Planet Century 19

September 17, 2014


Brontë Society Gazette. Issue 64

The latest issue of The Brontë Society Gazette is now out (Issue 64. September 2014. ISSN 1344-5940).

Letter from the Editor by Helen Krispien
Letter from the Chairman by Sally McDonald, Retiring Chairman,The Brontë Society Council
Members June Weekend 2014
     A transantlantic treat for the annual church       service by Christine Went
     Thornton to Haworth Walk by Susan Aykroyd
     A night at The Old White Lion by Sally McDonald
     Excursion to Liverpool by Sally McDonald
Marigold, to his friends by Alexandra Lesley, ALS representative for the Brontë Society Council
Miss Brontë, why don't you ... by Christine Went
Poetry Corner: Emily's Moorland Ghost by Carolyne Van Der Meer; Miscellany of Thoughts on Brontëana by Marilyn Nickelsburg; The Crows by Yvonne THomas
A Bassompierre link restored by Akiko Higuchi
Review of The Professor by Claire Blanchard
Membership News: Brontës in Brussels by Helen MacEwan; Announcement; In Memoriam.
Letter to the Editor: In defence of Heathcliff by Bernice Rippingale
The Merlin by Andy Mydellton
Shirley in context. Nicholas Shrimpton at the Brussels Brontë Group, 29 March 2014 by Charlotte Mathieson
The Brontë Birthplace by Angela Crow-Woods.

by M. ( at September 17, 2014 11:30 PM

South of Scotland, North of Wuthering Heights

The Huffington Post wonders, 'Why Do Women Read More Novels Than Men?'
In the murky definition where the literary crosses swords with the popular, note the names of these authors: Dickens, Balzac, Brontë, Tolstoy, Lessing, Hemingway, Sands, Eliot, Austen, Proust, Shelly, Faulkner, Joyce, McCullers, Fitzgerald, Cather, Stowe, Wharton, etc. -- some female and some male. Their stories have been told from the point of view of both genders; stories that are about the human species and not confined merely to an isolated gender.
The gender of a novelist is irrelevant to their creativity. The criterion is talent, a mysterious and extraordinary gift that does not discriminate. A talented female author can find her way into the mind and heart of her male characters just as a male writer can do the same with his female characters. If there is some mythical dividing line between the insight, wisdom, and literary skill between men and women, it is not apparent to me. As for the reasons women dominate the reading market or perhaps the writing profession, I don't have the answers -- I can understand economic and opportunity parity, but not intellectual and artistic parity. (Warren Adler)
This made us think of Charlotte Brontë's own words, from an 1849 letter to William Smith Williams.
I am reminded of the 'Economist'. The literary critic of that paper praised the book if written by a man--and pronounced it 'odious' if the work of a woman.
To such critics I would say--'To you I am neither Man nor Woman--I come before you as an Author only--it is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me--the sole ground on which I accept your judgement'.
The Economist separates what belongs to Scotland from what belongs to the rest of the United Kingdom. So:
A less great Britain loses a quarter of its territory and almost all of its mountains. Scotland lays claim to the ski resorts (and, sadly, a bit more of the rain). It gets some of the oil in the North Sea. But for actors, athletes, tourism and treasure, the kingdom comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland holds a generous lead. Among inventors, Scotland gets John Logie Baird who devised the first television, while England lays rights on Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. The 18th century poet Robert Burns goes north, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontë sisters and others stay south. Among politicians, the Scots can claim Gordon Brown; the rest of Blighty gets Churchill. In music, Annie Lennox and the Bay City Rollers have to hold their own against England’s Bowie, Beatles and Stones. (P.K., D.D.M. and K.N.C)
Bustle also uses a north-south example to explain where actor Charlie Hunman comes from in England:
Not only is Charlie Hunnam a Secret Brit like Andrew Lincoln, Damien Lewis, and Michael Sheen, he comes from a small town in the North of England. He’s from lake country like… north of Yorkshire, meaning north of Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden and Downton Abbey. (Leah Thomas)
Jarvis Cocker scans the letter B in bookshops, but apparently skips the Brontës, as he writes in an article for The Independent:
Whenever I'm in a bookshop, I go to the "B" section and compulsively scan the shelves murmuring "Bradbury… Brontë… Burroughs…' I am, of course, looking for the name Richard Brautigan. I seldom find it. It's a nervous habit that dates back to the time when all his writing was out of print and the only places to find his novels and poetry were second-hand booksellers and charity shops.
The Deccan Chronicle, however, does find a Brontë reader in writer Rasleen Syal.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have grown up reading classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, which define love as pure, everlasting and all consuming. With time, I realised that in this age of technology, the old world love has lost its charm. The invariable link-ups, break-ups, betrayals, crumbling marriages, is the truth of today. India has witnessed so many cases of love gone awry, resulting in acid attacks, rapes, murders and other such heinous crimes. My book reflects this techno-crazy society we live in and the sham world of romantic love it endorses. (Garima Nagpal)
Female First interviews another writer: Kate Horsley.
The book has been compared to Jean Rhys and Valerie Martin, so how does this make you feel?
It’s lovely to hear comparisons like that, because I’m a huge fan of Wide Sargasso Sea and Mary Reilly. The former is the classic example of a literary response. Rhys takes a marginal character who is blamed and hidden away in Jane Eyre and pushes her into the centre of the narrative. She rewrites the book from the perspective of the 'madwoman', giving her a story so compelling that it's impossible to go back to the original in the same light. In Mary Reilly, Martin rewrites Jekyll and Hyde from a maidservant's perspective and my novel is very much in that tradition. Like Mary Reilly, Oona is female and working class. She's an intense person, a brave one too, and feels equal to the tasks of tackling the doctor and unraveling the island's mysteries. A lot of the gothic elements of Frankenstein are still there in The Monster's Wife, but I think my focus was on emotion more than on science, psychology more than philosophy. If Rhys's book is told from the perspective of the 'mad', then mine is from the perspective of the 'monsters', people whose experience of illness and disfigurement has made them outcasts. To me the monster and his bride represent everyone who is rejected by society for being different. The so-called 'normal' people are the ones who create all the horror in the book. (Lucy Walton)
Breathless Blog interviews yet another writer, A.J. Llewellyn.
I’m guessing that like most writers you’re also a passionate reader.  What is you favourite book?
Of all time? Oh my goodness, how do I answer that? I’d have to say Jane Eyre. It was the first romance novel I ever read, and I still worship it. [...]
Here’s a nice simple one - your favourite hero and why?
Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. He was so proud and loved her so deeply he was willing to let her go. Sob! And when she did come back and found he was blind, he was humbled by her love. And love gave him his eyesight back. Aaahhh…I love this story. (Domino Lane)
The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses some paper topics:
Back when I was in grad school, though, I found myself going nuts. You want me to write a dissertation on Victorian literature? Just Victorian literature? Why?
I’d just spent five years studying Victorian literature, creative writing, composition and rhetoric, multicultural theory and pedagogy. The idea of suddenly developing a laser-thin focus on some esoteric topic—Brontë’s use of the word “hitherto,” say, or Charles Dickens’s obsession with his sister-in-law’s big toe—seemed peculiar to me. Wasn’t the point of the study of literature to jump from idea to idea, following connections, discovering distinctions, unwinding the strands of thought to see where they took you?
Apparently not. Following the oral defense for my three qualifying exams, I was left standing in the hall for an uncomfortably long period while my three area professors debated with each other. (Paul Hanstedt)
Neil Turner's Blog features the new Brontë Garden at Sowerby Bridge Station.

by Cristina ( at September 17, 2014 08:34 PM

The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive

Screenshot of Shelley-Godwin Archive manuscript pages

A few of us at the Blake Archive are working on new markup strategies for the infamously difficult Blake manuscript known editorially as Vala, or the Four Zoas. There’s a great (great, great…) deal to be said–and will be said, eventually–about that project specifically, but first a note on some recent collaboration.

Our group was working on some new XML tags for Blake Archive manuscripts to account for FZ‘s multilayered, disparately laid-out composition. Just take a look:

Manuscript of William Blake's Vala, or the Four Zoas

We’re trying to construct a schema that can describe layered revisions in one location without necessarily connecting them to revisions in other areas. Our earliest attempts involve a combination of <stage> and <zone> definitions that Hardeep drafted. Laura then looked for precedent in the use of zone in recent projects.

Here’s where the collaboration comes in. Laura found some excellent examples of <zone> in the Shelley-Godwin Archive‘s markup of the Frankenstein notebooks. We particularly like <zone type=””> attributions, as we’re not sure at this point if we want to encode specific coordinates or link areas conceptually (or both). Either way, looking at the S-G examples helped us understand how <zone> was being used “in the wild” and how we might customize its usage for our project.

Screenshot of Shelley-Godwin Archive manuscript pages

So it struck me that S-G became another partner in our group project simply by making their XML markup easily accessible as a display option on their site. Transparency of technology itself can be collaboration for DH projects, beyond useful content. Of course, “open-source” and “collaboration” are often preached as tenets of practicing DH–and there are ways of revealing digital markup through a variety of web tools–but S-G offers a useful example of how those philosophies can be incorporated into the actual design and function of a digital project.

by Eric Loy at September 17, 2014 06:41 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 7. Fine.

A letter from T. Fairbairn ― they are going off to Rome, & ask me there ˇ[for] tomorrow: all things duly weighed I resolve to go. ―

So I painted a good bit of Sir W. James’s picture, & afterwards of the Jánina somewhat ―― but even now I really half despair of that picture.

Then I wrote to Gussie, Ellen, Mrs. Wyatt ― & F.L.

At 4 ― went to Victoria Station, & at 4.55 ― off ― at Petworth by 6.50. Fairbairns Brougham waiting. Restive horse ― so, walked partly. All very kind & pleasant[.]


Daddy has hurt his leg badly. Evening very cheery & pleasant.

Bed at 11.30[.]

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 17, 2014 08:00 AM


The Brontë Season

One of the highlights of the Brontë year begins tomorrow, September 17. The West Country-based Live Wire Theatre and Butterfly Psyche Theatre Companies begin a Brontë Season:
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland
Directed by Jazz Hazelwood
Starring Alison Campbell

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland
Directed by Jazz Hazelwood
Starring Alison Campbell and Jeremy Fowlds

Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Adapted by Alison Farina
Directed by Shane Morgan
Starring Madelaine Ryan and Tom Turner.

The theatre performances consist of the three adaptations created to work as a whole. The idea is to feature each of the Brontë sister’s work to show their differences in tone, style, and storytelling as well as support their literary value as individual female writers as well as that of a collective (“The Brontës”).
Performed in rep, with only one and two actors, there’s a chance to mix-and-match an old favourite along with a new acquaintance as well as the chance to see all three (with breaks, obviously!) at Omnibus Performances on the Saturdays.
More information on The Fine Times Recorder.
Dates and venues:

RONDO THEATRE, BATH: (More info and booking)
Weds 17th Sept: Wuthering Heights
Thurs 18th Sept: Jane Eyre
Fri 19th Sept The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 20th Sept: Wuthering Heights / Jane Eyre / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Weds 24th Sept Wuthering Heights
Thurs 25th Sept: Jane Eyre
Fri 26th Sept: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 27th Sept: Wuthering Heights / Jane Eyre / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

VICTORIA HALL, RADSTOCK: (More info and booking)
Sat 4th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall / Wuthering Heights
Sun 5th Oct: Jane Eyre

ARNOS VALE CEMETRY, BRISTOL (More info and booking)
Weds 8th Oct: Jane Eyre
Thurs 9th Oct: Wuthering Heights
Fri 10th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 11th Oct: Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

REDMAIDS, BRISTOL (More info and booking)
Weds 22nd Oct: Jane Eyre
Thurs 23rd Oct: Wuthering Heights
Fri 24th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 25th Oct: Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights

BARNFIELD, EXETER (More info and booking)
Thurs 30th Oct: Jane Eyre
Friday 31st Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 1st Nov: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall / Wuthering Heights

by M. ( at September 17, 2014 01:30 AM

"Reader, I did not marry him."

Picture source
The Independent (Ireland) reports that,
Five leading Irish authors have put a twist on some of the world's best-known novels to raise awareness of a medical condition that can lead to blindness.[...]
Bestselling authors such as Sheila O'Flanagan, Sinead Moriarty and Colm O'Regan have reworked the endings of famous classic novels for AMD Awareness Week 2014.
Ms O'Flanagan turned 'Jane Eyre' on her head while Ms Moriarty gave 'Little Women' a more satisfactory ending. [...]
Ms O'Flanagan's reimagining of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' was inspired by her first impressions of the book as a younger woman.
"I always felt that it ended badly. I thought that Jane was far too good for Mr Rochester and she should never have married, so in my version she doesn't," she said.
She said she found the task of writing in somebody else's voice a "really interesting challenge".
"It is completely different but it was really enjoyable; hopefully if you read my ending it still sounds like it is the same voice and not like somebody has just tacked on something different." (Michael Staines)
The Irish Times carries the story as well, written by Sheila O'Flanagan herself:
When I first read Jane Eyre I remember disliking the character of Mr Rochester intensely and hoping – despite Jane’s obvious feelings for him – that she’d come to her senses and get over him. He’s vain, arrogant and self-centred (as well as being the kind of man who shut his mad wife away in an attic) and definitely not good enough for Jane.
On re-reading it recently, I took a slightly less belligerent view towards him, but I still thought Jane was far too clever and smart to have spent the rest of her life with him, and I liked having the opportunity to change her story.
She goes on to share her new ending for the novel:
Jane Eyre: Reimagined by Sheila O’Flanagan.
Reader, I did not marry him. I said yes when he asked me but my assent was based on a surfeit of emotion brought on by our conversation. I knew that I had been mistaken in yielding to him. My regard for him remained warm, but I was a very different woman from the Jane who had slipped out of Thornfield Hall on what should have been my wedding night, penniless and bereft.
Then I had nothing except the excessive embarrassment that Mr Rochester had caused me for asking me to be his wife when he had another still living, although quite mad. But he had not seen fit to share that information with me and he had allowed me to think that we would have a happy and lawful life together.
And although I forgave him, because the heart behaves differently to the head and because his circumstances had been changed by the actions of that same wife in nearly burning him to death, I had changed too. When I left, I had neither family nor money. And although I had some fortitude borne from a life first with aunt Reed and then at Lowood School, such fortitude was only augmented by having to sleep in the open air and go without food, but still survive.
And, God giving me reward for such fortitude, also rewarded me by bringing me to my family. There can be no luckier person in her cousins than I. My Maker rewarded me too with my fortune, which every woman knows will make her free.
And so, Reader, I was a free woman with means of her own who had survived an ill-fated start to life and the trials and tribulations visited on me. (Read more)
Lotta Olsson in Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) defends the reinterpretation of the classics:
Man ska absolut omtolka litterära klassiker. Självklart! Annars skulle ju till exempel inte Jean Rhys ”Sargassohavet/Den första hustrun” ha blivit skriven, om den galna kvinnan på vinden i Charlotte Brontës ”Jane Eyre”. Det finns massor av begåvade, underbara omtolkningar där man utgår från det litterära verket men vänder på perspektiven. Som Jo Bakers ”Huset Longbourn” som kom på svenska i våras, en version av Jane Austens ”Stolthet och fördom” sedd ur tjänstefolkets synvinkel.
Varken Jean Rhys eller Jo Baker låtsas skriva en spännande fortsättning, och de påstår sig inte skriva som vare sig Charlotte Brontë eller Jane Austen. De skriver som sig själva, och de skriver inte ”Jane Eyre – återkomsten” eller ”Systrarna Bennets senare öden”. Snarare vill de få oss att läsa en redan högt älskad roman med andra ögon. (Translation)
However, a February 18, 1991 article now republished by New Republic argues that, 'You Should Absolutely, Positively Read the Canon in College'.
Your list of classics includes only dead, white males, all tied in to notions and values of Western hegemony. Doesn't this narrow excessively the horizons of education?
All depends on how far forward you go to compose your list of classics. If you do not come closer to the present than the mid-eighteenth century, then of course there will not be many, or even any, women in your roster. If you go past the mid-eighteenth century to reach the present, it's not at all true that only "dead, while males" are to be included. For example—and this must hold for hundreds of other teachers also—I have taught and written about Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Katherine Anne Porter, Doris Lessing, and Flannery O'Connor. I could easily add a comparable list of black writers. Did this, in itself, make me a better teacher? I doubt it. Did it make me a better person? We still lack modes of evaluation subtle enough to say for sure. (Irving Howe
If you want to work out how long reading the canon will take, you may want to take a look at this infographic shared by Bustle.
It also reveals quite a few unexpected details, like the fact that George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is now longer than the Bible, or that Little Women and Jane Eyre are almost the exact same length. (Emma Cueto)
Fast Company takes a look at the 15 most-highlighted passages from classic novels on Kindle. Jane Eyre has made it to number 14 with
"It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.”
Ebook Friendly shares another infographic, this one on the 'love DNA of famous classic novels'.

And more for bookworms, as The Millions has an article by writer Chloe Benjamin 'on fiction and sleep'.
Charlotte Brontë had so powerful an imagination that she referred to her characters as her “inmates.” 
Here's the actual quote she is thinking of. 

A columnist from The Plainsman shares some of the items of her very own  'museum of wonder'.
There are snatches of quotes from great books and lyrics from all the songs I’ve ever heard. There are movie stills and paintings and faces and buildings — Versailles, Harold and Maude, The Clash and Jane Eyre are all on equal footing. (Becky Sheehan)
The Good Men Project mentions seeing Peter McMaster's all-male take on Wuthering Heights. Jessica Rules the Universe posts about Luis Buñuel's film version of the novel. Un libro entre mis manos writes in Spanish about Agnes Grey. 

by Cristina ( at September 17, 2014 01:03 AM

September 16, 2014

The Little Professor

If Social Media Counted Toward Tenure


"Eating Pizza at Giordano's."  Facebook 4.1.2014.  

A five-paragraph review of Giordano's stuffed spinach pizza, accompanied by a high-res photograph of the pizza in various stages of consumption.  The review applies Bourdieu's theories of cultural capital to the act of eating Chicago-style stuffed pizza, a controversial comestible that pizza aficionados insist is obviously inferior to the New York variety.  There are six comments on the review, including one by someone who claims to be Slavoj Zizek (see my "citations" list in Appendix E). 

"Untitled Passive-Aggressive Venting."  Facebook 6.12.2014.

An essay in which I denounce various unnamed members of a prominent academic organization, although while providing enough clues for an attentive reader to identify said individuals.  The essay articulates its critique through a deconstructive rereading of Foucault, productively melded with a Lacanian interrogation of Horkheimer and Adorno.  It has thirty-nine comments and eight shares; it has also been reposted to Tumblr, where it has garnered 531 notes.  One of the unnamed individuals has informed me in private that s/he intends to sue for defamation, which I consider proof of this essay's subversion of sociopolitical boundaries in elite academic circles (see my supporting documents in Appendix G).  

"Untitled Cat Photo Shoot."  Facebook 8.2.2014.

Six high-res photographs of my cat Twinkums, a Siamese-Scottish Fold mix.  The photographs are accompanied by several fragmentary reflections on the role of cats in the construction of postmodern subjectivity, written in a style intended to evoke a combination of T. S. Eliot and Judith Butler.  This post has nine comments and two shares; in addition, one photo of Twinkums lyingin a sunbeam has been reprinted on CuteOverload.


"Untitled tweet on hot fudge sundaes." Twitter 1.3.2014.

A 118-character tweet devoted to a peanut butter and dark chocolate fudge sundae, with the hashtag #OmNomNom.  Part of an extensive discussion devoted to the cultural implications of eating hot fudge sundaes at the MLA instead of going to the cash bars.  This tweet has twelve favorites and thirty-nine retweets, and has recently been linked on Buzzfeed (see "citations" in Appendix E).

"Untitled tweet on television."  Twitter 7.3.2014.

A 39-character tweet in which I insist that serious academics do not watch CSI, with the hashtag #OMGLosers.  A social experiment in which I performed the role of cultural contrarian.  This tweet has eighty-six favorites, ninety-four retweets, and two-hundred-plus responses, including eight responses accusing me of elitism, thirteen insisting that I am a dangerous leftist radical, and four proclaiming me a right-wing fanatic.  The tweet has been the subject of serious discussion in Slate, the Chronicle of HIgher Education, and Reddit (see "citations" in Appendix E). 

"Untitled tweet on The Phantom Menace."  Twitter 10.31.2014.

A 128-character tweet in which I celebrate the radical aesthetics of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, with the hashtag #AnakinForever.  Although this tweet has no favorites and no retweets, I have been informed that it will be reprinted in an upcoming book on Star Wars as cultural phenomenon--according to the author, I am the only person to have ever said anything complimentary about this film (see "citations" in Appendix E).  


"Comment on The Hobbit trailer." "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Teaser Trailer."  Youtube 8.3.2014.

A denunciation of Peter Jackson's effects on twenty-first century cinema, with reference to the work of Kracauer.  At the time of writing, it has received sixty-eight downvotes (and is therefore invisible on the page), but the strength of this response testifies to the power of its intervention in popular discourse on the cinema.  

"Comment on Matterhorn POV video." "Super Matterhorn Vid!"  Youtube 9.12.2014.

A critique of the video's insistence that rides at Disneyland are fun, pointing instead to the ride's use of the Yeti as a means of sublating contemporary cultural anxieties about ethical tourism.  Incorporates multiple references to Baudrillard.  At the time of writing, it has received ninety-four downvotes (and is therefore invisible on the page), but has also sparked a serious conversation on academic blogs about whether or not YouTube comments inherently support the status quo (see "citations" in Appendix E).

"Comment on Schoolhouse Rock Mashup."  "Schoolhouse Punk Rocks."  Youtube 11.6.2014.

A lengthy (equivalent to an entry in The Explicator) argument that contemporary transnational appropriations of Schoolhouse Rock enact an urgent critique of English grammar in an age of globalization, with extensive references to Linda Hutcheon.  At the time of writing, it has received three hundred and six downvotes (and is therefore invisible on the page), but it is the subject of articles in Slate, Inside Higher Ed, and the Huffington Post on the possibility of serious theoretical interventions in a medium privileging comments that take the form of acronyms (see "citations" in Appendix E).  


by Miriam Burstein at September 16, 2014 11:48 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The lizard on the door

 photo avenuerapp4.jpg

 photo Jules-Lavirotte-29-Avenue-Rapp-Lizard1.jpg

From 29 Avenue Rapp, Paris, an art nouveau building designed by Jules Lavirotte.

September 16, 2014 07:35 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Illustration Portrait from Reader’s Digest

Just listed at Complete Auctions, original illustration of Carroll from Reader’s Digest. Bid before Thursday and it could be yours!

by Matt at September 16, 2014 07:03 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rainy & dark morning ― afternoon fine.

As might be expected ― a day uneasy. Could not paint.

Passed the morning in arranging drawings in the 4th Cabinet.

At 4 ― walked straight to Holloway ― a queer dreamy duty, ――: Walking on the same side of the road as the house ― it seems all pulled down ― as there is only a row of shops to be seen: but on the other side, you see the upper part is still existing ― only divided into three, the inside windows of the spare; & mother’s room, being cut in half ― quâ stair lights. So ―


So much for Bowman’s Lodge!

Walked back to the Angel, & in a Nomnibus home by 7.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 16, 2014 08:00 AM


You on the Moors Now

A Kickstarter project with Brontë-related content you can be interested on. A new theatre play You on The Moors Now by John Kurzynowski

An original Off-Off Broadway play that draws on the works of Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and Louisa May Alcott.

