Sex’n’Love

Sex'n'LoveFrom the London Review of Books,
February 21, 1991 Blake Morrison

  • The Chatto Book of Love Poetry edited by John Fuller
    Chatto, 374 pp, £13.99, August 1990, ISBN 0 7011 3453 4
  • The Faber Book of Blue Verse edited by John Whitworth
    Faber, 305 pp, £14.99, October 1990, ISBN 0 571 14095 5
  • Self-Portrait with a Slide by Hugo Williams
    Oxford, 62 pp, £5.95, June 1990, ISBN 0 19 282744 8
  • The Virago Book of Love Poetry edited by Wendy Mulford
    Virago, 288 pp, £6.99, November 1990, ISBN 1 85381 030 4
  • Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson
    Pandora, 362 pp, £19.99, November 1990, ISBN 0 04 440672 X
  • Daddy, Daddy by Paul Durcan
    Blackstaff, 185 pp, £5.95, August 1990, ISBN 0 85640 446 2

How much do love and sex have in common? Not enough, it seems, for them to appear together in anthologies, which increasingly cater either for the sentimental or the pornographic market. We need not be surprised by this. Men, at any rate, have often maintained that sexual intercourse may occur without any undue engagement of the emotions, just as love need not hinder the serious business of living and working and getting on. And nowadays a wing of the feminist movement wishes to make similar protestations of disengagement on behalf of women, who have paid a high price for emotional (and economic) servitude. Yet there is something peculiarly English and Victorian, something repressed rather than liberated, about wishing to separate the two, as if the ambiguities of words like ‘desire’ and ‘love-making’ did not exist.

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