25 Nineteenth-Century Literary Characters to Consider Inviting to Your Holiday Party

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1: Queequeg, Moby-Dick
Why: Tats.
Why not: Will not actually have sex with you.

2: Lily Bart, The House of Mirth
Why: Looks great; laughs at your jokes.
Why not: Do you really want to encourage her to drink?

3: The Caterpillar, Alice in Wonderland
Why: Has hookah.
Why not: Bogarts hookah.

4: Esther Summerson, Bleak House
Why: If you puke, will hold your hair and never tell anyone.
Why not: Veils not festive.

5: Thoreau, Walden
Why: Parties benefit from at least one guy who can’t get off the philosophy.
Why not: Will leave weird baleful poetry on the magnetic poetry board.

6: Every Single Character in Little Women except for Amy
Why: Will bring good snacks; have always wanted to introduce Jo and Queequeg
Why not: Meg=total frenemies with Lily.

whoa7: Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 Edition)
Why: LOVES all the snacks, LOVES THEM.
Why not: Snacks stuck in beard; will try to monopolize Queequeg.

8: Nana, Nana
Why: Hot underpinnings; will let you peek for francs.
Why not: Might leave Thoreau a broken shadow of his former self.

9:  Lydia Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Why: Good with soldiers; high animal spirits.
Why not: Always trying to steal your boyfriend.

10: Glencora Palliser, The Pallisers Series
Why: Curly hair, round eyes, very good with horse reins.
Why not: Can’t invite Burgo Fitzgerald (not actually a downside).

11: Ralph Touchett, Portrait of a Lady
Why: Will set up in the most coveted quiet corner and be deliciously bitchy.
Why not: Bad lungs; will make an offhand comment that completely undoes you.

12: Theron Ware, The Damnation of Theron Ware
Why: We are not going to make fun of Theron Ware, even when he mispronounces “Chopin.”
Why not: Okay it’s probably impossible not to make fun of Theron Ware.

13: Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House
Why: MAJOR side-eye.
Why not: Secretly judging your outfit.

14: Silas Lapham, The Rise of Silas Lapham
Why: Deserves second chance.
Why not: Ham fingers; will spill wine on your carpet.

youth15: Arabella Donn, Jude the Obscure
Why: Wears extensions; knows how to pull a pint.
Why not: Might slip into her Evangelical phase if you let her too close to the brandy.

16: Mr. Holgrave, The House of the Seven Gables
Why: Sexy; total dude; dark secrets; might follow you on instagram.
Why not: Absolutely no reason why not, totally invite this guy.

17: Count Fosco, The Woman in White
Why: Brings mice; chats up your dowdy single friend all night.
Why not: Brings Percival Glyde; might fall down the stairs.

18: Augustine St. Clare, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Why: Socially gracious; ideologically repulsive.
Why not: Socially gracious; ideologically repulsive.

19: Wemmick, Great Expectations
Why: Good at decorating; won’t snitch on your behavior at the office.
Why not: Post-office mouth + Chex Mix = Messy

20: Isabel Archer, The Portrait of a Lady
Why: Universally beloved; will enter party by pausing gracefully in the doorframe.
Why not: Will go home with asshat statement-facial-hair guy.

21: Carrie Meeber, Sister Carrie
Why: Looks good in a mirror; can use Hurstwood’s credit cards to buy nice hostess gift.
Why not: Hurstwood will mope outside the picture window.

COB0322:  Harold Skimpole, Bleak House
Why: Life of all parties.
Why not: Most likely to steal wallets from the coat pile.

23: Lucy Westenra, Dracula
Why: Might bring Kate Moss.
Why not: Undead; will definitely fight with Lydia over your boyfriend.

24:  Alec D’Urberville, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Why: Super cute; has a nice horse.
Why not: Rapey.

25: Any woman from a Poe Story
Why: Pale; hot.
Why not: Teeth might fall out at any minute.

Happy Holidays from Avidly!
(Sarah M., Sarah B., and Claire)



  1. December 12, 2013 @ 11:48 am Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    Happy holidays from me and Sarah B and Claire !

