An easy-going homily on the subject of romantic love, from Univ. of Texas philosophy professor Solomon, that touches lightly on historical, psychological, literary, and philosophical sources to explain the phenomenon. To his credit, Solomon laments the prescribed selfishness of the self-help genre and avoids the usual How-To-Get-More-Out-Of-It routine, circling around the subject of romantic and sexual satisfaction with considerably more tact and style than is customary for the average How-To. However, the issue of personal satisfaction is at the heart of Solomon's project, regardless of how delicately cloaked, and the casually instructive approach combined with learned name-dropping makes this something of an upscale Dr. Ruth seminar. Veering away from scholarly apparatus and extended philosophical discourse, the author discusses the evolution of our idea of love, taking in classical, medieval, and 19th-century views and their shaping influence on modern American romance--or what passes for romance. Less tangibly, Solomon attempts to map the emotional sensation of love in its various states from exhilaration to despair, from the pinings of love-at-first sight to the satisfaction of long-term relationships. But despite a vigorous plundering of Bartlett's for quotations on the subject (including, unbelievably, the two most hackneyed lines from Shakespeare and E.B. Browning), the work bogs down in commonplace generalities. Solomon's main message--that love works best when derived from friendship, and that it can get better with time--comes across as more of a reminder than fresh insight. Good-natured, discreet, but ultimately uninformative counseling on a subject not lacking for clientele.