Montag, 26. März 2012

Back Home

It's been exactly two weeks since my last post and any other life sign from me. I do apologise, but there's a reason for my complete disappearance: I have been travelling England, from Gateshead to Morton, but Thornfield Hall was my favourite place by far.
For those of you not familiar with these names: during the last fortnight I have spent every free minute reading what I dare to call one of my favourite books ever, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

This book! It's been ages since anything captured me so much, I even read during my piano lessons (don't ask me how that's possible) and I freaked out about it like other girls do about boygroups. Reading slump? What was that again?

There was hardly anything about this book not to love: the passionate and clever heroine, the stormy atmosphere, the mystery, the heartache, the lyrical yet fast paced writing and Mr Rochester of course, oh Mr Rochester!

I normally disapprove of books named after their main characters, but in this case I found it totally justified. Little Jane had my understanding when she hid from her cousins in order to read; by the time she hurt horrible John in defense against his attack with the book she had won me over. I could not get enough of Jane, especially since she reminded me to my immense surprise a lot of myself. Some friends who had read the book also noticed the resemblance; this went so far that I couldn't read in their presence anymore because of all the "Oh, she's exactly like you!", which was really nice considering that Jane is described as plain throughout the book (mind you, I am not saying they weren't right. I'll have to take it like Mr Rochester.) The good side is that I completely agreed with all of Jane's decisions and never got annoyed by them, not even by her hastened departure from Thornfield Hall; which brings us to Mr Rochester.

Leaving aside the fact that my fondness for Byronic heroes should probably start to worry me I cannot help loving this man! Some of his conversations with Jane are downright hilarious and had me laughing out loud. Which other Victorian gentleman discusses fairies with his daughter's governess in all earnestness? At other times he was so sweet that he became the subject of a whole lot of my daydreams. Of course the mysterious ambiance about Mr Rochester added to his charms, but that does not mean that I wasn't angry with him sometimes too, namely then when he needed Jane's help but didn't regard it necessary to impart her his secret (at that time I didn't know what a heartbreaking secret it was). I think I need not mention how shocked I was when I found out how injured he'd been in the fire and neither how almost physically relieved I was when he regained part of his sight.

Along with these two impressive characters came two other to join the Walk of infamy of my most disliked book characters ever. Perhaps you'll be surprised to find that none of the Reed family is included here, cruel as they were, but in my opinion Jane quickly grew so superior to them that they could hardly really harm her. Mr Brocklehurst in contrast I despised with all my heart, perhaps because not only strong little Jane but dozens of other poor girls were completely at his mercy; children whom he should have helped and provided for lovingly, instead he treated them doubtlessly worse than the pets of his own daughters, a fault of his character which did not blight his self-righteousness in the least.

The other man I was not overly fond of -though I didn't dislike him half as much as Mr Brocklehurst- is St John Rivers. He was so cold and hard, and while I (like Jane) admired him for his good qualities at first, his persistency in demanding Jane to marry him repelled me as much as his complete refusal of any other point of view than his own. Furthermore I found it rather presumptuous that he regarded Jane as more or less damned only because she would not join him in his missionary life.

Jane Eyre is a book that I see mysel rereading many, many times: I am already tempted to recommence it. I am thoroughly amazed how thrilling and yet romantic it is, and it has proved something essential to me: It is actually possible for a love story to have a plot.

This is a revelation some authors never had (yes, Jane Austen, I am talking about you!).

Kommentare:

  1. It's been so long since I read Jane Eyre, but I think I loved it as much as you did. I distinctly remember not wanting it to end. I nearly included it on my Classics Club list as a reread, but there were so many other books I've never read before, that it ultimately didn't make the list. (But maybe I'll try to sneak it in sometime anyway!)

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    1. So many books to read and so little time! But Jane Eyre definitely is one which deserves a reread... In a sleepless night perhaps? :)

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  2. Oh, I'm so glad you found as much magic in Jane Eyre as I did. Isn't it delightful?

    If you're anything like me, it will never get old. I frequently go back to it, and often indulge in watching the adaptation.

