Eva Illouz

The End of Love

former English working title: Unloving
(German title: Warum Liebe endet)
ca. 447 pages
Eva Illouz
Foto: Eva Illouz
© Susanne Schleyer

Eva Illouz, born in 1961 in Morocco, is Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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»The analysis of the year.« Literatur Spiegel


Western culture has endlessly represented the ways in which love miraculously erupts in people's lives – the mythical moment in which one knows someone is destined to us, the feverish waiting for a phone call or an email, the thrill that runs our spine at the mere thought of him or her. To be in love is to become an adept of Plato, to see through a person an idea, perfect and complete. Endless novels, poems, or movies teach us the art of becoming Plato’s disciples, loving the perfection manifested by the beloved. Yet, a culture that has so much to say about love is far more silent on the no less mysterious moment when we avoid falling in love, where we fall out of love, when the one who kept us awake at night now leaves us indifferent, when we hurry away from those who excited us a few months or a few hours ago.

The End of Love is Eva Illouz’ last installment in a two-decades-long study on the ways in which capitalism and the culture of modernity have transformed our emotional and romantic life. It inquires into the cultural and social conditions which explain what has become an ordinary feature of sexual and romantic relations: leaving them. What are the cultural and emotional mechanisms that make people revise, undo, reject, and avoid relationships? What is the emotional dynamic by which a romantic preference changes? By drawing on a wide range of sources – from Emile Durkheim to Jane Austen, from Karl Marx to Lena Dunham – and forcefully engaging with the question of emotional and sexual freedom, she reveals the choice to unchoose as a crucial modality of subjectivity – and unloving as one of the pivotal conditions of relationships in the era of radical personal freedom.


»In a new dense and exciting essay, sociologist Eva Illouz analyzes the expansion of the domain of the market of intimate relationships.« Sarah Bouillaud, L'Obs

»One appreciates the stimulating nature of her analyzes, her great freedom of mind and the courage of her criticism which aims to give everyone the lucidity necessary for real emancipation.« La Croix

»a brilliant essay« Claude Combet, Livres Hebdo

»An enlightening study that radically scrutinises the contemporary concept of love.« DIE ZEIT

»A new book by Eva Illouz is always a remarkable experience. Like no one else in the field of societal diagnostics, she aims at once at head and heart. […] And one thing always applies to Illouz’ work: You won’t necessarily become more cheerful as you read, but you’ll definitely become smarter and more alert.« Literatur Spiegel

»Eva Illouz’ keen eye for asymmetries within the relationship between the genders is not the punch line but rather the premise of her disillusioning diagnosis of the present condition of love. […] Her nuanced observations cannot be reduced to simple theses. They deal with the negative aspects of what has been regarded as a positive liberation since the 18th century.« Der Tagesspiegel

»[The] liberal economic premise according to which everybody can accomplish anything if only they apply themselves […] also whispers in our ear: If it’s just not working, it’s not ›true‹ love. But the only goal of a satisfied market is not the happy person but a never-ending longing. Illouz considers the unmasking of this delusion in all its manifestations her task. She succeeds, once again, with brilliance.« der Freitag

»Nobody has analyzed the effects that the internet and capitalism have on love with more passion and precision than the Israeli sociologist. She has been dedicated to the subject for two decades and for the time being, The End of Love represents the conclusion of her research project.« Spiegel Online                          

»Eva Illouz supports her detailed, logically unfolding analysis with humanistic and sociological explorations.« BR

Other publications

Die große Regression/The Great Regression (2017)

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English world rights (Polity), Spanish world rights (Seix Barral), Catalan rights (Grup 62), Chinese simplex rights (Horizon), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Estação Liberdade), Korea (Sallim), Portugal (PRH – Objectiva), France (Premier Parallèle; Paperback Sublicense: Gallimard Folio), Italy (Feltrinelli), Netherlands (Atlas|Contact), Czech Republic (Rybka), Bulgaria (KX Critique & Humanism), Romania (ART), Turkey (Metis)

Die neue Liebesordnung/Hard-Core Romance (2013)

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English world rights (Chicago UP), Spanish world rights (Katz), France (Seuil), Italy (Mimesis), Netherlands (De Bezige Bij), Poland (PWN); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Korea (Dolbegae)

Warum Liebe weh tut/Why Love Hurts (2011)

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Spanish world rights (Katz), Chinese simplex rights (East China Normal UP), Chinese complex rights (Linking), Russia (Directmedia), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Zahar), Arabic world rights (Page Seven), France (Seuil), Italy (Il Mulino), Netherlands (De Bezige Bij), Sweden (Daidalos), Korea (Dolbegae), Japan (Fukumura Shuppan), Poland (Krytyka Polityczna), Romania (Art), Croatia (Planetopija), Serbia (Psihopolis Institut), Turkey (Zen), Greece (Ekdoseis tou Eikostou Protou), Israel (Keter)

Gefühle in Zeiten des Kapitalismus/Cold Intimacies (2006)

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