Elizabeth Bennet, the charming and quick-witted protagonist from Jane Austin’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, has been crowned the nation’s all-time favourite classic literary heroine.
Agatha Christie’s much-loved detective Miss Marple was runner-up, followed by the eponymous central character from Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre.

Scarlett O’Hara from Margaret Mitchell’s melodramatic 1936 epic Gone With the Wind was fourth, ahead of Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s influential 19th century work Little Women.

The survey of 1,000 UK adults was conducted by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to mark the DVD release of Thomas Hardy’s Victorian love story ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, whose Bathsheba Everdene was named 13th most popular character

A spokesman said: “The study shows that classic stories are still very popular amongst the British public.

“Many characters in this list have had their popularity boosted by film adaptions of the books they originated from.

“But this just allows more people to enjoy the stories and make them more accessible to those who may not find the time to read.

“When a classic is made into a film, you’re able to enjoy it with the family all at the same time which will also make more easily accessible.

The survey revealed strong characters such as Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy made it in to the top 15.

As did her co-star Galadriel who appears throughout the Trilogy and The Hobbit book.

Eponine from Les Miserables and Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights also ranked highly in the poll to 2,000 UK adults.

Emma from Jane Austen’s novel of the same name rounds off the top 15 list of classic literary heroines.

The most popular traits in a female lead character was found to be ‘wilful and independent’ closely followed by ‘bright and intellectual’.

But despites the nation’s love of books and their characters almost six in ten Brits would like to see more strong female characters in novels and films.

The spokesman added: “As long as readers can either resonate with a character or have the desire to be like them – they’ll be successful.”


1. Elizabeth Bennet – Pride & Prejudice (1813) Jane Austen

2. Miss Marple – Miss Marple – (1927) Agatha Christie

3. Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre – (1847) Charlotte Bronte

4. Scarlett O’Hara – Gone With the Wins (1936) Margaret Mitchell

5. Jo March – Little Women (1880) Louisa May Alcott

6. Eponine – Les Miserables (1862) – Victor Hugo

7. Éowyn – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (first published 1954) J. R. R Tolkien

8. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) Thomas Hardy

9. Catherine Earnshaw – Wuthering Heights (1847) Emily Bronte

10. Galadriel – The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings (1937) J. R. R. Tolkien

11. Anna Karenina – Anna Karenina (1877) Leo Tolstoy

12. Daisy Buchanan – The Great Gatsby (1925) F. Scott Fitzgerald

13. Bathsheba Everdene – Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) Thomas Hardy

14. Becky Sharp – Vanity Fair (1848) William Makepeace Thackeray

15. Emma – Emma (1815) Jane Austen


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