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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.

1 Hamlet
2 Odysseus
3 Don Quixote
4 Eve (Genesis)
5 Genji
6 Oedipus (Rex)
7 Don Juan
8 Chia Pao-yu
9 Sherlock Holmes
10 Arjuna (India)
11 Adam (Genesis)
12 King Lear
13 Scheherazade
14 Achilles
15 Job
16 Hercules
18 Othello
22 Percival (knight)
23 Romeo
24 Juliet
25 Alice (in Wonderland)
26 Medea
28 Troilus
29 Cressida
30 Noah
31 Huckleberry Finn
33 Frankenstein
34 Jean Valjean
37 Madame Bovary
39 Hlakanyana (African)
40 Cinderella
44 Tokubei (Japanese)
45 Ohatsu (Japanese)
46 Wakdjunkaga (Native American)
50 Tristan
51 Isolde
53 Anna Karenina
61 Jane Eyre
62 Captain Ahab
63 Shakuntala
64 Brothers Karamazov (1st brother)
65 Brothers Karamazov (2nd brother)
66 Brothers Karamazov (3rd brother)
67 Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
70 Emma
72 David Copperfield
73 Scrooge
80 Superman
81 Falstaff
82 Uncle Tom
83 Dorothy Gale
90 Tarzan
92 Scarlett O'Hara
97 Colonel Aureliano Buendfa
99 Holden Caulfield
100 Beloved

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

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