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(Mental Floss)   10 famous literary characters that were actually based on real people   (mentalfloss.com) divider line 50
    More: Interesting, literary characters, great expectations, Tom Wolfe, Aaron Burr, Huckleberry Finn, James Bond villains, Dashiell Hammett, Henry David Thoreau  
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8886 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Jul 2012 at 12:00 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-16 09:52:39 AM
upload.wikimedia.org

I'm surprised he was not mentioned.
 
2012-07-16 12:04:18 PM
i.qkme.me
 
2012-07-16 12:13:37 PM
The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.
 
2012-07-16 12:24:05 PM
Pretty sure Sherlock Holmes was based on a professor Doyle met shortly after leaving the army.
 
2012-07-16 12:28:23 PM
Slightly off topic, but I like the that James Bond and Indiana Jones are both based on real people.
 
2012-07-16 12:32:56 PM
Belle Brezing / Belle Watling representing Fark's hometown.
 
2012-07-16 12:33:27 PM
FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?
 
2012-07-16 12:39:49 PM
Paul bunyan was based on my grandfather's modest journal.
 
2012-07-16 12:39:56 PM
No Alice in Wonderland?
 
2012-07-16 12:42:33 PM

Everyone Sucks But Me: No Alice in Wonderland?


TThat's an accurate biographical account of Alice Liddel, so, not literary, i suppose.
 
2012-07-16 12:44:59 PM

Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?


Uhhh.... isn't this part actually in the damn books themselves??
 
2012-07-16 12:45:03 PM

Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?


Pretty sure I knew about this in '89. And I was thirteen. It's like the second joke in THHGTTG.

And if it was a made-in-Britain car, not that awesome unless you've got gallons of motor oil you'd like to burn through... then it would be rather awesome.
 
2012-07-16 12:46:57 PM

Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?


upload.wikimedia.org

That was the whole joke about not researching his name well.

On a lighter not at least one character in Song of Fire and Ice aka Game of Thrones is based on George W Bush. Guess which ones.
 
2012-07-16 12:47:26 PM

Flappyhead: Pretty sure Sherlock Holmes was based on a professor Doyle met shortly after leaving the army.


I'm surprised Sherlock Holmes wasn't mentioned. In fact, when I saw the headline my first thought was "Great, another columnist found out about the inspiration for Holmes and decided to build a list around that fact." Imagine my shock.
 
das
2012-07-16 12:49:17 PM

Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.


Find anything??
 
2012-07-16 12:50:03 PM
I really expected to see Mary (and possibly Percy) Shelley's Baron von Frankenstein on this list.
 
2012-07-16 12:50:12 PM

Cheron: Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 250x179]

That was the whole joke about not researching his name well.

On a lighter not at least one character in Song of Fire and Ice aka Game of Thrones is based on George W Bush. Guess which ones.


Joffrey?

/only half-joking...
//finally finished those bloody things, impatiently awaiting the next one, perhaps for a decade.
 
2012-07-16 12:51:51 PM
Peter Falk was born to be the detective from Crime and Punishment
 
2012-07-16 12:52:44 PM

das: Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.

Find anything??


My lunch was cut short. I will report back after work.
 
2012-07-16 01:13:55 PM
As a writer (caveat: unpublished) I'm more surprised (and non-believing) when I hear that a character was NOT based on a real person. I know all of mine have pieces of people spattered together all over them. My best characters (the ones people remember) are usually based primarily one one person, though.

I think it makes the characters better and more believable. Bonus points if the person doesn't realize it's them.
 
2012-07-16 01:18:47 PM

Yotto: As a writer (caveat: unpublished) I'm more surprised (and non-believing) when I hear that a character was NOT based on a real person. I know all of mine have pieces of people spattered together all over them. My best characters (the ones people remember) are usually based primarily one one person, though.

I think it makes the characters better and more believable. Bonus points if the person doesn't realize it's them.


Yotto: Bonus points if the person doesn't realize it's them.


Agrees with you.

3a.img.v4.skyrock.net
 
2012-07-16 01:27:09 PM

Flappyhead: Pretty sure Sherlock Holmes was based on a professor Doyle met shortly after leaving the army.


See my earlier comment. That was Dr. Joseph Bell.
 
2012-07-16 01:29:24 PM

Yotto: As a writer (caveat: unpublished) I'm more surprised (and non-believing) when I hear that a character was NOT based on a real person. I know all of mine have pieces of people spattered together all over them. My best characters (the ones people remember) are usually based primarily one one person, though.

I think it makes the characters better and more believable. Bonus points if the person doesn't realize it's them.


