In this well-written, engaging, and provocative study, Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas examines changes in attitudes about love and marriage among Colombian elites from the late colonial period through the nineteenth century. Using personal correspondence, diaries, and political memoirs, Dueñas-Vargas demonstrates how the concepts and meaning of love and marriage were socially constructed and how, over the course of the nineteenth century, Colombian elites experienced a “gradual transformation in emotional expression and the customs of love” (p. 8).

Hints of new ideas about love in the late eighteenth century were disrupted by the violence of the independence wars. Typical marriages in the early nineteenth century were formal and somewhat cold, while passionate love was more associated with extramarital affairs (as seen in the lives of the audacious Ibáñez sisters). After the independence wars subsided, Colombian elites endeavored to stabilize and modernize their society, especially after...

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