March 09, 2004

Poll: Your Favourite Austen Hero

These characters aren't really heroes, are they? (which I think is precisely Austen's point). But for the purposes of the poll, "hero" will do, though perhaps I should have said "your favourite male protagonist in an Austen novel," or "your favourite male character who marries an Austen heroine."

Since this polling software only allows for five possible responses, I left out Edward Ferrars on the -- admittedly arbitrary and possibly mistaken -- assumption that nobody would choose such a dull and forgettable character. If you want to register a vote for Mr Ferrars, you'll have to 'fess up in the comments section.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at March 9, 2004 04:28 PM

Well then, I must confess that my first thought was Edward Ferrars. I did vote for Darcy, though, and I imagine I probably would have voted for him even if Edward Ferrars was an option because, to paraphrase Mr. Bennett, Darcy is not the kind of man of whom I could say no.

Posted by: isabel at March 9, 2004 04:58 PM

It's interesting that while Edmund Bertram is probably the purest, kindest, and most moral Austen hero, he's doing quite badly.

But then again, I don't like him either. I voted for Darcy too, although I might be influenced by the "Colin Frith" factor.

Posted by: Matilde at March 9, 2004 05:22 PM

Can't women be heroes, too?

Posted by: Brian Ulrich at March 9, 2004 05:33 PM

I voted for Darcy, but that's only because I've never read anything else by Austen.

Posted by: ben wolfson at March 9, 2004 05:43 PM

Are men and women voting differently?

Is Wentworth more attractive to men and Darcy to women? (no-one seems to care much for the others).

Posted by: jam at March 9, 2004 05:55 PM

Speaking for my wife, Melissa, I submit a vote and a testimonial for Mr. Knightly. Mr. Darcy is imposing, grand, magnanimous, and admittedly, both good and handsome. However, Mr. Knightly is, and I quote, "perfect." He has none of the flaws that Austen gives all of her other male protagonists: unlike Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly is not proud; unlike Captain Wentworth, he is not suspicious; unlike Edward, he is not boring. Moreover, this perfection extends, in her opinion, to Jeremy Northam's performance in the Miramax version; while she is quite willing to acknowledge the power Mr. Firth's smolder, she thinks Mr. Northam's dashingness trumps it. It's not her favorite Austen adaptation, but she loves (chastely) Mr. Knightly.

Speaking for myself: Where the hell is Colonel Brandon!?!

Posted by: Russell Arben Fox at March 9, 2004 06:30 PM

"Where the hell is Colonel Brandon!?!"

I only had room for 5.

And I can't believe I misspelled Knightly. He is indeed perfect (or near-perfect, anyway): your wife has excellent taste.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at March 9, 2004 06:41 PM

Actually, IA, you spelled Knightley right. Melissa just corrected me.

Posted by: Russell Arben Fox at March 9, 2004 06:54 PM

I'd have to vote for Brandon, too. But I picked my next favourite.

Posted by: at March 9, 2004 07:03 PM

My wife is also distressed at the absence of the Colonel.

Posted by: language hat at March 9, 2004 07:43 PM

I didn't realize so many readers would take the absence of the Colonel so hard. Had I known, I might have eliminated poor Bertram in order to give Brandon a space.

I sincerely apologize for the distress.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at March 9, 2004 08:24 PM

I agree with the bit about "Edmund Bertram is probably the purest, kindest, and most moral Austen hero" and I briefly considered voting for him, but I thought him a bit slow on the uptake for hero status.

Posted by: isabel at March 9, 2004 08:47 PM

Ugh. But Edmund Bertram spends the whole damn book in love with not-the-heroine and never convincingly falls for Fanny. And I don't think he's as moral as he thinks he is.

I'm a Knightley woman, too. He has a way better sense of humor than Darcy and is generally lovely.

Posted by: rosalind at March 10, 2004 11:52 AM

Why couldn't Colin Firth play Col. Brandon? (sigh)

Posted by: dissertating at March 10, 2004 01:49 PM

Because he isn't old enough and what's wrong with Alan Rickman anyway? He was the only decent thing about the latest movie adaptation.

Posted by: Another Damned Medievalist at March 13, 2004 06:15 PM

Alan Rickman was a great pick for Col. Brandon. Colin Firth is entirely too pretty to be Brandon; they would have had to downplay his looks. While I find Rickman attractive, he was able to very well portray the steady, average-looking, educated, sensitive Brandon. It wouldn't make sense if he were too good-looking.

I just re-watched the BBC Pride & Prejudice this weekend. My husband owns dozens of DVDs; I own one: P&P w/the lovely Colin Firth.

Posted by: isabel at March 15, 2004 11:28 AM