Tag Archives: romance

Charles Mackay

Raymond [Lull] married an early age; and, being fond of pleasure, he left the solitudes of his native isle, and passed over with his bride into Spain. He was made Grand Seneschal at the court of King James, and led a gay life for several years. Faithless to his wife, he was always in the pursuit of some new beauty, till his heart was fixed at last by the lovely but unkind Ambrosia de Castelo. This lady, like her admirer, was married; but, unlike him, was faithful to her vows, and treated all his solicitations with disdain. Raymond was so enamoured, that repulse only increased his flame; he lingered all night under her windows, wrote passionate verses in her praise, neglected his affairs, and made himself the butt of all the courtiers. One day, while watching under her lattice, he by chance caught sight of her bosom, as her neckerchief was blown aside by the wind. The fit of inspiration came over him, and he sat down and composed some tender stanzas upon the subject, and sent them to the lady. The fair Ambrosia had never before condescended to answer his letters; but she replied to this. She told him that she could never listen to his suit; that it was unbecoming in a wise man to fix his thoughts, as he had done, on any other than his God; and entreated him to devote himself to a religious life, and conquer the unworthy passion which he had suffered to consume him. She, however, offered, if he wished it, to show him the fair bosom which had so captivated him. Raymond was delighted.

Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, London, 1841

Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler

You don’t need to be the most beautiful or most wealthy person to get the most desirable partner; you just need to be more attractive than all the other women or men in your network. In short, the networks in which we are embedded function as reference groups[.]

Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, New York, 2009, p. 74

Jon Elster

Suppose you have been with a lover for a while, but that he or she decides to break off the relationship. Because of the contrast effect, there is an initial reaction of grief. You may then observe your mind play the following trick on you: To reduce the pain of separation, you redescribe your lover to yourself so that he or she appears much less attractive. This, obviously, is a case of sour grapes, or adaptive preference formation. You then notice, however, that the endowment effect is also affected. By degrading the other, you can no longer enjoy the memory of the good times you had together. In fact, you will feel like a fool thinking back on the relationship you had with an unworthy person. To restore the good memories you have to upvalue the other, but then of course the grief hits you again.

Jon Elster, Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions, Cambridge, 1999, pp. 32-33

Paul Feyerabend

Dear Imre,

If the worst comes to the worst, we have 8 days together. Now, let me suggest how to spend them. First day morning: my flat business in London; afternoon: Sussex. There remain seven days. Now I suggest that you send me (1) your MS of AM with all the cuts, changes etc. suggested by you and (2) as much as you have of the clean copy of my translation with your comments in the margin and suggestions for change, and dictionary. […] So by the time I come to London we shall not need more than two days to discuss what remains. […] There still remain five days. Now you may have finished MAM before I come. If there is still enough time to send it to me I shall have had time to read it and to make my first informal comments. I shall also have made a sketch of my answer. One day for discussing both. There remain four days to chase after girls—and this if the worst comes to the worst[.]

Paul Feyerabend, Letter to Imre Lakatos, July 19, 1972, in Matteo Motterlini (ed.), For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence, Chicago, 1999, p. 286

Robert Louis Stevenson

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me,
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Romance’, in Songs of Travel, London, 1895