The Fictional 100:
A Ranking of the Most Influential Characters in World Literature and Legend

The list below is from the book The Fictional 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Characters in World Literature and Legend, Citadel Press (1998), written by Lucy Pollard-Gott.

3Don Quixote
4Eve (Genesis)
6Oedipus (Rex)
7Don Juan
8Chia Pao-yu
9Sherlock Holmes
10Arjuna (India)
11Adam (Genesis)
12King Lear
22Percival (knight)
25Alice (in Wonderland)
31Huckleberry Finn
34Jean Valjean
37Madame Bovary
39Hlakanyana (African)
44Tokubei (Japanese)
45Ohatsu (Japanese)
46Wakdjunkaga (Native American)
53Anna Karenina
61Jane Eyre
62Captain Ahab
64Brothers Karamazov (1st brother)
65Brothers Karamazov (2nd brother)
66Brothers Karamazov (3rd brother)
67Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
72David Copperfield
82Uncle Tom
83Dorothy Gale
92Scarlett O'Hara
97Colonel Aureliano Buendfa
99Holden Caulfield

100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900

From: Book magazine, March/April 2002

Rank Character Relig. Affiliation of Character Book Author Religious Affiliation of Author
1Jay Gatsby The Great Gatsby (1925)F. Scott FitzgeraldCatholic
2Holden Caulfield The Catcher in the Rye (1951)J.D. SalingerJewish Catholic; Scientologist
3Humbert Humbert Lolita (1955)Vladimir NabokovRussian Orthodox
4Leopold Bloom Ulysses (1922)James JoyceCatholic (lapsed)
5Rabbit Angstrom Rabit, Run (1960)John UpdikeLutheran
6Sherlock Holmes The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)Sir Arthur Conan DoyleCatholic; Spiritualist
7Atticus Finch To Kill A Mockingbird (1960)Harper Lee 
8Molly Bloom Ulysses (1922)James JoyceCatholic (lapsed)
9Stephen Dedalus Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)James JoyceCatholic (lapsed)
10Lily Bart The House of Mirth (1905)Edith Wharton 
11Holly Golightly Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958)Truman Capote 
12Gregor Samsa The Metamorphosis (1915)Franz KafkaJewish
13The Invisible Man Invisible Man (1952)Ralph Ellison 
14Lolita Lolita (1955)Vladimir NabokovRussian Orthodox
15Aureliano Buendia One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)Gabriel Garcia MarquezCatholic
16Clarissa Dalloway Mrs. Dalloway (1925)Virginia WoolfNeo-pagan
17Ignatius Reilly A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)John Kennedy Toole 
18George Smiley Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)John LeCarre 
19Mrs. Ramsay To the Lighthouse (1927)Virginia WoolfNeo-pagan
20Bigger Thomas Native Son (1940)Richard WrightSeventh-day Adventist; Communist
21Nick Adams In Our Time (1925)Ernest HemingwayCatholic
22Yossarian Catch-22 (1961)Joseph HellerJewish
23Scarlett O'Hara Gone With the Wind (1936)Margaret MitchellCatholic
24Scout Finch To Kill A Mockingbird (1960)Harper Lee 
25Philip Marlowe The Big Sleep (1939)Raymond Chandler 
26Kurtz Heart of Darkness (1902)Joseph ConradCatholic; atheist
27Stevens The Remains of the Day (1989)Kazuo Ishiguro 
28Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo The Baron in the Trees (1957)Italo CalvinoWaldensian Protestant (lapsed); Communist
29Winnie the Pooh Winnie the Pooh (1926)A.A. Milne 
30Oskar Matzerath The Tin Drum (1959)Gunter GrassCatholic
31Hazel Motes Wise Blood (1952)Flannery O'ConnorCatholic
32Alex Portnoy Portnoy's Complaint (1969)Philip RothJewish
33Binx Bolling The Moviegoer (1961)Walker Percyraised agnostic Presbyterian; Catholic convert
34Sebastian Flyte Brideshead Revisited (1945)Evelyn WaughCatholic
35Jeeves My Man Jeeves (1919)P.G. Wodehouse 
36Eugene Henderson Henderson the Rain King (1959)Saul BellowOrthodox Jew (lapsed); Anthroposophist
37Marcel Remembrance of Things Past (1913-1927)Marcel ProustJewish Catholic
38Toad The Wind in the Willows (1908)Kenneth Grahame 
39The Cat in the Hat The Cat in the Hat (1955)Dr. SeussLutheran
40Peter Pan The Little White Bird (1902)J.M. Barrie 
41Augustus McCrae Lonesome Dove (1985)Larry McMurtry 
