The Secret History of Jane Eyre
By John Pfordresher
“Pfordresher, a professor of English at Georgetown University, is obviously a great admirer of Charlotte, and he uses her letters, earlier work and life experiences to explore his topic. But he also uses the novel itself as a kind of treasure map to find where Charlotte has hidden herself in Jane’s story. In an especially interesting section, Pfordresher uses his expertise in Victorian art to show how Jane’s drawings, as described in the novel, express Charlotte’s deep and turbulent emotional life. The moon, used in many key scenes, is symbolic of Charlotte’s yearning for the mother taken from her at a young age.
This is a fascinating and authoritative book, written with intelligence, wit and affection, and full of surprises. Reader, I recommend it.” By Deborah Mason at Bookpage
Isn’t it confusing that Charlotte called “Jane Eyre” an autobiography (actually in the original book title) but then vehemently denied that it was her own story? I suspect it was because her anonymity was blown, and the whole world was being entertained by her intimacies. And she had to face their questions.
I’m enjoying learning other interesting tidbits about sources of inspiration for the book. “As a twenty three year old governess working for the Sidgwick family, she was caring for one of the younger sons when the older brother ‘tempted the little fellow into the forbidden place.’ Charlotte followed and tried to persuade the younger boy to come away, but he threw stones at her, ‘ so severe a blow on the temple, that they were alarmed into obedience.’ Throwing things at the governess seems to have been a bit of a Sedgwick habit. Earlier a cousin threw a Bible at her... For Jane, John Reed‘a throwing Bewick at her head has powerful symbolic resonance since this 14 year old boy clearly doesn’t respect books at all while the Bewick bird book has just been a portal into the refuge of her imagination.” from the chapter The Red Room
I love anecdotal stories like this!
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