Stendhal distinguishes four loves:
- Physical love
- The love of vanity
This excerpt, which is situated at the very beginning of the book, is an attempt to analyze the feeling of love.
I try to realize this passion whose sincere developments have a character of beauty.
There are four different loves:
1° The love passion, that of the Portuguese Nun, that of Héloïse for Abélard, that of the captain of Basel, of the gendarme of Cento.
2° the love taste, the one which reigned in Paris around 1760, and which one finds in the memoirs and novels of this time, in Crébillon, Lauzun, Duclos, Marmontel, Chamfort, Madame d’Épinay, etc., etc.
It is a picture where, up to the shadows, everything must be rose-colored, where nothing unpleasant must enter under any.
Stendhal, On Love
However, Stendhal relativizes his classification:
Besides, instead of distinguishing four different loves, one can very well admit eight or ten nuances. There are perhaps as many ways of feeling among men as there are ways of seeing.
Stendhal, On love