Thursday, October 23, 2008

Literary Couples... and one threesome

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Monica suggested this one:

Got this idea from Literary Feline during her recent contest:

“Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”


Franny and Zooey. Actually the couple I really love in Salinger's book is Zooey and his mother, Bessie. The ultimate in nagging mother and a son who knows he can get away with anything. Raskolnikov and Porfiry (Dostoyevki's Crime and Punishment) I cannot think of a more intimate literary relationship - criminal and confessor. Holmes and Watson, 'nuff said. Poirot and Hastings, I always thought this one of the great faithful literary relationships, Poirot really has a soft spot for his dull old spaniel-like companion and Hastings, like a good wife, lets Poirot think that it is always he that is the smarter one. Sebastian and Charles from Brideshead Revisted. Their love in the book's opening chapters is the most sweetly idylic of any I have ever read. On the filp side, Leontes and Hermione (Shakespeare's Winter's Tale) are probably the most realistic couple here. Leontes is flawed to the core and any lasting relationship has to have some forgiveness built into it. Narcissus and Goldmund (of the Hesse novel by the same title), Adrian Leverkuhn and his biographer Serenus Zeitblom (Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann) the whole book is their incredible relationship. I'm not sure which relationship to site in In E. M. Forster's Maurice. Clive is the first great love of Maurice's life, but their relationship is doomed and it is Alec Scudder with whom Maurice can supposedly finally find some happiness, although considering the intolerance of the time period, I was always a little skeptical of the relationship's longevity. Jan and Franklin from The Goldbug Variations by Richard Powers. What a love affair! But it wouldn't exist without the catalyst of Dr. Stuart Ressler, so in some ways this might count as a threesome. And finally, the first literary couple I was ever introduced to - little blue and little yellow (from the book of the same title). P.S. They make green.

7 comments:

Smilingsal said...

I came up with another.

Beth F said...

Narcissus and Goldmund was a good one. I wish I had thought of listing non-romantic couples (like the detective pairs you mentioned).

Karen Harrington said...

What a great, diverse list. It's been interesting this morning to read what characters are most memorable for readers.

BooksPlease said...

I knew I'd forgotten lots of couples - Poirot and Hastings being one!

Matt said...

As usual, great answers Ted! Always so insightful! Oh I should have thought of the criminal/police pair from Crime and Punishment. But to make up for the Russian lit quota, I picked The Master and Margarita.

I picked Clive and Maurice as well. The story breaks my heart.

C. B. James said...

Sebastian and Charles, how could I forget. Enjoyed your list.

The Social Frog said...

I have not heard of these, mine is different :)