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On Marriage

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But my case studies are predominantly American because Jews did really go for it there, culturally, in the post-war period – in a way that they never have here. Baum looks at marriage from multiple angles, legal and political, social and narrative, its interminability and its dailiness . From Freud to Ferrante, and One Thousand and One Nights to Fleabag, she looks at marriage in all of its forms – from act of love to leap of faith, and asks: what are we really doing when we say ‘I do’?

With Josh Appignanesi she is co-director, producer and performer of the films The New Man and Husband, which investigate the intimate dynamics of the filmmakers' own marriage.So, the notion – that we had 27 other countries we could go to, and now we don’t – feels absolutely existential for many Jews in this country.

It’s an argument about feelings and a sort of warning, I think, as well – that to misread or misunderstand feelings can be a dangerous thing.For better or worse, for richer for poorer, till death us do part – we’ve always done it and we’re still doing it.

And that self-seriousness is very often a kind of annoyance that nobody notices, when they’re being funny, that they’re also being deep, that they’re also saying things nobody has ever thought or dared to say before.I don’t like this increasing focus on identity – to demarcate who you are, what you are… and that you can’t transcend these boundaries. Boundaries, as we know, are vital, and people who have none are not people you normally want to hang around with [laughs], but it depends on the extent to which you understand them as being both provisional and constructed, and as a creative act. But at the end of all her analysis, a definitive understanding remains elusive: “Having thought so much about marriage, the truth is that I still don’t know what I think about it.

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