A Little Bit of Romance

Novels seem to have a love affair with the questionably romantic. Authors definitely love to make us flinch and shiver at their pseudo-rape/incest/Sadomasochistic, generally self-destructive, all consuming romances. This Huffington Post article provides a short list of 17 of the most screwed up, abusive, and down right disturbing relationships that circulate through the literature we read today.

Who could question the destructive effects of Lady and Lord Macbeth’s love (even if you didn’t join Prof Hamill and those of us at Core who had the time to watch Kenneth Branagh’s wonderful interpretation), and we don’t have to read 50 Shades of Grey to know if we ever enter into a relationship like that, we might just call the police and have our lover and whatever inner goddess keeps telling us this is a good idea arrested.

Some of these books are less obvious though. We’ve read The Sun Also Rises countless times, yet we still puzzle about the exact nature of Brett and Jake’s relationship. Yeah, we know we don’t want to emulate it, but still. It’s strange. She keeps introducing him to her other guys yet they love each other yet….Oh Hemingway. We’re confused. We just want to go to Spain and watch a bull fight.

The messed up relationship between Lolita (pictured above as a disturbingly sexualized 12-16 year old) and Humbert needs no convincing; same goes for Oedipus and Jocasta. There are some on the list we question though. Odysseus and Penelope? Alright Core Scholars: you just read the book, you tell me why they’re unhealthy. Aren’t they supposed to be the sweet ones who waited and fought for each other? And what about Crime and Punishment? She wants to save him doesn’t she?

So is it love gone sour or is it circumstances? Is this list missing anything huge and obvious (what happened to Tomas and Tereza from The Unbearable Lightness of Being)? And what do you think? Is literature simply obsessed with the morbid and twisted or is there some truth in these impossible yet seductive (no Christian Grey, we are NOT talking about you) relationship? Let us know below and have a great Tuesday!

2 Comments

Catherine posted on November 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

Some of these I definitely don’t think are morbid, unhealthy, or twisted-Charles Ryder/Sebastian Flyte, Raskolnikov and Sonya, Odysseus and Penelope(I really wonder how THEY got on this list)…and a lot of the other ones I haven’t read so I can’t comment… perhaps the relationships I listed are tragic but it seems that sometimes the tragedy involved (Sebastian’s alcoholism, Raskolnikov’s imprisonment, Odysseus’ absence) actually makes possible a deeper love.

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