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100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900
From Book magazine, March/April 2002

listen Listen to the Talk of the Nation discussion.

1 - Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
2 - Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
3 - Humbert Humbert, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
4 - Leopold Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
5 - Rabbit Angstrom, Rabbit, Run, John Updike, 1960
6 - Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1902
7 - Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
8 - Molly Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
9 - Stephen Dedalus, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, 1916
10 - Lily Bart, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905
11- Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote, 1958
12 - Gregor Samsa, The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, 1915
13 - The Invisible Man, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952
14 - Lolita, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
15 - Aureliano Buendia, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1967
16 - Clarissa Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, 1925
17 - Ignatius Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980
18 - George Smiley, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John LeCarre, 1974
19 - Mrs. Ramsay, To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, 1927
20 - Bigger Thomas, Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940
21 - Nick Adams, In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway, 1925
22 - Yossarian, Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961
23 - Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936
24 - Scout Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
25 - Philip Marlowe, The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler, 1939
26 - Kurtz, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1902
27 - Stevens, The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
28 - Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo, The Baron in the Trees, Italo Calvino, 1957
29 -Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, 1926
30 - Oskar Matzerath, The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass, 1959
31 - Hazel Motes, Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor, 1952
32 - Alex Portnoy, Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth, 1969
33 - Binx Bolling, The Moviegoer, Walker Percy, 1961
34 - Sebastian Flyte, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, 1945
35 - Jeeves, My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse, 1919
36 - Eugene Henderson, Henderson the Rain King, Saul Bellow, 1959
37 - Marcel, Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust, 1913-1927
38 - Toad, The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, 1908
39 - The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss, 1955
40 - Peter Pan, The Little White Bird, J.M. Barrie, 1902
41 - Augustus McCrae, Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, 1985
42 - Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett, 1930
43 - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy, 1985
44 - Willie Stark, All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren, 1946
45 - Stephen Maturin, Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian, 1969
46 - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1943
47 - Santiago, The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway, 1952
48 - Jean Brodie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961
49 - The Whiskey Priest, The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene, 1940
50 - Neddy Merrill, The Swimmer, John Cheever, 1964
51 - Sula Peace, Sula, Toni Morrison, 1973
52 - Meursault, The Stranger, Albert Camus, 1942
53 - Jake Barnes, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, 1926
54 - Phoebe Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
55 - Janie Crawford, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
56 - Antonia Shimerda, My Antonia, Willa Cather, 1918
57 - Grendel, Grendel, John Gardner, 1971
58 - Gulley Jimson, The Horse's Mouth, Joyce Cary, 1944
59 - Big Brother, 1984, George Orwell, 1949
60 - Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith, 1955
61 - Seymour Glass, Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger, 1953
62 - Dean Moriarty, On the Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957
63 - Charlotte, Charlotte's Web, E.B. White, 1952
64 - T.S. Garp, The World According to Garp, John Irving, 1978
65 - Nick and Nora Charles, The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett, 1934
66 - James Bond, Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, 1953
67 - Mr. Bridge, Mrs. Bridge, Evan S. Connell, 1959
68 - Geoffrey Firmin, Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry, 1947
69 - Benjy, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929
70 - Charles Kinbote, Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov, 1962
71 - Mary Katherine Blackwood, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson, 1962
72 - Charles Ryder, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, 1945
73 - Claudine, Claudine at School, Colette, 1900
74 - Florentino Ariza, Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1985
75 - George Follansbee Babbitt, Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis, 1922
76 - Christopher Tietjens, Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford, 1924-28
77 - Frankie Addams, The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers, 1946
78 - The Dog of Tears, Blindness, Jose Saramago, 1995
79 - Tarzan, Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1914
80 - Nathan Zuckerman, My Life As a Man, Philip Roth, 1979
81 - Arthur "Boo" Radley, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
82 - Henry Chinaski, Post Office, Charles Bukowski, 1971
83 - Joseph K. The Trial, Franz Kafka, 1925
84 - Yuri Zhivago, Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, 1957
85 - Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1998
86 - Hana, The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, 1992
87 - Margaret Schlegel, Howards End, E.M. Forster, 1910
88 - Jim Dixon, Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis, 1954
89 - Maurice Bendrix, The End of the Affair, Graham Greene, 1951
90 - Lennie Small, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, 1937
91 - Mr. Biswas, A House for Mr. Biswas, V.S. Naipaul, 1961
92 - Alden Pyle, The Quiet American, Graham Greene, 1955
93 - Kimball "Kim" O'Hara, Kim, Rudyard Kipling, 1901
94 - Newland Archer, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton, 1920
95 - Clyde Griffiths, An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser, 1925
96 - Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, 1926
97 - Quentin Compson, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929
98 - Charlie Marlow, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1902
99 - Celie, The Color Purple, Alice Walker, 1982
100 - Augie March, The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow 1953





   
   
   
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