One doesn’t have to excuse the transgression to see the larger content of human frailty and the quest, familiar to any with a heartbeat, for connection with the other. Eros, the life force, desperately trying to find a foothold in the arid landscape of Ordinary Life.

Love outside the bounds of convention is almost always a tragedy, without which there might be no literature.

If I may part briefly from the required condemnation of his acts, his betrayal of his admirable, attractive wife and four sons, and his dishonest brokering of his executive role . . . I would like to propose that Mark Sanford is a tragic hero—Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Yuri Zhivago, the poet-doctor torn between his wife, Tonya, and the sensuous Lara.