From Hua Mulan to Jane Eyre to Lisbeth Salander, these heroines exemplify bravery and virtue.

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For all the hullabaloo about the dearth of strong female characters in modern culture, thankfully there are some wonderfully powerful, kick-ass maidens that have inspired us with their strength, self-discovery, and incredible brilliance over the years. Below, I've collected some of the most powerful female characters in literature. Be sure to pipe up with your own suggestions—I've chosen the 10 who resonate most deeply with me, but since there are many more than 10 strong ladies in literature (thank goodness), share which ones blow you away on a daily basis.

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