Sunday, October 22, 2006

Heroine Addiction

Howard Jacobsen, writing in yesterday's Independent, talks about his "heroine addiction" - particular in relation to Jane Eyre's recent television adaption. I only caught the last two episodes, wrongly believing this would be BBC costume drama by numbers. I don't know the actress Ruth Wilson, who played Jane, but she was perfectly cast. Jacobsen talks about the importance of punctuation in Jane Eyre: that Bronte uses semicolons and colons to bring us closer to Jane, creating that closeness of empathy that grips most readers of the novel, and that we should revel in the novel's language, not wonder at its strangeness. "There was a time, you see, when a writer's being educated was not considered an imposition on the reader, or a hindrance to enjoyment," he comments. Indeed. He also says that the he remains "in thrall to the literary imagination of this country, which is in all essentials, female." I've not heard it put quite like that before - but its worth pointing out that the writers' education here, was homemade, auto-didactic, wide-ranging, not curriculum bound - the female daughter of a country parson's education.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Baines said...

This is interesting. I looked at Jane Eyre after the serial finished and was amazed at how modern-seeming the prose was in its rhythms; there was a kind of directness too which you think of as modern. Interesting to think that modern prose rhythms and syntax could be a 'feminisation' of use of language.