The passions are at the heart of human experience. Literature, which foregrounds human experience, captures the complexity of the passions more acutely than the generalizations of theory. This collection of essays by leading comparatists acknowledges the timeless and ever-changing presence of the passions in literary texts and responds to multiple and changing contexts. Through the analysis of well-known and less familiar works, the contributors to this volume explore some of the universal experiences of human passion: romantic love, seduction, parental affection, child-like wonder, obsession, indignation, melancholic apathy. A methodological concern links the different sections of the volume: is it possible to trace the vicissitudes of human passion through time and space? This question finds a response in the comparative approach, which captures the complexity of human passions through different periods and cultures. Comparative literary analysis, in combination with philosophical, psychological, sociological and psychoanalytic inquiry, enables the contributors to this volume to map some of the passions that have been fascinating writers for thousands of years and that continue to shape our stories and our lives.