Day 425: Jane Eyre + Caruso CD 3

JaneEyreSmallToday marks the start of a new book (Jane Eyre), as well as a new CD (Enrico Caruso CD 3).

In my opinion, Charlotte Bronte‘s book Jane Eyre, is vastly superior to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which I spent the month of November wading through.

According to its entry on Wikipedia,

Jane Eyre (originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. of London, England, under the pen name “Currer Bell.” The first American edition was released the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York.

Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of its title character, including her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of fictitious Thornfield Hall. In its internalisation of the action — the focus is on the gradual unfolding of Jane’s moral and spiritual sensibility and all the events are coloured by a heightened intensity that was previously the domain of poetry — Jane Eyre revolutionised the art of fiction. Charlotte Brontë has been called the ‘first historian of the private consciousness’ and the literary ancestor of writers like Joyce and Proust. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel’s exploration of classism, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism.


Sounds like a lot of egg-head gobbledygook to me.

What critics think the book is isn’t as interesting to me as some of the words in the description above. For example, what is “the bildungsroman genre”?

According to its entry on Wiki:

In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (German pronunciation: [ˈbɪldʊŋs.ʁoˌmaːn]; German: “novel of formation/education/culture”), novel of formation, novel of education, or coming-of-age story (though it may also be known as a subset of the coming-of-age story) is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and in which, therefore, character change is extremely important.

The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905. The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features. The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical.

The birth of the Bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication of Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1795–96. Although the Bildungsroman arose in Germany, it has had extensive influence first in Europe and later throughout the world. Thomas Carlyle translated Goethe’s novel into English, and after its publication in 1824, many British authors wrote novels inspired by it. In the 20th century, it has spread to Germany, Britain, France, and several other countries around the globe.

The genre translates fairly directly into cinematic form, the coming-of-age film.

Now that I can get into.

Charlotte was 31 when Jane Eyre was published.

Just to give her life context, Charlotte was 11 when Beethoven (1770-1827) died. She was born 17 years before Brahms (1833-1897). America (1776- ) was only three decades old.

CarusoCD3As I mentioned, Jane Eyre captured my attention from the get-go. Not sure why. I find the writer to be much better than Jane Austen’s.

As for the other part of my project this month, I’m listening to CD 3 of the Enrico Caruso: The Complete Recordings box set issued by the wonderful Naxos label.

According to his entry on Wiki:

Enrico Caruso (Italian pronunciation: [enˈriːko kaˈruːzo]; February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was an Italian operatic tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic. Caruso also made approximately 290 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920. All of these recordings, which span most of his stage career, are available today on CDs and as digital downloads.

So, there you have it.

I’m reading a book from the distant past (1847) and listening to music from the distant past (1906-1908).

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