In a 19th-century world where marriage is the only acceptable path, four women refuse proposals from the men who love them. Why do they do it? What will become of them?
For the past two years, Theater Reconstruction Ensemble has been developing You On The Moors Now, a grand theatrical experiment that draws inspiration from the characters and romantic plots of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Little Women. We're giving these incredible characters the contemporary theatrical life they deserve. After numerous work-in-progress showings and private workshops with the cast and creative team, we are thrilled to announce that You On The Moors Now will premiere February 13th - 28th, 2015 at HERE Arts Center in Lower Manhattan as part of their SubletSeries@HERE.
Your pledge funds the full theatrical production of You On The Moors Now. Pledge now and ensure the growth of one of the most promising and exciting young companies producing work in New York today. Pledge now and become a part of our family of supporters and audience members. Pledge now and join us on the MOORS.

by M. ( at September 16, 2014 01:30 AM

Jane survives

Picture source
The Sheffield Star reports that artist Sarah Sharpe 'has received award-winning recognition at the 2014 Great North Art Show'.
Narrative artist Sarah Sharpe’s exploration of the orphan child Jane Eyre, entitled ‘The Red Room’, has scooped the prestigious ‘best in show’ title.
The Great North Art Show, which is held at Ripon Cathedral, is an annual exhibition of contemporary art featuring the work of around 50 painters, etchers, printmakers and photographers.
Sarah, who is also a long-standing member of Peak District Artisans, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this recognition for a series of paintings that emerged from a set of etchings which I first created exploring the significance of Jane’s doll.
“This work is my interpretation of a very lonely, motherless child, emotionally neglected, who very much has to rely on her own inner resources to survive.
“Jane does survive, but not without being marked psychologically.”
The judges said the piece was a ‘deeply felt and meditative painting’.
The Great North Art Show runs until September 21.
All the artwork is for sale, and entry is free.
The exhibition is open seven days a week from 9.30am until 4.30pm.
Here's something else you can do not far from there, as read in an article in The Telegraph and Argus.
Visitors and locals can now raise their glasses to a new Ale Trail.
Nearly 30 real-ale pubs across Keighley and the Worth Valley are featured in a guide.
The booklet – produced by Visit Bradford, in association with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) – also spotlights breweries, beer festivals and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. [...]
The Ale Trail guide and map are available from the visitor information centres at Bradford, Saltaire, Ilkley and Haworth, and can be downloaded from [...]
In the section titled Haworth and the Worth Valley, pubs mentioned include the Cross Roads Inn, The Bronte Hotel, Haworth Old Hall, Fleece Inn, Black Bull, Kings Arms, Gascoigne's Haworth Steam Brewery, Old White Lion, Old Sun Hotel, Dog and Gun, Lamb, Bay Horse, Wuthering Heights, Friendly, Old Silent, Grouse Inn, and the Golden Fleece. (Alistair Shand)
A columnist from The Age discusses helping your children with their exams and claims that,
Personally, I feel more comfortable with the novels of Jane Austen, and a good round of symbolism in Wuthering Heights. I am certainly relieved that my own child has chosen English literature for final year. (Margaret McCaffrey)
The Brontë Parsonage Blog has a post on Poet Simon Zonenblick's video on Branwell Brontë, a preview of which was shown yesterday afternoon at Thornton. Finally, an alert from Milford, IN:
North Webster Library - Monday, Sept. 15, followed by R.E.A.D. Book Club, discussing Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, at 5:30 p.m. Lose It @ The Library will also meet at 5:30 p.m. for weigh-in and walking.

by Cristina ( at September 16, 2014 12:17 AM

September 15, 2014

The Floating Academy

title page from 1850 edition of David Copperfield

Review of Leah Price, How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton University Press, 2012; 350 pp.) Two of my favorite marginalia examples from my local rare book library show annotators doing unexpected things with books, both very much in the spirit of Leah Price’s innovative approach to the topic. In one example […]

by alangaley at September 15, 2014 04:05 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


The reading group on Pseudo/Sciences of the Long Nineteenth Century is a collaborative venture between Newcastle University and the Literary and Philosophical Society. The group is open to scholars, students […]

by Jo Taylor at September 15, 2014 01:05 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Quite fine all day ― but rain from 9 to 11.

Rose at 7. ― Wrote. ―

Worked at the Lady James’s Campagna ― interrupted by Nicòlas’s men bringing home the 4th cabinet.

Worked on ― foreground. At 3 ― T.G. Baring came ― poor dear good Baring: than whom I hardly know a better man.

Worked on till 5.30 ― & placed drawings &c. &c. &c. ― till 7.30[.]


Very pleasant evening.

News of Viscountess Harding’s death. Talk with T.G.B. till 11.30.

Cab home by 12.


[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 15, 2014 08:00 AM


Connell's Jane

New academic year, new guides are published:
The Connell Guide to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre  by Josie Billington (Author), Jolyon Connell (Editor), Katie Sanderson (Editor), Pierre Smith-Khanna (Editor), Paul Woodward (Editor)
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Connell Guides (1 Sep 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1907776175

An instant popular success when first published in 1847, Jane Eyre was everywhere praised for its riveting power. But, says Josie Billington, it is easy to forget just how shocking the novel was to its 19th century readers. One of the most romantic of stories, it also challenges at every turn the stereotypes on which it rests, not simply in having a plain, rebellious heroine and a hero who is neither young nor handsome nor chivalrous, but in the way it suggests sensual love can be a force for good and in its passionate commitment to depicting the struggle of an individual towards fulfillment.

by M. ( at September 15, 2014 01:30 AM

September 14, 2014

The Little Professor

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Wheeldon/Talbot)

I broke my rule about non-business-related travel to trek down to NYC for the National Ballet of Canada's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  (It''s sort of Victorian.  Right?)  When I've discussed Alice before, I've noted that it's unbelievably difficult to adapt: Alice's plotless adventures, in which she stumbles again and again into situations where the characters simply have no interest in her arrival and even less in her departure, work magically on the page but frequently become inert on stage or film.  I've come around to thinking that the most successful "straight" adaptation is Jonathan Miller's relatively short black-and-white version for the BBC (1966), which is all the more eerie because there are no funny animal costumes, no special effects, and no attempt at a plot--just Alice wandering through a landscape populated with genteel Victorians doing utterly bizarre things.  The NBoC's Alice, a joint production with the Royal Ballet (which I'd originally planned on seeing this winter, before I had to reschedule my UK trip), tries to compromise between the novel's seriality and the dramatic demand for a plot.  The plot in question is, not surprisingly, romantic.  In both the Victorian prologue and the dream itself,  Alice falls for Jack/the Knave, who is, of course, on the run due to some misunderstandings about tarts.  This is about it for the romance, which is easy to forget (Alice keeps doing so, so why shouldn't the audience?), and is not helped along by the Knave's utter blankness as a character (and uninteresting choreography, to boot).

Ironically, then, that leaves the serial set pieces, which tend to be far more interesting than the main plot.  The ballet's pacing is somewhat bizarre, and some of the pacing problems are far more evident in the theatre than on video, where editing choices and close-ups accentuate aspects of the choreography or mime that get lost on stage.  This is most obvious in the Hall of Doors sequence and the Caucus Race, both of which are long on film and really, really, really long on stage--one wishes that the axe-wielding Executioner would walk on and perform some impromptu editing.  Then matters (and, at the performance I attended on Saturday evening, the audience) quickly pick up in the eye-poppingly short Act II, with the introduction of the extremely clever Cheshire Cat puppet, a 3D Tenniel sketch animated by multiple dancers, and the Mad Hatter's tap-dancing Tea Party.  (Both scenes garnered the first applause of the evening.)  Finally, Act III has the evening's only taut narrative action, as Alice and the Knave have to deal with the evening's walking ballet parody, the Queen of Hearts.  The Queen's Jam Tart adagio, which, along with the Tea Party, is by now the ballet's best-known scene, had the audience laughing uproariously, but there are certainly more giggles along the way than one might expect from a ballet (Alice trying to reach a doorknob, or experiencing the aftereffects of the Caterpillar's mushroom; the prissy King of Hearts' ineffectual attempts to handle his wife).  

Wheeldon has repeatedly compared this Alice to a musical, and I think that the grumbling about the sometimes minimal choreography misses the point of what he's trying to do here--this is not really targeted at the audience for William Forsythe (let alone Swan Lake), and it does succeed as a show, not least because of some exceptionally beautiful costumes and nifty video projections.  (Until Act III, there's actually not all that much physical set.)  Once we got beyond the interminable Act I, I was definitely enjoying myself.  That being said, as I mentioned before, some of the scenes do work better on video than on stage: this is especially true of "Pig and Pepper" and the moment where things go haywire in the courtroom, both of which look coherent when filmed (thanks to the aforementioned editing) and are incredibly difficult to watch live (where there's no logical place for the audience to focus).  Similarly, unless you know it's there, it's easy to miss the Cook's little love affair with the Executioner.  By contrast, the dance for the Cards in Act III is even more effective live, where you can appreciate the "2D" effect and the geometrical shapes.  In general, the video projections work better in the theater than when they've been mediated by yet another layer of video.  

If you've seen the Royal Ballet's filmed versions, the 2011 DVD and the 2013 live cinema broadcast, then most of the characterizations will be familiar.  At the performance I attended, only two performers reshaped the characters in strikingly different ways from their RB counterparts.  Wheeldon has repeatedly said that he thinks of the Mad Hatter as "demonic," and the RB's original Mad Hatter, Steven McRae (to whom this role is pretty much vacuum-sealed at this point), is all thousand-yard stares, his lips curling into perpetual sneers, scowls, and snarls.  A visitor to the Tea Party might want to watch out when the Hatter gets too near the knives.  McRae also has extremely intense chemistry with his usual March Hare, Ricardo Cervera, which occasionally tips over from buddy-buddy into something slightly homoerotic; in general, his Mad Hatter provides the evening with one of its sharper edges.  By contrast, Robert Stephen dumps the demonism and instead plays the Hatter as a blissful pothead--one does wonder what's in the baked goods--and his affect is less insane and more stoned out of his mind.  His March Hare, Jon Renna, is correspondingly dottier, and the Tea Party trio are overall more overtly comic than at the RB.   (Stephen, unlike McRae, is not a life-trained tap dancer, and he doesn't try to do any of McRae's fancier tricks, but although he seemed to be getting some help from the pit--the Hatter normally provides most of his scene's percussion effects--his tapping was comfortable and clearly articulated.)  Similarly, the RB's original White Rabbit, Edward Watson, is tall, rangy, and more "mature" than most of the other characters, a bundle of nerves about to explode every which way.  Besides the Knave, he's the only character to be consistently interested in (albeit frustrated by) Alice.  Dylan Tedaldi is Watson's physical opposite, small and compactly built, and he's visibly far younger; he was less avuncular guide, more Alice's and the Knave's contemporary, but also more self-assured.  And, quite frankly, much cuter--he looked a bit like a teddy bear, and one did want to give him a hug.      

by Miriam Burstein at September 14, 2014 11:26 PM


Brontë's soap opera

The Telegraph's Fashion section has an article about the designer Sarah Burton:
In her autumn/winter show for Alexander McQueen, Burton set all this to life. A strange, misty moorland - not unconnected to the landscape of her childhood - was the setting for the combination of beautiful tailoring and wild imaginings that characterise the house. There was a sense of romanticism-in-crisis, of the Brontë sisters, of Heathcliff haunted by the cold hand of death scratching at his window, of owls, dreams and the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom Burton cites. The dresses came with capes, fur hoods, bell sleeves and delicate, small embroidery, frilled and frayed hemlines.
Also in The Telegraph a story about morning sickness, aka hyperemesis gravidarum:
Sufferers, who typically lose up to five per cent of their body weight (at 16 weeks, first time round, Burner had lost a stone and a half and at term she’d only gained a stone, though in her second pregnancy steroids made her “balloon”), are at increased risk of dehydration and malnutrition, a severe build-up of toxins in the blood and urine and even kidney or heart failure. The condition killed the novelist Charlotte Brontë in 1855. In her letters, she described how she had “strained until my vomit was mixed with blood.” (Julia Llewellyn Smith)
The Raleigh News Observer traces a profile of the Professor Elliot Engel and his English literature lectures:
Elliot Engel spins a tale of England’s Brontë sisters that feels more like a soap opera than a lecture on 19th century literature.
Emily’s long hours staring at drawn window shades. Charlotte’s unfortunate homeliness. Anne’s short career as a governess, ended by her brother’s affair with the child’s mother. Their improbable success as female authors and tragic early deaths.
By the end of the talk last week at N.C. State University, some of the hundreds of freshmen in attendance lined up to buy a $20 DVD of Engel’s lectures – thanks in part to a sales pitch as effective as his talk is engaging. (Marti Maguire)
The Sunday Express interviews the actress Hermione Norris:
The first record I ever bought was… Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. I thought she was magnificent. It was actually a record, too – one of those seven-inch vinyl singles that would scratch if you danced to it – so we’re going back some years. (Rachel Corcoran)
Another cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights was performed at Portmeirion's Festival No 6 in The National Student:
Laid-back vibes with the gypsy jazz of the Gypsies of Bohemia set the day up nicely with swinging versions of Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. In the first instance number six throws out an unexpected, and delightful musical highlight. (James Thornbill)
mid day lists several not very well paid actor roles:
When James Howson became the first black actor to be cast in the role of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (2011), he was commended for his work. But he took home only $13,036 for his role. (Shakti Shetty)
Ohmynews (South Korea) reviews the performances of the Hangzhou Theatre production of Jane Eyre as a Yue Opera at the Sejong Center in Seoul:
지난 9일부터 11일까지 세종문화회관 M시어티에서 공연한 '제인 에어'는 소설을 원작으로 중국에서 제작된 창작 뮤지컬이 국내 첫 선을 보였다는 점이 큰 의미로 다가왔다. 현재 '별에서 온 그대' 등 드라마와 연기자, 드라마세트장 등이 중국 관광객들에게 선풍적인 인기를 끌고 있는 이때, 중국의 뮤지컬의 국내 공연이 앞으로 양국 간 문화예술 교류를 더욱 활발하게 할 것이라는 전망도 나오고 있다.
중국 국가 1급 감독인 왕쇼우잉이 총감독을 맡았고, 왕제난 중국연극원 감독이 연출을 한 대형 창작 뮤지컬 '제인 에어' 공연 마지막 날인 11일 저녁 한국인터넷기자협회 임원과 동료 가족들이 함께 관람을 했다. 전통적인 시나리오 서사구조인 기승전결 구조에다 도입 발단 절정 순을 따랐다. 먼저 뮤지컬 첫 장르 도입(발단)부문을 보면서 언어 문제에 부딪치기도 했다. 모든 출연 배우들의 중국어 대사가 중국어에 익숙하지 않은 나에게 문화적 충격으로 나가왔기 때문이다.
물론 무대 양 옆에는 한국어 자막을 사용한 번역 프로그램이 있었다. 중국 영화는 화면 안에 나타나 그런대로 익숙한 편인데 공연은 번역프로그램이 따로 떨어져 있어 익숙하지 않았다.
차츰 뮤지컬 공연이 절정부분으로 향하면서 주인공과 조연 배우들의 열정적인 연기에 몰입이 됐고, 차츰 번역을 읽고 무대를 보는 것이 자연스레 해 졌다. (김철관) (Translation)
The Buffalo News reviews The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, The Brontës and the Importance of Handbags by Daphne Merkin; The Times interviews the author Jacqueline Wilson who mentions Jane Eyre as one of her heroines; Pusat Sumber Seseri and beckiedoyle post about Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at September 14, 2014 01:38 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray early ― then gleamy ― then pouring rain ― from 4 till 9.

Worked at the foreground of Sir W. James’s picture ― having some fresh brambles brought me by the Coopers ― & also some I took from Hackwood. (The Coopers are “joyful,” ― having brought back their recovered little girl.)

Worked till 5 or 6 ― when ἒξ αἰτὶας νεφέλων, σκοτεινήν ἣτο.[1]

No one came. At 8. to E. Drummond’s. My! how it rained!


Remarkably pleasant evening. ― talk of Colenso &c.: ― & later ― & pleasanter, of Greece & Turkey.

Walked home ― by 11.30.

[1] Because of clouds, it became dark (NB).

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 14, 2014 08:00 AM


A Humble Station

An alert from Thornton for today, September 14:
'Remembering Branwell' event takes place on Sunday 14th September 2014 at 11.30am, South Square Gallery, Thornton BD13 3LD.

The event will preview the film 'A Humble Station' written and narrated by Simon Zonenblick with a discussion and a buffet (£5) For further details call 01274-830788 (Via Brontë Parsonage Facebook Wall)
The film was previously presented in Sowerby Bridge in June and here you can read the description by the author himself:
The evening will also feature a locally-produced film, A Humble Station describing Branwell Brontë’s years in Calderdale, with footage of the local area and thoughts from with local writers and community figures, as well as an interview with Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager at The Brontë Parsonage, and author of The Brontës at Haworth. Produced and filmed by photographer and cinematographer Darren Fleming, with a specially written score by Isolde Davey, the film will shine a light on the two influential years in Branwell’s life when, attempting to establish himself in poetry and painting, he worked in the railway stations at Sowerby Bridge and Luddendenfoot. The film includes Branwell’s paintings and excerpts of his poetry, as well as an exclusive musical setting of one of his poems. Written and narrated by myself, A Humble Station? is very much a Sowerby Bridge film and brings to life one of the area’s more unsung residents. I told the Halifax Courier that “The sad story of Branwell’s eventual decline is well documented - but I want to look at Branwell’s many strengths and skills, and in particular the influence of the Calder Valley on his poetry and art.” With this short film, which features interviews and readings from poets Freda Davis, Gaia Holmes and Genevieve Walsh, local writer Jean Illingworth, historian David Cant, artist Richard Gray and many more, viewers are invited to come and learn something more about the much-maligned brother to Yorkshire's favourite literary sisters and discover his links to the area.

by M. ( at September 14, 2014 03:48 AM

William Morris Unbound

Go for it, Scotland!

‘We discourage centralisation all we can’ declares old Hammond in News from Nowhere (ch.X), a statement which we may take as giving his positive endorsement to the current Scottish independence campaign. As the Westminster, banking and business establishments go into panic mode in the final days before the referendum, what is at stake in all the turmoil?

Of course, Scotland will not get socialism if it votes ‘yes’ next Thursday, but it will think at least some new political thoughts (booting UK nuclear weapons out of the country, for one). And new thought is ultimately what this campaign has been all about. Live without ideas, the neo-liberal establishment tells us all; just get on with your shopping, for docile consumerism is life. Never mind grotesque and growing levels of inequality, the accelerating trashing of nature all around you, or US and NATO military adventurism across the globe – just go to Sainsburys or Topshop and get on with it.

So we must hope that Scotland holds its courage and lives up to the recent YouGov poll that gave a one per cent lead for the independence campaign. If it does so, it will have shown us what life lived in the light of an Idea looks like, even if, as I concede, this is not a socialist Idea as such. And that example will mobilise others, stirring us from consumerist slumbers into becoming militants of utopian Ideas of other kinds. So, invoking the memory of my beloved Auntie Edna from Aberdeen (pictured below, circa 1985) as well as Morris’s old Hammond, I heartily say: go for it, Scotland.

by Tony Pinkney ( at September 14, 2014 02:51 AM

September 13, 2014


Mr Rochester and Mr de Winter are still not talking

Melissa Coburn imagines a conversation between some literature leading men in the Brisbane Times:
I turn again in this cosy saloon of mine and heave an inward sigh. Mr Rochester and Mr de Winter are still not talking. Dark scowls mark their features. Brooding, they sit in silence, lost in thought. I see the problem, of course. The most innocent social inquiries are likely to lead by one route or another to Mr Rochester's wife up there on the third storey of Thornfield Hall, in that room without windows whose entrance is so carefully concealed behind the tapestry wall hangings. Casual inquiries of Mr de Winter may lead to his wife, the beautiful and cruel Rebecca, condemned to a watery grave in her scuttled boat. Definite conversation dampeners. Even a discussion about property, comparing the dimensions of Thornfield Hall and Manderley, the number of bedrooms, the quality of the gardens, is not entirely without risk. They are impressive properties, yes, but hardly cosy, not when one must resist the impulse to check under the bed and in the cupboard before going to sleep. I really can't blame Jane Eyre for running away and poor Mrs de Winter, Wife Number Two, whose name we never learn, if only she knew what fate awaits her in Susan Hill's sequel, Mrs de Winter, she would be well advised to do the same. But this is a social gathering and I am the hostess, so I keep my thoughts to myself as I move among my guests.
Cape Cod Times vindicates the author Mercy Otis Warren:
Local historian Marion Vuilleumier wrote that “she had to write under a pen name in the beginning because women weren’t supposed to be writers.” So long before George Eliot and the Brontë sisters, Mercy Otis was forced to mask her femininity in order to get her message across to a wider audience. (Robin Smith-Jones)
A Wuthering Heights vindication from the heart of Africa. In The Daily Nation (Kenya):
If there is a book that is timeless, then Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is it.
The dislike for one another, the waiting until that opportune moment that it becomes optimal to hit back, the calculations, the threats and the supposed sweet revenge (even in death) that turns out to be misplaced elation and imagined victory is all very much alive in society today.
We despise rude people, arrogant persons, leaders in the other camp, our institutions, the other tribe, our polity and just about anything that seems to stand in our way of growth.
Seen how we (young and old) enjoy video games? Especially the violent ones where we vaporise — with machine gun fire — that which comes at us?
No book captures the universality of man’s vengefulness than this particular Victorian novella.
The we-versus-them or the me and them way of living.
The book, which took the author just under 12 months to pen (October 1945 to June 1946), was published posthumously in 1947. (Anthony Wesonga)
NME asks Anna Calvi how she'd celebrate if she won the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for her album One Breath:
Asked how she’d celebrate if she won, Calvi said: “I’d try singing karaoke for the first time. I’ve never done it before, and it would be an apt time to try. I’d sing ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush, it seems appropriate.” (John Earls)
Elegance of Fashion reviews Jane Eyre 2006; auditions for a Jane Eyre. The Musical production at The Arts Centre Telford, Shropshire.

by M. ( at September 13, 2014 12:53 PM

Stay Lonely

Curious things to be found at the D.H. Lawrence Festival according to the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser:
Inside the heritage centre, the ground floor was transformed into a vintage fair selling clothes, antiques, and innovative reused vintage items, such as bracelets and hair grips with quotes cut from Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë novels.
A.V. Club reviews the latest episode of You're the Worst: Constant Horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction:
Jimmy quotes Charlotte Brontë, Rosalind from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and yes, The Notebook during his proposal to Becca, which is surprisingly sweet even though you can see the hope shut out in his eyes after she turns him down. (Vikram Murthi)
What Jimmy says at the beginning of the episode is:
"My frame of reference for love has always come from literature. In my brooding youth Brontë encapsulated my viewpoin thusly: "The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely."
The quotation comes from a letter of Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey (25 August 1852) which reads a bit different:
The evils that now and then wring a groan from my heart - lie in position - not that I am a single woman and likely to remain a single woman - but because I am a lonely woman and likely to be lonely. (The Letters of Charlotte Brontë. Volume Three: 1852-1855. Edited by Margaret Smith, Clarendon Press, 2004)
The writer Sara Paretsky says to the New York Times:
Whom would you want to write your life story?
I’d love Elizabeth Gaskell to do for me what she did for Charlotte Brontë.
And The Republican interviews another writer Chrysler Szarlan:
“But one day, in the late great Johnson’s Bookstore, I discovered that a movie I had seen and loved was adapted from a book,” she said. “It was the wonderful version of ‘Jane Eyre’ with George C. Scott and Susannah York.”
She had been indignant right along with Jane when Helen Burns was punished cruelly by Miss Scatcherd, had been hesitant and hopeful when Jane travelled to Thornfield to become a governess, had fallen in love with Rochester. “I asked a bookseller who had helped me in the past what she thought of the book. Was it worth reading? She melted. ‘Jane Eyre’ was her favorite book, the greatest book on the face of the earth!” Szarlan said.
She read it, perhaps in one night under the bedcovers with a flashlight. It became her favorite book of all time too. “I still re-read it at least once a year. And it led me to read all of the Brontës, Jane Austen, Dickens. It truly shaped who I became as a writer, and as a person too,” she said. (Cori Urban)
Sheila Kohler writes in Psychology Today about how to obtain pleasure in life:
There are books, of course, which transport us outside of our own lives and take us off into someone else’s: the great books like “Anna Karenina,” “Madame Bovary” or even “Jane Eyre” and the well-plotted books like “The Talented Mr Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith or Donna Tart’s recent “The Goldfinch.”
The Telegraph & Argus reports a big omission on the Iphone game inspired by the Tour de France in Yorkshire:
 A Tour de France-inspired iPhone game which 'takes' players through Yorkshire has been launched – but it by-passes the Keighley district!
The actual world-famous cycle race in July came through Silsden, Keighley and the heart of Bronte Country.
But none feature in the Yorkshire’s Great Race game, which is riding high in the iPhone app store charts. (...)
But Worth Valley district councillors have voiced surprise that Haworth's iconic Main Street in particular was not featured.
"The day after the Tour the main photo in all the newspapers was of the cyclists in Haworth Main Street," said Coun Rebecca Poulsen.
"To completely ignore the location seems very strange." (Alistair Shand)
Inger Ronander who worked for EMI back in 1978, talks about Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights recording in Dagsavisen (Norway):
Dagen etter møtte jeg markedssjef Roger Ames som plasserte meg foran to høyttalere og satte på den kommende singelen fra vår nye storsatsing. «Wuthering Heights» het låten og artisten var Kate Bush. Vi var ganske bortskjemt med gode artister i EMI, vi hadde Queen, Pink Floyd og Beatles, men jeg hadde aldri hørt noe som dette. Låten var, og er, et musikalsk mesterverk, og ingen andre høres ut som Kate Bush. Det demret etter hvert for meg at jeg hørte på den sovende dama fra baksetet i Bentleyen, og at vi hadde en ny hit på hendene. (Translation)

by M. ( at September 13, 2014 12:31 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Fine ― but a “dies non.” ― Rose at 7.

