Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Presentiments Are Strange Things

Notes From thegrowlingwolf (Could He Be in a Cold Well-Lighted Place?)
"I haven't given up on Charlotte Bronte's web of a novel yet. I'm still being lured into its bounds by sweet Charlotte, the only Bronte sis who experienced sexual intercourse--though just how much self-diddling or 'doing unto themselves what they wanted men to do unto them' the sisters did, I wouldn't know--Elizabeth Hardwick is to blame for me getting so involved with this silly Jane Eyre--the same as I question the popularity of the Hairy Potty books, I question how Jane Eyre got on the Great Classics shelves in the libraries--'Smith girls must read Jane Eyre before they tackle "the embedded" Marcel Proust!'--just how Jane's classic-stance in this country occurred I can't say, though I'm sure it was carried over from England and from there it got into New England curricula, because only, to me, an English washerwoman's daughter could get excitement from 'these lonely Victorian girls desiring to be penetrated by castle-dwelling neerdowells who steal their hearts away by casting presentiments onto humble but obviously lithesomely and virginally attractive eyes and ears and bosoms, mouth-foaming-mad fops who are mostly the failed and wastrel sons of country manor squires who left them wealth and fine places to live and money enough to hire young innocently alluring servant girls, which they then use to make the women they really want envious and cunning, and they always want one of those young, fresh, bosom-showing, fantasy-headed, bimbos whose good old daddies are worth millions of pounds and their estates have acres and acres of land--and it's all about the knaves and their way of respecting and taking advantage of the goodness they can finagle out of their betters (though it's awfully hard for this preacher's daughters (referring to the Brontes) to find any goodness at all in their betters, only strangeness--however, it's a strangeness that is alluring to these so properly raised girls--and that includes Smith girls, too, not just the Brontes) and from that goodness they hope to luckily prosper and gain a shelf of respectability no matter how low down on that community of shelves that shelf is--in Jane Eyre's case, she wants to open her own private school one day with backing from one of the estate-owning fops she finds work with (Mr. Rochester--Jane's male hope)--which was probably Charlotte's desire as well (having her own private school). Charlotte still amuses me--amusing me especially by using words like "dandled" and "diablerie"--or using a "How d'ye do?" in one place--or writing, "...young ladies have a remarkable way of letting you know that they think you are a 'quiz'..."--then in one scene Charlotte has Jane drawing a face--and she begins to talk to the face she's drawing and then she begins to talk about she's drawing herself a friend since she's being given the snub by the castle-bred daughters of the evil place she was taken when she was an orphaned baby to be raised by her evil, evil aunt, Mrs. Sarah Reed--yet the always very Christian Charlotte has also very Christian Jane go back to the source of her childhood horrors and abuses when she's summoned to the evil Mrs. Reed's bedside by a manservant (and damn there are a lot of servants in this novel--and a lot of rich fops and their families in it, too--ah, those sparkling early days of the glorious British Empire--when you needed bevies of servants and waiters and houseboys and gardeners and shit-shovelers and stable hands and coachmen and nannies and governesses--holy Christ, it was a servitudinal mess in those old Halls that poor little smart-ass, and she is a little bitch, Jane has to dwell in and make her living in--though Charlotte and her sisters grew up in a fairly nice parsonage--though with a bitter, bastard, fart parson father, no mother, and a totally worthless brother, who Charlotte puts in Jane Eyre as the infamous Johnny Reed who squanders his inheritance in London by gambling, drinking, and whoring himself to death. And then I was reading a very "girly" conversation Jane and one of the Reed girls were having--she was bragging to Jane of her time in London and how spectacularly beautiful London society thought her and how she attracted the attention of some of the true upper swells of that whirling world and then she confesses in whisper to Jane of "a titled conquest she had made..." while caught up in the rapturous middle of her London affairs. Whew, Charlotte, you got me rubbing my crotch. That's when I started wondering if young girls dared to masturbate in those days! Like the Bronte Sisters were pretty close in age--and Emily and Charlotte spent a year together in Belgium--and in Belgium Emily was certainly aware that Charlotte had the hots for the master of the house where they were staying while learning French--and I got to wondering if maybe the sisters sometimes bundled up a little close during a cold winter's night--you know, a little touchie-feelie through their muslin gowns--they didn't wear bras in those days--did they discard their undergarments at night?