Though Courtship May Be Gone Forever, Kasses Propose Re-inventing Its Rituals as a Means to Lasting Love, Marriage

William Harms, The University of Chicago Chronicle, February 3, 2000.


Having taught college-age students for nearly three decades, Amy and Leon Kass have learned from their observations and through conversations that young people who are seeking the kind of intimacy marriage can satisfy are finding it difficult to reach that goal in the absence of established ways of courting.

The Kasses, who have stayed in touch with many of their students well after graduation, have seen many of them “bumble along from one unsatisfactory relationship to the next, becoming jaded and embittered,” said Leon Kass, the Addie Clark Harding Professor on the Committee on Social Thought.

He and his wife, Amy Kass, Senior Lecturer in Humanities, decided to confront the problem, both in writing and in teaching. “One should stop cursing the darkness and offer some light and hope to the romantically perplexed,” he said.

This quarter, about 25 students are gathering for the course Ethics of Everyday Life: Courtship to discuss contemporary and classic works that deal with sex, love, courtship and marriage. The coursework is based on a new anthology the Kasses have edited, Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying. The book promotes what they call a higher kind of sex education designed to prepare hearts and minds for romance leading to lasting marriage.

University of Chicago