Good point. Otherwise the characters are often based on the auhtor and become mouthpieces, Mary Sues and Marty Stus
 
2012-07-16 01:32:55 PM
jimhalterman.comfarm4.static.flickr.com

How about a fictional character based on a fictional character written by a fictional author?
 
2012-07-16 01:35:51 PM
All the characters named Bagumpity in my Harry Potter fanfic are based on a real-life person as well. However, I do borrow the well-known Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley characters for all the three-way sex scenes that take place at Chalet d'Erotica, the well-known Post-Graduate School of Wizarding Pleasure.
 
2012-07-16 01:41:10 PM
True Fact: there is a sort-of hit novel on the shelves right now called "I Couldn't Love You More"... the former love interest character is based (largely) on me. Except he's kind of a douche.

/seriously
 
2012-07-16 01:43:41 PM

Gunny Highway: das: Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.

Find anything??

My lunch was cut short. I will report back after work.


Pics if possible, please.
 
2012-07-16 01:58:38 PM

Mr_Fabulous: True Fact: there is a sort-of hit novel on the shelves right now called "I Couldn't Love You More"... the former love interest character is based (largely) on me. Except he's kind of a douche.

/seriously


Someone was trying to tell you something, and you missed it.
 
2012-07-16 02:32:54 PM
List fails without Dill from "To Kill a Mockingbird", who was based on Truman Capote, a childhood friend of Harper Lee.
 
2012-07-16 03:08:23 PM
Characters in fiction almost always have some psychological basis for them, typically being either aspects of the authors own personality played up or representations of things the author doesn't like.
 
2012-07-16 03:40:01 PM
It's People! The characters are based on PEOPLE!
 
2012-07-16 03:40:47 PM

Drew P Balls: List fails without Dill from "To Kill a Mockingbird", who was based on Truman Capote, a childhood friend of Harper Lee.


Mostly what I came to say. Inclusion of Ford Prefect was pointless
 
2012-07-16 03:41:34 PM

KarmicDisaster: It's People! The characters are based on PEOPLE!


Win
 
2012-07-16 04:20:19 PM
Blofeld the James Bond villain was based on Otto Skorzeny

James Bond was largely based on Dušan Popov
 
2012-07-16 04:40:19 PM
Apparently part of the reason the author John Ringo goes to Cons is to get characters for his books. In fact, he will have contests for people to be a Red Shirt in his books. At one point there were a batch of con goers who he walked up to and said "I've killed you, I've killed you, I've killed you, haven't killed you yet, and killed you."
 
2012-07-16 05:09:01 PM

Salem Witch: Gunny Highway: das: Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.

Find anything??

My lunch was cut short. I will report back after work.

Pics if possible, please.


i282.photobucket.com

i282.photobucket.com

The first picture is terrible so I apologize (I was in a rush to catch a train). The "A" is apparently located on the right side of the crest. I dont know if I buy it.
 
2012-07-16 07:02:32 PM
Meh, what about all the stories that read like crazy fiction but are actually essentially autobiographical, or if anything toned down from the writer's actual exploits?

James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Heart of Darkness, Moby Dick, anything by Hunter S. Thompson, etc.

Would make for a significantly more entertaining article than "yeah, Sam Clemens based a character on the neighbor's kid".
 
2012-07-16 07:03:59 PM

RexTalionis: [upload.wikimedia.org image 150x222]

I'm surprised he was not mentioned.


Precisely. How can you include "Ford Prefect - named after a car, just like it said in the story" but not the inspiration for the most famous detective in literature?
 
2012-07-16 08:01:26 PM
The lack of Edmund Dantes from Count of Monte Cristo.

His revenge was more 'stab stab stab' instead of drive them insane but still.
 
2012-07-16 08:16:16 PM

Zombalupagus: Ford Prefect


It's kind of a dowdy little classic, but adorable in its own way, from the pics I've seen. Good luck, though -- it looks like all the ones left are either collectors' cars or junkers. (Of course, the same is pretty much true for every other car that hasn't been made since '61.)

I'd supply a pic, but there's a lot of variation.
 
2012-07-16 08:28:52 PM

Yotto: As a writer (caveat: unpublished) I'm more surprised (and non-believing) when I hear that a character was NOT based on a real person. I know all of mine have pieces of people spattered together all over them. My best characters (the ones people remember) are usually based primarily one one person, though.

I think it makes the characters better and more believable. Bonus points if the person doesn't realize it's them.


