Penguin Books poll to mark 200th anniversary of author’s birth reveals miser from A Christmas Carol as best loved.
By Sam Jones
A cold-hearted miser bullied by ghosts into gaining a conscience has triumphed over a festering, jilted bride and an alcoholic, nihilistic barrister – not to mention the odd pickpocket and escaped convict – to be named the most popular Charles Dickens character.
Ebenezer Scrooge saw off many of the writer’s best known and loved creations, including Miss Havisham, Sydney Carton, the Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nancy and Magwitch, in a Penguin Books poll commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary this week of Dickens’s birth.
The top 10 is light on unadulterated goodness, with only Pip and Joe Gargery from Great Expectations and Betsey Trotwood from David Copperfield representing the kinder faces among the Dickensian ranks.
And although the list is heavily slanted towards Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, Oliver himself was left wanting more votes at No 11.
Claire Tomalin, whose highly acclaimed biography of Dickens was published last year, said that Scrooge’s popularity was surprising given that his 21st-century equivalent might be a banker.
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