Friday, September 09, 2005

Literature And Love

A.S. Byatt is one of my very favorite writers. Her views on the influence of literature on a person's relationships is particularly significant to me. I have been accused of holding back in love, of never having let go and enjoyed the moment and of analyzing too much.

I have admitted to being in love with the idea of being in love more than with the person in question. I have savored the notion of a relationship that never really came to be - in any tangible sense. Even after all these years and even after knowing how the other side lives, I don't believe I have missed out on love at all. I have loved differently and in a way that was very fulfilling to me.

In her
interview to Salon, Byatt says in the context of people who have not been as immersed in literature since childhood as her.

And people who didn't become rather hostile to people who did because they feel that people who did had something rich. They try to say, "You weren't spontaneous, you weren't human, you only lived in your head and didn't have any relationships." That is sometimes true and sometimes not. And anyway, it often makes for better relationships when you're older because you actually learn a lot about life from books. You learn a lot about love before you ever get there. You learn at least as much about love from books as you do from watching your parents.

The greater the love, the more false to its object,
Not to be born is the best for man;
After the kiss comes the impulse to throttle,
Break the embraces, dance while you can.
W.H Auden - Death's Echo

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