Skip to Main Content

About The Book

'Edward Brooke-Hitching's delightful book is a collection of curiosities. From a 19th-century lonely hearts ad to a nuptial blessing of the bride’s buttocks, an entertaining history of love over the millennia that proves when it comes to the heart, little has changed.' Daily Mail

- - - - - -

From the author of the critically acclaimed The Phantom Atlas and The Madman’s Library (Sunday Times Literature Book of the Year) comes a magnificent new illustrated work. From prehistoric carvings and ancient Egyptian statues, to medieval spell books and Victorian code-writing, this unique collection gathers a wealth of curious objects and surprising stories to trace the story of love through the ages.

Discover the royal marriage that crossed the boundary of death in 14th-century Portugal, the judicial duels between husbands and wives in Early Modern Europe, the love spells found in medieval manuscripts, and the romantic codes hidden in some of art’s greatest masterpieces. Meet the feared ancient Greek army regiment comprised entirely of male couples; the French pirate queen avenging her murdered husband; the first woman to sail around the world; and the quack sexologist who conned 18th-century London with his musical mechanical bed. Here are ancient gods, mythical monsters, the Elizabethan portraits of smiling men on fire and the erotic paintings hidden beneath the ash of Pompeii, as well as Nigerian wedding chains, Welsh love spoons, cryptic postcards and the centuries-old cartographic tradition of mapping the heart.

A curiosity cabinet of romantic treasure, Love: A Curious History in 50 Objects draws on a wide range of sources to form a collection perfect for fans of beautiful illustrated works and curious history, while also forming the ideal romantic gift.

‘In his new book, Edward Brooke-Hitching sets out to explore this mysterious emotion. Throughout this lusciously produced volume, he dissects a range of weird and wonderful objects that illustrate the diverse ways by which humans have expressed their loves and lusts.’
BBC History Magazine

'A glorious cornucopia of a book, celebrating love from the hilarious to the divine - as always, Brooke-Hitching's encyclopaedic knowledge shines through.' Fern Riddell, author Sex: Lessons From History

About The Author

Photograph © Alex Anstey

Edward Brooke-Hitching is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling books The Phantom Atlas (2016), The Golden Atlas (2018), The Sky Atlas (2019), The Madman's Library (2020) and The Devil's Atlas (2021), all of which have been translated into numerous languages; he is also the author of Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports (2015). He is a writer for the BBC series QI. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an incurable cartophile, he lives surrounded by dusty heaps of old maps and books in Berkshire. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (October 26, 2023)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398522718

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

'Edward Brooke-Hitching's delightful book is a collection of curiosities. From a 19th-century lonely hearts ad to a nuptial blessing of the bride’s buttocks, an entertaining history of love over the millennia that proves when it comes to the heart, little has changed.'

– Daily Mail

‘In his new book, Edward Brooke-Hitching sets out to explore this mysterious emotion. Throughout this lusciously produced volume, he dissects a range of weird and wonderful objects that illustrate the diverse ways by which humans have expressed their loves and lusts.’

– BBC History Magazine

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Edward Brooke-Hitching