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The 10 best characters of Jane Austen


If you’re a true fan of Jane Austen, you’ve palmed the pages of her five classic novels more than once and probably tuned in to the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice on many a cold and lonely night, sharing a Bridget Jones moment or two gawking at Colin Firth.

To honor the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice’s publication, The Guardian has picked its ten favorite Austen characters for you to debate with other Janeites to your heart’s content.

Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion

Fathers often come off badly in Austen’s novels. Sir Walter Elliot, father of Anne, the heroine of Persuasion, is a selfish, heartless man, absorbed by himself and his title. He’s almost a caricature of the dim-witted upper classes. He is vain to the point of absurdity. His house is lined with mirrors. Obsessed by keeping up appearances, he will only be seen in public with attractive or well-born people. He dislikes sailors because of their orange tan and supposed lack of breeding. He’s so vain he probably thinks this feature’s about him.

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.”

Full story at The Guardian.

Great characters in great books.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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