Love Stories: Language, Private Love, and Public Romance in Georgia

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In the remote highlands of the country of Georgia, a small group of mountaindwellers called the Khevsurs used to express sexuality and romance in ways that appear to be highly paradoxical. On the one hand, their practices were romantic, but could never lead to marriage. On the other hand, they were sexual, but didn't correspond to what North Americans, or most Georgians, would have called sex. These practices were well documented by early ethnographers before they disappeared completely by the midtwentieth century, and have become a Georgian obsession. In this fascinating book, Manning recreates the story of how these private, secretive practices became a matter of national interest, concern, and fantasy. Looking at personal expressions of love and the circulation of these narratives at the broader public level of the modern nation, Love Stories offers an ethnography of language and desire that doubles as an introduction to key linguistic genres and to the interplay of language and culture.