Friday, July 17, 2015

Ten top spinsters in literature

Rachel Cooke, an award-winning journalist who writes for the Observer and is the television critic for the New Statesman, is the author of Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties.

One of Cooke's top ten single women, as shared at the Guardian:
Miss Havisham

Driven half-mad by her lover’s desertion on their wedding day, the star of Dickens’s 13th novel, Great Expectations, lives in her ruined mansion with her adopted daughter, Estella, whom she has brought up to use her beauty to torture men (“I stole her heart away and put ice in its place”). Miss Havisham can be read in two ways: while some have placed feminist interpretations on her witchy character, others see her as misogyny personified. But whatever line you take, her influence is beyond doubt. Were it not for her, Norma Desmond would surely never have uttered the words: “I’m ready for my close-up.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

Great Expectations appears on Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Chrissie Gruebel's top ten list of books set in London, Melissa Albert's list of five interesting fictional characters who would make undesirable roommates, Janice Clark's list of seven top novels about the horrors of adolescence, Amy Wilkinson's list of five books Kate Middleton should have read while waiting to give birth, Kate Clanchy's top ten list of novels that reflect the real qualities of adolescence, Joseph Olshan's list of six favorite books, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best clocks in literature, ten of the best appropriate deaths in literature, ten of the best castles in literature, ten of the best Hamlets, ten of the best card games in literature, and ten best list of fights in fiction. It also made Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, David Nicholls' top ten list of literary tear jerkers, and numbers among Kurt Anderson's five most essential books. The novel is #1 on Melissa Katsoulis' list of "twenty-five films that made it from the book shelf to the box office with credibility intact."

Read an 1861 review of Great Expectations.

--Marshal Zeringue