Wednesday, May 2

Victorian Shawls and Novels

Knitting:

I will have two FO's soon, the Sea Silk Shawl and a mini-clapotis. Sea Silk just needs the last row knit and then the bind-off. Clapotis is long enough to start the decrease section, so I have to either find the instructions that I printed off or reprint them again.

After that, my backlog of projects will only (!) be five sweaters and Dulaan hat number three to finish, and knit hats four and five to complete my promise.

I am not in love with Sea Silk. It is slippery and has no give so it is hard to knit, looks pretty, but not so pretty to justify the expense. And when it got tangled, it fused together in nasty lumps which makes me suspect it will pill terribly. I don't yet know how big the finished shawl will be, not till it's off the needles and blocking, but it won't be big enough to qualify as a real shawl in my imagining.

So, even though those sweaters are all sitting there trying to make me feel guilty, I am dreaming of knitting a real shawl. Something very big, at least 72 inches wide. Something soft, perhaps with mohair for extra softness. Something warm, but also something very feminine, soft flowery lacy pattern of some sort and a silk content for a sheen. Still contemplating patterns, and will work on the sweaters until a shawl pattern and yarn grabs me. To that end, I have ordered Victorian Lace Today. I think I'll find something appropriate there.

Reading:

Although she remained a lurker and didn't respond to my Jane Eyre question in the comments, Nancy the English Lit PhD gave me some insights into Jane from modern feminist theory. (Nancy has not read Jane Eyre in years and gave me a simplified explanation which I most likely am misinterpreting, though.) Bertha Mason symbolizes the repressed female sexuality in Victorian times, how she is in some ways Jane's alter ego. Too much libido got women locked up in loony bins. I can see that, but I also think that Jane is not all that repressed. She does want a sex life. But she is not willing to have a briefly fulfilling sex life that might ruin her long term happiness (Rochester's improper proposition) nor will she commit to a sex life that won't be fulfilling at all (Rivers' marriage proposal). And the message about too much libido is a warning to men as well as women; Rochester's giving into his horniness pretty much screwed his chances of lifelong happiness. He had to lose his eyesight and a limb in order to redeem himself and win Jane. Probably a fair trade. Rivers denied himself his horniness and ended up feeling fulfilled with his life. His words to that effect end the book. Is Charlotte's message really for men, in telling them they cannot "have it all"?

I've ordered Wuthering Heights; figured I'd see how Charlotte's sister's view of men and women and sexuality compares. Will Heathcliff be as flawed and creepy as Rochester? In the meanwhile, I went back to the other Jane, Ms Austen. Mansfield Park. It's pretty good so far. What was Jane Austen like in person, I wonder? In her writing, she is such a snarky lady, every paragraph holds a zinger.

1 comment:

Cayt said...

I know this post is about a million years old, but Heathcliff is about a zillion times creepier and more awful than Rochester, and I've written multiple papers about how creepy and awful Rochester is.