Monday, August 25, 2008

charging by the word?

I suddenly discovered I must have a copy of The Letters of Charlotte Bronte only to learn that it is a 3-volume set (Charlotte was very prolific) and that volume 3 alone costs $220! Holy guacamole! I guess I'll have to suck it up... one of these days... and buy. Then again, there's the public library... and luckily my daughter is my own personal genuine professional librarian. Makes those parent-student loans all worthwhile.

Some very interesting commentary in a review of the books by Lyndall Gordon
The most famous letters in this volume are the four Charlotte wrote in French in 1844-45 to her beloved teacher in Brussels, M. Heger. The fact that Madame Heger pieced three of these letters together from torn fragments she found in her husband's bin suggests that Madame did not consider this tie negligible. There has been much speculation whether these surviving letters were adulterous or innocent. This is a misunderstanding of Charlotte's capacity for an indefinable form of love that thrived on Monsieur's recognition of her potential as a writer, his capacity to know her as she perceived herself to be. If we think of these letters in view of the great novels to come, they may be seen as the source of a new model of manhood: a hero who will engage with a hidden "other" in a woman; who does not exclude it as alien. This future fictional enlargement on M. Heger gains its imaginative licence from distance - the correspondent's invisibility as reader. In this sense, what Charlotte undertook was not quite a real correspondence which reflects the correspondent; it was more an invented correspondence, close to an imaginative act and supplemented, probably, by many letters which Charlotte composed (in her mind or even on paper) but did not send.

I hear that.