A History of Marriage
Shortlist, Canada Governor-General Award for Nonfiction 2011
What does the "tradition of marriage" really look like? In A History of Marriage, Elizabeth Abbott paints an often surprising picture of this most public, yet most intimate, institution. Ritual of romance, or social obligation? Eternal bliss, or cult of domesticity? Abbott reveals a complex tradition that includes same-sex unions, arranged marriages, dowries, self-marriages, and child brides. Marriage—in all its loving, unloving, decadent, and impoverished manifestations—is revealed here through Abbott's infectious curiosity.
"Can we really understand celibacy or mistresses without considering marriage, the socio-sexual bond that convention tells us is the heart of love? Elizabeth Abbott's new volume of accessible social history completes a sparkling trilogy about human intimacy. Her writing is as witty and informative as ever, her tone as wry and wise, and the value to understanding ourselves as profound. No thoughtful person—married, celibate, unfaithful or otherwise—should be without this book."—Mark Kingwell, author of Concrete Reveries and Extraordinary Canadians: Glenn Gould
"A rich tapestry and colorful snapshot of an evolving institution."— Kirkus Reviews
About Elizabeth Abbott
ELIZABETH ABBOTT is a writer, lecturer, and historian with a special interest in social justice and women's issues, the treatment and lives of animals, and the environment. She has a doctorate from McGill University in 19th century history and is a Senior Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto. She is the author of several books that include her historical relationship trilogy, the best-selling A History of Celibacy, A History of Mistresses and A History of Marriage, which was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Sugar: A Bittersweet History, inspired by her Antiguan heritage, was short-listed for the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Before moving to Toronto in 1991, she lived in Montreal and Port-au-Prince.