In honor of Valentine’s Day, we have taken a look at some great lovers from literature. Love stories are everywhere, and they are absolutely wonderful to read! They flood our hearts with emotion, perhaps giving us highly romanticized views of relationships. The best love stories are expressive and honest, connect us to the characters, and highlight the complexity of relationships. This list could go on forever, but here are some lovers to inspire your romantic spirit.
Romeo and Juliet from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
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These classic lovers need to be included because they have influenced generations of love stories, such as Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, which made nearly every reader tear up. Romeo and Juliet’s forbidden love is the stuff of lover’s nightmares, but they prove that illicit romance is sometimes the best, most passionate kind. If the feud between the Montague’s and Capulet’s never existed, the romantic balcony scene between the star-crossed lovers would never have graced us with its existence!
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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There’s something about Mr. Darcy, proud and arrogant, but really a kind gentleman wholeheartedly in love with the sparkling Elizabeth Bennet, that readers absolutely love. It takes a lot for a man of his status during the early 19th century to overcome his arrogance and literally transform into one of the most caring men in literature. Judgmental Elizabeth has to conquer her own shortcomings, but she is smart and loyal, and the romantic duo is thought of as one the greatest in literature.
Nameless Narrator and Louise from Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
This a heart-wrenching story so many of us can relate to – of love and loss that become so prominent in one’s life and it is almost an obsession (not in the creepy way, but in an endearing, albeit a little unsettling, way). The nameless, genderless narrator speaks about the intensity of love with sensuality and profound emotion. Written on the Body is as much about love as it is about the human mind and body and it will make you feel many things.
Sula Peace and Herself from Sula by Toni Morrison
Sula Peace is a woman who knows what she wants, and she won’t let anyone get in her way. As someone who seriously follows the beat of her own drum, she defies gender roles and notions of proper morality, causing her to acquire many enemies (and secret admirers). At times you love her and at times you despise her, but her absolute devotion to herself is inspiring. Juxtaposed with the more conventional relationships most of the other characters have, Sula’s romantic life, which includes a long list of lovers, appears healthier and happier than that of her contemporaries.
Robin Vote and Nora Flood from Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
Nightwood was groundbreaking when it came out as one of the first novels to portray homosexual love with explicit detail. The story of passionate lovers in the streets of Europe’s amazing and romantic cities – Paris, Berlin, and Vienna – is risqué and beautiful. While there’s conflict and heartbreak involved, Robin and Nora’s gripping relationship is written with entrancing poeticism.
Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell captures young love perfectly. Innocent and romantic sixteen-year-olds Eleanor and Park, both social outcasts in their own way, find one another and build the sweetest relationship. The best part is how real their love is and how devoted Eleanor and Park are. They work hard to elude preconceived notions of love. As individuals, they are each unforgettable, and together, they will rock your emotional world. You will be rooting for them, through tears, the entire time.
Leopold and Molly Bloom from Ulysses by James Joyce
Not all love is perfect; in fact, most love stories are filled with flaws. Like any real life romance, Leopold and Molly have some major things to overcome throughout their relationship. But their love for each other is sincere and Joyce’s writing is wonderfully poetic. In spite of the mistakes Leopold and Molly have made, and pain they have caused one another, their romance is as genuine complicated as human love gets.
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
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Ah! Just look at this steamy picture! Ron and Hermione’s sudden, but heavily built up, romance made Harry Potter fans jump with joy. Do you remember how you felt when you realized there was something more going on between the pair? Their touching romance is an emotional roller-coaster filled with giddy joy. They care so much about one another and the fact that they appear to be an odd couple makes their relationship all the more charming.
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