Chapter

Silly to worry about: <i>Before She Met Me</i>

Peter Childs

in Julian Barnes

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081064
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081064.003.0003
Silly to worry about: Before She Met Me

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Before She Met Me (1982) is a study of uxoriousness just as much as jealousy in an otherwise unremarkable marriage. Barnes's second novel can be read on its own as a darkly comic story of paranoid love leading to violence and self-destruction. It is also an attack on the view that the sexual revolution of the 1960s was uniformly liberating. Its central characters constitute a triad of a kind that will be familiar in Barnes's novels: a woman and two men. The main themes of the novel concern the relationship between reason and passion at a particular point in social history, advocating how the 1960s changed sexual manners but not feelings, and emphasizing how difficult it can be to control primitive but unwanted emotions.

Keywords: marriage; Before She Met Me; jealousy; Julian Barnes; paranoid love; love triangle; sexual revolution; 1960s

Chapter.  4914 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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