“In etymological terms, the roots of the word romance lie with the concept of chivalric adventure, and this was also my understanding: as a stylized distraction or escape spurred by disconnection. I subscribed to the notion of high romance – to the same picaresque instincts and exaggerated emotional investment responsible for the enduring popularity of Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, and Lolita; to the same reckless abandonment of self-consciousness facilitated by opiates. Poetry, which is implicit in romance, was the counterpoint to an existence that lurched from crisis to duty.
“The poetic gesture was, to me, essential; the feeling behind it, less so. Even now, I find myself grading adolescent infatuations on the basis of their ability to make a lyrical experience of life – the boy who pressed that poem by Rilke into my fist as I disembarked from the school bus; the man who kissed me as Coney Island Baby played, spring rain falling on the magnolia petals in the grass outside; that droll and modest lover who, in a black frock coat, walked with me most every day through the fields outside Oxford.
“These and other recollections are the stars by which I navigate my past, and like stars, their light continues long after love’s extinction.”
- from “True Romance”, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Vogue, December 2011