Our Jane Eyre Gathering

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The gathering this month was a fun one.  We discussed everything about Jane Eyre – the position of women in society, Jane’s need for independence, passion in relationships.  It was all so very interesting to hear the various comments from our group.  But as everyone spoke, my eyes wandered to the variety of books on the table.  The different editions were as different as the women that sat around the table.

Beginning with my edition, illustrated by Dame Darcy.  Darcy selectively illustrates scenes from the novel.  The illustrations are very Tim Burton-esque black ink drawings.  It is a great book, if not just heavy from the extra pages and the color illustrations.  Two women at the table have gone digital.  They held their Kindle’s in front of them, proud that they had only paid 99 cents for their novel.  Just for future knowledge classic novels are more than a reasonable price.

Adrianne has a beautiful hardcover black with red flowers.  Although, she confesses, reading half the novel digitally for convenience.  Her version has informative annotations, explaining the words and traditions of the time.  Elke seems to have a college edition, since it is largely composed of chapters about historical facts of the time, including a whole section on Jamaica.  Blanca has the traditional library version with the plastic wrapped hardcover.   Ana’s version is small and simple, no extra chapters and no annotations.  It is very convenient to carry.

So many versions of this one novel are in one place.  It does make a comment on where we are as a literary society. There are so many that are concerned about the state of our literary-ness in this world.  I believe that this collection of women and their many ways to carry a book is a good sign.  It means we all still read.  It means we all still want to read every thing from the latest Jodi Picoult novel to the various versions old classics.  To me it means that there are still so many people who like to read as much as, if not more, than I do.

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