[also published on The Inkwell, Inkitt's literary blog: http://www.inkitt.com/blog]
Literature—and all art, for that matter—is like the face of the moon; always changing, always presenting a new face for the reader. It changes within our own lifetime, as a book read as a teenager no longer looks the same at thirty-nine. Imagine, then, the changes over a hundred years or more, when not only ] the readers but the society itself ‘grows up.’ Some works age well, being passed from one library to another, while others become shameful reminders of old ideas, old worlds, and old thoughts. Something of this latter aspect is conveyed by the author Jean Rhys (Wide Sargasso Sea) in a letter to her editor in 1966, about one of her favorite novels, Jane Eyre. Rhys grew up in
, and outsider to
mainstream British life, a fact echoed in almost every book she read as a child.
As she explains, Dominica
“I came to
sixteen and seventeen, a very impressionable age and Jane Eyre was one of the
books I read then. Of course Charlotte Bronte makes her own world, of course
she convinces you, and that makes the poor Creole lunatic all the more
dreadful. I remember being quite shocked, and when I re-read it rather annoyed.
“That’s only one side—the English side.” England