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Vows : the modern genius of an ancient rite / Cheryl Mendelson.

"From the bestselling author of Home Comforts comes the story of our wedding vows-what they mean and why they still matter. In the West, marrying is so thoroughly identified with ceremonial promises that "taking vows" is a synonym for getting married. So, it's a surprise to realize that this custom is actually a historical and anthropological oddity. Most of the world, for most of history, married without making promises. And there's a reason for that. Marriage by vow presupposes free choice, and free choice makes a love-match possible. It is a very modern arrangement. Vows is both a moving memoir of two marriages and a thoughtful meditation on marriage itself. Cheryl Mendelson tackles the sociology of commitment through our most traditional promises and shows why they endure. In considering the kind of marriage these vows entail, she helps answer some of life's most urgent and personal of questions: Could I, would I, or should I make these promises to someone? Using history and literature, the book describes the parameters of the behavior that traditional vows promise and, in doing so, answers a whole series of other questions: Why did wedding-by-vow arise only in the West? Why are they recited in weddings around the world today? Why have these vows lasted for nearly a thousand years? Why does the kind of marriage promised in the vows survive?"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781668021569
  • ISBN: 1668021560
  • ISBN: 9781668021576
  • ISBN: 1668021579
  • Physical Description: x, 238 pages ; 22 cm
  • Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2024.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Part I: Foundations. My troth? -- Promises -- The evolution of the marriage vows -- How Thomas Cranmer brought love to marriage -- Part II: Six wedding vows. A brief biography of love -- A mutual admiration society -- On our own: love and law -- No matter what -- Fidelity and its discontents -- Love against death -- Part III: The social life of love. Love and monogamy: The world they make -- Mores and manners -- Happy ending -- Appendixes. Welcome and prefatory remarks, Sarum Missal, Ordo Sponsalia ad Facienda (1506) -- Welcome and prefatory remarks, Book of common prayer, consents and vows compared -- To have and to hold: The poetics of binomials in the wedding vows -- Credits -- Acknowledgments -- A note on sources.
Subject: Marriage customs and rites.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lehigh Valley Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Easton Area Public Library System.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Easton Main Library 203.85 M537v (Text) 31901004794816 New Adult Nonfiction Available -

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