>While I was steaming over the fucked up plot of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, I was reminded of my overall general hatred of books hailing from the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s partly the pre-feminist plots that drive me up a wall (like chick lit today), but also the language barrier and mannerisms that keep me far, far away (again, like chick lit today…). I’ve never read any Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Edith Wharton, Henry James, etc. I can’t relate to any of the characters, and while I do love history, I find the style completely alienating.
I did read books by two out of the three Brontë sisters, though, when I was a teen. I suppose I was drawn in by all that Gothic moodiness. I re-read Jane Eyre for a college paper about 10 years ago (my how time flies), and at that point I noticed what a demented it book it is. Damn, Jane’s decision to stick by that old blind asshole Rochester irks me to no end. The guy fucking locked up his first wife (Bertha) in an attic. Whether Bertha really was insane before being locked up or not (and Jean Rhys has an amazing book, The Wide Sargasso Sea which takes Bertha’s point of view – I highly recommend it to anyone who read Jane Eyre), being shut in an attic would certainly drive anyone certifiably insane. (For more proof on this point, read Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews. It’s a twisted tale about four kids who are banished to an attic in their eeeeevil granny’s house when their dad dies. However, do not – I repeat, do not read any of the sequels, as they are progressively trashier and imbecilic.) On the flippant side of the coin, I also feel for Bertha because her name is Bertha for god’s sake and that is a name that is definitely going to get a girl tormented by other kids when you are young, possibly even driving one insane.
The point is that Jane is a stupid cunt and if Rochester wasn’t completely dependent on her to care for him (yeah, that sounds like a great relationship), he’d probably get tired of her and hide her away so another he can get some fresh meat from another young dumb governess.
On the other hand, there can be some value if these books are read for what they are, which is a product of their times. They serve as nice reminders of why conservatives are flat out dead wrong when they look to the past as a model of the future. (If Bush isn't that asshole head of the orphanage in Jane, I don't know what he is.) If everyone understands the past, there might be more resistance to going back to the "good old" days.