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Notícias Problemas amorosos? Clássicos resolvem melhor que auto-ajuda

Tópico em 'Generalidades Literárias' iniciado por Haleth, 2 Fev 2012.

  1. Haleth

    Haleth Call me Bolga #CdLXI

    Repasso sem ter lido ainda. Saiu no
    Este conteúdo é limitado a Usuários. Por favor, cadastre-se para poder ver o conteúdo e participar (não demora e não possui custos)
    , e vim correndo publicar aqui só pra ver se vcs aceitam a provocação =) Sorry, tá iningrish, não translatei.

    Love to read? Read to love
    Romantic life down the pan? In need of relationship counselling? Then turn to the classics, says Maura Kelly - they'll do more for you than any self-help manual

    If one of your new year's resolutions is improving your romantic life, and you're hoping to find some inspiration at your local bookshop, might I recommend skipping the self-help shelves and heading straight to fiction and literature?

    Titles like It's Not You, It's Him and Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough might make for great segments on morning talk shows but I've personally never pored over books like those in the hope of gaining insight into the vagaries of the heart. Whereas I have gone to classic novels for that purpose. Why? The insights of the literary greats ring true, generation after generation. Look closely at just about any work of fiction that has proven itself over time, and you'll find plenty of insight into the problems that have plagued daters throughout history, and still bedevil them today.

    Let's take, for instance, Light in August by William Faulkner — a book that could've been subtitled He's Just Not That Into You, though it was written about 75 years earlier. The darkly comic quest that helps shape the novel starts when young Lena Grove tells the scallywag she's been sleeping with, Lucas Burch, that she's pregnant. He responds by suggesting he leave town immediately — to look for work, you understand, so he can support her and the baby — and doesn't Lena agree? He's so smooth, and Lena's so trusting, that she gives him her blessing to run off — then waits patiently for months, expecting he really will send for her. She convinces herself that he's just lost track of time. Whenever anybody hints that maybe, just maybe, this Lucas person is not exactly the salt of the earth, Lena defends him with "calm unreason," saying, "Going away among strangers like that, a young fellow needs time to get settled down. He never knowed [sic] that . . . he would need more time . . . than he figured on."

    Though nobody in the book comes out and says, "Lena, can't you see he's just not that into you?", just about everyone's thinking it — especially when, as she's about ready to pop, she heads off on a long search, by foot, to find him. The poor girl serves as a reminder that none of us should bend over backwards, making excuses for people who aren't treating us right. Particularly not if our water is about to break.

    Similarly, Occam's Razor (that the simplest explanation is generally the most plausible) often applies whenever we find ourselves wondering obsessively when we'll hear back from someone after a date. Such anxiety may seem particular to our email era, but it was alive and well in Jane Austen's time, too. When Marianne Dashwood, of Sense and Sensibility, arrives in London, where the guy she's carried on an extended flirtation with has taken up residence, she eagerly sends him a letter. Marianne doesn't have a Gmail account, of course, but she does have a fast-moving footman — and the servant has barely left with the missive before she begins "anxiously listening to the sound of every carriage," eagerly awaiting his return with a response from her crush, Mr Willoughby.

    Days pass, however, without any word. The very same kinds of questions that anyone of us would have, bedevil Marianne: Did he get the note? Is he ill? Was it something she said? Her feeling of dread only intensifies after Willoughby turns down an invite to a ball that he knows Marianne will be at and gives her the cold shoulder at another party. Eventually, she discovers he's engaged to another woman.

    Poor Marianne's experience confirms that then, as now, if a romantic interest has you guessing too much of the time, or you're always agonizing over when you'll hear from him next, it's best to save your energies, and move on. If you're already dating other people, you'll feel that much better when you hear about his secret fiancée.

    But the book that may have been most elucidating for me lately is Howards End, a gorgeous meditation about what can happen when you cross the political aisle for love, the way protagonist Margaret Schlegel does. You see, I'm now dating a man whose political views I often find distasteful (when I don't find them downright insane). And Margaret, a liberal suffragette, seems destined for spinsterdom when the bourgeois capitalist Henry Wilcox, a conservative, proposes marriage to her. Though Henry thinks giving women the vote is silly, he admires Margaret's strength — and vice versa. What's more, she's charmed by his interest in her. She doesn't need marriage, or feel desperate for it, but she deeply enjoys being loved by a man — a man who is a good man (and not just Mr. Good Enough), even if she doesn't always love his opinions. She understands intuitively that she'll be in a better position to mitigate the less agreeable aspects of Henry's character once their relationship is strong so she goes about making sure it is, by giving him respect and understanding while holding on to her own beliefs. In doing so, she creates a bond so strong that it benefits everyone who is close to the couple.

    Thanks to E.M. Forster's small masterpiece, we get one of the most simple but enduring recommendations about how we might improve our love lives: "Only connect!" Which is to say: If you want to make a relationship work, look for similarities, not differences, and take it from there. That's never as easy as it sounds, of course. But reading can help you better understand who you are, who you want to be with, and how to bridge the gap between the two.

    "Only connect the prose and the passion," as Forster goes on to say, "and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height." Great advice, isn't it?

    • Much Ado About Loving: What Our Favorite Novels Can Teach You About Date Expectations, Not-So-Great Gatsbys and Love in the Time of Internet Personals by Maura Kelly and Jack Murnighan is out tomorrow

    Did a literary work help you through heartbreak? Has a book banished your dating misery? Post your thoughts here.