How about this: We can like the books because some of these characters are _supposed_ to irritate. My list consists of characters the author seems to envision as more likeable and sympathetic than not. (Dick Diver is a perfect example of this.) Characters designed to be annoying don’t count–Emma Woodhouse’s father, e.g. In fact, I’d take Selden and Newland Archer off the list, because I think Wharton intends them to be unequal to the women in their lives. They’re supposed to bother us by falling short. I disliked the D.D-L portrayal of Newland as well–but partly because neither actor nor director seemed to understand how ultimately limited and not-so-sympathetic he was supposed to be.