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100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900

The 100 Best Characters in Fiction since 1900 was published in Book Magazine in the March/April 2002 edition. This list is of course, open to debate, and perhaps a fictional character since this publishing deserves a spot on this list.

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