“Love, in Theory” by E.L. Levy— Romance and Academia, Ten Stories

Levy, E. J. “Love, in Theory”, University of Georgia Press, 2012.


Romance and Academia, Ten Stories


Amos Lassen


The academic framework is the prism through which the stories in “Love, in Theory” and looked at. Here the intellect becomes erotic and we see love from a whole new angle. Levy looks at love in all of its constituents and forms whether it isbetween a man and woman, a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a mother and a child”. We have stories of heartbreak, adultery and passion and we see the changes love brings to life.

A disheartened English professor’s life changes when she goes rock climbing and falls for an outdoors-man. A gay oncologist attending his sister’s second wedding ponders dark matter in the universe and the ties that bind us. Three psychiatric patients, each convinced that he is Christ, give rise to a love affair in a small Minnesota town. A Brooklyn woman is thrown out of an ashram for choosing earthly love over enlightenment. A lesbian student of film learns theories of dramatic action the hard way—by falling for a married male professor”.

These stories not only explore the heart but the mind as well and deal with themes of physics, film, philosophy, rational choice and so on. We read of happiness and sadness, loyalty and betrayal and what all these stories share is the intelligence with which they were written. We read of love and loss and of the nature of love in language where each word seems to be exquisitely chosen to express an idea. It is almost hard to believe that there are the first published stories by Levy and the idea of looking at love from a scholarly point of view is refreshing and very much alive. Here is the heart that is aware of itself and what it does and the book is a lesson in love that woos the reader as he turns the pages.


3 thoughts on ““Love, in Theory” by E.L. Levy— Romance and Academia, Ten Stories

  1. EJ Levy

    Thank you so much for a beautiful and smart and generous review–made my morning (okay, it’s afternoon to everyone else, but for me it’s still morning here in the mountain west). I believe this i the book’s first review–many thanks for this.

  2. That guy

    I’ll bet that you didn’t understand that each of these stories confronts a theory: academic, political, economic…. For example, “Theory of Dramatic Action” is structurally a refutation of Aristotle’s and rather many more modern writers claim that story telling is, in substance, a formula, the “Theory of Dramatic Action”. Which this story violates while yet remaining very great storytelling.

    This is not your average writer….

    1. Amos Post author

      I certainly did understand that but I was not writing a review for an academic journal and if I had been I would have taken each story separately and shown that. Sometimes the very best academic writing can also be enjoyed by a less than academic reading audience. My site is actualy geared to the LGBT community and I try in some way to have my reviews reflect that–although this one does not necessarily do so. I am an academic myself so I tend to look at writing on an entirely different level for myself but it is my goal to get others to read. Hopefully they, like you, can discover for themselves what an author is doing. Would we have enjoyed Byron, say, if he told us what he was writing about? I doubt it.

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