Who can forget Miss Havisham, withering away in her wedding dress after being jilted at the altar in Great Expectations? Or the fallen milkmaid in Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, doomed to a life of hardship and misery after she crossed paths with a caddish aristocrat? And who better epitomized the agony of mutual heartbreak than star-crossed lovers Cathy and Heathcliff, torn apart by pride and selfishness? The anguish of the romantically wronged and their wrongdoers made for great storytelling, with classic writers proving that the modern maxim "He's just not that into you" isn't so modern after all. Is it any wonder that those who wrought fictional heartbreak so convincingly often honed the art of the heartless break-up off the page?
Though a full list of literary heartbreakers would rival War and Peace in length, here are eight of the worst culprits.
Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon are the authors of the new book Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads.