"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."
Love, that attention-seeking pain in the ass, has never been content to just drive the, ahem, layperson crazy. It sashays around, all pretty and confounding, until writers just have to try to explain it. That's when the trouble starts, of course.
Literature has quotes for days on that four-lettered blessing or curse, but I've seen one too many articles go to the well of the Brontës, Austen, and Sparks. No offense to any of them (in fact, props are due), but hopefully this list shines some light on writings you haven't seen before, and maybe there's something that rings true for whatever kind of love you're in. Or not in, if that's the case.
Crushes, attraction, dating and waiting:
2. "The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only." —Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables"
4. "He called her a melon, a pineapple, an olive tree, an emerald, and a fox in the snow all in the space of three seconds; he did not know whether he had heard her, tasted her, seen her, or all three together." —Virginia Woolf, Orlando
5. "I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. Just as some people have a secret love for rainstorms, earthquakes, or blackouts, I liked that certain undefinable something directed my way by members of the opposite sex. For want of a better word, call it magnetism. Like it or not, it's a kind of power that snares people and reels them in." —Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
Lust, desire and wanting:
Sex and passion:
11. "Gaston was not only a fierce lover, with endless wisdom and imagination, but he was also, perhaps, the first man in the history of the species who had made an emergency landing and had come close to killing himself and his sweetheart simply to make love in a field of violets." —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
13. "I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state." —Neil Gaiman, American Gods
14. "Lift your hips for me, love." —Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me
16. "License my roving hands, and let them go/Before, behind, between, above, below." —John Donne, "To His Mistress Going to Bed"
17. "Folks, I'm telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean, so get yourself a little loving in between." —Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems
21. "I love you more than I hate everything else." —Rainbow Rowell, Landline
Marriage and long-time love:
22. "Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honeymoon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic — the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which make the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in common." —George Eliot, Middlemarch
23. "He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs." —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
24. "Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage the triumph of hope over experience." —Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"
26. "Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable you should ever part." —Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Hard times and heartbreak:
The sense of an ending:
38. "Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know--because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand." —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned
40. "It was really true, there was no longer anything about him that could interest me. He wasn't even a fragment of the past, he was only a stain, like the print of a hand left years ago on a wall." —Elena Ferrante, The Days of Abandonment
41. "Longed for him. Got him. Shit." —Margaret Atwood, six-word short story