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Eyre-head - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
I so did not expect to enjoy Jane Eyre, the root of all soap operas that it unquestionably is. And yet...

I did. It's cool. For a 19th century novel, the characters are drawn very well. I was especially impressed with the flawed Rochester--not because he's a cad, but in spite of it. I kept wanting to reach through the page and smack him around and say, "How stupid ARE you?"... and yet, I liked him. I even liked him in large measure because he kept making the same idiotic sort of mistake and being totally oblivious to the fact that it's why he's miserable.

And Jane... you go, girl. Don't let him dress you up like a dolly and put you up in a really nice place in France to forget about you in six months. We need more Janes. Especially, I think, in soap operas. And hey, she's not beautiful.

And I do get a kick out of the fact that reviewers of the time swore that the rumor of it being written by a woman couldn't possibly be true (it was written under the pseudonym Currer Bell), apparently because "no woman" would costume her characters as the characters in JE are costumed. (?!) And something about not trussing game and garnishing dessert dishes with the same hands. (What, Victorian ladies kept spare hands around?) Snerk. Go, Charlotte! I hope she had a good belly laugh at that review when it came out. It makes me tempted to read Wuthering Heights now, since the reviewer in this case said that the only thing suggesting that the two stories didn't come from the same (masculine) pen was that WH was even more vulgar and not worth the space to review. (Or something along that line.)
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thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: July 2nd, 2004 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't believe you've never read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights before now! You've read so much other stuff that I haven't.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2004 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
My reading is very haphazard. Too many YA books assigned in school for reading. Some of the classics I read were at my mom's instigation and from our home library (Alcott, Twain, Dickens), but she didn't have a big thing for 19th century romance and we didn't happen to have Jane in the house. I also didn't tolerate any romance well. (Though my babysitter got me into Guiding Light one summer when the did what I now realize was a cross between JE and Rebecca with Nola Reardon, later Nola Reardon Chamberlain, who went to work for a mysterious boss with whom she fell in love only to find out he had a mysterious woman in his past, yadda yadda. I even remember that her name was Helena.)

Tangent, I don't get the whole, "We were poor! We didn't have books in the house!" thing in trying to explain illiteracy. My mom was a single-mom nurse's aide who fought to keep off welfare... we still had piles of tatty paperbacks of every book she'd ever owned! And if it was a choice between more books and good clothes, the books came first. (Hence, a childhood of clothes I hated, but that's another story.)
From: tehbanana Date: July 2nd, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOATHE WH. Guh. I couldn't finish it, I found it very very boring. And then the movie was on one day and I fell asleep in like the first 10 minutes. :D hehe :P
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: July 2nd, 2004 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books. I find the atmosphere that it creates almost from the first page to be extremely compelling. You will need the family tree in the front of the book though for a first read :)
anaid_rabbit From: anaid_rabbit Date: July 2nd, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wuthering Heights has rude characters, evil characters and absolutely inhumane characters. The romantic couple is like a nightmare. The principal narrator is two faced. The female characters are insolent and anything but submissive. It`s so vulgar, it`s my favorite novel. Emily is my heroine.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: July 2nd, 2004 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like JE better than WH, but the latter's certainly worth reading. Of course, I'm pretty partial to Jane...how many classic romances do you read where the romantic leads end up together and happy, but not the least bit warm-fuzzy-snuggly? (Because there's no way those two are going to be peaceful with each other.)
myf From: myf Date: July 2nd, 2004 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in the same week, and much preferred the latter. Like... er, someone said, it's the vulgarity. JE was just too... I can't even remember what specifically I disliked, although I did roll my eyes very often.

Anyway. Now you must be off and read The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. The best book about a book I didn't like that I've ever read, if that makes any sort of sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2004 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beat ya to it. On a recommendation from ashtur, I think, I picked it up. That's why I decided to read Jane Eyre. Figured it might all make more sense with Thursday Next's experience in my head.
swatkat24 From: swatkat24 Date: July 2nd, 2004 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not very fond of Jane Eyre, but that's because I have some issues with Charlotte Bronte (too autobiographical for my taste, and things like that). But Wuthering Heights- gah! It's a must read. Emily Bronte was a genius.

volandum From: volandum Date: July 3rd, 2004 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not a fan of Wuthering Heights myself, and would rather recommend The Professor and Shirley.
melyanna From: melyanna Date: July 6th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I read Jane Eyre several years ago — I was in eighth grade, I think — after reading all of Austen's novels. I can't say that I prefer Charlotte Bronte to Austen, but Jane was an enjoyable read despite that.

There have been a couple movie versions made of it — the black and white version from the 1940s is all right, but it always makes me wonder if the people had actually read the whole book. Orson Welles was great, but Joan Fontaine was waaaaaaay too pretty to be Jane. Plus it cut a lot of stuff. Really, it's a classic example of Hollywood taking a good story and doing whatever they want with it. (Grr.) But there was a version made in 96, I think, that's really worth seeing. Anna Paquin plays young Jane wonderfully, and the actress who plays Jane as an adult is pretty good too. And then Samuel West, a. k. a. Mr. I'm in Every Movie Made About England in the Early Nineteenth Century, does a pretty good job as St. John.

Er... yeah. That was a teeny bit off topic. I'll stop now. ;)
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