? somewhat new to several classics

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? somewhat new to several classics

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1BONS
Mar 27, 2010, 4:52pm

A book club member & I were visiting recently and she commented on how I would be perfect for reading the Jane Eyre type books. I soon found Wuthering Heights for .80 at my local haunt.

Might someone suggest the order I should read any of these in? Also if I am bookmooching Jane Eyre does it matter to which one I request?

I am very much a newbie so I thank you in advance for tolerating this question, but what better group to ask?

2ElizabethPotter
Editado: Mar 30, 2010, 5:46pm

There is no real order for reading them. They are completely independent stories and characters. However, as I and others in this group would probably concur, it is the rare person who loves both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. There is a bit of a civil war over the Charlotte/Emily question. I am telling you this SO that if you read one and don't like it, it does not mean that you will dislike the other one.

Enjoy! I'm so excited for you!

3susanbooks
Mar 27, 2010, 11:23pm

And don't neglect Anne! I think Charlotte's the best writer of the 3 but Anne's plots win hands down. And the other one, who wrote that crazy book? ElizabethPotter's post might give you an idea of what I think of her work.

4CurrerBell
Mar 28, 2010, 1:29am

One caution. Charlotte uses French in some of the dialogue in Jane Eyre and even more so in Villette. It's not a bad idea (if you don't know French) to make sure the edition you read has footnoted translations.

Also, Emily uses Yorkshire dialect in Wuthering Heights, so again, it's a good idea to get an edition that translates the dialect (mainly, the servant Joseph's) in footnotes.

5ElizabethPotter
Mar 28, 2010, 8:49pm

I never could understand a thing Joseph was saying!

Anne is the least well-known of the three. If you only read one it should probably be either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.

And now that I have been totally unbiased in my first post, my personal opinion will out. (whispers) Read Jane Eyre.

6BONS
Mar 28, 2010, 9:12pm

(Elizabeth, I heard your whispers) = )
Thanks to each of you for being so kind

7susanbooks
Mar 29, 2010, 1:07am

BONS, enjoy it! It's so wonderful to be reading a great book for the first time.

Tell us what you think of John Reed (not the Ten days That Shook the World guy).

8ElizabethPotter
Abr 4, 2010, 3:42pm

This discussion got me thinking....Why is it that there is such a divide between JE and WH? Why do we all (or most of us) love one and loath the other? I am not asking for reasons why you loath one work. I can quickly come up with five reasons why I can't stand Wuthering Heights.

Is it simply, do you prefer a Cinderella story vs. princess and stable boy? I still don't think that explains the loathing.

There are many similarities between the texts. Both are stormy. Both Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester have many parallels. Both texts deal with inheritances.

Just curious what others thought.

9susanbooks
Abr 4, 2010, 3:58pm

Elizabeth, that's such a great question.

For me, WH is just a creepier book. When I try to think what that really means -- b/c god knows JE has lots of creepiness -- I keep thinking about Heathcliff's raping his wife.

I think that's one reason I like Anne's Wildfell Hall -- it doesn't romanticize abusive relationships the way her sisters' books do.

10Herenya
Abr 5, 2010, 12:06am

> 9. I'm just interested, do you see Jane Eyre as romanticising an abusive relationship?

> 8. I wouldn't say I loath Wuthering Heights, I've just never felt like rereading it - I didn't connect with the characters enough.

So I think "division" between the two books might be partly to do with how the stories are told. Jane Eyre is a straightforward first person narrative - Jane tells you her story. In Wuthering Heights (and correct me if I'm wrong, it's a few years since I read it), the story is a first person narrative of someone relating another person's first-person account of observing the main characters. As a reader, with Wuthering Heights, you're that bit more removed, you're that bit more of an observer.
And when you are removed in that way from the characters, you don't have to connect with them in the same way a straightforward first person narrative asks to be connected with. You don't have to like them, or agree with them... you're free to observe them from a distance.
Of course it's possible (for some people) to read first person narratives where they don't like or agree with the main protagonists, so I'm not sure that this is a particularly solid theory... just an idea.

I also think that while there may be similarities, the characters in Jane Eyre and in Wuthering Heights are very different people. So maybe they appeal to different people? Or at least, if one appeals strongly to you, the other is less likely to do so?

11susanbooks
Editado: Abr 5, 2010, 12:23pm

Herenya, thanks for calling me on my overgeneral and therefore inaccurate characterization of relationships in JE as abusive. If I had put more thought into what I was typing, I'd have said that many of the relationships are based on radically unequal power positions: The Reeds v Jane; Brocklehurst v the teachers & students; Jane v Adele; St John v Jane. In each of these, I think, an element of abuse is present. Similarly but also on the other hand, Jane sees Rochester as her "master" in a way that goes beyond his being her employer. Jane loves the dynamic, gets a thrill from it, describes it in a way that's very similar to erotic dominance/submission relationships. And, as in those relationships, Jane is a vital & powerful partner. So that relationship, the major one in JE, isn't abusive, no.

I like Anne's WH, b/c, in addition to showing the dangers inherent in radically unequal power relationships, she maintains an ironic distance from her "hero" in a way that CB & EB never do. Markham may mean well but it's impossible for me to ever see him as anything but, to use a wonderful 19th c phrase, a puppy. I think it's delightful that Anne does that. I can't imagine Rochester or Heathcliff being dealt w/humorously by their creators.

This is such a great discussion. Thanks to everyone for getting me to think :)

12atimco
Abr 6, 2010, 5:15pm

I must be weird. I love both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, though I do love JE more.

I can see Charlotte treating Rochester with *some* humor, almost like Jane at the end, smiling at his childish stubbornness. But not so much with Heathcliff.

13katylit
Ago 14, 2010, 10:18am

Well, if you're weird wisewoman, then I join you in your weirdness ;-) I love Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights both too. I've re-read them both equally, love their gothic creepiness (Cathy's ghost knocking at the window, Bertha's laughter wafting through Thornfield's halls) *shiver*. I've always admired Jane, been horrorstruck by Heathcliff (and yet felt a little pity for him too), been aggravated by Cathy. In short, these books just evoke more emotions in me than most books I've read, they've stayed with me, been part of my life and I love them dearly. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Professor and Villette all came later and while enjoyed, didn't make as much of an impact.

These are wonderful discussions! You are all so great :-) It's lovely to find other Bronte fans.