Jane Eyre

| On
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I said I was going to write up the books I read last year, and I still am, but... I thought maybe I'd do the ones I've read so far this year first. The first book I finished in 2011 was JANE EYRE, which was amazing. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: I love this book! I'd never read it before, but it's one of those books that exists in the culture to such an extent that it felt like I already had. This feeling was misleading. The notion I'd had was that this novel was a dark and stormy romance with the bulk of the story focused on Jane's attachment to the brooding, hot-tempered man of mystery and tight trousers, Mr. Rochester. (I've also always envisioned him with enormous black eyebrows, which at least turns out to be correct.) This notion was partly true - Jane cares for Mr. Rochester, so of course he's an important element - but the story belongs entirely to Jane and her life. What I love best about it (right now, anyway) is that in circumstances elevated or degraded, she's her own person who acts and makes decisions derived from her strong sense of herself. She can and will make the hard choice if she believes it to be the right choice. I was struck over and over again by how modern Jane's attitude was - not what I expected at all.

The novel is also beautifully written: seriously gothic, smart, funny, spooky, atmospheric, and romantic as hell. Read it if any of those things sound good to you! I recommend either the lovely Penguin Hardcover Classic clothbound edition (not only is it a wonderful book to read, it's also impressive as a decorative object - see the picture), OR the illustrated Dame Darcy edition, which has excellent spooky ink drawings and some color plates. (of course any edition will do, but these two are fantastic and readily available.) 

I know I haven't gotten into any real specifics of the story, but that's because I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it yet. It seems a sort of silly precaution for a book that was first published in 1847, but... just read it! It's long, but it flies by.  My rating: FIVE STARS.

For more information about why Jane is awesome, please read this Laura Miller piece on Salon. To see more of the Penguin Classic clothbound books, visit Coralie Bickford-Smith's  website.

4 comments on "Jane Eyre"
  1. The Jane Eyre 2006 DVD is my favorite adaptation. Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens was spectacular in that version. It would be hard topping that but I'm looking forward to watching the 2011 film nonetheless. :)

  2. I haven't seen that one! I'm going to add it to my queue. I've heard good things about it, plus I like Toby Stephens. ;) I'm looking forward to the 2011 film, too.

  3. Those book spines are so like bolts of fabric! Makes me desirous of the fabric. Of course...Very nice.

  4. They DO look like bolts of fabric. Next time you're at Powell's keep an eye out for them - they're even more pleasing to behold up close!


Klik the button below to show emoticons and the its code
Hide Emoticon
Show Emoticon