Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Missing Jane

I'm so glad that many of my usual readings have been light this week: this has happened to be the week that I've been poring through a rather thick Brontë book in the throes of honors thesis research. The book: The Brontës: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family; the author: Juliet Barker.

I have also been going back to reread Jane Eyre--I went through The Professor this summer, and I'll get to Villette again next. Before this "rather thick" book, I also skimmed through (all of these extra sources will be skimmed, probably: not everything in them is related to my topic) Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë. That biography has its interest in the fact that Gaskell was also a novelist (of things like Cranford and Ruth) and actually knew Charlotte, writing the book after her death. But Juliet Barker's book (which I am about two-thirds through) is fantastic: it's very in-depth, chronicling many different sources and debunking many theories. Pairing that with reading Jane Eyre again and I find I'm not too displeased by all this reading.

I think not that I had forgotten how much I like Charlotte Brontë--how could I have if I chose her for my thesis? But I had forgotten the details of my admiration and enjoyment, the very real reasons behind it. One time browsing CafePress, I saw a design that said "I was Charlotte Brontë in my past life" or some such thing--and that's exactly how I've sometimes felt, meaning no disrespect to Charlotte. Certainly we're very different people and she writes very differently than I do, but still there are similarities. The love of nature, the passionate emotion, the enjoyment of fantasy but also the caution about imagination because of the effect it might have on daily life. Perhaps tenacity, too?

Reading all this material is like seeping my soul back into its home. 

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