Planet Century 19

August 01, 2014


Colombian Heights now in Rome

The Wuthering Heights litographs by the Colombian artist Pilar Gómez that we presented a month ago, are now on exhibition in Roma, Italy, part of the
La Expo Culturale Itinerante
in collaborazione con la
La rassegna itinerante DE SUR A NORTE
” Dalle Pampas Argentine alle Pianure colombiane “.

by M. ( at August 01, 2014 02:03 AM

July 31, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Wuthering Heights in the Forest

Red Rose Chain Theatre Company presents a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights in their Theatre in the Forest season at Jimmy's Farm in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK:
Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Joanna Carrick
Jimmy's Farm, Ipswich, Suffolk

This Summer we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of Theatre In The Forest with a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights!

Joanna Carrick's adaptation of Emily Brontë's story of eternal love gives a refreshingly innovative perspective on one of our best loved classics. Don't miss this chance to fall in love with Brontë's masterpiece whether it's your first time experiencing it or you’re already a Brontë aficionado. Performed in the beautiful woodlands at Jimmy's Farm you can bring your own picnic or let our friends at the farm fix you a gorgeous pre-theatre dinner for the region's biggest outdoor theatre event.
Check out our website at for more information and updates on all our deals including our Group Discount.
We look forward to seeing you for yet another magical summer in the forest!

Wednesday 6th August - Sunday 24th August (Check the exact dates here)
Jimmy’s Farm, Pannington Hall Lane, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP9 2AR
Gates open at 6pm, show runs from 7.30-10pm
Full Price: £22 Over 60’s: £17 Concessions: £10
Box Office: 01473 603388
Thanks to Katie from Red Rose Chain for the extra info.

by M. ( at July 31, 2014 08:06 PM

Regency Ramble

Fashion July 1814

I could not let July slip away without one more post on the fashion from the Regency Period.

From La Belle Assemblee:

Russian and Prussian Bonnet with Pelisse a-la-Militaire

I often put my heroines in something al-la-Militaire because it sounds daring. And let us facing we would all like to be daring, within bounds of course.

My first thoughts were, not so very Militaire and a bit hot for July.  But given the weather we have been having lately, well perhaps not. And does the military bit just refer to the colour, you know, Prussian blue?

Here is the description, it might shed a bit more light on the ideas of the designer.

Jacconet muslin high dress, with a rich letting-in of lace and embroidery of the same materials round the bottom: the body and sleeves of this dress are richly appliqued with lace. 
A most delicate blue sarsnet pelisse, trimmed a-la-Prusse, either with crape or satin of a dark shade. The sleeves and the front of the pelisse are slightly ornamented in the same tasteful manner; the back is full, and fastens round the waist by a fancy military girdle; an appliqueing of crape, to correspond in colour with the pelisse, is let-in round the bosom, and on each applique is a small satin flower. A rich lace ruff falls over. 
This walking costume is at present wholly confined to the highest class of our fair pedestrians, and we must say, it is equally distinguished for novelty and elegance; it also displays the figure to the greatest advantage. The captivating military bonnet which accompanies it, is highly characteristic of the elegant taste of its inventress: it bestows upon a pretty face that air which the French term piquant. 
We have observed of some hats which have formerly made their appearance under military appellations, that they gave a look of fierceness even to soft features: the reverse of this is the case with the Russian and Prussian Bonnet, which is one of the most generally becoming that we have ever seen.
The above dresses were invented, and can be obtained exclusively of Mrs. Bell, the Inventress of the Ladies’ Chapeau Bras, removed to No. 26, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square.

I'm not convinced. How about you?  It is certainly good to know that Mrs Bell has moved. I wouldn't want our heroines showing up at the wrong location.

Until next time

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 31, 2014 12:30 PM


Jane Eyre, better as an adult

Essex Chronicle / Brentwood Gazette has a Brontë-inspired quiz celebrating Emily Brontë's birthday:
It's Emily Brontë's birthday, today: that gives me the chance to at least LOOK literary …
Q1) 30th July saw the birth of novelist, Emily Brontë. In which year: 1817, 1818, or 1819?
Q2) Emily was the third youngest child of the Brontë siblings: which Brontë sister was the youngest of the family?
Q3) Who was the oldest surviving sibling?
Q4) Who was the only surviving Brontë brother … ?
Q5) The one novel Emily wrote and published was 'Wuthering' … what?
Q6) The story tells us of the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Catherine who?
Q7) Who, in 1978, released a song based on Emily's novel … ?
Q8) Emily's sister, Anne, wrote two novels. Her first was 'Agnes Grey'. What was her second called?
Q9) Emily's other sister, Charlotte, wrote four published novels: name any of them.
Q10) Finally … in which year of the 1840s did Emily die … ? (Nik-Nak12)
My Daily gives you five classics you should probably have read. Among them
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Fourth-wave feminism probably owes a lot to this book. Critics have dubbed its main character one of the most fiercely independent and strong-willed female protagonists in the history of literature.
Although adapted countless times for the small screen, no period drama could truly compare to actually reading the novel for yourself.
It's a love story you may have attempted to conquer in your angst-ridden teen years, but its far better to tackle as an adult. And Jane, well, she could teach us all a few things about what it means to be a woman - even now. (Ellen Stewart)
More websites copying the Slate article about the Cowan Bridge entry reports: RTÉ, De Morgen (Belgium)...

The other usual suspect this week is the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction list of the most influential books by women. Politiken (Denmark), Windy City Media Group and  The Irish Times reports:
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847)
Charlotte Brontë’s most famous novel is often spoken of in terms of the relationship that develops between the heroine and her Byronic lover Mr Rochester. Beginning with Jane’s orphaned background at a strict boarding school and showing her development into a kind and intelligent woman, it offers far more to readers than a romance story. Ahead of its time, the novel explores themes of class, gender, sexuality and religion. Relating the interior world of her heroine so convincingly earned Brontë the title of “’first historian of the private consciousness”. (...)
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (1847)
If Emily Brontë had lived past 30, who knows what other works of literature might have emerged from this talented writer? The bond between Cathy and Heathcliff has inspired a host of adaptations from ballet to television to opera to Kate Bush’s 1978 song. Brontë’s depiction of the remote moorlands in northern England is one of the finest examples of setting in literature. Challenging the strict Victorian ideals of the day, the book received mixed reviews when published but Brontë’s first and only novel is widely regarded as a classic today. (Sarah Gilmartin)
PRWeb talks about the latest video by Rebecca Baines, Hard Road:
One of the locations was Bradford on a street called Lumb Lane, once a well-known red light district. Before that time, however, it had been home to a cluster of textile mills bringing a lot of work and prosperity to the city. Indeed the city was also the birthplace of the great Brontë sisters, whose works Rebecca comments are huge inspirations for her work.
The Spirits Business highlights the most important spirit launches of the year:
Giving a literary edge to this list is Brontë Liqueur, a blackberry, sloe and jasmine liqueur created by Sir James Aykroyd, who has previously held senior roles with Buchanan’s whisky and Martini and Rosso, in honour of the Brontë sisters. Proceeds from sales of the liqueur will be donated to the Brontë Society, of which Aykroyd is an active member. (Amy Hopkins)
This is a really bizarre thinking hellokitttism variant. ChipChick presents the Hello Kitty iPhone 5s Case:
The Charmer case fits both the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S, and features Hello Kitty pensively looking out of a house window, like a Hello Kitty reinterpretation of Wuthering Heights.
Marken Rasen Mail presents the ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights performances in The Old Palace in Lincoln’s Minster Yard. The Critiquing Critica reviews VilletteGrigory Ryzhakov – Russian Writer posts on K.M. Weiland's Jane Eyre Annotated edition. Salmon and Souvlaki posts about Jane Eyre. Nika Vintage posts about Jane Eyre 1944.

by M. ( at July 31, 2014 11:30 AM

Happy 196th, Emily

196 years ago Emily Brontë was born in Thornton. Hers tends to be the thinnest biographies on Brontë bookshelves, and yet there's something intriguing about her literary output that sends people looking for biographies of her in hopes that they can help explain how a provincial - albeit highly learned, despite what Charlotte would have the world believe - young woman could have written such words. (And we are pretty sure that this 'mystery' is a two way street. Emily may have scorned the public, but we are quite confident that she would have been quite amazed at what Wuthering Heights particularly has achived in terms of readership, influences, literary status, etc.).

And yet that is the magic and mightiness of the pen. If ever anyone showed that to the world, that was undoubtedly 'our Emily'. No explanations are really needed - a good book and good poetry are always self-explanatory.

Happy birthday!

(Post originally published in 2010)

Blogs/Websites celebrating Emily Brontë's birthday: Ferriz (México), @BookLoversGift, Il Cenacolo Inteluattale (Italy), @Literature & Books, @Red Rose Chain (with free tickets for a Wuthering Heights performance in Suffolk), Real Simple, @St Helens Libraries, @National Portrait Gallery, the Brontë Sisters, Lighthouse Books, Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Jane Jazz: writer's block...

by M. ( at July 31, 2014 11:29 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 7. Very close & warm ―

Wrote all the morning, to George ― Dean Stanley ― Mrs. Boyd & others. At 2 ― went to poor Mr. Morier’s ― 2.45 to Wade-Browne, with whom to Z. Gardens, where I staid till 6. ― meeting Digby & Mrs. Wyatt, who asked me to dine. ― Saw Sir H.J. Holland ― Lord Wesbury ― T. Landseer ― Philip, Geoffrey Nevill, & others. The Oran Otang is a very great brute. Cab with the Wyatts home.


Cab home by 11.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 31, 2014 08:00 AM

July 30, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Palgrave Pivot Series on “The Digital Nineteenth Century”

NINES is very excited to announce that NINES Director Andrew M. Stauffer has partnered with Palgrave to edit a short-form monograph series on “The Digital Nineteenth Century.” The call for submissions is below. For proposals, please contact Andrew Stauffer at

The proposed Palgrave Pivot series, “The Digital Nineteenth Century,” will publish short-form monographs (30 – 50,000 words) on topics at the intersection of nineteenth-century studies and the digital humanities. Partnering with the NINES Center (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) at the University of Virginia, this series will be retrospective and prospective, involving not only explications of digital projects and theoretical considerations of methods, results, rhetorics, and audiences, but also projections that chart a course for future work. The series will also include free-standing titles for scholars throughout the world not tied to a specific digital project, but rather synoptic studies of a particular method, approach, or thematic in digital nineteenth-century studies. The series aims to provide a growing archival record of the digital nineteenth century across the years.

Andrew M. Stauffer is Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has served as Director of the NINES project since 2008. He is a member of the faculty of the Rare Book School, the author of Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism (Cambridge UP, 2005), and the editor of works by Robert Browning (Norton, 2006) and H. Rider Haggard (Broadview, 2006). He has served as PI on digital humanities grants from the NEH (IATDH, 2011-2012) and Google, Inc. (2012), and was recently named Distinguished Pinetree Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative at CUNY (2014-15) under the topic, “The Future of the Book in the Digital Age.” He is the President of the Byron Society of America, and a member of the executive committee of The Society for Textual Scholarship. He also serves on advisory boards for the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Association, the Victorians Institute, the Byron Journal, and the Wordsworth Circle.


by Brandon Walsh at July 30, 2014 07:55 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Quantum Cheshire Cat

The physicist in me is just giggling over this article.  How cool that two of my very favorite subjects have collided, and non-destructively too I might add.  Basically they’ve separated a particle from one of its properties.  How very Carrollian.

by Matt at July 30, 2014 04:27 PM


Wispy Brontë Women

Cinemablend thinks that Kaya Scodelario in  Wuthering Heights 2011:
She's most heartbreaking, however, in the recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights, a must-see for any Brontë enthusiast.  (Gabe Toro)
Pitchfork reviews the video Heart is a Drum by Beck:
Over the course of the video, Beck encounters lost astronauts, a wispy woman straight out of a Brontë novel, the grim reaper, and a man wearing white trousers and a jacket/scarf combo that looks strikingly similar to the white outfit he wore in his 1993 video for "Loser". (Zoe Camp)
More news outlets carry the results of Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction poll about the most influential books written by women: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Scotsman, The Guardian (highlighting that Mary Beard chose Jane Eyre), The Guardian's Books BlogEntertainment Weekly...

Another usual suspect in recent news was the bad entry examinations at Cowan Bridge of Charlotte and Emily. We find articles on Librópatas (in Spanish) and The Guardian:
It's been a long time since I faced the terror of a school report myself, but it all came back after I landed upon this Slate article, pointing towards Charlotte Brontë's. Made available online by the British Library as part of its fabulous new digital English literature resource, the write up is hardly glowing. Apparently, the girl who would go on to pen Jane Eyre "writes indifferently" and "knows nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments". The eight-year-old is, however, "altogether clever of her age", but "knows nothing systematically".
The report is taken from the school register of the Clergy Daughters' School, at Cowan Bridge, and published in the Journal of Education. It also mentions Emily Brontë, then aged 5 ¾, who "reads very prettily, and works a little", and, poignantly, Elizabeth and Marie Brontë, then aged nine and 10, both of whom left "in ill-health", and died later in 1825. (Alison Flood)
Lesen (Germany) talks about pseudonyms in literature:
Das Benutzen eines Pseudonyms ist fast genauso alt wie das literarische Schreiben an sich. Viele berühmte Klassiker-Autoren, zum Beispiel Oscar Wilde, Ray Bradbury oder die Brontë-Schwestern, veröffentlichten sowohl unter ihrem bürgerlichen Namen als auch unter einem Pseudonym. (Stephanie Schäfers)
Today is the International Day of Friendship and Graphomania (Italy) quotes from Charlotte Brontë:
[I]f we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love our friends for their sakes rather than for our own[.] (Charlotte Brontë to W.S. Williams, July 21th, 1851).
New York Post's Pagesix titles its article about the Jersey Shore celebrities dressed 'old-fashioned' as Modern-day Brontë Sisters? MTV insists on the same moron 'joke':
The “Snooki & JWOWW” stars looked like they stepped straight out of the literary classic “Jane Eyre” when they made a special trip to a tea house in New Jersey on Monday. (...) If it weren’t for their designer handbags and Nicole’s shades, we’d think we were looking at the Brontë sisters. (Jordana Ossad)
The Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago) reviews House of Ashes by Monique Raffey:
For a self-proclaimed feminist it’s hardly surprising that Roffey’s strongest characters are women. The figure of Mrs Cynthia Gonzales, the cleaning lady (or obeah woman) who reduces the blustering gunmen to shamefaced boys (“Yuh mash up mih carpet…Where are your manners and where is your respect for civilisation?) and who refuses to leave her wounded Prime Minister, is truly memorable. Herself the one time victim of an abusive husband she, like Christophene in Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, refuses to allow any man to oppress her, standing as symbol of Caribbean matriarchy with a long tradition in our literature. (Simon Lee)
The Telegraph & Argus is warming up for the upcoming Yorkshire Day celebrations:
She said: "It's one of those events where people can celebrate all things Yorkshire.
"People have quite a strong identity to Yorkshire. They are very proud to come from here.
"People who come from overseas who have family connections to Yorkshire look to take something with the Yorkshire rose on it.
"The Tour de France has really raised the profile of Yorkshire. A lot more people know where it is now.
"Lots of people come from all over the country. We have a lot of visitors from Japan and the USA coming for the Brontë connections.
"Yorkshire Day has been going for about 30 or 40 years, it's one of those things that keeps building each year."
The Public Reviews interviews Peter McMaster about his all-male Wuthering Heights play that will be performed again at the Edinburgh Fringe:
Can you tell us more about the show?
The show is an all-male production of Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. It looks at the central character of Heathcliff as a male figure wrought with issue and complexity and in a rather subtle way, we as a group of men place ourselves alongside him comparing and contrasting with him; inhabiting his angers, exploring his passions and establishing a relationship with him. There is something about the work that questions, after almost 200 years since it was first published, if men are different nowadays. I am not sure if we are, in which case I wonder what should or could change about us. Lots of people believe that masculinity is in crisis, and I think the complicated version that is on display in this work, as in Brontë’s original, would testify that it is in crisis. If anything, perhaps, it is a performance that shines a light on our experiences of being men now, and our presentation of certain aspects of our masculinity. It is very raw at times, but also adopts good humour at other moments.
A couple of websites cover the recent Romantic Writers of America conference in San Antonio, TX and the presence of a Jane Eyre (more or less) panel:
It is, in fact, a more interesting and better written business than tired stereotypes and “Fifty Shades of Grey” might suggest. Linda Francis Lee and Eloisa James led my Alpha Hero workshop; the real Eloisa James (that's a pen name) is a tenured Shakespeare scholar at Fordham University. The next day, in an adjoining room, the standing-room-only “How to Write Hot Sex” panel was immediately followed by the more literary and historically-based, “Angst and Affability: Using Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice to Craft New Adult and Contemporary Romance.” (Adam Minter on Bloomberg News / Charlotte  Observer)
The Sheffield Star reports the local performances of the ChapterHouse Theatre production of Wuthering Heights in Wentworth Castle Gardens. Trome (Perú) talks about Wuthering Heights. The Brontë Parsonage tweets the earliest surviving sketch by Branwell Brontë when he was 11 years old. Over Crohn en andere ongemakken (in Dutch) reviews Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 30, 2014 05:05 PM

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


A few months back, I wrote a post about compiling a master list of all of Blake’s letters. The goal is to have an up-to-date bibliography of every letter that Blake ever wrote or received, along with letters by Blake’s contemporaries that have to do with him in some way.

As I’ve been putting this list together, I’ve come across a number of letters that pose a substantial obstacle to publishing them. Not only have these letters never been published before, they have never even been traced. We know about these lost letters only because other writings (other letters, journals, logs, etc.) refer to them. For example, Blake’s letter of 2 April 1804 says that he had sent a letter to his solicitor, R. Dally, “a fortnight ago.” But the letter he refers to has never been located.


From Blake’s letter of 2 April 1804, which refers to another letter that is now lost

At present, the Blake Archive communicates information about untraced works (or at least their existence) through “Related Works” pages. For an illuminated book like Songs of Innocence and of Experience, related works include alternate copies of the same work. The related works page for the letters includes references to Blake’s publications and works-in-progress.

Related Works might be one possible home for information about lost letters. But here we hit another obstacle. Often, we know of a letter’s existence through writings not published in the Blake Archive. So a Related Works page wouldn’t cut it.

Sometimes, a letter thought to be lost will resurface (the letter of 1 Sept. 1800 is one example). But even if lost letters are never found, knowing that they existed is valuable information. The smallest scraps of information about these documents might be grounds for trying to “publish” lost letters down the road.

by hardeepssidhu at July 30, 2014 02:38 PM


How wrong could Charlotte Brontë have been?

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews The Golden Fleece by Muriel Spark:
There are several essays on each of her biographical subjects, Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë and John Masefield. The most entertaining one looks at the Brontës, who posed as martyrs in their tutoring posts, from the viewpoint of the families which employed them. (Desmond O'Grady)
Paula Byrne vindicates Jane Austen in The Telegraph and particularly Mansfield Park in spite of Charlotte Brontë's opinions:
Like many Northern girls, I grew up adoring the Brontës: storms, wind, rain, Cathy and Heathcliff. Austen didn’t cut it for me. I agreed with Charlotte Brontë, who found her style anaemic: “What did I find?” she wrote after reading her novels, “a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers – but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy – no open country – no fresh air – no blue hill – no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.”
But then my odious English teacher refused to let me sit English Literature O-level. I set out to prove him wrong. At night school, I discovered Mansfield Park – a story about a girl born in a small house and an urban community, not the Austen I was expecting. I fell in love. And it changed my life.
How wrong could Charlotte Brontë have been? Passion, eroticism, danger, illicit love and incest simmer below the surface in Mansfield Park. The anti-hero, Henry Crawford, is every bit as sadistic and sexy as Heathcliff; he just has more charisma (more sinister altogether) than Brontë’s charmless hunk.
KCET visits Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills:
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... or was it Wuthering Heights, or Henry James' Bly House, home of the ghostly children of "Turn of the Screw?" No, it was not a fictional English country estate, filled with regrets and windswept gardens. And it was not a dream. It was Greystone, the awe-inspiring, grey-green estate built by the oil rich Doheny clan in the 1920s. (Hadley Meares)
Le Monde talks about the mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa, who debuted in the Montpellier performance of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights in 2010:
Rien de frondeur pourtant chez cette grande femme brune au maintien sage mais non réservé, qu'une ascension fulgurante a menée en moins de cinq ans de Montpellier à Salzbourg, en passant par l'Atelier lyrique de l'Opéra de Paris, et qui a déjà surpris son monde plus d'une fois. La première ? C'était le 14 juillet 2010 au Festival de Radio France et Montpellier. La jeune femme, alors inconnue, avait provoqué la stupéfaction admirative des spectateurs de l'opéra Wuthering Heights de Bernard Herrmann. Elle y interprétait Isabel Linton, l'épouse méprisée d'Heathcliff, l'infernal amant de Cathy, d'après le célèbre roman d'Emily Brontë.
Au début de l'acte III, elle s'était levée pour jouer au piano une mélodie langoureuse et triste, avant de s'accompagner quelques minutes plus tard dans Love is like the Wild Rose-briar. Le public, conquis, avait découvert une voix rare, merveilleusement projetée, au timbre profond, émouvant, sensuel, le double mystère d'un don et d'un talent rares. (Marie-Aude Roux) (Translation)
The Debutante Ball interviews the writer Kay Kendall:
My favorite novel of all time—first read when I was twelve—is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I rarely re-read books (my motto is “so many books, so little time”), but Jane Eyre is the exception. I’ve read it five times and watch every film version available. Originally I had no idea why this novel appealed to me while another Brontë sister’s equally famous Wuthering Heights did nothing for me. However, now I understand. Even in my early teen years, I was subconsciously drawn to the themes of Jane Eyre—feminism, social inequality, moral justice, religious concerns (of atonement and forgiveness), and family. I’m amazed that even today, this important book by Charlotte Brontë still tallies with my own views. Plus, it’s a danged fine yarn. For me there is no more thrilling line in all literature than the one that begins the final chapter—“Reader, I married him.” Jane, who had sought only to marry her equal, had finally drawn even with Mr. Rochester. (Lisa Aber)
Finally, an alert from the Romance Writers of America 2014 Conference:
Angst and Affability: Using Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice to Craft New Adult and Contemporary Romance (CRAFT)
Speaker: Megan Frampton
How can the classics be used to shape modern fiction? Megan Frampton will teach how to pinpoint common themes and tropes found in both New Adult and contemporary romance by examining Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.

by M. ( at July 30, 2014 01:41 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Maria Yakunchikova (1870-1902)

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The belfry of the Savino-Storozhevsky Cathedral, 1891

 photo Yakunchikovaviewmoscow1889.jpg

A view in Moscow, 1889

 photo Yakunchikova_Blooming_apple-trees.jpg

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 photo yakunchikovaconversationafterdinner.jpg

July 30, 2014 09:08 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose before 6 ― (so strong is the ruling passion ― O! Morn ―― morn! ― tho’ we see it not now. ―) & then, & after breakfast coloured one more dozen of the Cretan drawings ― leaving only 4½ dozen to pen out & color, out of the 11.

(Was it this morning, or yesterday ― yesterday it was ― that a new press came from Charltons, & I had that, & the old one placed in the “sitting-room” ―soon to be turned into a bedroom.) I worked also at designs for Sir W. James’s pictures ― with an unwonted Energy.

After lunch, Thomas Cooper & I absolutely changed all the furniture from the Bedroom to the other, & vice versa, & at least one has a tolerable sleeping room. ― (Alas for casa Παραμυθιόττι ― & the view therefrom!! ―)

Ἤλθε κανεῖς.[1] At 6 I went to Newmans ― to get colors ― but that was shut, as was Robersons ― (Saturday-early-closing Movement:) ― but at the latter I got colots & brushes I wanted.

Returned at 8 ― & dined alone ― “purchasing” a leg of mutton of Thomas Cooper, to help the “Doctor’s bilz.” The Coopers, in spite of their calamities are incessantly obliging & kindly as servants. T.C. has just come back from Mr. Moriers ――

Admiral Morier died last night at 6. Very stretto[2] & queer is this little sitting room. ― but there is no help for it at present, for Robinson, the man below, is disappointed of the house he was going to, & I can but ask him to stay a week or two to save him extra trouble.

[1] No one came.

[2] Tight.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 30, 2014 08:00 AM


Emily's Birthday at the Parsonage

The Brontë Parsonage celebrates Emily Brontë's birthday in style:
We’ll be combining a ride on the KWVR with a talk by railway history expert David Pearson, then a vintage bus ride up to the Brontë Parsonage Museum. On arrival there will be an illustrated talk on Emily Brontë, and a guided walk up onto Penistone Hill for a view of the wild landscape which so inspired Wuthering Heights. There will also be an opportunity to look around Emily’s home, the Brontë Parsonage, finishing with tea and home-made cakes. Finally, returning by vintage bus to Haworth station for the ride by steam train back to Keighley.

