You Transfix Me Quite – Jane Eyre and Vampires

You Transfix Me Quite – Jane Eyre and Vampires

Charlotte Bronte was brilliant. She created magic in a tough and most amazing woman named Jayne Eyre.

Jane Eyre does not seek a man to rescue her. She doesn’t seek him to complete her. She doesn’t look to silly romance to make her life perfect.

Jane is real. She is smart. She is tough. And in her soul of souls Jane Eyre doesn’t take shit from anyone.

I love Jane Eyre.

The book came out I believe in 1847. My mother brought a copy of it out to California with her during the California Gold Rush. I read the well-worn copy when I was 13. It took my breath away.

If only Jane had been a Vampire I thought when I first read it. I imagined her taking care of her nasty relatives in a most creative and horrible way, draining the blood from the people at that horrible school, then she’d do away with the crazy woman in the attic. But then again, no Vampire girl I knew would do that sort of thing or leave their child in the hands of such harsh people. But then I thought about it again, in my 13 year old mind. Jane was a woman who owned her own soul. She didn’t need a man to make her happy. She didn’t need anything. Yet she knew what love was more than Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet). She knew the fire and passion that only a soul on fire could know. It wasn’t the flash of young love and innocence. It wasn’t the passion of lust. It was a slow simmering burn mixed with that fire of understanding that becomes an everlasting flame that defies all reason yet is reason itself.

You all know the story. Jane is an orphan, she is despised by her family who wants her wealth (which she knows nothing of), she is sent to the boarding school from hell, then off to be a governess where she meets Mr. Rochester whom she falls in love with body, mind and soul. But he has a crazy wife so she leaves him on the altar and runs. She ends up being taken in by a rather dull minister with a passion only for God, so Jane goes back to Rochester, who is now blind, but not their love.

I pulled a few quotes:

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”

_____________________________________

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

——————————————————————-

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

———————————————————————

“Never,” said he, as he ground his teeth, “never was anything at once
so frail and so indomitable. A mere reed she feels in my hand!” (And he
shook me with the force of his hold.) “I could bend her with my finger
and thumb: and what good would it do if I bent, if I uptore, if I crushed
her? Consider that eye: consider the resolute, wild, free thing looking
out of it, defying me, with more than courage—with a stern triumph.
Whatever I do with its cage, I cannot get at it—the savage, beautiful
creature! If I tear, if I rend the slight prison, my outrage will only let the
captive loose. Conqueror I might be of the house; but the inmate would
escape to heaven before I could call myself possessor of its clay dwellingplace.
And it is you, spirit—with will and energy, and virtue and purity—
that I want: not alone your brittle frame. Of yourself you could
come with soft flight and nestle against my heart, if you would: seized
against your will, you will elude the grasp like an essence—you will vanish
ere I inhale your fragrance.”
————————————————————-

“You transfix me quite.”

_______________________________________

 And so…

I remember a time when women could not vote. They were not allowed to own property. Colleges would not accept women. Women could not have an occupation of their choosing. They often could not even marry the man of their own choice.  Jane Eyre made her own choices, even when it was just in her mind. She was her own woman.

And that is MY take on it. She would have been a Hell of a Vampire.

About Movies…

I usually have little good to say of movie adaptations of books but there are a few wonderful adaptations of Jane Eyre, a few ok ones and one really horrible one you need to avoid at ALL COST. My credit information and links are from Wikipedia.

Best:

Good:

Horrible and you need to avoid it at all costs or werewolves will eat your soul:

 

So once again thank you Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre for transfixing me and transporting me and letting me know that any woman, no matter what her background, could be strong, good and passionate!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: This was first posted in 2013. I’m on vactaion somewhere out in the wilderness right now. I’ll have new posts when I return. In the meantime enjoy some classics.

Burning Question #18: Was It murder?

4a9

We will agree that we all know who Edgar Allan Poe was and are familiar with some of his work. I’ll have a reading list at the end for reference.

Don’t run off before you answer the poll below. It is fast and easy and the reason we’re here today. Just scroll down (but read the amazing story too.)

Welcome to the Next Great True Crime Mystery

In October of 1849, ten years before I was born, my parents were arriving in California with a baby boy and a group of Vampires who’d come out West to start a new life.

In the meantime, across the country on October 3, 1849, Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, “in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance”, according to Joseph W. Walker who found him. Poe later died on Sunday, October 7, 1849 at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. He is said to have repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say that Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul”.

All medical records and Poe’s death certificate were conveniently lost. 

Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, To translate that means he died of the overuse of alcohol. To this day the actual cause of death remains a mystery. Speculation has included a multitude of dire conditions including delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera, and rabies. 

The day that Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in The New York Post signed “Ludwig”. It was soon published throughout the country. The piece began, “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.”

“Ludwig” was soon identified an asshole named Rufus Wilmot Griswold an editor, critic, and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe’s literary executor (no doubt through lies and bribes)and attempted to destroy Poe’s reputation after his death.

The story was fabricated by Griswold, and it was denounced by those who had known Poe, including Sarah Helen Whitman, Charles Frederick Briggs, and George Rex Graham. This account became popularly accepted, in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted. It also remained popular because many readers assumed that Poe was similar to his fictional characters and were thrilled at the thought of reading the works of an “evil” man.

aa8a47d7897911105c15a0da6aa56cb6

Nevermore

A more accurate biography of Poe did not appear until of 1875 (Ingram). But once a lie is out it is difficult to retract it. Many writers used Poe as a cautionary tale against alcohol and drugs.  In 1941, Arthur Hobson Quinn presented evidence that Griswold had forged and re-written a number of Poe’s letters that were included in his “Memoir of the Author”. By then, Griswold’s depiction of Poe was entrenched in the mind of the public, both in America and around the world, and this distorted image of the author has become part of the Poe legend despite attempts to dispel it.

