Charlotte Bronte dissed

Perhaps it’s because I’ve just finished reading Jane Eyre, but I took exception to the description given in the Spring 2010 Lapham’s Quarterly.

Allow me to explain, in this issue there’s a chart titled “Day Jobs” which sketches the careers of half a dozen well known writers, including Ms Bronte.

Included are listings of the writer’s name, occupation, salary, office life, occupational hazards and perks – a few words each. Most are amusing or harmless enough.

However, it also lists the works written, and a title or two are mentioned for each author. Except for our Ms Bronte, of whom it is declared that she wrote: “Nothing, used experiences for episodes in Jane Eyre.”

Compare: TS Eliot’s The Waste Land is deemed “partly inspired by sights he passed on the way to work.” Does this invalidate his contribution to literature?1

I can’t help but think the inclusion of a woman on the list was mere tokenism, which the chart’s creator then felt necessary to deride by insulting its subject.

What could have been cute, fun has been spoilt by bitterness. It’s a shame.

  1. Evidently not, Eliot’s works were inspired. Hrm. []