We’re All Mad Here
In an article about what is scribbled in the margins, the author mentions his own copy of Jane Eyre:
It seems, in fact, that mad scribblings are more common than sane ones. I was once shown a copy of Jane Eyre that was thick with the bile of a woman scorned. Every instance of a male character being brought to book or receiving any kind of comeuppance was heavily annotated, sometimes with “Ha!” added as an afterthought.
I had to smile when I read this. It reminded me of one of my professors and several of my classmates- I wonder if this is one of their copies. I recall the professor’s glee at the thought of Bertha’s attempts at murdering her husband, and then at burning down his house. On the last day of class, the class wrote Bronte-inspired limericks, one of them in praise of Bertha’s ‘burning the poor bastard.’ My copy bears no such annotations. In fact, I am still horrified by the idea of writing in a book. I have a special copy which already had writing in it, so I feel less guilty about adding my own. It didn’t come with any interesting notes. There are a few really ridiculous ‘insights’, though- for example, the deep symbolic ottomon. You know the one I mean, the one which is an allusion to Turkey. Don’t remember it? Hm. Oh, and I’ve corrected it for punctuation, spelling, and grammar. I’m sure that you would correct it to if every time Mr Rochester proposed he would begin with offering to send Jane to ‘Bittemutt Lodge’!
And I like mad scribblings! I would rather have mad ones. But most of my books are marginalia free. When I corrected exams, I did often find that people had annotated their own essays! This was an endless source of fun. Does anyone have any mad scribblings in the margins of their Bronte novels?