One of my favourite »Overheard in a Bookshop« moments …
Young Girl (with slight accent) – Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?
John (with his accent) – Aha, I suspect you mean Charlotte Brontë.
Young Girl – No, I mean Jane Eyre.
John – We have the book entitled Jane Eyre.
Girl – No, I mean the author Jane Eyre.
John – Did she, perchance work as a governess, at Thornfield Hall and carry on with the Byronic Mr Rochester?
Girl – Don’t know.
John – She is often considered ahead of her time due to the portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman who is both individualistic, desiring for a full life, while also highly moral. Jane evolves from her beginnings as a poor and plain woman without captivating charm to her mature stage as a compassionate and confident whole woman. As she matures, she comments much on the complexities of the human condition. Jane also has a deeply pious personal trust in God, but is also highly self-reliant. Although Jane suffers much, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. For this reason, it is sometimes regarded as an important early feminist (or proto-feminist) novel.
Girl – She wrote Pumpkin Pie.
John – You mean Jean Ure.
| JOHN BITTLES