Schedule Emily's Birthday
12.15: Meet at KEIGHLEY station for the Keighley and Worth Valley steam train leaving for Haworth at 12.30.
Our group has a reserved coach on the train. Railway historian, David Pearson, will talk about the Brontës and the railways and will also point out interesting places such as Oakworth station featured in the film “The Railway Children”.
12.50: Arrive and travel to Haworth by the Heritage Bus to the Museum Car Park
1.00: Free time for Lunch. Upstairs room at Cobbles and Clay Café on Main Street is reserved. LUNCH IS NOT INCLUDED.
2.00: Meet at the Parsonage Museum for the Emily Brontë activities.
You will be in two groups for the activities. Each activity takes about 30 minutes; groups will swap over at around 2.35.
1. “Emily’s Treasures” – talk and close-up viewings of some of Emily Bronte’s personal possessions presented by Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager.
2. A short walk to Penistone Hill for a view of Emily’s beloved moors which provide the wild backdrop to “Wuthering Heights”, led by Sue Newby, Learning Officer.
3.15: Tea, soft drinks, and cakes in the garden weather permitting and visit to the Brontës’ home and gift shop.
4.00: Return to Haworth station by Heritage Bus from the Museum Car Park. Train leaves Haworth at 4.21 and arrives at Keighley arriving at 4.40 

by M. ( at July 30, 2014 01:10 AM

July 29, 2014


Most Influential Books or Jersey Shore vs Wuthering Heights-haters in a NYC subway

The Bookseller announces the Top 20 Most Influential Books by Women today as released by  Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction:
Prize organisers have also released a list of the Top 20 Most Influential Books by Women today (29th July) as voted for by readers (...)
3) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
5) Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Mike Larkin in The Daily Mail has an overdose of Brontë misused references in this story that some consider news worthy of being printed:
So no doubt some will accuse Snooki and JWoww of being a couple of Jane Eyre-heads after they dressed up as Victorian ladies in New Jersey on Monday. And it seems their more genteel new look was not the most spontaneous of ideas, as they were being followed around by their ever-present reality television cameras during their outing.
It momentarily seemed like the Brontë sisters had come back to life as the fragrant ladies daintily padded down the street.
The picture captions:
Jane Eyre-head: Snooki was wearing Victorian period dress as she sauntered around New Jersey on Monday
Who needs the Brontë sisters? No doubt fans of Snooki and JWoww will say they push the reality television envelope in much the same way as the former did in literature
Hitting the Wuthering Heights: JWoww certainly pulled off the look with more aplomb
The Tenants of Wildfell Hall: She was accompanied by Snooki as they headed out for the day.
Flavorwire lists the most depressing places in literature including Wuthering Heights:
As Mr. Lockwood describes this landmark of Gothic fiction:
“Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling, ‘wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed. One may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house, and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.”(Jason Diamond)
Queerty discusses same sex marriages in the American courts:
Here’s our favorite quote:
The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
First of all, this is awesome because of the retro use of “countenance,” like one of the Brontë sisters wrote this ruling. (Matt Baume)
Joblo has seen Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak at the Comic Con 2014
To me, the picture appears to be a combination of The Haunting (the good one) and Jane Eyre or something along those lines: A lush, classic gothic romance with creepy supernatural elements. (Think Jane Austen meets Edgar Allan Poe.) (Eric Walkuski)
The Cowan Bridge entry examinations of the Brontës are now in the foreign press too. ActuaLitté says:
Si vos professeurs vous ont tenu pour bon à rien lors de votre scolarité, ils ont pu se tromper. Ce serait possiblement le cas pour les soeurs Brontë, d'après un extrait d'une réimpression de The Journal of Education: A Monthly Record and Review, de janvier 1900. Du temps où elle suivirent leurs classes de primaire, au sein de la Clergy Daughters School, Lancashire, les filles n'eurent pas que de bonnes appréciations. Elle furent taxées d'écrire « indifféremment », ou encore de « ne rien connaître de la grammaire, de la géographie, de l'histoire, ou encore de la réussite ».
Also on

Laura Inman continues her blog tour promoting The Poetic World of Emily Brontë. A post on Deal Sharing Aunt or an interview on Roxanne Kade:
This book should appeal to anyone who likes to read poetry or read about poetry. Those can be two very different categories. I like reading introductions to and essays about literature, which is a different kind of read than the literary work itself. Also, the biographical content in my book cannot be discounted. My book is in large part an investigation of Brontë’s thoughts and personality. I would have liked to write a biography of Emily Brontë, except there is really nothing new to add as a pure biography to those already available. I have to imagine that anyone who has read Wuthering Heights would find much to enjoy in my book because there are so many references to it and insights. I have at times felt like I was waging my own little campaign to get the public to stop thinking of Wuthering Heights as a love story. The discussion of that novel in my book, among other things, furthers that mission.
Lovereading interviews the author Ben Fergusson:
He lists many authors as people who have affected how and what he writes – the Brontës, Dickens, Austen, Katherine Mansfield, E.M. Forster, and American writers, including James Baldwin, Truman Capote and Richard Yates. (Vikki Patis)
The ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights tour arrives to Castle Kennedy Gardens Stranraer as printed in The Galloway Gazette. Lancaster Online presents Cocktails for Book Lovers, by Tessa Smith McGovern. Richard Mansel posts about the K.M. Weiland's Annotated edition of Jane Eyre. The Brontë Parsonage tweets a Branwell sketch when he was 11 years old. Veronica's Garden posts an essay by Rachel Creager Ireland: Jane Eyre, and the Lengthy, Passionate, Descriptive Sentence. In a merry hour and Coffee Cups and Camisoles post about Jane Eyre.

And finally, this anecdote which took place on the NYC subway as told by HauteZone is one of the weirdest we have read in a while.

by M. ( at July 29, 2014 02:54 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Vasily Polenov, portrait sketch of Natalya Yakunchikova, 1882

 photo Vasilypolenovnatalyayakunchikova1882.jpg

Natalya Yakunchikova, who was the sister of the painter Maria Yakunchikova-Weber, married Polenov in 1882.

 photo nikolai-kuznetsov-natalia-polenova-pintores-y-pinturas-juan-carlos-boveri.jpg

A portrait of her by Nikolai Kuznetzov. There are some family photographs here:

 photo Polenovvas.jpg

I wonder if this may be her in this painting by Polenov.

July 29, 2014 08:37 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. Penning out, ―for unless I break the neck these Cretan sketches, I shall have no peace. But the little upstairs room is sadly hot & close. ―

Pazienza. Tarrant sent some more mounted drawings, ― arranging which took up some time. Also I fell asleep. And Jameson the jovial, with his mother & Mrs. Coleridge came. How pretty is Mrs. C.! ― Later, poor Major Reynolds came, looking very ill, ― & Miss Yates, who is not satisfactory. Then, Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Warde, & Mrs. Louis ― all pleasant. Did not go out at all, but coloured & penned till 7.30. The sooner the dose is taken the better, but it is hard work.

Dined, μοναχῶς, at 8.30. The Coopers’ poor little child still lives ―weary & dreadful work foro the 2 parents. Looking back at last year’s & earlier journals, life is much the same now as then.

Ἐγευμάτισα μοναχῶς: [κὶ] ὑπήγα εἰς τὸ κρεββάτι -‘ς τὰς ἒνδεκα.[1]

Mr. Morier came late ― appearing to me sadly aged; ― the Admiral is ill & I fear dying at Eastbourne. ―

[1] I dined alone: and went to bed at eleven (NB).

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 29, 2014 08:00 AM

The Little Professor

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood

One of those aggravating things about research is that you will publish something and only afterwards realize that a Book of Great Relevance was out there.  A case in point is George MacDonald's Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood (1867), first of a trilogy about Walton, a clergyman in the Church of England, and his family--a novel that I really wish I had read before writing my introduction to Robert Elsmere, because MacDonald's narrative practice, as well as his character's understanding of clerical work, bears some interesting (and rather suspicious) resemblance to Elsmere's.  Like most Victorianists, I was primarily acquainted with MacDonald's Christian fantasy works, and had not delved into the rest of his oeuvre; so, given that Book Three 1/2 will need to have a reasonable amount of MacDonald going on, I jumped in, only to discover that Mrs. Ward had been there before me.  

Annals, written in the first person, is a strikingly self-reflexive novel, concerned with story-telling both in terms of fiction and in terms of character-building.   At its core are two inset narratives: old Mr. Weir's account of his illegitimate birth, itself handed down to him by the servant who raised him; and old Dr. Duncan's tale of a nightmarish visit to a woman's sickbed, during which he realizes that she is being emotionally tortured to death by her own mother.  Both narratives are about the upper-class Oldcastle family, and their Gothic quality (complete with creaky old house with mysterious rooms and a scary servant) is only heightened by, as Mr. Weir puts it, the occurence of "the same misfortune all over again among the young people" (68).  In Weir's narrative, a governess, Miss Wallis, is seduced and impregnated by the wicked Capt. Crowfoot, who abandons her for the wealthy Miss Oldcastle; Weir's grand-daughter, Catharine, is in turn seduced and impregnated by Capt. George Everard, who wishes to marry the current generation's Miss Oldcastle, Ethelwyn.  In the middle, Dorothy Oldcastle (Capt. Crowfoot's great-granddaughter) marries for love, only to find that her mother, the tyrannical Mrs. Oldcastle, will stop at nothing to destroy the relationship.  Walton concedes that this history sounds "melo-dramatic" (84), and it seems odd at first to find it buried, as it were, within a novel whose title makes it sound pointedly free of incidents.  The melodrama certainly reappears in Catharine's enraged vow of "revenge" (265, 267) against Everard.  But one way of thinking about this explosion of Gothic melodrama is that the novel deliberately "tames" it by transforming the Gothic past into the realist present through Christian love.  The tragedy of the Oldcastle past gives way to the comedy of Walton's eventual marriage to Ethelwyn, which promises to "remove the curse from this wretched family" (361): marrying for love, and in Christian love, displaces the regime of male sexual exploitation and female violence that had characterized the Oldcastle narrative.  At the end of the novel, young Tom Weir's marriage to Walton's sister, which reunites the two branches of Crowfoot's descendants through marriage, signals that Christianity has fully supplanted the sociopolitical divisions that appeared on  the Oldcastle's watch.  

However, the acts of telling these stories are also important to the novel's understanding of Christian salvation and identity.  At the very beginning of the narrative, the now-elderly Walton says of his body that "[t]hese things are not me," but rather, "I have them, and please God, shall soon have better" (4).   Walton insists, in other words, that the body does not determine identity, and that, indeed, identity itself is not a static thing; instead, in good Carlylean (albeit more obviously Christian) fashion, the Christian self emerges in process, through its work.  Storytelling serves as one form of process, a means of shaping imaginative community; it is telling that, like Robert Elsmere after him, Walton uses storytelling in the pulpit and draws heavily on literature (especially Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and the Romantic poets) to make his theological points.   By the same token, Walton doesn't like to "argue," and prefers to "spend my energy in setting forth what I believe--as like itself as I could represent it, and so leave it to work its own way, which, if it be the right way, it must work in the right mind" (103).  As this quotation suggests, "work" (a word which appears quite frequently in this novel) can signify direct human agency, but here it suggests that ideas themselves have their own agency and bear their own fruit when they come into contact with the "right" mind.  It is not important that the idea is Walton's; it is important that the idea itself grows, develops, and then transforms the mental soil in which Walton plants it.  (My sentence has been seeded with the novel's organic imagery, I do believe!) Walton, for example, is excited when his friend Old Rogers arrives at an insight about a Biblical passage that Walton himself had had a hard time interpreting--the answer is important, but so too is the thought process. Walton repeatedly asks us to notice that he is "thinking," or that character so-and-so is "thinking"; unlike many other didactic novels, this one rejects the belief that insta-conversion is possible, or that such a thing might even be desirable.  Instead, all of the characters transform slowly over time, including Walton, who does not always do so well with the "love thine enemy" bit. 

This emphasis on process returns in Walton's attempt to chart what makes Christian identity possible.   At the end of his first encounter with Old Rogers, Walton determines that "I resolved to try all I could to be the same man in the pulpit that I was out of it" (11), and the rest of the narrative inveighs against all forms of subjective splitting.  Any form of self-division in this novel is a sign of unresolved sin; to be at war with oneself means to be out of sorts with God.  Or, as Walton observes of old Mr. Weir's son Thomas (symbolically named--this Thomas is a doubter), "till a man knows that he is one of God's family, living in God's house, with God up stairs, as it were, while he is at his work or his play in a nursery below stairs, he can't feel comfortable" (67).   This domestic language replays itself in the intergenerational conflicts that dot the novel, beginning with Capt. Crowfoot's attempt to murder his own illegitimate son (probably) and extending through Mrs. Oldcastle's abusive relationship to her daughters, Thomas Weir's rage against his children (especially Catharine), and Catharine's growing resentment of her own illegitimate child.  In other words, the novel is loaded with bad parents, who, pace Mrs. Sherwood, fail to take God's place on earth, even symbolically.  All of the bad parents confuse, in the words of the novel's opening, "to have" with "I," whether by identifying the self with property (Crowfoot and Mrs. Oldcastle), propriety (Thomas), or vengeance (Catherine), and all of them suffer from their own self-inflicted pains.  Or, to put it differently, whereas Walton insists that identity rests in a self understood as an organic and eternal whole, inspired by and of God, these characters locate identity in contingencies of money, desire, and the flesh.   "Only by being filled with a higher spirit than our own," says Walton, "which, having caused our spirits, is one with our spirits, and is in them the present life principle, are we or can we be safe from this eternal death of our being" (215).  Only those who understand that they are fully in God because they are fully of God can ever be whole selves--"fully themselves," as MacDonald says elsewhere, once they have understood the measure of their sin.  (See here for a general overview of MacDonald's theology.) But that, too, remains a process: it is significant that Walton concludes the novel with one of his own moral lapses, and not on an unremittingly triumphant note.  


by Miriam Burstein at July 29, 2014 05:27 AM


On Wide Sargasso Sea

A new essay about Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre is available through AV Akademikerverlag:
Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea: A Postcolonial Re-writing of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Jessica Diebowski
Publisher: AV Akademikerverlag (June 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-3639627916

Without doubt, the Victorian classic Jane Eyre has generated a number of intertexual references. Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea has been regarded as the most famous rewriting of Jane Eyre and a paradigm of postcolonial literature. The novel, a prequel to Brontë's Jane Eyre, tells the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress living in Jamaica. In remembering the representation of the character Bertha Mason/Rochester in Brontë's Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys as a postcolonial writer, re-writes Brontë's account of Bertha, Rochester's first wife first, the 'madwoman in the attic' who is denied to have a voice. Thus, Rhys makes use of various narrative devices and techniques, not only to capture the reader's attention, but also in order to present a different version of Bertha. The inquiry the present volume seeks to undertake is not new in the field of postcolonial studies but rather aims at throwing more light on the strategies Rhys uses to rewrite the Victorian classic Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 29, 2014 01:31 AM

July 28, 2014

Regency Ramble

More RWA 2014

It is always great to come away from a conference feeling inspired. RWA 2014 did that for me.

Not only did a friend Molly O'Keefe win the RITA, the most prestigious award of all in the Romance Writers world, Go Molly but I attended several really great sessions that will help me moving forward.

And who could not enjoy San Antonio with its river walk wandering through the centre of downtown and all those marvellous historic sites (more about them later).  And all the local people I met were just so darn friendly.  I felt right at home.

And if there were a couple of snags, like leaving my phone at home - eek all those people I am supposed to call and now I don't have their numbers and yes, I did sit in something in my new white pants -- all easily fixed. Now Fedex and dh are now the best of friends, and it is quite easy to do laundry in your hotel sink. Hotel soap makes a great detergent.

Oh and it was hot hot hot. Weather I mean. But a shady tree and a marguerita with lots of ice works wonders. (With a nap to follow.)

Here I am wandering the city after a visit to "the Alamo" historic site. The new white pants are back in the hotel drying off.

And thereis nothing like bumping into your glamourous editor in your hotel pool. umm. Oh well, she knows the crazy things my head, she might as well know what I look like in my swimsuit.

And then there were the parties.  Thank you Harlequin Mills and Boon.

The historical authors were taken to tea in the King William district and as always the Harlequin Party was amazing. Red socks this year. They must have known I planned to wear a red dress, don't you think?

Anyway I was having too good a time to take many pictures, but here is a glimpse into a writer's life (once a year anyway).

And I have to say I was so lucky to share my experience with my sister Erika this year. We had a blast.

Until next time…..

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 28, 2014 12:00 PM


Not a Sweeping Romance

BlogCritics talks about the Pulp! The Classics collection:
For example, I have, in my life, been in possession of two copies of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. The first was a small paperback, with a cover akin to that of a romance novel, while the blurb on the back lauded it as a sweeping romantic tale. Despite the fact that the story of Wuthering Heights depicts an unhealthy, codependent relationship much more than an actual romance, and that the point of the book is, arguably, precisely that it’s not romantic, in 2007 readers of The Guardian voted Wuthering Heights the greatest love story ever told. That says a lot about how Emily Brontë’s story is regarded, and suggests that that cover was an accurate reflection of the prevailing cultural assumption that Wuthering Heights is, indeed, a romance.
The other copy of the book I’ve owned is a Norton Critical Edition, which is graced by a rather bland photograph of the moors while vaunting its academic editor and its belonging to a collection of critical editions that feature multiple works of criticism. It suggests another way in which we view the novel today: as a classic, worthy of footnotes and college essays, a work of “high culture” rather than popular culture.
Neither cover is entirely correct. Neither cover is entirely incorrect. Certainly there is some romance in Wuthering Heights, however dark and doomed, and certainly it’s deserving of being a literary classic. But it is not a tale of sweeping romance to be celebrated, or inspired by. (...)
Thus, both Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, both in this collection, wouldn’t have been too well respected in their days. Wuthering Heights was published by Emily Brontë under a pseudonym, because a nice young lady writing a novel would mean a lot of bad press for the family name, and also because books by men were taken more seriously. It received some pretty terrible reviews upon publication. (Anastasia Klimchynskaya)
Pearl Thevanayagam is happy to live in Bradford according to The Guardian (Sri Lanka):
The entrance to my apartment is cobbled stones reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, Brontë Sisters and Lowry paintings which depict the good old England as I remember from the books and picture post cards during my school days. My apartment has walls built of Yorkshire stones and solid oak beams and the block was built in 1883.
The Telegraph remembers the origins of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Despite her esoteric reputation, Bush had grown up as much obsessed by film and TV as novels or Pre-Raphaelite art. Her first single, 1978’s Wuthering Heights, was originally inspired not by reading the book but by watching the 1967 BBC adaptation of Brontë’s tortured romance, starring Ian McShane as Heathcliff. (Bernardette McNulty)
The Independent (Ireland) talks about (drinking) literary ladies:
Author of Wide Sargasso Sea, half-Creole Jean Rhys moved to London from the Caribbean to study drama at 16. She found the city inhospitable and the people cruel. When her British father died, she craved the safety that might come with a good man and marriage. But she picked men badly, with three marriages, an abortion and an estranged child; she lived on the brink of destitution. Alcohol became her way of dealing with the mess. Rhys' biographer wrote that her past tormented her, her writing tormented her and "she had to drink to write and she had to drink to live." (Deirdre Conroy)

by M. ( at July 28, 2014 11:14 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Very fine ever. Penned before breakfast, & all day more or less.

Letter from Mr. Alfred Morrison who is coming again.

At 3.30 ― came Mr. Lytton-Bulwer, Mrs. & Miss D° & a pleasant Mr. Green ― who turned out to be Mr. Green of Ditcham!!!!

Also Miss Caroline Napier, Margaret & Rachel Bruce, & Bruce’s sister. later, as I was going out, 6.30 ― Alfred Drummond, ― & ― as I gound at 11.30 ― later still ― Arthur & Lady Augusta Stanley ―― to my very great sorrow. At Mrs. Martineau,


The dinner was pleasant, tho’ it is a hard & laborious matter to bear up against the depressing silence of the M. Family.

Walked home with brother Bob.


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

by Marco Graziosi at July 28, 2014 08:00 AM

William Morris Unbound

Voting Socialist

Since leaving the Green Party a few years back, I have regularly voted for socialist candidates in local, national and European elections. Often enough, I have rather wondered about the point of this, given the tiny percentage of votes such candidates attract; but at least, it seemed to me, one was keeping a Morrisian red flag flying in this way, however faintly. However, much more positively, in the recent by-election in my city council ward, Scotforth West (which I used to represent as Green Party councillor between 1999 and 2003), I note that the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate took enough socialist votes away from the Labour Party to give victory to my friend Abi Mills for the Greens. The modest TUSC tally of 49 votes thus took Labour down to 802, which let the Green Party win with 823 (Conservatives third on 517). That’s not too bad an outcome from a leftwing point of view, keeping the neoliberal parties out and letting a mildly leftish one in – so if only it could be replicated nationally!

by Tony Pinkney ( at July 28, 2014 02:40 AM

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Cassandra Austen — our only image of her

Dear friends and readers,

As I end this four year long close-reading of the letters of Jane Austen as they appear in Deirdre LeFaye’s edition, based on Chapman’s originating scholarship, it is time to make some attempt at an assessment of Cassandra and Jane’s relationship. These last letters occasioned controversy on Janeites as to how far was Cassandra a confidante who understood her sister and appreciated her full gifts?

I read these letters closely to try to break away from conventionalized stereotypical views and believe I did manage that with respect to Henry and Eliza Austen, Jane’s relationship with Martha Lloyd and her brother, Francis. I did not know that the letters to Charles and Henry were so few (and Jane so disdainful of Charles’s first wife’s family), and am convinced now there was a cache of letters between Jane and Eliza (as there was between Francis and Jane) destroyed.

I was reconfirmed in my idea that Jane favored her father, remained in a tense relationship with her mother for many years, that her Aunt Jane Leigh-Perrot stole that lace (or “smooched” it as Maria Bertram says of Mrs Norris’s propensities), that unhappily due to her older brother, James’s bullying wife, Mary Lloyd, Jane and her older brother lost a closeness they originally had. I did realize that equally unhappily after Anna Lefroy grew older, Jane was unsympathetic, unfair to a niece who had looked upon her as one of her surrogate mothers, but not that Anna’s novel-writing was an offering to draw her aunt in again. Nor that Jane was at once aware of Fanny Austen Knight’s limitations and kept an emotional intellectual distance while at the same time drawing close to the conventional niece because she, Jane, was perhaps more comfortable with someone who could not understand her. I knew about her early love for Thomas Lefroy, Mrs Lefroy’s compensating attempt to match Jane with Rev. Samuel Blackall, an apparently real regard for Edward Bridges which was cut off, and the sudden late congeniality with Charles Thomas Haden (too young for her by this time and beneath her socially). I did not know how much she favored Frank until these letters. I did not know that she loved Martha Lloyd potentially the way she perhaps could have at least adhered as a wife to man she could be congenial with. The letters do not include the affair with Harris Bigg-Wither which culminated in an acceptance and then clumsily broken off engagement. I did not realize how complicated and interesting a person Henry’s thwarted career (that he went as far as he did is remarkable), his marriage to Eliza and his helping his sister publish her books shows him to have been, nor how little Jane did him justice.

I am persuaded I see the over-all arc or trajectory of the two sisters’ relationship over the years but the details of what quite was understood between them by Cassandra as opposed to Jane either were never written down or destroyed by Cassandra. In their earliest letters to the time of leaving Steventon, the letters between them register much tension and disagreement: Cassandra repeatedly not only does not approve, she scolds, she does not respond to Jane’s letters, she writes others more often (she is not comfortable); Jane is guarded, indirect, placating (Cassandra writes the best letters anyone ever did and Jane longs for these). Jane has turned to Martha Lloyd just before the Steventon breakup; Mrs Lefroy steps in – very badly – to try to find a man for Jane after having herself colluded in removing Tom Lefroy. There is no sense at this time in the wild hurt Jane Austen registers at how everything is being done for her brothers, how she is expected to give everything up to James (even books and piano) that Cassandra at all shared Jane’s feelings. She seems to have accepted the roles imposed on her.

Then we have the time in Bath and the silence of 4 years. My reading of the letters just before and especially after, the one new novel from this time (The Watsons) compelled me to conclude Jane Austen had a breakdown of some sort, from which she came back with difficulty and through resuming writing (Lady Susan, preparing Catherine or Northanger Abbey for publication) — when we pick her up again we find her exchanging visits with single women of desperate gentry level like themselves, especially after her father’s death when they move from Green Park buildings to Trim Street. A new note is seen in the open intense relief of leaving Bath and the letters of their times away at the seashore in summer.

