Biggest literary heartbreakers

22:12, Nov 18 2013

I'd like to start today's post by asking for a moment's silence for Doris Lessing, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the groundbreaking experimental novel The Golden Notebook, and many, many other fine books. Doris was 94 slipped away peacefully into that dark night. A few years ago, upon learning that she had won the Nobel, the-then 88-year-old's first reaction was: "oh, christ". Yes, a fine writer and thinker indeed, whose influence shall be sorely missed.

Moving on to today's actual blog topic...I was drawn to this article about the biggest heartbreakers in literature. I thought it was a pretty thorough list, but have a few of my own to add. I will also admit to wanting to dabble in writing something a little lighter and more fun after the sad, sad news about Lessing. Trying not to steer away from thoughts of how I'd feel if this was Margaret Atwood.

Josephine March from Little Women
While there were many things to admire about Jo - her love of books, strength of character, quirkiness and determination to forge her own path in life, she still broke Laurie's heart. Her "dear, sweet boy", and inadvertently insulted him as well, by implying that he was shallow and all about the looks: "you'll get over this after a while, and find some lovely, accomplished girl who will adore you, and make a fine mistress for your fine house". Just woman up and tell the boy you don't feel the same way and leave it at that, jeesh! Also...LAURIE, I'LL MARRY YOU AND BE THE MISTRESS OF YOUR FINE HOUSE!

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Putting aside Team Peeta or Team Gale for a moment...Katniss rejected Gale for totally douchey reasons! He wasn't her sister's keeper. She also blew hot and cold with him throughout the series, playing the ultimate game of "come here, now go away", what with the kisses and letting him take a beating for her, but ultimately running off with Peeta because she believes they're too similar. She should have taken Pa Gerald's advice from Gone With the Wind, when he tells Scarlett, "like must marry like, or there will be no happiness".

There have been a fair few Shakespearean heartbreakers, but none bigger than Othello. Our favourite Moor killed his wife because he suspected her of having an affair. His iron-clad proof? A handkerchief. For crying out...! Desdemona defied her family and ultimately society to marry for love, and her reward was to be physically abused by her husband in public, then smothered in bed.




Peter Pan from Peter and Wendy
So strictly speaking there was never any sort of romance between the 'Pan and Tinkerbell...size logistics, for one thing, but he was probably the closest thing to a crush that Tink would ever have, and he took her little fairy heart and played dodgeball with it. Tinkerbell ends up marrying another fairy in the books, from memory, but I hope not before she sprinkles some bad fairy dust on Peter.

Angel Clare in Tess of the d'Ubervilles

Who do you think are some of the biggest literary heartbreakers?

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