A "Jane Eyre" Literary Dinner Party
We finished our buddy read of Charlotte Brontë's classic novel "Jane Eyre" and decided to watch the 2011 movie version for our literary dinner party this week. We love dedicating time to examining details in the book that can be incorporated into our theme for the night, from food mentioned, to flowers in the scenes, to overall tone and mood. It is such a great way to think about the novel, drawing out themes and noticing specifics we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Once we've brainstormed a bit and collected some inspiration on a Pinterest board (I loveeee Pinterest), we execute! This week we went for vintage books (Jane is a reader!), a favorite quote, soft candlelight, and simple, rustic flowers in plain jars. We also intentionally included roses and some white flowers in lieu of daisies (had to work with what was available at Trader Joe's) which were mentioned through the novel. Spending time talking about the book together and discussing the merits of the movie adaptation is always so much more festive in the scene we created to honor the novel, so we really enjoy doing it!
We felt like Jane Eyre is such a mix of sad, cold, spartan childhood at school, contrasted with more vibrant, summery, lush scenes when she is busy falling in love with Rochester, and were trying to capture both moods with our food and decor. We had "bread and cheese" in the form of mini brie en croutes for appetizers, followed with a simple soup accompanied by Rikki's beautiful rustic pesto rolls. Simple food with an elegant twist for our steadfast Jane!
Our wine choice (we always go by the label for these dinners!) was just toooooo perfect for this novel! If you've read it, you'll understand exactly why! That was one aspect of the book that truly made this a Gothic novel. We’ve found that Gothic novels are a very specific breed, and you can love or hate them, but they're powerful things. For the record, we both enjoyed Jane Eyre much more than Wuthering Heights, as the characters were far less cruel, had more emotional fortitude, and were generally much more likable and relatable. Jane as a heroine is especially easy to love as she is just so strong and passionate under her calm, plain exterior.
Dessert was this simple "naked" cake as a nod to Jane's humbleness as well as to the mentions of cake in the novel. It was just a meyer lemon cake with some simple whipped cream and berries, which came out so well for how easy it was!
Our movie was actually perfect this time, unlike Wuthering Heights, which was a relief. Beautifully filmed, brilliant casting, and a completely on point storyline captured the mood and scope of Jane Eyre perfectly. We especially loved watching the chemistry between Jane and Rochester come alive on screen, since the book is a little more hesitant with those aspects; it was the 19th century after all!
Classic literature is so deep and layered and full of themes and symbolism and imbued with meaning far beyond most books you'll read in your lifetime. We really feel that they deserve some extra love, and paying homage in this way is seriously so easy and fun! Once again, we can't recommend it enough! Try it out for yourself! Need some tips? We talked about some in this post, which was definitely a favorite.