Love Stories: Language, Private Love, and Public Romance in Georgia

By Paul Manning

© 2015

In the remote highlands of the country of Georgia, a small group of mountaindwellers called the Khevsurs used to express sexuality and romance in ways that appear to be highly paradoxical. On the one hand, their practices were romantic, but could never lead to marriage. On the other hand, they were sexual, but didn't correspond to what North Americans, or most Georgians, would have called sex. These practices were well documented by early ethnographers before they disappeared completely by the midtwentieth century, and have become a Georgian obsession. In this fascinating book, Manning recreates the story of how these private, secretive practices became a matter of national interest, concern, and fantasy. Looking at personal expressions of love and the circulation of these narratives at the broader public level of the modern nation, Love Stories offers an ethnography of language and desire that doubles as an introduction to key linguistic genres and to the interplay of language and culture.

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Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED MAY 2015
    From: $27.95
    ISBN 9781442608962
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2015
    From: $61.00
    ISBN 9781442608979
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2015
    From: $21.95

Quick Overview

Love Stories offers an ethnography of language and desire that doubles as an introduction to key linguistic genres and to the interplay of language and culture.

Love Stories: Language, Private Love, and Public Romance in Georgia

By Paul Manning

© 2015

In the remote highlands of the country of Georgia, a small group of mountaindwellers called the Khevsurs used to express sexuality and romance in ways that appear to be highly paradoxical. On the one hand, their practices were romantic, but could never lead to marriage. On the other hand, they were sexual, but didn't correspond to what North Americans, or most Georgians, would have called sex. These practices were well documented by early ethnographers before they disappeared completely by the midtwentieth century, and have become a Georgian obsession. In this fascinating book, Manning recreates the story of how these private, secretive practices became a matter of national interest, concern, and fantasy. Looking at personal expressions of love and the circulation of these narratives at the broader public level of the modern nation, Love Stories offers an ethnography of language and desire that doubles as an introduction to key linguistic genres and to the interplay of language and culture.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Love Stories contains an abundance of translated examples; in the case of poetry, the Khevsur Georgian original is also provided (in transliteration). In addition to their informational and aesthetic value, the textual materials find use as pedagogical resources to illustrate concepts such as genre, sociability and performativity.
    Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

    This would be a great book to use with students. It is an enjoyable read about a topic that they can relate to. Manning's discussions of applications ranging from commercials and movies to Internet chat rooms would interest students being introduced to folklore or anthropology in a specific context.
    Erik Aasland
    Journal of American Folklore

    Manning's book is a highly recommendable and enjoyable read. This is not only because of its enticing topic and the eloquent writing style, but also because Manning's treatment and sociohistorical contextualization of the stories of Khevsur love is eye-opening and thought-provoking.
    Lian Malai Madsen
    Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

    Although of interest to scholars of post-socialism, the Caucasus, and linguistics, the book is that much sought-after, brief, jargonless, and vividly written ethnographic introduction to anthropological 'intersections' that brings together a variety of classical anthropological topics, all in about 140 pages.
    Anthropologica

    Love Stories is a highly readable and interesting ethnography that will captivate the imagination of its readers as it has Georgian intellectuals. Accessible to undergraduates as an introduction to ethnography, it will also stimulate those interested in kinship, love poetry, socialism and post-socialism, queer anthropology and the history of anthropology.
    Anthropology News

    This story opens up questions not only about sex, romance, language, politics, and history, but also about what we know and how we come to know it. It's the kind of book instructors are always on the lookout for: a sophisticated treatment of a complex subject, which is also a compelling read.
    Deborah Cameron, University of Oxford

    Paul Manning's splendid account exemplifies the best of social science description and analysis. He takes us along on a captivating journey through the stages of poetically ritualized romance and coupling, revealing much about Georgian history and culture along the way. Beyond introducing us to the Khevsur people and disrupting simplistic thinking about romance and desire, the book masterfully gives life to some core ideas in anthropology, sociology, and linguistics.
    Laura Miller, University of Missouri-St. Louis

    Take a walk on the mild side, with some crazy twists. Love Stories is about how bossy matchmakers, stolen vodka, poetic jousting, and careful unbuttonings on narrow beds add up to a romantic relationship that is the opposite of sex and the opposite of marriage. Unexpected, compelling, unsettling, and fun.
    Don Kulick, University of Chicago
  • Author Information

    Paul Manning is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Trent University and former editor of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgments
    Introduction: Setting the Stage for Romance

    A Brief Introduction to Khevsur Love
    Well, Did They, or Didn't They?
    Georgian Stereotypes about Khevsurs and "the Romance of the Mountains"
    Language and Desire: Genres and Practices
    The Khevsurs in History
    Plan of the Book

    1. THE AMBASSADOR
    The Elchi as Mediator
    Autonomy, Persuasion, and Desire
    The Elchi at Work: A Girl's First Night of Sts'orproba
    Conversation 1: The Elchi and the Girl
    Conversation 2: The Elchi and the Boy
    Conversation 3: The Elchi and the Mother

    2. SPENDING THE NIGHT TOGETHER
    Lying Down and Getting Up: Sociable Talk and Sociable Sexuality
    Intimate Contact: Prohibition and Transgression
    Boundary: Sex
    Boundary: Marriage
    Sociability and Obligation
    The Role of Different Genres

    3. GOING STEADY
    The Social Life of Vodka
    Going with Vodka
    Visiting Vodka
    Road Vodka
    The Sexual Life of Vodka
    Stealing Vodka
    Saving and Hiding Vodka
    Drinking Vodka
    From Casual to Durable Sexual Relations:
    Sts'orperis and Dzmobilis
    The Dzmobili Relationship and Its Rivals
    Night and Day
    Creating and Maintaining Durable Relationships over Time
    Creating the Relationship: Oaths and Hints
    Maintaining the Relationship: Waiting and Exchange

    4. INVISIBLE LOVE POETRY
    The Invisibility of Khevsur Love Poetry: The Absence of the Lyric Mode
    Articulating Desire in Pshavian Lyric
    The Erasure of Desire in Khevsur Love Poetry
    Anonymity: Erasure of the Author of Love Poetry
    Replacing Individual Desire with Desirability in Praise Poetry

    5. DEMONS, DANGER, AND DESIRE: THE "ARAGVIAN" SEXUAL REVOLUTION
    Scandal Narratives
    Russian Marriage
    The Aragvian Way of Love
    Khevsur Girls' Love Stories: Three Case Studies
    Mariemi's Story
    Nanuk'i's Story
    Ashekali's Story

    6. INTELLIGENTSIA AND PEOPLE: A LOVE STORY
    Genres of Realism and Romance
    The Story of Natela: A Khevsur Romance of the Nineteenth Century
    The Story of Natela: A Native Ethnographer of the Twentieth Century

    7. ECHOES OF LOVE LOST: SOCIALIST NOVELS AND FILMS
    Socialist Ethnographies
    Modernist Novels
    Socialist Films
    Modernity and Tradition: Frame Narrative and Framed Narrative
    Romance, Poetry, and Violence
    Echoes of Sts'orproba

    Conclusion: Virtual Romance

    From Film to Image: Khevsurs in Late-Socialist Art
    Virtual Romance on Georgian Teen Forums

    Glossary
    References
    Index

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