So starts a new term. For English Honours we are required to cover the major time periods of English Literature and I am currently enrolled in the Victorian Novel. Now, compared to an English course based on Globalization, of which I knew nothing before enrolling in it, the novel and the Victorian period are right up my alley. Of course, I had to quickly realize that Jane Austen actually pre-dates the Victorian era by a few years, lumping her novels in the Romantic era instead, so even though I read Pride and Prejudice (again) over Christmas, that is not one of my assigned readings this term.
We are covering six novels, including a few favourites of mine. I love that fact that my professor is not determined that we have to do six obscure titles. In fact, five out of the six novels were available for free digital download to my new Christmas present, my iPad. The ebook is the best thing ever invented for an English Major like me, because anything published before 1923 can be downloaded for free.
Book number one: Jane Eyre. It is a wonderful novel to study for many reasons, but I would have to say that the fact that it is written in first person makes it very enjoyable to read. Charlotte Bronte also seems to have the “show, don’t tell” principle down to a tee. She recreates the scenes, including large amounts of dialogue, even though she tells us, the reader, that she is writing this, her story, looking back from a distance of time. And with the first person telling, we are like a fly on the wall of Lowood school, then Thornfield Hall, and are easily immersed in the story.
I hesitate to compare a great work of literature like Jane Eyre, to a popular fiction work of this time like Twilight, yet as a reader I couldn’t help experiencing similarities. I may have said it before, (but maybe not publicly), I found Stephenie Meyer’s first person telling of the story of Bella and Edward very compelling. Okay, I’ll admit it, without any critique as to the quality of the writing, the first person point of view of Twilight sucked me right in (no pun intended). I started Twilight one evening, and by the morning I was in love with Edward, just like Bella. And so, too, after starting Jane Eyre in the evening, am I in love with another Edward, Edward Fairfax Rochester, in the morning.