Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sex and Jean Webster

Here's a source for details on Jean Webster's love life:
Jean Webster's life after 1907 was a post-graduate education in adversity. She fell in love with Glen Ford McKinney, a wealthy sportsman eleven years her senior and the brother of her close friend Ethelyn McKinney, one of the four women with whom she had traveled around the world. The love affair began shortly after Jean's return but remained a secret for seven years because Glenn was married. (John D. Seelye, Jane Eyre's American Daughters: From The Wide, Wide World to Anne of Green Gables, 2005)
For such a long affair followed by marriage, sex must surely play a powerful role in the bonding process, but everything sexual must remain hidden from the public eye. The secret, however, shows through in Webster's writing and illustrations, whether intended or not. We see this, for example, in the daddy-long-legs that Webster draws, ostensibly to designate Jerusha's long-legged benefactor, but also - even if inadvertently - to represent her own or Jerusha's genitals, for note the hair-like legs surrounding a centrally situated hole, a hole whose center need not have been left hollow, and could have been shaded in.

Speculative? Yes, but intriguing, no?



At 9:56 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Hmmm... Webster.

Web-ster. One who spins the tangled webs of human relationships. Perhaps naming truly is destiny.

At 4:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

And this was a family name!

Jeffery Hodges

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