Worked hard all day, carrying down books &c., & putting them in the bookcases which were finally put up by 2 P.M.

Got the last things down by 6.15.

Had a bath & was somewhat refreshed, tho’ awfully tired. At 7 to 40 Norfolk Terrance.


Very pleasant.

Walked home by 10.45.

2. anecdotes of clean Turk ― told by Mr. Mitford. Fine swell Peterburgh lady ―

Mis vous savez Mme. que nous autres sommes aussi ^[tellement] en arrière!

Non Madame ― et vous?

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 13, 2014 08:00 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Louis-Léopold Boilly, The Print-collectors

 photo boillyprint-collectors.jpg

 photo daumier_collectors.jpg

This was a favourite subject of Daumier's, so we must have one of his for comparison.

September 13, 2014 01:56 AM

John Smart, Mrs Russell

 photo JohnsmartMrsRussell1781.jpg

This miniature is a bit out of period, dating from 1781, but it is very lovely, so why not?

September 13, 2014 01:51 AM


The Brontë Society replies to the critical voices

After echoing the newspapers which published the Brontë Society dissenters opinions, it's only fair to give voice to the Brontë Society itself:

by M. ( at September 13, 2014 02:15 AM

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth — a remembered dream image of her embarrassment overhearing conversation about her in a previous Lady Ball (Juliette Towhidi’s Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode 2)

To theeas

Romola Garai as Emma gets to come to the sea at last (Sandy Welch’s 2009 Emma, Episode 4, last shot)

Dear friends and readers,

I sent off a proposal to deliver a paper for a panel on film in a coming conference, and thought I’d tell a little about it. What I proposed was to present findings from analyses of a group of films to show what one can learn about a film if you make its screenplay or near-final shooting script your guiding text.

Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan is also a Christmas movie (Carolyn Farina as Aubrey-Fanny Rouget with her mother)

I thought it would be instructive if I compared different relationships between screenplays and films and their underlying materials in novels or other sources.  There are numbers of appropriation films in the Austen canon where there is no novel, just a film and screenplay or shooting script. Two cases where the screenplay or shooting script has been made available, and the same person wrote the screenplay and directed the film attract me especially: Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan (from Mansfield Park) and Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise (adapting Northanger Abbey). Nunez’s play is a poetic masterpiece, while Stillman’s is brilliant about the nature of integrity in Mansfield Park as this relates to viewers in the 1990s.

Ashley Judd as Ruby reading Northanger Abbey (after which she and Todd Field as Mike McCaslin discuss Austen’s novels values) (Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise) — for me a favorite still

There a number of films where you can tease out the shooting script (a near-final version before editing and cutting) with, on the one side, an intermediary novel and on the other a closely adapted Austen novel:  of all of these, the 2013 mini-series, Death Comes to Pemberley can be most instructively analyzed using Juliette Towhidi’s shooting script more than others because P. D. James’s novel is a genuine sequel to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so an analysis reveals illuminating levels of reference in these different underlying materials dramatized, visualized, and heard. I also am deeply engaged by the development of how aspects of Darcy’s character (his pride in ancestry especially) and Elizabeth’s sense of her lack (mortification) leads to disillusionment, estrangement for a time.

Matthew Rhys as Darcy testifying on behalf of Wickham (Death Comes to Pemberley)

Finally the traditional film adaptation, often said to be taken directly from the same Austen novel, so I thought of two heritage films out of Austen’s Emma: in the case of the 1996 Meridian/A&E Emma, scripted by Andrew Davies, a screenplay and scenario in the form of a companion book have been published, and some have persuasively argued a scenario is as crucial to a final film as the screenplay; the recent 2009 Emma, scripted by Sandy Welch, is a 4-part mini-series, and will reveal what happens to this tightly-knit Austen novel when it is turned into this kind of TV program. It’s also been unfairly neglected: its use of Knightley Jonny Lee Miller) as a central perceiver will make for a telling contrast too.

Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightley plays a central inward role in Sandy Welch’s 2009 Emma (a new development in the heritage films)

In the history of film criticism, time and again film-makers and critics have asserted that the screenplay used in making a film is one of the central instruments for achieving high quality and commercial success. Some have argued that these plays are works of literature in their own right; others have proselytized (most notoriously Syd Field) for the idea that behind successful movies (no matter what particular surface structuring), lies a forward-thrusting three-act formula; others (Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush in their Alternative Scriptwriting) have produced nuanced accounts of the variety of structures found in different types of screenplays (e.g., the cyclical) from the standpoint of how much time the film can take (the multi-episode form), its genre and/or its author’s gender. Yet it is still common to find analyses of films which compare imagined transfers of specific materials from the underlying or eponymous novel with the finished film without attending to this central prescriptive intermediary. I suggest studying the screenplay will lead to less impressionist film criticism. More studies of shooting scripts and screenplays might encourage the publication of screenplays and shooting scripts, with appropriate apparatuses and annotation.

I’ve assigned and read paperback editions of this book with classes — alongside Austen’s novel

Why the Austen films? I love them. A number of the Jane Austen films’ screenplays and shooting scripts have been published and the underlying materials of all of these naturally form a coherent body of work. Those wanting to attract an audience have hired or been script-writers and directors whose work is studied in its own right. One can therefore obtain scripts, scenarios (companion or “Making of” books), and useful practical commentary for a number of these films. All this because Austen herself is such a cult figure with a world-wide following. Beyond this, the Austen films have similar structures and perspectives: they use female narrators, and attempt to see experience from a woman’s perspective. Yet they are (for the student of film) literally usefully varied films: they come in many different genres, e.g., from Christmas movies to gothics to screwball comedy & family romance.

Alicia Silverstone as Cher in Amy Heckerling’s Clueless (one of two screwball romances made thus far, the previous the 1940 P&P)


by ellenandjim at September 13, 2014 12:42 AM

September 12, 2014

News from Anywhere

Morris, Books, and the Morgan Library & Museum: A Guest Post by Sheelagh Bevan.

Today, we're honored to have a guest post by the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator at the Morgan Library & Museum. Bevan shares with us a description of the Morgan's Morris holdings; some of her favorite items in the collection; and thoughts on Morris's techniques, collaborations, and legacy within the book world.

          I’m part of a three-person curatorial department at the Morgan Library & Museum under the leadership of John Bidwell. Together we take care of 85,000+ volumes of printed books—from Gutenberg’s 42-line bible to the most recent work by artist-typographer Russell Maret. The Morgan’s twin mission (library and museum) requires us to work to some degree with the entire history of print. As Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator, I work most closely with the modern end of the spectrum.
         When asked, art historians often cite Edouard Manet as a progenitor of modern art. Such a figure is more difficult to identify in our field because of competing histories of printing, paper, illustration processes, typography, and design—all connected, yet too numerous to neatly coincide. The reach and resonance of William Morris’s bibliographic achievements, his ideas about the book as an everyday object worthy of aesthetic attention, his tendency not to separate the meaning of art from its means of production, and his belief (devoid of metaphor) in the book as a work of art—these qualities make him perhaps the closest equivalent book history has to a Manet.

   The Morgan Library & Museum. Photo by Graham S. Haber
          The Morgan’s collection of William Morris includes preliminary drawings for a tapestry he designed with Edward Burne-Jones, designs for wall paper, stained glass, and bindings, pamphlets connected with the Socialist League, photographs, early literary manuscripts, and experiments with calligraphy. The strength of our collection, however, lies in the documentation of Morris’s ventures into printing, typography, and book design for the Kelmscott Press. These items include formative projects such as Cupid and Psyche, the first pages printed at the press, and presentation copies of major works (many of them printed on vellum) inscribed to key figures in his life and career. Trials, preliminary drawings, and proofs for typography, ornamental initials, and illustrations comprise an archaeological trove pertaining to his masterpiece, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1896).
Morris is identified with a rejection of mechanical processes but by studying his preparatory work on the Chaucer, one can trace how he achieved this handmade aesthetic with the aid of modern technologies. His type designs developed by studying, tracing, and copying photographic enlargements of fifteenth-century type, examples of which are in the collection. The Morgan’s platinum prints and proof impressions of every Burne-Jones drawing for the Chaucer were annotated by the artist and engraver, then traced and painted over in order to simplify them into wood-engraved images harmonious with Morris’s overall design. Some of my favorite material in the collection bears witness to this unique way of working in holograph statements by his collaborators, Emery Walker and Robert Catterson Smith—oft-quoted documents, worth reading in their entirety. Other favorites are books that serve as miniature archives in themselves, in which Morris or Sydney
   The Morgan Library & Museum. Photo by Graham S. Haber
Cockerell tipped in relevant letters, trials, proofs, and sketches of illustrations and initials. There are also unique scrapbooks of ornaments and initials, which Cockerell annotated and preserved, and the famous Edward Burne-Jones letter to Charles Eliot Norton, which reveals some of the contemporary resistance to Morris’s aesthetic. The original letter, with its dynamic and playful handwriting, amplifies the painter’s excitement about the book he likened to a “pocket cathedral” and explains how his visual style came to be shaped by Morris’s mastery of ornament.
Much of this material is drawn from John Crawford Jr.’s gift of Morrisiana in 1975—the impetus for Paul Needham’s exhibition and invaluable catalogue, William Morris and the Art of the Book. Another invaluable resource for the unique material in our holdings (and everyone else’s) is William S. Peterson’s Bibliography of the Kelmscott Press. In an exhibition I organized earlier this year, Medium as Muse, we were able to feature some of these items and their role in the revival of woodcut illustration and the development of the modern book.
          The collaborative nature of book production is important to emphasize to students. At the Morgan, this is documented vis-à-vis Morris through our extensive printed and manuscript holdings (hundreds of letters alone) relating to his influences and immediate circle—John Ruskin, Emery Walker, Edward Burne-Jones, Sydney Cockerell, Walter Crane, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, May Morris—and other contemporaneous bookmakers, such as Charles Ricketts, Charles Shannon, and Lucien Pissarro.
          Contextualizing William Morris also demands a look at the past. Kelmscott editions were among the few “contemporary” books that Pierpont Morgan acquired, but the early presence of Morris at the Morgan is most palpable in the 1902 acquisition of a large part of the artist’s private library of medieval manuscripts, incunabula, and early sixteenth-century books. Researchers can look at many of the specific copies and precise pages that inspired him and figured in his writings about the art of printing and illustration. His collection is also thought-provoking in terms of the changing relationships we have to books: he may have begun to collect in the conventional fashion of a 19th-century gentleman-bibliophile, but over time these examples of fine printing became nothing less than a working specimen library for a modern graphic designer—as utilitarian as his copy of Shaw’s Encyclopaedia of Ornament, also in the Morgan’s collection.

          The William Morris material and all our collections can be seen and studied in pre-arranged classes and in the Morgan’s Reading Room by application and appointment. Information on how to register and request an appointment can be found here. The Printed Books Department tries to accommodate special requests for classroom sessions and show-and-tells whenever possible. Please feel free to contact me with any questions related to our holdings and their potential value for students of book history, art, literature, and graphic design.

Sheelagh Bevan
Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator
Department of Printed Books & Bindings
The Morgan Library & Museum

by Clara Finley ( at September 12, 2014 07:26 PM

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • The Sister of Mercy: A Tale for the Times We Live In (Kessinger, 2010).  In a moment of desperation, I broke down and purchased this "scrape" from GoogleBooks--which is, of course, mysteriously unavailable on GoogleBooks, even though the original 1854 publication date would make it rather out of copyright.   I continue to be very interested in how this happens, precisely.   (eBay)
  • Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Knopf, 2014).  Experiences in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.  (Lift Bridge)
  • Lloyd Shepherd, Savage Magic (Simon & Schuster, 2014).  Third in Shepherd's series of historical-cum-Gothic detective novels featuring Constable Charles Horton, this time involving strange tales of witchcraft in early nineteenth-century England.  (Amazon UK)
  • John Harding, The Girl Who Couldn't Read (Blue Door, 2014).  Sequel to Harding's Turn of the Screw rewrite Florence & Giles, set this time in a late-nineteenth-century insane asylum.  (Amazon UK)
  • Emily Walker Heady, Victorian Conversion Narratives and Reading Communities (Ashgate, 2013).  Links the conversion narrative to other literary and biographical forms, especially the novel, and analyzes how several authors (expected and otherwise) self-reflexively explored the possibilities of such narratives.  (Review copy)


by Miriam Burstein at September 12, 2014 01:30 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rail to town by 9.30.

F.L. c alled. Went to see Mr. Fergusson till 12.


Came Foord’s men ― & took down the 3 Bookcases. ―

At 7.40. to E. Drummonds.


Home by 11.30[.]

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 12, 2014 08:00 AM


Find the Brontës at Coco Chanel's flat

Source: Luxuo
Some place in the big library of the sitting room on Coco Chanel Paris apartment are displayed some leather-bound editions of Brontë novels. Now you can try to locate them at the Saatchi Gallery in London where the apartment comes to life through the pictures of Sam Taylor-Johnson:
Second Floor: The Private Apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel12 September - 4 October 2014

A photographic exhibition by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Sam Taylor-Johnson's photographic exhibition 'Second Floor', will feature a series of 34 photographs capturing the private rooms of Mademoiselle Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris.
"Shooting at Coco Chanel's apartment was an unexpectedly absorbing experience," says Taylor-Johnson. "The essence of Chanel is firmly rooted there in all of her possessions and I truly believe that her spirit and soul still inhabits the second floor."
Starting from the hallowed mirrored staircase leading up to the apartment, the Turner Prize nominee has captured this intimate world, artfully immortalizing objects and furniture that were so treasured by Mademoiselle Chanel.
The photographs illustrate the numbers, patterns, colours and emblematic animals that are synonymous with Mademoiselle Chanel's creative vocabulary
From the white satin-covered bergère on which Chanel was photographed by Horst in 1937, the Coromandel lacquered screens, gilt Venetian mirrors, and walls stacked with leather bound editions including Shakespeare, Voltaire, Byron and Brontë, to the salon's rock-crystal chandeliers, which on closer inspection reveal the blossoming of camellias, not forgetting the number 5, the double C, and the initials G for Gabrielle and W for Westminster, every detail has been brought to the fore.
Mademoiselle Chanel surrounded herself with treasured objects, like crystal balls, pairs of animals - like terracotta camels, deers, and earthenware horses - and, of course, her majestic and symbolic gilded lions that represented her star sign Leo. These valued talismans co-exist with the more austere lines of natural materials and muted colours.
Mademoiselle's apartment provides an atmosphere, which, is both personal and mysterious and is a testament to her modern style. "The apartment is beautifully stylish. It feels like she had meticulously chosen every object, "says Sam Taylor-Johnson.
To accompany the exhibition, a book entitled ‘Second Floor’ published by 7L will be available to buy from Saatchi Store at Saatchi Gallery as well as other book stores. A limited edition box set of ten prints chosen by the artist will also be available.

by M. ( at September 12, 2014 01:03 AM

September 11, 2014


The key to the Parsonage

Keighley News reports that
Controversial plans to build a livestock building on a scenic spot outside Stanbury have been rejected.
Bradford Council planners refused the application for the new barn and access track at Ponden Kirk, Ponden Lane.
More than 50 objections were submitted in response to the proposals, arguing that it would destroy bird habitats and spoil the appearance of the landscape.
Objectors included the Brontë Society. Trustee Christine Went said: "This structure's excessive size and the materials from which it would be fabricated, would render it highly and inappropriately visible in a landscape valued for its literary and historical associations."
Also in the newspaper we find the story of James Aykroyd and the revival of Brontë Liqueur:
Sir James, who worked in senior roles with Buchanan’s whisky and Martini and Rossi and more recently stepped down as a shareholder and chairman of Speyside Distillers, said: “Back in 1928 my great-grandfather Sir James Roberts bought the Haworth village parsonage and gifted it to the Bronte Society.
“Today, that building is the Brontë Parsonage Museum and this is something our family is immensely proud of – I still hold the key to the parsonage's front door.”
And here you can see the actual key.

Vancouver's Straight talks about the work of the dancer Julianne Chapple:
It's hard not to notice dance artist Julianne Chapple’s work in a mixed program. At last year’s Dances for a Small Stage, she appeared like a broken-limbed ghost, swishing her hair in a transparent, spotlit bowl of water, splattering droplets as she flailed. Set to a creepy soundtrack of people remembering dreams about drowning, sea/unseen had a feel somewhere between a Japanese horror movie and Emily Brontë. (Janet Smith)
Bob Mims in The Salt Lake City Tribune is into a Brontë phase:
Seeing Utah’s floodwaters recede and storm clouds flee the midweek sunshine, Emily Brontë might have observed that "from the midst of cheerless gloom, I passed to bright unclouded day."
Rising from her 19th century writing desk, Emily might have asked equally literate sisters Charlotte and Anne to take a stroll along the Wasatch Front, where clear, sunny skies and balmy daytime temperatures in the mid-70s were forecast both Wednesday and Thursday.
The quote is from the 1846 poem A Little While, A Little While.

Somehow we suspected Sandra Gilbert (coauthor with Susan Gubar of the groundbreaking Madwoman at the Attic essay) liked Jane Eyre a bit. Times Higher Education interviews her:
As a child, Gilbert loved to read. “But I never considered myself especially scholarly. I adored kids’ books – The Bobbsey Twins series (who has heard of those today?), Nancy Drew, and, more grownup I guess, Little Women and Jane Eyre. My parents had ‘great expectations’ for me and nurtured my intellectual growth. When I was in high school, my father actually got me a subscription to The Partisan Review.”
Tonight, RAI 1 broadcast the first episode of Un'altra vita and many Italian websites talk about its alleged Jane Eyre affiliation:
Un’altra vita” / Vanessa Incontrada, un mistero come Jane Eyre (...)
 L’ispirazione a quanto pare proviene da Jane Eyre rivista e pensate in chiave romantica (staremo a vedere). (Casa & Mutui) (Translation)
Gli autori Ivan Cotroneo, Stefano Bises e Monica Rametta, gli stessi diUna grande famiglia, hanno descritto la fiction come un mix tra una Jane Eyre in chiave moderna e la serie tv statunitense The Good Wife. Inutile dire che come presentazione iniziale possiamo ritenerci soddisfatti e incuriositi già in partenza. (GossipeTV) (Translation)
Poi c'è una rilettura di Jane Eyre e del genere gotico, perché Liotti porta con sé un mistero. E poi, certo, c'è il melò. (Silvia Fumarola in La Repubblica) (Translation)
La storia ricalca quella di Jane Eyre e il moderno Rochester è l’avvocato tenebroso Antonio, intepretato da Daniele Liotti. E non solo, a detta degli sceneggiatori la storia è incentrata sui numerosi fatti di cronaca che vedono per protagonisti gli uomini senza contare che dietro ci sono spesso famiglie e donne ugualmente vittime. (Chiara Laganà on CineTivu) (Translation)
Tuổi Trẻ (Vietnam) interviews the writer Nguyen Thai Hai, who recommends books for young readers, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights:
Nếu phải gợi ý 5 loại sách nên đọc cho thiếu nhi, ông sẽ gợi ý gì?
Lớn lên một chút, các em có thể tìm đến những tác phẩm kinh điển hơn, ở tuổi trung học chẳng hạn. Học sinh trung học phổ thông cần phải đọc những tác phẩm có tính nền tảng như: Cuốn theo chiều gió, Jane Eyre, Đồi gió hú, Tiếng chim hót trong bụi mận gai, Chiếc lá cuối cùng ... hay các tác giả Việt Nam nổi tiếng: Nam Cao, Vũ Trọng Phụng, Thạch Lam... (Translation)
Daily Kos talks about orphans (and Heathcliff and Jane Eyre get a mention);  Inchoatia reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Reading at the Moonlight (in Spanish) reviews In the Footsteps of the Brontës by Ann Dinsdale and Mark Davis; Apenas Garotas (in Portuguese) posts about Jane Eyre; Dotted with Dots talks about several Jane Eyre adaptations; Outside of a Dog... reviews Jane, le Renard et Moi.

And finally a big thank you to the Brontë Sisters who celebrated our 9th anniversary.

by M. ( at September 11, 2014 06:12 PM

Can you handle the torrid sexuality of the Brontës?

The London Evening Standard makes the case for leaving Jane Austen alone after she has bee increasingly buried under a weight or modern looks.
I can’t think of any other author who’s been co-opted by the modern world quite like her. She’s everyone’s go-to author; a genius in her own day and branded and processed for our own. But the effect of the blanket coverage, the websites, the blogs, the spin-offs, has been to render her unreadable. [...]
First, you take on board that Jane Austen wasn’t one of us but a woman of her own time. Read the biography by Lord David Cecil, the best of the lot. She was an unaffected Anglican; she wasn’t a feminist; she didn’t give a toss about the inequality of the sexes; she was extraordinarily modest — “few so gifted were so unpretending,” said her nephew. So, really not 21st century at all.
Next, you go cold turkey. No Austen programmes, no films, no self-help books and, most importantly, no Austen novels at all. Take up the Brontës instead, if you can handle the torrid sexuality. Or Muriel Spark. Then, after a couple of years of strict abstinence, you can start, very gradually, to work backwards into the works, starting with the letters (very funny) and the juvenilia, and, after a year or two, the novels proper — beginning with the least popular, Mansfield Park, then Northanger Abbey, then Persuasion, followed by Sense and Sensibility. Then and only then can you go on to read Emma and finally Pride and Prejudice. (Melanie McDonagh)
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is indeed present in the Facebook meme of books that have stayed with you. But then again so is Jane Eyre, so quite a few people can and do handle the 'torrid sexuality'. According to Hypable,
Everyone has seen the popular Facebook meme in which your friends rattle off the ten books that have stayed with them. Now the social network has found a way to determine the top 100 books mentioned most in that meme.
The analysis was conducted using 130,000 status updates matching “10 books” or “ten books” appearing in the last two weeks of August 2014. Of the people posting, 63% were from the U.S. and women outnumbered men 3:1. The average age of those posting was 37.
The top twenty books do reflect more classic novels, however, the Harry Potter series leads the list with The Hunger Games series coming in at number seven.(...)
Top 20 books (...)
14. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë 5.23% (Jen Lamoureux)
The list can also be found on The Telegraph:
29 Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (3.26%)
Seattle Weekly News reminds us of the fact that playing Mr Rochester wasn't exactly a highlight of Errol Flynn's career.
Career on the skids, unable to remember his lines, performing some kind of Broadway abridgement of Jane Eyre, a bloated, alcoholic Errol Flynn wanders about the stage, reading from cue cards in the wings. It’s a brief scene, and not a little sad: Flynn, once so handsome and charismatic, is clearly not much of an actor (and he knows it). (Brian Miller)
This columnist from Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany) is reminded of a poem by Emily Brontë upon entering Tranquebar, a bookshop in Copenhagen.
Am glücklichsten bin ich, wenn am weitesten fort / Meine Seele ich trag aus ihrer irdischen Hülle, / In windiger Nacht, wenn der Mond mir strahlt / Und das Auge schweift durch Wellen des Lichts.“ Mit diesen Worten beginnt Emily Brontës Gedicht „I’m happiest when most away“. Es beschreibt sehr schön, was ich empfinde, sobald ich die Kopenhagener Buchhandlung „Tranquebar“ betrete. (Janne Teller) (Translation)
Apparently, the Brontës have inspired Thom Browne's Spring 2015 collection. As reported by Interview Magazine,
For his Spring 2015 collection Thom Browne looked to the Brontë sisters and Little Women: "Girls who love each other, but who are also fiercely competitive." Browne wrote his own fictional story about six sisters and explored what they enjoy doing in the summer months, namely gardening and playing tennis, as shown by the strong sportif elements and rainbow floral motifs embroidered on a mélange of silks and fine tweeds, some woven with grosgrain ribbon. In addition, Browne says, he was inspired by a certain "very American, very individual, and very iconic" mystery woman. [...]
Oh, and if all this idiosyncratic suit business full of funnies sounds familiar, it's because the mystery woman in question is the original Annie Hall, Diane Keaton, who did the honor of reading Browne's charming narrative. (Teddy Tinson)
The New Zealand Herald puts its readers at ease:
Charlotte Brontë probably died of it but these days hyperemesis gravidarum - the severe form of morning sickness experienced by the Duchess of Cambridge - is easily treatable. (Natalie Akoorie)

by Cristina ( at September 11, 2014 01:48 PM

Regency Ramble

Regency Fashion - September 1814

Here we have the rather unusual back view.  Nice that we get the full glory of the hairstyle in this one.

Evening Half-gown from Ackermann's Repository

A plain frock, with full drawn back, composed of striped sarsnet Italian net of peach-blossom colour; full flounce of blond lace, headed with tufts of the same; a quilling of blond round the top of the dress; long full sleeve of white satin, inlet with lace. 

