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Jane Austen vs. Jane Eyre (and Esther vs. Vashti)

Portrait of Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë. Image via Wikipedia

Kimberly writes: Since I enjoy Jane Eyre in all forms, I have an e-mail news alert for “Jane Eyre”. Found this interesting article on a blog devoted to discussion among Jewish women. The full post is: here.

(excerpt from) The Jewish Daily Forward/the sisterhood
Esther vs. Vashti, Austen vs. Brontës
By Sarah Seltzer

As I prepared for the beginning of the perennial Purim question of “Esther vs. Vashti” at the same time as I delved into Jane Eyre-mania, I began to think about how women are always pushed into dichotomies. I wondered cynically how soon someone would write about the new Brontë films by declaring Jane Austen passé…

It always seems to me that when it comes to women who take different paths there’s a meme out there that there’s only room for one. Virgin or whore, Esther or Vashti, Austen or Brontë. Yes, the two most famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte and Emily, and Jane Austen took divergent approaches to writing about the “woman question.” Austen was sort of an Esther, using her brilliant wit to dazzle readers but containing steely critique of the system under her perfect prose, while the Brontës, Vashti-like , seethe with rage at women’s unfortunate lot and churn with a desperate desire for escape…

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