SEPT / OCT 2011: BY CHARITY BISHOP
I remember my first literary crush well. He fit every ideal in my mind as to what a good man should be, and he had no time for girls, since he “respected their intellect too much to trust them.” Since I didn’t have a romantic bone in my body (reading The Scarlet Pimpernel I laughed so hard I cried and my best friend did not speak to me for weeks) this literary man was magnificent. I was officially in love!
Most girls had their first literary crush via Austen or Brontë but mine was a detective at 221B Baker Street. He was the first man to catch my eye but certainly not the last; I have since met a vast number of remarkable men. Many of the heroes on screen originated in the mind of novelists. Dickens gave us an assortment of sweet gentlemen and horrific villains, Austen a collection of men we would all love to marry, and even Stephanie Meyer caused an entire generation of women to fall in love with either Edward or Jacob. There are heroes like Attacus Finch and polite sociopaths such as Hannibal Lecter.
Most of us start young, finding an affection for Ned in the Nancy Drew books, then moving on to Professor Bhaer in Little Women. We eventually discover not all men in literature are decent and many are not honorable but in spite of their flaws (and Edward Rochester has an abundance of them) we are drawn to and fascinated by them. Maybe it is a mothering instinct that drives us to have compassion for such lost souls, or secretly we suspect we could save them from themselves.
Obviously, we cannot cover all literary men in this issue of Femnista (as much as I would like to!) but you will find a diverse group of men herein that you may or may not be intimately acquainted with, and more in issues to come. (Curious? Good!)
Our columnists had a lot of fun with this theme. Katharine chose to discuss the role artwork plays in such classic literature as Jane Eyre, Ella contrasts the book and film Mr. Darcy, Meghan talks about the classic film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lydia tackles modernization in bringing heroes into contemporary plot lines. Throw into the mix a noble criminal, a notorious crime lord, the haunted captain of an ill-fated submarine, a gentleman with a secret locked in the attic, another who pursues revenge, the owner of a cotton mill factory, a man who waited on love a very long time, a perfect gentleman in love with a redheaded snippet, and two contemporary book heroes and it’s no surprise that these pages overflow with remarkable men, gentle or otherwise.