Hair in short full curls behind, and blended with flowers on the front of the head. Slippers of white kid. Limerick gloves.

I really like the sleeves on this gown. I believe the clue to the colour is the fact that it tries to represent the idea of a net over the fabric of the dress, because to me it doesn't say peach-blossom.

Until next time.....

by Ann Lethbridge ( at September 11, 2014 12:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Most lovely day ― & enjoyed.

Walk at 8 ― μοναχῶς ― in the wood: ― then with the L.C. Breakfast & after that, a long walk with him, he riding. Much talk of the Bps ― Colenso & others. ― Lunch. Then shewed all Cretan drawings ― pleasure abundant. Later, with the L.C. & Emma P. & 2 children ― into the Park. Dinner.


Singing after ― till 10.30[.]


[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 11, 2014 08:00 AM


Bushes and Fame

Two (more or less) Brontë-related alerts for today, September 11:

In London:
Drink Shop Do (Kings Cross, London)
Night of a Thousand Bushes
£5: club ticket - 8pm onwards
£10: Wuthering Heights dance class and club entry - from 7pm

The Bushy one is back! To celebrate her string of dates at the Hammersmith Apollo, The Music Circle is throwing a night dedicated to Kate, with DJs, a photobooth, cocktail offers, a dance class before the club starts and a mass Wuthering Heights dance-off. Dress like your best (Kate) Bush in order to win prizes. The party is in aid of vulnerable women in the DRC, in association with Oxfam.

Kate Bush-inspired DJ sets from:
Gemma Cairney (Radio 1)
Jodie My Ex-Boyfriends’ Records
The Music Circle DJs
Plus special guests TBA
A dressing-up box and photobooth
'Baboozeka' cocktails
Mass Wuthering Heights dance-off
Prizes for the best Kate Bush outfit
In Madison, CT:
R.J. Julia Booksellers:
On Thursday, Sept. 11, journalist and essayist Daphne Merkin will discuss her new collection, "The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontës, and the Importance of Handbags (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27). Known for her profiles of famous writers, actors, sports legends and more, Merkin is a former staff writer for The New Yorker and a regular contributor to ELLE, as well as to The New York Times, Bookforum, Departures, Travel + Leisure, W, Vogue, and more. (Carole Goldberg in The Courant)

by M. ( at September 11, 2014 01:40 AM

Nine years of BrontëBlog

BrontëBlog back in 2005
Today marks the 9th anniversary of BrontëBlog. Nine years don't seem like so very much but years in technology should be measured perhaps differently, like dog years or some such thing. Let's take a look back at the technological context BrontëBlog was born into back in 2005: YouTube was founded in April (one month after the infamous Megaupload), Facebook was still only used in US universities and a few high schools. Twitter doesn't existed yet. There were not Iphones and Android has just been acquired by Google and no one knew what exactly it was about. Blackberry or Nokia were the mobiles. The USB flash drivers began to replace floppy disks on computers. No dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive... no cloud at all. In 2005 almost 40 % of internet users still used dial-up.

It was the year that New Orleans was hit by Katrina and the July 7th bombings in London. The year that the Huygens probe landed in Saturn's satellite Titan and also the year when the Catholic Church chose a new pope, Benedict XVI. And also the year when the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise was aired (ending 18 years of uninterrupted Trek on TV), BBC aired Bleak House and Brokeback Mountain was the film everybody talked about.

And in September of that year we decided to take a look at what and how the Brontës were doing in popular culture. Nine years later we can confidently say that they turned out to be doing fantastically well. We have said this before but we never cease to be amazed by the projects, inspiration and commentary they generate constantly. This blog publishes an average of two posts a day--not every day is filled with news of a new discovery, a new exhibition, a new book or a new adaptation, but at the very least each and every day the Brontës are mentioned by someone somewhere in the world, perhaps miles away from the world the Brontës knew and certainly decades after they died. Which, if you really stop to think about it, is amazing.

This nine years have been a labour of love but we can't boast of really having done it on our own: at some point or another we have had the help of individual readers and writers, authors, publishing houses, the Brontë Society itself. And there's always of course the readers and subscribers of this blog: here on Blogger and elsewhere in unexpected places back in 2005 such as Facebook or Twitter. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever stopped and read one of our posts with interest.

by M. ( at September 11, 2014 01:21 AM

September 10, 2014

The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 4.46.11 PM

One of the main ways that we organize Blake Archive works while encoding is through “line groups”, an element represented by <lg> in our BADs (Blake Archive Description). Here’s the formal definition from our documentation:

<lg>. This element identifies line groups–i.e., blocks of text on the object, such as stanzas or paragraphs. For verse, simply use <lg>, but for prose text (i.e., not poetry), use the type with value “prose”: e.g., <lg type=”prose”>.

As BAND has been preparing typographic works for publication, we have encountered a number of new transcription, display and encoding problems related to “secondary text” (discussed most recently by Eric here and Megan here) including one that questions the status of our beloved <lg>. So, riddle me this Ye Transcription Gods, if poetry is <lg> and prose  is <lg type=”prose”>, then what is text that is neither poetry nor prose? For example, most of our typographic works include a running header across the top of the page, how should we categorize that?

This is object 2 of a letter that Blake wrote to Hayley on 18 December 1804. The original is no longer in existence, so we have used photography from Alexander Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake (1880) in order to prepare our edition.

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 4.28.20 PM

One solution is to create a new value, such as “header” so that we can describe the text at the top of the page as fully as possible: after all one of the great advantages of using xml is being able to include detailed metadata in the BAD. Another option is another element described in our documentation as follows:

<texthead>. This element is used for plate numbers and other similar portions of text that are not part of the main transcription proper.

This could be a great choice for situations described in the example above, but how about more complicated works, like Blake’s heavily-revised, unfinished manuscript Vala or The Four Zoas? Here’s the top of Object 3, which includes three lines written in Greek above the title, “VALA“. These lines are certainly “not part of the main transcription proper” but I would argue have a different status from something like a plate number. And then what about “VALA” and “Night the First”? Do we describe them as some kind of line group? And wait, can a line group only have one line????

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 4.46.11 PM

This is the kind of thing we discuss ad infinitum. The next step is to post our question on blake-proj to see what the Blake Archive Editors and other team members think… We’ll let you know the outcome of that conversation in another post.

by Laura Whitebell at September 10, 2014 09:11 PM

The Cat's Meat Shop

The Cemetery that Never Was

George Carden, who laid claim to being the found of the General Cemetery Company, and originator of Kensal Green Cemetery, fell out with the company directors not long after the cemetery had opened. A little known fact is that he decided to open a rival venture, in what is now Holland Park - still semi-rural in the 1840s - just that little bit nearer to fashionable West London, to trump his former associates. The scheme never got off the ground, but this is the prospectus ... this is, broadly speaking, how the joint stock cemeteries of the 1830s and 1840s were touted. Note also that Carden even suggests he will attempt to build the (quite mad) scheme for a pyramid mausoleum that was still doing the rounds (Carden and its originator were in talks at one point). West London would have looked very different.


Public Meeting in Favour of the Scheme of The Great Western Cemetery, After the Plan of Pere La Chaise

Shares, £21 - Half Shares, 10 Guineas each.

An Exposé of the Scheme of ex-urban Burial will be made by the Found in the appropriated Ground,

Notting Hill, Bayswater, At the Two-mile Stone from Oxford Street

On Saturday, June 21, at Three o'Clock, And the Modelled Design will be again exhibited.

This scheme embraces a great public benefit, and, under proper management, offers expectations of a very profitable investment without risk. The site is nearly equi-distant from Piccadilly, up Church-street, Kensington, thus embracing on its upper and lower ranges, the extremely populous and most respectable neighbourhoods of Belgrave Square, Sloane Street, Brompton, Knightsbridge, and Kensington - also of the continuation of Oxford Street, Bayswater and Notting Hill. From the Bayswater-gate of Kensington Gardens, the distance is about ten minutes walk; and from London, through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, it is within the limits of a moderate ramble through the most delightful  part of the environs of the metropolis. The SITE COMPRISES 52 ACRES in extent in one ownership, available for such a purpose, which must surprise even those persons most intimately acquainted with the outskirts of London. One portion of the estate, "Norland Farm", is let to a farmer at a considerable rental. Another, comprising twelve acres and a half, is walled in; these were the grounds of Norland House, occupied, ten years ago, by H. Drummond Esq., until destroyed by fire. All around are lofty trees, many of which are of great beauty and size. There are also numerous woody plantations, gravel walks and shrubs. At the further extremities are two ancient mounds, most beautifully embellished by towering trees, forming arches groves of peculiar magnificence. At some future day, these spots may offer attractions of more than ordinary interest. On the right of the enclosure is, at present, an extensive enclosed garden; on the left, a wilderness of brushwood, and a long hedged-in footpath, bordered by an extensive range of various trees. The centre of the ground exhibits a lawn most beautiful to look upon, without any trees, and at the extremity is a double range of lofty poplars, through which, at the side entrance, the chapel will be visible in a most picturesque manner, when erected in nearly the centre of the ground. The celebrated Norland Well, within the grounds, must not be forgotten, so great was the depth required to be dug to gain the spring. It is concealed by a thicket near the entrance to the grounds, and is surrounded by five trees of very large girth. About the year 1756 its waters were in great celebrity. There are many other things of interest within the grounds. The spot is known by the name of Norlands. At either extremity along the Uxbridge Road, are in large letters on boards, "The Great Western Cemetery Company." The extent which already is enclosed is set forth in the Prospectus. In fine, it may be truly said of this site, that near the metropolis no fitter spot could be found for a mansion of rest, and that this cemetery will ere long become equal in appearance to THE FAR FAMED CEMETERY OF PERE LA CHAISE, NEAR PARIS.

The Mechanics Magazine Saturday April 12 says "we can hardly imagine a spot better fitted for an establishment of this kind than the ground selected for this new cemetery - indeed, we had no idea there was any thing so suitable WITHIN SO SHORT A DISTANCE OF TOWN."

Capital £31,500 in 1,500 shares of £21 each; Half shares 10 Guineas each


Charles Forbes Calland, Esq., 83 Upper Norton-st; The Rev. M'Donald Caunter, 13, Regent Street; Geo. F. Carden, Esq., 1 Mitre Court Building, Temple; Tipping Thomas Rigby, Esq., 12 Paper Buildings, Temple; Captain Geo. Webb Derenzy, Robert Street, Adelphi; Geo. Thoas. Williams, Esq., 51 Montague Square.
(Additional Names to be added from among Subscribers)

AUDITORS - Three (to be chosen at General Meeting from among the Subscribers)
SOLICITOR - John Hare Webb, Esq., 9, Gray's Inn Square
BANKERS - Messrs. Wright, Robinson and Co., Henrietta Street, Covent Garden

The price and conditions upon which the Company become entitled to the lad, declared to parties interested.

A portion of the ground intended to be consecrated, a part not, that the Cemetery may be used generally by the members of EVERY religious community.*

[*A Dissenter cannot by law officiate in consecrated, neither a Member of the Church of England in unconsecrated ground.
Speech of Lord ALTHORP, March 18, 1834 - "These (naming them), he believed, were all the grounds of complaint (no - no - burial in churchyards) he begged pardon, he had forgotten that, yes, the last point was that of burial in churchyards, without the ceremony of the Church of England. Now, he needed not to remind the House of the strong feeling which existed on this last point throughout the country. He hoped, therefore, that some plan, other than by legislative enactment, might be adopted which would have the MERIT of not interfering with that feeling."]

An Act of the Legislature is to be applied for.

The capital of the Company to be raised by shares of £21, and half shares of Ten Guineas each.

Holders of five shares, qualified to be Directors, Trustees or Auditors. Joint Holders of 100 shares qualified, at once, to nominate on their own behalf, one qualified Subscriber as a Director.

The Treasurer not to hold fewer than 50 shares.

Subscribers entitled to one vote for every share; at general or ordinary meetings, or among the Directors. Voting allowed by proxy given to a shareholder.

To guard against that grasping system of fraudulent mismanagement embraced in the terms, expensive extravagance to serve private interests, the prompter of this scheme has the advantage of 400 votes, so that with a moderate concurrence on the part of those who, bona fide, wish to see the plan executed, he can almost  venture to put forth a pledge that there is scarcely a hazard of the purpose being defeated; and this scheme is intended to be conducted as if it were the property of an individual.

The number of Directors, all honorary, 24; three to go out annually.

Three Directors a quorum; proceedings to be confirmed at a subsequent meeting.

The Treasurer, for the time being, by virtue of his office, to be a Director.

The following are the periods at which it is now requisite that subscriptions should be paid;-
At the time of subscribing - £5 per share, £2 10s per half share.
First Instalment on the 8th of August - £5 per share, £2 10s per half share.
Second Instalment on the 15th of January, 1835 - £5 per share, £2 10s per half share.
Third Instalment on the 15th of July - £3 per share, £1 10s per half share
Fourth Instalment (if needed) on the 15th of January, 1836 - £3 per share, £1 10s per half share.

But interest at the rate of £5 per cent. per annum will be added to each share paid up in full - and also upon deposits or instalments, from the time the monies are paid, until the whole of the shares are taken and the whole amounts due thereon equally paid up by each subscriber.


Persons desirous of procuring freehold sites for future use without being subscribers, or subjecting themselves to an expense, may treat for the same.

Persons desirous of promoting this scheme, whether individuals or corporations, by a present advance of capital, may have the right of granting free burial for such persons as the donors may please to select to the full extent of such donation.

Within a limited period, original subscribers may transfer a share in value £21, and become in lieu thereof entitled to a double grave, in perpetuity, to hold not fewer than ten coffins; and for half shares of 10 guineas each, in perpetuity, a single grave to hold not less than five coffins, without being at a limited time required to make a monumental structure. - The public will be at liberty to employ their own architects.

This NATIONAL work is intended to be further beautified by means of loans without interest, and, should it merit it, by PUBLIC DONATIONS. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem has been selected as an appropriate design for the exhibition of monumental sculpture, and will probably be a model for one of the funeral chapels. The distant boundaries (as exhibited in the model) afford very appropriate sites for alms-houses. Religious societies or charitable institutions desirous of erecting memorials or alms-houses will be readily and beneficially treated with.

The number of burials annually in London, exclusive of the burials in the extensive out-parishes of St. Pancras, Paddington and Marylebone, is upwards of FORTY THOUSAND, and the most casual observer can perceive how much new places of sepulture are required, in the visibly over-crowded state of all the Metropolitan Burial Grounds. IN London, sites for burial cannot be obtained. His Majesty's Commissioners for building New Churches, &c., found this to be the case. Armed with power and the resources of a government, they could not obtain sites whereon to build the new churches, until they had pledged themselves not to appropriate contiguous open spaces for burial. There seemed, indeed, to be GENERAL determination on the part of the landed proprietors TO RESIST THE CREATION OF NEW METROPOLITAN churchyards. During twelve years, up to the year 1824 inclusive, it was found that 333,000 bodies had been interred in London, exclusive of the burials in the parishes above named.

Shocked by the frequent excavation of burial-grounds, the time is not far distant when the thinking public will wholly discontinue to bury in London. The expense is enormous, the tenure precarious; and the consecrated sanctuaries of the dead cease to afford security for permanent repose. Within the last ten years seven or eight churchyards in this metropolis have been WHOLLY EXCAVATED,and as much churches demolished and the remains carted out without rite, or ceremony.

Some parishes have no burial-ground belonging to them, other parishes have only vaults for interment. The dead, when buried in vaults, should be secured in coffins of lead. This creates great additional expense. In upwards of fifty vaults of the metropolis, the dead were found to have been deposited in coffins of wood only!!! and many of the vaults were in immediate connexion with the church. A system more destructive of the public health can scarcely be imagined, and this owing to the want of new, approximate, and economical places of burial. It is not within the means of every one to use church vaults. Persons anxious to inter in another parish are subjected to pay as non-residents, TRIBLE the amount of fees payable by a parishioner; sometimes it is only double. For strangers, and even lodges, double or TREBLE fees are required, although the burial take place in the parish in which the party dies.

The friends, then, of every stranger, of every lodger, and also the Parishioners of parishes not having burial-ground of their own, would eagerly avail themselves of this ex-urban Cemetery.

SECURITY.  - In consequence of Mr. Warburton's Anatomy bill, the remains of the dead are not likely to be disturbed. None but medical practitioners licensed by Government can possess a corpse for dissection, and an account must be duly rendered to the Secretary of State, whence and how the body was obtained, and that the remains after dissection, have been properly interred. This project, then, has nothing to fear from the resurrectionist: his horrid trade is wisely destroyed, and this site will afford convenient opportunity for economical interment. Some practitioners pay hundreds of pounds yearly for burials!

EXPEDITION WITH ECONOMY - The shape of the ground is peculiarly advantageous for Economical Walling. Along the line of the Uxbridge Road, the frontage is about 2,500ft.; of which 1,750 ft. are already enclosed. The breadth in th rear of this is 1,450ft.; on the right 1,750ft. whereof 1,100ft. are also enclosed, and on the left 2,000 ft.

The contemplated arrangements can be so accomplished as to obtain the freehold of the Premises and complete Cemetery, at a cost not exceeding the fixed capital. The public will therefore be accommodated on a plan uniting utility and economy, with great profit to Subscribers.  Of the almost numberless wealthy families of this great metropolis, it is beyond a merely speculative statement that thus enabled, at hardly any cost, at a mere trifle, indeed, compared with existing charges for family vaults, that 1,500 families will, without delay, purchase freehold sites, each sufficient for ten burials, at the very small sum of £21. This alone wold be £31,500,* the whole amount of the capital necessary to purchase the estate, &c. &c. &c. and complete the Cemetery.

[* In consequece of the frequent excavation of burial grounds, and the crowded state of the public vaults, remains contained in lead will almost of necessity be removed into this new Cemetery. Taking the number upon a very moderate calculation to be only 5,000, in ten years, the account would be ...
5,000 removals if belonging to Subscribers at £2 each, 10,000 .... the public, if only at £3 each, 15,0000. But of these, 2000 would very probably belong to different families who would purchase sites at £21.
If Subscribers, the amount would be 42,000 = Total £52,000 ... the public, if only at £25 each, 50,000 = Total £65,000
Which return is wholly independent of the revenue from ordinary burials, sales of vaults &c.
There are now about ten Cemeteries established for country towns, upon the plan first promulgated in the year 1824 by Mr. G.F.Carden, founded of the General Cemetery Company, established by Act of Parliament. Of these, it may be interesting to state the progress made in the New General Cemetery, Liverpool, which was begun in the yer 1825.
Interments: 1825-6-7-8: 1,895; 1829: 743; 1830: 930; 1831: 1,277; 1832: 1,402; 1833: 1,505; total 7,752; besides 140 vaults and 1,102 family graves sold.]


The model, to which the public are invited upon presenting their cards, is now at the Company's offices, 13, Regent-street. It shoes the whole space of fifty-two acres as it will afterwards be approximated. One portion, containing twelve acres and a half, is already entirely enclosed, and most magnificently wooded. The principal entrance will be above the side centre of the grounds, by the roadway which at present exists, until the new roads at the back of Notting Hill are completed. From this entrance there is a sweeping avenue of trees, and a broad roadway running around the church, and terminating in the public road by Sheppard's Bush. The church, for the service of the Church of England, is built upon arches, which are the catacombs for the dead. The building is after the design of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which internally is admirably adapted for the display of full-length marble figures, on account of the niches with which internally is surrounded. About two thirds of the outer boundary of the whole has to be enclosed with a wall. The grand avenue of trees being formed, and catacombs under the church made, the church built, and this wall completed, the cemetery is finished for the public use; all of which, if the funds allow, will be completed during the present year. Fortunately for the speculators, the whole estate is brick earth; so that all the work of excavation will turn to account, and the soil be made, at the upper extremity, into brick, and every brick required for use can be made upon the estate. With this great advantage, and economical management, the subscribers will possess, first, a beautiful property of fifty-two acres, including numerous outbuildings, a farm, and buildings, and have all the works just named executed for the comparatively very trifling sum of £31,500. A large portion will remain unconsecrated, for the use of those dissenting from the Church of England; viz. one-half of the further outer boundary on the Uxbridge side, and a large piece internally, together also with a piece, one-half, of the present enclosed garden. There is a very sweet Gothic chapel for their especial use. As the estate is so extensive, and in order both to give a tonto the scheme, which will surpass every other, and comfortable security to relations and friends, all around are erected almshouses at shore distances from each other. The tenants of these being pensioners from corporations and other charitable societies, are a class of persons in whom confidence can be placed, and whose interests will secure good behaviour, in the little perquisites and rewards they will, no doubt, often obtain from visiters and the friends of those who inter there. Another arrangement generally strikes our fancy: the walks are so laid out, that plots of ground are at once visibly divided, and capable of being used wholly by the Catholics, the Jews, Quakers, or any other brotherhood, in case they should prefer doing so to having the use of the general ground set apart for the "Dissenters". There is another structure which we have yet to notice, a pyramidical form, capable of containing sixty thousand coffins. This is a range of layers, one above the other, decreasing gradually in size, and intended to be constructed out of the excavated soil in the cemetery, the overplus in making family vaults, when the future profits of the Company shall be sufficient to leave a surplus to create a building fund. Such an intent, considering the great value of building-ground, and that the cemetery of Pere la Chaise, 120 acres in extent, is now losing its beautiful shrubberies, by reason of the great use and fulness of the ground, is a work not of fancy, but of wise for-thought. Within three months pasts, for the reasons stated, an edict was issued in PAris, requiring super-structures to be made in Pere la Chaise. Considering, then, as the proprietors of the company set forth, "that on the burial of every stranger, of every lodger, and also of parishioners no having ground of their own, and of parties dying in extra-parochial places, double and even treble fees are now required", this Cemetery will be hailed as conferring a great public benefit; and considering that if only 1,500 families, at the trifling cost of £21 (instead of hundreds charged in some places) purchased their family vaults, capable of containing the remains of ten members, the sum would REIMBURSE the proprietors every shilling of outlay. With the advantages of situation and cheapness, there cannot be a doubt of the appoval and support of the public, and the consequent success of the Company.

The grounds, we had forgotten to say, are in every direction interspersed with walks, and tombs and monuments of elegant device, the handy-work of Mr. Day, the modeller. Ladies' Magazine and Museum, June 1834

[Since the above description, there have been added sundry elegant and tasteful arcades which will serve alike, when constructed, for use and shelter.]

Cunningham and Salmon, Printers, Crown-court, 72 Fleet-street.

by Lee Jackson ( at September 10, 2014 12:23 PM

The Curious World of Victorian Collecting

Call for papers

Curiosity 2.0: The Cabinet of Curiosities in Contemporary Art

16–17 January 2015, Castle Chapel, Royal Palace Dresden

 “No one wants to return to the deliberate chaos of the Kunstkammer as museums.”

Horst Bredekamp, The Lure of Antiquity, 1993

Since the 1990s there has been a more pronounced interest within contemporary art in exploring the Kunstkammer and the cabinet of curiosities as models; the lure of this theme continues unbroken among researchers, artists and curators. The interdisciplinary conference Curiosity 2.0 will seek an overview of current debates and of artistic and curatorial strategies. It is to be held in conjunction with the exhibition Mark Dion: The Academy of Things, which opens on 24 October 2014 and – marking the 250th anniversary of the Art Academy in Dresden – will stage the college’s collections as a contemporary cabinet of curiosities at the Octagon in the Lipsius Building. The show includes another two interventions: one in the permanent collection at the Albertinum and the other in the Green Vault, once the treasure chamber of the House of Wettin.

The term ‘cabinet of curiosities’ has become almost hackneyed in contemporary art criticism. This conference, therefore, will seek to delineate the concept more precisely and encourage some historical sensitivity. After all, not every idiosyncratic, chaotic or outlandish horde of objects is necessarily a cabinet of curiosities. But Curiosity 2.0 is not concerned with market-oriented self projections by the occasional contemporary collector hoping to acquire princely kudos with the aid of precious or obscene objects.

The aim, rather, is to explore links with things that accompany us in our everyday lives and to examine the interplay between our fascination with curiosities and the rise of the Internet. In this context, the Kunstkammer might be defined as a collective and deliberately amateur project, because in the digital era curiosity, inquiring minds and the thirst for knowledge cannot be tamed, amid the spawning of websites and the computerised collections of the cyberworld.

This contemporary version of the cabinet of curiosities is playful about things and the networks they form. It is a machine for alternative world views. A chamber of wonders allows us to put the primacy of rationality to one side and to focus on models of knowledge rooted in obsession or magic. Besides, the time has come for a critical examination of the Eurocentrism inherent in the field. What – in the light of postcolonial theories and a revision of the category ‘exotic’ – are the curiosities of the 21st century? Who are the freaks, what the monstrosities and where the mirabilia of the digital age? How do artists and curators attune historical vibrations to the present? How do things and materials relate to digital worlds? How does artistic research subvert the epistemologies of official order? What fuzzy fields emerge when these disciplines cross, and what are the politics, ideologies and dynamics of today’s Kunst- and Wunderkammer?

