Five Jane Austen characters among 100 favorite fictional characters


Alert AustenBlog Readers Cinthia of JAcastellano and Héctor Danniel wrote (separately) to tell us of an article in the Independent in which writers named their 100 favorite fictional characters of all time, including five characters from Jane Austen’s novels. The characters are Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot and Mrs. Norris.

The AustenBlog management is not responsible for the non-Austen-compliant spelling variations.

Elizabeth Bennett

Chosen by Donna Leon (Blood from a Stone).

My favourite is Elizabeth Bennett, from Pride and Prejudice. Just put Lizzie next to Fanny Price (Mansfield Park): Fanny will drone on about virtue; Lizzie will tell a joke. Fanny will praise the long sermons of her cousin, Edmund; Lizzie will make a provocative remark to Mr Darcy. Fanny will disapprove; Lizzie will laugh out loud.


Chosen by Diana Wynne Jones (Conrad’s Fate)

Jane Austen’s Emma is so very human. She is always plunging into such embarrassing mistakes – and yet they’re the mistakes one longs to make oneself, like telling the tediously garrulous Miss Bates to shut up. And, bless her, she is truly ashamed when she does, because she is actually very nice. Nicer than I am by a long way.

Anne Elliot

Chosen by Toby Litt (Corpsing)

Anne Elliot is the heroine of Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion. She is wise, gentle, patient and oppressed by circumstance. Earlier in life, she was persuaded not to make an unwise match with a young sailor. When the book begins, she has had almost 10 years to regret her decision, yet she is not bitter.

Elinor Dashwood

Chosen by Sarah Smyth (the director of the Cheltenham Literature Festival)

Elinor, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, is one of those people who have a kind of undemonstrative integrity that leads them instinctively always to do the right thing. She’s considerate without being patronising, witty without being sarcastic, and intelligent but not supercilious.

Mrs Norris

Chosen by Sally Beauman (The Landscape of Love)

Mrs Norris in the glittering satire Mansfield Park, is Austen’s most profound, subtle portrait of the banality of evil.

“The banality of evil.” That’s good stuff.

Thank you, Cinthia and Héctor, for sending us the link! (We had a busy day today, that’s why it took so long to post.) 🙂