資料彙整   /  概念  /  [英]十九世紀:4. The Nineteenth Century: Romantic Passion
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Romantic Passion

Cultural Product or Natural/Universal Feelings?
--Is romantic passion our innate feelings, an acquired ability, or a product of Western culture?   Does it occur in
a close-knit society?
--What are
the common attributes of romantic love/passion for college students in Taiwan?
--Can we distinguish between the romantic love in us and in romance and soap opera?

 General Comparison of Different Kinds of Love in History

       --Traditional Concepts: Before the Romantics (Please go to 17c British Lit.)

       --Romantic Love & Courtly Love

       --Victorian Love & Modern Love

 Definition of Romantic Passion from a Sociological Perspective

       --Where Does "Romantic Love" come from?

       --What Is It For?

 Cultural Expression of (Romantic) Love

       --The Romantic and Liebestod (Love Death)



       --Contemporary (Chinese Lyrics on Romantic Love)

  • "Presently romantic passion (or romantic love or infatuation) is defined as any intense attraction involving the idealization of the other within an erotic context.  The idealization carries with it the desire for intimacy and the pleasurable expectation of enduring for some unknown time into the future." (4)
  • "Romantic passion draws on...several psychological processes that range from erotic stimulation, emotional attachment, and subjective idealization" (4 underline added).
  • core properties: "1) the desire for union or merger; 2) idealization of the beloved; 3) exclusivity; 4) intrusive thinking about the love object; 5) emotional dependency; 6) a reordering of motivational hierarchies or life priorities; and 7) a powerful sense of empathy and concern for the beloved" (5).
 General Comparison of Different Kinds of Love in History    

Romantic Love & Courtly Love

Romantic love compared with courtly love, realist and modernist views (from The Nature of Love 3: The Modern World.  Irving Singer.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987)

  • Romantic love and courtly love--"Romantic love deviates from courtlly love by interpreting beauty or goodness in terms of the erotic experience itself, with the result that sexuality takes on greater significance.   ...In Romantic love, the elevation of the male occurred through an idealization that often had nothing to do with the beauty of women.  This new ideal was the modern concept of heroism: self-sacrifice in the interest of humanity, the nation, a revolutionary cause, the demands of one or another art.  ...Seeing in everyone and everything [not necessarily a beauty or a lady] the ability to become love''s alter ego, romanticisim develops a segment in the theme of magic that had previously been neglected.  ...love itself is now magical"  (p 14, 16, 18-19; underline added)
  • problems with Romantic love, compared with realist view "If love is the search for an unknown, if it does not presuppose much knowledge about another person, it two people merge through an experience that reveals divinity but has no objective basis in what they are as a particular man and woman, it seems strange to say that they mutually or reciprocally love each other.
  • Romantic love as a haven from social reality
      vs. Modernist''s view; e.g. Freud''s view of libido (sexual impulse); Proust "What I here call love is a reciprocal torture."


Victorian Love & Modern Love

-(from Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience?  Ed. William Jankowiak.  NY: Columbia UP, 1995)
    "Victorian love was more patient, more polite, more self-sacrificing, and more Christian than modern love.  It conformed more to parental influence and was structured more in deference to public rituals.  It may ave been more explosive, but it was not as authentic as modern love, and that is my argument." (9).
 Definition of Romantic Passion from a Sociological Perspective


Where Does "Romantic Love" come from?

the influence of social structure: "[Some] cultural traditions center the individual emotionally and psychologically in an intricate web of social dependency with others, thereby rechanneling or defusing the possibility and thus intensity of an individual''s private emotional experience.  This web of dependency, with its many attendant demands and expectations, in turn undermines the individual''s proclivity to fantasize about a lover or fully explore the subjective realm of the erotic.  From these and countless related studies it has often been inferred that the non-Western cultures are, by their very nature, incapable of romantic passion or are too closed off to feelings and desires independent of the social context or customary expectation." (2)
the influence of childhood development:  "[some] theorize that love is not based on the physiology of erotic attraction, the rigors of sexual repression, the power of instutional transformation, or anything innately given.  It is, rather, a learned response from early childhood tha provides the necessary emotional foundation to experience romantic love.  A "love crush" is nothing more than the desire to recapture the warmth and comfort of the early attachment of the child to his or her parents." (2-3)

What Is It For?

"Evolutionary psychologists and anthropologists believe that romantic passion evolved to improve human reproductive strategies and solidify parenting efforts" (3).
[For some existential-oriented psychologists and anthropologies,] "romantic love is not derived from reproductively driven sexual desire but rather springs from the existential yearning for self-transcendence...romantic love is one possible response to the need to experience emotional union with another."


 Cultural Expression of (Romantic) Love

The Romantic and Liebestod (Love Death)  /  Pre-Raphaelite

Modern  /   Contemporary (Chinese Lyrics on Romantic Love)

The Romantic and Liebestod (Love Death) 

  1. Examples in Romantic Poetry:
  • [common attributes: love and lover idealized, the use of sensuous images bordering on sex, immanence of (or existence of) death; see below]
    • Romantic Love and Female Types
    e.g. "She Walks in Beauty" (Byron)

    Literature and other arts continued ...to be dominated by men in the romantic period, and so it is primarily woman as viewed by man that has given us the various images of woman in romantic art.
    These range from the idealized simple, domestic, virtuous girl and mother to the ethereal beauty, inspirer of lofty ideas, to the she devil, temptress or
    femme fatale who seduces and ruins innocent young men.
    All these types may inspire romantic love, an all-consuming passion that can never be fulfilled (if it is, it usually leads to disillusionment and a new object) and often causes the hero extreme misery or even death. (
    The Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities 4th ed. Vol II.  Mary Witt, et al.  pp. 298-99)

    • other examples:The Sorrow of Young Werther, opera Carmen, La Boheme, Richard Wagner''s opera Tristan und Isolde
    • Liebestod in Romantic Love
    Liebestod (love-death) means the two lovers'' consummation of their love in death or after death.
    e.g.Romeo and Juliet Wuthering Heights, "Porphyria''s Lover" as a one-sided Liebestod, The Sorrow of Young Werther, etc.

