Jane Pollard (Standard British accent)
Well, I think Jane Eyre is a really interesting book. I mean, she’s a... a heroine, but a sort of downtrodden heroine, and I think it’s very interesting for a number of reasons. Apart from the fact that it’s a great 19th century novel with sort of mystery and, you know, the mad woman and the... and these strange noises and... and the... a sense menace and... and fear and all this sort of Gothic stuff, which is great, but then you’ve got that against this poor orphan girl, and a good representation of how the female figure was tossed about on... and undefended, really, and she was tossed about by fate, so, if you had... a bad protector, or a bad guardian, then, basically, you were completely at their mercy, you had no rights, and yet the... the... the dignity and strength of this very frail creature, and how she has a very clear idea of... of what she can do and what she can’t do and who she is, even though there hasn’t been anybody fussing about her and telling her wonderful she... is, or how... what her strengths or her weaknesses are, and the courage of the... of the girl. And... and the other thing I like about... Bronte novels in any case is the... the use of the scenery of the... of the Yorkshire Moors, which is such a contrast to so many novels which are set against the elegant civilization of prosperous cities where the... the order of the city and the order of the... archictecture and... and society is so evident around the... around the storyline, and here that the... well, in so many of the Bronte novels, the elements and the space and the wind and the barrenness and the ruggedness, you feel as though... you feel the presence of nature, almost like a... a force around what’s happening to the... to the characters. So I’d... I’d recommend Jane Eyre as a... a really interesting read from so many points of view, both as an example of a Gothic novel, as an example of... how women were written about by women in a pre-feminist age – I think that’s worth... thinking about! – and, as I say, the... the power of the... of nature and... and raw passion.
(Jane Pollard was talking to Mark Worden)