The Best Definitions Of Love According To Literature

The Best Definitions Of Love According To Literature

Avatar of Diego Cera

By: Diego Cera

February 14, 2017

Books The Best Definitions Of Love According To Literature
Avatar of Diego Cera

By: Diego Cera

February 14, 2017

Have you ever wondered why "Tender" by Blur hits us that bad when we are in love? Damon Albarn's and Graham Coxon's brilliance in this song is notable, since they didn't need to elaborate metaphors or rhetorical figures to show us the beauty of true love. Our sensibility clicks immediately with this song, for it truly portrays a generation’s idea of love.

The concept of love has changed alongside humanity. In the Middle Ages it was understood from two perspectives: sentimental and sexual. On the one hand, there was love centered on passions, also known as worldly love, for it was associated to the earthly. On the other hand, courtly love had to do with a more contemplative aspect; it was an unattainable love that only existed on an abstract level. Texts and poems of the time, like Troilus and Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer, and even works belonging to the Arthurian Cycle, portray through their characters and forms of love the struggle between pure feelings and the temptation of bodily passions.

love according to literature embrace

Because love is a complex and multifaceted concept, it’s almost impossible to find the exact words to define it, and since it’s impossible to comprehend all of its aspects, an absolute definition would exclude a variety of possibilities of feeling love. Nevertheless, some writers have managed to explain, in their own way, this universal feeling. 


“Love has no cure, but it is the only medicine for all ills.”
Leonard Cohen

“Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”
Rabindranath Tagore

“[For Adam,] wheresoever [Eve] was, there was Eden.”
Mark Twain

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“That's the way it is when you love. It makes you suffer, and I have suffered much in the years since. But it matters little that you suffer, so long as you feel alive with a sense of the close bond that connects all living things, so long as love does not die!”
Hermann Hesse

“True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen.”
François de La Rochefoucauld

“If music be the food of love, play on.”
William Shakespeare

love according to literature bed

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”
Edgar Allan Poe 

“Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear."
Charlotte Brontë

love according to literature bridge

“Passion I hate, and spirit does me wrong. Let us love gently.”
Charles Baudelaire

“Love is an attempt to penetrate another being, but it can only be realized if the surrender is mutual.”
Octavio Paz

“The trouble with love is that many confuse it with gastritis and, when cured of the ailment, they find they have married.”
Groucho Marx

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“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Dr. Seuss

“Love, it is said, is blind, but love is not blind. It is an extra eye, which shows us what is most worthy of regard. To see the best is to see most clearly, and it is the lover's privilege.”
J.M. Barrie

love according to literature umbrella


The multiple possibilities of loving and being loved reflect the greatness of humanity. Love, as life, will always surprise us because there’ll always be someone willing to show us something new about it and about ourselves. Literature is related to human experience, and its portray of love is one we can identify with. Even if things don't go as expected, you can always find comfort in other's experiences through books. Here are 8 Books That Will Teach You How To Let Go Of Past Loves.

Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards