Sunday, January 6, 2013

The ten best Jane Austen characters

Paula Byrne's most recent book, published in January 2013 to mark the bicentenary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice, is an innovative biography called The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things.

She named a list of the ten best Jane Austen characters for the Observer, including:
Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth is Austen’s most beloved heroine and most modern girl, unfazed by wealth and status (she makes mincemeat of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in their stand-off), and frank and fearless in her opinions. Her ability to laugh at herself (and others) is one of her best traits. Her intelligence and wit make her a worthy mate for Mr Darcy. She is given some of the best one-liners in all of Austen, including this outrageous comment: “I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and Her daughter.”
Read about the other Austen characters Byrne tagged.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Robert McCrum's list of the top ten opening lines of novels in the English language, a top ten list of literary lessons in love, Simon Mason's top ten list of fictional families, Cathy Cassidy's top ten list of stories about sisters, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked clerics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in fiction, ten great novels with terrible original titles, and ten of the best visits to Brighton in literature, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue