Love Stories: Language, Private Love, and Public Romance in Georgia
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.
- Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
- World Rights
- Page Count: 192 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
ReviewsLove 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Author InformationPaul Manning is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Trent University and former editor of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
Table of contentsList of Illustrations
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
Sociability and Obligation
The Role of Different Genres
3. GOING STEADY
The Social Life of Vodka
Going with Vodka
The Sexual Life of Vodka
Saving and Hiding 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
The Aragvian Way of Love
Khevsur Girls' Love Stories: Three Case Studies
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
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
Subjects and Courses