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


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)

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  1. 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.”

  2. 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.


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