One of her top ten fictional drownings, as told to the Guardian:
James Steerforth in David CopperfieldRead about the other drownings on the list.
Steerforth is David's childhood friend and protector, a darkly charismatic man who later seduces "Little Em'ly", the niece of David's housekeeper, Clara Peggotty. Steerforth abandons Emily to go to sea, and in one of those coincidences that Charles Dickens can never resist, Emily's broken-hearted fiancé, Ham, eventually gives his own life in a futile attempt to rescue a sailor from a ship going down in a storm, and that sailor turns out to be none other than Steerforth.
David Copperfield is one of Elizabeth Gilbert's six favorite books. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best seductions in literature, ten of the best trips to Canterbury in literature and ten of the best valets in literature.