But today, we thought we’d do something a little different, and pay homage to our favorite Classic Literary Crushes … because sure, it’s great to get all hot and bothered by the likes of Edward Cullen or Jace, but these fictional men could teach modern-day male characters a thing or two. In fact, many of our current favorite male characters have been influenced by some of classic literature’s most famous leading men.
Perhaps, no classic male hero is more famous than Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice. Introverted. Misunderstood. Proud. And in the end–downright stand-up guy. Mr. Darcy is the prototype for almost all male leads involved in the classic lit relationship surrounding two characters who first dislike each other, but find out they have more in common than they originally thought. Even Twilight‘s Edward Cullen has been said to inherited many of these Darcy-isms.
Best Mr. Darcy Quote:
By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.
Speaking of Edwards … there are many Edwards in classical literature that are worth mentioning, but we’ll just stick with two! Edward Rochester from Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Witty. Dangerous. Secretive. Dark. Mr. Rochester is the flawed leading man personified. One of the original bad boys, Mr. Rochester takes center stage in one of gothic literature’s most popular novels. He represents a love that is destined to be, despite the many flaws belonging to him and Jane.
Best Mr. Rochester quote:
I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you–especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you–you’d forget me.
Mr. Rochester not fulfilling your bad boy need? Try Heathcliff from Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Written by Charlotte’s sister, Wuthering Heights features Heathcliff, a man with a dark past and a need for revenge. Whereas Mr. Rochester keeps his secrets hidden, Heathcliff lets the world know he despises almost everyone in it. There is only one thing he cares about, one thing he both hates and loves, a girl he obsesses over — Catherine. Some of Heathcliff’s actions are so downright evil and despicable, it’s amazing he makes our list. But it’s his bad boy status, his undying love for Catherine, and the hope of deliverance at the end that makes us love this tragic hero!!
Best Heathcliff quote:
And I pray one prayer–I repeat it till my tongue stiffens–Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you–haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always–take any form–drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!’
Be sure to share your favorite Classic Literary Crushes in the comments below!