Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top 10 wicked clerics

Paul Murray's first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize in 2003. The Irish writer has just published his second novel, Skippy Dies.

For the Guardian, he named a ten best list of the worst fictional clergymen.

One cleric on the list:
William Collins in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Mr Collins is one of Austen's most brilliant creations, and his proposal to Elizabeth Bennet is a comic tour de force. After setting out his reasons — good example to his flock; vague sense of altruism; really though because his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has told him to — he assures Elizabeth of the violence of his affections. When she refuses him, he refuses, in turn, to believe her, pointing out that this is probably the only chance she will get. Two days later, he proposes to, and is accepted by, her more calculating friend Charlotte.
Read about another cleric on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on John Mullan's list of ten great novels with terrible original titles, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue