On Marriage

Devorah Baum


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Penguin Books Ltd
18 May 2023
ISBN: 9780241618011
240 pages

From the publisher

A shining exploration of why we marry from highly acclaimed author of Feeling Jewish Devorah Baum.

For better or worse. For richer or poorer. Till death us do part . . .

We've always done it, we're still doing it. Straight, queer, coupled or uncoupled, none of us live outside the cultural and psychological influence of marriage and all of us are written into its story. But why this highly contested and ancient practice has remained relevant to so many is by no means certain. Is it an act of love, a leap of faith, a holy bond, a contractual commitment, a bid for security, a framework for family, a hedge against being alone? Or could its traditional cover conceal something a bit more radical? Why do we do it at all?

Drawing on philosophy, film, fiction, comedy, psychoanalysis, music and poetry, Devorah Baum considers the marriage plot. What are we really talking about when we talk about marriage? And what are we really doing when we say, 'I do'?

Entertaining, illuminating, candid and consoling, On Marriage is a critique and a celebration of the many contradictions of matrimony - its sorrows as well as its joys - and an enquiry into its effects on us all.

'Devorah Baum is a visionary writer. Her intellectual depth, her emotional precision and her searing insight can only be gathered under an old fashioned word: wisdom. If more 'self-help' was written by people as smart and emotionally intuitive as Devorah than more people would actually feel 'helped'' Zadie Smith