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Jawetz, I.K. (1990). Tales of Love, Sex and Danger: By Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986, 1987. 249 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 59:319-325.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:319-325

Tales of Love, Sex and Danger: By Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986, 1987. 249 pp.

Review by:
Ilse K. Jawetz

The book is dedicated "To lovers." As the title suggests, it does not aim to achieve a scientific definition of love. The subject is considered from different points of view: in the traditional view of Freud, as a psychology of love, transference being its prime manifestation; and through the eyes of poets and writers, historians, sociologists and cultural psychologists. The authors themselves, coming from two different cultures, examine love stories of various eras and cultures: Western, Perso-Islamic, and Indian-Hindu. Subjected to analysis are Romeo and Juliet, the Indian tale of Rhada and Krishna, Middle-Eastern love stories, and others. Interspersed are occasional clinical vignettes. The authors' approach, similar to Erikson's, is to link life history to historical and cultural context. They believe that each individual and each culture, at various levels of consciousness, "stamp their imprint, their variations, on universal themes—emphasizing some of love's dangers and exultations while obscuring others" (p. 9). Each story, they believe, sets in relief the particular theme of loving which seems alien to the culture from which the tale has emerged, alien because it is an aspect of loving which that culture is intent on denying.

According to the authors, the erotic impulse contains something inherently demonic and destructive. All social institutions concern themselves directly or indirectly with the control of this impulse, which is usually achieved by denial, taming, and limitations.

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