Learning the Language of Love, 1777

The History of Love

Who hasn’t made some embarrassing error in the realm of love? Misinterpreting a potential lover’s intentions can be humiliating, painful – even fatal. Published in 1777, one DIctionary of Love aimed to set the record straight once and for all, amidst concern at the recent enthusiasm for ‘stabbing, poisoning one’s self, and the like’ in the name of love. No more would the people of England be subjected to the ‘vexatious, lamentable circumstance’ of suffering their blossoming relationships to fail horribly.

According to the wisdom of the 1770s, if we want to win someone’s heart, we should all be paying particular attention to the language of love. Indeed, even if all else fails, a suitor need only pluck the right words from the air and their beloved will instantly and eagerly submit to their every whim:

“Thus, when a love whines out, No! it is impossible to resist such attractions: This phrase… imports: “If all…

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