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Archive for December 8th, 2013

Conquest brings no lasting happiness unless the person conquered was possessed of free will.  Only then can there be doubt and anxiety and those continual victories over habit and boredom which produce the keenest pleasures of all.  The comely inmates of the harem are rarely loved, for they are prisoners.  Inversely, the far too accessible ladies of present-day seaside resorts almost never inspire love, because they are emancipated.  Where is love’s victory when there is neither veil, modesty, nor self-respect to check its progress?  Excessive freedom raises up the transparent walls of an invisible seraglio to surround these easily acquired ladies.  Romantic love requires women, not that they should be inaccessible, but that their lives should be lived within the rather narrow limits of religion and convention.  These conditions, admirably observed in the Middle-Ages, produced the courtly love of that time.  The honoured mistress of the château remained within its walls while the knight set out for the Crusades and thought about his lady.  In those days a man scarcely ever tried to arouse love in the object of his passion.  He resigned himself to loving in silence, or at least without hope.  Such frustrated passions are considered by some to be naive and unreal, but to certain sensitive souls this kind of remote admiration is extremely pleasurable, because, being quite subjective, it is better protected against deception and disillusion.
    —  André Maurois
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On This Day In:
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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