40 greatest love stories of all time
Adam and Eve
“In the beginning . . .” Whether you believe Adam and Eve were two flesh-and-blood people that God banished from the Garden of Eden or literary archetypes that represent the dawn of humanity, the account of their enduring devotion in the face of unimaginable loss and hardship is one of the greatest love stories ever written.
Video: Romance or showmance?
-- By Larry West
Duke and Duchess of Windsor
In 1936, King Edward VIII of England gave up his throne to marry “the woman I love,” a twice-divorced American socialite named Wallis Simpson. The scandal rocked the British Empire and captivated the rest of the world, but the couple remained devoted to each other until the Duke’s death in 1972.
Antony and Cleopatra
The love affair of this Roman general and his Egyptian queen, along with their war with Rome and mutual suicide, shook the ancient world and inspired one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated tragedies.
Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy
The two principal characters in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” – the poor but intelligent and free-spirited woman and the wealthy but reserved and misunderstood gentleman – are among the most beloved in English literature. Their famous romance, which at first seems unlikely and then impossible, finally shows that love conquers all.
Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund
The unexpected reunion of these two star-crossed lovers under the shadow of war made motion picture history. Released in January 1943, shortly after the Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II, the film “Casablanca” was not considered anything special. But three Academy Awards and 70 years later, this story of love and sacrifice has become a classic.
George Burns and Gracie Allen
George Burns and Gracie Allen met in 1922, married in 1926, and spent 40 years making people laugh. The comedy duo performed together in vaudeville, radio, television and films until Gracie’s final illness and eventual death in 1964. Burns, who never remarried, visited his wife’s grave every month until his own death at age 100.
Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara
The tempestuous love affair between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” is one of the most popular romances ever written. The novel won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and the film adaptation took home 10 Academy Awards.
John and Abigail Adams
John Adams, the second president of the United States, and his wife, Abigail, shared a passionate and lifelong love affair despite the many separations they endured during their 54-year marriage. The unending stream of letters the couple exchanged for more than half a century show very clearly that they were not only intellectual equals and political allies but also deeply in love.
Odysseus and Penelope
The Trojan War separates Odysseus, the legendary king of Ithaca and hero of Homer’s classic tale, “The Odyssey,” from his wife, Penelope, for 20 years. During that time, Penelope cleverly resists the increasingly aggressive advances of the 108 suitors who want to replace her husband, and Odysseus refuses a beautiful sorceress’s offer of everlasting love and youth so that he can return to his wife.
Romeo and Juliet
In Shakespeare’s classic story of forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet fall in love despite their families’ longstanding feud. Miscommunication and other plot twists lead to the death of both lovers, but the tragedy and shared grief unite the two families and bring lasting peace.