I suggest at some point in these 5 years Jane made her compromise; she acceded to appear and act the way Cassandra wanted in reciprocation for the real help Cassandra afforded — she was given space and time to write. This space and time was essential to her recovery. The plan concocted by Frank was part of this. So by the time of Southampton, like a married couple, Jane and Cassandra and Martha too have made an understood bargain. Frank is in on it. Unfortunately the household did not work because Mary Gibson was deeply uncomfortable with these triangular relationships. She wanted and got out as soon as she could. She also (like Mary Lloyd Austen) was no reader and wanted out of the nights of reading and days of writing (for Jane) too.

We need to recall how almost immediately from the time of Thomas Fowles’s death, Cassandra excludes marriage and by the time of Southampton, with Jane as moral support in effect, is dressing like an older spinster. Being thrown at men (implicitly) in Bath must not have been much fun for them. Like others before them, Emma Donoghue sees in their behavior a pattern of understood lesbian spinsterhood — they had with them other friends, a female community Jane was repeatedly trying to stabilize. Then we see tension with Martha who during the time at Southampton wants marriage and can’t find anyone (no money, she had had small pox, and from the one painting she was very homely in the first place; and she had no connections). Cassandra does now agree to the idea of a female group of friends to live together — she, Jane, Martha and here and there Jane yearns for others — apart from the mother. But one dialogue with the brothers, and that’s made hopeless.

Many people who read this blog have even close friends and more to the point relatives they may see and depend upon and like very much who are different from them fundamentally. And spouses too — who live a life together where nonetheless there are big gaps. There was enough shared — more than enough — of spinsterhood, poverty, family; Martha came on the trips (we have her at Worthing one of the trips for which we have evidence of who was there), ever there on and off until May 1817, a ghostly second or first love for Jane. All the talk about the deep confidence and how Jane and Cassandra told one another more than any one else is at one point contradicted by Fanny — so Jane in a spontaneous moment denied this. And it was three-way anyway. The way in which it’s phrased has a double symmetry that reminds me of such statements in romances (like of Pamela and Philomena in Sidney’s Arcadia).

There was an important part of Jane Cassandra did not understand and just tolerated. Jane’s books are talked about as simply laugh, what fun she had writing them. The talk about the novels as reflected in the family letters was, isn’t Aunt Jane a card? What good fun these novels are. We are told of Jane Austen getting up, walking about in gales of laughter and then returning to her desk. My sense that Austen was not in fully conscious contact with what are the depth of her fiction is part of that. The work of revision is probably not what is being described when Jane is getting up and down doing what the relatives described as fun. Cassandra was sounding board for these readings which ended in gales of laughter (as heard on the other side of a door) and for the literal verisimiltude Jane Austen was consciously working; this latter one aesthetic rule rigidly adhered to by both Cassandra and Jane is reconfirmed in what Jane says Cassandra had to say about Anna Lefroy’s fiction.

I have become convinced through this close reading of Austen’s letters and a study I did of the manuscripts for a review for an Eighteenth Century bibliographical periodical that Austen’s deepest imaginative gifts were only part of her conscious life through her tenacious practice of absolute unqualified verisimilitude through literal probability and her attention to style. What she did was endlessly revise and we have evidence that all the novels up to Emma and Persuasion were the product of many years of revision. You can study the process a bit in the few left and you discover she characteristically begins with burlesque with a kind of rigid moral message or anger at some perverse social custom, and then as she proceeds, not just softens but will change the tone until we are near the grave, plangent, and have an utterance that does not fit this morality and is at a distance from the anger. Her criticism in the letters shows no awareness of the deeper strains of the books she reads.

I’m not sure that makes her into two Jane Austens but I think another part of her writing career does. I agree with Harman that the family’s toleration and pride in her books was limited — to all Harman’s instances I add the striking comment on Emma a couple of months after publication, no one will want this copy around here. Only after her death do we know her name and only more than 50 years later a memoir with a repressed book (so she fits into the 1790s — and I’d like to add her “Plan of a Novel” resembles Blake’s “Jerusalem” in its idiosyncratic mix of names of real people she knows, archetype, and allusions to a book by Cottin itself a semi-political one) and one where only volume 1 was complete.

The savings of the comments Jane got rarely show any appreciation of what these texts are. Note what Cassandra says she likes to remember of Jane in these letters: in all the circumstances of their lives together probably includes reading and writing but what is specified is the “chearful family,” and then during the illness and death – when she was so dependent, filled with anxious semi-penitence.

They shared a room. It was understood they would. Another way of putting this is Jane Austen never had a room of her own. In London she often slept with Fanny. At Chawton when she was gone her bed was given to young Cassy to sleep in. (I could repeat how until the end Jane Austen hadn’t the power to go and come in a carriage as she pleased. Had she married she would have had that, but also a master over her head who could control her movements, take even her jointure if he pleased, impregnate her endlessly, which from her letters she did not want. Her novels would be her children.) Casssandra and Jane are as a pair ignored when their financial means are discussed. The family wanted them as a pair. Yet they were often apart. Jane was not much at Godmersham; she was more with Henry and Eliza at London where Cassandra seems not to have gone much. We are missing all the letters between Eliza and Jane and what happened when Jane arrived for the last two months of Eliza’s agon into death.

There’s the problem that Jane Austen’s letters have not exactly been inspiring works of great imaginative thought or feeling; passages here and there have been remarkable for concision of wit, and one can’t get entirely out of this by arguing for Jane’s double life, or that the letters we have are not only a remnant but wholly unrepresentative. Had Austen written to someone who was (as we see at the opening of the collection) not disposed to disapprove scold, grow cold and not write back when Jane does not obey conventions, someone who Jane would have to exercise her gifts, maybe thecollection would have been different. From Frank’s letters we know he could be decent, humane (though a cruel flogger, so mean that he was in effect reprimanded for it and in this period that suggests ferocity). He occasionally shows original thought (he is horrified at the early use of versions of bombs as barbaric and refuses to go along with their use), but on the whole Jane’s attraction was to a pragmatic brother. The few we have to Frank show she was wary of him, slightly in awe of his power. Yet there is the oddity of how his daughter hated these letters so that she rushed to burn them the moment she had opportunity (was alone with them). Those comments we have by Jane on Henry are superficial, dismissive of his grief for his wife, his depths; Jane was not invited to Godmersham as he was, not a favorite there as he and Cassandra were. Later in life Jane has been co-opted into the family conventional erasure of anything uncomfortable or with the slightest whiff of unrespectability. If the portraits of Lady Susan or Mary Crawford are meant to evoke Eliza Austen, this is as painful as Austen’s snide comments about Anna just after her marriage (including a piano that she as a young woman had been deprived of). Later in life Austen apparently turned into mild version of what happens to people when they become hostages of others — the family way of erasing Eliza’s illegitimacy and Henry’s endlessly maneuvrings to escape the fate of a fourth brother in a family with little money and weak connections.

Nontheless, enough is here from these three letters to show an enormous gap in understanding between Cassandra and Jane. Just read Cassandra’s words (see comment from Middlemarch below). When Jane is on the same page as Cassandra it’s in some of Jane’s worst moments and in some of Jane’s literary criticism of Anna’s novels and various texts by others. In the case of novels, all fail for both Jane and Cassandra on the criteria of strict verisimilitude.

I see Cassandra as dealing with her own grief in these three letters; she deflects Fanny and she deflects Anne Sharpe, and what she’s on about is what she feels for herself and wants to believe for her sister. She is constantly alluding to heaven: Jane’s up there in heaven. Yes she wants hope for Jane and herself. She is scared of of that God and placates to the nth degree of self-censorship so as to hope all this was not and is really not as bad as it is. Well, Cassy it is and was that bad — meaningless deeply painful ordeal of death at a young age. Cut off. Jane recognized it — in the poem she was angry and in her last words saw all that was left was oblivion from pain.

That’s as far as one can go for an outline of an adult relationship finally forming, once of compromise and understanding and support enough in the exigencies of a difficult fringe powerless life.

CEA 3. From Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight. Tuesday, 29, July 1817. Chawton Tuesday.

Diane Reynolds led again:

Here stands the final letter. Jane has laughed much and danced often and enjoyed her years at Steventon, including naming the new furniture. She has suffered much, as has Cassandra. They draw closer than close, an impregnable duo, a fact C does not let go of in the last letters. They move to Bath, Jane falls into depression, her father dies, the mother and sisters become poor dependents, sometimes humiliated, though Jane can still enjoy a good slide on the ice, and then vital life returns as they settle into Chawton. All along Jane has been writing and finally, in 2011, Sense and Sensibility is published, followed by four to five glory years as book after book emerges, four in all, catches the eye of the Prince Regent’s librarian, visits London gloriously, then experiences mysterious illness, decline and death.

Reading the letters has been enormously important, inadequate as they are, for my understanding of Austen’s life and personality.

In this final letter, written to Fanny, Cassandra opens with flattery, working as hard as she can to erase any idea in FK’s mind that Jane didn’t like her, though C doesn’t go as far as to say that FK was actually a favorite. Instead, C leans into the intimacy FK and Jane shared: “her who was I believe [here C is qualifying with the "I believe"] better known to you than to any human being besides myself.”

FK apparently sent C a letter of grievance and condolence. C reads it three times, thanks her for it, says “nothing could have been more gratifying to me than the manner in which you write of her.” As for Jane, now “a dear Angel,” the praise she imagines Jane bestowing on FK’s letter is more qualified: in heaven Jane “may perhaps receive pleasure in being so mourned.” (Or not.) C then dwells NOT on JA’s love for FK, but on the similarities between the two: “there are certainly many points of strong resemblance in your characters.” But what C comes up with is weak indeed. “in your intimate acquaintance with each other and your strong mutual affection you were counterparts.” In others words, they knew each other well and liked each other. This is meant as warm reassurance to Fanny–and yet this is far as C will take it. Fanny must be satisfied that her praises pleased C, might possibly have given JA “pleasure” (of what sort we don’t know) and that C acknowledges that Fanny was an intimate.

The next paragraph is more satisfying in giving us some historical particulars: the funeral day was tranquil and quiet, C watched the “little mournful procession” down the length of the street, until Jane’s coffin was out of sight around the corner. Her emotions are more stirred in recollection than they were at the time. We get the necessary conventional statements about how deeply JA was mourned (which may well have been true, but the language is conventionalized) and of Jane being “hailed in Heaven: with “joy.” C mentions–and I find this interesting–experiencing not only “considerable fatigue of body” but “anguish of mind for months back.” We can assume C knew for months her sister was not going to recover, but we must add to that the blow of the L-P will. However, C quickly assures FK, she really is well and grateful for God’s support: more conventionalities, more ways of deflecting pity or effusions.

C naturally writes of herself, not forgetting to mention Edward’s kindness during the funeral time, and in phrasing that sounds very much like Miss Bates to me (could C have been Miss Bates–this would shed new light on Miss Bates as possibly catering to superiors and snobbish to inferiors) C writes “indeed I can never say enough of the kindness I have received from him and from every other friend.”

C also does not want to forget JA–indeed wants to remember her all the time and looks forward to the day they will be reunited in heaven. We get a glimpse of the variety of her relationships with Jane: “confidential intercourse” (they had secrets, a special relationship known only to them), of Jane as part of the “chearful family party” (another face of Jane) and then in Jane’s aspects of invalid and dying self. Interestingly C. adds the words “I hope” JA is in heaven–she can’t quite simply mouth the commonplace without acknowledging that we really don’t know. C is unusually heartfelt, however, as she writes, with exclamation pints, “Oh! If I may be one day reunited to her there!”

And then, as the letter and thus all the letters end, C gets down to business. There’s a lock of hair for Fanny and the question of whether Fanny prefers a brooch of Jane’s or a ring. C also mentions the gold chain for Jane’s goddaughter Louisa. These are finer gifts than anything given to Miss Sharp, and come with the assurance that every one of Jane’s bequests is “sacred” to C.(Perhaps this a sharp allusion to promises made to fulfill the wishes of other dying people that were quickly broken.)

C ends with a much warmer salutation than that offered Anne: “God bless you my dearest Fanny! Believe me most affectionately yours.” And that is it.

An unremarkable gentry life and death for the times, except for six extraordinary novels. If Jane could only know how beloved she has become.

This letter contrasts sharply with the one to Ann Sharp; in the first paragraph Cassandra comes near to gushing. Diane characterizes it as full of flattery, seeking to assert (again) how close Jane was to Fanny: she thinks her sister “better known to” Fanny “than any human being besides myself.” Cassandra seems here not to have read – or understood – Jane’s letters to Fanny which show Aunt Jane openly peering intently into the consciousness of Fanny for material because she expects Fanny will not understand what she is doing, and then seeing that she had made Fanny very uncomfortable, trying to backtrack but still convinced that Fanny knows herself little (and this writer even less). When she fancies her sister speaking of Fanny in heaven in the same terms as Jane’s letters thought about her when in life we see the difference between a mediocre mind and that of genius. Again we have how Jane up there in heaven may be receiving pleasure in seeing Fanny so mourn her. Fanny has apparently written again (to Cassandra) and Cassandra read it three times and just rejoiced in Fanny’s kind expressions to Cassandra and yet more strongly for Aunt Jane. Fanny Knight is certainly more valuable object (personage) than Ann Sharp in Cassandra’s mind. It would probably be wrong to suggest that Cassandra did not understand Fanny nor Fanny her: they lived on the same plane with the same values, norms. Not that Fanny sees through this; it’s what she expects.

Then a paragraph on the funeral, to which Cassandra not only did not go but seems to have tried to behave as if she was not even paying attention when she was alert every split minute. All calm and tranquil. This woman spent her life denying emotions she felt which she had been taught she was not supposed to have – so “when I had lost sight of her forever – even then I was not overpowered, nor so much agitated as I am now in the writing of it.” In the writing of this event and her emotions, she cannot ignore the latter as they fuel her pen. Then how much Jane is mourned sincerely – by her family. Scattered throughout the letters are the assertions about how Jane is now in heaven – of course it’s put that Cassandra hopes this as Cassandra would not presume and is ever so grateful to God for supporting her in all this. (Good of him – I find myself remembering Eliot’s analysis of this kind of thinking which I posted yesterday.) In the midst of this she admits to the ‘fatigue and anguish of mind for months back.” She then turns to Fanny’s father – Fanny has said he looked unwell when he got back – Fanny is not into this denying business. Cassandra replies she did not think Edward “appeared unwell” (careful qualification there) but she “understands that he seemed much more comfortable after his return from Winchester …” Perhaps relief now the remains are gone. An ordeal finished, the burden a little lifted because the presence of the person and then the corpse showing what had happened vanished. She need not tell Fanny what a great comfort he was to her.

Then how she is getting through these first days. Always a problem. She goes out a lot – into the yard? To visit – employs herself, but of course she chooses those employments which give her leisure to remember.

Note how this woman is continually monitored by her super-ego. It’s interesting how she likes to remember her sister: not writing, not reading but “in confidential discourse, in the cheerful family party, which she so ornamented, in her sick room, on her death bed.” (She and I part company there, I’m not keen on remembering the sick time, nor death bed, though it is ineradicable and keeps coming back.) But there is that “the cheerful. She then hopes to be united in Heaven but lets slip how grieved she will feel when “the time must come when my mind will be less engrossed by her idea [image is the meaning of this word, from Locke]. She then hastes to placate her God again – never cease to reflect on Jane as inhabiting Heaven and never cease all those humble endeavours (please God) to join her there. I seem to temember it was around the changeover from BC to AD when this notion of a personal God really somehow paying attention to what’s in someone mind, personal prayer as actuating anything was first articulated.

And so now to give Fanny out of “the precious papers” “now my property” – Austen had written out a few more bequests it seems – so a gold chain to Louisa, and lock of hair to Fanny. Every one of Jane’s requests will be sacred. (Did Jane say nothing about the letters?). Does Fanny prefer a broche or a ring.’

And so these letters end. Diane set them in the context of this 42 year life emphasizing its successes and concluding on how Austen is now so beloved. I know this is a strong impulse: while the person is dying you want to reassure them they have lived a good life, been so loved. Jane’s last poem does not suggest she was thinking over her life;she was asserting a kind of immortality some of us might like to think she felt from her books but what the poem shows is her identifying with Venta. When she is buried, the foolish people with their races will think she is gone, but no such thing, she has been able to get back at these ‘sinners” by raining on them. In the last stanza she enacts what Johnson said the mad astronomer did in Rasselas: asserts her control over the weather. Mad jokes? Those are her last words that we have beyond the few where she begs for the oblivion, the surcease of death.

For Diana Birchall’s reading see comments.


Thus Miss Austen Regrets registers Jane Austen’s death: as absence, the film takes us two years past Austen’s death after the scene of her grieving with Cassandra and opens on a church graveyard (2008)

As in her other letters Cassandra’s last is filled with religious egoism which she presents as consolation. George Eliot’s Middlemarch‘s analysis of the ultimate sources of this kind of religious utterance in her Mr Bulstrode, a “humble” evangelical Christian, offers an explanation. Eliot was brought up among such people and shows us a man who looks out at the world from the standpoint of self: Bulstrode says of an enemy who comes to Middlemarch, God made this man come to Middlemarch because God had me in mind; when another individaul wants to sell a property and Bulstrode can afford it, this is God manipulating the world to reward me; in CEA’s letters, God must be gratified to look down and see you, Miss Sharpe get this bodkin I send; the smallest thing in the universe is intended for and about her or Jane Austen, and this includes cruel horrifying events: hideous death for Jane Austen very young is God wanting to punish Cassandra. The person does not conceive how insignificant he or she is against the huge universe, how many more real motives and circumstances and history actuate whatever happens because he or she is putting an unthinking utterly self-centered view as controlling the universe. In his Varieties of Religious Experience William James describes these circuits of what passes for thought more abstractly.

Cassandra was uttering what she could out of her denied pain; she had the cant of religion available to her and unlike her sister didn’t pay attention to the full meaning of words she wrote down. Diane Reynolds offers the modern kinds of consolation: look at the valuable life, see the person valued by all around her as she vanishes forever. Psychologists urge the people around the dying person to assure the person they will be okay financially, and to tell them they had a good life and were valued (whatever the words). This is for the sake of the people around the dying. The social world urges the grieving person to begin to recover quite quickly, or hide it. And that is what we also see Cassandra obediently doing. Diana points out what she calls the oddities of the final poem. Having watched a beloved person die in an ordeal of horrifying pain and drugged last days, someone quite intelligent, I know from him that he saw my repetition too of these sorts of useless statements — you were a good father, good husband, lived a good life, for the irrelevance they were. There is no use in anything we say to the person destroyed in the prime of life. Words are then powerless.

Austen was not a solitary genius and her family encouraged her, and some did understand her books to some extent. But a number did not. My sense is Austen never did come into contact in a close way with anyone with her calibre of mind; some of her relatives recognized its value. I see Henry as one of them. Consciously she did not give him credit enough. She kept people away from her insofar as she could, especially I feel the more sensitive insightful ones. (This might not be true of Eliza Austen or Anne Sharpe). I feel for Cassandra; the words she uses are not important it’s the emotion she feels and ahead of her lies long years of absence, and after her mother predeceased her.

I put the picture of Jane’s four books up as preface to Cassandra’s first letter. But were they consolation for Jane? Let us not insult her instinct. What we have from Jane shortly before death is remnants of a letter where she is presenting some case to Henry’s business partner’s wife. We know how devastated she was to see no money would be coming from her mother’s brother. I infer she knew that bad mistakes had been made in the few business dealings Henry did for her over her books. She had made little by Emma, lost the copyright of Pride and Prejudice. Then the twisted angry half-mad poem and records of her begging for oblivion, surcease from pain and life during the last ordeal.

I mean this when I conclude this collection by saying I see in these framings “hope spring eternally in the human breast.” Can’t give up hope, can we?

I have written this from the standpoint of what I take to be an accurate biographer of a life as it is lived. Yes in 1870 James-Edward Austen-Leigh wrote a loving memoir of his aunt, and began the wider popularity of his aunt’s books by providing a sentimental framing and reading of her life and works. He printed two valuable works by her. Yes other relatives, Lord Brabourne in particular, began further to publish her letters. Yes today she is known across the world, her books exist in beautiful varied editions, films have made her name a household word, and they themselves provide some knowledge of the books. But none of this is what she died knowing. What her life was. And a good deal of this wider dissemination makes a travesty of the meaning and reading of life her books offer us. That’s why it’s important to see the letter collection for what it shows us.

Cassandra’s burning of the majority of Jane’s letters (also included in Miss Austen Regrets)


by ellenandjim at July 28, 2014 12:28 AM


1927 Selections in 2014

Cambridge University Press republishes this 1927 Brontë writings compilation:
Selections from the Brontës
Being Extracts from the Novels of Charlotte and Emily Brontë
Editor: H. A. Treble
Cambridge University Press, July 2014
ISBN: 9781107689602

Originally published in 1927, this book presents a series of extracts from the novels of Charlotte and Emily Brontë. Created with the younger reader in mind, the text was intended to act as an introduction to the novels and an inducement to read them in their entirety. An editorial introduction and bibliographical details are also included. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in the writings of Charlotte and Emily Brontë.


1. The adventure of going abroad from Villette
2. A glimpse of the professor behind his spectacles from Villette
3. The fairy Malevola from Villette
4. A journey, and the first day at Lowood from Jane Eyre
5. Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre
6. The interrupted wedding from Jane Eyre
7. Home at last from Jane Eyre
8. The church militant from Shirley
9. The curates at tea from Shirley
10. The foundling from Wuthering Heights

by M. ( at July 28, 2014 01:09 AM

The Return of the Women of Literary Instinct

Cambridge University Press has reprinted Marjory A. Bald's Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century:
Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century
Marjory A. Bald
Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107418073 / July 2014

Originally published in 1923, this book contains short biographies of the lives and works of several nineteenth-century female writers: Jane Austen, the Brontës, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti. Bald focuses on the humanity of each woman, and seeks to clarify the characteristics of 'women of literary instinct'. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in female authors and their motivations.
Includes a whole section devoted to the Brontës:

by M. ( at July 28, 2014 12:49 AM

July 27, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Anders Zorn, print and painting

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I like both of these, they're free of the flashiness that so often disfigures his work (or at least makes it seem rather superficial). I'm afraid the market in hatboxes has almost collapsed.

Another omnibus painting:
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July 27, 2014 04:34 PM


Wuthering Heights at my Bedside Table

The Irish Independent interviews someone who we have been not able to identify but with some Brontë plans in the near future:
The books on my bedside table are... "'Stag's Leap' by Sharon Olds, 'Effi Briest' by Theodor Fontane and 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë because we are doing it at Christmas."
The New York Daily News presents Tessa Smith McGovern's book Cocktails for Book Lovers:
Tessa Smith McGovern has written 'Cocktails for Book Lovers' with recipes for drinks that accompany works such as 'Great Gatsby' or 'Jane Eyre' (...)
Whether you prefer mulled wine, offered in “Jane Eyre,” a Gin Rickey, like Gatsby and Daisy gulped in “The Great Gatsby,” or William Faulkner’s favorite drink, the mint julep, “Cocktails for Book Lovers” has got you covered. (Gina Pace)
The South China Morning Post reviews The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett
Exciting as the marriage between inventive narrative and ingenious technology undoubtedly is, it's hard to say it represents a profound advance on the reading experience. Readers always shape the narrative they have chosen, and not always in linear ways. My Heathcliff, for example, will not be the same as your Heathcliff, or Emily Brontë's Heathcliff for that matter.
When, where and why we read a novel also shapes the experience. Wuthering Heights read reluctantly at school as a compulsory text will feel very different when we pick it up eagerly in nostalgic middle age. (James Kidd)
The Telegraph has an article on fan fiction with the usual suspects:
But what’s the legal situation regarding living people? Scholars point out that real people fiction (RPF) has been going on since Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar – while the young Brontës honed their craft with hundreds of stories about the living Duke of Wellington disguised as the heroic Duke of Zamorna. (Julia Llewellyn Smith)
The Daily Telegraph (Australia) recommends a visit to York and surroundings:
If you can hire a car, as we did, even better. It’s a few hours up the M1 but then you have the flexibility to explore further afield. The magnificent historic city of Harrogate is nearby, along with the Yorkshire moors and dales. Next time, I shall pack my hikers and do one of the brilliant organised walks, hoping to spot Heathcliff. (Fiona McIntosh)
The Pen & Muse interviews Laura Inman, author of The Poetic World of Emily Brontë:
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The original purpose of The Poetic World of Emily Brontë was to acquaint readers with Emily Brontë’s poetry and make it accessible to even those who shy away from poetry by putting the poems in context and explaining them. As I wrote it, I became equally interested in biographical elements – using the poems to reveal Brontë’s thoughts and personality and using what I knew of her life and Wuthering Heights to cast light upon the meaning of her poems. As a result, what was a first conceived of as a kind of heavily annotated selection of poems became an investigation into her life and work. Most books of poetry can be read by perusing random poems, whereas this book is best read by turning the pages sequentially. Topics and themes build one on the other to a culminating understanding of Brontë’s world. The reason I thought this book would attract some attention was that I had never come across one with a similar format. Also, I believed that it would serve the important purpose of bringing Brontë’s poetry out of the shadows. Many know of her as the novelist who wrote Wuthering Heights, but few know that she was equally a poet. Underlying all reasons for writing this book is my enduring fascination with the Brontës that I developed ten years ago when I wrote an article on death in Wuthering Heights.
Sopitas (in Spanish) talks about writers' rooms and mentions the Brontë Parsonage. Correo del Sur (Bolivia) recommends Wuthering Heights 2011 in a local TV screening. Radio Times informs of the ITV3 screening today of Jane Eyre 1997. The Derbyshire Times gives away tickets for the Creswell Crags performance (next July 30) of the Chapterhouse Theatre production of Wuthering Heights. The Sundy Times has an article about Lindsay Lohan moving to London with a Wuthering Heights reference (maybe because she campaigned for being Cathy in what finally became Wuthering Heights 2011?)

by M. ( at July 27, 2014 03:16 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


At work, penning out the drawing of May 17 ― by 6, & penned out, (or slept, ― for that little upstairs room is deadly close! ―) all day ― except when interrupted[.]

