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On Marriage

On Marriage

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And that’s not just a secular idea: that idea of sanctifying or desecrating the name of God through your behaviours in public really belongs to the religion, as well. DB: I think perhaps one thing that I would say to that is that in the British culture, Jews are conspicuous by their kind of emotional incontinence. And both my books regard that situation as becoming increasingly common to all people who feel themselves the subjects of a globalised world.

It’s an argument about feelings and a sort of warning, I think, as well – that to misread or misunderstand feelings can be a dangerous thing. That, at least, is her stated intention, though by the time she reaches her epilogue, she finds herself questioning her own motives: “I’m married to someone I feel I can’t live without. Because you see how Jews have prospered there, with that psychology that there is a chance to start anew.

I'm an Associate Professor in English Literature and Critical Theory at the University of Southampton.

From Freud to Ferrante, and One Thousand and One Nights to Fleabag, she looks at marriage in all of its forms – from act of love to leap of faith, and asks: what are we really doing when we say ‘I do’?

DB: In the introduction to my book I’m interested in whether there’s much of a difference, really, between a word that you whisper – which tends to be the British way – and one that you’re required to shout out – in a declamatory, American way.

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