Beyond Literary Landscapes—Unrequited Love

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


Recently, this column has focused on difficult—but, ultimately universal—themes, and this week is no different.  Although at first glance, the topic may appear to be a bit of a departure from somber themes of revenge, justice, death, and even, the fear of robots, the pain of unrequited love can be similarly devastating.  I am certain that anyone who has felt this ubiquitous human feeling can attest to this unfortunate truth.


Some well-known examples of unrequited love in literature includes Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.


These works are set in England, France, and Germany.


The novels take place in the 15, 18, and 19th centuries.


These particular texts may be of interest to AU learners who are currently experiencing some form of heartbreak, or those who would like to better understand this universal human emotion.  The novels may also be appealing to students who would like to become familiar with some of the most notable classics in the Western literary cannon.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to unrequited love are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 324: Shakespeare I, a senior-level, three-credit course, which serves “an introduction to the age of Shakespeare and his plays.”  (Note that several prerequisites are required, including ENGL 211: Prose Forms, ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, as well as successful completion of ENGL 325: Shakespeare II or approval from the course coordinator).  Happy reading!