    In fact, when I took a module on the Brontes for my MA, my tutor said she was dreading reading it again. She was going into her fourteenth read, and she saw it as a task she had to get out of the way. But then she was absolutely captivated all over again, and told us that she even delayed making herself tea so she could keep again.

    I love this story, because it just confirms that Jane Eyre is one of those books that you can read for the umpteenth time, like it's the first time

    P.S. I don't like St. John either. In fact, the first time I read Jane Eyre I basically skipped over that section of the book, looking for the time when Rochester would reenter the pages. :)

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    1. Thank God! Now I'm not feeling bad for only skimming through the Rivers-part anymore. Whenever Rochester's name was mentioned, I jumped, only to be disappointed when he wasn't really back. The power of the sexy Byronic hero :)

      I can totally relate to your tutor's story (and hope I will still be able to do that at my fourteenth read): thanks to Charlotte Brontë my maths homework was left undone more than once last week :)

      Oh, and the adaptation! As I usual I'm afraid that watching the movie will destroy my pictures of the characters, but I think in this case I won't be able to resist the temptation.

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    2. Yes, the influence of the sexy Byronic hero knows no bounds. :)

      I would hate for you to have your mental image of Charlotte Bronte's novel dashed by an adaptation, but if you're interested in watching one there are two that I like. I enjoyed both the BBC 2006 miniseries and the Focus Features film that was released this past year.

      Let me just emphasize that neither is perfect. Both have their pros and cons, and both interpret the novel differently. The 2006 miniseries (four hours long), for instance, plays up the jovial aspect of Jane and Rochester's relationship, focusing on the witty banter and all of that. The 2011 film emphasizes the intensely passionate nature of the relationship. If you do decide to watch an adaptation, I'd recommend one of those two. (I've seen three others which I loathed, they wouldn't be worth your time.)

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    3. Thanks a lot for your efforts to save my precious time :) I will definitely give the miniseries a try because a) SERIES! MiniSERIES! okay, my obsession with TV series verges on the unhealthy, I know.
      and b) I love Jane and Rochester's witty conversations! They were pretty much my favourite parts in the whole book.
      Oh well, I guess I'll have to watch the movie too, because Jane and Rochester and romance and aw! :D

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  3. Yay for Jane Eyre! She's a favorite of mine too. I love how she just sticks to what she thinks is right, regardless of everyone else's opinions. And who could love that iceberg St. John?

    Fun fact I didn't learn until I was grown up: the name St. John is not pronounced "Saint John," but "Sinjin." (Likewise, St. Maur is pronounced Seymour, though I've never seen anyone called St. Maur except the baby called the Lamb in E. Nesbit books.)

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    1. Wow, creepy old English names! I knew that it was supposed to be "sin" instead of "saint" but I didn't realise the vowel in John had to be changed as well. Thanks for saving me the embarrassment of saying "Sinjohn" aloud :)
      Why would you give your child such a name anyway? It's kind of an invitation to become a saint, and we see how well that worked out in this particular case...

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  4. I love Jane Eyre too - I read it for the first time last year but am already itching for a reread!

    Have you read Villette? I'm sure you would love it, I actually ended up liking it more than Jane.

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    1. Seriously? MORE than Jane Eyre?! Damn, now I'll have to add it to my TBR pile. Not that more amazing books would be a problem, but at the moment I'm trying to decide on a list of exactly 111 titles for The Classics Club and Villette is my 112th.
      Sigh.
      There goes my beautiful plan. Thank you nonetheless! :)

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  5. One of my very favorite books! :) :) :)

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    1. Oh yes! Given I've liked none of the love stories I read before I didn't even expect it to be so good, but it's simply marvellous :)

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  6. Jane Eyre is truly an awesome book, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. The ambiance, the characters, the love story, and mainly Jane's growth, it's all magical. I've been resisting the urge to re-read it for some time now, and let me tell you, this post is not helping.

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  7. I received Jane Eyre for my 10th birthday, but somehow never read it until about two years ago. I absolutely ADORED it. I'm really glad that reading it gave you so much pleasure, because I enjoyed it so much as well. I re-read it very often since I first read it, and I can tell you that it is one of those books that doesn't lose its thrill even after the 10th time of reading it.

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