From a suitable match to the search for a soul mate – Alexandra Harris on our romantic expectations In January 1930 a 27-year-old woman placed an advertisement in the Matrimonial Post. Perhaps it was a new year’s resolution after being badgered by the family at Christmas. Act now, or you’ll be settling in on the shelf. So what did she hope for, this young woman, who described herself as “in business”? “Desires to meet clean, and if not good looking, at least pleasant man, earning about £5 per week.” This was fairly standard in the matchmaking newspapers (which had been going since the late 19th century). Another woman wanted a “homely man, not too stout, well educated, and of sober habits”.Do we smile, or pity, or admire their expedience? How different are these people from ourselves? Social historian Claire Langhamer works carefully through diaries and magazines, watching for the shifting tones and tendencies of romantic love in mid-20th-century England. “Love has a history,” she writes, and it’s a striking premise, given our tendency to think of love as an emotion that transcends history and geography and much else besides. If love changes, there’s a danger of Shakespeare’s sonnets going out …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books