    Reply

  2. December 12, 2013 @ 11:50 am Hester Blum on Facebook

    “weird baleful poetry on the magnetic poetry board”!

    Reply

  3. December 12, 2013 @ 11:52 am Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    Hester Blum, you know he would.

    Reply

  4. December 12, 2013 @ 11:53 am Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    I would pay good money to see Henry David get all managed by Lily Bart.

    Reply

  5. December 12, 2013 @ 11:56 am Hester Blum on Facebook

    And yet I also see HDT with statement facial hair…

    Reply

  6. December 12, 2013 @ 11:59 am Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    I know! Oh Hester. Sarah Blackwood and I have really been overthinking the impending Henry/Isabel hookup.

    Reply

  7. December 12, 2013 @ 12:00 pm Hester Blum on Facebook

    I only took one C19 class in undergrad (weirdly) and the creepy professor wrote of HDT’s celibacy something like “Thoreau took nature as his bride, and she opened herself up to him.”

    Reply

  8. December 12, 2013 @ 12:01 pm Hester Blum on Facebook

    Not really apropos, but wanted to share.

    Reply

  9. December 12, 2013 @ 12:01 pm Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    hahahahha

    Reply

  10. December 12, 2013 @ 12:01 pm Sarah Blackwood on Facebook

    yessssssss

    Reply

  11. December 12, 2013 @ 12:02 pm Paul Erickson on Facebook

    Well, just don’t invite nature to the holiday party, then. Or Nature.

    Reply

  12. December 12, 2013 @ 12:15 pm Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    Paul i’m interested that you see the potential Henry/Nature hookup as a party activity to be avoided.

    Reply

  13. December 12, 2013 @ 12:28 pm Kirsten

    Robert Lebrun, the Awakening
    Why: Soft Creole ways will charm aging hostess and make her feel young again. Probably has access to absinthe.
    Why not: See under “Queequeg.”

    Reply

  14. December 12, 2013 @ 12:28 pm Avidly on Facebook

    Kirsten commented on Avidly:

    Robert Lebrun, the Awakening
    Why: Soft Creole ways will charm aging hostess and make her feel young again. Probably has access to absinthe.
    Why not: See under “Queequeg.”

    Reply

  15. December 12, 2013 @ 12:34 pm Paul Erickson on Facebook

    Mainly because nobody would kill a party faster than HDT. Timothy Shay Arthur would be more fun. Henry can get with Nature on his own time.

    Reply

  16. December 12, 2013 @ 12:35 pm Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    Kirsten, Sarah and I were talking about how much we wanted actual Kate Chopin as party guest! you KNOW so funny.

    Reply

  17. December 12, 2013 @ 12:35 pm Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    Paul Erickson, this is why Claire Jarvis argued for Henry Adams as substitute.

    Reply

  18. December 12, 2013 @ 12:41 pm Paul Erickson on Facebook

    Totally.

    Reply

  19. December 12, 2013 @ 2:27 pm Michelle Burnham on Facebook

    I appreciate all the “shipping” going on in this list (a term I recently learned from my 13-year-old: the fanfiction practice of putting literary characters into relationships that don’t exist in the original texts–basically creating hook ups between fictional characters). Maybe there should be more 19th century shipping fanfiction.

    Reply

  20. December 12, 2013 @ 5:45 pm Avidly on Facebook

    Michelle Burnham: there should be more shipping, in general!

    Reply

  21. December 12, 2013 @ 10:10 pm Hester Blum on Facebook

    Michelle Burnham, I went looking for Hump/Wolf fanfic the yesterday, with no luck…

    Reply

  22. December 13, 2013 @ 12:15 am Michelle Burnham on Facebook

    Moby Dick slash fanfiction, on the other hand, there be plenty of.

    Reply

  23. December 13, 2013 @ 12:49 pm Sarah Mesle on Facebook

    currently imagining 18c version. I wish I could introduce Tom Jones to Eliza Wharton.

    Reply

  24. December 17, 2013 @ 11:37 am Natalie Miller on Facebook

    listen, can we swap out Isabel Archer and add Undine Spragg?

    Reply


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