Little Willy Beadon, dear little chap: a really nice dear little boy. ―― Eheu! ― Then Underhill, with a copy of Mount Athos drawing. Next Mr. Bonham ― H.B.M. [Coneal] of Naples: genial, intelligent, & pleasant. (he lives close by the Hooke.) Afterwards, Mrs. Thomson Hankey ― always agreable. Bob Martineau, kindly hearted: & lastly ― Wade-Browne the cheery. By this it was 7 ― so I dressed, & to St. John’s Lodge[.]


Spence sang afterwards cleverly: but he is really what Sir J. Hudson tso truly described hims ― a most fanastic queer man & vulgar. He says “as I said to the Grand Duchess” &c. &c. &c.

Walked home alone by 11.30.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 27, 2014 08:00 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Samuel Palmer

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The Haunted Stream ,1826

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Wave study

July 27, 2014 04:07 AM


Mr. Rochester's Adventures

Another retelling of the Jane Eyre-Rochester relation appears for Kindle:
Charlotte Brontë's Mr. Rochester: Thornfield Hall (The Adventures of Mr. Rochester Book 1)
Arabella Vine

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 302 KB
Publisher: Origin Books (23 July 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Re-experience the classic story of Jane Eyre’s passionate and tortuous love affair with Mr Rochester.
In ‘Thornfield Hall’ this first book in this classic ‘Mr Rochester’ series, Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall as the newly appointed governess to Mr Rochester’s orphaned ward Adriana. She takes up her position, yet to meet the master of the house.
And then on a cold wintry night, while out on an errand on a lonely country lane, her path crosses with that of a dark horseman on a fierce black steed, and they immediately find themselves at odds with one another. Who is this man with his dark, brooding, angry eyes and ruggedly handsome face? This man who is so impatient in manner, and so outspoken…?
Jane Eyre is soon to fine out!

by M. ( at July 27, 2014 02:52 AM

July 26, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Owner-illustrated book

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A book on natural history to which the engraver and miniaturist Albin Burt (1784-1842) added his own illustrations; these are hawk moths, including the striking death's head hawk with the skull on its back.

July 26, 2014 09:43 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose late. Sent off Jameson’s FGlorence, begun Feby. 6[.]

Penned & coloured Cretan sketches all day.

Only good-natured John Chaworth-Musters came: he is building & says “what if he should invest in pictures?” ― “the Cedars would go in the dining room & Beirut in the Drawing room.” Bu I am not good at “pushing,” ― &, au contraire, suggested economy & thoughtfulness as to coming children’s fortunes.

At 6, just as I was going out, came good-natured Dunn-Gardner ― asking me to dine: so, ἠπήγα.


Most queer people! The way in which they talk! ―

Home by 11.30.

Grinding aching sorrows burn me ― thinking of days of freedom & happy beautiful places.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 26, 2014 08:00 AM


Writers in Their Place

The view from the nursery in the Brontë Parsonage. Source
An exhibition in Scarborough has caught our interest:
A new photography exhibition in Scarborough presents striking monochrome images of writers’ homes.
If you’ve ever wondered what DH Lawrence’s kitchen looked like or how the view from the Parsonage might have inspired the Brontës, then it’s worth seeking out a new photography exhibition, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre gallery in Scarborough.

Writers in Their Place explores the homes of past novelists, poets and playwrights that are open to the public in Britain and Ireland. The atmospheric black and white prints are the work of Yorkshire photographers Peter Burton and Harland Walshaw and they cleverly capture the essence of the writer, sometimes through an image of just one object in the house. (...)
Burton and Harland took the pictures for a book, Writers and Their Houses, published twenty years ago which featured essays by modern-day writers about the homes of their predecessors. These included pieces by Melvyn Bragg on Wordsworth, Jeanette Winterson on Viriginia Woolf, PD James on Jane Austen and Seamus Heaney’s thoughts about fellow poet WB Yeats. (...)
here are around forty images in the exhibition including pictures of Dylan Thomas’s writing shed, Charles Darwin’s study and Shakespeare’s bed in Anne Hathaway’s cottage, as well as Yorkshire writers’ houses – the Sitwell family’s home Woodend, Laurence Sterne’s Shandy Hall and the Brontë Parsonage. 
 The original book is now out of print but there may be some scope for revisiting it, says Walshaw, since other writers’ homes have opened to the public in the meantime, such as Agatha Christie’s house in Devon.
Writers in their Place is free to view at the SJT Gallery until August 30. (Yvette Huddleston, The Yorkshire Post)

by M. ( at July 26, 2014 02:50 AM

Wuthering Heights 1920 (script) returns to Haworth

Keighley News publishes the monthly Brontë Society article and among many other things the most exciting one is the discovery and purchase by the Parsonage of the production script of Wuthering Heights 1920:
We have had a very exciting recent purchase at the Parsonage. The full production script of Albert Victor Bramble’s Wuthering Heights (1920) has been discovered.
The copy of the original film has been lost and so now for the first time we can see just exactly what the film was like and how it came to be made.
There are 22 pages of production notes including details of costumes and locations used in each scene.
Bramble endeavoured to be as faithful as possible when making the film and made good use of local landmarks. He used Haworth Old Hall for Wuthering Heights and Kildwick Hall in Keighley for Thrushcross Grange.
There are even original stills of the film crew carrying their equipment and the child actors up to Top Withins. This purchase is especially exciting in the build-up to Emily Brontë’s bicentenary in 2018. 
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner looks into this year's Emily Brontë's birthday celebrations (next July 30):
It's nearly 200 years this weekend since one of Yorkshire’s most famous women was born.
Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights, and a member of the family that has brought fame and fortune to the tiny village of Haworth, near Keighley, celebrated her birthday on July 30.
Although it’s 165 years since Emily died, her legacy lives on and this weekend the Brontë Society is planning a programme of events to commemorate her life and achievements.
Sunday will see a pilgrimage to Haworth on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in a reserved coach, with historian David Pearson on hand to talk about the Brontës and the railway.
At the Brontë parsonage, which was home to the family from 1820 until 1861, there will be talks on Emily and a chance to take a short guided walk across the moors that were such an inspiration to the literary sisters.
Tickets for the event are available from £11.50 for children to £19.50 for adults. Details from or by calling Sue Newby on 01535 640185 (
There is also a separate evening celebration with another talk on the Brontës and a piano recital. Tickets are £35.  (Hilarie Stelfox)
The Independent makes a 50 books list for students to read this summer:
20. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of its title character, including her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Hall.
36. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë's first and only published novel about the tumultuous relationship between Catherine - the daughter of a wealthy family - and her father's adopted son, Heathcliff. (Roisin O'Connor)
The Slate article about the well-known (for Brontëites at least) annotations of the registry at Cowan Bridge seems to have inspired some bloggers around:
Charlotte’s teachers said she “[wrote] indifferently” and “[knew] nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.” At least instructors pointed out that she “worked neatly”?
As for sister Emily, author of Wuthering Heights, her evaluation was best. She “reads very prettily and works a little,” her teachers wrote. The other two sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, were both evaluated as writing “pretty well,” although each sister was also knocked for her grammar. Slate has a great shot of the reports here.
Of course, we all know the rest of the narrative — at least for literary success. Makes you feel pretty good if you’re the kind of writer who crutches on spell check, no? (Meredith Turits on Bustle)
Here’s some hopeful news if you were ever told by your teachers that you’d never amount to anything: In grade school, Charlotte Brontë’s teachers at the Clergy Daughters School said she “[wrote] indifferently” and “[knew] nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.” Slate dug up the reports, which were reprinted in the January 1900 issue of The Journal of Education: A Monthly Record and Review. (...)
Of course, Charlotte and Emily Brontë became feminist icons and two of England’s most renowned novelists, and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights are in the canon of British literature. Poor Anne Brontë, whose work is often overlooked in favor of her sisters’, didn’t even go to the same school. (Jacob Sham Sian on Entertainment Weekly)
The Herald of Everett reviews Jane Eyrotica by Karena Rose:
Jane Eyrotica by Charlotte Brontë and Karena Rose. A somewhat popular literary trend of recent years is the literary remix. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!, The Meowmorphosis and Zombie Island are just a few examples of classic literature updated in an absurd, nearly surreal manner. The best of these feature seamless rewrites, the style of the modern author matching perfectly that of Austen, Kafka and Shakespeare. Jane Eyrotica is a rather racy remix of Brontë’s classic, rampant with bosom heaving, Victorian innuendo, bondage and somewhat explicit carnal activities. Although the story is changed a bit (Jane being 16 rather than 10) to accommodate the subject matter, this is a well-written book, classic yet sexual, and a far cry above the quality of Fifty Shades. For a quick taste, witness Jane’s reaction when looking at a photograph of an attractive man:
Upon first seeing [his eyes], I had felt a jolt of pleasure beneath my petticoat;
A fairly tame observation, Victorian in its naiveté, but merely an aperitif of what is to come.  (Ron)
The Northern Echo describes an excursion to Brontë country:
On Tuesday we went back to Haworth, home of the famous Brontë sisters and completed an exhilarating four-mile walk on Haworth Moor to some of the places which inspired Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Interestingly, some of the public footpath signs had directions in Japanese.
A Brontë mention on an Atlantic CityLab article about the (too high) temperatures inside the London Tube this summer:
Trains on these lines do have some air blown in from vents (and windows at the ends of carriages that open to provide a breeze), but the gusts they provide is more Barbie hair dryer than Wuthering Heights. (Feargus O'Sullivan)
Karen Hardy makes a curious reference in an article about the Commonwealth Games in The Canberra Times:
I must admit I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the whole idea of colonialism. The books A Passage to India, Wide Sargasso Sea and Heart of Darkness were on my reading list growing up. Sunday afternoons spent watching epic films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Zulu, and in later years Out of Africa and The English Patient kept me captivated for hours.
The Brontë Parsonage tweets the 1822 Charlotte Brontë sampler;  My Head is Full of Books reviews Always Emily by Michaela MacCall; K.M. Weiland, editor of the Annotated Classics Jane Eyre edition posts on The Procrastiwriter about What Jane Eyre Can Teach You About Mind-Blowing Heroines.

by M. ( at July 26, 2014 02:01 AM

July 25, 2014

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

Enoch Walked with God

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of an electronic edition of The Book of Thel copy N and Enoch Walked with God, both in the Cincinnati Art Museum. We have also republished Songs of Innocence copy U with a more authoritative arrangement of the plates and an enhanced Copy Information page.

Thel is dated 1789 by Blake on the title page, but the first plate (Thel’s Motto) and the last (her descent into the netherworld) appear to have been completed and first printed in 1790, while Blake was working on The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Copy N, never before reproduced, was printed and colored c. 1818 along with copy O. It is one of sixteen extant copies, ten of which are in the Blake Archive—including copy O—and four of which are in preparation for future publication. Like copy O, copy N was printed in orange ink on Ruse & Turners paper, watermarked 1815, beautifully colored, numbered by Blake in pen and ink, and bound with Thel’s Motto as the last instead of the first of the book’s eight plates. Unlike copy O, its plates have a single orange line framing them.

Blake included the book in his advertisement “To the Public” of October 1793: “The Book of Thel, a Poem in Illuminated Printing. Quarto, with 6 designs, price 3s.” He listed it again in 1818, in a letter to Dawson Turner, in which he priced it for £2.2.0., the price for which copy N almost certainly sold. This letter is also in preparation for future publication.

Enoch Walked with God, at 17.5 x 24 inches, is one of Blake’s largest early designs. It was executed c. 1780-85 in water colors and pen and ink over pencil and charcoal. It joins sixty-four other water color drawings in the Archive illustrating the Bible.

This is the first time that works from the Cincinnati Art Museum have been represented in the Archive. Accordingly, we are also publishing the museum’s Blake collection list, which includes all of its original works by Blake, not just those published in the Archive, and joins the Collection Lists of over thirty other contributing institutions.

Additionally, with this publication, the Archive has implemented a new feature on its main viewing page to enable users to rotate the image, a particularly salient feature for Blake’s texts written upside down or vertically.

The Archive has also updated its General and Specific Bibliographies, which now incorporate links to many Google Books.

As always, the William Blake Archive is a free site, imposing no access restrictions and charging no subscription fees. The site is made possible by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the University of Rochester, the continuing support of the Library of Congress, and the cooperation of the international array of libraries and museums that have generously given us permission to reproduce works from their collections in the Archive.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Joseph Fletcher, project manager, Michael Fox, technical editor
The William Blake Archive

​Enoch Walked with God

​Enoch Walked with God

by Andrea H. Everett at July 25, 2014 08:56 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Warm, cloudy ― wetty. Rose at 7. ―

After much delay & indecision, I posted 2 letters, to Taylor, begging him to send the 7. Packages to Liverpool, & to have all the furniture sold. Also to George ― telling him to fetch, or send for, the 4 packages left at Piræus, ― & to send them also to England. This year is like 1849 ― or 1855 ― or 1858 ― or 1860 ― i.e. ― with a regular renewing & break up of all sorts of arrangements.

Did nothing all day but pen out 2 Crete drawings.

Lady Goldsmid & 3 ladies came.

Later Jameson: ― who likes his Florence greatly. He tells me that Æneas Macbean is dead! ― He died last February.

At 7. I went out, ― but it rained alittle: & I only walked through various streets ― & returned at 8.


& afterwards, wrote up Crete journal till 11.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 25, 2014 08:00 AM


Stancliffe's Hotel in Japanese

A bilingual Japanese-English edition of Charlotte Brontë's Stancliffe's Hotel has just been published in Japan:
Stancliffe’s Hotel―絵と原文で楽しむ
Charlotte Brontë
Annotated & Translated by Taeko Tamura
Illustrated by Junko Ichihara

大阪教育図書  Osaka Kyoiku Tosho (June 10, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-4271410133

by M. ( at July 25, 2014 03:24 AM

July 24, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Real Women

The Telegraph & Argus talks about the August City of Film initiative in Bradford:
Throughout August City of Film will host free family film screenings on Big Screen Bradford in City Park, and each film will be complemented by a short film from the Yorkshire Film Archive , with a focus on holiday scenes.
One of the selected short films is Jack Eley's 1959 Yorkshire Curiosities which features very briefly the Brontë Parsonage (10'50'') in Howarth (sic).

Claire Fallon lists in The Huffington Post the best books capturing how is to be an introvert person:
Jane Eyre. Jane can be passionate and fiery when it comes to her rights as a person, but for the most part she’s a quiet, unobtrusive presence. Capable of forming profound attachments to others, she cares little for the company of those who are not among her chosen few loved ones. A stimulating conversation with her friend Helen or Mr. Rochester is more than enough to fill her with happiness, and larger social gatherings leave her cold. Jane enjoys her solitary time, dreaming wild dreams or working on paintings; though she isn’t a highly skilled artist, she plans her pieces carefully and executes them thoroughly. Much of Jane Eyre is spent inside Jane’s active, contemplative mind, an effect heightened by the fact that Brontë physically isolates Jane by mostly depicting her in rural settings where she rarely needs to interact with others. And though Jane seems to dream of far-off adventures, in reality she is frightened by the possibility of traveling to India as a missionary, and the lonely moors of England are more than enough for her as long as she's accompanied by a kindred spirit like Mr. Rochester.
Elise Waters discusses on The Federalist the need for pretty heroines (it seems that things haven't changed so much since Charlotte Brontë's days):
When I think of fiction with strong female heroines I automatically go to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I love these books, and they are often held up as paragons of literary success. Additionally, the central female figures are not pretty. Let’s do a quick breakdown of the heroines, shall we?
Jane Eyre: 18, plain, independent, quiet, rejected by her family, school teacher/governess, refuses marriage to a man she doesn’t love, ultimately marries Edward Rochester (after abandoning him when she finds out the truth about his first wife). Jane marries Rochester after his wife dies, he is badly burned, and she realizes she cannot live without him. (...)
These are real women, not cookie-cutter females who need to fall in love to justify their own self-worth. A question to ask, though, is: Would these books today be lauded any less if Austen and Brontё had made the heroines a little bit prettier? I doubt it.
You could argue that these characters are so insightful and interesting to read about because they are not pretty and they’ve compensated for their lack of appearance through wit and understanding of human emotion. But I call bullshit. Austen and Brontё were exceptional writers, and their books succeed because of the depth of character they convey, which could be achieved if the women were plain or even labeled “pretty.” (...)
Now that we’ve established what could be considered acclaimed literature with realistic heroines—how do modern-day fantasy books with pretty heroines who fall in love compare? Well, they can’t, because the comparison isn’t possible. How can we understand how books of today will be viewed 150 years from now, when novels such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice were initially brushed off as smut?
Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre, writes in Psychology Today about heroines from a different angle:
Even 19th century women heroines like Jane Eyre are capable of integrity and physical bravery when facing difficult situations. After her aborted marriage, when she discovers that Mr. Rochester already has a wife locked up in the attic at Thornfield, Jane runs away across the moors without any sort of sustenance. Her wanderings on the bleak moors without food or shelter are not entirely unlike the modern Katniss and her adventures in the Hunger Games.
Vermont's Seven Days reviews the novel The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makai:
In this volume, evocative of the gothic classics whose conventions Makkai both emulates and spoofs (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Citizen Kane), many of the secrets lie — surprise, surprise — in the attic. (J.T. Price)
The tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is recalled in this article in The Huffington Post with a Brontë mention:
One of the ghastly, can't-look-away fascinations of this week's Malaysian 17 crash is simply a narrative foible: coincidence. As an English professor, I can attest that coincidences happen much more often in literature than in real life. Literary coincidences, which will appear corny and sloppy if they're not done right, are necessary fictional contrivances to bring two strands of a story together in a way that normally wouldn't happen without authorial artifice. (Victorian novelists, for whatever reason, were the champions at coincidence-crafting: Dickens, Eliot, Austen, the Brontës.) (Randy Malamud)
A tweet by the Keighley News editor Richard Parker reveals a quite interesting teaser for tomorrow's news:
Latest @BronteParsonage feature in tomorrow's Keighley News reveals exciting purchase of 1920s Wuthering Heights film script and photos.
Laura Inman is promoting her book The Poetic World of Emily Brontë on Infinite House of Books,
What initially got you interested in writing?
I always had a bent for writing in college and in my work as a lawyer, but did not pursue it until late in life, starting in the last ten years. Although I might not have realized it when I started writing, my interest in it must have been the creativity of writing—all writing is creative writing. Writing and writing for publication went hand in hand. With very minor exceptions, I never kept journals or wrote stories or poetry for myself. I did not think about writing for publication until I took a graduate English course a few years ago as part of getting a master’s degree to teach English. I wrote a lot of short papers for that class and then wrote a long one on Wuthering Heights in which I proposed that I had discovered something new about that book. I turned that paper into an article that I got published in Brontë Studies. The research for that article set me on my course of devotion to Emily Brontë and writing about her, including an article on her poetry published by Victorians: Journal of Culture and Literature. In addition to scholarly writing, I wrote a screenplay about the last six years in her life when she wrote Wuthering Heights, turned that into a fictionalized biography, and wrote another novel in which she has a cameo appearance (neither got published, which doesn’t trouble me anymore.)
or on Roxanne Kade's Reviews.

Portal Cwb (in Portuguese) posts about Villette. View from Section T reviews Jane Eyre. Cronton College shares some pictures of their recent Jane Eyre. The Musical production. Interesting Literature recommends ten classic Victorian novels including Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights. Books&Bits reviews among others Wuthering Heights and The TenantKatie Doyle reviews The Writer's Digest Annotated Jane Eyre edition. Finally a picture of Top Withins by Christine Barraclough.

by M. ( at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM

Emily by Candlelight

A new chance to catch Rita Parisi's Gothic Tales by Candlelight at the Bristol Public Library (CT):
Gothic Romance Tales by Candlelight w/ Rita Parisi
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Rita Parisi from Waterfall Productions will present “Gothic Romance Tales by Candlelight” at the Bristol Public Library on Thursday, July 24, at 6:30 pm. This theatrical storytelling presentation will feature mysterious stories of love and betrayal by Louisa May Alcott, Emily Brontë and Kate Chopin. No charge. Please Register.
(Via The Bristol Press)

by M. ( at July 24, 2014 11:25 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


This regular irregularity of pain!

Rose at 8 ――. Cooper’s little girl still lives: ――― a great misery for these poor people.

I coloured 6 more Cretan drawings & penned out one ― before 1. A.M. (The Coopers brought me up a plate of has mutton “by way of change” ― they said ― but in reality is a humble way to testify that they were gratified for sympathy ―― which, however, any man, not a hog, should give.) It comes over me at times that the “old times,[”] are all gone: ― no more Corfu ― no more Greece: no more light. ― …… Wrote― finishing ― letters to Taylor, & to George ― ordering all things to England: but as to wintering at Genoa, or Spain, or elsewhere ― who can say? ― Best wait & work ―― but this last how hard to do here! ――――――――

So at 4 I called on Mrs. Crake: ― shrunken, but yet little older: she would talk of W.N. ― wh. I stopped. And “Mary Ann” is at “Quorn Hall” forsooth, “a beautiful place in Leicestershire” ― forsooth! an’ I knew it not! then I walked across the park to Bruces ― but met him, & Mrs. Bruce, & one of his sisters, & little Willy. This was refreshing: A certain sort of brightness & truth is in Mrs. Bruce’s face ― unlike ordinary expressions. She would light up a dark room. H.A.B. left at Constitution Hill, ― they & I walked back to Poiner’s gate ― where I put them in a Hansom cab. Then walked home, & at 8 to Blue Posts, where I dined, & came back by 9.30

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 24, 2014 08:00 AM

July 23, 2014

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

Title page of William Blake's French Revolution: A Poem

A couple of us at the Blake Archive have taken on Blake’s 1791 poem French Revolution as a new typographic project. We use many of the same principles established in early publications of typographic works. Thus, after working out some important typographic questions on the Descriptive Catalog, the French Revolution transcription appears to be fairly straightforward.

Title page of William Blake's French Revolution: A PoemWhat is perhaps more interesting about the poem French Revolution is the history of the work itself. In honor of the recent passing of Bastille Day (July 14th) a blog post of the publication history (or lack of publication history) of this work seemed timely.

Blake originally intended for the work to be seven books, yet only the first book survives. This first book is available in proof form, as it appears it was set in type in 1791 but never actually published by its printer, Joseph Johnson. There is only one known surviving copy of the original proofs, housed in the Huntington Library, who has shared the proofs with us.

There is a great deal of conjecture but little historical evidence as to why the first book was never published. Supporters of the French Revolution, like Joseph Johnson, faced increasing pressure at home, which might have stalled the printing. The rising violence of the Revolution spurred public debates in England, which also made some of its early supporters increasingly uneasy and might have influenced publication.

