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Category Archives: Jane Eyre

Flighty

I had so much fun finding yesterday’s literary connection that I found one, or two, or maybe three more.

Today’s is brought to you by Charlotte Brontë.  I know, not your first guess of authors to be buddying up to Richard Wright, but here it is:

Then their eyes were riveted; a slate-colored pigeon swooped down to the middle of the steel car tracks and began strutting to and fro with ruffled feathers, its fat neck bobbing with regal pride.  A street car rumbled forward and the pigeon rose swiftly through the air on wings stretched so taut and sheer that Bigger could see the gold of the sun through their translucent tips.  He tilted his head and watched the slate-colored bird flap and wheel out of sight over the edge of a high roof.
“Now, if I could only do that,” Bigger said . . .

Doesn’t that sound like our good friend Jane Eyre?  Okay, fine, Jane was adamant that she was not a bird.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

But I’m pretty sure both of them were going for that whole “free flying” thing, so I’m still counting it on my list of connections.  Oh, and here’s an interesting essay about the bird imagery in Jane Eyre if your own wings want to carry you back to the good old days of pleasant reads.

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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Jane Eyre, Native Son

 

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Missing Jane

I don’t want to read The Trial today.  I feel crabby about Kafka.  Want to whine with me?

I woke up this morning missing Jane Eyre.  What happened to books like Brontë wrote?  Jane Eyre had some creepy, dream-like parts (as does The Trial), but I’m tired of

  • people without real names–Joseph K.  What does the K stand for?
  • weird relationships–I’ve never met you Fräulein Bürstner, but I’m Joseph K., and I’m going to stalk you and then passionately kiss you the first time we meet.
  • the author’s attempt to shock– What is up with the law books being pornographic drawings?  Or what’s with the bizarre beating of the wardens in the law office lumber closet?
  • lack of emotional connection to characters–How can I root for Joseph?  I don’t know anything about him.
  • experimental writing–I’m a primogeniture; I like rules.

Perhaps my rebellious feelings come from reading one experimental book after another: Mrs. Dalloway followed by The Trial.   I’m tired of feeling lost.  I want to care about characters.  I want to be able to follow plot.  For that matter, I want to enjoy reading.

What happened to happily ever after?  I miss Jane Eyre.jane eyre

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Jane Eyre, The Trial

 

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Some Dads

Happy Father’s Day Sancho, Christian, Gulliver, Mr. Bennett, Fagin, Mr. Brockelhurst, Arthur Dimmesdale, Ahab, Arthur Shelby, Charles Bovary, Marmeladov, Vronsky, Damon Wildeve, Gilbert Osmund, Pap Finn, and Tom Buchanan.

Thanks for not being my dad.

You see, he’s pretty awesome.  And you guys, well, let’s just say that you’re best left where you are:  inside the covers of a book.

Dad Dance

 

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Not to Bum You Out

I’m so tired of all these women dying.  I’ve nearly lost track of them, first it was Helen, then Emma, Alyona and Lizaveta, Anna, Eustacia, and now Lily. Why?  Why must we read so much tragedy?  Why the death?  What’s wrong with a happy ending once in a while?

Then I stumbled across this article in my facebook newsfeed.  Friends, it’s worth the read (it even mentions three of our authors.)  The subject is tragedy.  The context is Christian worship.  The backdrop is our life.

If you only click on one external link today, I encourage you to choose the one above.  You can even leave the arguments about worship behind, but I’d love to know what you think about the tragedy vs. entertainment question.

Is our WEM reading list reminding you that we live in the valley of the shadow of death?  Is it drawing you face to face with the world of iniquity from which we would rather shield our minds?  Are the authors and their sin-filled worlds making you cling firmly to the Author of creation?  Is the despair of the characters wakening a vision of the evil that surrounds us outside the pages of fiction?  Or, are the novels a source of pacification and escapism?  Are the classics entertaining?  Should the classics be entertaining?

 

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The Fastest 300 Years EVER!

Sancho and the donkey.  Christian.  Yahoos and Houyhnhnms.  Elizabeth and Darcy.  Oliver.   Bertha-in-the-attic.  Hester and Pearl.   Moby Dick.   Uncles and Madams.  Rascal.   Anna-Kitty-Levin-Vronsky-oviches.   The Heath.   Isabel.   Huckleberry.   The Journeys of Henry and Marlowe.   And now Lily, whose outcome, at least for me, is still uncertain.

While paging through the Well-Educated Mind list of fiction books, I realized that Don Quixote was published in 1605 and House of Mirth in 1905.   300 years!  I congratulate myself and you, fellow readers, on plowing through 300 years of literature.   May the crop be plentiful!  I suggest a glass of red wine and some good chocolate to celebrate.

 

 

Christmas Is Coming

Readers are easy to shop for because they’re always happy to get a book.  But what if you want to validate their love of literature without adding to the addiction?  Here’s a list of some unique classic gifts that might appeal to us WEMers.  Feel free print it out and leave it in a conspicuous spot for the shoppers in your life.  Or not.

(If all went well, clicking on the picture should open a new window to the site where the item is available.)

Don Quixote

The question I want answered is do these earrings belong the beautiful Dulcinea of Don Quixote’s dreams, or the brawny girl of Sancho’s acquaintance?  Decide before wearing.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Because a Bunyan vest is better than Bunyan Shoes.

Gulliver’s Travels

The site says that the pages are still readable.  Never mind.  Do not buy this for me.

Pride and Prejudice

This is obviously a doll version of Darcy from the beginning of the novel.  You know, when he was really crochety, um I mean crotchety.

Oliver Twist

You could make up a batch of homemade gruel mix, put it in a mason jar, and add a festive bow, or you could give a Dickinsonian this lovely print of a giant gruel pot.

Jane Eyre

These hues of the moors are named “To the Stars,” “A Strange and Unearthly Thing,” and “Independent Will!” (Exclamation point the artists, not mine.)  Aside from the fact that I can’t imagine Jane Eyre for a moment considering her own appearance long enough to put on a coat of nail polish, they are kind of pretty, in a moody, murky way, of course.

Scarlet Letter

These days bearing a shirt with a scarlet A on it doesn’t denote you as an adulteress, although I think that meaning might be preferable.  So instead of clothing, the Scarlet Letter lover might appreciate this ignominious bracelet.

Moby Dick

The Herman Melville gift options seem endless, from “Call me Ishmael, maybe?” t-shirts to Captain Ahab Baby Swaddlers but this print is the item that really made my jaw drop.  It’s as striking and surprising as the novel itself.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Personally, I would much rather have a piece of Aunt Chloe’s pie.

Madame Bovary

What could be more fitting for Emma than a vanity mirror?

Crime and Punishment

There are hollow book safes available for nearly all of these classics, but this one for C&P has a certain, well, charm?  Although it doesn’t seem big enough to hide an axe.

Anna Karenina

If you can’t buy the gift you can always buy the pattern and knit it yourself this “adorable” and “cute” Anna Tea Cozy.  Also, shouldn’t it really be a samovar cozy?

The Return of the Native

And when in doubt, sending flowers is always a good idea.  Especially heather from the heath.  It’s much more beautiful than a furze faggot, and easier to carry.

Happy shopping and a Merry Christmas!  Oh, and don’t blame me if you get any of these things.

 

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Read Anything Interesting Lately?

Lest you think we’re total nerds here at A Classic Case of Madness, I thought I should clear up a little rumor:  We do read things other than the classics.  Just this year I read Death at Pemberly and The Eyre Affair.

Fine, whatever.  We’re nerds.  I own it.

Our good friend Norma, you’ve read her intelligent comments I’m sure, gave me this wonderful mystery by P.D. James as a Christmas present to share with our “classy friends.”

The novel is set at Pemberly, (duh), after Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage.  I don’t want to give too much away, but, there is a murder.  Don’t worry, all the Bennet girls are fine.

If you like mysteries, and you want to test your ideas of life after P&P against this wise, aged author’s, then you should give it a read.  Seriously, P.D. James is 91 years old and still writing novels.  If nothing else, you should read it to remind yourself that you are not too old to do anything.

The Eyre Affair is a book I picked up on the handy-dandy display of adult books that our local library sets out in the kid’s area for those of us stroller-tied to the bottom floor.  We had just finished up the actual Jane Eyre, and there was no way I was leaving this paperback for some ritzy, Peg Perigo pushing mom to snatch up without understanding the deep Brontë influence.

It’s the first in a series about a female detective named Thursday Next.  The book, by British author Jaspor Fforde is, well, um, let’s see . . .maybe the front of the book says it best:

Yeah, it’s sort of unusual, but in that great, “Are you smart enough to get his sense of humor” kind of way.  He makes you earn your laughs, and that I can appreciate.

Plus, four of our WEM books were mentioned within the first 14 pages.  See?

I will definitely be going back to read more of this time-travel, literary mystery fantasy, but maybe after we’ve gotten a little further down our list.  After all, I don’t want to miss any more of the jokes than necessary.

So, what other companion books should I add to my library queue?

 
 

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