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by Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel
In 1774, Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel, mayor of Königsberg, anonymously published a landmark treatise, Über die Ehe (On Marriage), that advocated equal rights and treatment for women within the marital relationship. Due to its wealth of worldly wisdom and humor, the work was immensely popular; three successive editions were published, each one expanded and altered in favor of more fair treatment of women in marriage. In this centennial edition, the first translation, Timothy F. Sellner has successfully captured von Hippel's lively prose and compelling ideas, bringing to readers a fascinating first glimpse at the struggle for women's liberation by a man whose ideas still challenge the notions of the late twentieth century.
On Marriage was the most contemporary treatment of the subject in its time, for it viewed marriage outside of its religious importance. von Hippel examined marriage, according to the principles of enlightened inquiry, as a human institution whose true function had long been obscured by centuries of religious practice, demeaning public prejudice, and meaningless superstition. He defined the ultimate purpose of marriage as the closest possible intertwining of two lives, with the precise interpretation of this concept varying from marriage to marriage, determined by the married couple alone.
Marriage is not, von Hippel insisted, solely for procreation, as the Roman Catholic Church purported, nor was it a kind of safety valve for the sex drive, as the Protestants viewed it. Instead, he considered whether the partnership worked to the advantage or disadvantage of the marriage partners, the state, and the human race as a whole. With his new understanding of the ancient concept of marriage, von Hippel was attempting to free the institution from its burdens and limitations and to establish a more enlightened definition of this most fundamental union.
Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel was both the quintessential man of the eighteenth century and a writer whose work speaks to readers today with astonishing relevance. He was a novelist and poet of great wisdom and touching sensibility; a political thinker who accepted only those forms of government which guaranteed liberty, equality, fraternity, justice, peace, respect for the individual, and intellectual, moral, and material progress; and an emancipator whose ideas still challenge the late twentieth century to rethink its deeply held notions concerning the relationship between the sexes.
Author: Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel
Publisher: Wayne State University Press; Bicentennial edition (May 1, 1994)
Pages: 328 pages
ePUB size: 1549 kb
FB2 size: 1257 kb
Other Formats: lit azw lrf mobi