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Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion, and Romantic Obsession
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Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion, and Romantic Obsession

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Think of torch songs and the tango. Think of films such as Casablanca and The English Patient, of novels such as Wuthering Heights and Rebecca. Think of romantic, obsessive love, the hot bed of passion we fall into, the emotion we call true love. This is the subject of Rosemary Sullivan's provocative and fascinating book. Beginning with her own telling of a fictional love ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Counterpoint LLC (first published February 1st 2002)
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Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to
This is a difficult book for me to summarize or review. It is short and sucked me in to read every page. I nodded along with many of her observations of love and relationships as I recognized myself and my friends many times over.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was in the local library which doesn't house many intellectual types of books for some reason (I should probably go to the larger library downtown), and I was bored and looking at the tripe on the shelves that passes for philosophy and psychology. I usually never touch any recently published books because they're all modern "lite" versions that dumb down and water down serious thoughts and writings into safe and sanitised, new-Ageish varieties for people who don't want to really think or be di ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
What an amazing little gem. The idea behind the book is so refreshing and honest that it's hard to not like it.

The author wrote a short love story. Then, in subsequent chapters, dissected each stage of the love story, and discussed why the female subject narrating the story was feeling the way she was feeling, the loss of a short-lived but high octane love affair.

First of all, what an interesting concept: that various stages of loved affairs bordering on (or based on) obsession follow formulas
Erika Nerdypants
I enjoyed reading this slim little book very much. Great exploration on obsessive love, something most of us have experienced. The writing was poetic and lyrical, like being wrapped in a soft blanket of words. The author described the cultural and societal influences that shape how men and women experience love differently and gave rich examples, many drawn from art and literature. My only quibble is that at times it reads a little too generalized, and the fact that it is based on heterosexual r ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This book was not at all what I expected - which was a bunch of short stories - but it was extremely enjoyable nonetheless. The author presents us with a short story that she then proceedes to dissect and use as a starting point for a discussion of various aspects of obsessive love. In the process she touches on the biographies of several women, both well-known and otherwise, and makes use of anecdotes, which gives the book a very personal feel. It's also very well written and uses a non-academi ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A intimate short story of one woman's passionate experience, annotated by a very readable, factual history of romantic/obsessive love, skillfully worked into a study of passion's place as both catalyst and litmus in each of our lives. Worth reading a few times, best before but even better after you've had an experience or two yourself.

The first lesson of passion: It tells you more about yourself and what you wish to become than it does about its object.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
At the time I read this book, I found it totally profound. I'd just returned home from 3 months abroad in Europe though, having fallen head over heels in lust with someone I barely knew in my travels. This book has been the only of its kind to address the phenomenon so spot-on without condescending.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful read. I kept going back to it to reread parts I couldn't shake. For instance:

"But sex as a physical act is merely athletics, a momentary relief. What it needs to be powerful is desire, and the strongest element of desire is longing. It's in the work. Desider-, sidus: from the stars. The longing that reaches beyond space and time."

Raelin Randall
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is definitely one to read and think about. I think Sullivan brings up many important situations that have never really been explained clearly and directly. You do not have to agree with everything, but go into the book with an open mind. You might learn something.
April Lashbrook
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book--The author affirmed some of my thoughts about the unhealthy relationships I've been in. Lots of quotes to write down as journal-starters.
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Jun 09, 2012
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Caddy Rowland
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Ah, the complexity of love!
Renske Gommer
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Rosemary Sullivan (born 1947) is a Canadian poet, biographer, and anthologist.

(from Wikipedia)
More about Rosemary Sullivan...
“When we fall in love at a glance, the question we should ask ourselves (and this would apply to both men and women) is, What is it that we long for? Or perhaps, What are we lacking so that we can turn life in the direction we want? Creativity? Confidence? Authority? Recklessness? Irresponsibility? Or even darkness? Perhaps the lover is the outlaw in ourselves we don't quite have the nerve to claim. (p. 34)” 30 likes
“Most people who fall obsessively in love claim that it happens precipitously, unexpectedly [...]
But I believe there's almost always a prerequisite. Falling in love in this way will usually occur at a time of transition. We may not be conscious of it, but something has ended and something new must begin. Romantic obsession is like a cataclysm breaking up the empty landscape. Like a strange exotic plant, it grows in arid soil. (pp. 27-28)”
More quotes…