Because of its unfinished state, Blake’s French Revolution virtually disappeared from public view/interest in the 20th century. More recently, the poem has been transcribed by both Bentley and Erdman, but our publication will be the first transcription that pairs images from the Huntington with digital transcription. Thus, finally bringing Blake’s unpublished work to the public.

by lvandenb at July 23, 2014 06:55 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Call for papers – ‘Rethinking Early Photography’ 16th-17th June 2015, University of Lincoln Keynotes: Kate Flint, Lindsay Smith, Kelley Wilder Attitudes to photography have undergone a radical shift in recent […]

by Nicole Bush at July 23, 2014 12:06 PM


Agnes in the Library

Rebecca Onion publishes on Slate's The Vault about the Brontës at Cowan Bridge School:
In 1900, noting that fans had lately picked over the history of the Brontë family so “diligently” that “there can be but little left for gleaners,” the British Journal of Education republished these reports on four Brontë sisters’ unhappy year at the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge. The reports, which assess the sisters’ preparation and work during the year they were at the school, are drawn from the school’s register. (Read more)
The Huffington Post on the importance of a public library:
As I got older, drifting into my teens, the library wasn’t quite as essential as it had been to me in the past. My parents, both prolific readers, had accumulated bookshelves full of classic novels that lined our den, and I was able to sustain myself for days on the Brontës and Dickens and Austen. But the library was still there, right downtown, waiting for the day I’d feel the itch for a new fantasy novel, a giant stack of Agatha Christie mysteries, or a clutch of P.G. Wodehouse romps to while away a lazy summer weekend. Whenever I needed risk-free, cost-free, judgment-free reading -- a chance to guiltily try a Nicholas Sparks novel or to blow through 10 light mysteries in three days -- the library welcomed me back with its familiar quiet murmur and secluded shelves. When my parents’ shelves inexplicably failed to yield Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey, the library was reassuringly replete with copies. (Claire Fallon)
Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner interviews the writer Amy Belding Brown:
What year in history would you have liked to live in?
That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many unpleasant aspects of living in an historical time period. But I’d probably choose the ante-bellum period in New England, say l847, when the anti-slavery movement was gaining momentum, and people were enthusiastically embracing new ideas and ways of relating to each other. It was also the year that one of my favorite books – Charlotte Brontë’s "Jane Eyre" – was published. (Kayla Posney)
Nicky Peacock-Author interviews another writer J K Coi:
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
I think maybe Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights because he’s so brooding and intense and I would love to be able to delve into his character. But I’m pretty sure I’d be too excited to eat anything. Maybe I’d just drink. Lots. :)
The Value of Sparrows publishes the article Wuthering Heights, by Peter Milward, included in the 2005 book A Poetic Approach to Ecology. Ramblings of a Texas Housewife reviews Solsbury Hill. Behold the Stars posts about Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 23, 2014 11:43 AM

Now, I understand

The writer Peter Mandel visits Haworth and Brontë country and writes about it in The Huffington Post:
Are Yorkshire's villages where you want to be? Hamlets like Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and worked on their famous novels. Or are you about walking on moors? Because of its wild dales, its green and purple views, Yorkshire can make you strangely wistful even when you are looking at stone walls or at a farm. 'God's Own County' it has been called.
Both its town and country landscapes got a fresh life a few years back with the latest movie version of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Since the film was full of big names like Mia Wasikowska and Dame Judi Dench, it trained a spotlight on this still pleasantly drowsy realm. Still, I'm determined to poke around and check things out that didn't show up on screen. (...)
I'm standing on the doorstep of the 300-year-old Old White Lion Inn, trying to decide what to walk to first. Straight in front of me is Haworth's cobbled Main Street which snakes down a steep hill. Off to my right is the Brontë Parsonage Museum which was home to the world's most famous family of writers from 1820 to 1861. And just behind me is the start of a country hike called "Walk to Wuthering Heights." (...)
In fact, after about two hours of charging up small rises, and slipping back, we're gasping and complaining. Is that Top Withins in the distance? It is. Was it once a house? It was. When we make it, we collapse for a rest next to walls without roofs and collections of old stones.
Just when I'm wondering how this made Brontë think of romance, there is a blast of wind. A fat cloud retreats and we get a sword-thrust of sun. The moors we've stumbled over light up in sections as if in a play. Over here is luminescent green. Here is violet. And there is the brown and white of a stream. Deep in the distance are the steeples and houses of Haworth.
Now, I understand. I pull out my pen and some paper to see if I can do some writing myself. Or maybe a sketch.
The Christian Science Monitor reviews the novel We Were Liars by E. Lockhart:
Lockhart has a choppy, poetic style in which the crags are offset by luxurious turns of phrase. I love the moment when Gat likens himself to Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" to show Cadence that Harris will never accept him. Gat is bitter: “There’s nothing Heathcliff can ever do to make these Earnshaws think he’s good enough. And he tries. He goes away, educates himself, becomes a gentleman. Still, they think he’s an animal.... Heathcliff becomes what they think of him, you know? He becomes a brute. The evil in him comes out.” (Katie Ward Beim-Esche)
The Federalist attacks the censorship of works of art which can be considered politically incorrect for today's standards:
The Brontë sisters may have been 19th-Century proto-feminists, but their ideas about the proper role of women would be well out of place in today’s society. (David Marcus)
The Sydney Morning Herald discusses the ABC1 show Jennifer Byrne Presents: The Seven Deadly Sins:
Wrath, naturally, is a fertile topic for discussion with regard to literature. The discussion skips from The Iliad, where Achilles' rage led him to fight and kill Hector, to the murderous rage of Jimmie Blacksmith, Fay Weldon's she-devil and the romantic fury at the heart of Wuthering Heights. (Ben Pobjie)
Librópatas (Spain) talks about scandalous writers. Among them, Jean Rhys:
Jean Rhys es algo más que la autora de Ancho mar de los Sargazos, la precuela de Jane Eyre que todo fan de Charlotte Brontë debería leer (y que cualquier lector literario debería incluir también en su lista de lecturas), sino también una autora de biografía con todos los mimbres para ser incluida en la lista de escritoras escandalosas. (Raquel C. Pino) (Translation)
EDIT: The article reappears on ABC.

Precisely The Writer's Block talks about Showing Through Telling in Wide Sargasso Sea:
Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is a novel about a Creole woman in early 19th century Jamaica who slowly, maybe, goes mad. It's also a prequel to Jane Eyre, but that seems secondary to the real story in the Caribbean.
I'd like to look at the spiraling emotions of Rochester (unnamed by Rhys), as they are shown to us, through histelling about his wife.
The brief passage I'm concerned with occurs after Rochester has married a woman he barely knows, loved her, and then been told horrible things about her. Rochester narrates the passage, but in it, the action has passed and he is just thinking.
In a technical sense, nothing is happening. It's only a man pacing a room (at least, that's how I picture it—even that action is uncertain) and stewing. For this reason, I believe most experts would consider it an example of telling. It's not the scene in which two characters love each other or the scene in which he learns of her past or the scene in which he locks her away—it's only him telling about those things. (Allison Wyss) (Read more)
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) advocates for reading classics:
Ja, då är det ju en annan sak. Jag ska inte tjata om Charlotte Brontës ”Jane Eyre” igen, inte heller om Cora Sandels Albertetrilogi, Tove Janssons Muminböcker eller Väinö Linnas Under Polstjärnan-trilogi. Men har man inte läst dem så har man upplevelser framför sig. (Lotta Olsson) (Translation)
Banbridge Leader and the Dromore Leader post about the upcoming local performances of the ChapterHouse Theatre production of Wuthering Heights. Francis Kwarteng includes Charlotte Brontë among the great writers of all time on GhanaWeb. Careann's Musings reviews the K.M. Weiland annotated edition of Jane Eyre. Memorias del Cine Club (Spain) uploads a debate on Jane Eyre 1944 (aired on TeleToledo).

by M. ( at July 23, 2014 11:07 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6.30. The poor little Girl still living!

Worked horribly hard all day ― ˇ[colouring &] penning out Cretan drawings. No one came, till 5 ― when Sir H.J. Storks called. His account of Whittingham well explaining the animus of the “4 years in Corfû.[”] Did not go out at all, but at 6.45 ― cab to 37. Tavistock Place.


Wonderfully pleasant in all ways.

Cab home by 11.30.


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

by Marco Graziosi at July 23, 2014 08:00 AM

July 22, 2014

The Little Professor

In which I am puzzled by a question

Russell Berman's riposte to the MLA ripostes includes an interesting question:

Still, if critics want to call for the closing of programs, which programs, one might ask, should be eliminated? How will closings not end up disadvantaging public institutions, where the majority of first-generation college students study?

Speaking as someone in a department where over half the T-TT faculty have doctorates from public institutions, I find this assumption somewhat baffling.  Students at strong public institutions are often better prepared for the job market than are their private and/or Ivy-clad counterparts--more pedagogical instruction, classroom experience, and (sometimes) even publications.  And I'm going to guess that there are quite a few state schools that have equivalent (or better) placement records to private ones.  If you say, "look, if X percent of your students don't get TT jobs within X amount of time, we either reduce your intake or close your program altogether," then I'm going to guess that some very fancy departments would suddenly get an attack of the vapors, while some very not-fancy departments would just grin.     


by Miriam Burstein at July 22, 2014 08:47 PM

Regency Ramble

RWA San Antonio

It is always fun to go to a conference in a City you have never visited before. This year RWA's (Romance Writers of America) conference  is being held in San Antonio.  And who hasn't heard of The Battle of the Alamo. So naturally the history buff in me just had to visit.

And as luck would have it my sister decided to join me on this adventure.  We arrived on Friday, and after a long day of travelling it was dinner and bed.  But Saturday we set out on our travels. The Alamo would be first on our list. But first is breakfast. It was recommended that we go to Shiloh's, a very popular deli. So we headed out and were surprised to find ourselves lining up.  Of course it has to be good if you have to stand in line.

And it really was an excellent breakfast.  And more so because, when we went to pay, the couple at the table beside us, who were fascinated our English accents, had already paid the bill. You can imagine our surprise.  That couple had already left and the gentleman had left a message.  "Welcome to Texas."  So as you can imagine, we will always feel very welcome here.

Our next stop was the Alamo itself.  We made the mistake of wandering around some of the other parts of the museum and exhibits and when we went to go inside, lo and behold there were hundreds of people in the line up, whereas there had been only a handful when we first got there. So we decide we would go on the next day.

And moved on to Market Square a traditional Mexican market with small stalls.

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 22, 2014 11:00 AM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Drawing on recent theoretical developments in gender and men’s studies, Pre-Raphaelite Masculinities shows how the ideas and models of masculinity were constructed in the work of artists and writers associated […]

by Jo Taylor at July 22, 2014 09:31 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Being waked by the Portuguese lodger, who comes home at 4 ―― rose at 4.30 ― & worked at penning out Cretan sketches from 5 to 7.15 ― when I was obliged to come downstairs, ― (one gets no coffee here!) & sleep till 9. The poor Cooper’s little girl still lives, but dies slowly. ― “O world! O life! O time!” ― words equally ˇ[to be] applied to all grades. ―――

No one came all day!! ――

Penned out, finishing the 4th dozen of large Cretan drawings ― & began to color: ― moving (once more,) my oil paints downstairs. ―

At 6. went to Charlton’s & looked at some furniture. ― Day oppressive ―― gray ―― cloudy. At 7.30 to 45. Portland Place. ―


Wonderfully pleasant party ― in every possible way. Afterwards, I sang a bit.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 22, 2014 08:00 AM


Sexing the Male and more

More recent Brontë-related scholar papers or theses:
Sexing The Male: Manifestations Of Masculinity In Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, And Villette
Emma Foye Quinn
Bucknell University
Date of Thesis: 5-8-2014

This project considers Emily and Charlotte Brontë's constructions of masculinity in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Villette. There is a vast proliferation of scholarship focusing on gender in the Victorian Era, but as much of this criticism focuses on women, the analysis of heterosexual masculinity in these novels provides a unique perspective on the complexities involved in gender constructions during this period. Masculine identity was in a transitory state in the early nineteenth century, as Romantic values were replaced by Victorian conceptions of masculinity, largely influencing the expectations of men. This paper argues that based on an understanding of femininity and masculinity as defined in relation to each other, the Brontë heroes look to the female characters as a source of stability to define themselves against, constructing a stagnant feminine role to frame an understanding of how masculinity was changing. The female characters resist this categorization, however, never allowing the men to fully classify them into stable feminine roles, which leads both shifting gender roles to intertwine and collapse in the novels, undermining any conceptualization of a stable or universal understanding of gender. The paper considers the role of masculinity based in class, relationships with women, and the understanding of sexual passion, to argue that the Brontës' portrayal of men emulates the anxieties surrounding the shift from Romantic to Victorian values of manliness, ultimately rejecting any stable definition of the nineteenth-century man.
An Analysis of the Humanity of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights from the Perspective of Natural and Social Space4
Ben Hua Wan
Applied Mechanics and Materials (Volumes 556 - 562)

This paper intends to explore the humanity of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights from the perspective of natural and social space, analyzing the transformation of Heathcliff’s human nature and its causes. Through the carrier of space Wuthering Heights rationally ponders over the fate and survival state of characters, discloses the complexity, the goodness, the wickedness and the recovery of Heathcliff’s human nature.
Defining Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights in Psychological Terms
Mosir Khan
Goa University
March 23, 2014

The paper discusses Heathcliff in terms of modern Psychology and proposes that the character of Heathcliff is suffereing from psychological disorders.

by M. ( at July 22, 2014 02:23 AM

July 21, 2014

The Little Professor

Biographia Literaria (so to speak)

Commenter CJ Colucci has inquired more than once about how, exactly, I came to specialize in nineteenth-century religious fiction of, ah, less than stellar aesthetic quality.  Here is how it happened:

1.  Phase one: I am an English major at UC Irvine.  Let's just say that in the late 80s, the tiny handful of Jews at UC Irvine were, if not showered with open antisemitism, nevertheless made to feel very Other.  After a while, I became interested in religious issues because, well, they were being brought to my attention on a more frequent basis than I would have otherwise preferred.

2. Phase two: I become a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where there are fellow Jews all over the place.  My personal reason for being interested in literature and religion goes by the wayside.

3.  Phase three: Dissertating.  By this stage in my career, I have discovered two things: one, I'm primarily interested in literary and intellectual history (I can close-read until the proverbial bovines return to their domicile, but I enjoy seeing how genres and concepts emerge and change over time); two, hey, religion seems pretty central to the texts I'm working on (early histories of women, the eventual subject of the diss and Book One), so I should think about it more closely.

4.  Phase four: Professional life.  Thanks to being at a non-R1, I can pretty much publish on whatever I feel like (this is an advantage of not being at an R1).  Now, I've realized that a) I rather get a kick out of reading all this long-lost fiction, albeit with necessary detours into snark, and some of it turns out to have been quite influential; b) not very many other people are willing to put up with this material, and yet there's a lot of scholarship going on in religion & literature for which it's actually relevant; so c) let's say I put a + b together, do something I find interesting, and produce scholarship that might be helpful to other people? And thus, I started reading these things so you don't have to.  (Although I'm afraid that I'm leaning more and more towards the position that you should read them anyway.)   


by Miriam Burstein at July 21, 2014 08:28 PM


Ballads over Brontë

The Toronto Star reviews The Informed Air by Muriel Spark:
For example, in one of the earlier essays she mentions the Scottish Border Ballads — anonymous songs and poems from ancient times. She was influenced by them, growing up as a child; she notes in another essay that Scottish poet Robbie Burns was influenced by them, as well. And in her essay on Emily Brontë she suggests that Brontë was, too — that somehow she assimilated them into the very fibre of her intellect and being, so that they informed her poetry. The point here is: that a country’s literature can build up, be influenced by what came before, and knowing it gives you a deeper understanding of what you’re reading now.
Here’s another example: She takes a look in another essay at Heathcliff (from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights) as the most perfect villain in literature. It’s one of many essays on the Brontës included in the collection and each takes a slightly different look at how the sisters (and brother) interacted, created. By looking at each of them, you can see how one influenced the other, how they each interpreted their surroundings and upbringing. (Deborah Dundas)
Il Manifesto (Italy) reviews a new edition of Annie Vivanti's Naja Tripudians (1921):
Ciò potrebbe dirsi anche del libro più suo che ancora nel com­plesso resi­ste agli oltre novant’anni, un romanzo edito da Bem­po­rad nel ’21, ristam­pato tre volte da Mon­da­dori (nel ’30, nel ’46, poi negli «Oscar», 1970, con una coper­tina hip­pie di Ferenc Pin­ter e la sma­gliante pre­fa­zione di un gio­vane Cesare Gar­boli), oggi final­mente ripro­po­sto, Naja tri­pu­dians (intro­du­zione di Ric­cardo Reim, Otto/Novecento, pp. 148, euro 14.00), un titolo che allude al più vene­fico fra i ser­penti che infe­stano l’India colo­niz­zata dagli inglesi. E pro­prio uno spe­cia­li­sta di malat­tie colo­niali è il padre, vedovo, delle due ado­le­scenti, Myo­so­tis e Leslie, pro­ta­go­ni­ste del romanzo di for­ma­zione nella cui atmo­sfera, uno York­shire cali­gi­noso e mesta­mente autun­nale, resta qual­cosa del modello peral­tro dichia­rato, e insieme inar­ri­va­bile, che è Jane Eyre di Char­lotte Brontë. (Massimo Raffaeli) (Translation)
Lettera 43 (Italy) is concerned about the Fifty Shades of Grey effects on young people:
Robaccia para erotica che ha sostituito i romanzetti d'amore di un tempo (siamo onesti, poche si sono formate su Proust, le sorelle Brontë e Virginia Woolf, per lo più hanno letto Liala) in cui non si percepisce mai, mai si comprende la gioia, l'ansia, l'attesa, la bellezza di un rapporto vero, profondo, fra due corpi che si uniscono, anche a dispetto o non ostante l'eventuale mancato coinvolgimento dell'anima. (Fabiana Giacomotti) (Translation)
Antonella Iuliano (author of Charlotte) posts about the Maddalena De Leo's Italian translations of Charlotte Brontë's juvenilia: Henry Hastings and The Secret. Daeandwrite reviews Wide Sargasso Sea. The Brontë Parsonage tweets a 1833 sketch by Branwell Brontë. Darrell Bryan performs As Good As You from Jane Eyre. The Musical. Elizabeth E and letterbworld (in Czech)  review Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 21, 2014 12:47 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose late. Always very warm weather.

Cooper’s little girl still lives on.

F. Lushington called ― Mrs. Beadon & Elizabeth & Col. Cockburn ― & C. Wynne & 3 Miss Lestrange, no buyers. ― Much loss of time ――

Worked at the Butrinto ― but by no means cheerily. At 5.30 or 6 came C. Fortescue, asking me to dine with him at the Blue-posts: very amiable ― & very unlucky that I cannot.

At 7.15 to G. Middleton’s, ― out of humour that I cannot dine with C.F., & foreboding a boring evening ― wh. did but so turn out;


Mrs. M. is an amiable woman, tho’ alquanto heavy. Cambridge possesses the Leake Coins. Except George M. None of that family are worthy to speak of him.

Home by 11.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 21, 2014 08:00 AM


Brontës in a Desert Island

Let's revisit one of those eternal clichés: What books would you take with you to a desert island? Markus Gasser has written a book with those books and  has been published in Germany. Both Charlotte and Emily are on it:
Das Buch der Bücher für die Insel
Markus Gasser
Publishing Date: 24.02.2014
ISBN 978-3-446-24495-5
Hanser Verlag

Welches Buch nehme ich mit auf die sprichwörtliche einsame Insel? Markus Gasser stellt uns in 50 Kapiteln Romane und Erzählungen aus unterschiedlichen Ländern und Epochen vor. Mit dem Blick fürs Wesentliche porträtiert er Bücher und Autoren samt ihren überraschenden, manchmal bizarren Hintergründen. Sie bringen einen Reichtum an Geschichten und Erfahrungen ins Leben, den uns der Alltag gewöhnlich nicht zu bieten hat. Bei Gasser finden sich Klassiker von Homer bis Thomas Mann, aber auch Erfolgsautoren wie Tolkien und Roald Dahl. Mit diesem besonders schön ausgestattetem Buch hilft er Anfängern, sich in der Weltliteratur zu orientieren, erfahrenen Lesern gibt er Empfehlungen, die bisweilen auch Kenner überraschen werden.
The titles of the Brontë chapters are: Die Königin von Angria. Charlotte Brontë and Was is vorigen verschwiegen worden ist. Emily Brontë.

The reviewer of Die Welt is not very happy with the Emily Brontë bit:
Emily Brontës "Sturmhöhe" mitzunehmen leuchtet unmittelbar ein; nur wäre es schöner gewesen, wenn Markus Gasser uns das Sterben der Autorin nicht genau so ausführlich wie den von ihm quasi als bekannt vorausgesetzten Inhalt dieses singulären Romans beschrieben hätte. (Rainer Moritz) (Translation)

by M. ( at July 21, 2014 03:20 AM

July 20, 2014


Spooky Jane

Ian Hamilton talks about his book Walking the Literary Landscape (co-written with Diane Roberts) in The Yorkshire Post:
The novels of the Brontë sisters are of course famously soaked in the moorland landscape around Haworth. Our walk to Top Withens takes the admirer to the heart of the sisters’ fascination with place (and may expose the unwary to the realities of a “wuthering” climate).
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner continues giving options to visit the region this summer. This time--the best museums in West Yorkshire:
Red House Museum, Gomersal
Take a step back in time to the 1830s and discover the Spen Valley's Bronte connections at the Red House Museum.
The former cloth merchant's home has been decked out to give a taste of life in yesteryear, complete with an elegant parlour and a stone-flagged kitchen with a Yorkshire range.
Charlotte Brontë visited often and featured Red House in her novel Shirley - visitors can learn more about her connections to the area in the museum's 'Secret's Out' exhibition.
There's also a period garden with scented old roses, old fashioned blooms and a Serpentine Walk through tree-shaded lawns.
The museum's summer opening times are Tuesday to Thursday, 11am-5pm and weekends noon-5pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and Fridays. (Samantha Robinson)  
Batley & Birstall News announces the Chapterhouse Theatre performances of Wuthering Heights in Oakwell Hall next August 13:
Script writer Lana Turner said: “It’s a challenging story to adapt, spanning two generations, but I hope that I have managed to instill all the passion and wildness of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece and that people fall for Catherine and Heathcliff just as I have.”
Director Rebecca Gadsby said she hoped to bring the visceral thrill of Brontë’s novel to the stage with this production.
She said: “It’s gritty, captivating and all the drama happens on stage. Your heart will be in your mouth for two hours.”
What's on North Ireland also talks about this touring production here.

Wales Online interviews the director Axelle Carolyn about her film Soulmate:
“It sounds very punk rock, doesn’t it, to say that my film in its current form is banned in Britain,” said Soulmate’s Hollywood-based, Belgium-born director Axelle Carolyn.
“It’s so absurd, because it really wasn’t the kind of film I ever imagined would cause a problem.
“The scares in it are pretty mild and there’s very little blood on show – it’s really just a spooky Jane Eyre, a gothic romance.
“Instead, it seems I’ve made a video nasty without even trying.” (Nathan Bevan)
The SandPaper interviews the author Harper A. Brooks:
She said her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë and Anne Rice. (Eric Englund)
The Forty-Seven Words of the Broken Girl interviews K.M. Weiland, editor of the upcoming Annotated Jane Eyre:
Jane Eyre is a massive text: 190,000 words! What did Writer’s Digest want from you in terms of annotations? Did they have a list of topics they wanted covered? You had 40,000 words to work with in the annotations: did they have to be distributed fairly evenly throughout the text?
They were actually pretty hands-off. They gave me the word limit for the annotations, and then I came up with what I felt would be the best workable format and tossed a few ideas around with my editor. What I ended up doing was dividing the word count among the fifty or so chapters in the book, then further dividing that word count amongst the number of notes I’d come up with for that chapter. So some of the chapters have many short notes and some have only a few longer notes.
Heed The Hedonist reviews the Taproot Theatre (Seattle) performances of Jane Eyre. The Musical;  ...In Flames We Trust... interviews the Portuguese writer Carla M. Soares which picks Jane Eyre as one of her favourite novels; Patrice Sarath thinks that Jane Eyre is the first Mary Sue. 

by M. ( at July 20, 2014 04:54 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


A strange day. Rose at 7. Cooper’s little ggirl is worse. Nicolas’s men came at 9 & moved down the 3 cabinets to the 1st floor: ― in the midst of which operation came C. Fortescue ― Mrs. Wilson & the Rev. Mr. Eaton, ―& later Marianne & Catherine North & Mr. Shuttleworth.

Afterwards I worked awfully hard ― getting down the drawings ― 64 descents in all. (Charles Cockburn came also.) ― & so till 8. Then I went to the Blue Posts & dined comfortably returning at 10 ― & working again at placing the drawings till 11.30. ― When all were down stairs. Queer life.

Bed at 12.


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

by Marco Graziosi at July 20, 2014 08:00 AM

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Silver bodkin, 18th century or earlier

Dear friends and readers,

A second letter from Cassandra, this time to her sister’s close friend, Anne Sharp, governess (once at Godmersham) and paid companion, which is not exactly a warm generous letter of shared grief. It seems to me prompted by one from Miss Sharp to her, perhaps plangent, in the throes of grief (one hopes) under control – seeing the response she elicited. I present the readings of this letter as they occurred on Janeites and Women Writers @Yahoo and Austen-l, so I am again grateful to have two guest bloggers with me.

