Can You Name The Great Literary Lovers?

Love and romance have been key themes throughout literature but can you name these famous literary couples?

By Google Arts & Culture

Philippe H. and Suzanne Kissing at Euthanasia, New York City (1981) by Nan GoldinMoMA The Museum of Modern Art

Stories of love, loss, betrayal, and trauma surround some of literature's most famous couples. Can you guess which iconic partners we're talking about from epic poems and tales in the following quiz? Scroll on to test your knowledge...

The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas (1766) by Sir Nathaniel Dance-HollandTate Britain

Couple 1

The widowed Queen of Carthage entertains a young Trojan prince shipwrecked on his way to Italy to found a new Troy. The two fall in love but the young prince must leave to fulfil his destiny.

As he parts from his love, she takes her own life, with her death lamented by mourning cupids. This ancient tale of love and tragedy was first told in Virgil’s Aeneid but has also been the subject of an opera by Purcell. But who are they?

Dido and Aeneas

From the Aeneid, written around 29 to 19 BCE

Romeo and Juliet (1778) by Benjamin WestNew Orleans Museum of Art

Couple 2

The story of these two literary lovers is so famous it has come to be synonymous with love itself. Yet their tale is a very sad one. Star crossed and young, Shakespeare’s two lovers belonged to different feuding families and their romance is destined to fail.

But their love is so strong neither of them can resist and we are left with perhaps the greatest love story ever told. But what are their names?

Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare's tragic tale was first performed in 1597.

Tristan and Iseult (Death) (1910) by Rogelio de EgusquizaMuseo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

Couple 3

A classic Chivalric romance told in numerous variations since the 12th century, this love story tells of an adulterous love between a Cornish knight and Irish princess.

It is also thought to be the basis for the Arthurian love triangle involving Lancelot and Guinevere. As you might have guessed, the lovers meet a tragic end. But who are they?

Tristan and Isolde

From the 12th century onwards, the story has inspired everything from an opera by Wagner to a Bollywood film and even an adaptation by sci-fi director, Ridley Scott.

Troilus And Craseida - Opera At City Center by Walter SandersLIFE Photo Collection

Couple 4

Another Shakespearean couple, another tragic love story (not all literary romances end in disaster, we promise). The story takes place during the Trojan War, when a young Trojan prince falls in love with a beautiful young Greek woman.

The story descends into betrayal and revenge and, needless to say, does not end well. The subject of both a play by Shakespeare and a poem by Chaucer but can you name the lovers?

Troilus and Cressida

Shakespeare's version was written around 1602. 

Lit Austen - Pride And PrejudiceLIFE Photo Collection

Couple 5

A classic and much-loved novel by Jane Austen tells the story of a young woman learning to tell the difference between superficial and actual goodness, when she falls for a handsome but seemingly ill-mannered landowner.

As they realize their love for one another amid the social politics of 18th century high-society, we're eventually treated to a happy ending. Do you know the names of the dashing gentleman and our quick-witted heroine?

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy

It's Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, of course! Jane Austen's 1813 novel has become one of the most popular love stories in literature. 

Romeo and Juliet (1869/1870) by Ford Madox BrownDelaware Art Museum

How did you do?

Were you able to name all of our literary lovers? Or would you like to know more? If you like your romances with a happy ending you can discover more about Jane Austen's work here.

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