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Portrayals of Love in Literature and Culture

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Event Series Event Series: Love in the Time of Crisis

May 14, 2022 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm CEST

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Portrayals of Love in Literature and Culture

with John Briggs

Saturday May 14, 2022
9:00 PDT | 12:00 EDT | 17:00 BST  |  18:00 CEST

2-hour session

The session is live and you will be sent the RECORDING.

‘Love makes the world go round,’ according to a song from the Broadway musical Carnival. Certainly the theme of love stands out as a central force motivating poetry, fiction, film, and popular culture.

This session will explore selected familiar works of literature and popular culture in order to consider what clues these they contain to the implicit meanings of love that haunt us. What secret does the song suggest when it tells us:

Love makes the world go ‘round
Love makes the world go ‘round
Somebody soon will love you
If no one loves you now

In the 1960s people were advised to make love not war. Still, why is it that war makes for the best romantic love stories? Do our literary and popular portrayals of love provide insights into the tangled thickets of love where narcissism, domination, betrayal, disillusion and conflict accompany expressions of infinite tenderness and care?

Types of love portrayed in this session
Romantic and Erotic Love
Love of Friends, Family
Love and the Innocence of Childhood
Love of God and Country, Cosmos, Knowledge and Other Abstractions
Love of Life, Love of Earth

The feelings of love expressed in literature from the Native American context will provide a contrast to the feelings and ideas of love for those of us raised in anthropocentric (human-centered) cultures.

Fred Rogers, host of the public television children’s show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood articulated the vital importance of love to children, as you can see in these two YouTube clips:


Scientists have shown that without love a child becomes psychologically damaged and may even die. But love and death are woven together, so literature tells us.

Participants are urged to review several short YouTube clips from film versions of one of the most intense romantic love stories every written: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

An overview montage of the story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqwS3614J7Q

Dramatic moments

Cathy reflects on love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNmWXt-8J1U

Cathy remembering her childhood castle with Heathcliff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gbCsNzr-L8

Heathcliff reacting to Cathy’s death https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nB84L4aIZo


Heathcliff reaching for the ghost of Cathy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABx-JZPSM10

To see the Full Love in a Time of Crisis Program

John Briggs, PhD, taught for 25 years at Western Connecticut State University. He has taught aesthetics, journalism, and creative writing and served as co-chair of the English Department; he was one of the founders of the Department of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process and one of the principal developers of the MFA in Professional and Creative Writing. He is now Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics at WCSU. Among his many publications are three books he co-authored with David Peat, Looking Glass Universe (1984), Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness (1989), and Seven Life Lessons of Chaos (1999). He lives in the New England town of Granville, Massachusetts.


May 14, 2022
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CEST