The very fact that Poe, a snappy and fashionable man was found in worn out clothing in a gutter went against the nature of the man. I believe he suffered from depression, of course, but I also believe that the notion of him drinking himself to death is wrong.

In the 19th Century, in America, people, especially man, all drank copious amounts of alcohol. The temperance movement in the United States was well founded due to the amount of alcohol most people consumed. Drink did not agree with Edgar Poe. So we he drank it went right to his head in extreme ways, but yet, if he had passed up a drink that would have gone against the social norms.

A few months before his death Edgar Allan Poe became engaged to his childhood sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster. There were rumors that her brothers, who were against the union, had Poe murdered.

elmira

Sarah Elmira Royster Poe’s Love Interest at the time of he is death.

Poe’s friend Sarah Helen Whitman, a poet, and woman of good standing always insisted he did not die a dishonorable man.

whitman_portrait5

Sarah Helen Whitman Poet and Friend of Poe

He did die a brilliant story teller and the father of the modern murder mystery, and modern horror.

If you get a chance look up the different stories about Poe. You’ll be amazed at what is out there.

edgar-allan-poe-hires-cropped

Or, on the other hand, Edgar Allan Poe might still be with us, having come aboard the ship to California with the rest of the Vampires.

Burning Question #18: Was Edgar Allan Poe Murdered?

t_b40f2360-11dc-11e2-8ab3-cbfdec200006

The Black Cat Illustrated by Gris Grimly

 

When I was a child my brother’s and I used to read Poe around a candle at night. Well, they’d read. As the youngest child I’d just let them scare the jeebers out of me. Later I read the stories on my own. And of course we’ve all seen (much later) the Vincent Price movies.

poe

Poe by Harry Clarke

Some of the Works of Poe:

Other works

Also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

The Poe Shadow
by Daniel Pearl
Yes it is one of my favorite books. You must read it.

poecover3

So your project for this summer is to read everything you can by Edgar Allan Poe, or about Edgar Allan Poe, and SOLVE THE MYSTERY.

Your next project is to keep checking back here on Saturday mornings for the next BURNING QUESTION.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

7d7ed1e70aa38b3a7aa317309870aa56

93470dcebfc1b690ba2db2a092d05858

 

 

 

Literature and History – Moms and Vampires

Tonight we talked about history and literature. Then I went right back to my trashy crime novel. But no quiet time for me because I am the mom. Everyone migrated over to where I sat and continued to talk, quite loudly this time, about history and literature. Then they said they loved me and laughed in my face.

I’ve had a few bouts of history and literature of my own lately.

My book is almost finished. All I have to do is polish up the end – the part where everything hits the fan in a big way. It is good. Really good. Best seller good.

As for history, well that is an odd little story of no consequence. My daughter Clara and I recorded our thoughts in the Story Corps booth a few weeks ago. I was so excited. I’d been on the wait list. My teenage daughter, who never stops talking, went with me. We were going to be brilliant.

For those of you who don’t know what Story Corps is please go to storycorps.org or go to npr.org for more information.

What happened is that we arrived at the booth, with our notes, and we rambled. The child didn’t say much. I tried to coax information out of her and she went blank. I went blank as well and rambled on about my parenting philosophy and other odds and ends that were not exactly stories. It wasn’t a fail but it wasn’t our usually rip-roaring hilarious banter.

Needless to say I doubt if you’ll hear us on NPR anytime soon. Our stories will be archived in the Library of Congress forever. If someone, say a researcher in the year 2089, hears them they’ll think, “what an awkward pair.” But they will also know that we are full of love and concern and good things.

You’ve heard my stories here. You know how we talk nonstop and say all sorts of amusing and interesting and funny things. Oh well.

That brings me to Nathaniel Chase.

I never asked him what it feels like to be a leader or figure in the history of my people. I don’t ask him what it was like to be part of a movement that saved all of us from oblivion. He exists on his own terms, day-to-day, just like the rest of us.

Nathaniel Chase was one of the leaders in the Modern Vampire movement that started in the early 1800’s.  He never thought he should have to live in the shadows as a separate species. He brought us back into the light.

Nothing he did was ever without reason or research. I speak in the past tense, but he is still very much around.

When I was young he watched my brothers and me grow up and flourish. We were a large brood as Vampires are concerned (four boys, one girl.) My brother Val and I, the youngest two of my family, were the ones he spent the most time with. Whenever we’d court disaster or need to be rescued he would always be there. I didn’t say we appreciated his interventions, but he was always there for us. More often than not he had his black cat with him. No, not some paranormal cat. It was always just a cat. A normal regular cat. And sometimes he’d bring his longtime girlfriend, a Vampire he’d been with for centuries. Also, there is a literature tie-in because he always had more than one book he was reading.

I’ll have more stories later. There are some here on this blog. I’ll have some links at the end. I guess I’m just feeling like I did in that Story Corps booth. I have a hundred stories I could tell at any given time but today, for whatever reasons, I can’t even think up the words to describe all that we’ve experienced together. I can’t describe this person who has had such an influence on me.

So here are links to some of my adventures with Nathaniel Chase. If there was a Nobel Prize for Vampires he would get it.

Click on the titles below to get to the stories.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman