Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?: More Puzzles in Classic Fiction

by J.A. Sutherland | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 019283309x Global Overview for this book
Registered by beeofgoodcheer of Stowmarket, Suffolk United Kingdom on 4/9/2007
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by beeofgoodcheer from Stowmarket, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, April 09, 2007
Pre-numbered label used for registration.

Journal Entry 2 by beeofgoodcheer from Stowmarket, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, April 09, 2007
Duplicate copy, bought to share.

Journal Entry 3 by beeofgoodcheer at on Friday, April 20, 2007

Released 11 yrs ago (4/21/2007 UTC) at



Journal Entry 4 by kittiwake on Saturday, April 21, 2007
Beebarf brought several books to the Nottingham meet for me and this was one of them.

Journal Entry 5 by kittiwake on Saturday, May 12, 2007
More Puzzles in Classic Fiction

Where does Fanny Hill keep her contraceptives? (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure)
How many pianos has Amelia Sedley? (Vanity Fair)
Is Black Beauty gelded? (Black Beauty)
What cure for the madwoman in the attic? (The Yellow Wallpaper)
Wanted deaf-and-dumb dog feeder (The Hound of the Baskervilles)

After the publication of his earlier book, "Is Heathcliff a Murderer?" (which I haven't read), the author was inundated with letters from readers eager to tell him their thoughts about the puzzles he had included and suggest other mysteries for him to investigate, so he had plenty of material for a second book. I've read about a third of the books featured, but the author makes it interesting even for those books that I hadn't read.

Journal Entry 6 by kittiwake at on Saturday, June 02, 2007

Released 11 yrs ago (6/2/2007 UTC) at



At the extra meet-up in honour of Scruffykaz's visit.

Journal Entry 7 by wingReetPetitewing from Beeston, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, June 02, 2007
Picked up at the meet-up at Costa Coffee (this was a special one to see Scruffykaz).

Journal Entry 8 by wingReetPetitewing from Beeston, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 08, 2009
I only read about the books I knew. I hadn't heard of The Yellow Wallpaper.
Didn't like his remarks about Jane Eyre that Jane was second choice to Blanche Ingram, to me Jane Eyre is a love story. Some interesting points about the law in Dickens' novels.

Going to Gorydetails. Enjoy :)

Journal Entry 9 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thanks so much for filling one of my wishes, ReetPetite! The book arrived in today's mail, along with the cute cat-postcard.

I've enjoyed a couple of Sutherland's other books of "literary puzzles" - some of them very obscure indeed - and while I don't always agree with his conclusions, it's fun delving into some overlooked corner of an old classic. [Just reading the table of contents on this one is making me chortle; I wonder if he deliberately put "Was Daniel Deronda circumcised" right next to "Was Black Beauty gelded"?]

Journal Entry 10 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, August 01, 2009
I enjoyed this one, and was - as with the previous Sutherland books I've read - surprised at how many of the questions seem so logical now that I see them, but which had never occurred to me while I was reading the books myself.

His take on Wuthering Heights isn't as satisfying as my own; he suggests that Catherine haunted Heathcliff to death just in time to prevent him from disinheriting the next generation, while I prefer to think that his own guilt softened his heart, and once he lost his will to avenge, he also lost his will to live. [Or he just went mad, but that's not nearly as much fun.]

The comparison of Jane Eyre to Bluebeard amused me very much, and I can almost believe Sutherland's version of Rochester - I'd certainly love to see a film version that used that interpretation! - but I think he's stretching a few points a bit too far. Still, that chapter could really liven up a book-group discussion of Jane Eyre.

Among the more trivial items, the one about Amelia Sedley's pianos cracked me up; while the piano did feature strongly in a couple of scenes that highlighted the personalities of the major characters, I'd never noticed any inconsistencies in the descriptions of the instrument. Sutherland has a lot of fun suggesting possible explanations, before settling on the obvious one: Thackery wrote prolifically and edited seldom if at all, and could easily forget a detail here and there.

One of the most amusing chapters for me was the one on The Mill on the Floss, which pointed out in excruciating detail the many ways in which the spectacular, calamitous conclusion simply could not have happened. [I love much of Eliot's work; Middlemarch is among my all-time favorite novels. But I didn't care for Mill on the Floss, and found the ending very unsatisfying, so it was great fun to see it dissected so ably.]

Another hoot was the item on Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes (which I've never read). Sutherland describes a scene involving a harrowing cliff-top rescue requiring the hasty construction of a rope from assorted articles of clothing (ahem); ridiculous enough on the face of it, Sutherland takes it even farther, and has a lot of fun with it.

There were lots more interesting/amusing/entertaining entries here - great fun! Thanks for sharing this one.

Journal Entry 11 by wingGoryDetailswing at Tealuxe, Newbury St. in Boston, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, August 06, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (8/6/2009 UTC) at Tealuxe, Newbury St. in Boston, Massachusetts USA



I plan to take several books to the mini-meet for mojosmom at Tealuxe on Newbury Street at 6. They'll be up for grabs to whoever attends the meeting - or anyone who stops by the table to ask about 'em! - and if any of them wind up unclaimed, I'll either leave them somewhere inside or in front of Tealuxe, or will drop them off at one of the OBCZs in town.

Hope the finder enjoys the book!

Journal Entry 12 by mojosmom from Chicago, Illinois USA on Monday, August 10, 2009
I picked this up when I met with a great bunch of Bookcrossers in Boston. So far, I'm enjoying it very much. Thanks, Gory!

Journal Entry 13 by mojosmom from Chicago, Illinois USA on Wednesday, April 07, 2010
In this book, a follow-up to his Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, Sutherland seeks to answer questions that most of us have never asked. Some are unanswerable, except by reaching for that old chestnut, "even Homer nods"! But, for others, he actually comes up with reasonable (or not wildly unreasonable) explanations. And it's rather fun getting there.

Have you ever wondered what is in Heathcliff's will? Or what the Prynnes were doing in Boston? Neither have I. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Sutherland's attempts to answer these and other literary conundrums. He has a fine sense of humor, taking none of this too seriously. His disquisition on the question, "What is Elfride's rope made of?" (Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes), had me in stitches. It's not even necessary to have read the books (does anyone, not a college English major, actually read Ford Maddox Ford's The Good Soldier these days?), you'll find plenty of diversion, anyway.

I am taking this to the BC Convention in Amsterdam.


at BC convention

Journal Entry 15 by inkognitoh from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, April 18, 2010
I picked this up at the Anniversary Convention in Amsterdam because I'd heard about this series of books and have been keen to read them. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Journal Entry 16 by inkognitoh at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I started reading this book on a skiing holiday while trying to recueperate in the evenings. I wondered if the book might be too dry a subject for the kind of brain and body relaxation I had hoped for but, to my surprise, it was just the ticket.

I hadn't read most of the books discussed and that didn't hamper my enjoyment of the discussion about them.

Journal Entry 17 by inkognitoh at Woy Woy Public Library in Woy Woy, New South Wales Australia on Friday, April 27, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (4/25/2012 UTC) at Woy Woy Public Library in Woy Woy, New South Wales Australia


Left outside the Library while visiting Mum's home town on ANZAC Day, the day before her funeral on what would have been her birthday.

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