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Abstract

Love has a history — and yet the precise contours of that history shift according to whose experiences and which sources we foreground.1 The complexities of love and romance across the central years of the twentieth century are amply demonstrated in the pages of this edited collection. From the diverse emotional attachments of working-class northern men, through the sometimes bittersweet life writings of interwar women, to the oral histories of lone mothers and romantic feelings in retirement, the dynamic nature of love across individual lives and life-cycle stages is expertly illuminated. So too are the ways in which individuals work within, and actively engage with, broader cultural discourses of love and romance in order to fashion emotional selves. As Stephen Brooke so perceptively shows, people in the past were more than capable of inhabiting both the dream worlds of film and music and the real world of lived experience. Whilst a range of self-appointed experts strove to define the parameters of everyday emotion and romantic taste, ordinary people proved remarkably resistant to their dictates. If outright opposition to newly established norms was rare, under-the-radar subversion was rife.

Keywords

Romantic Love Unmarried Motherhood Lone Mother Sexual Revolution Precise Contour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For a longer treatment of some of the ideas mapped out here, see C. Langhamer (2013) The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    M. Lawrence (1963) The Complete Guide to Wedding Etiquette (London: Ward, Lock and Co. Ltd.), p. 7.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    On the Manchester and Salford monkey parade, see A. Davies (1992) Leisure, Gender and Poverty: Working-Class Culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900–1939 (Buckingham: Open University Press), pp. 102–08.Google Scholar
  4. C. Rosser and C. Harris (1965) The Family and Social Change: A Study of Family and Kinship in a South Wales Town (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul), p. 341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. D. Thompson (1975) ‘Courtship and Marriage in Preston’, Oral History 3(2), 39–44Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    For a history of such publications, see H. Cocks (2009) Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column (London: Random House).Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    On mutuality, see M. Collins (2003) Modern Love: An Intimate History of Men and Women in Twentieth-Century Britain (London: Atlantic).Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    M. P. Carter (1963) Education, Employment and Leisure: A Study of ‘Ordinary’ Young People (London: Pergamon Press), pp. 167–68.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    B. Cartland (1962) Etiquette Handbook (London: Paul Hamlyn Ltd.), p. 232.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    P. Jephcott (1948) Rising Twenty: Notes on Some Ordinary Girls (London: Faber & Faber), pp. 74–75.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    On sex and risk, see H. Cook (2004) The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex and Contraception, 1800’1975 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    P. Thane and T. Evans (2012) Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 26.
    L. Eyles (1947) Unmarried But Happy (London: Gollancz).Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    M. B. Smith (1951) The Single Woman of Today: Her Problems and Adjustment (London: Watts & Co.), p. 1.Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    See for example the debate about capital punishment in the 1940s and 1950s. C. Langhamer (2012) ‘The Live Dynamic Whole of Feeling and Behaviour: Capital Punishment and the Politics of Emotion, 1945–57’, Journal of British Studies 51(2), 416–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 29.
    M. Francis (2008) The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force 1939–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    J. Bradshaw (1952) ‘The Stability of Marriage’, The Eugenics Review 44(2), 88–89.Google Scholar
  18. 34.
    G. H. Gallup (1976) Gallup International Public Opinion Polls: Great Britain, 1937–1975, 2 vols. (London: Random House), p. 349.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Claire Langhamer 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Langhamer

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