I am an allurophile (a cat fancier). I have lived with, oh, fifteen or twenty cats over the years. I’m not sure of the exact number.
It started when a friend’s roommate’s boss in Bean Blossom was giving away free kittens. I wanted a free kitten, but I also aspired to visit Bean Blossom. (Southern Indiana is gorgeous and Bean Blossom is the home of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festival.) The Siamese kitten turned out to be a genius who helped me get my master’s by providing much needed recreation. She batted my pens and plopped down on Liddell and Scott (a Greek dictionary) when I did too much work. “No need to be a scholar,” she seemed to say. Her favorite game was “Kakodaimon” (“evil genius”), in which she batted at a scary rag doll of the same name. She also raced up the curtains and hung by her claws from the fiberglass ceiling. Her most mischieveous act: knocking over a professor’s Christmas tree when she boarded with him over winter break.
Uh oh, you may wonder: Is this a satire in which an academic career in classics is ruined by a Siamese? Nah, that’s probably one of Rita Mae Brown’s Sneaky Pie cat mysteries.
Anyway, we became allurophiles. Every time I passed a sign for “Free Kittens,” I came home with a new cat. Mind you, these are not collectible cats with pedigrees. A box of tuxedo kittens at the Farmers’ Market? I’ll take one, sure. If we had more space I’d become a foster cat mom.
The adorable cat pictured at the top of this post used to be a very wild kitten: she mischievously hopped into the refrigerator if you weren’t looking. You’d find her sitting on the lettuce… that happened once! Today she was in a readerly mood, though. She sat down with a copy of Wuthering Heights. Or should I say beside Wuthering Heights? Doesn’t she look serious?
I took snaps of my Bronte collection because Lolly, a longtime member of one of my book groups, gave me a really cute Charlotte Bronte notebook. I do love the purple flex-cover! Yes, there’s a quote from Charlotte, but the opening pages of Jane Eyre are also printed in tiny print on the cover. I am saving this journal for a special occasion. Maybe for special Bronte notes.
The pages of the notebook are ruled not with lines but also with the text of Jane Eyre. I wonder if the entire text is in the notebook?
Anyway, I needed to look at my Bronte collection. Here’s a snap.
And here’s my Heritage Press edition of Wuthering Heights. It’s too tall to photograph with the others!
I can’t decide if my favorite Bronte is Villette or Wuthering Heights! It was Wuthering Heights for many years, until I began to see my life less in terms of Gothic passion (Catherine and Heathcliff can be exhausting) than f work and everyday life spiced up by the occasional ghost and unsolicited Gothic laudanum trip (I am Lucy Snowe in Villette).
Life is extreme. There’s no getting away from it. And I’m Emily and Charlotte rather than Anne.
ARE YOU EMILY, CHARLOTTE, OR ANNE? Male or female, you’re one of these if you love the Brontes! Go ahead–choose one!
5 thoughts on “A Readerly Cat, a “Jane Eyre” Notebook, & Are You Charlotte, Emily, or Anne?”
I also love cats. I think that my wife would have dozens if left to her own devices. I do plane some limits on the number however.
I have only read Jane Eyre, Villette and Wuthering Heights by the Brontes. Though Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite novels I think that I need to read more before I identify with a Bronte.
Yes, it is easy to get carried away with cats. And they do need a certain amount of space.
Well, you’ve read the best of the Brontes but on second thought I realize that not everybody who reads their books identifies with a Bronte. I love Dickens but don’t really identify with any of the characters. And I certainly don’t identify with him!
I identify with Charlotte, no doubt about it.
She’s my favorite, too! And the best writer.