“… with Cathy and Heathcliff, you can’t empathise
They’re selfish and nasty, they cheat and they lie.”
“But they love with a passion, you don’t need to approve
Or to like or respect them, but fail to be moved?”
“I’m with Claire, I don’t like it at all
The characters are hateful, the story is dull.”
“And what’s with that Nelly, interfering old hag,
A gossip, a stirrer, a nosy old nag.”
“Are you crazy, or blind? This is love on grand scale,
Consuming and flaming, not sickly and pale.
How can you not like it? It’s raw and blood red
Besides,” she leaned forward, “Heathcliff’d be great in bed.”
“No!” Claire replied. “He’d be violent and mean,”
“That’s as may be, but he’d sure make you scream.”
Valerie downed her lager and smiled,
“The prose is laborious, the characters vile.”
“But remember Heathcliff, Cathy dead in his hold
His pain and his anguish, relentless and bold
Remember his plea, his piteous howl,
‘How can I live sans my life, live sans my soul?’
You’re right he is vicious, more devil than man,
And she is deceitful, a cowardly sham
And they are abhorrent and twisted and cruel
But they are in love! And this love makes them cruel.”
Valerie raised her eyebrows and said,
“I’d just rather read a good book instead.”
“Now Jane Eyre,” said Claire, “that one was good.
With characters who love, but behave like they should.
Jane I believe in. Jane I can like.
She is meek but with strength, and she does what is right.”
“Now don’t get me wrong here, I love the book too
But does what is right? Are you crazy? A fool?
She says that she loves him, yet she leaves him alone
To suffer his mistake, to pay on his own.
Okay, so she’s selfless, and honest and kind
But these virtues mislead her; her faith makes her blind
So he’s already married, a hurdle for sure
But, truly, he loves her, still she walks out that door.
Though in th’ end he’s redeemed, and happ’ly they live,
For leaving that day, Jane I’d never forgive.”
“I didn’t think much of Emma, either,” said Val
“Or that Sense and whatever, also banal.”
“Fuck’s sake, I can’t hear this! Are you crazy, unhinged?”
“Just saying I didn’t like them. Guess they’re just not my thing.”
“Please, please tell me that you like P and P.”
“Sorry. Not really. It just wasn’t me.”
Claire laughed and said, “I thought it was cool,
Especially that bit where Darcy dives in the pool!”
A fist hits the table, legs wobble and shake
“Fucking unbelievable, for sacrilege sake.”
“Rebecca, I loved. No, really. No joke.”
Said Claire as she sipped at her vodka and Coke.
“I feel for the heroine. Her doubts and her fears
I’ve shared now and then, in the passing of years.”
“But Mrs de Winter, she’s mousy and dull.
Now Rebecca’s a woman to plague someone’s soul.”
Time had been called; the bar had been cleared,
Except for the table where these musings were heard
“And your lovers,” asked Claire, “are they likeable folk?”
“Not nice exactly, but intriguing I hope.
Really and truly, they’re a cowardly pair,
One won’t fight, the other doesn’t fight fair.”
“I like it,” said Val, “it’s a credible read.”
Said the barman, “Night ladies. Time to leave.”
I think, perhaps, I should stop making insulting comments about facebook in this blog and then linking it to my facebook account in the vain hope of ensnaring a reader or two. It’s not good form.
What is good, though, is that there’s a fabulous new publishing company in town: Pulp! THE CLASSICS. Its genius lies in its reprinting of select, classic bestsellers, all dolled up in pop-culture covers and ironic tag-lines. First up, of course, is Pride and Prejudice. Steamy blacks and reds mixed with pop-art yellows signal smouldering sex with just a hint of irony. I think. The tag-line reads “Lock Up Your Daughters… Darcy’s In Town!” The edition caught my eye in an instant, and I bought two, one for me (what can I say, I’m a fan, a fanatic, whatever…), and one for a pal with an eye for pop and the absurd, but who’s yet to be convinced of the wonderful worth of Miss Austen. I’m hoping to sneak her in through the side door with this version.
Of course, they got the tag-line wrong. If they wanted to go with the locks and daughters theme, it should have read, “Lock Up Your Daughters… Wickham’s In Town!” He is, after all, the one with a penchant for seducing 15 year olds. Where’s the fun in dwelling on technicalities, though? What’s more interesting is the enduring appeal, and the ongoing mythologising, of Darcy in the popular consciousness. On this cover, Darcy is Colin Firth, but Colin Firth as he might be cast as Dracula (Regency outfit aside), all lurking in the shadows and glowering menacingly, fag in mouth. Wait a minute. Fag in mouth? Well ok, so 50s alienated anti-heroes are also evoked – Rebel Without a Cause anybody? Or maybe there’s just a hint of our fave cigarette-smoking bad-boy vampire, Spike, in this little construction.