Mad Wife In The Attic

From Jane Eyre to the Mad Wife

I soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. –Jane Eyre

This is an image of little Jane Eyre from an issue of Charlotte Bronte’s novel published in 1943 by Random House.  It is illustrated with captivating woodcuts by Fritz Eichenberg.

When I was a kid, I had a learning disability and I really struggled to learn to read.  We had this book on the shelf and I determined to read it because the illustrations were so compelling.  It had a profound effect on me — I so loved Jane!

I still love to remember the magic of reading this book for the first time.  As I’ve aged, I’ve come to be more interested in the mysterious wife, Bertha Mason Rochester, secreted away in the attic.  Poor Bertha–was she really deranged or just inconvenient? 

When I set up my studio in the attic and began wiling away the hours up there, I couldn’t help but joke that I was now the “mad wife in the attic.”  As a girl, I identified with Jane and now with Bertha — so it goes…

This entry was published on February 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm. It’s filed under Jane Eyre and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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