• Literary Valentines: The 10 Worst Lovers in Literature

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    So today is Valentine’s Day, and as you all know, we here at WriteByNight love February 14th so much that we take the day off from all obligations, including blogging. And in honor of this wonderful, totally genuine and non-commercial “holiday,” we are reposting this piece from 2012, for which Danielle White scoured her bookshelves to present us the 10 worst lovers in literature.


    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 lovers in literature:


    10) Emma Woodhouse, from Jane Austen’s Emma

    Emma 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Hamlet 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Edward 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Millers Tale 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    Well, unless you like that sort of thing.


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

    Lady Brett Ashley 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Phaedra 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Zeus 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Miss Havisham 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

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


    2) Humbert Humbert of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

    Humbert Humbert 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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

    Patrick Bateman 150x150 The 10 Worst Literary Valentines

    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.


    If you had to get with one of these literary monsters, which would you choose and why? What terrible lovers in literature did we leave off this list?


    Danielle WhiteDanielle 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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