What To Expect When You’re in Love with a Writer

When in 1937 the mythologist Joseph Campbell began dating his future wife, the dancer Jean Erdman, he gave her a copy of Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West, an odd courtship gift indeed. While visiting Erdman’s family, they discussed the book. Later:

…At the end of a pleasant evening Joseph offered to walk Jean home; she tucked her copy of Spengler under one arm as they set out. Jean was staying with an aunt who lived on Gay Street, just around the corner from the Greenwich Village apartment the Campbells would occupy for so many years. “We got to Union Square Park on Fourteenth Street and it started to rain,” Jean remembered. “Neither of us had a raincoat. Joe took off his coat, and I thought, ‘how gallant.’ But he said urgently, ‘Give me the book,’ and he quickly tucked it under his jacket. I knew then what I was in for…”

– Stephen and Robin Larsen, A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell, 244-245