Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?: More Puzzles in Classic Fiction by John Sutherland

By John Sutherland

The intriguing sequel to the tremendously winning Is Heathcliff A Murderer?, John Sutherland's most modern number of literary puzzles, Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? turns up unforeseen and brain-teasing elements of the diversity of canonical British and American fiction represented within the World's Classics record. With daring inventive hypothesis he investigates thirty-four literary conundrums, starting from Daniel Defoe to Virginia Woolf. overlaying matters well past the stern confines of Victorian fiction, Sutherland explores the questions readers usually ask yet critics hardly ever speak about: Why does Robinson Crusoe locate just one footprint? How does Magwitch swim to shore with an exceptional iron on his leg? the place does Fanny Hill hold her contraceptives? Whose aspect is Hawkeye on? and the way does Clarissa Dalloway get domestic so fast? As in its universally good got predecessor, the questions and solutions in Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? are inventive and convincing, and go back the reader with new appreciate to the good novels they have fun.

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Extra resources for Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?: More Puzzles in Classic Fiction

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Physically Charles is both a man of wax and a man of means. The only son of a prosperous revenue officer, he is also the favourite of a wealthy grandmother. Charles rescues Fanny from Mrs Brown's clutches and promptly sets her up as his mistress in apartments with another bawd—Mrs Jones. Fanny, looking back on events, expresses a strong dislike for this new protector. Mrs Jones is a 'private procuress. . about forty six years old, tall, meager, red-hair'd, with one of those trivial ordinary faces you meet with everywhere.

Not caro sposo, that is, but the ungrammatical cara sposo. The next time Mrs Elton uses the jarring term is after having received some routine courtesy from Emma's father over dinner. If anything, the notion that her aged Emma 39 parent might be sexually interested in Mrs Elton infuriates the heroine even more than the gross impertinence about 'my friend Knightley\ 'I wish you had heard his gallant speeches to me at dinner,' Mrs Elton tells a frozenfaced Miss Woodhouse. 'Oh! I assure you I begin to think my car a sposa would be absolutely jealous.

As Rogers points out, Mrs Elton's slangy speech, particularly her 'easy application of a cant Italianate phrase . . is a strong pointer towards her affectation and vulgarity'. But caro sposo, he further suggests, may be something more than 'a mark of pretension'. Arguably it carries a subtler satirical load. He goes on to survey the rise and 38 Jane Austen fall of the phrase (in the mouth of the middle- and upperclass English) as something fashionable. Its heyday was in the 1770s and 1780s, when it was often used in the conversation and correspondence of younger members of noble and literate families, such as the Noels, Burneys, and Thrales.

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