Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Interviewer:  You first appeared in public about two years before the California Gold Rush.  How do you account for your consistent popularity, particularly as compared to a character who appeared almost to the day when you first did?

Eyre:  Oh, you must mean that Sharp woman, Rebecca Sharp.  We have in common the fact of our being social outsiders, but there the similarity comes to an abrupt end.  If you'll recall, she cultivated and used charms to seduce upper class men.

Interviewer:  But you married one.

Eyre:  Only after his wretchedly mad first wife committed suicide and in the process created a fire that cost Rochester a hand and the sight of one eye.  I might add that I had inherited twenty thousand pounds  from my uncle, and was thus independent before I married Rochester.  Need I remind you, twenty thousand pounds at that time was the equivalent of well over a million today.

Interviewer:  It is still a stretch for some of today's readers to see what you saw in Rochester.  He clearly would have entered a bigamous marriage with you, and when that didn't work, he urged you to come to the south of France with him, there to live as though you were husband and wife.  If I count correctly, he had two previous mistresses--

Eyre:  Three, actually.

Interviewer: And then there was the matter of Adele Varens, whom Rochester referred to as his ward. Isn't it possible that she was his daughter?

Eyre:  I don't think so.  Rochester doesn't think so.  If you observe the two of them together, you'll see no family resemblance.

Interviewer:  In filmed versions of your remarkable rise from the orphanage to humble governess to teacher, Rochester was portrayed by Orson Welles and George Scott.

Eyre:  Neither of whom, I thought, captured the real Rochester, the essential man who had, don't you see, changed greatly over the course of his life.  Welles seemed to be portraying himself more than Rochester, and Scott--well, he impressed me as practicing to be General Patton.  I was quite satisfied with the real Rochester.

Interviewer:  I notice yet another filmed version of your saga.  What advice do you have for an actress wishing to render a vision of you that you'd approve?

Eyre:  Don't even think feminism, not any more than The Wife of Bath thought feminism or issues of equality.  If you don't bring equality to the table at the very start, men all about you and the sorts of women I think of as toadeys will play boys' and girls' games.  Life is not a game.  Not unless you allow it to become one.  Life is a serious exchange of moral choices and a belief in one's self.

Interviewer:   Do I detect aspects of Ayn Rand here?

Eyre:  Oh, please.  Be serious.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Love it! And there's a new YA novel called Jane by April Lindner--definitely a lot of interest in this classic.