A potpourri of essays on romantic and (to a lesser degree) maternal love by various thinkers--e.g., Lawrence Stone, Stanley Cavell, Robert Michels, M.D.--from the fields of psychiatry, history, philosophy, etc. Several contributors examine whether the uniquely human ability to experience transcendent emotions along with sexual desire is genetically endowed or a product of an individual culture. Others trace how aspects of romantic love have changed throughout Western history and how society has tried to control or modify its power through arranged marriages and other cultural restrictions. Additional themes: the ""passionate attachment"" of the infant for the mother, which is transformed in later life into a capacity for all-encompassing love; the pros and cons of today's sexual revolution; differences between the male and female attitude towards love; the experience of love as it changes throughout the life cycle. Some of the essays are lucid and evocative; others are bogged down in ponderous psychiatric terminology (ironically, in one essay psychiatrists are lambasted for their ""deadening"" language). Freud's concepts are rehashed again and again--critically by some, with approbation by others. The result is a mixed bag of insights and obscurities that--inevitably--falls short of unveiling love's intrinsic mystery.