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Related: emotion - desire - relation

Novels: Jealousy (1957) - Alain Robbe-Grillet - Before She Met Me (1982) - Julian Barnes

Jealous Woman (1950) - James M. Cain
Corgi Edition published 1966
Image sourced here.
See also: jealousy

In spite of all anger against the unfaithful husband or lover the jealous woman is rarely swept by her emotions to violence and crime. -- Theodor Reik


Jealousy typically refers to the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival. The word jealousy stems from the French jalousie, formed from jaloux (jealous), and further from Low Latin zelosus (full of zeal), and from the Greek word for "ardour, zeal" (with a root connoting "to boil, ferment"; or "yeast"). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jealousy [Aug 2006]

In literature

Literary works use a variety of devices to explore its possibilities and reveal its wider implications. Most famously, perhaps, in the 1001 Nights Schahriar’s destructive jealousy is what precipitates Scheherazade’s creative outpouring of stories. In Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1516) jealousy leads to such a distortion of the world that the sufferer is driven to madness. E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Princess Brambilla (1821) is more concerned with the interplay between jealousy and the theater, between reality and masks. In Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853) jealousy becomes a game of reflections and speculations, a potent denial of sexual stereotypes, and, like many novels written by women, an angry rejection of the violation of the individual caused by the gaze of the jealous lover. Anthony Trollope uses both He Knew he was right (1869) and Kept in the Dark (1882) to analyze not only double standards used to judge how men and women behave but also the relationship between mind and body. Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata (1889) offers a compelling exploration of jealousy acting as a front for repressed homosexuality. Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927), especially the section concerning Albertine, represents the claustrophobic nature of the passion of jealousy through the tropes of imprisonment, illness and death, while Michal Choromanski’s Jealousy and Medicine (1932) creates a landscape and a climate that recreate to the full the physical experience of jealousy. Freud’s reading of jealousy and his emphasis on repetitive structures inspires Iris Murdoch’s A Word Child (1975) in which the London subway symbolizes endless repetition of the same.

Other novelists have used jealousy to explore the relationship between writer and reader, as well as that between fiction and reality. Alain Robbe-Gillet’s Jealousy (1965) develops the image of the window blind (in French “la jalousie” means both the emotion and the window blind) to lock the reader into the jealous person’s mind, while in Julian Barnes’s Talking it Over (1991), the writer’s jealousy of the reader’s attention is as much a part of the story as the sexual jealousy it also examines. A. S. Byatt’s Possession (1990) is in part an analysis of the ways in which writing and reading operate to silence other voices.

In the visual arts

In art, depicting a face reflecting the ravages of jealousy was a frequent studio exercise: see for instance drawings by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) or Sébastien Leclerc (le Jeune) (1676-1763), or in a fuller treatment, the howling figure on the left in Bronzino’s An Allegory with Venus and Cupid (probably 1540-50). Albrecht Dürer’s 1498 drawing, Hercules’s Jealousy depicts jealousy as a powerfully built woman armed with a sword. The theme of jealousy is frequently conveyed through images of the gaze as in Jean-Auguste-Dominic Ingres’s Paolo and Francesca (1819) which reveals the jealous husband’s gaze catching the young lovers’ first kiss. Edvard Munch’s many depictions of jealousy, however, tend to place the husband at the front of the painting with a couple behind him as if to suggest that jealousy is created more by the mind than by the gaze. This suggestion is intensified by his cunning use of symbolic colors. There are, nevertheless, lighter moments, as when Gaston de La Touche (1854-1913), in Jealousy or the monkey shows a love scene interrupted by a monkey tugging on the woman’s dress. While popular images of jealousy tend to the lurid, it remains a source, both in literature and in painting, of highly creative artistic strategies that have little to do with the negative and destructive sides of the emotion itself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jealousy_in_art [Aug 2006]

Before She Met Me (1982) - Julian Barnes

  • Before She Met Me (1982) - Julian Barnes [Amazon.com]
    Julian Barnes is very funny - deceptively so. Beneath the veneer of humour runs a vein of bitterness and pathos.His characters, the actions they perform and their conversations are so lifelike that I feel as if I'm eavesdropping.Some of their doings are shockingly true to life. A man leaves his wife and marries his mistress. He is totally obessed with his new wife and when his possessive feelings are triggered by the manipulative tricks of his ex-wife. the downward journey leads inexorably to it's extreme conclusion. Throughout the book, I experienced a feeling of dread. I so much wanted him to redeem himself and the situation. Jealousy is an all-consuming emotion and Julian Barnes captures it perfectly. -- a reader for amazon.com

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