Love Stories: Language, Private Love, and Public Romance in Georgia by Paul Manning
In a way that reminds one of classic ethnographies, Love Stories is a book tightly woven around a paradoxical, and now discontinued, social practice. Sts’orproba was a way of teenage romance in a small and remote community of mountain-dwelling Khevsurs in Georgia 100 years ago. In sts’orproba’s consummative moment, the sts’orperi lovers “lied down” for the night of talk and some carefully restricted physical intimacy. Sts’orproba, however, was understood as a sociable, and not sexual, relationship between affable peers because it was only approved between co-residential, or otherwise socially proximal, young people whose union in marriage was impossible in this exogamous society. Opposite to both sex and marriage, sts’orproba continues to fascinate with the question: What was love in Georgia?