Monday 28 July 1817
My dear Miss Sharp

I have great pleasure in sending you the lock of hair you wish for, & add a pair of clasps which she sometimes wore & a small bodkin which she had had in constant use for more than twenty years. I know how these articles, 1 trifling as they are, will be valued by you & I am very sure that if she is now conscious of what is passing on earth it gives her pleasure they should be so disposed of. — I am quite well in health & my Mother is very tolerably so & I am much more tranquil than with your ardent feelings you could suppose possible. What I have lost no one but myself can know, you are not ignorant of her merits, be who can judge how I estimated them? — God’s will be done, I have been able to say so all along, I thank God that I have. — If any thing should ever bring you into attainable distance from me we must meet my dear Miss Sharp. —

Beleive me very truly
Your affectionate friend
Cassandra Elizth Auster.
ChawtonJuly 28th
Miss Sharp

A pair of belt clasps


Diana Birchall began it:

There are two letters still in this collection, and here is the first of them. A short note from Cassandra to her sister’s friend Anne Sharp. It is eight days since the letter to Fanny, and she writes: “I have great pleasure in sending you the lock of hair you wish for, &, I add a pair of clasps which she sometimes wore & a small bodkin which she had in constant use for more than twenty years.”

I wonder what the clasps were – hair clasps? The bodkin is variously described as a needle, or a hairpin. They were generally silver, and here’s a picture of one:

In the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Hamlet is quoted (“When he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin”), which is appropriate, as Jane Austen knew her Shakespeare so well. Here it is described as “a stiletto worn by ladies in the hair,” which in something called the Seven Champions, “Castria took her silver bodkin from her hair, and stabbed to death first her sister and herself.”

Assuredly, Jane Austen did not use her bodkin for murder, but a bodkin seems to have multiple meanings. Some definitions call it a blunt large-eyed needle, while others call it “a long hairpin with an ornamental head.” Women used bodkins for threading and rethreading ribbons, cords and laces; their chief purpose was to thread bands or cords through corsets and bodices. Some had a little scoop on the end, for scooping earwax which was used in handling the sewing-thread! (I get the idea that this was earlier than JA’s more elegant day though.) It is mentioned on the Jane Austen UK site, that such sewing implements had to be wrapped up to be kept from rusting, and oil from the hair was used by running the needle through one’s hair. Ear-wax and hair-oil on the garments one was sewing!

Bodkins used in sewing had a hole like a needle, while the merely ornamental might not; however, women are described as using them as hairpins tucked up under their caps, and then taking them out to use in sewing. I wish we knew just how Jane Austen wore or used this bodkin, which according to Cassandra she had owned since her early twenties; but one article says “In the 18th and 19th centuries, bodkins could appear hung on chatelaines, or as part of matching sewing and needlework sets. Bodkins could be worn on a dress as a clasp, or wrapped in chenille used decoratively. Another article calls the bodkin an antique comb. Even after all this, I’m not sure whether Jane Austen used a bodkin to tie up a braid or knot of hair, or if she used it solely in sewing. That she had it “in constant use,” sounds more active than ornamental.

Cassandra writes that trifling though these articles are, she knows Miss Sharp will value them. Rather strangely she writes, “I am very sure that if she is now conscious of what is passing on earth it gives her pleasure they should be so disposed of.” Really? Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, this is surely a strange locution – is that what JA is doing in Heaven, watching out for where her bodkins go?

Cassandra goes on to say that she and her mother are well, and, she adds revealingly, “I am much more tranquil than with your ardent feelings you could suppose possible.” This tells us something about Miss Sharp, about Cassandra, and about Jane, who had this ardent friend and this dry, practical sister. Then Cassandra shows a bit of superior status, to let Anne know she is the one who was closer to Jane, who knew her best: “What I have lost, no one but myself can know, you are not ignorant of her merits, but who can judge how I estimated them?” That seems rather tactless, surely. Why should Anne Sharp be no better than “not ignorant” of JA’s merits? Why is Cassandra parading her superior closeness and knowledge of the subject? There can only be one reason: she had been made to feel uneasy, perhaps a bit jealous, that this Anne Sharp was possibly as much to Jane as she was herself. She would not have had to make this point otherwise.

She ends with another bit of religious sentiment that reads oddly today: “God’s will be done, I have been able to say so all along, I thank God that I have.” We may connect this with her taking Jane’s death as retribution on herself, as she does in the previous letter.

Even her closing, friendly sentiment shows superiority! “If any thing should ever bring you into attainable distance from me we must meet, my dear Miss Sharp.” What about something bringing Cassandra into proximity with Miss Sharp? Must Miss Sharp always be the one to travel?

It seems a very friendly note on the surface, and is signed, “Your affectionate friend,” but there are little stiletto pricks with the bodkin, I think!

Diane Reynolds followed suit:

In this brief note, written a few days after the funeral, Cassandra is obviously tidying up her sister’s effects and so sends Anne a few modest items: a lock of hair, a pair of clasps and a small bodkin “which she had in constant use for more than 20 years.” A bodkin was a small pointed device for punching holes in fabric but also a stick for holding hair in a knot. I am imagining this bodkin as the sewing device.

C is stoic, not sentimental. She is not going to make a shrine or museum of her dead sister’s things. She is sensibly dispersing items whose lingering presence would have no use and which would no doubt give pain as reminders of loss.

Anne’s inner circle status is clear, especially when C writes that “I am very sure if she [Jane] is now conscious of what is passing on earth it gives her pleasure” that Anne has these personal items. They are “trifling,” but we can imagine JA would indeed be pleased to see them helping a single woman and close friend with little money.

Once again, we see C deflecting pity or emotional outpourings, while at the same time acknowledging Anne’s intimacy with Jane, and perhaps making a barbed comment: “I am much more tranquil than you, with your ardent feelings, could suppose …” My sense, however, is, rather than attack Anne’s emotionalism, she is simply erecting a wall, saying “I am fine, please don’t gush to me about this terrible event.” She goes on to acknowledge, that Anne is “not ignorant of her [JA's'] merits.” However, “what I have lost, nobody but myself can know” and “who can judge how I estimated [Jane's merits]?” This is a moment where I wish C had been more forthcoming and HAD estimated her sister’s merits, but … ah well. C appears in a hurry or not inclined to write at the moment (she must have had a heavy load of correspondence to deal with] or not inclined to confide in Anne, so she turns to a platitude to deflect her recipient: “God’s will be done, I have been able to say that all along, I thank God that I have.” The task of sending the items now done, the reason for the note finished, C ends the missive, as warmly as she can inviting Anne Sharp to visit should Miss Sharp ever come into “attainable distance” from C. (She makes no offer to travel to visit Anne.) She does end on “my dear Miss Sharp” and signs off as “very truly … your affectionate friend.” We do feel amid the stoical stance, affection for this friend.

However, while, Cassandra cannot unbend for Miss Sharp, thank goodness for Fanny Knight, who C will be much more willing to confide in in the final letter.

And I chimed in:

I’m glad both Diane and Diana have already written (if others have I won’t know until tomorrow or until the next Janeite digest comes into my box). this way I can feel surer my reaction is accurate: through the attempt to be cordial, warm, and acknowledge how special Anne was to her sister, Jane, Cassandra is curt, erecting a distance, and herself seems to doubt they will ever meet again. Curtness: “I am very sure that if she is now conscious of what is passing on earth it gives her pleasure they should be so disposed of.” It’s the “so disposed of” that carries the curtness: disposed of, An online dictionary specializing in connotations of words says “if you dispose of something, you get rid of it.” “Trifling as these articles are, they will be valued by you. There is a sting there even if the overt message is an acknowledgement that the smallest thing from jane means a lot to Anne.

Erecting a distance: I take Cassandra’s reference to herself and her grief to be in answer to a letter Anne wrote in which she tries to condole and fine words adequate, do justice to this great love of Cassandra’s and Cassandra does not care for others trying to characterize her grief, however compassionately meant. “What I have lost no one but myself can know …” I feel a kind of huff here: “you are not ignorant of her merits.” What a backhanded way to put it — from Jane’s letter it sounded as if Jane late in life felt Anne understood her, counted on this. It’s a quiet discounting of Anne’s position. “who can judge of how I estimated them.” Let us assume Anne was self-controlled and did not respond what feels natural: “I was not judging how you estimated them, my dear Cassandra.” Cassandra would perhaps have preferred conventional cliches: today she would have no trouble receiving many; “We are so sorry for your loss and have this problem about your papers ….”

We can’t know if the next line was a response to lamentations by Anne about Jane’s early death or sufferings but it feels like a response to that kind of statement: “God’s will be done, I have been able to say so all along, I thank God I have.” (Anne reading this: Well sorry I didn’t come up to your exemplary gratitude. I have these ardent feelings.)

Mrs Austen is “tolerably so,” — that’s a phrase used in impersonal social situations.

And then finally goodbye. Cassandra’s words are: “If anything should ever bring you into attainable distance …. ” Cassandra does not expect it: “if anything”? hardly likely it seems. Then of course we must meet. But as Diane points out it is Miss Sharp who must get herself near, not Cassandra.

There are no letters to Martha Lloyd: partly they were destroyed them all but also Martha was still silently there — in May. What was there to discuss after Jane went to Winchester — letters were passed round. They had said their goodbyes. Had there been, I wonder what Cassandra would have written — not quite the same vein as I agree it’s also a matter of Miss Sharp’s rank. Martha did work as a companion, but only and off. She had a family to turn to. MIss Sharp has only her jobs — governess. For those who’d like to see a frank (shameless) expression of this have a look sometime at Elizabeth Eastlake’s famous diatribe on Jane Eyre. Hireling — that’s Jane’s words for musicians (the Burneys would not like to have heard that one).

I agree that Anna went down when she married and that was part of the alienation; for a time after Jane’s death, her husband did become a vicar, but he died young and she returned to penury and dependence. The first words of Cassandra’s final letter show a real warmth in contrast: read it three times too.

Diana points us to the peculiarities of ideas religious feelings prompt Cassandra to utter. I am surprised at the “if” — “If she is now conscious.”


Martha Lloyd Austen — late in life, now married to Francis: perhaps his way of re-asserting his deep connection to his sister, as it was disapproved by Mrs Leigh-Perrot, a act of imagined shared contra mundum

Was Cassandra a snob? cold to Miss Sharp? Diane saw more “than a few hints of snobbery,” and that Cassandra was “a barbed writer” like her sister, cozying up to the higher status Fanny Knight. There was snobbery in JA’s attitude towards Anna Lefroy.” I’d like to remark also on Martha’s ghost-like presence and Cassandra’s coming great long loneliness — however she might deny this. She lived on past the death of her mother, and from what documents we have it seems she and Henry grew close, while Fanny Knight as Lady Brabourne kept her distance.


by ellenandjim at July 20, 2014 03:37 AM

The Little Professor

This Week's (Delayed) Acquisitions

by Miriam Burstein at July 20, 2014 03:28 AM


The Poetic World of Emily Brontë.

A new book on Emily Brontë has just been published:
The Poetic World of Emily Brontë.
Poems from the Author of Wuthering Heights
Laura Inman
Sussex Academic Press
ISBN: 978-1-84519-645-5
July/August 2014

  Emily Brontë is known as a novelist, but she was first and equally a poet. Before during and after writing Wuthering Heights, she wrote poetry. Indeed, she wrote virtually nothing else for us to read – no other work of fiction or correspondence. Her poems, however, fill this void. They are varied, lyrical, intriguing, and innovative, yet they are not well known. The Poetic World of Emily Brontë brings an unjustifiably marginalized poet out of the shadows and presents her poetry in a way that enables readers, even those who shy away from poetry, to appreciate her work.
… Unlike any other collection of Brontë’s poetry, this volume arranges selected poems by thematic topic: nature, mutability, love, death, captivity and freedom, hope and despair, imagination, and spirituality. It provides literary and biographical information on each topic and interpretations, explanations, and insights into each poem. Fans of Wuthering Heights wanting more from Emily Brontë will discover that her poetry is as memorable and powerful as her novel. This book is for all who appreciate poetry, especially from the golden age of 19th century verse. The exploration of Emily Brontë’s poetic world allows a greater and different understanding of Wuthering Heights and insights into Brontë’s fascinating mind. 
Rye Daily Voice interviews the author:
The Poetic World of Emily Brontë explores the Victorian-era author’s poetry, which Inman didn’t even know existed until she researched Brontë for a graduate school English literature paper on the classic Wuthering Heights.The paper later was published by The Victorian Journal of Culture and Literature.
“I thought there must be a lot of other people who don’t know that as well since she’s only written one novel,” Inman said.
“And if you like her, you need something else. So I wanted to bring her poetry out of the shadows and make it more accessible to people.”
Inman, who moved to Rye in 1999, groups selected poems by theme and offers insights into each piece in her new book, which is already available on the Kindle.
“Once I knew more about her and had read a lot of her poems and could put it all into context I thought that they were fascinating and that there was a lot to be gotten from them and she was equally a poet as much as a novelist,” she said.
The mother of two boys – one just graduated Boden University and the other is a senior at Rye High School – previously wrote an unpublished novel about the last six years of Brontë’s life, Ellis Bell.
Inman said little is known about those years other than Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights, contracted tuberculosis and died.
“I thought it was ripe for some fictionalization because my take on it from an imaginary standpoint is probably as good as theirs from a biographical one,” she said.
“I just think they’re a fascinating family, those three brilliant sisters, the alcoholic brother about to ruin everything, the long suffering father in this remote parsonage in the cold.” (Brian Donnelly)

by M. ( at July 20, 2014 01:44 AM

Project MUSE®: Victorian Poetry - Latest Issues

Victorian Poetry: Volume 52, Number 2, Summer 2014

Victorian Poetry: Volume 52, Number 2, Summer 2014

July 20, 2014 12:00 AM

July 19, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Upgraded Alice Attraction Finally Opens at Disneyland

After years of being draped in hideously ugly tarps to cover the makeshift scaffolding erected to correct a supposed OSHA violation, the Imagineers at Disney finally unveiled their new enhanced Alice dark ride at Disneyland on Alice Day, July 4th.  Hooray!  Check out this POV video for the new experience.  I must say the new effects look great, and the changes to the downramp vine could have been much worse, but I will always miss the old vine.  For additional commentary go here and here.  We’ll be riding it ourselves shortly, and will comment here with our take.

by Matt at July 19, 2014 04:00 PM


Jolien Janzing's The Master Film Rights Have Been Sold

The film rights of Jolien Janzing's De Meester (The Master), a fictional account of the Brontës in Brussels have been sold according to this press release:
I am very pleased to announce you that the Film Rights of The Master/De Meester, a beautiful historical novel about the secret love of Charlotte Brontë written by Jolien Janzing have been sold to DAVID P. KELLY FILMS LIMITED. This is absolutely wonderful news and sometimes two excellent things happen around the same time. The Turkish rights have also been sold and this to Güldünya Yayınları. (...)
An integral English translation is now available.
(via Brontë Parsonage Blog / Brontë Society)

The Independent asks several literary figures about their favourite fictional character:
Jane Eyre
Chosen by China Miéville (King Rat) Charlotte Brontë's heroine towers over those around her, morally, intellectually and aesthetically; she's completely admirable and compelling. Never camp, despite her Gothic surrounds, she takes a scalpel to the skin of the every day. (Jess Denham)
Houston Chronicle lists famous authors with just one novel:
Emily Brontë: First published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, "Wuthering Heights" is a devastating love story that takes place on the Yorkshire moors. Heathcliff runs away when the young woman he loves, Cathy, decides to marry someone else. He returns years later to avenge the families who caused his unhappiness. Emily Jane Brontë, sister of Charlotte, published "Wuthering Heights," in 1847. The following year, Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis at age 30. (Maggie Galehouse)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner publishes a top ten of Yorkshire parks:
Tucked away in Birstall, Oakwell Hall is a sprawling country park boasting woodland trails, pretty picnic areas and lots of wide open fields for football, rounders and cricket (all three of which you'll probably see being played in summer).
There's also an adventure playground and two educational visitor centres where youngsters can learn about the different wildlife that live in the park's woodlands and ponds.
The historic hall - popular with Brontë fans, as it was the inspiration for Fieldhead in Charlotte Brontë's Shirley - recreates life in the Elizabethan era, while the nearby barn hosts craft sessions and other fun activities.
An onsite cafe serves hot and cold food, drinks, cakes and ice creams - but there's plenty of space to enjoy a picnic too.  (Samantha Robinson)
The Guardian reviews Hidden Knowledge by Bernardine Bishop:
The trio of siblings of which Roger is the youngest provide a parallel narrative of hidden knowledge and difficult choices. He was excluded from the Brontë-like world of make-believe and storytelling that Romola and her brother Hereward indulged in. (Gerard Woodward)
Mackenzie Broderick talks about... her hair in The Huffinton Post:
When I let my hair down, I envision Jane Eyre wandering through the moors, Lady Godiva riding through Coventry, a Pre-Raphaelite painting. But the epitaph that gets thrown my way the most is dirty hippie.
The image is more likely to be Catherine Earnshaw than Jane Eyre but anyway.

This Slate article by Molly Pohlig about dating when you have mental issues is quite interesting and contains a Brontë reference in passing:
It's been years since I've been faced with the question of when to tell someone promising, Hey, there’s maybe a few things you should know. My M.O. has long been to fess up immediately. This can come off as sort of romantic, in a Wuthering Heights, Lykke Li ballad kind of a way. But quickly guys realize that what might be absorbing on the page or on Spotify is both tiresome and scary in real life.
The Globe and Mail reviews A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn:
More about character and coming of age than the high-fantasy elements reveal, it is a perfect read for those who enjoyed both Seraphina as well as Wuthering Heights. (Lauren Bride)
The Brontë Liqueur news reach new heights, even in Sweden. Svenska Dagbladet says:
Kanske kommer dess smak att påminna om hederna kring Thrushcross Grange i ”Svindlande höjder”, eller det mörka huset Thornfield från "Jane Eyre" - åtminstone kan det vara vad som eftersträvas när Sir James Aykroyd, en brittisk sprittillverkare, nu lanserar en likör baserad på systrana Emily, Charlotte och Anne Brontës författarskap, vari toner av vildhonung, jasmin, björnbär och slånbär utlovas. Denna dryck ska heller inte behöva förtäras i onödan; en del av inkomsterna från försäljningen kommer att gå direkt till Brontë-sällskapet, för att bidra till de tre författarnas minne. Sir James Aykroyd, som köpte rättigheterna till likören för över fyrtio år sedan, har via sin familj kopplingar till Brontë-museet i Yorkshire och säger att han planerar lansera likören bland annat i Skandinavien, skriver The Drinks Report. (Henrik Sahl Johansson) (Translation)
The SubClub Books interviews the author Emma Chase:
Favourite Book – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë & Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
What characters would you want with you…
Hiking in the woods – Hareton Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News talks about the Halton Ramblers visit to Haworth;  Go Fug Yourself recommends the Acorn Classic Collection which includes Jane Eyre 1997; Des Lires Des Toiles (in French) reviews Jane Eyre; Literatur (in German) posts about Agnes Grey;  Renaissance Now publishes a Google+ story with images from the rehearsal of their piece Wuthering Heights Remembered, part of Wing to the Rooky Wood which will be presented at the upcoming FringeNYC2014. Elokuvia ajassa, tilassa ja listalla (in Finnish) reviews Wuthering Heights 1939.

by M. ( at July 19, 2014 02:20 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose pretty early…

Worked at the Porto 3 scoglie, & Butrinto.

& somewhat in penning out.

Came Wade-Browne & G. Scrivens

Walked at 6.30 to Digby-Wyatt’s, out: ― & returned.

Dined μοναχῶς.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 19, 2014 08:00 AM


Both Powerful and Favourite

Bookriot posts the results of their most recent poll: The Most Powerful Book You Have Read: Jane Eyre is number 13 (shared with Crime and Punishment by Dostoievsky) with 19 votes. Wuthering Heights appears in the 66th position with 7 votes. Both Villette and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea have a vote (Source).

When the results are compared with a previous Bookriot poll on the readers' favourite novels, an interesting thing is revealed. Just a few novels happen to be in both lists at the same time. One of them is Jane Eyre:

Graphic by Rioter Minh Le

by M. ( at July 19, 2014 01:44 AM

July 18, 2014


Asking Charlotte All About Jane

Chicago Tribune interviews the writer Christy Childers:
Author I'd like to meet
I'd like to sit down at a pub with John Green and Nick Hornby for a nice long chat about writing, depression, humor, books and British football. If I had a time machine, I'd head to the 19th century and ask Charlotte Brontë all about writing "Jane Eyre."
Where Traveler reviews the Seattle production of the Gordon & Caird's Jane Eyre musical:
The show is a drama, yes, but it's punctuated by humor, in particular Simon Pringle's performance as Robert and April Poland's Blanche Ingram. While the running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes (with an intermission), it didn't feel too long. (...)
If you're in town and want to see some local Seattle talent, a Taproot production is a good option. Ticket prices are resonable, and you'll experience a well-produced, intimate show. (Stacy Booth)
The Telegraph & Argus salutes the new summer Brontë Country tour open-topped vintage bus:
The Bronte Country Bus Tour is aimed at attracting tourists and highlighting to local people places of interest on their doorstep. The tour-hour tour covers Keighley, Haworth and surrounding villages, and passengers can hop on and off along the way. (...)
Sarah Howsen, the Council's senior tourism development officer, added: "People go to Haworth but there are places they may not normally think of visiting, such as the Police Museum. We want to show how much there is in Keighley and surrounding areas. For £4 you can use the bus to get to specific places, or just enjoy the sightseeing tour as a whole.
The Huffington Post talks about reading YA literature:
I recently read a YA book published by Rao and Albertine titled Carly Keene, Literary Detective: Braving the Brontës, by Katherine Rue, about a girl who time travels back to 1846 when Charlotte Brontë was trying to write Jane Eyre. It is marvelous historical fiction and there was not a moment I felt embarrassed to be reading it--to the contrary! This book is "good" YA lit, and a page-turner for anyone who loves Jane Eyre or just a darn good mystery. (Lori Day)
MarieClaire celebrates #ThrowbackThursday with Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Is this the most iconic music video ever? It’s 1978 and a 19-year-old Kate Bush writhes around in a dark studio in a bohemian white dress, her wild eccentric mane and expressive eyes capturing the soul of Emily Brontë’s infamous gothic protagonist Cathy in Wuthering Heights. (Hayley Camis)
HitFix interviews Guillermo Del Toro who is shooting Crimson Peak:
"You know 'Rebecca,' 'Jane Eyre,' I mean they're all cousins. 'Rebecca' is 'Jane Eyre.' 'Jane Eyre' is 'Dragonwyck' is 'Jane Eyre.' You can mix and match gothic romance, and you're always going to find the innocent heroine going to a crumbling mansion where a dark, brooding, mysterious guy turns or not turns out to be the holder of a secret, blah, blah, blah," de Toro says.
He continues, "When I tackle things like 'Pac Rim' or Mecha or when I tackle a vampire movie, I'm very, very aware of the tenets of the genre. And then it's up to me to both hit them and try to do them in a way that is not the normal way. But it is related to all that gothic romance du Maurier, Bronte, all those... That lineage that extends pretty, pretty deep, all the way to at the end of the 1700s. You know? So, it's a pretty deep lineage. Ann Radcliffe, 'The Castle of Otranto,' you can keep going really well into... 'Uncle Silas,' by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. That's my favorite gothic romance." (Daniel Fienberg)
Boston Magazine publishes an excerpt from Life After Charlotte by Sukey Forbes:
My gothic nightmare of derangement was coming true—only it wasn’t happening to me. It was Michael who was headed down the Charlotte Brontë path, and there wasn’t room for both of us. Rather than turning me into the mad wife in the attic from Jane Eyre, grief was turning Michael into the brooding Rochester.
Redding's Hamlethub interviews the author Dulcie Schwartz
What book have you read in school that you did not fully appreciate until later?
I'm afraid I still don't fully appreciate the Brontës or Melville, which I had to read, so I'm not sure. I think I enjoyed Henry James more once he was no longer required. (Sally Allen)

Twitch remembers the Filipino 1991 version of Wuthering Heights:
Carlos Siguion-Reyna's Hihintayin Kita sa Langit (I Will Wait For You in Heaven, 1991), the quintessential Filipino film adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights starring Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta as lovers doomed by both man and fate's cruelty, represented what could probably be the last hurrah for mature romantic tearjerkers, paving the way for stories of teenagers and their first romances.
Bernardinai (Lithuania) lists not well-known books by well-known authors:
Charlotte Brontë „Vijetė“. Deja, „Džeinės Eir“ užgožtas romanas, nors daugelio – taip pat ir Virginios Woolf – laikomas geriausia rašytojos knyga. Pavadinime – ne moters vardas, o mažas miestelis, į kurį atvyksta nei šeimos, nei draugų neturinti Lucy Snowe dirbti mergaičių internate. Tai autobiografiškiausias XIX a. pirmos pusės romanistės kūrinys. (Translation)
in2life (Greece) makes a list of books you should read:
Ανεμοδαρμένα Ύψη, Emily Brontë: Ο απόλυτος (και πιο πολυδιασκευασμένος) έρωτας δεν είναι ρομαντικός, ούτε τρυφερός, ούτε αγνός. Είναι άγριος, εγωιστικός και καταστροφικός. Κάποιος έπρεπε να το πει επιτέλους αυτό. Το είπε, εξαιρετικά, η Έμιλυ Μπροντέ.  (Ηρώς Κουνάδη) (Translation)
The Times has an article on the architecture of the old British rectories with a reference to the Brontë Parsonage; Getting Oriented: A Novel about Japan reviews Minae Mizumura's A Real Novel; There and Their reviews the webseries The Autobiography of Jane Eyre; Bookriot compiles ten pieces of Jane Eyre 'swag' to be found mainly on etsy shops.

Finally, a tweet from the Brontë Parsonage Museum tells us that the Brontë piano was tuned yesterday and they share a couple of pictures.

by M. ( at July 18, 2014 01:17 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. Foords men hung the pictures[.]

Letters from Mr. Edwards ― Jenny is safe. from Lady Hunter: & Miss Waugh. At 9.30 ― went to Victoria Station.

A hot & lovely old-fashioned summer’s day. Long & tiresome journey ― changing at Croydon, & Horsham. Beyond Pulborough the new line is beautiful ― going close below Peppering & Burpham, & the Offham hanger. From the Station ― below the Causeway hill, ― walked to the “Old Bank.” Young Salter ― H.S.’s son received me, a pleasant & gentlemanly youth. Then poor Sarah ― sadly afflicted, & poor Mr. Street, but he is very cheerful ― though a good deal aged. After a little lunch, (I arrived at 1) 2 hours went in talk with poor Sarah. Then came the funeral visitors, (one, a very fat bearded man would not have recognized me ― nor I him ― Robt. Duke.) At 3 ― the funeral. ― a foot procession ― left the house ― Volunteers of Fred’s Corps carrying his body ― & the band preceding ― all up ― up ― the high Street. Mr. Street & young Salter walked first: I & Mr. Wilson next. Looking back from the top of the hish-street ― (nearly all the houses were closed ―) ― what reflections rose! How I remembered my sister Sarah, then well off ― & her 2 boys ― Fred only a year old ― playing there! ― Then ― entering the churchyard ― (all that part one thick theory of people! ― What a strange annihilation of time ― recollecting as I did the repeated Sunday entrances to that porch! ― Then old Mr. Hart nasally reading the service! (The ancient ghosts of Calkin at the organ, ― Miss Griffith, & Miss Parkins Mrs. Quennell ― all seemed to rise: & others too. ―

Happily ― what I came there for was uppermost. At the grave, the Volunteers [blotted, illegible phrase] alone lowered the body. Often as I have heard that service read, I never did so with more interest. They fired “three volleys in the air” ― over poor Fred’s grave. I walked back, between poor Mr. Street & Mr. Wilson. Of Mr. W. I recollect little or nothing: perhaps all the better ― as I can’t help thinking he ought not to have let his daughter marry S. At the Bank, I saw, for the first time for many years ― Mrs. Fredk. S. ― still ― though she must be 45 or more, very good-looking. Then followed a lunch dinner: kindly all, & not unpleasant in any way: ― & I must add that my nephew’s stepson’s & daughter’s care for everything made everything satisfactory. ― After this ― a talk upstairs ― & good bye. ― But how sad for the poor old parents! ― & for the widow! “Ten years together & never one word of difference!!” ―― she said more than once ― “is not the happiness to make this loss ― looking back ―very dreadful?”

Young Salter came with me to the Station. A Volunteer there ― crying ― I spoke to: his name was Sharpe ― & his wife was apparently [of] the Servant class ― “Says O” ―: but the feeling of that man was one of the Saul & Jonathan order ― & I should be glad to see him again. [Evidently, the good life of Fk. Street was the cause of this witnessing of sympathy at his death][1] A tedious journey followed ― to Victoria Station at 8.30. ― Got some supper home. Several people have called ― Sir H.J. Storks, Baring &c. ―

Poor Thomas Cooper’s little baby is very ill. ―

[1]In a box on the page for 17 July.

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

by Marco Graziosi at July 18, 2014 08:00 AM



The latest issue of the Australian themed literary journal Materiality contains a story with a nice Jane Eyre reference:
Materiality #3: Precious
Edited by Alice Cannon
64 pages
Published by Pinknantucket Press

Materiality is a themed journal that includes fiction, essay, images and poetry, focusing on the physical and the material. This issue of Materiality examines the relationship between precious things and our identity—cultural and personal. Read about gold mining and selling, the lost thylacine, love letters, illuminated manuscripts, a broken doll, Japanese lacquer, saffron, trash vs treasure and interviews with a jeweller, a luthier and a gemmologist.

How has the world been changed in our thirst for gold, for jewels, for fur and spice and feathers? Mike Pottenger and Kate Haycock address our relationship with gold in When everything gold was new again and Three grams per tonne. Em Hart charts the progress of our most valuable spice, saffron, in The golden thread. Other objects embody our memories of places, times and loved ones. Susan Long writes about the power of the photograph in Memory objects; Tom Dullemond reflects on lovers past in Fragments. The loss of precious things is central to short stories by Kate Whitfield (Endling), Mike Lynch (The Faithful Alchemist) and Anna Ryan-Punch (Delivery Day).
ArtsHub clarifies the Brontë connection:
Kelly Gardiner recounts how Jane Eyre was the ‘book to represent all books’ which she chose to take with her when she evacuated her bushfire-threatened house. (Sonia Nair)
It's not the first time that Kelly Gardiner recounts this story. A few years ago she published Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas, an illustrated children book. On her blog she remembers the experience:
I made decisions about what few things I would save, packed them into a few bags and loaded up the little car, drove it to the other side of Bundeena and left it there, in the hope that the flames wouldn’t reach it. I chose one book out of my thousands (Jane Eyre, my first grown-up book, with gilt-edged pages), a few paintings, photos. It’s amazing how ruthless you become.

by M. ( at July 18, 2014 01:26 AM

July 17, 2014


A Quintessential Classic

The Age talks about the recent talk by professor Deirdre Coleman at the University of Melbourne about Wuthering Heights:
Professor Deirdre Coleman, a specialist in 18th and 19th-century literature at the University of Melbourne, considers Wuthering Heights a quintessential classic.
“It’s one of the greatest novels ever written. It’s incredibly gothic and thrilling to read,” she says.
“There’s so much sadism and cruelty amongst the characters. It makes the reader wonder what kind of woman Emily Brontë was to have dreamed up this very unladylike story.”
Indeed, Wuthering Heights is about a thwarted romance that sits unsettlingly close to incest, where an adoptive brother and sister fall wildly and darkly in love. The implications of this taboo love ripple through subsequent generations.
There are vampiric elements as well, a nod towards necrophilia, and all the darkest recesses of the human mind emerge. This is Gothic literature at its most graphic.
“It’s an extraordinarily violent novel for a woman to write. The earliest reviews were full of complaints about how coarse and shocking the novel was to read,” Professor Coleman says.
However, the novel has been embraced by the academy and is now seen as something of a teenage girl’s rite of passage. It’s an educational and literary milestone.
There is a lonely and fierce quality to the writing that fits the spirit and ardent sensibility of youthful romance. This vision can forgive and even adore Heathcliff’s brutish and vicious tendencies.
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger,” are among the more memorable words of the book’s heroine.
Her love for Heathcliff, and his for her, has something primal and savage about it.
“Heathcliff exerts an unending fascination for the reader, precisely because he has no origins. He’s an orphan boy, rescued from the slums of Liverpool. He’s starving, he has no identity, no one owns him. Given the many references to his dark complexion, and the novel’s preoccupation with slavery, it is possible that he’s a West-Indian mulatto,” Professor Coleman says.
Although adopted by the wealthy Earnshaw family and thus catapaulted into a different life, he remains an interloper and outsider. His dark presence represents the threat of the stranger, and it is his aim to revenge himself on all those who have injured him. As a hero he is a very ambiguous figure, and this ambiguity makes Wuthering Heights a difficult novel to fathom. There’s nothing black or white, or straightforward in this fictional world.
Why does this dark and complex novel exert such a powerful hold over its readers? Why has the story been re-told and re-imagined in so many different ways, from television, plays, film and opera to Kate Bush’s ethereal song Wuthering Heights?
Professor Coleman suggests the enduring power of Wuthering Heights stems from its mythic qualities. It is an epic story of a divided kingdom, and the pain these divisions inflict across the generations. In the end the two warring houses are reconciled, but the resolution still feels uneasy, unsettling. (Laura Soderlind)
Hazlitt interviews the writer David Adams Richards:
My early reviews, and I hold this up to the badge of honor, were as bad as Emily Brontë’s reviews. And sometimes the same things were said. These people are so brutal and live in such a backward area, why should we bother with them? Well that was the same said about Catherine and Heathcliff. Those reviews had nothing to do with the book, it had to do with the naiveté of the reviewer. And at the time, the naiveté of the reviewer allowed for a good deal of misinformation about what I was doing as the writer. (Craig Davison
Los Angeles Times reviews the documentary Stravinsky in Hollywood:
Stravinsky's first encounters with Hollywood weren't promising. Like so many other  artists, he fled Europe with an eye toward the pictures. He took meetings. He wrote some trial music for a few films, including the 1943 "Jane Eyre," staring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine and with a screenplay by Stravinsky's friend Aldous Huxley.
But unwilling to relinquish an iota of musical control, Stravinsky never ultimately worked in Hollywood, eventually recycling his film efforts into other scores. Capalbo revealingly splices the bits that became a symphonic "Ode" into the scene where Jane meets Rochester, showing Stravinsky's music doing the seemingly impossible — upstaging Welles. (Mark Swed)
Military Times reviews American Spartan: The Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant by Ann Scott Tyson and William Morrow
Because this is Tyson’s story, too, you might not think the author is an objective observer of Af-Gant-istan. She lives with Gant in Mangwel village. Takes a “direct hit” in a Humvee. Becomes figure “X in his operational plans.” Wonders if she is “too close to the craziness.” And borrowing a line from “Jane Eyre”: Reader, she marries him. (J. Ford Huffman)
The Brontë Bell Chapel has been nominated to a Yorkshire Rose Place of Worship Award. On the Facebook Wall we read:
The Judges were impressed with our efforts and we have been nominated for a special award for Places of worship. Really pleased we have worked so hard over the years.
A letter on The Barbados Advocate quotes Charlotte Brontë; Cabine Cultural talks about  the Cinemateca de São Paulo schedule for July and August which includes screenings of Wuthering Heights 1939 (July 18, July 26, August 3). Honolulu Media & Culture Examiner reviews Jane Eyre 1944 and on skidoo we found this new one of Jane Eyre 2006. Niebiańskie Pióro (in Polish) reviews Wuthering Heights. Mary Rizza explores how Jane Eyre is the original domestic noir novel. Kate Shrewsday has found a Jane Eyre tomb in Salisbury.

by M. ( at July 17, 2014 03:40 PM

Regency Ramble

Montacute House Part V

How about this for a view from one of your windows?

I have to say, they did know about pleasing the eye and that kind of pleasure has not diminished over the centuries.

All right, so you may think I am strange, after seeing this next series of pictures of a staircase. I just loved this staircase and if you are bored please feel free to skip.

Isn't that such an interesting corner?  That door just itches to be opened.

The steps are built of huge slabs of Ham stone.

They flow upwards in short runs, to stop one from getting tired, I assume. And look at the wide  surface of each step and the gentle rise.

One can imagine the elegant and stately progress. An easy glide in a long gown.
  Some interesting dimensions for those who have persevered.

The steps measure seven feet across.

They wind around a central pier that measures five feet by twelve feet, almost the size of a small room.

The walls are pierced by shell-headed niches at intervals. You can see one in the picture directly above this text.

Naturally, you want to see where these stairs go.  Naturally, I am saving that for another  time.

Until then.....

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 17, 2014 12:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


O misery! ― Rose at 6 ― & began to arrange the moving of drawings, wh. ― after breakfast ― took me all day ― till 7 P.M. ― only interrupted by Daddy Hunt’s coming. His account of the J.J. affair & certain other matters were not a little painful & I wish I had said less on some subjects: ― but yet ― sometimes one is carried away by “enthusiasm.”

Did not go out, till in a cab, (it began to rain,) to 61. Eaton Place


There is somewhat φικτίτιους― ununderstandable about sad Sir Arthur ― much as I thought in Rome in 1850.

Cab home by 11.30[.]

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

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

The Little Professor

In which I briefly comment on the reading of books and the reviewing of articles

1.  My implicitly snarky list of quotations from yesterday aside, I think Naomi S. Baron's essay conflates two very different issues: the potential decline-and-fall of "serious" reading habits; and actual student displeasure with using etexts in the classroom.  I have no doubt at all that the latter is correct: my students who use etexts also find them irritating for a number of reasons, especially their clumsiness during actual classroom use.  We've also had a number of problems that go beyond "nobody is on the same page," like the electronic edition of Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho that eliminated all the poems. ( can't do that.  Really.  You can't.)  The difficulty with the decline-and-fall narrative, though, is that there's no evidence that a majority of the population has ever had any enthusiasm for reading really long books, or done it easily.  The classroom environment, in which one, say, reads Bleak House in three weeks, has nothing to do with any of the ways in which one of Dickens' original readers would have encountered the book.  (Serial? One volume at a time? Read aloud in the family circle or in a workshop? Read alone for recreation?) As Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt pointed out, reading long books in a college environment is a learned skill.  In addition, it's hard not to notice the proliferation of bestsellers that are, whatever else they are, of a non-short nature.

2.  Although Rebecca Schuman's suggestion for fixing peer review--"what if in order to be eligible to submitan academic article to a journal, a scholar had first to volunteer to review someone else’s article for that same journal?"--sounds interesting, there may be a logistical problem.  Namely, that there are many fewer people writing and submitting articles than we think there are.  Much as we tend to over-exaggerate the number of people on the job market with two books and twelve articles, we also tend to over-estimate how many people are desperately attempting to beef up their CVs.  It's hard to tell if the submissions numbers in the MLA Directory of Periodicals bear any resemblance to reality.  Who audits these numbers?   Academic scuttle-butt suggests that many journal editors are, if not starving for material, not overwhelmed by what they're receiving, either.  Modern Philology receives "100-120"submissions annually, according to the Directory, but when I worked for Modern Philology in the late 90s, we had so few articles in the hopper that things were getting rather nerve-wracking by the end of my tenure.   Moreover, as a generalist journal, despite its early-modern focus, it would have been impossible for us to insist that an eighteenth-century specialist wait around to submit until something on Alexander Pope appeared (five years from now...) for them to review.  And many journals do peer review in-house, via the editorial/advisory board (this is how Neo-Victorian Studies works, for example).  Moreover, there's the question of alternative publishing outlets.  Some day, somebody will do a serious assessment of how the explosion of edited collections (especially those put out by commercial academic publishers like Routledge) has affected submission patterns to peer-reviewed journals, especially by authors in the UK.  Dr. Schuman's suggestion might work for those journals genuinely under siege--PMLA, which claims "200-320" submissions annually, comes to mind here--but most journals would be unable to support this model, I suspect.  Now, that being said, demanding that peer reviewers review on time is an entirely different matter, and I don't see why banning someone who abuses another author (by writing a frankly abusive review or by not writing the review in, say, six weeks) should be off the table.  

by Miriam Burstein at July 17, 2014 03:44 AM

July 16, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

150 Years of Alice Illustrations

Seems everyone is getting into the swing of Alice 150, including this site celebrating the best of Alice illustrations over the past 150 years.

by Matt at July 16, 2014 07:45 PM

Huntsville, AL Botanical Garden Alice’s Garden of Wonders

The Botanical Gardens in Huntsville AL have an Alice theme running all summer (May-Aug), titled Alice’s Garden of Wonders.  including a week-long camp for kids running from July 28-Aug 1.  Information can be found at their website here.  Read a review of the experience here and see some photographs here.  Being a botanical garden I’m sure they have a most excellent garden of live flowers.

by Matt at July 16, 2014 04:00 PM

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

Printer's Mark at Bottom of Page

The project that I am currently working on for the William Blake Archive is the Descriptive Catalogue of Blake’s work for his exhibition in Soho in 1809. This is a new experience for me, because it is my first time working on a typographical work instead of a manuscript. With new experiences come new challenges, and new headaches!

The Descriptive Catalogue, talked about in previous posts on our blog, gives a description of Blake’s works for sale as well as a defense for his artistic choices. I’ll be honest: this printed Catalogue is not the most visually pleasing work we will have on the archive, far from it. The lack of illustrations that we love from Blake, combined with an imperfect print job, makes the Catalogue difficult to work with. As we try to create a digital representation of this typographical piece, we as a group are running into many questions about how to handle this type of document. The biggest question we keep returning to is how to handle writing and marks on the page that we assume are printer’s marks, and not necessarily of Blake’s particular choosing? We believe we owe it to the scholars using our site to distinguish what we consider Blake’s work from non-Blake choices or contribution. Below are examples of things we might consider extraneous to the actual text:

IV. Preface

Header and Page Number

Printer's Mark at Bottom of Page

Printer’s Mark at Bottom of Page

We are currently discussing how to distinguish printer’s marks from what we would call Blake’s text. This can be done with a color code system, similar to how our unclear text currently works on the Archive. If you don’t know, unclear text within a work is coded as such so that it shows up as grey text instead of the default black text. This tells anyone looking at our transcription that the grey text is text that is unclear and may be interpreted more than one way. If we used this type of system for running titles or page numbers, someone looking at our transcription would be able to instantly see the difference between what we would consider the actual work and the printer’s marks.

Likewise, there are several instances in the Descriptive Catalogue of things we read as typographical errors made by the printer, i.e. misspellings, lack of spacing between words, extra marks on the page, etc. As we all know from looking at the letters of William Blake, Blake was never one for conventional spelling or punctuation. Though we can make assumptions that certain things in a typographical work are mistakes by the printer, we can never be certain. In line with this, we never correct a work when we transcribe it, even a typographical one.

My least favorite part of working with a typographical piece is something called “deuglification”. It is exactly what it sounds like: we want our transcription to be less ugly when it displays online. Our standard for beauty is always the original work. As such, we try to preserve the lines and spacing. In a typographical work, we include any printer’s marks as lines and they get their own line numbers. Additionally, we include any horizontal lines that section off pages. We try to keep both horizontal and vertical spacing as close to the original as possible. This can be a very tedious process, because we must readjust the coding for the spaces within the digital document of our transcription. We are still in the process of discussing how to handle different font sizes. Font sizes not only show importance and should be preserved for that reason alone, but they also change the entire spacing of the page. In order to deuglify a typographical work we must take font size into account.

Despite my bellyaching, I am really proud of my team – Laura and Margaret – for all the work we have done towards the Descriptive Catalogue. Hopefully, the DC will be published with more typographical works within the next couple of years.

by mwils31 at July 16, 2014 03:00 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


We are delighted to announce that ‘Remarkable Reynolds: Dickens’s Radical Rival’ will now close with cake and a wine reception to toast Reynolds’s Bicentenary. See Westminster Archives Centre Sat. 26th […]

by Jo Taylor at July 16, 2014 01:05 PM


Universally Likable

Seattle Weekly has a more positive review of the Taproot Theatre production of Jane Eyre. The Musical:
The show premiered on Broadway 14 years ago, and it might sound like a slog. Quite the opposite. Directed by Karen Lund, this production moves quickly and seamlessly through Jane’s early tale of woe (...)
Art Anderson’s Rochester is a manifold pleasure to behold. He sings well, commands the stage, and mugs for the audience with assurance. Rochester’s vanity and pride are comic, but his tenderness is also clear (especially in duets with Jane). Even as he shares his backstory—including his darkest secrets—it’s easy to imagine Jane falling in love with him. The audience is likely to feel the same.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Jessica Spencer, who turns in an uneven performance as the grown Jane. (Mark Baumgarten)
The Daily of the University of Washington has liked it even better:
The musical talent of the cast is stunning; their crisp and clear vocals resonate through the theater giving the production an elegant atmosphere. (...)
The intimate stage accentuates the narrative style of the play. Though the set may be considered a bit plain — in most scenes it consists of a Gothic stone and wood house — it delivers a few surprises of its own as it transitions into other rooms. The rooms are furnished sparingly but with finely selected pieces. Though it is simple, the set is nothing short of impressive and suits the mood of the story.
Taproot is the perfect venue for this exciting and personal drama: “Jane Eyre” lights up the stage with musical talent, creating a show that exudes the elegance of classical theater and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. (Sasha Glenn)
The Northern Echo reviews the touring ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights production:
Writer Laura Turner had a major job on her hands in adapting Wuthering Heights for the open-air stage, especially when the production is also visiting theatres. (...)
Turner’s fine adaptation unravels the complexities of Brontë’s revenge filled text. Director, Rebecca Gadsby does a sterling job of keeping the action moving and making sense of the cruelty and passion across two timelines.
Paul Tonkin’s Heathcliffe (sic) is the perfect tortured romantic, he’s in love with Catherine Earnshaw, a lovely yorkshire performance from Katy Helps, but Heathcliffe (sic) is complicated and his bizarre nature makes him a rare character, with components of both hero and villain. (Helen Brown)
Broadway World announces a new production of Christine Calvit's Jane Eyre adaptation in Chicago:
Lifeline Theatre presents an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christina Calvit (four-time Jeff Award winner), and directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne (Jeff Award and After Dark Award winner). (...) Jane Eyre runs September 5 - October 26 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
The Guardian recommends Wide Sargasso Sea as your book for the beach:
Kicking off a season of summer holiday reading selected by Guardian writers and readers, a heatstruck prequel to Jane Eyre (...)
How had I never noticed this before? Could it be that the poor little orphan of my memory was harbouring vengeful fantasies? Had I all along been mistaking a gothic character for a Dickensian one? It's with assumptions such as this that Jean Rhys plays in her fabulously atmospheric exploration of the life of the first Mrs Rochester.
Antoinette Conway is an orphan, too, as a Creole heiress marooned in Jamaica, in the ruins of a slaving culture that has made her a pariah to her black neighbours. When she is a child, the family mansion is torched and a girl whom she wants to be her friend throws a rock at her head – incidents that resound with distorted echoes of Jane Eyre. (Read more) (Claire Armitshead)
Curiously enough, Kaulie Lewis writes in The Millions about the books that influenced her the most in college and recalls Wide Sargasso Sea:
In the spring semester of my freshman year, I was allowed to register for my first proper English class. As part of the course, I was assigned both Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, a postcolonial prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s novel that tells the story of Rochester’s first wife, Antoinette. I had read Jane Eyre before, twice, and wasn’t looking forward to having to go through it again; I wanted to read new books and fresh authors, not the same novels I’d been assigned in high school. But reading Wide Sargasso Sea was a turning point in my English career—a moment that I can point to and say, “There. That’s it. That changed it all.” This book taught me that it was possible to critique the classics; I didn’t have to agree with them or accept their versions of their stories. I realized that every book was leaving something out—that there was almost always some other story to explore, some angle that wasn’t at first obvious—and that looking for these would open books wider than I thought possible. I realized that reading is a political act, as is writing. I talked about the book nonstop. Although I never mentioned Wide Sargasso Sea in any major written assignment and was never graded on my understanding of the novel, its influence underwrote all my studies for the next three years.
Mary Kenny in The Belfast Telegraph warns us against the Victorian cliché of the helpless woman:
The Victorian woman is, primarily, a frail "victim". She's either being tied to a railway line by the dastardly villain, chaperoned everywhere by some sour-faced companion so that she is suitably "protected" – or locked up in an institution (or in the attic, like Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre) to control her feeble and deficient character. This poor swooning maiden is a delicate creature.
The Nottingham Post reviews Caitlin Moran's one-woman-show in Nottingham:
And there’s female masturbation, and its relative invisibility in literature, film and TV compared to the boy equivalent: "Where's the ******* in Jane Eyre?" (Tara de Cozar)
St George News (Utah) reviews a local production of Sense and Sensibility at the Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014:
Sense and Sensibility” demands to be seen. And don’t fear that it’s going to be highbrow or “girly” – my husband, who loves shoot-‘em-up movies and doesn’t know a Jane Austen from a Charlotte Brontë, enjoyed the show, which is fair proof to me that it’s universally likable. (Cami Cox Jim)
Examiner interviews the author Stephanie Carroll:
If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
I’ve always thought it would be awesome to either be a historical author like Emily Brontë ("Wuthering Heights") or Francis Hodgsen Burnett ("Secret Garden") because I would get to write and live on the moors, but then again, I’ve always thought it would be awesome to be a queen (what girl hasn’t) and what other queen would anyone chose than Queen Victoria – Queen of the Victorian Age!
Ramblings from a Nobody has visited Haworth. Reading at the Moonlight (in Spanish) is suffering an acute case of Brontë fever.

