, adultery in the Middle Ages and the intersection of wife and witch during the Renaissance inquisitions. Readers are left questioning whether our modern idea of love matches might end up as a chapter in a future book about the incarnations of marriage. “Love may not be the answer, but for now, it is the story.” (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-60819-656-2
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