Fifteen Epic Love Stories in Classic Literature

#9: Catherine and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights (1847)

Period Drama Actors - Laurence Olivier
Photo: Samuel Goldwyn

Emily Brontë was a genius and you can see it in her rich description of the moors and characters. Still, it is her vivid imagination that created the villain that is the Byronic Heathcliff. And he is a villain. But aside from his monstrosities, is his intense devotion to Catherine. They are two entwined souls that cannot be parted even in death. Their selfish love for one another and Heathcliff’s villainy that follows after losing his love makes for an unforgettable read.

RELATED | Ten Novels for Fans of Jane Eyre

#10: Benedick and Beatrice, Much Ado about Nothing (1598/1599)

Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in Much Ado About Nothing. Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Company
Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in Much Ado About Nothing. Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Company

Aside from tragedy, Shakespeare was also quite skilled in the romantic comedy, Much Ado about Nothing his particular best (in my biased opinion, of course). The love/hate relationship between Benedick and Beatrice where they are tricked into thinking they are in love with each other is hilarious!

#11: Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson, A Room with a View (1908)

A Room with a view
The perfect version of the book!
Photo: Cinecom/BBC America

Like all the best literary love stories, the novel is more than just a romance. There are greater themes involved such as Forster’s critique of Edwardian culture. Still, it is at heart, a love story about a repressed Edwardian girl who breaks down her walls to find true love.

#12: Sir Percy and Marguerite, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905)

the scarlet pimpernel
A wonderful version of the novel! Check out the review.
Photo: London Films/CBS

For those looking for a fun classic love story, then The Scarlet Pimpernel is a great choice! This is an adventure novel with a romance that is sure to keep you entertained! Marguerite and Sir Percy is another literary couple you will be sure to fall in love with if you haven’t already!

RELATED | Book Review: Seek Out The Scarlet Pimpernel for Unforgettable Romance and Adventure

#13: Sydney, Lucie, and Charles, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

A Tale of Two Cities
The 1935 adaptation of the classic novel. – Photo: MGM

Certainly the most serious of Dickens’ novels (another novel about The French Revolution), it is also one of the most romantic. Sometimes, unrequited love stories can become the most beautiful and haunting such as Sydney’s selfless love for Lucie. If you’re not so excited for such a serious Dickens, however, you can always try one of his other novels, all with some kind of romance to enjoy! Nicholas Nickleby, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, and David Copperfield are all great choices.

#14: Aragorn, Eowyn, and Faramir, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)

Eowynvand Aragorn in Return of the King. Photo: New Line Productions
Eowyn and Aragorn in Return of the King.
Photo: New Line Productions

Walking away from the movies, Arwen plays a very small role in the novels. Like minuscule (though she has a cool story in the appendix). For me, in the books anyway, the romance was always about Eowyn and Aragorn. The language used to describe her from Aragorn’s point of view is breathtaking. She’s this lonely figure that becomes a warrior, all while having unrequited feelings for Aragorn. Because he can’t return her feelings due to Arwen, she meets Faramir later on and the two fall in love. What is so lovely about this is that she can find peace with Faramir, the only one in the books to not be tempted by the Ring. He has a pure essence that makes this one love triangle (if one could even call it that) extraordinary.

#15: Kit Tyler and Nat Eaton, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1958)

witch of blackbird pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a classic, award-winning children’s novel that is really for adults. Trust me, it’s SUPER romantic (with more than one love story to root for). In this historical fiction novel, Kit leaves her home in Barbados to stay with the last of her family in America. She’s an outsider in the midst of Puritans, and the only place she feels at home (outside of a Quaker woman) is with Nat, the son of the sea captain. He even names his ship after her! The love story between Nat and Kit is an underrated one that definitely deserves more appreciation. I’m still waiting for my film adaptation…

RELATED | Ten Literary Men that Make me Swoon

What are your favorite epic love stories in classic literature? Sound off below…

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By on February 14th, 2016

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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3 thoughts on “Fifteen Epic Love Stories in Classic Literature”

  1. These are great, and like you, I am still waiting for my “Witch of Blackbird Pond” movie… I don’t think I’ve read the Emily books, I should really fix that!

    Reply

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