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Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
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Jun 23, 2010

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bookshelves: 2010-reads
Read from June 22 to July 15, 2010

Holy moly. When they printed the charming edition I got from the library, circa 1926, apparently minutia of British sociopolitical history were such laughably common knowledge that they scoffed at explanatory footnotes. As a result, I read the first 11 pages like I needed reading remediation. I think there was a textile mill, and some kind of Industrial Revolution machinery update, hence unemployment, so then exporting was illegal, and then angry mobs, plus some kind of religious issues crucible of change blah blah blah. In other words, I really didn't know what the hell was going on (Jane Eyre! Your bird book and red room! I didn't realize I loved you because I know what you're talking about!) So I'm taking a break until I get an annotated edition or a Masters degree in British history, whichever comes first.

Okay, I've switched to the Penguin Classics, which is annotated (though not when there's half a page of conversation in French? Also featuring the least impartial endnote ever: "Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, at Bayonne servilely subjected himself to Napoleon's whim." Dirty.) As it turns out, though, Charlotte explains everything about two pages after I gave up in the last edition -- there's about a page and a half of historicopolitical exposition. So I persevere!
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Molly Lol. I feel your pain. Loved the book anyway.


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