The Lesions of Love
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The symbolically rich imagery of wounds was fitting for descriptions of civil strife, legal crisis, or war, and therefore became something of a linguistic commonplace in various modes of mid-century writing. England was broken, its earth literally wounded, its soldiers injured, its identity reconfigured to a more fractured (if perhaps redeemable) condition. But on a more personal level, the image of woundedness could be applied no less fervently to what anthropologists call the “emotional universe” of the individual, with its myriad psychological conditions that threatened to disrupt that universe with their immoderate power.1 If personal identity was defined, like the state and the law, by its boundaries, then it could just as easily be upended by incursions on those boundaries. More precisely, it was a passion such as love, sorrow, jealousy, or hatred that internally and externally dealt such damage to the individual’s psychological integrity, as it “wounded” reason, “lashed” the conscience, or “broke” the heart of the individual relegated to a state of high, and fragile, extremity.
KeywordsAnimal Spirit Civil Strife Erotic Love Poetic Imagination Legal Crisis
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