Sunday, May 25, 2008
A History of the Governess
As an avid reader of "historical" (a/k/a romantic) fiction, particularly period Regency romances, I am intimately acquainted with the poor lot of the governess. Of course, the most famous governess in literature is probably the fictional "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte (at least, I think it was Charlotte - well, it was one of the Bronte sisters). There have been several "made for t.v." movies and some theatrical releases made of Jane Eyre's story - and I've watched every single one. My personal favorite is the one that stars the ugly George C. Scott as Mr. Rochester and the fabulous actress Susannah York as Jane (1970 made for t.v.) I've yet to see a performance equal hers as Jane Eyre. So, here is a book on the history of the British governess, aptly titled: Governess: The Lives and Times of the Real Jane Eyres, by Ruth Brandon. Sounds rather fascinating, if uneven (according to the New York Times review).