Chemical affinity  

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"Elective Affinities was condemned by contemporaries for its "immoral" thesis that love and human bonding has chemical origins. The novel is based on the metaphor of human passions being governed or regulated by the laws of chemical affinity, and examines whether or not the science and laws of chemistry undermine or uphold the institution of marriage, as well as other human social relations." --Sholem Stein

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Chemical affinities, in chemistry, all the various attractions between elements and compounds that lead to their reaction.

The modern term chemical affinity is a somewhat modified variation of its eighteenth-century precursor "elective affinity" or elective attractions, a coinage of the Swedish chemist Torbern Olof Bergman from his book De attractionibus electivis (1775). Antoine Lavoisier, in his famed 1790 Elements of Chemistry, refers to Bergmann’s work and discusses the concept of elective affinities or attractions.

Goethe used the concept in his novel Elective Affinities (1809).

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