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But, as yet, Rousseau and his novel see no way of upturning the social order: you still marry who your parents and society tell you, but now at least, with Rousseau’s help, you can feel very sorry that you have to., by Federico di Roberto, two characters, Lucrezia and Benedetto, are in love but can’t marry because Lucrezia’s mother refuses to give her permission on the grounds of social propriety.

Crucially, the mother is shown to be old-fashioned and narrow-minded; couples formed by ‘reason’ are, the novelist suggests, a lot less happy than those guided by instinct.

All the rigmarole of dating in the Romantic era is done away: we no longer have to wonder whether we have found the ‘right’ person; a machine that we trust as much as we now trust doctors, tells us when we have located our destiny.

We no longer have to rely on chance or random encounters.

Internet dating algorithms, for so long about as faulty as medieval brain surgery, achieve their promise: machines now swiftly find for us the optimal choice of partner for a lifetime together.

They know who is available, what our quirks are, and who out there can best compliment them.

We no longer have to keep asking our friends and hoping to be introduced.



– the first major film based around online dating – is released.The idea that you might love, let alone be physically attracted to, the person you end up with would be deemed profoundly irresponsible, if not plain peculiar., a novel by the French Romantic philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which becomes the fastest selling book ever written.



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