The Book of Love
Book of Love
Prof. Dr. Paolo Mantegazza
Professor of Anthropology and General Pathology, Founder of the
first Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology in
Italy, Senator of the Kingdom of Italy
A translation of
The Physiology of Love
from the Italian text
New York, N. Y.
PAOLO MANTEGAZZA, Italian physiologist and anthropologist, was born atMonza in 1831. He travelled extensively in Europe, India and America. Hewas appointed surgeon at Milan Hospital and Professor of GeneralPathology at Pavia. In 1870 he was nominated Professor of Anthropologyat the Istituto di Studii Superiori, Florence. He founded the firstMuseum of Anthropology and Ethnology in Italy, and the ItalianAnthropological Society. He was deputy for Monza in the ItalianParliament from 1865 to 1876, subsequently being elected to the Senate.He is the author of many well known works, as "The Physiology ofSorrow," "The Physiology of Pleasure," "Elements of Hygiene," "Picturesof Human Nature," "Human Ecstasies," "Head," etc. His books are mostpopular in Europe, where they have been translated into almost everylanguage and have reached an enormous circulation. Paolo Mantegazzaranks with the greatest European medical authorities and the mostbrilliant Italian writers.
Copyright, 1917, by
The American—Neo-latin Library
|Introduction: General Physiology of Love||13|
|I||Love in Plants and Animals||29|
|II||Morning Crepuscules of Love—The Good and Evil Sources of Love||41|
|III||The First Weapons of Love—Courtship||64|
|VI||Conquest and Voluptuousness||89|
|VII||How Love is Preserved and How It Dies||94|
|VIII||The Depths and the Heights of Love||107|
|IX||Sublime Puerilities of Love||118|
|X||Boundaries of Love—Their Relations to the Senses||122|
|XI||Boundaries of Love—Their Relations to Other Sentiments—Jealousy||133|
|[Pg 4]XII||Boundaries of Love—Their Relations to Thought||145|
|XIII||Chastity in its Relations to Love||155|
|XIV||Love in Sex||158|
|XV||Love and Age||165|
|XVI||Love in Relation to Temperaments—of the Ways of Loving||175|
|XVII||The Hell of Love||186|
|XVIII||The Degradations of Love||198|
|XIX||The Faults and Crimes of Love||211|
|XX||The Rights and Duties of Love||219|
|XXI||The Covenants of Love||227|
Mantegazza is to Physiology what Flammarion is to Astronomy. The twogreat masters head a brilliant galaxy of modern writers on naturalphenomena who draw their material from science and mould it in anesthetic form. After the most skilful analysis of the scientificelements to their minutest components, they proceed to an idealsynthesis in which the various elements retain their substance, yetchange their outward appearance. It seems as if these elect minds,having once satisfied their scientific curiosity as to physical andhuman phenomena, had been fascinated and inspired by an irresistiblelove of creation, and rising above the facts and laws of nature to theevanescent and melodious world of imagination, they offer us their workin a harmonious unity of two seemingly opposite and irreconcilableelements—the real and the ideal, Science and Poetry.
And thus, I dare say, it is as if, by a generous law of reaction andequilibrium, while our generation seems to gravitate toward a life offacts and order, barren of idealism, Science would teach us that sheherself does not benumb or kill sentiment, but, on the contrary,discloses to the minds of the elect the flowery slopes of an unknown andinfinite world of wonders and sentiment.
So it must be that those who have attained a high place in intellectuallife will gladly replace the old conception of physical and humanphenomena with a new and more intense representation, which, measured inthe finitude of our reason, is loved in the infinity of our sentiment.To the uninitiated mind most beautiful is the representation of the sunin the image of Phœbus crossing the heavens in his flaming chariotdrawn by fiery horses; but still more beautiful for the intellectualmind is it to think of the immense body of fire, of the[Pg 6] energy dartingfrom a star more than a hundred million miles distant from our planet,more than a hundred million times larger than the earth, and yet a starmillions of times smaller than millions of other celestial bodies to ournaked eye unknown, unknown to our most powerful telescopes, and whoseexistence and fantastic speed in the space of the heavens are divinedonly by the abstraction of our faculties in an infinite representationof the laws of physics. Poetical is the vision of a goddess of Olympusdescending to earth and carrying to a man asleep the message or theimage of a dear, distant person; but immensely more poetical is theconception of a telepathic force within us, made of us, consciously orunconsciously created by us, an integral part of our psychical organism,and by which we instantly communicate over hills and dales, mountainsand valleys, oceans and deserts, with another human being whose spiritis harmoniously attuned to ours.
