• The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments 12 comments

    by Danielle White

    Through the ages, literature has brought some amazing characters to life. Characters we have grown up with, fallen in love with, laughed with, admired, and most importantly, remembered just as though they were real people.

    But just like real life, literature is full of scummy dudes and scary dudettes intent on torturing the opposite sex. What if you were stuck with one of these legends as a Valentine this year?

    Here are the top 10 worst-ever literary Valentines:


    10) Emma Woodhouse, from Jane Austen’s Emma







    You could try asking her on a date, but chances are she’ll set you up with one of her close friends instead.


    9) Prince Hamlet of Shakespeare’s Hamlet







    Not only is he Danishly mopey, but also completely selfish. A professor of mine once pointed out how Hamlet “uses Ophelia and then throws her away like a dirty tissue.” With a boyfriend like that, it’s no wonder she kills herself.


    8) Edward Cullen of Twilight fame







    Because if you subtract the vampire element, he’s really just a stuck-up douchebag.


    7) Alisoun, from the Miller’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales







    Well, unless you like that sort of thing.


    6) Lady Brett Ashley from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises







    She just doesn’t seem too big on romance. She’d rather be flitting all over Europe, getting hammered and flirting with a group of rich guys. If you’re looking for a monogamous relationship, she’s probably not your gal.


    5) Phaedra







    Like most Greek characters, she’s pretty sick and twisted. Or maybe it’s just the gods controlling her emotions. They like to do that to people. Either way, better to keep your son away from this one; or, you know, he’ll probably die.


    4) Zeus







    Speaking of gods, there isn’t any length to which this one wouldn’t go to get laid. Including transforming himself into a swan. He takes the phrase “male pig” to a whole new level.


    3) Miss Havisham from Dickens’s Great Expectations







    There’s a chance she’s not yet over her ex.


    2) Humbert Humbert of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita







    He might love you. Or he might just ask you to marry him in order to get closer to your prepubescent daughter. Gross.


    1) Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis







    He does have charm. And he keeps himself well-groomed. He’ll probably even tell you that you have a beautiful face–right before he slices it off.


    So, this year give your (real-life) Valentine some extra love and a big smooch, because at least you’re not stuck with one of these literary losers!


    Danielle White lives and works in central Massachusetts. She graduated from Franklin Pierce University in 2009 with a BA in English. She has since been published in 2 literary magazines, City Lines and Student At Large. Apart from reading and writing, she enjoys sipping a well-made martini, buying shoes, and sleeping in.

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    Justine Tal Goldberg

    How about Oedipus? That’s some seriously Freudian shit.

    Michael John Westerman

    Mr. Bateman is a fantastic choice and gotta appreciate Chaucer. Henry the Eighth would be an interesting date for a gal; a queen or guillotine type scenario.

    Eric A. Warner

    Wouldn’t be much fun to make a list of only face peelers, but it’s tough to argue against Hannibal Lecter being a candidate for #1.

    Laura Roberts

    Let’s not forget The Great Gatsby. Dude blows a fortune to impress a rich bitch, ends up floating dead in his own pool. Unromantic! And what about Holly Golightly of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? In the novella, it’s much more obvious that she’s a prostitute; not exactly the kind of girl you’d bring home to mother. And pretty much every Paul Auster character, with his weird quirks and penny-pinching. Not a delightful way to spend a V-Day, sleeping in to avoid hunger pangs or hiding in an alley playing “detective.” But what of the lovers who are worth all the insanity?… Read more »

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Oh my goodness, I actually can’t think of any. How sick is that?

    David Duhr

    I tell you what, I’d be all over Jane Eyre.

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    You would.

    David Duhr

    From a Facebook commenter:

    “I offer Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. Dude can’t get over your dead mother so he kidnaps you and holds you hostage…yeah, real romantic…and Osmond, of James’s Portait of a Lady because he’s totally the kind of a*@hole that happens when you marry for money.”

    Laura Roberts

    That reminds me of the hilarious series of Wuthering Heights comics by Hark, A Vagrant: http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=323

    But let’s see… romances that are actually romantic? Hard to think of any… Anna Karenina dies of hers, as does Emma Bovary. I was going to suggest The English Patient, but does cheating on someone count as love, much less romance? I really like Beautiful Losers, though I’ll admit the love affair is actually pretty twisted… if you can even decide who is in love with whom.

    How about The Princess Bride? “This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?”

    […] Examples of places I’ve gone: a crap motel room with a typewriter; a theater ticket booth in high school; the Town Lake trail after running for twenty minutes; a random neighbor’s abandoned town home; the 13th floor of the W Hotel; this blog. […]

    […] We even made one of our own a few years back, “The 10 Worst Literary Valentines.” […]

    […] We count off the “10 Worst Literary Valentines.” […]

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