Girls all around the world are unfaithful to their partners on a daily basis. We fall in and out of love weekly and are generous with our affections. But we are also fickle and even forgetful. I rarely think of Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife any more, or Michael from Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches trilogy, but I crushed heartily on them for a time. We can transfer our affections from one of the heroine's love interests to the other from one book in a series to the next. How many Team Peeta girls became Team Gale after that kiss? What's the bet that Team David girls become Team Tamani after reading Spells by Aprilynne Pike? (For the record I'm totally Team Tamani. It's the Jareth effect.)
Classic literature abounds with crush-worthy heroes. What better way to while away an English class than in blissful contemplation of Atticus Finch or stormy Heathcliff? (This doesn't work quite so well for Macbeth or Camus' Mersault or Hardy's Angel Clare, unfortunately. Unless you like your men tragic, murderous and/or despicable.)
I adored Odysseus in high school. Ten years away at the Trojan war (where he performs quite brilliantly, by the way), it takes him another ten years to find his way back to his beloved Ithaca and to his wife Penelope. Pissing off Poseidon was rather rash considering, as the sea god points out, Ithaca is an island and he must cross the sea to reach it. But with the use of his sparkling wit and at the sacrifice of his entire crew, he makes it home and gloriously kills--with the bow that only he can string--all that sully his dear wife by daring to court her. The Odyssey is a fantastic read, better than The Iliad, in my opinion. It's time I read both again.
I'm rather fond of Mr Darcy, and lord knows he has legions of adoring fans, but who can go past Captain Wentworth and his beautiful letter? After having been persuaded (hence the title, Persuasion) that Wentworth isn't a proper match, Anne rejects his proposal and spends the next eight years as a spinster. But he returns from the Napoleon Wars a rich man, still in love with her as ever and pens possibly the most beautiful love letter of all time:
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
The letter, of course, does the trick.
Two Captain Wentworths from dramatisations
My personal favourite is Edward Fairfax Rochester, he of the mad wife, bigamous intentions, dark past, but is redeemed by his love for Jane Eyre:
To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I find out they have neither souls nor hearts — when they open to me a perspective of flatness, triviality, and perhaps imbecility, coarseness, and ill-temper: but to the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and the character that bends but does not break — at once supple and stable, tractable and consistent — I am ever tender and true. (Mr Rochester to Jane.)
The story is passionate, Gothic and tumultuous. Some of the most beautiful love scenes lie therein, and the most sparkling conversations.
Two Edward Rochesters from dramatisations
Who are your favourite literary crushes?