Me an Eyre to the Bronte’s great literary realm
bued with the wild countryside they grew up in — the Moors with all the mystery of their surroundings and you find it coming through in their books.
Jane Eyre was published under the name Currer Bell in 1847. It follows the story of the eponymous hero and her life. The twists and turns of the Jane Eyre story are really quite compelling.
She starts out as this mousy little girl who is cast out by her aunt, she goes to a horrible school but somehow manages to blossom into this very strong woman who makes her own decisions and choices. We get to see her inner dialogue and go on the journey with her. She finds love eventually but very much on her own terms — something I think would have been quite challenging to society at the time it was written.
Now I don’t know if I saw all that at 10 years old, but it’s a book I’ve come back to through the years and I’ve understood the various layers of the novel as I’ve got older. I’ve read it maybe three or four times in my life.
I still read avidly. I read fact, obviously, for work, and I read fiction. I think social media has played havoc with the amount of time we give to reading books because we are online all the time and I think it has certainly curtailed me somewhat. But I love fiction and would always have a book on the go.
Fiction for me is absolute joy, it’s entertainment. I’m never alone because I always have a book. I love being in the middle of a novel and reading a wonderful sentence and just appreciating the brilliance of it. More than anything it’s an escape; an escape into somebody’s imagination.
With Jane Eyre, I think it is the memory of getting that book at that time, at that age. I still have it and it was a wonderful gift. It opened the door to me to the Bronte sisters. I’ve read all of their work and their own story is fascinating; growing up in Victorian England, and becoming great writers at a time when women were not acknowledged as writers.
Theirs is a magical world and they were truly magnificent.
Mary Wilson, who presents Drivetime on RTE Radio 1, in an interview with Jonathan deburca Butler