    Why is death a consummation or even an intensification of their love?  Avoiding sex, the beauty''s aging and becoming ugly and their love''s becoming dull and plain?



A Huguenot exhibits three stereotypical characteristics of love in mid-nineteen-century art.  First, it is emphatically narrative.  Its exquisite lovers exchanging intense gazes are posed to emphasize the poingnancy of this particular moment on the eve of a massacre which actually took place in Paris on Aug. 24, 1572, and which promises to end the man''s life. 
Secondly, the danger to love comes from without, ...The implied moral is that love would reign supreme if only the external obstacles of ...could be surmounted.... 
Thirdly, there is no pictorial significance attaching to "the between," the space between the lovers.  It is, in the language of art criticism, "negative space," incidental to the relationship between the lovers. 
    from The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns.
Left  John Millais  A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew''s Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge, 1857

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt, Love, 1985  "Klimt''s positive and deficient love set in a minimally narrative time frame and more exclusively aesthetic space marks a transition between 19th-century story-telling and later, more explicit, renderings of encounter" (54)

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1908 or 1911
Osterreichische Galerie, Vienna



Wassily Kandinsky, Between Two, 1934.
In this painting the protruding curves of the male and female froms closely approach one another''s boundaries, indicating the powerufl attrative and repulsive forces between them. (57-58)
Edward Munch, Eye in Eye, 1894
contrasts sharply with conventional "love-at-first-sight" images popular in the 19th-century (p. 55)


Contemporary (Chinese Lyrics on Romantic Love)

Romantic love

胭脂扣》, Sleepless in Seattle, 瓊瑤小說, etc. 
趙詠華, 辛曉琪味道

realistic view of love, or satire of Romantic love
豬頭皮--〈火燒厝〉、〈愛 如忘情水〉(That''s What Love is All about)                                   礦泉
做 人的道理
Taiwanese songs on Romantic love--compiled by Julia Hsieh and her group
I. Passiveness, II. Realization of Romantic Dreams, III. More understanding after some Twists and Turns,  柳暗花明
I. Passiveness
        1.  小女人 
                a.  王菲 我願意
                        我無力抗拒 特別是夜裡 哦~想你到無法呼吸 
                        恨不能立即朝妳狂奔去 大聲的告訴你 
                        我願意為你       我願意為你 我願意為你 忘記我姓名 
                        就算多一秒 停留在你懷裡 失去世界也不可惜 
                        我願意為你 我願意為你 我願意為你 被放逐天際 
                        只要你真心 拿愛與我回應 
                        我什麼都願意 什麼都願意 為你 
                b.  王菲 矜持 
                        你終於在意 在我的房間裡 
                        我是愛你的 我愛你到底 
                c.  許如芸                你討厭
                        你討厭 害我神經兮兮 行為不合邏輯 變得沒出息 
                        你討厭 每次胡言亂語 擾亂我的情緒 越來越自閉 
                        每次當你轉身離去 我就開始感到不安全 
                d.  許如芸      & nbsp;        半首歌
                        我只想成為你的一半      離不開你任何一個夜晚 
                e.  趙詠華        --最浪漫的事
        2.  怨 女棄婦 
               a.  鄺美雲--等愛的女人
                b.  堂娜--你怎麼可以不愛,奢求
                c.  辛曉琪--味道
        3.  死也不放手 
                a.  李玟 我依然是你的情人 
                        ........你的心總是善變 愛上你始終危險........ 
                        ........我依然是你的情人 我依然愛你最深 
                        別在緊閉你的唇 不哭不笑也不問......... 
                b.  李玟 不朽
                        ......你和我 又到該分手的時候 
                        天意難求 人心難留 烈吻熱擁教黑夜不要走...... 
        4.  Woman as an object 
                       王菲    棋子
                        我像是一顆棋 進退全由你決定 
                        我不是你眼中唯一將領 卻是不起眼的小兵 
                        我像是一顆棋 來去全不由自己 
                        舉手不回你從不曾猶豫 我卻受控在你手裡 

II. Realization of Romantic Dreams
        1.  周華健/李度--明天我要嫁給 你啦
        2.  趙詠華--最浪漫的事
        3.  優客李林vs.張清芳--出嫁
                也許是宿命也許是注定 我真的希望能多點好運 
                牽你的手..............(ps.這 也有點passive的 味道) 

III. More understanding after some Twists and Turns,  柳暗花明
                       曾慶瑜  相見
                        有沒有可能 我們再相愛一次 
                        懂不懂 我想我懂 昨天已屬於昨天 
                        雖然我們的愛情 最後沒有變成美麗神話 
                        謝謝你 你讓我懂得了愛 



  The Nature of Love 3: The Modern World.  Irving Singer.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987.
Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience?  Ed. William Jankowiak.  NY: Columbia UP, 1995.
The Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities. 4th ed. Vol II.  Mary Witt, et al.  pp. 298-99.
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