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20 of the Most Romantic Quotes in All of Literature

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Rare Book Gift Ideas

Valentine's Day has a long and storied history. It was originally a celebration of the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, a Christian priest of Rome. St. Valentine was imprisoned and beheaded for marrying soldiers despite being forbidden to do so and for preaching his faith which was against Roman law.

February 14 did not become associated with romance until the Middle Ages. And sometime in the 18th century, it became customary to give flowers, candies, and cards. While today Valentine's Day is symbolized by hearts, cupids, and a score of other glittery commercialized items, at it's core, Valentine's Day is all about love. The following are 20 of the most romantic quotes in literature to help you get into the heart of the holiday.

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1. Who, being loved, is poor?Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

2. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

3. To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

4. When you love something, it loves you back in whatever way it has to love.John Knowles, A Separate Peace

5. A love story is not about those who lose their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing— not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

6. We love the things we love for what they are.Robert Frost, Hyla Brook

7. The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

8. When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No ... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is! Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin

9. In love there are two things—bodies and words.Joyce Carol Oates

10. I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart. Alice Walker

11. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

12. Each time you happen to me all over again. —Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

13. I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty…you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

14. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

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15. I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning. —Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood

16. Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

17. The winds were warm about us, the whole earth seemed the wealthier for our love. Harriet Prescott Spofford, The Amber Gods

18. Love of man for woman—love of woman for man. That's the nature, the meaning, the best of life itself.Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage

19. You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

20. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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Adrienne Rivera
Adrienne Rivera received her MFA in fiction from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She currently lives in southern Indiana.

 

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