On Marriage

Available for Special Order
On Marriage
A compulsively readable, startling, and philosophically rich book about marriage, from an acclaimed critic and filmmaker

A New Yorker Best of the Week Pick - A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year - A Seminary Coop Notable Book of 2023

"Baum is an erudite and entertaining guide through the landscape of marriage. . . . A fascinating exploration."--Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian

"As far back as our history books go, we have no record of a time preceding marriage. Isn't that an extraordinary fact?" So writes Devorah Baum in this searching and revelatory book. Marriage, for better or for worse, is how humans have organized their world and told their story. Straight, queer, coupled, single: none live outside the remit of marriage. One might as well try to live beyond language.

But when confronted with the question "What do intellectuals think of marriage?" Baum concludes that most philosophers have preferred to avoid the subject. Is marriage then an intellectual blind spot? To fill in the gaps, she draws on a wide range of cultural material, from the classical to the contemporary, while interweaving reflections on her own experiences of matrimony to both critique and celebrate marriage's many contradictions and its profound effects on us all. In doing so, she reveals how marriage has worked as a cover story for power and its abuses on the one hand, and for subversive and even utopian relational practices on the other.

Entertaining, illuminating, consoling, and candid, On Marriage is an unprecedented investigation of what we are really talking about when we talk about marriage.

Publication Date: 
October 24, 2023