Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
The section of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights focused on tragic loveis often considered so romantic, movie and film adaptations cover only half of the book – the half that features fiery, passionate, wealthy woman Catherine and sullen, withdrawn, family ward Heathcliff. The two share such a powerful attraction, all other things cease to exist when they think of one another. While they both marry and have children with other people (and it’s actually the love triangle featuring their grown children that features in the second half of the book), they never stop loving each other. Catherine, speaking of Heathcliff, above, believes him so essential to the core of her being that life is meaningless without him.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
There’s a romance for the ages in practically all of Jane Austen’s novels, but perhaps her most famous tale of love is that of Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. Initially repulsed by one another – Darcy because of Elizabeth’s lower-class family, Elizabeth mostly by Darcy’s arrogance – it’s Darcy who first finds himself coming around and falling for the charming and intelligent young woman. He assumes she must feel the same for him and he speaks to her, uttering the famous lines above. Unfortunately, as romantic as they might seem, they come only halfway through the book – when Elizabeth still dislikes him – and he explains that he still finds her family and lower status offensive. That’s not exactly romantic, but it’s the start of a much truer love.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
“Do I love you? My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.”
The Princess Bride is in the unique position of being a comedy novel that still manages to elicit feelings of love and awe. The core of the tale, beneath the hilarity and the distinctive narrative device, is the love story between Buttercup, a beautiful peasant, and Westley, her farm hand whom she believes was killed on a ship by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Having given him up, she agrees to marry a pompous prince, but she’s kidnapped by the pirate himself, and the truth behind Westley’s disappearance is revealed. Westley responds to Buttercup’s question as to whether or not he loves her with this quote, describing how much his love for her eclipses her own passionate feelings.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
“I have a strange feeling with regard to you. As if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly knotted to a similar string in you. And if you were to leave I’m afraid that cord of communion would snap. And I have a notion that I’d take to bleeding inwardly.”
Emily’s sister Charlotte is also responsible for some of the most romantic literature of all time, the most famous of which is from Jane Eyre, the story of an unloved and plain young woman who takes a position as a governess for the ward of Rochester, a moody, irrational, wealthy man. Despite their differences, romance blossoms between them, which is torn asunder by a dark secret. In explaining his feelings for Jane, Rochester compares it to something that binds them together, something that would snap if they were to part.
Quote a romantic piece of literature in a love letter, love text, or in your wedding vows. You might even use these quotes to create works of art to hang on your wall. If any of these quotes seems especially romantic to you, perhaps it’s time to read or re-read the story from which the quote is taken. If you can feel the romance in a single quote, imagine how much more romantic it is to experience the entire story from start to finish.