Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Jane Chord: Still Obsessed

I wrote here about the “Jane chord,” the (sometimes) magical juxtaposition of the first and last words of a novel that (sometimes) add up to a mystical and metaphorical summary of the entire book.

The blog that first alerted me to this phenomenon (About Last Night) has some interesting follow-up:

Here, CAAF writes, “I decided to look up the Jane chord of the original edition of Sylvia Plath's Ariel, which has the poems in the order Ted Hughes put them after Plath's death, and compare it to the Jane chord of the restored edition of Ariel, which came out in 2004 and ‘reinstates’ the order Plath had planned for the book.”

Her findings:
Ariel original edition (with "The Edge" as the final poem): ‘Love drag.’
"Ariel: The Restored Edition (with "Wintering" as the final poem): ‘Love spring.’"

Yikes! Do read the entire piece for added nuance.

And here, OGIC writes about Henry James and some other classic authors, hoping to add a word if the word given is an article:

The Turn of the Screw: ‘The story stopped.’"


“E. M. Forster's epigraph to Howards End famously tells us to ‘Only connect’; his Jane Chord underlines the sentiment with ‘One never.’"

Note: I am reading over my entire novel-in-progress, and I didn't want to revise the first line because I didn't want to wreck my Jane chord, "The unison." This obsession has gone too far....


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.