5. Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Author: Jane Austen
Maybe we would all be more productive if the romances of our youth were handled the way that Jane Austen's was. While Austen was working on Sense and Sensibility, she was dating Tom Lefroy, and things were getting serious. She wrote this to her sister: "I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together." Oh word?
Her parents and the community at large weren't having it, as Lefroy had insufficient cheddar to go marrying anybody, which is the only reason you would be "sitting down" with a lady in the first place. Lefroy was sent packing and Austen went back to work on her craft. She never saw Lefroy again. Seeing as she did not publish anything until 15 years later, in 1811, which was also five years before her death, the sacrifice of love probably wasn't worth it.