A Universal History of Monogamy

Hanna Johansen

"I'm not interested in monogamy. I have told Kellermann as much, in those very words - but perhaps I said it too late." So it is, for Professor Kellermann will not be talked out of his idea. And Sophia Schneider is forced to undertake a research project with the forbidding title A Universal History of Monogamy.

Since homo sapiens has rarely specialized in monogamy, the author at first turns her attention to some of our distant cousins: the birds. But something seems wrong. For all Schneider's good intentions, something continues to divert the course of exact science. Can it be that a personal element is silently infiltrating her academic studies? Why does it seem as if the birds have acquired almost human characteristics? And Kellermann? How does he handle monogamy? And Aunt Lena? And all the other charming characters so brightly and affectingly depicted by Hanna Johansen?

Johansen's novel is a comical and serious game of hide-and-seek devoted to an an issue that has inspired at least half of the world's literature. Part fictive dissertation and part direct appeal to the reader, it leads us into fascinating stories from the life of a woman who apparently seeks to unravel the mysteries of monogamy for personal gain. Are humans, then, just as incapable of life-long faithfulness as blackbirds? And if we must compare: are men intrinsically less faithful than women? There are many answers to be found by examining the behaviour of the colourful characters presented in this book.

A Universal History of Monogamy

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