Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Battle of the books instead of bands?
There's an interesting debate going on at the Smart Bitches,Trashy Books site over whether or not it is possible for a fan of the Bronte sisters to be
able to love both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. According to the guest author of the piece,most Bronte followers seem to prefer one over the other.
I suppose that enjoying Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in equal measure is not an impossibility but I can fully understand making only one of them your favorite read of the Bronte bunch. Jane Eyre was and is a long time favorite of mine since childhood,where as Wuthering Heights,I only read to completion once in adulthood and that was enough.
In reading over the comments left at the post,one person cited a point in favor of WH over JE in that Kate Bush wrote a song about it and there weren't any for Eyre. So,out of curiosity,I looked up the Kate Bush tune,which is suitably haunting,and went in search of any musical ode for Jane Eyre:
While the commenter was correct about there not being a specific song for Charlotte Bronte's best known heroine,a musical version was launched back in the late 1990s and reached Broadway in 2000. The show didn't last long but it did garner several Tony nominations.
There was also a WH musical(along with a ballet and an opera) but that one never went beyond London,so I think we can put a check in the win column for Jane Eyre here:
This could be a fun way to debate literary preferences,by finding songs connected to them to use as counterpoints. For example,many Jane Austen fans often discuss which one of her books is best,with Pride and Prejudice as a major front runner. The ever lasting popularity of that book has lent itself to nearly countless reinterpretations from classic remakes to modern day love stories.
One of those P&P updates was the Bollywood themed musical film,Bride and Prejudice,that outlined many of the trials and tribulations of the Bennet sisters and especially leading lady Lalita(aka Elizabeth). Plenty of those songs could make the case for that book easily:
However,quite a few folk claim Austen's Emma as her masterpiece and can be just as tenacious as the title heroine in staking that claim.
To further bolster their argument in song,a musical adaptation of the novel has made it's way around the repertory theater circuit and does have a couple of catchy numbers that could go up against P&P rather well,I think:
The options for book battle through song are plentiful;the listings range from the works of Stephen King and Poe to Ovid and even Daphne Du Maurier can be put up for debate-which is better,Rebecca or Jamaica Inn? Of course,such things are really just a matter of personal preference but it's fun to argue about works of art.
After all,one does need a chance to exercise their mind outside serious real world matters. Folks can get too worked up over less vital subjects as well but if things become too intense,we can always break out our action figures to settle the argument once and for all:
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