Presentations will be in German and English.

Please send a short abstract of about half a page to Deadline is the 15 October 2014.

Concept of the exhibition and conference: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Rübel, Academy of the Arts, Dresden, Dr. Petra Lange-Berndt, Department of History of Art, University College London

by Mary Addyman ( at September 10, 2014 12:05 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Annual George Eliot Conference    Saturday Nov 22, 2014    Timetable   09.30 – 10.00 Registration  10.00 – 10.10 Welcome: Barbara Hardy (Birkbeck) & Louise Lee (Roehampton)  10.10 – 10.40 […]

by Jo Taylor at September 10, 2014 09:44 AM

News from Anywhere

Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies

Lancelot and Guinevere (1873) by Julia Margaret Cameron,
 in the collection of the Delaware Art Museum

The University of Delaware Library and the Delaware Art Museum invite applications for the 2015 joint Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies. This one-month Fellowship is intended for scholars working on the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates. Up to $3,000 is available.

The Delaware Art Museum is home to the most important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the US. Assembled largely by Samuel Bancroft, Jr., the collection includes paintings, works on paper, decorative arts, manuscripts, and letters, and is augmented by the museum’s Helen Farr Sloan art library. With comprehensive holdings in books, periodicals, electronic resources, and microforms, the University of Delaware Library is a major resource for the study of literature and art. The Special Collections Department contains material related to the Pre-Raphaelites, who are also well-represented in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection of Victorian books, manuscripts, and artworks.

Application deadline: November 1, 2014.
More information here or write to:

Pre-Raphaelite Studies Fellowship Committee
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE 19806

by Clara Finley ( at September 10, 2014 10:43 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries



Worked but little at the Jánina, but that little, with a little better effect. Put the study to rights for moving down stairs ― (i.e. the bookcases on Monday.)

At 3.15 ― came to Rail, & to Basingstoke, where Gussy & Mrs. S. Bethell were at the Station; we waited for M. Parkyns but he did not come.


Evening very pleasant.

Bed at 11.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 10, 2014 08:00 AM


A garden and a bitter for Branwell Brontë

The Halifax Courier reports that Sowerby Bridge station is now featuring its Branwell Brontë connection.
Sowerby Bridge now has its very own Bronte Garden after 18 months of hard work and dedication by local volunteers.
The garden was an initiative of the Friends of Sowerby Bridge, with the aim of providing a haven of tranquility for station users and visitors alike, but also to build on the station’s Bronte connection.
After Branwell Brontë’s desire to join the Royal Academy of Art failed to materialise in 1836, he was appointed as Assistant Clerk-in-Charge- a position he held until March 1842.
And to further draw on this connection, the group also planted flowers referenced in the Brontë’s novels. [...]
Local brewery, Owenshaw Mill also brewed a special ‘Branwell Blonde’ bitter.
Yeah, Branwell's highlight of the day would have been that last one thing.

The Guardian's The Book Doctor wonders if children were 'nicer to each other in the old days'. Jane Eyre would of course argue that no, they weren't.
In Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, which was once considered a classic novel for adolescence, the orphaned Jane is teased mercilessly by her cruel cousin John Reed with whom she lives. When Jane retaliates her mean aunt terrifies her by locking her in the room in which her uncle died. A harsh punishment and one which causes Jane to faint from the horror of it. (Julia Eccleshare)
The New Indian Express also brings up the novel in an article 'Tracing the Paranormal Tales of the Heart'.
With a strong female readership as well as authorship, the gothic novels delivered on all counts of popular entertainment. Menacing and lofty structures, eerie winds whistling through underground tunnels, virtuous damsels fleeing in distress from profligate male characters, secret doors, hidden passageways, supernatural elements, prophecies, corruption, decay, madness and tragedy were the typical tropes that defined this type of fiction. While the regressive nature of punishment/rewards for the virtuous was highlighted in some books, the subversive and feminist content of others like Jane Eyre was also equally lauded. There were the shy and delicate heroines like Isabella in Walpole's classic whose character was etched as tragic suffering figure. She was: ‘the gentle maid, whose hapless tale’ was recounted in the ‘melancholy pages’ of the book. She was also the yelling, shrieking madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre who was appropriated by the 21st century critics as a beacon of female sexuality. (Diya Kohli)
The New Indian Express also recommends reading:
While almost any reading will improve your mind, in a world where there is too much to  do, you must be selective in the books you read. And so, I suggest you spend much of your time reading what Thoreau called The Heroic Books - those books that contain “the noblest recorded thoughts of man.”
Let your mind drink deeply from the works of the great philosophers, such as Epictetus and Confucius. Study the poems of the wisest poets, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickinson and John Keats, and the novels of Leo Tolstoy, Hermann Hesse and the Brontës. Read the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa. (Robin Sharma)
It has been announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child. The Duchess of Cambridge is again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and that always seems to gather a mention or two of Charlotte at least. From Parent Dish:
Jane Eyre author Charlotte Brontë died during pregnancy after suffering prolonged periods of nausea, and some biographers believe it was dehydration and malnutrition related to the condition that killed her. (Rebecca Gillie)
The Journal has a blunder with a male chauvinistic twist:
The campaign is the brainchild of Youth Training Academy managing director Rob Earnshaw, who has himself thrived in the creative world while remaining in his home region.
Originally a casting director, Earnshaw has been responsible for finding talent such as Matt Milne for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and James Howson for Andrew Arnold’s Wuthering Heights. (Robert Gibson)
Based on the novel of the same name by Emil Brontë, we suppose.

A reader of Stuff praises Wuthering Heights. Livraddict writes in French about Jane Eyre while Tom Ruffles discusses the 'fairy story elements' in the novel.

by Cristina ( at September 10, 2014 12:55 AM

September 09, 2014

The Little Professor

In which I repeat a suggestion about MLA funding

1.  I propose that doctoral-granting institutions should commit to providing full funding to attend the MLA for all of their students on the job market.

2.  I further propose that those institutions should do so until those students receive tenure-track positions or otherwise signal that they no longer wish funding.*

3.  Michael Berube has informed me that the MLA can't enforce anything.  However, the MLA can certainly maintain a freely-available database (i.e., one not behind a members-only paywall) that would make such information available.

4.  I propose that departments that refuse to provide such funding should be asked to justify their position, and that their explanation should be included in the database.**

5.  I propose that any national rankings of departments should take into account whether or not this funding is available.  

6.  Finally, I propose (and do not claim that this is original to myself) that the MLA should cease to be a hiring convention.  

*--This would no doubt require departments to set aside a pool of money specifically for this purpose.  

**--Strictly speaking, if the answer is "we cannot afford it," then the proper response should be "then reduce your intake until you can."  However, nobody is going to enforce that, unless accreditors decide to make a stand.  

by Miriam Burstein at September 09, 2014 10:52 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Alice Themed Events at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT is planning a series of Alice-themed children’s events throughout the month of October, including Alice crafts every Sunday, a Queen of Hearts baking contest, and a workshop on how to play croquet.  Visit this page for details.

by Matt at September 09, 2014 04:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray ―

Passed the day mostly in clearing out my Bookcases, ― & at times, in experimentalizing over the Jánina. Wade-Browne called. The C. Musters ― & Lady Goldsmid sent me game ― wh. I sent to the D. Wyatts, & F. Coombe.

At 6 to I. Bergmanns.


Kind people ― but the dinner & evening a dreadful bore, & I, being unable to hide, showed that I felt it so, wh. vexed me. Walked partly back with Mr. Baker.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 09, 2014 08:00 AM


Charlotte's Secret Diaries in Portuguese

Syrie James's The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë has been translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil:
Os diários secretos de Charlotte Brontë
Syrie James
Translator: Flávia Neves
ISBN: 9788501088604
Editora: Record


Levando uma vida reclusa no interior da Inglaterra com as irmãs Emily e Anne, o irmão viciado em drogas e um pai excêntrico à beira da cegueira, Charlotte Brontë sonha com uma história de amor tão ardente quanto as que cria na ficção. Mesmo sendo uma pessoa pobre, comum e sem amigos influentes, o lado impetuoso de Charlotte Brontë foi revelado nos livros que escreveu, como o famoso Jane Eyre, mas é nas páginas de seu diário que ela expõe seus sentimentos e desejos mais profundos. E também a verdade sobre sua vida, seus triunfos e decepções, a família, a inspiração para toda a sua obra, a paixão secreta e escandalosa por um homem que nunca poderia ser seu e o relacionamento intenso e dramático com o homem que aprendeu a amar: o enigmático Bell Nicholls.

Os diários secretos de Charlotte Brontë é fruto de pesquisas extensas e mistura ficção com fatos históricos enquanto explora o coração apaixonado e a alma inquieta de Charlotte Brontë.
(Via Leituras Brontëanas)

by M. ( at September 09, 2014 01:27 AM

A rather Gothic imagination and a Renaissance blunder

Author Kate Mosse writes about the landscape of her imagination for The Independent.
In summer, lying on my back in the long grass and imagining myself Catherine Earnshaw in the harsh Yorkshire Moors between the Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
I had a rather Gothic imagination, even then.
The blunder of the day comes from We-News (Italy) where a review of Karin Slaughter's Kisscut claims that,
Per quanto riguarda le sue letture preferisce la letteratura del Rinascimento, del calibro di Emily Brontë e Edmund Spenser; e uno scrittore georgiano del 20° secolo, Flannery O'Connor. (Lucia Raso)
Then again, the original, word-for-word blunder seems to come from the Georgia Center for the Book:
And she admits that when it comes to her own reading, she prefers Renaissance literature, the likes of Emily Brontë and Edmund Spenser, and a 20th century Georgia writer, Flannery O'Connor.
The Brontë Parsonage Blog has a post on a Brussels Brontë Group member's trip to Patrick Brontë's homeland. Kawagishi writes about a trip to Haworth. Writergurlny continues her Brontë posts with one on Wuthering Heights: Wild and Wanton Edition.

by Cristina ( at September 09, 2014 01:15 AM

September 08, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Regency Ramble

Montacute House Continued

Our last view of the inside of the house.

 True to its medieval roots the house retains the screen, the wall that separated  the servants preparing the meals and those dining.

We saw it from the other side.
 Opposite the screen was once a smaller buttery with a cellar below it and a passaage on the west side which would have linked the Hall with the kitchen.  This is where the butler would have dispensed the beer and wine. During the Regency it became a Common Parlour, and much later enlarged into the dining room we see today.

Five of the chairs at the dining room table are Cromwellian "farthingale" chairs with leather seats and backs.
The fireplace dates from the renovations done in the Regency era.

Next time we will take a wander in the grounds and  have a closer look at the oriole window mentioned earlier.

Until next time....

by Ann Lethbridge ( at September 08, 2014 12:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Dickens Day 2014: Dickens and Conviviality Saturday 11 October 2014 Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet St., London, WC1E 7HU Dickens Day, now in its 28th year, is looking […]

by Nicole Bush at September 08, 2014 08:03 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray ― fine ―― a shower ot two at 5 or 6.

Worked at the dreadful Jánina, ― not going back apparently, & possibly advancing somewhat. Took ou the books of Bookcase No. 1.

Mrs. Robinson & Miss Louis came ― &, I, not going out dined there at 8.


Drew Carlo, ― & home by 11.30.

Really a No. 1. people are these.

Letter from E. Baring ― to whom I wrote.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 08, 2014 08:00 AM

The Cat's Meat Shop

Sanitising History

Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' today (8/9/14) was by Rev Professor David Wilkinson, about ebola. You may want to listen to it yourself. [link here]

Wilkinson starts his talk by noting that the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres has criticised the 'lock down' planned in Sierra Leone, on the grounds that it will undermine trust and drive down notifications of the disease. Wilkinson agrees; and he makes - I assume very valid -  points about the failure of the existing market-driven system to produce a vaccine before this vast outbreak; and the need, in future, for partnerships between pharmaceutical companies, government and local health providers. He finishes with "As a Christian I want to join with many other voices in highlighting that in this we need a common concern and action for the poor."

All excellent; but Professor Wilkinson sandwiches a historical homily between these thoughts.

History, of course, must offer countless parallels. We might look, for instance, at cholera coming to England in 1831/32 - an equally terrifying plague and, at the time, infinity more unknowable than ebola is today. The Central Board of Health - the government's medical advisors - toyed with the idea of internal quarantine  but decided it was impracticable  - and, of course, an affront to the much-vaunted personal freedoms of the English. Do the inhabitants of Sierra Leone feel any different about being trapped in their homes?

Professor Wilkinson, however, refers  back to John Snow's famous epidemiological studies of cholera in the 1850s.

Here's what he says:
On this day, 160 years ago on the instruction of Dr John Snow, the handle of the pump on Broad Street in Soho was removed. Snow had argued that its water was the source of an outbreak of cholera that had killed over 500. This was not an easy argument to win. Christian reformer, the Earl of Shaftesbury had for some time failed to persuade the authorities that improving sanitation would minimise cholera outbreaks. Opponents objected to the cost, but also were convinced that cholera was caused by miasma, a mysterious kind of ‘bad air’.

 By careful investigation and plotting the locations of deaths, Snow was able to argue that the disease was spread by germs and the outbreak originated from raw sewage that had contaminated the pump water. But Snow did not do this alone. Henry Whitehead, an evangelical Anglican curate, lived in the impoverished area of the city, and although initially sceptical of Snow, through meticulous research became one of his most vocal and influential supporters in arguing for germ theory and action in the light of it. His faith motivated his sympathy for the poor, his commitment to live with them and led him to oppose the view that cholera was simply a consequence of laziness which led to poverty. Snow and Whitehead’s partnership gave birth to the science of epidemiology and significant improvements in public housing and sanitation.
The point seems to be that a combination of clear-thinking science (Snow) and Christian charity (exemplified by Shaftesbury and Whitehead) ultimately reformed public housing and sanitation.

No-one but a lunatic would deny that Christianity was a major driving force in Victorian social reform - perhaps the driving force - but the above story is just plain wrong.

I'll explain why:

1.  Shaftesbury, a devout Christian, was a leading 'sanitarian' and social reformer. He was also, famously, a devout miasmatist. Here he is speaking in *1859* ...

"Filth and miasma will, in some form or other, accomplish their work, and, like evil spirits, anxious only for destruction, if they cannot exstinguish the physical, will corrupt the moral life of many generations ..."

In other words, Snow's epidemiological proof of cholera - widely ridiculed and ignored in the 1850s - had little or nothing to do with Shaftesbury's already long-standing interest in sanitation, housing and social reform.

2. "Opponents objected to the cost, but also were convinced that cholera was caused by miasma" ... Yes, cost was a major concern in sanitary reform. For example, there was great unwillingness on the part of central government to foot the bill for sewer schemes in London, which had been on the drawing-board since the late-1840s. But almost everyone, on all sides of the debate, was a miasmatist.

Edwin Chadwick, the civil servant who had carved his own niche in the running of the country by describing the insanitary hell of its great towns and cities, was the great proponent of miasmatic theory. Shaftesbury was one of his great supporters. By the 1850s, miasmatic theory was everywhere, not the preserve of opponents to social improvement. Indeed, quite the opposite, the ardent proponents of improved sanitation were all miasmatists.

3. The claim that Snow and Whitehead's work ultimately drove change is just wrong, except in the longest possible of historical long lenses. Every major sanitary reform that actually took place in Victorian London - sewerage, parochial cemeteries, model housing - had its basis in Chadwick and Shaftesbury's sanitary agitation of the 1840s. And their great article of faith was - you guessed it - that bad air caused disease. Chadwick, moreover, was not a great man of faith - rather, a ruthless Benthamite utilitarian, also remembered for the cruel calculus of the New Poor Law.

It's fascinating how Snow's genius has made him a latter-day saint of rational scientific inquiry - and much deserved. But we need to remember that he had little actual impact on the health of the metropolis. I certainly do not wish to diminish the importance of religious faith to the sanitary reform movement - it's absolutely crucial - but the notion that a marvellous alliance of enlightened scientists and Christians improved Victorian London is simply erroneous. There was a good deal of trial, error and dismal failure; and almost universal belief in 'miasma' persisted throughout the century. Moreover, there was many a dedicated church-goer who explicitly objected to helping the poor with better housing or drains; others, tacitly, had a nice row or two of slum properties from which they collected a modest rent.

Apologies for the rant, but these are not obscure facts - so let's remember them.

by Lee Jackson ( at September 08, 2014 05:39 AM


Wuthering Heights Live(s)

New live Wuthering Heights performances.  Kate Bush doesn't sing it in her current tour but there are plenty of other performers to choose from:

 (live @ the Standard Rooftop 8/26/14)
Kate Bush Tribute Band
Comedian Lucy Benson-Brown
with FiiL Club at the Edinburgh Festival
live @Waggonhalle Marburg 2013

by M. ( at September 08, 2014 01:21 AM

September 07, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The Floating Academy


I’ve attended the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada’s annual conference countless times since I was a Masters student at the University of Victoria fifteen years ago (that number is disgusting to look at, but it’s true). Something about the smaller size of the conference and its intellectually generous and supportive participants always brings me […]

by Daniel Martin at September 07, 2014 07:25 PM


Mapp, Lucia and Charlotte

The Telegraph devotes an article to E.F. Benson, in particular to his Mapp & Lucia novels (this autumn ITV will premiere a new adaptation):
He also wrote biographies, including a 1932 life of Charlotte Brontë; it is richly perceptive, although its Victorian style is scarcely recognisable as that of the great chronicler of Tilling. But then Charlotte Brontë is not a subject for satire. Tilling is. (Laura Thompson)
His biography can be read here. It was one of the first to put, in Lucasta Miller's words, Charlotte-as-a-bitch on the map as Mr Benson was very hard on Charlotte and her 'hard-heartedness' which, in his opinion, caused Emily and Branwell much suffering.

Todmorden News tells the story of a local author and his new book:
His latest work is Border Roses, which he hopes will appeal to readers of both counties - the border once ran through the middle of Todmorden and the curious position of Todmorden being a Yorkshire town with close links to Lancashire sparked his imagination.
The book is a descriptive tour in rhyme of some very popular stately homes and historic places to visit on both sides of the border, including Towneley Hall near Burnley, the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, Clitheroe Castle and Shiden Hall at Halifax, to mention just a few.
The Denver Post reviews The Language of Houses by Alison Lurie:
Not surprisingly, there's a literary bent to her latest undertaking, with allusions to the work of Charlotte Brontë, Tom Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Lewis, whose decision to rent a seven-bedroom, $13,000-a-month New Orleans mansion at the height of the real estate boom gave him personal insight into the American penchant for overspending on a dream home. (Eric Wills)
YES! Magazine discusses ways to bring more empathy to your Internet experience. Like joining a book club:
According to a recent study, people who read fiction tend to have a greater ability to empathize. This may have to do with readers' skill at understanding characters' thoughts and feelings. Whether it's Twilight or Jane Eyre, works of fiction require this ability—granted, some more deeply than others. (Liz Pleasant)
Western Gazette talks about the ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights performances next week in Somerset; Radio Times announces the screening of Jane Eyre 1997 tomorrow on ITV3 (10.50 AM); Wuthering Heights gets a mention in a Sunday Times article about the upcoming exhibition Wp Wp Wp by Fiona Banner at the Yorskhire Sculpture Park; Billy Barrett reviews the Peter MacMaster's approach to Wuthering Heights; Chalemme (in Italian) reviews Emily Brontë's novel.

by M. ( at September 07, 2014 01:45 PM

Free Bertha Rochester protest rally

The Morley Observer & Advertiser announces that the following will take plce at the upcoming Morley Literature Festival (October 6):
A Brontë-themed lunch will take place at the Village Hotel, Tingley, complete with a three course lunch. (James Carney
The Seattle Times reviews the new Madame Bovary film version by Sophie Barthes, recently screened at the TIFF:
Barthes’ vision is a traditional one (though a fair bit of plot is trimmed, to make the film a tidy two hours), with Mia Wasikowska in the title role, and it looks gorgeous — wet green fields, candlelit interiors, ravishing gowns that seem to plaintively illustrate how desperately Emma wants to be surrounded by beauty. Though Wasikowska’s beginning to make a specialty of nineteenth-century literary films (i.e. “Jane Eyre”), her Emma here is no Brontë heroine; she’s petulant, flat-voiced, and intriguingly guarded. (Moira MacDonald)
Janet Quin-Harkin, author of the Heartbreak Café series, reminds us of the origins of the modern YA genre in The Guardian:
Then around 1980 publishers in the USA had a bright idea. They began publishing paperback series, aimed at teenagers, mostly girls. These were books about other teens, like themselves. About ordinary girls, problems with which every teen could identify, romances every teen believed could be possible… and usually happy endings (although most of us do like a good cry too). Some of the books were funny, some were sad, just like real life.
What this meant was that for the first time the reader was the consumer. Teens could let publishers know what they wanted to read. Every teen had enough money to buy the books for about the same price as a movie ticket, and they bought them in hundreds of thousands.
Of course some teachers and librarians complained that they weren't Jane Eyre. So what?
Some of them were well written AND it meant that teens who would not have been readers were devouring books. It was rather like the Harry Potter phenomenon when every child was suddenly reading 700 page books.
The Asian Age interviews the actress Sonam Kapoor:
No matter how many modern authors I read I can never not re-read the Brontë sisters or Gone With The Wind, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens… these are works you can keep going back to. And if you ask me as an actor, reading gives me so much. These are all such different stories and characters from different times saying and representing different things. For example, I read Gone Girl a couple of years back and although it was the most amazing pulp fiction I had read in years, it made me question what love is really like. I was horrified at what people can do to each other. And then I decided on a whim to read Jane Eyre again and discovered romance all over again!” (Nandini D. Tripathy)
The Huffington Post reviews the play The Wayside Motor Inn by A.R. Gurney:
They are followed by Phil and Sally, two undergrads who are splurging on a motel room for a night of uninterrupted sex. Phil has brought The Joy of Sex and some marijuana; Sally has brought Jane Eyre and refuses the joint. The last person to check in is Andy, a doctor who has recently taken a new job in Pennsylvania and is being divorced by his wife Ruth who did not want to uproot their school-age children and move from Boston with him. (Wilborn Hampton)
The Guardian reviews In Search of Solace by Emily Mackie:
This is the Pauper's Inn, and within lurks Fat Sal, proprietress, talking about love and Wuthering Heights with her young employee, Lucy. She leaps before us almost too vividly, a terrifying mixture of appetite and comfort, for Mackie's nouns are choice, her verbs springy, and we are always in the present tense: "Sal's lips are wrapped round her sandwich, her teeth tearing another bite of bacon. As she pulls away, a gloop of ketchup is left in the corner of her mouth. She wipes it with a finger and pops the finger between her lips. 'Romantic?' she suggests. Her mouth is full yet she pushes the word out." (Kate Clanchy)
Financial Times reviews the novel He Wants by Alison Moore:
The plot (well, sort-of plot) turns on the reappearance in Lewis’s life of a bad-boy (well, sort-of bad-boy) school contemporary called Sydney (“like the capital of Australia”; “Sydney’s not the capital of Australia”). Sydney – grey-stubbled, skinny, shifty – is no sort of Heathcliff but he has come to represent a freedom that Lewis still covets; a freedom itself now framed not by the possibility of roads to be taken but by regret at those it’s too late to take. (Sam Leith)
The Daily Telegraph (Australia) talks about the Get Caught Reading campaign:
Reading, to me, is the most magical means of escape from life available to us. Forget movies, TV, internet shopping — losing yourself in a good novel is still the most effective way of shedding life’s worries.
Feel a little lovelorn? Dive into Pride and Prejudice, or devour Wuthering Heights, depending on whether you’re the kind of girl who wants a good or thoroughly bad lover. (Kerry Parnell
More campaigns or challenges. Dawn (Pakistan) talks about the 10-book challenge:
The challenge itself was deceptively straightforward: nominate friends to compile a list of ten books that had sustained a long-term effect on them. The nominee in turn was expected to nominate another ten friends from their list and so it continued – an excellent idea indeed, and I personally extracted tremendous enjoyment out of scanning the lists of many people.
Alarm bells, however, started to ring when in many cases I struggled to find a single non-white, non-British writer on the 10-book list. The usual suspects, ranging widely over the centuries, were pervasive: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, William Shakespeare, Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy topped the charts as it were. (Dr Gohar Karim Khan)
Kit O'Connell's Cartoon Friday Watercooler recommends the Cartoon Hangover short, Blackford Manor:
A bit of playful, gothic horror for you tonight! I enjoyed this short film’s silly send-up of all those Brontë-esque tropes.
But what we really loved it was the caption of one of the picture:
Free Bertha Rochester protest rally outside the East Wing.
The Globe and Mail interviews the writer Eliza Robertson:
What agreed-upon classic do you despise?
I have never read anything by Jane Austen, so I don’t despise Pride and Prejudice, but I do think that gap on my shelf is notable. I generally dislike Victorian novels. I find them rangy and overwritten. But Wuthering Heights really shook me, so perhaps I haven’t given them their due. Generally, I prefer contemporary work.
And The Sun publishes an interview with Alice Munro:
What is important to you when you tell a story?
Well, obviously, in those early days, the important thing was the happy ending –I did not tolerate unhappy endings, for my heroines, anyway. And later on, I began to read things like Wuthering Heights, and very very unhappy endings would take place, so I changed my ideas completely and went in for the tragic, which I enjoyed.
Dcist has a funny story overheard at D.C.:
On a Red Line train toward Glenmont:
An elderly, vibrant, redheaded woman is dressed in exotic clothes and jewelry that suggest she is a world traveler. A father gets on the subway car with his son, who appears to be about four-years-old. The cheerful little boy is chatting with his dad and then starts a conversation with the woman.
Boy: "What is your name?"
Woman: "Jane."
Boy: "Why do you have a boy's name like James?"
Woman: "No, it's Jane. Like Jane Austen or Jane Eyre."
Boy gives a blank look.
Woman: "Like Jane in the marvelous Tarzan books written by Burroughs!"
Four-year-old boy continues to give the blank look.
Woman to father: "Good heavens! Don't children read books anymore?" (Andrew Wiseman)
Zimbabwe Independent (Zimbabwe) visited Angus, Scotland:
Barrie’s home is open to the public as a museum and there’s a splendid little general museum with helpful staff. A Peter Pan statue is prominent in the market square and, although a local pub is called the (Captain) Hook Hotel, the town doesn’t go over the top about its most famous son. Peter Pan-ism isn’t in your face constantly like, say, the Brontë sisters are at Haworth, Yorkshire or the orgy of Flopsy Bunny-ism found at Beatrix Potter’s former home village in Cumbria. (Dusty Miller)
Blogtaormina (Italy) has been to Haworth:
Libertà dal maschilismo patriarcale, emancipazione e consapevolezza del proprio ruolo, questo è il messaggio che resta impresso, leggendo i romanzi delle sorelle Brontë. Una letteratura che già allora ebbe notevole consenso di pubblico e che ancora oggi, esercita tutto il suo fascino, considerate anche le numerose trasposizioni cinematografiche che ne sono state fatte. Una letteratura evocativa che spinge gli appassionati a fare pellegrinaggi in quei luoghi. Lo Yorkshire, la brughiera, sono l’ispirazione e la scena dei romanzi, con il piccolo borgo di Haworth, immerso nelle vastità dell’Inghilterra settentrionale, vicino alle cittadine di Halifax e Bradford. Qui trascorsero l’esistenza, sostenute dalla loro fervida immaginazione, le sorelle Emily, Charlotte e Anne. Circondate da un paesaggio selvaggio e isolate dal resto del mondo ma con il sostegno della lettura e della scrittura; libere di varcare qualsiasi tipo di confine ma trasfondendo nelle loro opere, quelle atmosfere e quei paesaggi. (Read more) (Lisa Machis) (Translation)
Rheinische Post (Germany) talks about the German translation of Astrid Lindgren's The Six Bullerby Children (aka The Children of Noisy Village):
Das Buch heißt "Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü", und der Ort, an dem seine Geschichten spielen, gehört zu den großen Sehnsuchtslandschaften. Er liegt auf der imaginären Karte der Weltliteratur gleich neben Marcel Prousts Combray und dem magischen Gondal der Geschwister Brontë. (Phillipp Holstein) (Translation)
Origo (Hungary) discusses the evolution of the Hungarian curriculum:
Pedig a világban történt egy és más az elmúlt 36 évben. Ki hinné, hogy a mai, sokak számára megkérdőjelezhetetlen kánon az 1978-as oktatási reformnak köszönhető? Akkor a Poszler György vezette irodalmi csoport rést ütött a magyartanítás ideológiai szemléletén, és olyan, korábban mellőzött nagys(Scheer Katalin) (Translation)
ágokat emelt be a tantervbe, mint Dosztojevszkij, Bulgakov, Stendhal, Flaubert, Dickens vagy Brontë.
Keighley News reports the Microsoft Pro Surface 3 Brontë Sisters portrait by James Mylne that was in the news a few days ago. La mesilla de noche (in Spanish) and Quite as a Mouse review Jane Eyre. Writergurlny does the same with Wuthering Heights.

EDIT: Finally, an alert from Tucumán, Argentina. The opera-rock Cumbres Borrascosas by Hernán Espinosa will be performed tonight (22.00hrs, Centro Cultural Virla) as a part of the II Jornadas Nacionales de Teatro Argentino.

by M. ( at September 07, 2014 12:50 PM

Dutch Jane

A new Jane Eyre Dutch translation just published:
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep
Translated by Babet Mossel
ISBN: 978 90 253 0245 0

Jane Eyre is het levensverhaal van een moedige jonge vrouw. Als ouderloze baby belandt ze bij haar tante, die haar haat en op tienjarige leeftijd naar een weeshuis stuurt. Op haar achttiende vindt ze een betrekking als gouvernante op het landgoed Thornfield. Daar ontluikt een grote liefde tussen haar en haar grillige werkgever, Edward Rochester. Hun idylle wordt gedwarsboomd door de onthulling van Rochesters duistere geheim. Jane vlucht, verscheurd tussen haar gevoel en haar geweten...

‘De schrijfster houdt ons bij de hand, drijft ons voort over haar weg, dwingt ons te zien wat zij ziet, laat ons geen moment alleen en staat ons geen moment toe haar te vergeten. Aan het eind zijn we tot op het bot doordrongen van het genie, de heftigheid, de verontwaardiging van Charlotte Brontë.’ Virginia Woolf
A review of this edition can be found on

by M. ( at September 07, 2014 11:54 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries



A hapless day of bad sight, & general incapacity.

Worked at the Janina ― painting out the mountains, & getting the whole picture into an apparently lost condition. At 1. came the angelic Emma Parkyns: ― what a child! Yet she seems far from well ― & naturally ― having had 7 infants in such space of time as 8 years. But Manny & she are happy ― if any one couple is so ―I must go to Hackwood on Saturday.

Finding I could not work, I went at 4. to the Zoological Gardens ― returning at 7. to dine.

Mrs. Robinson had called ― & there was a letter from Jane H. Hunt ― the Costers had written on their voyage out.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 07, 2014 08:00 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Frits Thaulow (Norwegian, 1847-1906), Odds and ends

 photo FritsThaulow1847-1906byanoldrectory1889.jpg
An Old Rectory, 1899

 photo Fritsthaulowalex.jpg
Alexandra Thaulow with Ingrid, 1895

 photo fritsthaulowinteriorwithchildren.jpg
Interior with Children

 photo fritsthaulowholl.jpg
Thaulow is best known for his skill in portraying the surface of water under different conditions, so we had to have a painting that shows that, more examples here:

 photo SummereveningbyFritsThaulow.jpg

September 07, 2014 06:54 AM

The Little Professor

A Fair Emigrant

Unlike most of the Victorian fiction I discuss on this blog, Rosa Mulholland, Lady Gilbert's A Fair Emigrant (1888) is not overtly "religious" in a didactic or even dogmatic sense.  Although Mulholland (whose sister Clara was also a successful novelist) was Catholic and frequently wrote explicitly Catholic fiction, few characters in this novel express any sort of religious belief; its heroine and hero appear to be nominal Protestants; and onstage conversions (to anything) are in short supply.   (And, unlike most of the novels I write about, it was well-received by mainstream critics at the time.)   In that sense, this is clearly a "crossover" novel, aimed at readers interested in its joint American and especially Irish themes, not readers seeking religiously correct moral uplift.  At the same time, the novel's narrative unfolds in a way that hints at divine providence in action.  The religion, in other words, is there if you choose to look for it.

A Fair Emigrant mixes and matches genres at leisure: the main plot derives from sensation fiction, liberally seasoned with romance, social fiction, and the national tale.  Our heroine, Bawn Desmond, is the American daughter of an Irish emigrant, Arthur Desmond, who left his native land after being falsely accused of murdering his rival in love, Roderick Fingall.  After Arthur's death, Bawn inherits both Arthur's money and his exculpatory narrative, and she determines to go to Ireland in order to clear her father's name.  The novel thus reverses the reader's expectations: in a novel in which emigration is inexorably draining the Irish landscape, an Irish-American woman reverses the process--and, as one might expect, revitalizes her father's nation.  This revitalization turns out to be both economic and romantic.  On the one hand, Bawn enters Ireland as a farmer, and promptly undertakes to "turn my American gold into Irish butter and wheat" (172); as Rory/Somerled, her would-be suitor (and, alas, Roderick Fingall's relative) soon admits, her methods indeed promise to turn a profit.  Pointedly, Bawn's focus on butter contrasts with that of Rory's cousin-by-marriage Flora, who "cared little whether the butter of the nation was wealth-producing or not" (220); Bawn's example, which inspires one of Rory's female cousins to turn her attentions from (bad) novel-writing to (profitable) butter-making, implies both that women have valuable roles to play in Ireland's economic and agricultural future, and that Ireland can learn something from American attitudes to gender.  The romance plot, which promises to resolve part of Desmond's tragedy by uniting Rory and Bawn (and, thanks to Bawn's fortune, restoring the Fingall family's finances), also suggests that Ireland's hope rests on the changes her Americanized "grandchildren" bring back with them.

The novel is at its most Gothic and most Dickensian when it comes to the Adares, the family that falsely profitted from Roderick's death.  And it is here that the novel's religious undertones show themselves more clearly.  Unlike Bawn (and, indeed, her father, whose farming produces "harvests of gold" [1]), the proud Adares are bad stewards of wealth, spending instead of investing and producing nothing of their own.  The Adares, says Bawn's servant, were "great an' grand, but cracked with pride" (184), and their fate, which runs exactly counter to Arthur Desmond's, suggests divine punishment at work.  Their house is a bizarre, exaggerated cross between Satis House in Great Expectations and the imploding Clennam household in Little Dorrit, with collapsing staircases, broken roofs, and hallways "dripping with damp and choked with rubbish" (267).  Desmond's beloved Mave, who abandoned him, at first appears equally the joint progeny of Miss Havisham and Mrs. Clennam, a physically and mentally disabled old woman reduced to "a skeleton covered with white, fair skin" (270).  The Adares' rotted home and equally rotting bodies figure forth all the corruptions of sin.  Alone of the surviving Adares, and, indeed of just about every character except Rory's grandmother, Mave understands her fate in theological terms: as Mave explains to Bawn, believing her to be an "angel," she expects to be reunited with Arthur in Heaven "[b]ecause I have expiated my sin, through the mercy of my Redeemer, by long years of suffering, and both God and my beloved have forgiven me" (337).  Mave's faith in the possibility of redemptive suffering--a productive pain--thus translates the Miss Havisham/Mrs. Clennam type, women imprisoned in their own pain and inflicting pain in return, into a sanctified, even exemplary figure.  Significantly, Mave dies in Bawn's home, successfully extracted from her decaying surroundings in a way that neither Miss Havisham nor Mrs. Clennam can be; even though she has no earthly future, she does not necessarily belong to that collapsing space.  

Mave's embrace of God's will, though, also suggests an interesting corrective to Bawn's original intentions.  Bawn's "romantic devotion to her dead father" (344), which propels her across the ocean, also interferes with her growing passion for Rory Fingall.  More to the point, her fixation on personally clearing her father of his purported crime, which forces her into deception, results from self-will instead of divine will.  Although the novel does not condemn Bawn's free spirit--as I have already said, if anything, the novel insists that such free spirits are necessary if Ireland is to flourish--it also does not allow Bawn to succeed in the manner she intended.  This is not a Poirot novel avant la lettre, and there is no dramatic scene in which she gets to expose the villains, as she once had hoped.  Instead, we discover that before the novel began, Luke Adare confessed his trick to his brother, Edmund.  Luke, who "do[es] not believe in conscience" (369), begs Edmund to "[w]rite it all down that I may be rid of it" (369)--a warped confessional act that, unlike his sister's suffering, cannot save Luke's soul.  Mave seeks forgiveness; Luke merely yearns for amnesia.  (Appropriately enough, he is killed by the house.)  Edmund's near-death revelation of the confession's existence thus brings the novel full circle by completing Arthur Desmond's narrative.  But it is not Bawn's agency that directly produces this confession--merely the accident of her presence, which sparks Edmund's own anxieties.  The novel does not permit Bawn to confront those who perpetrated the original crime, in the manner of a Wilkie Collins novel; instead, it ascribes all punishments, internal and external, to God, who reveals all in His own good time.  

by Miriam Burstein at September 07, 2014 12:58 AM

September 06, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Alice in Wonderland Light Show in Sunderland, UK

This fall (or autumn as our UK friends would say) the city of Sunderland in the UK will be mounting their light show Sunderland Illuminations, from Sep 27 – Nov 2.   As in previous years, a large part of the extravaganza will feature Alice themed displays.  If your are in the neighbo(u)rhood, stop by and take some photos!

by Matt at September 06, 2014 04:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Slept well. But only riz at 7.

After breakfast ― “employed” some hours in setting my Italian sketches in order, & did not begin to work till 1. P.M. Then worked at the Janina till 6.

Cab to “Tavistock Park.”


Vastly pleasant.

Later, Fergusson, Scharf, & I walked on the Terrace, &, re-entering ― found all fled. We could not make anyone hear ― & so we also ‘fled out.’

Shortly after, anche Scharf was minus, & F & I walked on till 11.

Home at 11.15. ―


President Lincoln’s anecdote about the Furlongh ― & the Smallpox. Having the latter ― he said ― at last I am glad to have something ˇ[I can] give away to anybody ― & that no one will ask for. (or, that I have something that no one will ask me to give away.)

The 2nd is a story told by Lincoln himself to the delegates from the South, at the commencement or before it ― of the war. Nursing his knee, he said, Ah! Mr. So & So ― I am glad to see you here again. Don’t you remember the good story you told me when last here? ― “No.” was the reply. “It was this” ― said President L. you said you were a staying at ― where was a young officer & his bride; & the lady next her ― said How long is your husband’s furlough? ―― “I don’t know to an inch or so but it was about as long as that ―――!” said the lady:


(N.B. The improper story overleaf[1] was received well ― as an illustration of the levity & buffoonery of Citizen Lincoln’s Const.)

[1] The bracketed note is written at the beginning of the page for 7 September. The whole entry for 6 September is extremely confused; the second seat map, for instance, appears at the bottom of the page for 5 September; and the two Lincoln “anecdotes” seem to have been added last, in the spaces remaining from the entry.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 06, 2014 08:00 AM


Sikoryak's Wuthering Heights in Brooklyn

An alert for tomorrow, September 7, in New York:
First Annual Brooklyn Brain Jam
Sunday, September 7th, 12 - 6pm
at The Bell House
149 7th Street, Brooklyn NY

A day-long festival of entertainment from long-running shows, including Kevin Geeks Out, The Story Collider, Nerd Nite and The Big Quiz Thing.

3:45pm Kevin Geeks Out: R. Sikoryak's Masterpiece Comics ...
According to the New York Times:
The lineup also includes projected versions of Robert Sikoryak’s “Masterpiece Comics.” These are retellings of great literary works in the visual style of a well-known comics artist: Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” rendered as a “Peanuts” strip, for example, or “Wuthering Heights” done in the style of “Tales From the Crypt.” (William Grimes)

by M. ( at September 06, 2014 02:56 AM

Jane Eyre with a Harvey Nichols account

Keighley News has an article on the Brontë Society's recent row.
The Brontë Society is in turmoil following calls from members to save the Parsonage Museum from “underachievement”.
A group of members has called for the Haworth museum to be split from the society to help secure its financial future.
Campaigners also want the society’s current leadership to step down to make way for members willing to modernise the group.
The campaigners, led by TV producer John Thirlwell and retired deputy headteacher Janice Lee, this week secured the 50 members’ signatures they need to force an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue.
Mr Thirlwell and Mrs Lee last week sent a letter to fellow members detailing a number of allegations about the conduct of the council and calling to elect a new council of trustees.
They also called for a rapid appointment to the vacant post of executive director. Ann Sumner stepped down in June, with the Brontë Society praising her “enthusiastic contribution” during her 16 months in the role.
Mr Thirlwell is concerned about the dramatic drop in Brontë Society membership in recent years, and falling attendances at the museum.
He added: “We’re aware the museum is underachieving. I don’t have a lot of faith in the council. I don’t think it is keeping the membership informed.
“We must immediately put into action steps to get the structure of the Brontë Society built properly, so the museum is run by a separate trust.”
Mr Thirlwell said such a separation would give the Brontë Parsonage Museum a better chance of attracting grants because it could prove it worked for the ‘public good’ rather than simply being a members’ society.
A spokesman for the Brontë Society Council said: “Trustees welcome feedback from members and take their concerns very seriously.
“The council is working hard with an experienced and accomplished leadership team to ensure the business planning of the Brontë Parsonage Museum is on a secure footing, and the work of the society, including preparations for forthcoming bicentenaries, which include plans for an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and a service at Westminster Abbey, goes forward.” (David Knights)
A Huffington Post columnist recalls her childhood love for Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.
The story centers around nasty ill-tempered Mary Lennox who is sent as an unloved orphan, though, honestly, she was an unloved child while her parents were alive, from India to live with her uncle in Yorkshire. Yorkshire, the cold moors and gloomy world of the Brontës seems to have been the perfect world to set stories of thwarted love and lost children. Except these Yorkshire moors, although filled with secrets, are teeming with life. (Suzanne Donahue)
The Weekly Standard focuses on 'chuckling' in 19th century novels, particularly in the case of Sherlock Holmes.
The term “chuckle” came into wide use in the English language in the 1770s, right around the time Great Britain was losing its grip on its North American empire. At the time, chuckling was limited to the chattering classes. Blacksmiths did not chuckle, nor did yeomen, farriers, fishwives, or costermongers. The word “chuckle” rarely appears in the work of Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, or George Eliot, primarily because chuckling was then (as now) viewed as a silly, almost undignified, activity. (Joe Queenan)
Vulture reviews the play The Wayside Motor Inn where
An undergrad has brought his reluctant girlfriend for a night on the Magic Fingers bed. (He has The Joy of Sex in his knapsack; she has Jane Eyre.) (Jesse Green)
Clash doesn't agree with those missing Wuthering Heights in Kate Bush's comeback concerts:
It’s no secret by now that her Before The Dawn show is split into two distinct acts, encompassing work from the second halves of 1985’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ and 2005’s ‘Aerial’ respectively. Detractors looking for beleaguered, pitch-shifted versions of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and the 1970s hits are missing the point. This in artist with an extensive and contemporary catalogue of work, which she draws on most fittingly. This is truly a woman’s work, the universe of a 56-year-old mother, not a sylph-like, intoxicated dancing girl. (Anna Wilson)
The Telegraph fashion section has an article on how to master the art of layering.
At least we are on the pages of those style magazines. We're fantastic at it on those pages. The September and October (and February, March, April, May and August) issues are always guaranteed to feature Stella Tennant, or someone who looks like Stella Tennant - ie pale and good in a long, Sherlock Holmes-y coat, socks and Marni sandals - her big, stiff Céline collar carelessly turned up, as she stalks across some windswept but soulful stretch of gorse/heath/moor. Jane Eyre with a Harvey Nichols account. (Lisa Armstrong)
The Phantom Paragrapher posts about Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of EyreSewing and Sightseeing: Two years in the Netherlands shares pictures of a recent trip to the Peak District. ExeUnt Magazine reviews Pater McMaster's Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at September 06, 2014 02:40 AM

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (Random House, 2014).  A teenage girl is at the center of mysterious events unfolding over the course of decades.  (Amazon)
  • Damon Galgut, Arctic Summer (Europa, 2014).  Historical novel about E. M. Forster's stay in India and its contribution to A Passage to India.  (Amazon)
  • Sanford Friedman, Conversations with Beethoven (NYRB, 2014).  Posthumously-published epistolary novel imagining the written conversations Beethoven had with his friends and family towards the end of his life.  (Amazon)
  • Jay P. Dolan, Catholic Revivalism: The American Experience, 1830-1900 (Notre Dame, 1978).  Focuses on the Catholic evangelical efforts that paralleled Protestant revivalism in nineteenth-century America.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • William George Ward, Essays on the Church's Doctrinal Authority (Burns and Oates, 1880).  Infallibility, councils, dangers of liberalism, etc.  Most essays were originally published in the Dublin Review, which Ward edited.  More on Ward here.  

by Miriam Burstein at September 06, 2014 12:08 AM

September 05, 2014

Regency Ramble

Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek

This is the cover for my next book, Captured Countess. The book comes out in December 2014 and there are a few buy links below to get you started if you would like to pre-order.

I must say I am pleased with it. The story is set in London and Cornwall and a couple of other places. The cover shows a scene from the story, and I think it evokes the mystery of the Cornish location and the story itself.

Barnes and Noble Amazon CanadaAmazon U.K. Or available for Pre-order wherever you like to shop.

Never trust a spy! 

Nicoletta, the Countess Vilandry, is on a dangerous mission—to lure fellow spy Gabriel D''Arcy into bed and into revealing his true loyalties. With such sensual games at play and such strong sensations awakened, suddenly Nicky''s dangerously close to exposing her real identity.

Gabe knows that the countess has been sent to seduce him. The only question is to what end? He''s never met such a captivating woman—and he''s determined to enjoy every seductive second she spends as his very willing captive!  

A Friday Fragment

Looking into her eyes, he turned her hand palm up, his thumb massaging the tender flesh. "Such a pretty hand,"  he murmured. "So white. As delicate as a bird's wing."

And as easily crushed by his superoior strength. The threat was not lost on her.
 Until next time...

by Ann Lethbridge ( at September 05, 2014 12:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Cloudy & fitful fine.

Rose at 7. a better night.

Clarks 2 last sermons at Corfu sent me in print by Taylor.

Painted out the figures in foreground of Janina ―.

Resolved not to break down if possible ― so fixed to dine early & go to the Coombes. The “sore & soft” point brought on by the illness of the last 4 days can only be got over & stopped by exercise & cessation of indigestion. What a bore is the inevitable result of unavoidable circumstance!

The back room is to be papered.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 05, 2014 08:00 AM

William Morris Unbound

Objects in Utopia

My favourite literary theorist Roland Barthes once remarked that ‘Notre littérature a mis très longtemps à découvrir l'objet; il faut attendre Balzac pour que le roman ne soit plus seulement l'espace de purs rapports humains, mais aussi de matières et d'usages appelés à jouer leur partie dans l'histoire des passions : Grandet eût-il pu être avare (littérairement parlant), sans ses bouts de chandelles, ses morceaux de sucre et son crucifix d'or?’ Morris’s News from Nowhere might equally well be considered the moment when utopia discovered the object, when those rather colourless, merely generic utopian objects from Thomas More to Edward Bellamy give way to the intensely rendered object-world of Morris’s Thames valley: Dick Hammond’s damascened belt buckle, William Guest’s elaborately crafted pipe in the Piccadilly booth, and so on.

There are no doubt major benefits for utopia in this discovery of the object. The more sensuously embodied the abstract schema of your good society is, the more persuasive it and its values will appear to the reader. But there are paradoxical dangers here too. For if objects, landscape and even characters are indeed welcomely concretised and individualised in this fashion, there opens the possibility that they will acquire a thematic momentum and narrative force of their own, which may lead in directions that stray away from, or even directly challenge, the official thematic values that your utopia was trying to propound.

An ‘incarnational’ aesthetics thus proves to be a mixed blessing. It’s now hard to imagine a satisfying (or even readable) utopia without it, but it may also lead us to a view of the genre that veers close to the Marxist literary theory of Pierre Macherey: that the very fleshing out of the author’s ideological intentions – in this case, the abstract schema of a good society - in literary form may itself problematise those intentions, may revealingly expose their gaps, limits and silences. Whether or not Macherey's claim is true of literature as a whole, it certainly seems to capture the constitutive joy and dilemma of utopia as a genre, strung unsettlingly between politics (abstract) and literature (concrete) as it has been from More onwards.

by Tony Pinkney ( at September 05, 2014 05:26 AM

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Steventon: an old print of a drawing of the rectory in which Austen grew up

Dear friends,

We move from Jane Austen’s defiant great-grandmother, a housekeeper in a great school, Elizabeth Weller Austen, and one of her sons, Henry’s very rich attorney-banker uncle (Chapter 1 of the Austen Papers), to the world of her parents in the years they were having their babies, Jane and her siblings, at Steventon (Chapter 2). Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh’s second chapter consists of 9 letters written between 1770 and 1775, from George and Cassandra Austen, to Susannah Weaver Walter, wife of William Hampton Walter, half-brother to George. The value of this blog is I link in the texts of these letters as uploaded to Ronald Dunning’s useful website. RAAL found these letters in a footnote to an article by Sidney Grier, in Temple Bar, entitled “A God-daughter of Warren Hastings.” In other words, they are saved as connected to Hastings’s probable biological daughter, Elizabeth Hancock de Feuillide Austen by George Austen’s sister, Philadelphia Austen Hancock. They were owned by Mr Guy Nicholson, a great-great-grandson of William Hampton Walter and were owned by RAAL in 1941. I offer what comments I can. To my mind Claire Tomalin in her biography and Claire Harman in her Jane’s Fame have offered the most perceptive readings of these letters.

The chapter introductions fascinating and tantalizing: Eliza Hancock is referred to as “Bessy:” was this a family nickname? She is just then living with her mother, Philadelphia, in a cottage with two servants, “perhaps coloured ones,” Peter and Clarinda. Given all the connections with India, by “perhaps colored” RAAL means possibly Indian–I would love to know more about why he thought that. How frequent it was for servants to be brought to England from India? Did Jane Austen know these servants as a child? It is not surprising that most of the letters were found in the hands of a descendent of Hastings, a remembered powerful man. Most of the letters are by Eliza and if you count in Henry’s both of them. Eliza was the child of Hastings. His family would want to get their hands on them and eliminate anything which gave this away. We should recall that the letters represent a version of what was left after censorship and destruction; they are a later equivalent of Lord Brabourne’s kind of work with a new attitude brought in: that what texts one has one should not combine with texts of other letters; that what one does publish, publish it straight.


A useful readable Austen family tree (click to enlarge)

1 & 2. Rev. George Austen to Mrs (Susanna Weaver) Walter, Steventon to Bolton Street, 2 May 1770 & 8 July 1770

Jane’s father invites his half-brother’s wife to come and stay with him and his wife at Steventon, and to bring her daughter. By 1770 he and Cassandra Leigh had been married 6 years and she had given birth three times. She is probably pregnant with Henry. (I am using Maggle Lane’s Jane Austen’s Family through Five Generations for family trees and dates of birth, order of children and so on.)

Mrs Austen has now gone to visit her half-sister-in-law in London. Claire Tomalin is insightful about the second letter. She discerns (rightly I now think) that George is anxious about his wife’s having gone off, leaving him with three babies. Tomalin guesses Mrs Austen was seeking some form of escape and rest and using the pregnancy of her step-sister-in-law as her socially acceptable excuse. Tomalin sees a determination in George to stop his wife from doing this again – next time he is going to come. Tomalin goes so far as to suggest the renewed incessant pregnancies were George’s way of making it impossible for Mrs Austen to up and go away. She cites letters by other relatives (among them Tysoe Hancock, Eliza’s legal father, whose letters form the center of Chapter 3) saying to George that he has little money for this size family and should at least slow down (use a separate bedroom for now). I find this psychologically persuasive. The modern over-emphasis on extended breast-feeding ends up nailing women down as the easiest if not most comfortable thing to do — not that Mrs Austen practiced that; she breast-fed minimally and then put each child into a near-by foster home. The second son, George, is already seen as a disabled child — he sees no improvement. We can compare Eliza years later insisting on seeing “improvement” in her little Hastings. She did not put him away; clearly very frail he would not have lived long had someone not determined truly to care for him taken over.

3. Mrs George Austen (Cassandra) to Mrs Walter, Steventon to a Parsonage near Tunbridge, Kent, August 26, 1770

Now Cassandra’s voice. She is writing to a woman she is close friends with, Susanna Weaver Walter, who has just given birth: she voices pious dislike of London; the sister she speaks of is Philadelphia Austen Hanock and her child Eliza or Bessy (or Betsy). She still has George with her and has been attempting to teach James to write. On Clarinda and Peter, Clarinda is still mentioned when Eliza writes when she is much older to Susannah’s daughter, her cousin, Philadelphia Walker (later Mrs Whitaker). We hear of Philadelphia Austen Hancock’s misadventure — coaches were dangerous and we have here an understandable loss of poise. She has been through a lot this woman, determined not to return to India with Hancock, basically left on her own by Hastings (it’s clear from other letters he never led her to expect otherwise but she might have hoped, her daughter and later son-in-law kept hoping for personal contact). She almost loses her Indian letters the way Jane Austen almost lost her precious (to us too) manuscripts. (Imagine carrying your life’s work about with you

A family tree for Philadelphia Austen Hancock and Eliza Hancock de Feuillide Austen (omitting Warren Hastings)

4. Mrs George (Cassandra) Austen to Mrs (Susanna) Walter, Steventon, Dec 9, 1770 

Four months later Mrs Austen hCassandra is sorry Susanna lives so far off ;she wishes Susanna were removed from the parsonage but as to herself, she will not be bothered by the neighbors. (Were they vulgar?) Bill is Mrs Walters’s baby. She has also been to visit her own sister Jane Cooper but did not take Edward. Too young? Then they are off to the Leigh-Perrots. She is not keen to stay at Steventon, Alderney cow or no. Then she’ll take Neddy (Edward, the third son) and Jemmy (James). An in-the-midst of life letter. Little Neddy (Edward) was well enough that she could get away, to Southcote to her sister, Jane Cooper and her little boy. She had not seen them since last July. She now hopes to visit her brother, James Leigh-Perrot and his wife in Bath for Christmas, taking two of her boys. She wishes Susanna were closer so she could come too. She wishes Susanna were not stuck in the parsonage with unfortunate neighbors but assures Susanna when she visits she cares nothing for them. She is glad another child is well (Bill). Two neighbors fighting over a house — Harwood is talked about in Jane’s letters later on. 

She has already handed George over to a caretaker – he is brought to see her. She does feel bad about it but does not register she is depriving him of a life. The association of sickness makes her remember Philadelphia Austen Hancock – she does not care for the damp of her winter house; Mrs Austen says it’s a bad place. Philadelphia would eventually take herself and daughter to France.

The letter ends on a note which suggests a companionable friendships between the two families.

5. Mrs George (Cassandra) Austen to Mrs (Susanna) Walter, Steventon, Nov 8, 1772

Cassandra can now travel nowhere — Henry is born and come from nurse. A stout little fellow. In the previous letter we heard how the Coopers were settled in Bath, no going there (where the Leigh-Perrots are) are or Kent. In this letter all Jane Austen’s main fictional places are mapped. Susannah has relatives trying to make it in Jamaica (off slavery let’s remember) and Mrs Austen glad to hear all well. Her sister-in-law Philadelphia will come this time to help her through the coming birth (it will be Cassandra).

6. Mrs George (Cassandra) Austen to Mrs (Susanna Walter), Steventon, June 6, 1773

This letter seems to have been written as an apology for Mr Austen’s having gone somewhere on business near to the Walters’ home and yet not visited them. An account of all Mrs Austen’s children in good health, now Cassy is weaned from Mrs Austen and put out to nurse. One wonders the origin of this practice was to teach boys especially to endure less love. Mr Austen has started his boy’s school as Lord Lymington is there. People are visiting her: Jane Cooper, husband and children’ she has two, and maybe she will have no more. And Mr and Mrs L-P come tomorrow. Mrs Austen can show off her dairy, all her riches.

The lack of any notes is a hindrance; LeFaye did provide something.

7. Mrs Cassandra Austen (called Cassy I see)to Susanna Walter, Steventon, Dec 12, 1773:

Cassandra now has 4 young children at home to care for: James and Edward somewhat older and toddler Henry and baby Cassandra. The Sr George Hampson who has hurt his hand is probably 6th Baronet who would be the son of the eldest line of Hampsons (found in LeFaye’s Family Record, p 298) who died in the following year. The nephew George who will accompany him could be one of Susannah’s sons (though they seem too young as yet) or his nephew (the 7th baronet). Mrs Austen says it is “high time” for the young man to have employment (we would say get a job, train for a job) but do not get how he is the other man’s brother. I find a real feeling of regret, of sympathy for Susanna that’s why I surmise some close relationship. We can at least feel that if Mrs Austen utterly acquiesced in sending Francis and Charles away at age 12, she did feel the dangers, the risks, the loss of the boy. Another boy has joined the school and Lord Lymington had begun to stammer so he is being taken to London. This shows that in this era parents worried about this kind of manifestation of nervousness. The boy was perhaps removed too young from his parents.

George Morland (1763-1804), a much idealized depiction of children playing blind man’s bluff (1787-88)

8. Mrs George (Cassandra) Austen to Mrs (Susanna) Walter, Steventon, 20 August 1775.

We break in upon this family when Francis, Jane’s directly older brother, the fifth son, was born well over a year ago, and Mrs Austen is pregnant with Jane. She’s glad to hear George (see above) arrived safely in Jamaica — for many weeks she had wanted to hear of this. If it’s the same George as above, it took time before George was actually sent. They thought about it. Weaver is Susanna’s second child, first son,and as such he is sent to Cambridge. Meanwhile Francis is 16 months and runs about — very active. Henry no longer in skirts (breeches), and we see vies with his older brothers, makes much of his height. He was tall and Edward not. There were tall and short Austens in this nuclear family. Henry would learn he could not overcome that 3 years. One of the little boys she mentioned last time was ill, went home and back and now gone again for summer holidays. Hay matters, it’s money.

She would have liked to see her friend-as-sister, but must not think of it. When Tomalin suggested Mr Austen began again to impregnant Mrs Austen continually, it was after that 2 year and 1/2 break when she began to travel to London and visit her sister in Bath. He won if you think this winning as he must support all these children. Hancock did not think it winning, but then in the countryside and with not too much ambition Mr Austen could have seen this differently.

I don’t know who the orphans were but someone in Mrs Walter’s vicinity died and some group of children cut off. The Freemans were cousins on the Hampton side of the Walters and might be called upon to take orphans in.

9. Rev George Austen to Mrs (Susanna Walter), Steventon, 17 December 1775

I take this letter to be the equivalent of a phone call. Announcement of new baby and 3 business items. The more general interest of this often-quoted letter is it shows the inter-workings of the patronage system from which lower people were shut out. The immediate interest is the birth of Jane Austen on a cold snowy day in late December. Mr Austens says how he and Cassy in their old age have mistimed this one, and how Jenny will make a nice “plaything” for her sister Cassy.” The new baby is a doll for the little girl. Looking at this from a later perspective, that phrase can be taken to have some ominous resonance: when Cassandra turned herself into a non-widow widow, and then Jane didn’t want the marriage offers that came her way, Cassandra maintained her status as older sister, an authority of figure of sorts, and made herself essential to Jane in many ways. Jane was “the younger sister” (as perhaps the first title of The Watsons points to) and in this era this kind of status mattered. The Austens at any rate put the girls together as a pair, and one sees this kind of treatment of women sisters in novels.

Mr Freeman who was to adopt those orphants might be “Cope” — he is in a poor way. Susannah has been inquiring whether George can do anything for her son for a fellowship perhaps, but he has not been able to find anything out. This is the reality of networking and patronage systems; endless secrets. A plowing match — so physical amusement out of farming life noted.

Mr Austen does not want to deal with a Mr Collis unless he comes with some reference. Steedman says in this world these character references were ways of controlling lower class people’s behavior.

I conclude with two poems by Mrs Austen, one written a few, and the other 20 years later as they give a sense of the tone and circumstances of the world Jane Austen grew up in. In the first Mrs Austen parodies her husband’s pupils, not altogether kindly; she is teaching them to accept their uncomfortable bedroom. In the other she enjoys an assembly at the Town Hall in Basingstoke, the kind of dancing affair Jane Austen would have gone to regularly


Thomas Gainsborough: a depiction of his two daughter chasing butterflies

The humble petition of R4 Buller &
W. Goodenough

A somewhat unusual complaint from two of the rectory pupils is
turned by Mrs Austen into a petition on their behalf to her husband.

Dear Sir, We beseech & intreat & request
You’d remove a sad nuisance that breaks our night’s rest
That creaking old weathercock over our heads
Will scarcely permit us to sleep in our beds.
It whines & it groans & makes such a noise 
That it greatly disturbs two unfortunate boys
Who hope you will not be displeased when they say
If they don’t sleep by night they can’t study by day.
But if you will kindly grant this their petition
And they sleep all night long without intermission 
They promise to study hard every day
And moreover as bounden in duty will pray etc., etc


An Assembly Dance by Wm Hogarth

I send you here

Assemblies were held in the Town Hall at Basingstoke; the Austens
and their friends were regular attenders.
Steventon 17~

I send you here a list of all
The company who graced the Ball
Last Thursday night at Basingstoke;
There were but six & thirty folk,
Although the evening was so fine;
First then, the couple from the Vine, -
Next Squire Hicks, & his fair spouse;
They came from Mr Bramston’s house,
With Madam, & her maiden Sister;
(Had she been absent who’d have missed her?)
And fair Miss Woodward, that sweet singer,
For Mrs Bramston liked to bring her.
With Alethea too, & Harriet;
They came in Mrs Hicks’s chariot;
Perhaps they did, I am not certain.
Then there were 4 good folk from Worting:
For with the Clerks there came two more;
Some friends of their’s, their name was Hoare.
With Mr Mrs, Miss Lefroy
Came Henry Rice, that pleasant Boy.
And least a title they should want,
There came Sir Colebrook, & Sir Grant
Miss Eyre of Sherfield, & her Mother;
One Miss from Dummer, & her Brother.
Her Mother too, as Chaperon.
Mr & Mrs Williamson.
Charles Powlett, & his Pupils twain:
Small Parson Hasker, great Squire Lane.
And Bentworth’s Rector, with his hat,
Unwillingly he parts from that.

Two Misses Davies; with two friends;

And thus my information ends

P.S. It would have been a better dance
But for the following circumstance;
The Dorchesters, so high in station,
Dined out that day, by invitation,
At Heckfield Heath, with Squire Le Fevre;
Methinks it was not quite so clever
For one Subscriber to invite
Another, on the assembly night;
But ’twas to meet a General Donne
His Lordship’s old companion;
And as the General would not stay
They could not fix another day -


by ellenandjim at September 05, 2014 01:46 AM


The Secret Life of Books (and Liqueur)

Picture source
The BBC has further info on its programme The Secret Life of Books which
produced in partnership with The Open University, examines original texts, manuscripts, letters and diaries to uncover the stories behind the creation of six classic books.
In these extracts from the series, television dramatist Tony Jordan, actor Simon Russell Beale, award-winning writer and Virginia Woolf expert Dr Alexandra Harris, singer and broadcaster Cerys Matthews, journalist and author Bidisha and scientist Prof Alice Roberts decipher the manuscripts which mean most to them.
One of the books is:
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
At the British Library, Bidisha and Ann Dinsdale (author of The Brontës at Haworth) examine Brontë’s ‘fair copy’ of Jane Eyre and a letter to Prof Constantin Heger, with whom the author was infatuated.
Here's the link to the corresponding clip. The episode on Great Expectations aired on Tuesday and the one on Shakespeare's First Folio is announced for next Tuesday (September 9th). The date for the episode on Jane Eyre is still to be announced.

The Yorkshire Post reports that Brontë Liqueur will now be distilled in Yorkshire.
A distiller with ties to Brontë Parsonage Museum has launched a liqueur that pays homage to the literary family’s heritage.
Sir James Aykroyd stepped down from his role as chairman and shareholder of Speyside Distillery to develop Brontë Liqueur, a blackberry and sloe-based beverage that is targeting the popular cocktails market.
Based in Birstwith, North Yorkshire, Sir James discovered a honey-based drink named Brontë Liqueur in Paraguay 40 years ago.
He was attracted to the drink as a result of his family’s ties with the Brontës.
‘Back in 1928 my great grandfather, Sir James Roberts, bought the Haworth village parsonage and gifted it to the Brontë Society,’ Sir James said.
‘Today that building is the Brontë Parsonage Museum and this is something our family is immensely proud of - I still hold the key to the parsonage’s front door.’
Prior to joining Speyside Distillery, Sir James held senior roles with Buchanan’s whiskey and Martini and Rossi. When the opportunity arose to purchase the trademark for the drink, Sir James founded Brontë Liqueur Co, which will make a small donation to the Brontë Society from all sales.
The liqueur has been adapted from its original recipe to include elements of the Yorkshire Moors.
Brontë Liqueur is marketed as an ingredient for cocktails. Suggested recipes include the Brontë Royale, which is topped with champagne, and ginger-beer based Brontë Mule.
A columnist from the Sunshine Coast Daily lists 10 books that have stayed with her in some way.
9. Wuthering Heights
This book refuses to bow down to any notion of a happy ending and that's partly what I like about it.
Yes, the second generation has a chance to right the wrongs of the past, but it's not them we truly care about, is it?
Catherine and Heathcliff have to be two of the most flawed lovers ever paired in a novel, but sometimes when a love is expressed as powerfully as this, is doesn't seem to matter.
Emily Bronte's writing is so powerful it's no wonder this book is still treasured today and thought by many to be the best of the novels written by the three Bronte sisters.
Maybe with the exception of Romeo and Juliet, rarely do we see a love story so tragically rendered. (Carlie Walker)
While Mashable recommends '8 Books to Check Out While Waiting for Fall's Hottest Reads'.
8. While you wait for Text From Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations With Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg, pick up Alice in Tumblr-land by Tim Manley.
Both books ask the question, what would happen if our favorite literary characters existed in a world where they could tweet and reblog GIFs with the rest of us? (Molly Horan)
Rochdale Online reports that the Rochdale Library Classic Reads Group is looking for new members. So if you're in the area and
you have always wondered what Jane Eyre and Lady Chatterley have in common or you harbour an ambition to explore the modern relevance of Great Expectations, then this is a group ideally suited to your interests.
We are late reporting this as it took place last night, but Chicagoist invited local fans of Kate Bush to have their dose on that side of the pond too:
Thankfully there is plenty of cocktails to drown our tears and an evening of Kate Bush originals and inspired tunes to ease the pain tonight at The Whistler. All the Love: A Tribute to Kate Bush features live sets of Kate Bush covers from Savage Sisters and Kyle Greer as well as DJ sets inspired by Kate Bush as well, including originals, remixes and covers of her popular tunes as well as artists who were inspired by her work. Of course the evening will be accompanied by vintage concert and television footage as well as music videos, keeping the evening all things Kate. Sticking to the theme, a Midnight "Wuthering Heights" dance will take place, where Meagan Fredette will wear white and participate in a mass recreation of Bush's video for her iconic song. A perfectly suitable thing to enjoy at midnight on a weekday through the haze of a few tequila cocktails, one can assume you shall feel free to dance along if the mood strikes.
Straight features Midge Ure, who also mentions Kate Bush's take on Wuthering Heights:
Not long after that, he was plunging the U.K. into its modern-romantic period with Ultravox and the paradigm-shifting 1981 megahit “Vienna”.
“I think it was quite a brave—or ridiculously stupid—move that Ultravox did to release something that went so against the grain,” he says. “But if you look back over musical history, it’s the ones that go against the grain that change everything—the ‘Wuthering Heights’ or the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s or whatever. For us to put out a four-minute-long electronic ballad that speeds up with a viola solo in it, you know—it could easily have gone the other way, but it became hugely successful. Which, of course, catapulted Ultravox into the stratosphere.” (Adrian Mack)
The Positive reviews the ChapterHouse open-air production of Wuthering Heights:
Overall, the play succeeds in appearing more traditional than it actually is; exterior wise, Wuthering Heights is as it has always been: a beautiful romance between two characters who were destined towards different paths due to a series of events which circle around their personalities, wants and desires. However, Chapterhouse’s take on what makes Wuthering Heights a play that is worth watching again and again is really something to see; the gothic mist, backdrop from day to night and gorgeous ending allow the audience to fall in love with the story they once fell in love with some time ago. (Simren Handa)

by Cristina ( at September 05, 2014 01:09 AM

September 04, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Friedrich Gauermann (Austrian, 1807-1862), a miscellany

 photo friGauermannfestunghohensalzburg.jpg
This is the castle above Salzburg

 photo friedrgaermannwboarswolf1835_624x544.jpg

 photo friedrichgauermanncalfinstall.jpg

 photo friedrich-gauermannattr-1807-1862-study-of-a-tree-oil-on-paper-34-5-x-28-cm.jpg
Study of a tree, ascribed to Gauermann

 photo friedrichgauermannstudy.jpg
Another tree-study

September 04, 2014 07:34 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Tsum Tsum Mania!

OMG.  The Japanese have done it again.  They’ve created not only an addictive mobile game, but unbelievably cute toys to go with it.  It’s called Tsum Tsum and it is sweeping the globe.  And of course, there are Alice toys.  In the Japan Disney Store there is a set of nine minis available – originally designed as screen cleaners for your phone.  They also have larger sizes for the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Baby Oyster.  At the US Disney Store, there is only a set of eight (no Baby Oyster).

by Matt at September 04, 2014 04:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Non v’è maggior dolor ―――― &c.[1]

Woe & bother.

Να μη μαλαχίσθησαν![2]

Digby & Mrs. D.W. came at 3 & stayed till 5.30 ― looking at sketches.

Tho’ very unwell, I dined there.

Cab home by 10.30

fine day[.]

[1] There’s no greater pain. Dante’s Inferno V.121-123, where Francesca laments there is no greater pain than remembering good times in hard moments:

E quella a me: “Nessun maggior dolore
che ricordarsi del tempo felice
ne la miseria; e ciò sa ‘l tuo dottore.

[2] Why haven’t they relented (presumably the “woe & bother” NB).

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 04, 2014 08:00 AM


Jane Eyre in Chicago

A new production of the 1991 Christina Calvit Jane Eyre adaptation in Chicago begins previews today, September 5:
Jane EyreBased on the classic romance by Charlotte Brontë
Adapted by Christina Calvit
Directed by Dorothy Milne

CastAnu Bhatt (Jane Eyre)
John Henry Roberts (Edward Rochester)
Heather Currie (Mrs. Fairfax, Lady Ingram, Hannah)
LaNisa Frederick (Grace Poole, Amy Eshton, Mary Rivers)
Ada Grey (Adèle)
Maya Lou Hlava (Helen)
Anthony Kayer (Brocklehurst, Dr. Carter, Rev. Wood, Porter)
Jhenai Mootz (Bertha, Blanche)
Kyra Morris (Mrs. Reed, Mary Ingram, Diana Rivers)
Joshua Moaney (Richard Mason, St. John Rivers)

Rest of Cast and Crew
Lifeline Theatre
September 5 – October 26, 2014
$20 Previews: Sep 5-14 (Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 8pm, Sun at 4pm)
Regular Run: Sep 18-Oct 26 (Thu & Fri at 7:30pm, Sat at 4pm & 8pm, Sun at 4pm)

After a troubled childhood, Jane Eyre searches for new purpose as a governess at Thornfield Hall. But a fragile peace gives way to turbulent passion when she meets Mr. Rochester, a man concealing a dark secret. Their unconventional relationship leads to a terrible revelation, and Jane must forge a new future from the ashes of her ravaged dreams. As she struggles to free herself from the ghosts of her past, Jane realizes that her only hope is to find love on her own terms. A highly theatrical exploration of one woman’s independent spirit in a beloved adaptation based on the classic 1847 novel by Charlotte Brontë.

by M. ( at September 04, 2014 01:30 AM

In very good shape

Bonnie Greer, president of the Brontë Socity, has now spoken concerning the unrest among some members, as reported by the Yorkshire Post:
Bonnie Greer yesterday hit back at members who have raised 50 signatures in a bid to oust the literary society’s ruling council.
Ms Greer said the Society and Brontë Parsonage Museum were well run.
She said: “The Society is run in a professional manner by a diverse team of skilled individuals. Business strategies are in place and outcomes are continuously monitored.
“Additionally, the staff at the Museum are to be congratulated on their ongoing work and they have excellent fund raising record in a very challenging economic climate.”
She said members were “understandably concerned” at the departure in June of the Society’s executive director, Ann Sumner.
“I would like to reassure members that Council has not been idle since Professor Sumner left. Council has used the last couple of months to review the role of the executive director and a skilled leadership team is in place and doing a fine job at the museum.”
Ms Greer rejected claims that council members were “enthusiastic amateurs”, saying they had extensive professional experience.
“As a former deputy chair of the British Museum...I can assure members that the Council is in very good shape,” she said.
It was “surprising” none of those criticising the Society had stood for election at the annual meeting in June, she added. (Andrew Robinson)
The Yorkshire Post also features Amar Latif whose company Taveleyes enables 'blind and visually impaired people to enjoy independent travel'. Apparently,
Closer to home, trips to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway have proved popular with clients from Italy, Australia and Canada.
Yahoo! Movies recommends streaming Jane Eyre 2011:
The future director of True Detective amps the gothic horror in his adaptation of the Victorian classic.
From the opening minutes of Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, it becomes bracingly clear that this is not a book-club version of the Brontë novel. Every frame bristles with menace: The lush countryside is a landscape of despair and almost certain death, and the dark, well-appointed sitting rooms are stages for sudden violence. While the tale has been committed to screen some two dozen times in the last 100-plus years, the man who directed all eight episodes of True Detective’s inaugural season seems to be among the first to truly get it right. This is Jane Eyre as it should be, a rough and tumble proto-feminist film noir that’s closer to a horror story than a Victorian romance. (Oliver Jones)
And there is another mention of the film in a review of Madame Bovary. According to IndieWire's The Playlist,
A recent analogue would be “Jane Eyre,” Cary Fukunaga’s classical and post-modernly stylish adaptation of Charlotte Brontë also co-starring Wasikowska. But that film’s gothic aesthetic coupled with the fever-dream passion between Michael Fassbender and Wasikowska made for a ravishing and haunting look at romance.
That kind of vital alchemy is sorely absent here and is arguably the film’s main weakness. A largely miscast movie, the usually strong Wasikowska feels off her game with no equal to volley against. (Rodrigo Perez)
The Globe and Mail has an article on British TV series Happy Valley and comments on its literary references.
There is also a layer of literary references. Alert English-lit scholars watching will know that the graveyard Catherine visits to honour her daughter, the suicide victim, is in Hebden Bridge, which also contains the grave of Sylvia Plath. And during the kidnap scene, the victim’s car stereo is playing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. In fact, Bush is singing “Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy” at the key moment, deliberately linking the story to Emily Brontë’s great novel of doomed love set in the very same location.
It’s an interesting flourish, this, in a drama that is very much about the treatment of women by men. But it sits awkwardly. (John Doyle)
New Hampshire Public Radio has Michele Filgate, 'freelance writer, critic, and independent bookseller at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn', recommend the 'Eight Must-Read Books Of September'. One of which is
5. The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters (Release Date: September 16)
"This book feels gothic and dark like Rebecca and Jane Eyre. It’s the best kind of page turner."
The Christian Science Monitor comments on the story of a Native American kindergartner who was sent home from school because his long braid was a dress code violation.
Many educators may be familiar with the classic literary tale of “Jane Eyre” wherein the head master of Lowood School berates a student named Julia for what he believes is the vanity of curling her hair in order to lure boys. In fact Julia’s hair is naturally curly. When Jane defends her friend, both girls have their hair cut off as part of a punishment by "mortification." (Lisa Suhay)
More teacher-related news in The Times. According to Alice Phillips, head of the Girls’ Schools Association, many teachers are lost when it comes to English grammar and literature.
"If you're not already intimately acquainted with the tremendous breadth the 19th century novel has to offer--Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens and Charlotte and Emily Brontë and so on, the understandable default will be to bone up on two or thee texts and stick to them." (Nicola Woolcock)
Air writes about Wuthering Heights in Indonesian.

by Cristina ( at September 04, 2014 12:31 AM

September 03, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Friedrich Wirnhier, a view over the rooftops

 photo friedrichwirnhier.jpg

Not an artist of any distinction, but this is rather nice I think.

