Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.

There seems to have arisen in the novel-reading world some doubts as to who really wrote this book; and various rumours, more or less romantic, have been current in Mayfair, the metropolis of gossip, as to the authorship.  For example, Jane Eyre is sentimentally assumed to have proceeded from the pen of Mr. Thackeray’s governess, whom he had himself chosen as his model of Becky, and who, in mingled love and revenge, personified him in return as Mr. Rochester.  In this case, it is evident that the author of “Vanity Fair,” whose own pencil makes him grey-haired, has had the best of it, though his children may have had the worst, having, at all events, succeeded in hitting the vulnerable point in the Becky bosom, which it is our firm belief no man born of woman, from her Soho to her Ostend days, had ever so much as grazed.  To this ingenious rumour the coincidence of the second edition of Jane Eyre being dedicated to Mr. Thackeray has probably given rise.  For our parts, we see no great interest in the question at all.  The first edition of Jane Eyre purports to be edited by Currer Bell, one of a trio of brothers, or sisters, or cousins, by names Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell, already known as the joint-authors of a volume of poems.  The second edition the same—­dedicated, however, “by the author,” to Mr. Thackeray; and the dedication (itself an indubitable chip of Jane Eyre) signed Currer Bell.  Author and editor therefore are one, and we are as much satisfied to accept this double individual under the name of “Currer Bell,” as under any other, more or less euphonious.  Whoever it be, it is a person who, with great mental powers, combines a total ignorance of the habits of society, a great coarseness of taste, and a heathenish doctrine of religion.  And as these characteristics appear more or less in the writings of all three, Currer, Acton, and Ellis alike, for their poems differ less in degree of power than in kind, we are ready to accept the fact of their identity or of their relationship with equal satisfaction.  At all events there can be no interest attached to the writer of “Wuthering Heights “—­a novel succeeding “Jane Eyre,” and purporting to be written by Ellis Bell—­unless it were for the sake of more individual reprobation.  For though there is a decided family likeness between the two, yet the aspect of the Jane and Rochester animals in their native state, as Catherine and Heathfield [Transcriber’s note:  sic], is too odiously and abominably pagan to be palatable even to the most vitiated class of English readers.  With all the unscrupulousness of the French school of novels it combines that repulsive vulgarity in the choice of its vice which supplies its own antidote.  The question of authorship, therefore, can deserve a moment’s curiosity only as far as “Jane Eyre” is concerned, and though we cannot pronounce that it appertains to a real Mr. Currer Bell and to no other, yet that it appertains to a man, and not, as many assert, to

Project Gutenberg
Famous Reviews from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook