The Paris Review

Advice on Love from Nietzsche and Sartre

A couple in front of the love locks in Paris.

Locking lips and interlocking fingers are harmless enough, but locking into love is seductively dangerous—both figuratively and literally. Twenty-first-century lovers have become so captivated by the metaphor that, in 2015, the pont des arts in Paris had to be released from the crushing weight of forty-five tons of padlocks that lovers had secured to it. Keys, tossed over the rails, litter the Seine. While the Parisian love locks were auctioned to raise money for charities, padlocks still smother memorials around the world—from other bridges in Paris, to the Brooklyn Bridge, to fences in Hawaii and Australia. Urban planners have now become accidental heroes in the crusade against

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