What Is Love? Famous Definitions from 200 Years of Literary History
by Maria Popova “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” After those collections of notable definitions of art, science, and philosophy, what better way to start a new year than with a selection of poetic definitions of a peculiar phenomenon that is at once more amorphous than art, more single-minded than science, and more philosophical than philosophy itself? Gathered here are some of the most memorable and timeless insights on love, culled from several hundred years of literary history — enjoy. Kurt Vonnegut, who was in some ways an extremist about love but also had a healthy dose of irreverence about it, in The Sirens of Titan: A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved. Anaïs Nin, whose wisdom on love knew no bounds, in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953: What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is. C. E.