Lizzy’s definitive ranking of all things Austen

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about Jane Austen, quoting Jane Austen, comparing everything I hear, read, do to Jane Austen. So when I read Allie from The Excellent Library’s post on her definitive rankings of all things Jane Austen I couldn’t believe I didn’t have one. How, in all my time writing about Jane Austen, had it never occurred to me to do that? So I am rectifying that by taking inspiration from Allie’s post (outright plagiarising it) and doing one of my own.

BOOKS

1. Pride and Prejudice couldn’t really come anywhere but number one. As much as I go on and on about Mansfield Park it has not made it to first place on this list. Pride and Prejudice is just better. If I put Mansfield Park first it would be purely to be awkward.

2. Mansfield Park is so much better than popular opinion would have you believe. I’ve gone on about it at length here.

3. Sense and Sensibility does have a really good story but it lacks a lot of the wit and irony of her other books.

4. Northanger Abbey has, as far as I know, only one television adaptation and I didn’t much enjoy it. Which meant I put off actually reading the book for years thinking it would be really similar. But once I did read it I actually really enjoyed it. Although it’s certainly not my favourite it’s poles ahead of my expectations.

5. Persuasion is ok, I guess.

6. Emma is just annoying. I think it’s old fashioned, out dated and Emma is completely unlikeable. In fact I like it so little it made it onto my list of the five most overrated books of all time.

HEROINES

1. Lizzy Bennett is my namesake so she really had to come first.

2. Marianne Dashwood is one of my biggest literary girl crushes, right up there with Hermione Granger (and there’s a good idea for a future post). I love her over the top emotions and complete disregard for what’s deemed ‘proper.’

3. Catherine Morland is really quite sweet in a naive, hopeless kind of way.

4. Fanny Price is wet, overly moral, prudish and judgmental but I just can’t help warming to her. I see quite a lot of me in her (not the prudish and judgmental part, just the crippling shyness). And she gets such a tough time from Aunt Norris that she deserves to be liked.

5. Eleanor Dashwood is nice but not exactly interesting. She’s just too sensible to be higher up.

6. Emma Woodhouse really annoys me. If she were around today she’d be that popular girl at school who made fun of the poor kids and thought she was better than everyone. Pretty much exactly as she is in Clueless.

7. Anne Eliot is boring. Emma Woodhouse may have been completely objectionable but at least she had some personality.

HEROES

1. Mr Darcy is the original and the best.

2. Henry Tilney is the kind of man I could marry. I think him and Catherine will be very happy together. He’ll probably mock her mercilessly and she won’t understand any of it but it will be done with love.

3. Captain Wentworth is just quite romantic. He writes that fancy long letter and doesn’t stop loving Anne even after so many years. Plus he’s a sea captain which just sounds romantic.

4. Mr Knightley is quite similar to Captain Wentworth really. He’s defintely a good match for Emma. Even though I may not like Emma I can see why he does.

5. Edward Ferrars is boring! Which makes him a perfect match for Eleanor. But whereas Eleanor had a bit of drive about her Edward just let life happen to him. Not much of a hero.

6. Colonel Brandon probably doesn’t deserve his place this far down the list but I just can’t forgive him for ending up with Marianne. They are just such a bad match. Marianne needs someone young, energetic, romantic. Just because she had a bad cold doesn’t mean she’s suddenly going to fall in love with Colonel Brandon. At least in my head.

7. Edmund Bertram was about as useless as a hero could be. He mopes around for the whole book after Mary Crawford, making a fool of himself and being far too intense and then gets an easy happy ending when he finally notices Fanny.

VILLAINS

1. Mr Willoughby is just so appealing! Seriously, I have the biggest crush on him with his dangerous, driving too fast, impregnating young girls side and then his quoting Shakespeare and collecting wild flowers side.

2. Henry Crawford would have been a much better husband for Fanny. Fanny and Edmund were just too similar (maybe because, you know, they were related) but Henry could have brought her out her shell a bit more, maybe stopped her being quite so serious all the time.

3. Mr Wickham was definitely one of the more villainous villains. Especially after reading Longbourn and seeing that side of him. But he was really good at being a villain.

4. John Thorpe was more stupid than villainous. He thought the Tilneys were boring so he just assumed Catherine would want an excuse not to spend the day with them. He thought she wanted to marry him so he never really bothered properly proposing. He’s more comedy character than villain. Actually now that I think about it Captain Tilney was probably supposed to be the villain in Northanger Abbey, I better add him in.

5. Captain Tilney was so bad at being a villain I completely forgot about him. But now that I have remembered him I suppose seducing Isabella deserves him spot number five.

6. Frank Churchill toyed with Emma’s emotions, sure, but seen as I didn’t like Emma I didn’t mind too much.

7. Mr Eliot didn’t feature in the book for long enough for me to really hate him. It was sad about him conning Mr Smith out of a lot of money but he never really hurt Anne’s feelings. In fact he made her feel quite good about herself. And might have gone someway to making Captain Wentworth realise how much he loved her still. So really, he didn’t do his job of villain very well.

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9 thoughts on “Lizzy’s definitive ranking of all things Austen

  1. This is great but again I have to agree with Literatemama that Emma is supposed to be unlikable. I think Emma is actually quite a playful book from Austen and I really dislike Northanger Abbey! This is probably because I had to study it in school but as one of Austen’s earliest writings I think the immaturity/inexperience shows compared to her others. Mr Willoughby though.. heart throb!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could live with emma being unlikeable but she’s just SO unlikeable that it ruins the whole book for me. And I hate when school ruins books. I have the same problem with To Kill A Mockingbird and it’s such a pity

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea! Although, I have to admit, I am ridiculous in that Northanger Abbey is my favorite. It is my comfort novel, and I have read it more times than I should probably be willing to admit. The TV version did not do it justice.

    Your view of Emma accords with Austen’s own, I suppose. Didn’t she say Emma was a heroine no one but herself could love? Although I have personally always struggled more with Fanny Price than Emma. Mansfield Park is underappreciated, but Fanny is difficult for me to love.

    Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! I think by modern standards Emma should be more likeable than Fanny but I just don’t get it. But then I have always been a bit old fashioned!

      Like

  3. YES!!! I love this!!! So glad you made one too! Also, I laughed so hard at your description of Catherine Morland: “sweet in a naive, hopeless kind of way.” So accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

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