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"Call me Ishmael."
from MOBY-DICK

"I am an American, Chicago-born."
from THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH

"Isn't it pretty to think so."
from THE SUN ALSO RISES

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul."
from LOLITA

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
from THE GREAT GATSBY

"They endured."
from THE SOUND AND THE FURY

Captain Ahab
from MOBY-DICK

Isabel Archer
from THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY

Holden Caulfield
from THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

Huck Finn
from THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN

Jay Gatsby
from THE GREAT GATSBY

Atticus Finch
from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Ishmael
from MOBY-DICK

Hester Prynne
from THE SCARLET LETTER

Captain John Yossarian
from CATCH-22

Captain Ahab
from MOBY-DICK

Tom Buchanan
from THE GREAT GATSBY

Roger Chillingworth
from THE SCARLET LETTER

John Claggart
from BILLY BUDD

Humbert Humbert
from LOLITA

Judge Holden
from BLOOD MERIDIEN

Simon Legree
from UNCLE TOM'S CABIN

Gilbert Osmond
from THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY

These results, presented in alphabetical order, are based on responses by the members of the American Booksellers Association and National Book Critics Circle to an online survey conducted in March 2007 by Thirteen/WNET New York.
The American Novel