|The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived|
Does Barbie set high achievement standards for girls?
How many will die following The Marlboro Man's example -- smoking cigarettes?
Girls saw in Nancy Drew stories, abilities and attitudes that they soon acquired.
"We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us." -- attributed to Marshall McLuhan
Our fantasy life does more than sell books and movies, it drives technology, social change, war, and the everyday thoughts that fill our lives.
Characters of fiction, who helped to incite wars, revolutions, and more. Some capture essential personality types: the miser, the obsessive leader, the womanizer, the matriarch, the victim, the hero.
Move your cursor over an underlined name in the list below to get a peek at what influence that character might have had.
1. The Marlboro Man
Hey, we all make mistakes. Here are the corrections and updates.
51. James Bond
52. Hansel and Gretel
53. Captain Ahab
54. Rick Blaine
55. Ugly Duckling
56. Loch Ness Monster (Nessie)
57. Atticus Finch
58. Valentine (St)
59. Helen (of Troy)
61. Uncle Sam
62. Nancy Drew
63. J. R. Ewing
67. Kermit the Frog
68. Sam Spade
69. Pied Piper
70. Peter Pan
73. The Little Tramp
74. King Kong
75. Norman Bates
76. Hercules (Heracles)
77. Dick Tracy
78. Joe Camel
79. Cat in the Hat
83. Amos 'n' Andy
85. Luke Skywalker
86. Perry Mason
87. Dr. Strangelove
89. Madame Butterfly
90. Hans Beckert
91. Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)
92. Wandering Jew
93. Jay Gatsby
94. Buck (Jack London - Call of the Wild)
95. Willy Loman
96. Betty Boop
98. Elmer Gantry
100. John Doe
101. Paul Bunyan
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"Slightly silly and infinitely entertaining, The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived is also, in fact, seriously interesting. The contemplative coauthors of this unusual book treat the reader to an amusing short essay about each of the 101 fictional characters they deem to be the most significant in American cultural history. Among the great invented luminaries, you'll find Icarus, Santa Claus, Don Juan, King Kong, Jim Crow, Luke Skywalker, Sherlock Holmes, G. I. Joe, Captain Ahab, Alice, Hamlet, HAL 9000, Mary Richards, Bambi, the Marlboro Man, Big Brother, and Archie Bunker." -- CH, Bas Bleu
What do Archie Bunker, Hercules, Nancy Drew, and Santa Claus have in common?
Who was more influential in women's liberation: Lady Chatterley or Rosie the Riveter?
How are ancient legends used to justify political decisions?
What moral behavior do we expect of our machines?
What are the 10 most recognizable, and the 10 most important, characters in fiction today?
"The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived is a riot. It's a brilliant concept, charmingly executed. Even when you disagree with their choices-and disagreeing is half the fun-Messrs. Lazar, Karlan, and Salter make such good, solid, and clever cases for their nominees that you have to nod in agreement or at least in admiration. From Odysseus to Bond, James Bond and Lilith to Mouse, Mickey Mouse, the selections are provocative, the writing lively, the discussion animated and engaging. Any book that can bring together Othello, Hiawatha, and Kermit T. Frog gets my vote. Over and over again, I found myself musing, why didn't I think of this? I'm insanely jealous. And grateful."
Tom Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Consider The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived for your next Book Club
selection. It's guaranteed to provoke lively and enthusiastic discussions.
Teachers (college and high school): why not include this book in your curriculum? It's entertaining, well-written, and informative. English literature, cultural studies, and even humanities courses can benefit from the introduction of this collection of essays. Visit the Harper Academic site for the downloadable Teacher's Guide to The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived.
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Website created and maintained by Dan Karlan, 2006 and beyond.
Last updated May 9, 2013