As a college librarian, I often hear stressed-out students searching for primary sources say, "I'll take anything." Don't settle for just anything. There is a treasury of primary source material available electronically. Peruse my selection of 200-plus primary source sites by conducting a keyword search, exploring the tag cloud at left, or browsing by historical era. You can also visit my Delicious and Diigo sites to review my bookmarks. Here's hoping you find what you're looking for.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jane Eyre: My summertime tradition

Jane Eyre is my favorite novel. I read it at least once a year, usually during my summer break. As I was hunting for my copy recently, I was reminded of a great site for those interested in primary sources for literary criticism. The Internet Library of Early Journals includes digitized copies 20-year runs of a half-dozen 18th and 19 century journals -  Gentleman's Magazine, The Annual Register, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Notes and Queries, The Builder, and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.

 I’ve found this site to be particularly helpful to literary history students, especially those studying Victorian authors. Browse through these digitized volumes and you can learn what the critics of the day thought of a particular work.

Take a look at the October 1848 issue and you’ll come across an article titled “A Few Words About Novels – A Dialogue”. One of the participants in that dialogue gives the following assessment of Jane Eyre, one year after its publication:
“It is not a book for Prudes – it is not a book for effeminate and tasteless men, it is for the enjoyment – of a feeling heart and vigorous understanding.”
Not sure I agree with that assessment. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t enjoy Jane Eyre. The picture above of Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte comes from the Missouri Digital Heritage Exhibits collection. That collection includes digitized copies of an early Charlotte Bronte manuscript. Happy reading.

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