The City as Court of Love

  • Richard Pine


In the world of Sade, ‘love’ encompasses all human passions in all their forms. Love in the Quartet receives its momentum from three forms of energy: ‘my envy of Pursewarden, my passion for Justine, my pity for Melissa’ (Quartet 221). Each sets him upon a course of reconnoitre, a mapping of the inner and outer skins of love, and provides him with a means of overcoming the problems that overspill the net of metaphor. Each proves Proust’s notions that love is an aberration searching for truth1 and that ‘there exists no remedy for a love that is not shared’.2 It is because we fear the discourse that we attempt quixotic, vertiginous actions which are intended to deepen and enhance love, but in fact make it more shallow, more tenuous. We stampede over a terrain which we lack the capacity to map, and therefore we surrender to the baroque power of the architect to design around, to circumscribe, our lives. The equations are rough, volatile, inconsequent except that they wound. In the words of Czeslaw Milosz, ‘it is possible that there is no other memory than the memory of wounds’3.


Passionate Love Human Passion Metaphysical Speculation Walled Garden Courtly Love 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Cf. Proust, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 869: ‘even in these aberrations (and this is true also of our loves or our travels), human nature still betrays its need for belief by its insistent demands for truth’.Google Scholar
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    The Latin word focus literally means ‘a hearth’.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard Pine 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Pine
    • 1
  1. 1.The Long HouseEmlaghmoreIreland

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