42Sam Spade The Maltese Falcon (1930)Dashiell Hammett 
43Judge Holden Blood Meridian (1985)Cormac McCarthyCatholic
44Willie Stark All the King's Men (1946)Robert Penn Warren 
45Stephen Maturin Master and Commander (1969)Patrick O'Brian 
46The Little Prince The Little Prince (1943)Antoine de Saint-Exupery 
47Santiago The Old Man and the Sea (1952)Ernest HemingwayCatholic
48Jean Brodie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)Muriel SparkCatholic
49The Whiskey Priest The Power and the Glory (1940)Graham GreeneCatholic
50Neddy Merrill The Swimmer (1964)John Cheever 
51Sula Peace Sula (1973)Toni Morrison 
52Meursault The Stranger (1942)Albert CamusCatholic; Existentialism
53Jake Barnes The Sun Also Rises (1926)Ernest HemingwayCatholic
54Phoebe Caulfield The Catcher in the Rye (1951)J.D. SalingerJewish Catholic; Scientologist
55Janie Crawford Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)Zora Neale Hurston 
56Antonia Shimerda My Antonia (1918)Willa CatherEpiscopalian
57Grendel Grendel (1971)John Gardner 
58Gulley Jimson The Horse's Mouth (1944)Joyce Cary 
59Big Brother 1984 (1949)George OrwellAnglican
60Tom Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)Patricia Highsmith 
61Seymour Glass Nine Stories (1953)J.D. SalingerJewish Catholic; Scientologist
62Dean Moriarty On the Road (1957)Jack KerouacCatholic; Buddhism
63Charlotte Charlotte's Web (1952)E.B. White 
64T.S. Garp The World According to Garp (1978)John IrvingChristian background (lapsed as adult)
65Nick and Nora Charles The Thin Man (1934)Dashiell Hammett 
66James Bond Casino Royale (1953)Ian Fleming 
67Mr. Bridge Mrs. Bridge (1959)Evan S. Connell 
68Geoffrey Firmin Under the Volcano (1947)Malcolm LowryMethodist; Anglican; agnostic
69Benjy The Sound and the Fury (1929)William FaulknerPresbyterian
70Charles Kinbote Pale Fire (1962)Vladimir NabokovRussian Orthodox
71Mary Katherine Blackwood We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)Shirley Jackson 
72Charles Ryder Brideshead Revisited (1945)Evelyn WaughCatholic
73Claudine Claudine at School (1900)Colette 
74Florentino Ariza Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)Gabriel Garcia MarquezCatholic
75George Follansbee Babbitt Babbitt (1922)Sinclair Lewis 
76Christopher Tietjens Parade's End (1924-28)Ford Madox FordCatholic; agnostic
77Frankie Addams The Member of the Wedding (1946)Carson McCullers 
78The Dog of Tears Blindness (1995)Jose SaramagoCatholic; atheist
79Tarzanraised by gorillasTarzan of the Apes (1914)Edgar Rice Burroughs 
80Nathan Zuckerman My Life As a Man (1979)Philip RothJewish
81Arthur "Boo" Radley To Kill A Mockingbird (1960)Harper Lee 
82Henry Chinaski Post Office (1971)Charles Bukowski 
83Joseph K. The Trial (1925)Franz KafkaJewish
84Yuri Zhivago Dr. Zhivago (1957)Boris PasternakJewish
85Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998)J.K. Rowling 
86Hana The English Patient (1992)Michael Ondaatje 
87Margaret Schlegel Howards End (1910)E.M. Forster 
88Jim Dixon Lucky Jim (1954)Kingsley Amis 
89Maurice Bendrix The End of the Affair (1951)Graham GreeneCatholic
90Lennie Small Of Mice and Men (1937)John SteinbeckEpiscopalian
91Mr. Biswas A House for Mr. Biswas (1961)V.S. NaipaulHindu
92Alden Pyle The Quiet American (1955)Graham GreeneCatholic
93Kimball "Kim" O'Hara Kim (1901)Rudyard KiplingAnglican
94Newland Archer The Age of Innocence (1920)Edith Wharton 
95Clyde Griffiths An American Tragedy (1925)Theodore DreiserCatholic; Congregationalist; Chrisitan Science
96Eeyore Winnie the Pooh (1926)A.A. Milne 
97Quentin Compson The Sound and the Fury (1929)William FaulknerPresbyterian
98Charlie Marlow Heart of Darkness (1902)Joseph ConradCatholic; atheist
99Celie The Color Purple (1982)Alice WalkerBuddhist, Vegan
100Augie March The Adventures of Augie March (1953)Saul BellowOrthodox Jew (lapsed); Anthroposophist


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