With the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice fast approaching, I imagine that there will be lots of Jane Austen related articles in print and online. I saw the first of these yesterday, a list of the Ten Best Jane Austen Characters by Paula Byrne, in the Observer newspaper. You can read it here
. Paula Byrne's choices included some of the lesser known Austen characters such as Isabella Thorpe, described as "boy-mad... chasing unsuspecting young men along the streets of Bath" and Sir Walter Elliot "almost a caricature of dim-witted upper classes" as well as Mr Darcy, "Austen's most sexy hero... the ultimate conquest."
I couldn't resist playing the game. Choosing your top ten Austen characters opens things up much more than favourite heroes or heroines or which book you like the best. There is so much wonderful choice. Here are three of my favourites:
1. Lady Susan Vernon. Lady Susan made an impression on me from the first. Even as a child I recognised that Lady Susan was bad with a capital B and yet there is something charismatic and compelling about her. All the way through the novella I'm hoping she gets her just desserts but at the same time I can't help but have a sneaking admiration for her. Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park strikes me as the sort of woman who will develop into a Lady Susan when she is older.
2. Mrs Gardiner in Pride and Prejudice. I like Mrs Gardiner. She is warm and wise, a good friend to Elizabeth Bennet. Sometimes it is easy to overlook understated characters and not appreciate their steady qualities. Mrs Gardiner is the aunt I would like to have myself.
3. Frederick Wentworth. I don't dispute the description of Mr Darcy as sexy and the ultimate conquest but give me Frederick Wentworth instead. He's less aloof, more open about his feelings and I'm a sucker for a man in uniform (unless it's George Wickham).
What about you? Any favourites?
Labels: Frederick Wentworth, Lady Susan, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Top 10 Jane Austen characters