"Reader, I shagged him."
That is the title of this funny and fascinating article
by Tanya Gold in The Guardian about Charlotte Bronte--the "real" Charlotte Bronte who we can't see because the legend has been preserved under glass by Elizabeth Gaskell and readers who have read and loved Jane Eyre over the past 150 years.
I spent years studying Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre for my doctoral dissertation, so I love anything that upsets the apple cart and takes on a literary classic in a new, fascinating way that forces us to look at our own cultural biases and assumptions.
Tanya Gold also skewers Haworth, the little village in England where the Bronte parsonage has been turned into a museum and people have milked the Bronte legend for every last dollar. I was at the parsonage and museum in 1997 when I presented a paper on my Jane Eyre research at a conference at the U. of Leeds. I did find the place to be haunting, exciting, and overly commercialized--it didn't stop me from buying some notepads, a poster, etc.
Like many other literary types, I love the Bronte sisters and am fascinated by the literature they produced and the circumstances in which they lived, but I don't want to keep them "under glass"--scholarship has to grow and will change our views of their work.
This article is a breath of fresh air. Really.