Jan 06, 09
Read in December, 2008
Bertrand Russell rocks. The man was one of the last Renaissance men, and this book, written in the late 1920's, addresses the same set of issues that present themselves to society today, many still unresolved.
I'm not sure that I agree with everything that Russell says in all his writings, but as an observer, critic, analyzer, he has few equals and the lucid manner of his writing makes the reader feel smart.
Marriage and Morals addresses marriage as an institution as well as a relationship, and examines society's mechanisms for dealing with infidelity, contraception, abortion, 'living in sin', companiate marriage, relationship law, divorce, child rearing. It is particularly relevant today, when we are considering finally extending marriage rights to same sex partners (something he intentionally almost completely avoids), and / or otherwise changing the definition of the marriage relationship to separate the civil right from the religious custom.
Like most everything I have read by Russell, this book is well researched, comprehensive, eye-opening. He manages to discuss sexual matters like an intelligent adult, using the forced language of his era. It's quaint and polite, yet entirely direct. I could be a model for conversational bravery.
I love Bertrand Russell. Take my words with a grain of salt, but try and read a few of his essays. It's worth the effort regardless of the subject area.