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Couples: A Collective Life

Moran, J (2023) Couples: A Collective Life. Life Writing. ISSN 1448-4528

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This creative-critical essay tells the collective life story of couples, bydrawing together memoir and other texts (film, art, photography,biographical fragments) and social observation. It is inspired bytwo things: the‘immersive coupledom’(Laura Kipnis’s term)enforced by the Covid lockdowns; and a series of recent essay-cum-memoirs that have explored the experience either of beingsingle or being in a couple. These books note the resilience of‘the couple norm’even as feminist and LGBTQ+ movements havechallenged other societal norms. My essay also examines my ownlife as a single man, but tangentially, by considering its opposite:coupledom. Unpacking the unquestioned norm of coupledom is,I argue, a way of thinking about the hidden strangeness of ourmundane lives—how love and care get routinised, and how thestories we tell about human relationships become true by default.But I also suggest that coupledom can’t just be reduced to astory, a heteronormative convention. A couple is, like the humanbeings who comprise it, a beautiful, maddening, undeterminablemess. Every couple is a social invention, but also a one-off,ananomaly, a dataset of one.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coupledom; singledom; monogamy; memoir; 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing; 2005 Literary Studies; 2099 Other Language, Communication and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2023 10:39
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 13:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/14484528.2023.2250931
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20792
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