Monday, February 11, 2013

Famous Lovers in Literature


Orpheus and Eurydice by Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein
There have been many famous lovers throughout history—Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Napoleon and Josephine, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to think about books featuring the stories of famous literary couples.

The first couple most people think of is William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  Another good example from Shakespeare is Antony and Cleopatra, although both stories end tragically.  From classical literature, how about the love story of Paris and Helen of Troy that started the Trojan War, and is recounted in Homer’s Iliad?  Or from Greek mythology, the story of Orpheus, who tries to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld?  In Homer’s The Odyssey, we have the story of Penelope, who waits faithfully for twenty long years to be reunited with her husband, Odysseus.

In more modern literature, we have Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy who, after a series of misunderstandings, live happily ever after in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind recounts the tempestuous relationship between the headstrong Scarlett O’Hara and the charming rogue Rhett Butler.  One less happy story is that of Heathcliff, who is driven mad by the death of Cathy, his true love, in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.  To end on a happier note, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, tells of the love between governess Jane and her employer Edward Rochester, proving that true love sometimes triumphs over all.

All the highlighted books are available for check out at the library.  Ask your librarian for assistance in finding these and other great stories.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Vicky, Warrenton Library

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