Same here. I've got two different kinds of characters, though -- the ones I call 'contrived' and the ones I call 'organic'. The contrived ones are regular made-up people, playthings to do my bidding, bwah-ha. The 'organic' ones are much more like real people, and I often feel like I know them that way -- a little bit more as time goes on, through various interactions and observations. They seem very much to have their own lives -- much of which I'm aware I may not know about -- and their own wills. The contrived characters are easy to deal with -- very pliable and agreeable to whatever I want of them. The organic ones, not so much. They reject names, that sort of thing. Do things I'm not expecting, even things I'd prefer they not. Sometimes I feel like they don't appreciate my curiosity about them. More than anything else, they refuse to do my bidding. This makes them very difficult to write, as much more often than not I have to wait until they share something interesting that I can then record, and that's what it feels like.

I used to never talk about this, for fear that others might think me looney, or that I might really be, but I've since learned that many other writers have the same experiences with some of their characters.

As for who they really are? Well, I suppose on some level they're all me, in one way or another. "Demons from the Id," as Professor Morbius famously said. And I wish I could remember who it was who said that every character is the writer wearing a masque -- but I sense that that perspective is more true of what I call contrived characters than the much quicker organic ones. In my mind, they seem to be mostly stitched together from bits and pieces of real people I've known. I occasionally think I recognise a face or gesture or somesuch. And I've long had a habit of attaching names to them as a kind of shorthand for real people I want to keep in mind when considering them, except in cases where the name itself is relevant to the story. But they're not really those people, just a vague sense of some of my memories and impressions of them, the same as dream versions of myself.
 
2012-07-16 08:33:16 PM

WhiteCrane: Apparently part of the reason the author John Ringo goes to Cons is to get characters for his books. In fact, he will have contests for people to be a Red Shirt in his books. At one point there were a batch of con goers who he walked up to and said "I've killed you, I've killed you, I've killed you, haven't killed you yet, and killed you."


I was murdered in a novel once. As I recall, I was burned alive, trapped in a building with a lot of other people.
 
2012-07-16 08:41:26 PM
www.herbgreenefoto.com
 
2012-07-16 09:06:31 PM

Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?


Not as cool as owning a Ford Timelord.

2.bp.blogspot.com

/Dr. Whooooooo, Dr. Who...
 
2012-07-16 10:14:02 PM
www.boykinweb.us

Not only do I have the will power to resist The One Ring, but I also get the girl in the end. Guess who I am.
 
2012-07-16 10:43:21 PM
Hey, has anyone mentioned that Dr. Gregory House is indirectly based on a real person?
 
2012-07-17 05:29:53 AM

Flappyhead: Pretty sure Sherlock Holmes was based on a professor Doyle met shortly after leaving the army.


A surgeon I think.
 
2012-07-17 08:22:36 AM

Ishkur: Zombalupagus: FTA: The Ford Prefect, by the way, was a British car produced from 1938-1961.

Wait, what? How can I be I am only finding out about this now? How flippin' awesome would it be to actually own a Ford Prefect!?

Not as cool as owning a Ford Timelord.

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 827x395]

/Dr. Whooooooo, Dr. Who...


Holy cats, does that bring back memories. That came out when I was at my first radio station. I didn't like the song very much, and still don't, but I appreciated it for what it is and played it a bunch.
 
2012-07-17 04:17:33 PM

Gunny Highway: Salem Witch: Gunny Highway: das: Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.

Find anything??

My lunch was cut short. I will report back after work.

Pics if possible, please.

[i282.photobucket.com image 640x478]

[i282.photobucket.com image 640x478]

The first picture is terrible so I apologize (I was in a rush to catch a train). The "A" is apparently located on the right side of the crest. I dont know if I buy it.


The nose on the skull is very very "A" like. Maybe that's it?
 
2012-07-18 11:00:07 AM

itspeterj: Gunny Highway: Salem Witch: Gunny Highway: das: Gunny Highway: The modest grave of Elizabeth Pain in Boston's King's Chapel Burying Ground holds a secret if you look at it closely. Some believe the "A" inscribed on the stone shows that she was "whipt with twenty stripes," though it was for the murder of her child, not for adultery. She was found innocent, by the way, but received the punishment anyway - even in death. The damning mark may have served as inspiration for The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There's also a record of one Hester Craford who was severely flogged for "fornication" with a man named John Wedg in 1669. At the very least, Hawthorne may have borrowed her name.


I walk by this graveyard every day. I am going to have to stop by at lunch.

Find anything??

My lunch was cut short. I will report back after work.

Pics if possible, please.

[i282.photobucket.com image 640x478]

[i282.photobucket.com image 640x478]

The first picture is terrible so I apologize (I was in a rush to catch a train). The "A" is apparently located on the right side of the crest. I dont know if I buy it.

The nose on the skull is very very "A" like. Maybe that's it?


I think they're pointing to the left triangle making an "A".
 
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