Go ahead… type love into the catalog and see what happens. You’ll find approximately 24,463 items about love, or items that at least contain the word love somewhere in the record. That’s a lot of love! Near the top of the results is Dracula in Love, “a haunting and suspenseful story of eternal love and possession” and Where the God of Love Hangs Out, a collection of short stories. More in the mood for practical advice? What about When I Fall in Love Again: A New Study on Finding and Keeping the Love of Your Life. There are philosophical studies like Love, Friendship, and the Self: Intimacy, Identification, and the Social Nature of Persons and historical treatments such as Friendship and Love, Ethics and Politics: Studies in Mediaeval and Early Modern History. Even books about profiting from love, like Love Writing: How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction.
If we narrow our search to those items that have love in the subject heading, then we can choose from just over 3,000 sources. But what a selection! There are subject headings for platonic love, free love, unrequited love…love letters, love poetry, courtly love…first loves, love in motion pictures, love in art, and love songs. What about related subject headings like intimacy (psychology), marriage, sex, gay couples, man woman relationships, seduction in literature, or romance film? Maybe you’re in the mood for love in a foreign language? Out of those 3,000 plus items about love, 87 are in French, 47 in Spanish, 42 in German, 26 in Latin, 23 in Italian, 9 in Hebrew, 8 in Chinese and Russian, and 6 in Hindi, but there are also some in Catalan, Danish, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Swahili, Mandingo, Korean, and Welsh, among others.
One of the oldest items about love in the catalog is called This tretyse is of loue, printed by Wynken de Worde in 1493, and available through Early English Books Online (EEBO). It has the subject heading, Love—Early works to 1800, as do 47 other works, such as the 1680 publication, Advice to lovers: or, Certain rules of behaviour shewing them how to demean themselves, so as not to miscarry in the grand affair of love. Wherein also the pretty tricks, odd humours, and fantastick carriage of some paramours, together with several pleasant passages relating to amours, and courtship, are observ’d and describ’d. By W. R. Gent.
Love remains an enduring topic, as popular today as centuries ago. Have fun looking for love in the catalog and Happy Valentine’s Day from Penrose Library.