Beyond Literary Landscapes—Tragic Love Stories

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.


This week, we continue with our unlucky-in-love theme, this time, focusing on well-known tragic love stories throughout the history of literature.  In particular, many of these works focus on the tragedy that uncontrolled human emotions can beget.


Some examples of tragic love in literature include Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo, and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Additional examples include Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.


These novels are set in England, France, and Imperial Russia.


Many of these works take place in 15th, as well as late 18th and early 19th centuries.


These works may be of interest to AU students who would like to familiarize themselves with some famous authors of the Western literary canon—and their tragic stories, which may continue to serve as cautionary tales for readers to this day.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to tragic love stories 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 393: The Early Twentieth-Century English Novel, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “focuses on the first four decades of the twentieth-century British novel, its history and development, its rich variety of forms and techniques, and the ideas and events that influenced it.”  (Please note that this course requires several prerequisites, including ENGL 211: Prose Forms, ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, or a first-year ENGL course).

AU students can also consider ENGL 395: The Nineteenth-Century English Novel, a senior-level, six-credit course, which “introduces the student to some of the major English novels of the nineteenth century.”  (Similarly, this this course also requires several prerequisites, including ENGL 211: Prose Forms, ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, or a first-year ENGL course).  Happy reading!