--you know, to cool things off! You see I'm a male and you see how males degrade women? It's just natural with us--I mean, it turns men on thinking about a bed full of young sisters and then extending the fantasy of that thrilling-enough situation to include some breast feelups at least--surely they felt each other's breasts--maybe, you know, like kissed each other's nipples! Now the men are steaming up in this extended fantasy of the Bronte Sisters in bed together snuggling and doing some undercover learning as well--maybe some finger stuff--WOW--how about a novel by Charlotte's husband, the guy who eventually got in her pants! I'm partial to Charlotte for some reason, though she isn't the writer I was hoping she would be--her best writing comes in her descriptions of Mrs. Reed, the nasty old witch of poor Janie's childhood--the woman who sent her off to die as far as she was concerned to Lowood, the typhoid school located in the mid-England swamp--what an evil woman, and Charlotte writes her best when she's writing about Mrs. Reed and her worthless family--the very epitome of the evil woman to Christian Charlotte who forgives everybody of any wrong they ever did to her and this includes her eventually forgiving the very eviliest of all women, Mrs. Reed, though Mrs. Reed never accepts her forgiveness and dies considering Jane an awful, horrible, pipsqueaking, whining, snide, and insulting little bastard bitch--and then as Mrs. Reed finally dies, Jane goes back into one of her puzzling modes--death and the afterlife are puzzling to rather atheistic-leaning Jane throughout the novel--Jane, I assume, is assumed to simply be British Christian and that's that--though she doubts God all the way through the book--so far. I can't quit reading the damn book even though I've got a much better Toni Morrison novel I'm reading, too--I'm learning a lot from Toni "My Babe" Morrison--a lot about women and the strange presentiments that evolve into such strange situations within their breasts, their souls, their wombs, their vaginas! Women I can relate to in terms of time and generational shit--but the women of Charlotte's time--I can't imagine? Did they stink? In a John Dickson Carr novel, the hero is making out with one of the hottest London socialite ladies of the 18th Century--and when he gets her clothes off he gets hit in the face with many foul odors exhausting from her body--especially that valley between her breasts smelled or so the hero thought as he dived into them with ruddy lust--and I'm sure he stank, too, right? And then as he's pounding her and starts to French kiss her he sees in the London-foggy-moonlight her rice powder washing off her face from their mingling sweats and then he sees how this gorgeous woman's face in reality is scared and pocked, a bloody mess, caused, as John Dickson Carr so well puts it, by nearly every woman in London in those days getting the pox--and the pox leaving their faces scared--that's why face powders were invented! Eliza Reed, one of the evil Mrs. Reed's daughters, I came to enjoy--Charlotte describes her as lean and mean, bound to her own schedule, bound to her means of income, saying at one point to her worthless sister (the babe who got laid in London society), 'Instead of living for, in, and with yourself, as a reasonable being ought....'--I imagined this Eliza, she wore religious-like clothes, dark dresses with white collars and a crucifix hanging over her bosom, to be modeled on Emily Bronte--the dark Bronte Sister--doomed worse than the other two--though they were all doomed--remember, Charlotte was the longest-living Bronte Sister and she died at 39--though, like I said, she did get to experience sex--she had a kid even. No, I'm not going to read a biography of Charlotte! Liz Hardwick wrote, 'How to live without love, without security? Hardly any other Victorian woman had thought as much about this as Charlotte Bronte.' By the bye, Jane Eyre was an artist--she said she would just take a box of pencils and some paper and sit and just start drawing, images she gleaned from what she said was '...the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of imagination' she possessed. Then she describes what her drawings may eventually be: 'A glimpse of sea between two rocks; the rising moon and a ship crossing its disk; a group of reeds, and water-flags, and a naiad's head, crowned with lotus flowers, rising out of them; an elf sitting in a hedge-sparrow's nest, under a wreath of hawthorn-bloom.' Don't tell me, but I can't wait for the irritating Mr. Rochester to go blind!"
Charlotte Bronte (above)/a drawing by Anne Bronte (above)/Anne the drawer!
Actual photo of Charlotte Bronte

In Case You'd Like to Read Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Bronte:

Note: Only Volume 2 is online.

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

Oh you silly boy! Women, heterosexual women-- by definition!-- do not find other women's bodies alluring. I have two sisters, have shared a bed with each of them and have never felt either of them up or ever wanted to. It has never crossed my mind to kiss another woman's nipples, good God! the idea is repugnant. Men's nipples, however, like everything else about men's bodies, are a sweet wonderment. Don't you want to kiss men's nipples? Probably not. It did crack me up that your mind went straight to highly unlikely sex. Women's minds do that too you know. I knew I wasn't cut out for Roman Catholicism when I came into my hormones at about 14 and a half. I used to look at the stained glass windows in churches and think about how Christ and the apostles were balls naked under those gowns, all that big pretty male equipment on the loose under those filmy little tunics. I suppose a 14 year old girl from the 20th century reaching her hand back through 2000 years and sliding it up their gowns wasn't what Christ and the apostles had in mind when they put those outfits on. All this going through my head while the priest was consecrating the host!