Jane Eyre: Further Reading+Giveaway!

There are so many books out there by the Brontës, about the Brontës, and/or related to the Brontës’ work, and many of them are really amazing. For example, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys is a really amazing retelling of Jane Eyre from another character’s perspective. You can see my old review of it here but SPOILER WARNING for Jane Eyre plot points.

Giveaway!

3-15-17: Our randomly-generated WINNER: Jessamyn/gingernifty! I’ll be in touch to get your prize to you! Thanks to everyone who entered!

This contest is closed.

I promised an #EyreAlong giveaway and I’ve finally got it together. There will be 1 winner who will receive 2 books, which I’ll talk about below. One of the books is an old favorite of mine, and the other is a book I’ve long been meaning to read.

The Prizes:

27003

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde :

Genre: mystery+romance+time-travel+alternate history

Hey You Should Read It: Someone is kidnapping characters from books. One of the victims is Jane Eyre, and the book she belongs to by the same name is slowly unraveling. Thursday Next, a literary detective, is tasked with finding the kidnapper and returning the book characters. If that isn’t enough, along the way there are plenty of dodos and at least one irritating Danish Prince to keep  us all entertained. This is a hilarious, fast-paced story and perfect for bookworms. It’s the first in a series so there’s more where this came from, but The Eyre Affair also stands alone in terms of plot.

7881796Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: Selected Early Writings by Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Anne Brontë, and Patrick Branwell Brontë:

Genre: poetry+diary entries+autobiographical+fantasy

As I mentioned in the introduction post to #EyreAlong, the Brontë siblings spent much of their growing up years writing stories for each other about fictional lands. While many of their prose stories are lost, this volume collects a lot of their early work, including poems about their imaginary countries and characters, and diary entries. This is definitely on my list of Brontë-related books to read! Between the sisters, they wrote several works of classic literature, and I’d love to see how they got to that level of skill, along with their own writing about their real lives.

How To Enter:

1 Entry: comment on this post with a link to an #EyreAlong post you have made (on any social media platform as long as it’s public, i.e. as long as I can visit it). It can be an #EyreAlong post just for the purposes of entering this giveaway, but hopefully you have already been participating in some way, even just as a lurker.

Optional Extra Entry: I love quotes, and I’d love to hear which lines from Jane Eyre you especially like. Include your favorite Jane Eyre quote so far in your comment, and any reason why it’s your favorite.

1 winner. Open to US/Canada only. Please include your email address so I can contact the winner. The giveaway will close 3/5/17 at 12 am PST. 

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Jane Eyre: Introduction

This post contains NO SPOILERS for Jane Eyre.

That being said, have you all started reading Jane Eyre yet? I’m only a few pages in, but it’s as upsetting and brilliant as I remember. I don’t understand how a Victorian novel manages to feel and read and sound so modern, in terms of content and emotion. I won’t talk now about the plot, but I do want to talk about the Brontës.

The Brontës are my literary Squad Goals.* Charlotte, her sisters (those who didn’t die absurdly young) and her brother, were taken from school and kept at home, so they wrote and wrote and wrote. They wrote crazy adventures and scandals and tragedies, all taking place in connected fictional lands. Once the sisters started publishing, first their poetry and then novels, they did so under ambiguous pseudonyms. There’s a really great article on their pseudonyms, where they got them, and the thinking behind using them here. That article includes a quote from Charlotte Brontë, in which she explains:

Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice . . .

-“Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” by Charlotte Brontë

Of course, it’s hard to say if and how publishing under their real, female names would have hurt or helped their books, but based on publishing in general, I guess it wouldn’t have been great.

This is another really good article from The Atlantic on the Brontë sisters and how they managed to be subversive in their writings even if they couldn’t be in “real” life.

Charlotte outlived the rest of her siblings to the ripe old age of 39. You can read a short biography of Charlotte here and see a timeline of her life here.  Keep her life experience in mind while reading Jane Eyre….or don’t. I’m all about ignoring authorial intention. But the parallels between Charlotte and Jane can be enlightening.

To wrap up, I’d like to share a quote from Charlotte Brontë’s Preface to Jane Eyre. I usually skip prefaces because they’re boring, but I read it this time and am really glad I did.

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is — I repeat it — a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.

The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show pass for sterling worth — to let white-washed walls vouch for clean shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinise and expose — to rase the gilding, and show base metal under it — to penetrate the sepulchre, and reveal charnel relics: but hate as it will, it is indebted to him.

Keep the above attitude and belief in mind while reading Jane Eyre.

 

*Yes, I just linked to Urban Dictionary. You’re welcome.