Aaaah, February – the month of love. Chances are good you’re seeing red by now. Between National Heart month (US) and Valentine’s Day, you’d be hard pressed to get around it. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This list should get you started; I tried to find a little something for everyone – poems, letters, real-life romance, novels, comedy, and tragedy. They’re all here:
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, translation by Betty Radice
Real-life love story between a 12th-century French philosopher and his gifted pupil, these letters prove a passion strong enough to withstand centuries.
The Sonnets: Poems of Love, by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s 14-line poems are considered by many to be the greatest love poetry ever penned.
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Anne Elliot was happily engaged to Officer Frederick Wentworth … until her friend persuaded her of his unworthiness. The book chronicles his return, eight years later. Aaah, the persuasions of love…
The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
A story of duty and passion, desire and betrayal, set in the Golden Age of Old New York.
The Love Poems of Lord Byron: A Romantic’s Passion, by George Gordon Byron (that’s Lord Byron to you)
What list would be complete without the man whose name is synonymous with romance? Exactly.
98 Love Letters that Will Bring You to Your Knees, edited by John Bradshaw
A collection of love letters penned over a period of five centuries – with a passion that remains alive today.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
The ever popular gothic romance about a poor, plain-looking girl named Jane, and her fierce spirit that conquers all.
Wuthering Heights, EmilyBrontë
Yet another popular gothic romance from Charlotte’s sister Emily, it is the tale of Cathy Earnshaw and her soul mate Heathcliff.
Love Among the Chickens, by P.G. Wodehouse
This early Wodehouse (you’ll want his revised copy) is all about the love. And chickens.
The Princess of Cleves, by Madame de Lafayette
A story of 17th century French courtly love – where “love was always allied to politics and politics to love… “
The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene
A novel set in London at the end of WWII, it is the story of a rising author, Maurice Bendrix and his love affair with Sarah Miles, the wife of an important civil servant.
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
It is the tragic romance between an American soldier Frederic Henry and his British nurse Catherine Barkley – the story of personal tragedy within collective tragedy.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos
Set in 1925, this novel tells the story of Lorelei Lee – a gold digger with heart of gold.
The Pursuit of Love, by Nancy Mitford
The pursuit of love never did run smooth … or so it was for a girl named Linda.
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
This novel is narrated by seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain who wants nothing more than to be a writer. While her sister Roses longs for romance, Cassandra scorns it: I know all about the facts of life. And I don’t think much of them.” Oh how things can change…
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way … so begins the tragic tale of Anna Karenina, a willful woman who follows her heart and transgresses the confines of society.
Song of Songs (Solomon), The Bible
An allegory of God and the church, this poem weaves the story of a man and his beloved, from courtship to consummation.
Now, what did I miss?