The impersonation of hatred and love by Fury and Cupid is much lesspoetical than the conception of an explosion of psychical forces,powerful and antagonistic, in millions of men at the same time.
The task of dealing with the natural history, the origin and thedevelopment of the sentiment which underlies the principal phenomena ofhuman existence, which came into being with the first twilight oforganic life, and which indissolubly binds together the individuals andthe generations, seems to have been reserved to the genius of PaoloMantegazza, and with this great subject he dealt in a masterly way, in away unimitated and inimitable. He has snatched Love from the Olympus ofthe gods of old, from the clutches of classic literature, stripped himof all his tinsel and garments, and revealed him as part—flesh andblood of man.
By a new conception of love, more rational, more human and yet no lesspoetical than the classic representations to which we have beenaccustomed from times immemorial, Mantegazza gives us a work in whichthe scientific foundation and the poetical conceptions are united insuch wealth[Pg 7] of colors and harmonies that its reading, rich with trueand romantic charm, is incomparably superior to our best fiction. It isa daring deed, both in the literary and the philosophical field, and itopens a new horizon to the idealization of human feelings, discoveriesand events.
Mantegazza, unlike countless love writers and poets, approaches hisfield not with a hoe or a plow to scratch the surface of the ground, butwith a powerful drill that penetrates into the lowest strata of theearth and reveals its deepest terrestrial composition. In the pursuit ofhis aim, carried by enthusiasm in the innermost research of facts and byadmiration for the beauty of his subject, Mantegazza has used all thewealth of his literary training, skilfully and lavishly drawing upon allthe resources of the Italian language. The task of the translator hasthus been made doubly difficult, as the original language of the bookhas more subtlety and artistic abandon than the English language wouldallow. Rather than run the risk of betraying either the substance or therepresentation of the author's idea, often it has been preferred tosacrifice the turn of the English phrase to that of the correspondingItalian, and possibly incur the imputation of exoticism.
Such is the translation of a beautiful Book of Love offered to theAmerican public at a time when all the evil passions and degradations ofhatred are unleashed over the world. In striking contrast with the trendof the human mind today, what a meager chance is awaiting thecontemplation of a sentiment whose mission is to tie all humanity with abond of affection! And yet, while time and evolution relegate the memoryof the most fearful cataclysms of the human race to the icy page ofhistory, the fundamental elements constituting human life cannot bechanged or destroyed. Love will continue to exist as long as the laws ofaffinity and procreation seize the human being at his birth and by theevolution of matter dominate him even after his death. The struggle forlife may become intensified or disappear from the world; hatred amongclasses, nations, races may deepen, expand or be altogether eliminated;passions may gain [Pg 8]further ascendancy over humanity, or humanity maylearn to control them; and, in the words of Shelley,
At the feet of him, procreator and prince of all affections, at onceproud, generous, kind, fair, and weak, avaricious, cruel, deceitful, inall virtues rich and in all sins, a king and a miser, we shall alwayslay, proudly or in shame, the innermost throbs of our heart, our tearsand our joys, the highest aspirations of our mind, the sweetestecstasies of our soul, our convulsions, our despairs, our crimes, up tothe very threshold of the great oblivion, when, in the words of thepoet, of the extenuated race one lone man and one woman, among the ruinsof the mountains and of the dead woods, in the wake of the departingwarmth, clasped together in the supreme fate of creation, livid, withglassy eyes shall see the last sun descend forever.
TO THE READER
I have conceived love to be the most powerful and at the same time theleast studied of human affections. Surrounded by a triple forest ofprejudice, mystery and hypocrisy, civilized men know it too often onlythrough stealth and shame. Poets, artists, philosophers, legislators,snatch a morsel now and then from the flesh of the great god, and hurryaway to conceal it as a precious booty of forbidden fruit. To study loveas a phenomenon of life, as a gigantic power which moulds itself in athousand ways among various races and in various