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Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?: More Puzzles in Classic Fiction (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 27, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sutherland is back with a new box of literary-critical conundrums....The wit is...sparkling, and the learning is formidably sustained."--Times Literary Supplement


"Sutherland is a marvellous critic, and if he were not so madest and so pragmatically unassuming he might found a new school of fiction criticism....32 literary puzzles which send s back to a famous novel, and make us think hard about its modes of construction and convention....His comments and suggestions are...both fascinatingly learned and full of down-to-earth common sense."--The Times (London)


"A jolly game of hunt the literary slip-up....Half the fun is having thought up the questions in the first place."--The Spectator


"By picking holes in a lot of plots, he both mockes and celebrates English Literature in one witty breath....A wonderful way, in an essay's short space, of reliving the books that haunted your childhood or helped you grow up. Scholarship brought to earth and made human."--Night & Day


About the Author


John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College, London. He has edited a number of World's Classics, including works by Anthony Trollope, Jack London, and Thackeray, and is the author of the best-selling Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in 19th-Century Fiction (W/C, 1996).
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019283603X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192836038
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,546,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Holly M. Kent on August 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lovers of Mr. Rochester beware - in this, his second book of literary puzzles, John Sutherland turns his considerable powers of literary analysis towards, amongst other things, undoing the good reputation enjoyed by Jane Eyre�s brooding hero. Bronte fans, brace yourself for some idol-smashing. As in his first book of devoted to literary head-scratchers (the wonderful Is Heathcliff a Murderer?), Sutherland here sets himself out to answer some of Western literature�s most intriguing questions. Though you might not always agree with some of the conclusions Sutherland comes to (we have to have a talk, he and I, about Mr. Rochester�s moral integrity) as a writer he is always witty, as a thinker always innovative, and as a guide through literature�s most baffling conundrums, always genial. Buy this book and I promise not only will you learn something (and, if you�re anything like me, get into some very heated debates with fellow literature lovers about Jane Eyre�s prospects for bliss, etc.) - but you�ll also have a heck of a lot of fun.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margaret P Harvey on June 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Can Jane Eyre Be Happy" is only one of the many questions about classical literature you will have answered by this book. Other novels explored include "Great Expectations", "Mansfield Park", "Hound of the Baskervilles," and other novels of that genre and category. Sutherland's insights are simple and straightforward and his questions are probing and answer those sometimes irrelevant things your curiosity won't let you sit on! However, this book loses one star because Sutherland often does try to contradict the author and occasionally discards the author's motive in writing the novel. Also a warning: Don't read through the table of contents before you have read all the books addressed therein. Some of the questions assigned to each book will give away or ruin in part the ending to the novel. Luckily this is not a major setback. I do heartily recommend this book, but the reader must be open to new ideas about some of his or her favorite novels and authors, and must also take Sutherland's ideas with a pinch of skepticism.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, a follow-up to his Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Oxford World's Classics)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 (Oxford World's Classics), 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 (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) these days?), you'll find plenty of diversion, anyway.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Wells on January 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
God, I wish I had the brains John Sutherland. Why the heck don't we think of these things when we read? These puzzles are fascinating. I am amazed at the information John Sutherland brings out in these puzzles. A must for everyone who loves Victorian fiction.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Birkett on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As Sutherland points out, the 1835 act prohibited marriage with a deceased wife's sister. However, aside from this, she was not "too young to marry for a month or so." A girl could be married at 12 in Britain until the Age of Marriage Act of 1929, although the age of consent for sexual intercourse was raised 1n 1881 from 13 to 16. Whatever Roger Prynne's reasons for staying away, Massachussetts was not a place "where they like to burn witches and wizards." (They hanged them). I enjoyed combing for nits to pick.
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