Thursday 28 February 2008


Booking Through Thursday always comes just when my topics are drying up. You might have been treated to the anecdote about how I thought my camera had broken yesterday, only it hadn't, or a detailed examination of a pillow - instead, there is something you might well find interesting to read and to which to respond!

Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)

Yes, you guessed it - I'mgoing to hedge my bets and pick a few favourites. I've even turned them into an Identi-Kit picture, so you can spot my ideal heroine, should you see her misformed body wandering along the street.

So which three females made the grade? First and probably foremost - well, it has to be Elizabeth Bennet, doesn't it? I'd be astonished if she weren't the most popular choice this week. Wit, gumption, self-knowledge, affection for those around her, intelligence, beauty, morals, self-deprecation, eventual wisdom - what is there not to like in our Lizzie? She, in case you wondered, makes up the torso and arms of our Ideal Heroine. No particular reason why those bits.

Second (the legs downwards) is the indomitable Miss Hargreaves. For more on Connie, see more or less every post I've ever written, or this one in particular. Incorrigible, unflappable, musical, quite selfish but often very loving, and unintentionally hilarious Miss Hargreaves is everything a comic character should be, and my life would be a duller place without her in it. She's brought along Sarah, her dog, and a cockatoo called Dr. Pepusch, hope that's not cheating.

And the head - The Provincial Lady. Well, it's actually her author, E M Delafield, but needs must. Again, witty and self-deprecating, ironic, long-suffering and eternally provincial, she is the architypal everywoman, but also somehow unique.

So there we are. My three favourite female protagonists, and I can't imagine the landscape of literature without the three of them. How amusing it would be if the three of them were in the same room. I think they'd probably loathe each other, but I would be delighted.


  1. Fascinating choices, Simon ... although I could have chosen so many, Lizzie was the one who came into my head first so I stayed with her because I do love her for all the reasons you've written.

  2. I'm delighted to see the PL get a hat tip. I read the entire series in an omnibus edition a couple of years ago and giggled and grinned and generally bored everyone senseless about her fabulousness. :)

  3. Not sure PL is an 'architypal everywoman' - I can't say I've come across many like her! Rather a special sector of society I think.
    Lizzy is a MUST.
    From childhood Anne of Green Gables - but then she and I share a name! (That may be why I like Anne in Persuasion) OVW

  4. I haven't read the works of the Provincial Lady for years. However, there's a copy looking at me from the bookshelves. I must get it down again and visit. Thanks for reminding me.

  5. As everyone will go for Elizabeth Bennet I'll put in a word for the splendid Flora Poste.

  6. PS: HOW did you make up that three-way photograph?

  7. Harriet Vane gets my vote, perhaps she might get yours before too long?

  8. Angela, that was the result of lengthy photographing/filching from Google Image Search, resizing and general faffing with Paint!

  9. I would have enormous difficulty picking my personal female favourite. I agree with Lizzy Bennett, but must put in a plea for Anne Eliot who I adore. Provincial lady - yes, wonderful, not arguing with you about that one either. I also think Glencora from the Palliser novels would feature in my list and then there is.........better stop

  10. I agree with a couple of these mentioned already - P.Lady and FLora Post - but would like to add Emmeline Lucas Pillson.

    Anne: I never read that series but did see a few of the televised episodes - there are a lot of links found by googling that title - mostly I wanted to tell you that I've visited the Green Gables farmhouse in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island where the author lived with her grandparents.

    Simon: Everytime you mention _Miss Hargreaves_ I get a mental image of Margaret Rutherford - the same one I had when I read the book. :-) Am I far off your image of her?

  11. Simon, I could see Miss Hargreaves gazing at me reproachfully across the room as I listed my own favourites. The sniff as she picked up Sarah's lead and left the room spoke volumes: I had eschewed the benefit of an older and wiser head to guide that gaggle of young women I had chosen, and she feared I would regret my decision...


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