Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nick Hornsby's Got Nothing On Me

I'm imminently off to Chicago for Wrigley Field-age, Art Institute-age and Drake Hotel Wedding-age, so I won't be able to write/post/read for the rest of the weekend. So in my absence, some list making:

The Top Ten Romantic Couples in Literature (According to the Flitgirl)

10. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane -- Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries
(Placet-ne, magistra? Placet)

9. Elnora Comstock and Phillip Ammond -- A Girl of the Limberlost
The first half of the book is all about Elnora's growth to womanhood and reconciliation with her mother in swamps of the Limberlost. But once city-boy Phillip appears, Elnora truly meets her match. He's smart and devoted and honorable, she's smart and original and honorable.

8. Leda Etoile and Samuel Gerard -- The Shadow and the Star
My favorite romance, and the loveliest depiction of people finding their true match in spite of their anglings otherwise.

7. Natasha and Andrei -- War and Peace
They don't end up together, but while they are, they are simply electric to read about. Andrei's death scene is one of the most moving pieces of literature I've ever read: aesthetically, spiritually and romantically. And while Andrei's death is supposed to mature Natasha, I liked her better when they were together.

6. Emma Woodhouse and Mr. (Edmund?) Knightly -- Emma
Austen knew how to write all kinds of love relationships, and this is one of her best. He starts out paternalistic, she starts out pert and full-of-herself. By the end, they've each realized how much they have yet to learn about the other.

5. Beatrice and Benedick -- Much Ado About Nothing
It's been 500 years and still no one's matched Shakespeare's depiction of love-to-hate-you-lovers. The passion in their wicked insults is so barely disguised, it's cathartic when they finally admit the love they felt all along.

4. Jane Eyre and Mr. (Edward) Rochester -- Jane Eyre
The book that launched a thousand Gothic novels is of course so much more than that. At the heart is Jane's personal/spiritual development, but the evolution of Jane and Rochester from unequals in love to true partners is thrilling no matter how many times you read it.

3. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe -- the Anne series
How often does one get to explore a romance from beginning ("Carrots!") to, if not end, then comfortable late middle-age? Gilbert was my dream boyfriend when I was young: kind, funny, friendly, but deeply, passionately, wonderfully in love.

2. Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy -- Pride and Prejudice
The prototypical "He hates me, no he loooooves me" story and still the best done. Don't we all wish we were one-third as witty while flirting?

1. Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth -- Persuasion
My favorite book, my favorite characters. I'm a sucker for (re)declarations of love via letter. But was there ever a more perfectly matched pairing of personalities in print with a more beautifully executed love story?

Those are my top 10 today. Ask me next week and I may give you a different answer. If you haven't read any of these books, please do. And tell the DSW, who are your favorite couples?


Theresa said...

So happy to see A Girl of the Limberlost on here - I'm a big fan (and also of Freckles). Quality, and often overlooked.

Kate D. said...

Anne and Gilbert! Huzzah! Oh, how I loved them... and how I also loved Gus and Felicity, on "Road to Avonlea."

You should know, Theresa, that the Flitgirl and I have discussed turning a portion of our California vacation into a RtA marathon.

Jennie said...

Oh, nice list! Wimsey/Harriet and Anne Elliot/Captain Wentworth are two of my faves as well.

I have another L.M. Montgomery couple to vote for--Valancy and Barney (you have to ignore the bad names) in The Blue Castle. Strangers to friends to gloriously happy lovers. I love that book.

Kate D. said...

Yay, Jennie! I'm so happy to see you on our blog... you've made great comments over at Sanctuary's Finest.

And I love Valancy and Barney. The whole first chapter of "Blue Castle" remains one of my all-time favorites. What a delightful heroine!

theflitgirl said...

Damn me for forgetting Valancy and Barney! Good call, Jennie! It became my favorite LMM novel sometime in my early twenties. I read it every year...Lady Jane the Grey Slossom and the dance Up Back and the dirt pile and Banjo and Good Luck. So beautiful.

Jennie said...

You guys are awesome--you know The Blue Castle! It's my comfort book. I read it whenever I'm sick or blue and it always cheers me up.

Miss Scarlett said...

I have NEVER met anyone who knew the Blue Castle!
I love that book. I think I was meant to be a flapper. Sigh.

I also love Hamlet & Ophelia, (1)though things don't end well for either of them.

Anne Elliot & Captain Wentworth (2)
are my absolute favourites of Jane Austen.
If I have to watch a romantic movie that is the one for me!

Isak Dinesen & Denys Finch Hatton (3). They are a real couple but she wrote about their love in her books.

Rhett Butler & Scarlett O'Hara (4)
King & Samantha (5)

Tessa & Justin Quayle (6)

Lexy Ransom & Paul Iverson (7)

Lucy Honeychurch & George Emmerson (8)

Stevens & Miss Kenton (9)

Ron Weasley & Germoione Granger (10)

I have noticed a bit of a trend...most of the people do not wind up together in the end- or are seperated for the entire story...Hmmmmm
What does that say about me?

theflitgirl said...

Oh, Miss Scarlett! Lucy and George! I first read A Room With A View as an impressionable 14-year-old. I don't think I need tell you the affect that had on me.

Though Mr. Emerson the elder has the true impact on a young mind, doesn't he? At the end of the eternal Why? there is a Yes.