Charlotte Bronte, since she was 10 years old, as I learned from reading her essay "Unbecoming Jane: Jane Eyre as Alter-Ego Gone Wrong" in the latest issue of The Common Review.
This is one of the print magazines I receive in the mail--some are subscriptions I maintain, some are gift subscriptions. A note to poets and writers who read this blog: I know we cannot afford to subscribe to all the literary magazines to which we submit, but I try to 1) order a sample copy and 2) subscribe for at least a year if the magazine publishes me, in good faith and to help support that literary venture. If I can't subscribe, I try to order some extra copies of the issue I'm in to send to writer friends who might submit or subscribe. All this fluctuates with my budget, as does my ability to buy books by poets I want to support. Sigh... But I am trying to do the right thing!
Haynsworth's essay is delightful. She recreates that first wonderful reading experience, at 10, that awakened her to this wild and romantic world. And then she recreates her first college reading experience of the same book, during which she had to reconsider everything. It's marvelous to see how she handles the challenge, and the interpretations and re-interpretations that she finds necessary.
No wonder this is a perennial. People keep grappling with it, at all ages, and through cultural ages.
What is a book you've had to reconsider? Loved, loved too much, learned to hate, learned to love again?