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Volume 88, #1 • Winter 2015




On The Bridge: Class and the Chronotope of Modern Romance
in an American Love Story

David Lipset, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT—In the anthropology of romance in North America, little research has been done on 1) the relationship between love and society, and 2) love narratives. Drawing from Bakhtin’s notion of the chronotope (1981; Lipset 2004, 2008) and Bourdieu’s (1984) sociology of aesthetic taste, this article presents an exegesis of one falling-in-love narrative elicited from a young, middle-class man. As attraction develops episodically in the narrative, shared aesthetic tastes overcome perceived differences. During such moments, which I call chronotopes of modern romance, spatial and temporal boundaries break down and agency is called into question. I argue that in this case, a middle-class background not only appears to influence the tastes which lovers disclose to one another, the most conspicuous being their attraction for each other, but it also imbues the very chronotope of romance in which they do so. [Keywords: Romance narratives, aesthetic taste, social class, chronotopes, North America]

Volume 88, #1

Winter 2015


Paja Faudree, Anna Fournier, Melissa Johnson, Mário Machaqueiro, and Jaesok Kim