September 03, 2014 09:26 PM

The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive

Illustrations to Milton's Comus by William Blake

Changes in the weather, conspicuous coffee consumption, two or three return trips to Staples–the advent of a new semester can mean many things. The Great Leveler in academia, of course, is scheduling. We must be many places at many times, and we forever must coordinate ourselves against the variables (and the universe, in general, that conspires against us).

Illustrations to Milton's Comus by William BlakeFor even small research groups, setting up a mutually advantageous meeting time/place can often look like something out of a Beckett play. Our fearless Project Coordinator at UR, Laura Whitebell, is tasked with calculating availabilities and securing locations. With the precision and persistence rivaling a NASA launch, Laura figured out a scheme of rotating times and locations for fall 2014 that lets everyone in the group attend at least one meeting every-other week, with most group members able to attend every week. She does this every semester.

Curious to this particular instance of a time-honored tradition is the digital nature of our work. An outsider might peek in and say, “Couldn’t you just coordinate all that stuff through email, cloud drives, etc.?” Well, yes, we definitely could. And a lot of coordination between supporting institutions (like UNC-Chapel Hill) happens that way–see especially Morris Eaves’s commentary about blake-proj).

So why do we insist on getting together? I’ve come to realize that in our insistence for weekly nerd hangouts carries implicit commentary on the nature of collaborative digital research in general. Here’s a running list of what I think those comments might be:

  • Transparency among individual projects and group members is important.
  • We can learn more and expand our skill set through the experience of others; specialization is death.
  • Working in a group is more than dividing responsibilities–it also involves communicating and making decisions together.
  • Talking [well] about our work is just as important as doing our work.
  • Flattened group hierarchy is important for discussion and decisions; everyone at the table has a say, and their input is valuable.
  • Group morale is a significant factor for work quality and engagement; we have fun at our meetings! (Exception: proofreading questions.)

Coordination via email and solo “grunt work” are still major factors for Archive work. But when we prioritize other aspects of the process, in-person meetings become an invaluable characteristic of what eventually appears online. We do it because it’s important and well worth the hassle. I’m curious about how other digital research groups handle meetings and collaboration. I suppose the point is that it says more than we might think.

So our first BAND meeting of the fall is tomorrow at 9am. Who’s bringing bagels?

by Eric Loy at September 03, 2014 03:19 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 8! Cloudy & fine by turns, mostly fine.

A very pretty beginning to a month!

Worked at the Villa Gordianorum all day ― no one coming but Frank L.; at 4 ― who staid till 6. Mrs. F.L. is perhaps somewhat better.

Today I had a piano in ― a good Collard, & I have been trying Boadicea & other pomes.

᾽Εγευμάτισα ‘ςτὰς ἐπτὰ κὶ ἣμισυ,[1] bed at 10 ― or 10.30.


[1] I dined at half past seven (NB).

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 03, 2014 08:00 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Adolf von Menzel, three pastels

 photo menzel_das_opernglas-2.jpg
The Opera-glasses

 photo menzel_gaehnender_mann_in_einem_zugabteil-1.jpg

Man yawning in a railway carriage

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The morning after an overnight journey on the railway

September 03, 2014 02:29 AM

The Little Professor

Teaching Dickens once again

We're in our second week of classes, and the students are now wending what I hope will be their merry way through Oliver Twist.  Dickens, I find, is an interesting proposition in the classroom.  The difficulty lies not so much in his length--I teach Bleak House to undergraduates on a regular basis, and most students make a heroic effort to finish it--but in the grotesques saddled with obviously ironic names.  To say that these characters do not always Go Over Well is what you'd call an understatement. I'm not sure if it's the "flatness" of these characters that's the problem--one does not look to Mr. Bumble for psychological depth--or if, rather, it's the eruption of such grotesquerie amidst apparently realistic commentary on contemporary social evils.  Why, I've been asked, have these characters wandered in from some other kind of novel? (Oliver Twist actually provides us with one clue to their provenance: as the narrator tells us outright, the novel has affinities with the melodrama.  Plus other sources for stock comic and not-so-comic figures.)  As several of my adult acquaintances are also unable to "do" Dickens for the same reason, I can't blame any undergraduates who balk--although it's obviously my job to get them to think about what kind of role these characters perform.  And yet, surely we have equivalents in contemporary pop culture? 

by Miriam Burstein at September 03, 2014 01:45 AM


The Brontës in Brussels - A Review

Our thanks to Helen MacEwan for providing us with a review copy of this book.
The Brontës in Brussels
Helen MacEwan
Peter Owen Publisher
ISBN 9780720615883
Helen MacEwan continues enticing Brontëites all over the world to travel to Brussels. Granted, it is a much easier, much more pleasant trip than it was back in 1841 when Charlotte, Emily, their adventurous-at-64 father and some members of the Taylor family made the trip from Yorkshire.

The Brontës in Brussels is the perfect Brussels companion. Ideal as a guide or handbook for a trip to Brussels, but also a very interesting read from the sofa in your living room miles away from the actual places described in the book. Helen MacEwans's knowledge not only of the Brontës' stay in Brussels as well as the works derived from it (only devoirs in Emily's case but also novels, references in letters, etc in Charlotte's case) but also of the history of the quartier Isabelle, which is quite intricate, encyclopedic and always to-the-point. She meets three different points in her book: conveying a sense of the Brontës' stay in and opinions of Brussels, telling about the historical, social and geographical contexts that surrounded them when there and helping the modern Brontëite find his/her bearings in Belgium as it is today. And she manages to combine it all into an enjoyable read.

Thus, for instance, The Brontës in Brussels shows us where the Brontës' acquaintances resided at the time, where the Brontës would have visited them, as well as other places the Brontës would frequent such as the Chapelle Royale (where the Brontës worshipped) but also adds the geographical and social context and the current situation of said places, whether still standing and, in that case, how different/similar they look, etc.

This is all accompanied by many maps - both contemporary and modern -, fragments from novels, devoirs and letters written by the Brontës and finally a large quantity of illustrations, very helpful in order to make the reader see Brussels as closely as posssible as the Brontës would have known it, given that the neighbourhood where the Brontës were staying - the quartier Isabelle - was mostly torn down, with a few surprising exceptions which can still be seen today. Add to that a summary of both of Charlotte's Brussels novels: The Professor and Villette, a timeline, a short history of Belgium up to Independence and a Brontë walk in Brussels. As if that wasn't enough, the prologue is written by Lyndall Gordon.

Google Street View screenshot of the place where the pensionnat was located.
Our only - minimal - complaint is the fact that Branwell is only portrayed as the drunk brother. In our opinion he would have been best left out of the picture rather than depicted in such a bad light:
They could open their own boarding-school, either in the Parsonage or elsewhere. [Charlotte] eventually opted for the Parsonage itself, despite the logistical problems of using a house with just four bedrooms and the drawback of having a brother who, when at home between jobs, had a tendency to roll in drunk in the small hours and once set his bed curtains on fire by knocking over a candle.
While his behaviour towards drink may have never been exemplary - to put it mildly - it was while Charlotte and Emily were in Brussels that Anne got him a post with the Robinson family. It wouldn't be until years later that he would set his bed curtains on fire, so it is rather unfair to mention the event when looking into Charlotte's decision. It is indeed a tiny thing to mention, but it stroke us as an unnecessary comment when reading the book.

Otherwise, nothing prevented us from thoroughly enjoying this book. Well, something else actually did: we are not based in Brussels and couldn't just take to the streets and walk in what's left of the footsteps of the Brontës. Thankfully, Helen MacEwan's evocative descriptions, the many illustrations the book contains and a bit of Google street view helped. Brussels is now, however, high on the list of trips to make. This book will be the first thing we pack then. Nothing new, of course, as Helen MacEwan's previous book Down the Belliard Steps ( also had the same effect.

by Cristina ( at September 03, 2014 01:07 AM

Best ever conference

Sarah Fermi and Bonnie Greer
The Brontë Society website reports on this year's Brontë Society Conference on The Condition of England.
Juliet Barker was our superb opening speaker, initiating proceedings at the 2014 Brontë Society conference, which was held this year at the luxurious Scarman Conference Centre, at the University of Warwick.
Our conference theme was 'The Condition of England', and Juliet addressed the Brontë children's precocious absorption with the politics of their day, considering whether that passion really carried through into their adult lives. As ever, Juliet's argument was supported with minute and exhaustive research, on this occasion culled mainly from the juvenilia. It was a bold, thought-provoking and slightly provocative stance, ideal to lead off what was widely agreed to be our 'best ever conference', packed with stimulating, original and exciting research, and introducing some new faces likely to be key Brontë scholars of the future.
Novelist and critic Bonnie Greer, the Society's President, gave a rousing and emotional speech at Saturday's dinner, urging us to remember that 'We're Brontë, and no-one else is!' And Society Chair Sally McDonald was also on hand, as ever, to greet members, presiding over proceedings with customary calm and good humour to set the tone for the whole weekend.
Also attending were, among others: bestselling Belgian novelist Jolien Janzing, whose novel De Meester (The Master), about Charlotte's relationship with M. Heger, comes out in English in 2016, and is set to become an exciting film; influential biographer and TV presenter Rebecca Fraser, who delivered a paper on 'The Woman Question and Charlotte Brontë'; internationally acclaimed Brontë scholar Professor Marianne Thormälen, from the University of Lund, Sweden, who discussed the Brontë novels as historical fiction; and rising young academics Molly Ryder, Erin Johnson, Emma Butcher, and Sara Pearson, whose erudite and carefully judged work proved there to be an exciting, creative new generation of Brontë scholars on their way up.
Most appreciated of all, though, was surely Brontë Society Publications Officer, our conference organiser Sarah Fermi, whose hard work throughout the last three years ensured the conference worked as a crucible for great ideas, a meeting place for great minds, and a platform for the very latest in great Brontë scholarship. This was Sarah's last conference as organiser, and applause from delegates at Saturday night's dinner reflected not only professional appreciation for a job most excellently done, but abiding affection for a much-loved friend and lifelong passionate Brontëphile.
Do check out the website for a few more pictures of the event.

The Yorkshire Post has an article on the latest developments in the Brontë Society inner wars.
A group of Brontë Society members unhappy with the direction of the literary society has gathered 50 members’ signatures in a bid to force an extraordinary general meeting.
Critics are campaigning for the ruling council to step aside “to bring higher levels of professionalism and experience to the society,” according to a letter from two members.
As previously reported in The Yorkshire Post, Brontë Society members John Thirlwell, a TV producer, and Janice Lee, a retired deputy headteacher, have written to some members calling for fresh leadership.
They claim the society’s council has “lost its way” and was guilty of “micro-managing” the running of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which is owned by the Society.
Questions are also being asked about the circumstances surrounding the departure in June of Ann Sumner, the society’s executive director, after 16 months in the role.
Yesterday Mrs Lee said it had gathered the required number of signatures to call for an extraordinary general meeting.
She said that former Museum staff were among those calling for change.
The Brontë Society Council said feedback from members was welcomed and their concerns were taken seriously. (Andrew Robinson)
Still locally, The Telegraph and Argus praises the accessibility of the area.
Today, the Keighley and Worth Valley railway is among the popular tourist attractions God's Own County has to offer, transporting tourists from the industrial town of Keighley into the heart of Brontë country, home to the famous siblings whose legacy lives on in the famous tomes they penned such as Wuthering Heights. (Sally Clifford)
A columnist from The New Indian Express picks 13 books that made an impact on him before he was 13. One of them is
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: It was Jane’s inner life that drew me in, her loneliness and anger. The way the novel brought them alive, it was as if I was thinking her thoughts and feeling her feelings. I used to hide behind the curtain and read as a boy, not to hide from adult tyrants, but just to be alone with my books. (Jayaprakash Sathyamurthy)
Exclamations galore in The Guardian's comment on the Downton Abbey series five trailer:
Someone has a bad secret! Someone makes a scandalous suggestion! Anna Chancellor and Richard E Grant are in it! It’s all gone a bit Jane Eyre! 
Variety reviews Sophie Barthes's take on Madame Bovary and is somewhat reminded of Jane Eyre 2011:
As Emma pursues her lovers and redecorates the Bovary manse with equal vigor (in this time-constricted retelling, she remains childless), viewers may find themselves recalling 2011’s “Jane Eyre,” a similarly unexpected foray into 19th-century costume drama from a Sundance-launched filmmaker (incidentally, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s “Sin nombre” played Park City the same year as “Cold Souls”). What both adaptations have in common, of course, is Wasikowska, whose chronic inability to court the viewer’s affection makes her a fine fit here. Few actresses are so good at projecting a natural air of discontent, and Barthes allows much of the drama to play out in her star’s face — in the hopeful smile she flashes when Charles agrees to perform a potentially career-making operation on a clubfooted young man, Hippolyte (Luke Tittensor), and in the disgust and loathing that overtake her when the surgery goes predictably, horribly awry. (Justin Chang)
The Daily Telegraph (Australia) looks at a property for sale in Clovelly with a tenuous Brontë connection:
Mr Gatenby said his family was also distantly related to the Brontë sisters, famed for their novel writing.
“At some point Dolly became the custodian of a cushion embroidered by one of the Brontë sisters, so this tenuous link with the great 19th century authors actually resided for years at 38 Burnie St,” Mr Gatenby said. (Melissa Kehagias)
What's On Stage recommends catching Peter McMaster's all-male adaptation of Wuthering Heights now that it's back in London (Three Weeks has a rather different opinion, by the way) . Writer Laura Cardozo is a fan of Jane Eyre, as read in an interview on ExcentriKs (in Spanish). Writergurlny reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, both the novel and the 1996 screen adaptation. Leah Farmer reviews Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at September 03, 2014 12:49 AM

September 02, 2014

Regency Ramble

Regency Fashion September 1814

I hope you had a wonderful Labour Day weekend. It is hard to believe the end of the summer is upon us already, but this dress should be enough to remind us that while we are moving into the Autumn, the weather may yet surprise us.

MORNING DRESS September 1814.

From Ackermann's Repository
A ROUND robe of lilac or evening primrose-coloured sarsnet, trimmed entirely round the bosom with a quilling of blond lace, edged with chenille; sarsnet flounce, headed with tufts or quilling of blond, corresponding with the top of the dress; long full sleeve, partially drawn up and fastened with bows of silk cord; a lace cuff.

 The French hat, composed of white and lilac satin; the crown trimmed with tufts and bows of ribbon, and ornamented with a large cluster of flowers. Slippers of lilac kid. Gloves pale tan.

I really like this gown, and the French hat is very pretty, at least on the model. Now what would you say she is carrying? Parasol?  It doesn't look right.

She is definitely at the beach because those are ships off in the distance, but could it be a telescope?  Any thoughts?

Until next time

by Ann Lethbridge ( at September 02, 2014 05:24 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Nocturnal Wonderland This Weekend

While not strictly Alice related, this weekend is the 20th annual Nocturnal Wonderland music festival, and while the music is decidedly NOT Victorian, for those who like rave/house/trance/techno/dance music at a venue with a decidedly Alice in Wonderland theme, this is the place for you.  Bring ear plugs.  Oh, and two weeks later the same promoter is hosting ANOTHER music festival called Beyond Wonderland.   Sure to be equally entertaining.  If you go, bring me a program and some kandi  :-)

If you want to get an idea of what you’re in for, watch the official trailer for Nocturnal Wonderland.


by Matt at September 02, 2014 04:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Cloudy ― & often wet.

A bad day ― εῖς πολλοῦς τρόπους.[1]

Letters from Mrs. Clive, Augusta Bethell, & C.F. Later from F.L. ― Mrs. F. being less well.

Worked ― but vey capriciously, at the V. Gordianorum. ―

At 6 ― ordered a piano ― for hire: subscribed for 2 months to a library & walked to F.L.’s. Mrs. F.L. is not much better, I regret to say.

Great pain seized my throat about 4 ― or 5 ― & I wrote to say I could not come to Hackwood tomorrow as I had intended. It is hardly better, & at times worse ― tonight.

A very bad  night ― first pain & then Διαρρέα[2] ―

[1] In many ways (NB).

[2] Diarrhea.

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]

by Marco Graziosi at September 02, 2014 08:00 AM


A new Wuthering Heights in Montana

Apparently there is a new Wuthering Heights film adaptation going on. It's a small US independent production. The alma mater of the project seems to be Bryan Ferriter (Interwoven Studios) who directs, writes and probably plays Heathcliff. Jasmin Jandreau was recently cast as Cathy as we read on Backstage:
After auditioning via the Web, she was chosen over 500 other actors.
Jandreau’s character is the heroine of the gothic romance, in addition to being the great love of the narrative’s protagonist, Heathcliff. The film is shooting through October in Montana, which Jandreau calls “a mystical vastness of space, rolling hills, and mountains. It’s the perfect location for filming ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and we have already done a lot of the horse-riding scenes! I love horses and I love riding, so this project fulfills me as an actor and human being.” (Briana Rodriguez)

by M. ( at September 02, 2014 01:47 AM

'From dusty set-text into something vital and affecting'

A short article in The Guardian praises the British Library's Discovering Literature website.
If it hadn't been for a well-timed family visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, I doubt I would've finished Jane Eyre before my GCSE English literature exam. Simpering St John bored me, and I already knew the ending, having watched the film in class. Going to Haworth and seeing Charlotte Brontë's childhood writings, her letters and drawings, and the journal she kept as a young teacher, renewed my interest. Understanding the author and her times turned the novel from dusty set-text into something vital and affecting.
Now anyone with access to the internet can experience the same connection. Exhibits from the Brontës' childhood home can be viewed on the British Library's new website, Discovering Literature, along with William Blake's notebooks, an early draft of The Importance of Being Earnest, and thousands more pages from the library's Romantic and Victorian collections. There are also teaching notes, 150 articles by leading academics and videos including Simon Callow on Dickens as a performer.
While Discovering Literature is an important cultural resource that can be enjoyed by all ages, it has been carefully tailored to appeal to GCSE and A-level students. The British Library's research among teachers showed that original manuscripts, with their edits and revisions, dodgy grammar and messy handwriting, can be a powerful way of engaging pupils. Contextual material can also be a source of inspiration, and the site is packed with items such as letters, diaries, dictionaries, newspapers and illustrations that illuminate the historical, social and political contexts of classic works. An 1809 dictionary of underworld slang sheds light on Oliver Twist, for instance.
With education such a battlefield, and learning so geared to exams, it can be difficult for teachers to get on with their main job: to inspire. Anything that makes that task easier deserves to be celebrated. (Anna Baddeley)
The Warrington Guardian lists several events which took place in 1853 - the year that newspaper was founded. One of which is of course:
Charlotte Brontë had her novel Vilette [sic] published.
The Baltimore Sun looks at 'lodgings for literature lovers' and recommends Nora Roberts's Inn BoonsBoro.
On the other side of the state, the Inn BoonsBoro in Western Maryland is owned by best-selling author Nora Roberts, who undertook a restoration of the historic building. Many of the inn’s eight graciously appointed rooms and suites bear the names of literary lovers. Think Elizabeth and Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane and Rochester from “Jane Eyre,” as well as Shakespeare’s Titania and Oberon from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Donna M. Owens)
Estense (Italy) reviews the film 3 Coeurs and concludes that,
La fine è alla Wuthering heightsCime tempestose, l’unico, sublime visionario romanzo fuori dal tempo e da ogni schema di Emily Brontë, trasposto in tante versioni cinematografiche ad iniziare da quella di Buñuel del 1953. (Translation)
The Times states that 'summer is Fomo – Fear of Missing Out' and includes Kate Bush's comeback concerts as one of the things that you shouldn't have missed.

Coincidentally, many news outlets today such as The Telegraph report that,
Kate Bush becomes the first female artist to boast eight albums in the top 40 chart simultaneously [...]
She became the first female artist in history to score a UK number one single on the Official Singles Chart with a self-penned song. Wuthering Heights went on to top the chart for four weeks, becoming the first of Bush's 26 top 40 hits. (Elliot Pinkham)
Libran Writer interviews writer Martina Devlin.
Who are your favourite writers? Charlotte Brontë because she did something radical – she had Jane Eyre step out from between the pages of a book and speak directly to us: “Reader, I married him.” In those four words, Brontë dismantled one of the barriers between writer and reader. I visited Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire, where she lived, and had to be dragged away by the others in my party, who wanted to do perfectly natural things like find somewhere to eat. I stood in the dining room where Brontë wrote, and imagined her pacing the table’s circumference at night, reading her own words aloud to herself (as we’re told she did). And missing her siblings, how she must have missed them – but carrying on. Until she married, when it all went dreadfully wrong.
The Brontë Sisters posts about Helen MacEwan's The Brontës in Brussels. Behold the Stars reviews Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at September 02, 2014 01:17 AM

September 01, 2014

The Beautiful Necessity

Aurora Ophelia

Tonight, a friend linked an article on Vanity Fair about the costume designer for Maleficent, and how she focused on emphasizing Aurora's innocence for the new film.

Two costume sketches from the film's wardrobe department are shown in the article slide show, and the last one was immediately familiar to me.

Who better, I suppose, to look at for innocent aesthetics than Ophelia?

Ophelia by JW Waterhouse

 You can see some of the influence in the inspiration painting in the finished garment...the embroidered band around the hem, the sleeve style, and the chemise under the neckline.

I did adore this movie, and am counting the days till it's out on DVD and I can see it again!

by Grace ( at September 01, 2014 09:04 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Harriet Backer (Norwegian, 1845-1932), Contrasting rooms

 photo harrietbackerbylamplight.jpg

 photo harrietbackerlibrary.jpg

The library of Thorvald Boeck, 1902; he was a lawyer who had the largest private library in Norway, which has been preserved largely intact in Trondheim (about 30,000 volumes and 600 manuscripts):

September 01, 2014 10:00 AM