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Mr Rochester 'is most romantic hero'

15th October 2009

Mr Rochester, the hero of Charlotte Bronte's classic Jane Eyre, has been named the most romantic character in literature.

A poll by Mills and Boon found that its readers favour the character, who marries Jane in spite of her low social status, over any other romantic lead.

The survey also found that Richard Sharpe, the protagonist of Bernard Cornwell's Napoleonic War series, was the second most-loved hero, followed by Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Speaking to the Telegraph and Argus, Andrew McCarthy, director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said he is happy that a Bronte hero topped one of Austen's.

'I always find Austen's characters quite irritating and I think those created by the Brontes, like Mr Rochester and Heathcliff, are more romantic as they are very literary,' he explained, adding that they are often influenced by Lord Byron.

The expert also suggested that a tutor named Constantin Heger may have provided Bronte with the inspiration for Mr Rochester, after she fell in love with him in Brussels in 1842.

Commenting on the poll in the Daily Telegraph, novelist Penny Vincenzi said the result is 'no surprise', as Mr Rochester is endowed with a 'brooding, difficult, almost savage complexity'.

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