Finally, an alert for today July 16 in Blackburn:
Blackburn library, Blackburn, BB21AG
When:16 July 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Everyone associates the Brontës with Haworth, because they lived in the parsonage there, but there were many other locations that had great significance in their lives and work. Mairead Mahon reveals some of these lesser known places, many of which are ideal for day trips. 

by M. ( at July 16, 2014 11:07 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6 ― & from 6.45 ― to 8 ― worked at the Butrinto picture.

Letters ― J. Cross
Mrs. Bell.
Ellen, ― who does not know the contents of one from J.H. Salter of Arundel ― telling me of Fredk. Street’s sudden death! They particularly wish me to go to the funeral on Monday, & I should go anyhow. This knocks up all plans. ― so at 12. I prepare to go out.

At 1. I went out ― calling at Lenahan & Bennets, & Foord’s ― & to the rail. At the Station, met Edmund Waterton ― whom I attacked for his Ionian 3.3. ― A magnificent bull animal, but then why not pay his debts? ― He left at Wimbledon.

The day was very sad ― (as well as deaf.) Poor Sarah had written ― having arrived too late to see Fred alive. He came home only tired: lay down ― rose to dinner & dined well. lay down again ― called out that he felt unwell: fainted: & died. A good man & leaving a blank.

Came away at 5 ― rail at 5.30. (One always sees Sir W. Farquhar). Home. And superintended Foord’s men in hanging all the pictures, down stairs: ― to what good lad is at present unknown.

Supper ― & bed at 10.45


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

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


Finding Gondal

You have still four days to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign to finish Finding Gondal - L'histoire des Sœurs Brontë, a work in progress documentary directed, written and produced by Morgan Rauscent:
Finding Gondal - L'histoire des Sœurs Brontë

En 2003, alors que j'étais étudiant à l'université de Londres, j'ai entrepris un voyage dans le Yorkshire sur les traces des Hauts de Hurlevent. Une œuvre qui m'avait tant marqué adolescent. J'y ai découvert des paysages somptueux, emprunts d'un romantisme fort et sombre que les sœurs Charlotte, Emily et Anne Brontë ont su saisir au fil de leurs poèmes et leurs romans. Je me suis promis d'y revenir un jour pour y tourner un documentaire.
Dix ans plus tard, cette promesse n'a jamais été aussi proche d'être tenue. J'espère que cette page saura vous convaincre de participer à la réussite de cette aventure.
L'histoire des Brontë se suffit à elle-même, nul besoin de la mystifier. Beaucoup de mythes ont entouré leur vie, entretenant la légende d'une fratrie malheureuse et repliée dans une vie monacale. Mais en se plongeant plus profondément dans leur histoire, on se rend compte qu'elles avaient une réelle connexion avec le monde. L'universitaire Sally Shutterworth , l'une des intervenantes du film, érige même Charlotte comme une représentante de la pensée et des mœurs de son époque. C'est de ce point de vue que j'ai pensé et construit ce film, en parcourant bon nombre d'ouvrages et d'essais, et en choisissant méticuleusement les intervenants. (Read more)
toniolibero interviews the alma mater of the project, Morgan Rauscent:
Comment en arrive-t-on à aborder les sœurs Brontë comme sujet de documentaire ?
J’ai toujours été fan de leur travail. La première fois que j’ai découvert des œuvres comme Les hauts de Hurlevent ou The Tenant of Wildfell-Hall, j’ai eu l’impression de trouver exactement le style de littérature qui me transportait. En 2003, alors que j’étais étudiant à Londres, j’ai voyagé dans le Yorkshire et j’ai découvert Haworth, leur village natal. Je m’étais promis d’y revenir un jour pour y tourner un documentaire. C’est fait, avec Finding Gondal, l’histoire des soeurs Brontë. Peut-être même que je vais retourner là-bas pour une fiction. Une chose est certaine, je n’en ai pas fini avec le Yorkshire ! (...)
Le tournage est partiellement réalisé, qu’est-ce qui est en boite ?
L’essentiel du film a été tourné, il manque surtout les séquences illustrant certaines scènes des romans. Pour cela, je veux construire un théâtre d’ombres chinoises, donc cela nécessite encore beaucoup de travail. (Translation)

by M. ( at July 16, 2014 01:11 AM

July 15, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The Little Professor

At no time in the course of human existence have we ever eagerly read long books

"Readings in the humanities tend to be lengthy, intellectually weighty, or both. The challenge of digital reading for the humanities is that screens—particularly those on devices with Internet connections—undermine our encounters with meaty texts. These devices weren’t designed for focused concentration, reading slowly, pausing to argue virtually with the author, or rereading. Rather, they are information and communication machines, best used for searching and skimming—not scrutinizing."--Naomi S. Baron (2014)

"No species of publication tends so much as the general class of novels to vitiate that proper taste for reading which we wish every young person to acquire and to retain. The reading of novels perverts the judgment, and alienates the mind from those occupations to which females would do well to attend, and renders every instructive book dull and heavy, when compared with the romantic love-tales which they are in the habit of gorging with such avidity."--Rev. of Dangers through Life, The Critical Review 19 n.s. 3 (1810): 377.

"But, there is one respect, in which the exclusive reading of religious newspapers, and other kindred publications, has nearly the same effect upon the mind, as a passionate fondness for plays and romances:—I mean an increasing disrelish for every thing, requiring deep thought and patient investigation. As those who inquire daily after the mere trash of the bookseller's shelves, grow more and more disinclined to look into standard works of literature and science, so the natural and necessary tendency of too much missionary reading is, to beget a distaste for many of the most valuable theological works in our language, (or indeed any other,) and to throw them aside, as altogether too dry and abstruse for ordinary readers. This certainly is not visionary speculation. It is not raising a warning voice where there is no danger, for even the great majority of good people find it so much pleasanter to feel strongly than to think closely; to skim the surface than to dive in deep water; that where the means of gratification are always at hand, a pleasing self-indulgence will too often triumph over the higher considerations of duty and advantage."--"On the Prevailing Taste, and Increasing Demand of the Christian Public for Religious Intelligence," The Christian Spectator 2 (Nov. 1820):  583.  

"Nothing can he more obvious than that this thirst for mental excitement presents to sober reflection the closest analogy to the habit of dram-drinking; the former produces on the mind effects precisely similar to those produced by the latter on the hody; an hankering after renewed stimulus is excited and kept burning, which can be allayed by no sober means; and literary works founded on truth, hecome insipid and wearisome, to such as have been long accustomed to the spiritstirring pages of the novelist. Now this evil is one of lamentanle activity; for not only does it indispose the mind for the acquisition of the knowledge that might be obtained ny study,but it produces a decided distaste for the simple beauties and awful truths of the Bible. The very amusements of a Christian should have a Christian tendency: but I would boldly appeal to the mind of every novel reader, and ask whether he finds himself disposed, on laying down a deeply moving tale of fiction, to take up his new testament, and fix his attention on its solemn and eternal truths?"--"On Novel Reading," Friends' Monthly Magazine 2 (1831): 59.

"My second objection is, that they are the most difficult books to read profitably. I have pointed out what I conceive to be the most profitable way of reading, that is, to read slowly and pause often, and reflect long upon what you read. And now, I appeal to those of you who are familiar with novel reading, and ask if your own experience does not testify that novels are the most difficult of all books to be read in this way? Does not your highly excited interest in the plot, your anxiety to know the issue—do not these, I ask, carry you forward with great rapidity? Is it not often the case, that your reading is only skipping along from place to place, reading just enough to catch the story? And, when you have closed the book, what is fixed in your memory, the simple outlines of the story merely, or the peculiarities and principles of character? Do these books excite and aid you to form habits of reflection? I am well satisfied that any young lady who really wishes to read, in the way which I have pointed out, with much thought and reflection will find it more difficult to effect this, in reading novels than in reading any other books."--Jason Whitman, The Young Lady's Aid, to Usefulness and Happiness (1839), 153-54.  

But there is great reason to fear that, what with the newspapers, and the magazines, and the art galleries, and the museums, and the theatres, and facility with which we can get other people to gossip with us when we are both idle and lazy, the number of those who can or ever do read a book—even a novel, even a poor novel—is rapidly declining. In fact, we fear that any one who inquired among his friends, outside the professors and professional literary men, would find that the number of those who now ever read a serious book of any kind is exceedingly small, and that those who read even novels is growing smaller. Most men who have not kept up the habit of reading, in fact, go to sleep over a serious book almost immediately, and throw down a novel after a few pages if the plot does not thicken rapidly, or the incidents are few. The thoughtful novel, such as George Eliot’s, filled with reflection and speculation, would fare much worse now, even coming from an author of her powers, than it did thirty years ago. The newspaper is fast forming the mental habits of this generation, and, in truth, even this is getting to be too heavy, unless the articles or extracts are very short. The reader begins more and more to resent being asked to keep his attention fixed on any one subject for more than five minutes. In short, any one who fiatters himself during the busy years of an active career, when he does no reading but newspaper reading, that he is going to become a reader of books at a later period when he gets more leisure, may rest assured that he is greatly mistaken. When leisure comes he will find that a serious book will tire him or send him asleep in ten minutes, just as a dumbbell would tire a long unused arm.--"The Reading Habit," The Nation 43.1100 (July 29, 1886): 92.


by Miriam Burstein at July 15, 2014 07:39 PM


Pervious Polls

The Chapterhouse Theatre Company's Wuthering Heights UK tour gets articles in regional newspapers, like the Ulster Star:
Solitude Park, Banbridge, is set to become an enchanted world of magic and delight as Banbridge District Council present an enthralling open-air theatrical production of Emily Bronte’s celebrated literary classic, Wuthering Heights, on Friday July 25 at 7.30pm.
Performed by Chapterhouse Theatre Company, Emily Brontë’s classic love story Wuthering Heights tells the treasured story of enduring love and passion that has thrilled and entranced for generations. It is now brought alive on stage in an adaptation by award winning writer Laura Turner. (...)
In conjunction with the outdoor theatre, Libraries NI are providing professional actors in the three of the libraries across the district, Banbridge, Dromore and Rathfriland. These actors will be re-enacting excerpts from a selection of the Brontë novels along with one piece from Wuthering Heights. These are taking place in the run up to the outdoor theatre – in Banbridge and Rathfriland on Tuesday July 22 from 7-8pm and in Dromore on Wednesday July 23 from 7-8pm. All these events are free admission but prior booking with each library is advisable.
The Seattle Taproot Theatre's production of the Gordon & Caird's Jane Eyre musical is reviewed in The Seattle Times:
Something essential is missing in Taproot’s intimate production of the show, which had its Broadway debut in 2000 and had a Seattle Musical Theatre airing in 2009. The piece is gracefully arrayed by director Karen Lund on the company’s modest-sized mainstage.
It is in the main attractively costumed (by Sarah Burch Gordon), and features some appealing voices. A chamber trio perched in a loft area ably executes the neoclassical score composed by Paul Gordon.
But this “Jane Eyre” stokes only a dull spark between the orphaned young governess Jane, played by Jessica Spencer, and her enigmatic master at the remote Yorkshire estate of Thornfield Hall, Edward Rochester (Art Anderson).
The lack of chemistry can be partly blamed on the mismatched portrayals of these two central and paradigmatic characters. Another culprit: John Caird’s book for the musical doesn’t find enough ways to animate Jane’s interior life and give her a more active role in the tale. (It also shortchanges that pathetic castoff in the attic.)
Spencer’s Jane is mostly watchful and worried, drably attired and tends to look glum. At times, the character’s exceptional intelligence and sensitivity shine through the prim, tightly bound form of a dutiful servant.
But where is the full blossoming of her long-suppressed selfhood, as Jane’s rapport with Rochester evolves into a mutual passion? And when they finally do unite, it’s not the sexy soul-connection it should be.
Unlike most cinematic Rochesters (from Orson Welles to Michael Fassbender), Anderson isn’t so much the Byronic brooder, with hidden depths of sensitivity and affection to discover beneath a brutish surface.
He’s more playful and flirtatious, more like the dashing male lead of a comic operetta wooing a wallflower. It’s off-course, but Anderson is an excellent singer of some of the best numbers in Gordon’s score, which circles and recircles in the Andrew Lloyd Webber mode. (Misha Berson)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner invites you to spend school holidays in Huddersfield, of course:
Look for wildlife at Oakwell Hall and Country Park
Popular with Brontë fans and wildlife enthusiasts alike, Oakwell Hall and Country Park is the perfect spot for a summer picnic.
A favourite spot for dog walkers and horseriders, the Birstall park offers woodland walking trails, plenty of green open space and an adventure playground to keep little ones active. Two educational visitor centres can help youngsters learn more about the wildlife found in the park's woods and ponds. (Samantha Robinson)
Brogan Driscoll in The Huffington Post makes the following comment:
I was six when they got married, my younger brother was two. To this day - yes, in 2014 - people are shocked to hear that we were born "outside of wedlock", as if we're characters in a Brontë novel.
Grace Dent describes like this the process of writing Jane Eyre in The Independent:
In 1845, Charlotte Brontë created Jane Eyre after a long, tedious stare out of the window.
The Guardian's Crossword Blog talks, among many things, about polls:
... which tells us that POLL has a longer and more illustrious history as a parrot pseudonym, having been used by Jonson, Defoe, a Brontë and, as late as the 1920s, Joyce. (Alan Connor)
A Brontë means Charlotte Brontë in The Professor (Chapter XXIV):
"And you say the Swiss are mercenary, as a parrot says 'Poor Poll,' or as the Belgians here say the English are not brave, or as the French accuse them of being perfidious: there is no justice in your dictums."
And even more words worth defending in Chicago Now:
"Pervious" even shows up in Ch. 14 of "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Brontë. Edward Rochester describes himself as "hard and tough as an Indian-rubber ball; pervious, though, through a chink or two still, and with one sentient point in the middle of the lump."
Finding that quotation reminded me of that lovely word "sentient," too. (Thanks, Charlotte.) My dictionary defines it as "having, capable of feeling or perception; conscious" or simply "the mind." (Margaret H. Laing)
ITV News talks about the shooting of the film The Taking:
Over the years Yorkshire has often been used as the backdrop for films, with movies like Damned United, Wuthering Heights and the Kings Speech all being shot in the region. Now another production 'The Taking' is hoping to help put Yorkshire on the blockbuster map.
El País (Spain) visits Hadrian's wall in the UK:
A veces discurre a través de una plácida campiña inglesa, salpicada de ovejas; otras, por encima de desfiladeros; algunas, a través de un páramo como el de Cumbres borrascosas. El muro está ahí para recordar que todo este paisaje fue una tierra de frontera.
Tportal (Croatia) interviews Irena Matijašević:
Moje čitanje ljubića je prestalo u dvadesetima, s Charlotte Brontë i 'Jane Eyre', što ne znači da oni nisu stvorili neku romantičnu predispoziciju ili je izveli na svjetlo dana. Ipak, odredile su me, kao i svakoga čovjeka, i druge knjige, uglavnom filozofija i teorija, iz kojih sam učila. Najčešće sam čitala da bih se bolje orijentirala u svijetu i eventualno osvijetlila neke meni nepoznate dijelove same sebe, zato su na mojim policama uglavnom knjige iz filozofije i psihologije. (Gordana Kolanović)
Reviews by Hutchinson Public Library staff and patrons briefly posts about Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 15, 2014 11:48 AM

Liberal Thought and the Unifying Power of Cake

Some recent Brontë-related scholar papers or theses:
Liberal Anguish: Wuthering Heights and the Structures of Liberal Thought
Anat Rosenberg
Nineteenth-Century Literature
Vol. 69, No. 1, June 2014, (pp. 1-25)

After decades of sustained academic critiques along established lines, liberalism has recently attracted renewed evaluations. These readings treat complexity as inherent in liberalism, and proceed to explore its structures beyond suspicious hermeneutics. This essay argues that Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) constitutes an early and sophisticated argument about the structures of complexity in liberalism. Not only does Brontë’s novel merit entry into the discussion as a conceptual contribution, but it also offers an aesthetic enactment of the anguish that liberal structures of complexity were to evoke for generations to follow, an anguish experienced already at its troubled reception.
Persons of Interest: Mentoring Relationships in Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Maria: Or, The Wrongs of Woman and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Mackey, Preston
Master's Thesis, East Carolina University
Date: 2014

My thesis sets a focus on mentorship and the effects it has on literary characters, mainly female characters. Mentorship does not receive much focus from literary critics, despite its power and ability to help a mentee develop their lives and self-worth. I assert that mentoring relationships play a role in texts as a factor strengthening friendships and marriages. In my exploration of mentorship, I examine various relationships in literature, such as abusive relationships, teacher-student relationships, and love relationships, to point out the ways in which mentoring relationships can and cannot exist. The thesis also examines the limitations of mentoring relationships, as well as the factors causing these limitations.  
Baked Nectar and Frosted Ambrosia: The Unifying Power of Cake in Great Expectations and Jane Eyre
Alexander L. Barron
The Victorian,  Vol 2, No 2 (2014)

More than any other food, cake has always symbolized luxury, human fellowship and spiritual communion, but the appearance of the first layered wedding cake at the wedding of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick of Prussia helped to make this symbolism especially clear. Significantly, its appearance at pivotal scenes in two well-loved Victorian novels – Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations – speaks to its exalted place in the ethos of the period. In Brontë’s novel, it represents young Jane’s connection with the angelic Miss Temple, and by extension, her potential to form human bonds that have previously been denied her. In Dickens’ novel, Miss Havisham’s cake is the inverse of what a cake should be: it embodies the old woman’s withdrawal from society and her refusal to commune with those outside of her own self-fashioned prison. Taken in concert, the close reading of these two objects – as well as the appearance of several other cakes and breads in the novels – adds another layer of meaning to both texts, while helping to provide insight into a culture that held such confections in high esteem. 

by M. ( at July 15, 2014 10:19 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose late ― 7. ― Always lovely warm weather.

Finished the cypresses & left-hand foreground of the Florence ― & there is little left to complete.

Later worked at the Ascension temple Corfû, & at the Santa Deka, & wrote to Mrs. Wilson that I could not come to her 5 o’clock party.

Edward & Archer Clive came ― good lads both. Did not go out; penned out till 6.45 ― then dressed & to 69. Gloucester Place.


Very nice & pleasant in all ways. Walked home ― (mostly with Mr. Bonham,) by 12. Bed 12.15.

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

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

The Little Professor

Brief note: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Early on in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the apes go through a captured bag and discover a sketchbook that includes, among other things, a photograph of a woman who is probably the deceased mother of Alexander (teenage son of Malcolm, the human good guy).  Later, Dreyfus (the human not-so-good-guy) weeps over the electronic photographs of his own lost family.  Caesar, taking brief refuge in the house in which he grew up, sees a picture of himself with scientist Will Rodman, and later finds a brief video clip of them interacting.  These moments momentarily unite all the characters through the phenomenon of recorded memory, brief snippets of time captured on camera or video, but they also emphasize that all of these images are of the dead (Will presumably having died of simian flu between films).  Notably, these images are all easily lost or alienated from their owners: the sketchbook can be stolen (and returned), the electronic photos were obviously inaccessible for years, and Caesar's images of his life with humans remain in the human house.  The fragility and potential disappearance of these memory traces seem connected with the film's emphasis on moving on, dramatized in Alexander's changing relationship with his stepmother (who has herself moved on from the death of her daughter, Sarah) and, in general, its call for a kind of strategic forgetfulness that goes beyond forgiveness.  By contrast, Koba, the bonobo who tells Caesar's son Blue Eyes that "scars make you strong," carries his past experiences inscribed upon his body; it is no coincidence that suffering and rage constitute his identity.  During the assault on the city, Koba tells his human prisoners in their cage that now they'll get to have the same experiences as the apes did--in other words, he avenges his own tortures by reenacting history.  But the film offers a different lesson about scarring in the form of Blue Eyes, who is mauled by a bear at the beginning.  For Caesar, the scarring is the opportunity to learn about how to "think" before behaving impulsively, about how to avoid the same situation in the future.  For Koba, as I have suggested, scarring carves the past into the present.  In effect, the film leaves the humans scarred in Koba's sense, not Caesar's. 

by Miriam Burstein at July 15, 2014 03:42 AM

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


At the Atlas Theater, 1333 H Street, NE

Dear friends and readers,

I thought I’d recommend to those who live in or near the DC area to come to the Atlas Theater to see and hear Alexandra Petri’s witty allusive comedy, Miss Emma’s Matchmaking Agency for Literary Characters (directed by Joan Cummins). I also take this opportunity to recommend and describe briefly a few new recent books of Austen criticism.

Emma painting Harriet as a way of seducing Mr Elton (1996 Emma by Andrew Davies)

Izzy has blogged praising the play, and capturing its central core. A large part of the fun are the continual parodies and allusive recreations of lines and remembered scenes or images from the apparently famous and still read (or assigned in school) literary works in which the characters who Miss Emma (Lilian Oben) is determined to marry off appear. It’s one of a large number of events (plays, concerts, musicals) that comprise this year’s Capital Fringe Festival.

What was especially cheering to me was that just about all the members of the audience “got” the jokes and puns. What a motley set of books — it appeared that most people in an audience of 40 or so people knew enough of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sherlock, Jane Eyre, Great Gatsby, but also Oscar Wild’s Portrait of Dorian Grey, Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar not to omit Austen’s Emma. I’ve gone to three plays thus far and this was the biggest audience, notwithstanding that Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys is a known powerful masterpiece and was done in central DC. The audience had a larger share of middle-aged women dressed conservatively than is usually seen at Fringe plays. Austen drew ‘em in.

I probably will not be able to convey an experience of the delights of the play as I can’t remember its lines accurately. The fun also depends on delivery, as when Daisy Buchanan (Milica Boretic) falls languidly all over the body of Don Juan (Admad Helmy) because his shirt is just so b-e-a-u-t-f-u-l. A minimum of iconic costume brought before us (to add to my list above) Captain Ahab, Philip Marlowe (a hilarious send-up of the prose style and tone of the books was uttered by Caleb Erickson), Prince Charming, Holden Caulfield (as depressed and defensive as Esther Greenwood), Nancy Drew and Medea. Each actor/actress played several roles and Emma, as in Austen’s book, managed to make mighty mismatches as well as close matches that somehow still didn’t seem to work. As Yvette remarked, the central pair, Don Juan, doing community service work at such an agency to make up for his rakish history, and Emma were dressed in modern dress. After all the mis-couplings and sly send-up of normative romance ideas, it was deflating to be given a happy ending, with Emma ending up with Don Juan! Austen labelled the character in a burlesque play centering on him “a compound of cruelty and lust”.

Maybe it was an unusually enjoyable “sequel” or development out of Austen, because is the author was hardly slavishly attached to re-inventing the original text — all the while (oddly but not inaccurately) I was aware the original character was exposed as egoistic, uncomfortable with sex, not knowing herself very well. There was a moment when Emma realizes that Don Juan must marry her, I hoped for a line about an arrow through her heart, but it did not come. Disappointingly, Petri never lifted an allusive line from Austen’s Emma: the character was got right: she has to assimilate those who come before her into her world-view, she vicariously enjoys this, she is not keen on actual physical sex at all, but that Don Juan was substituted for Mr Knightley measures the distance we have come as women to what we tolerate and accept and supposedly want in man from Austen’s ideals.


Stoneleigh Abbey

Claire Harman reviewed yet another book on Jane Austen of the “and” type for the Times Literary Supplement, June 27, 2014. This one couples her name with the noun, Adlestrop. Jane Austen and her mother visited Adlestrop, one of the wealthy branche’s of the Austen families property: Victoria Huxley, Jane Austen and Adlestrop. The last time they came was with the Rev. Thomas Leigh who wanted to lay claim to the property; his wife, Mary, wrote a family history of the Leighs which included the Austens, and the fine old pile of stone everyone coveted (at least they did the rents). The book’s source then seems genuinely to add to the stock of primary documents from which secondary studies are written, and for that reason and Harman’s judgement that Mary Leigh quotes accurately from it, that I mention it here as worth perusal. It is said to be “scholarly, detailed, meticulous;” you learn that Warren Hastings has a house nearby — another way the Austens could connect to him.

Scan 6
Illustration for a postcard

In a recent JASNA newsletter, a perceptive review of Paula Byrne’s successful and original (if idiosyncratic) study of Austen’s life, The Real JA: A Life among Small Things, views and (occasionally) writing too: Devoney Looser has a good review on Paula Byrne’s The Real JA: A Life among Small Things. Looser gives credit where it’s due — the real originality of the way the book proceeds from a small concrete objects genuinely associated with Austen to some explication of her writing, an aspect of her life or times that is then shed light on persuasively. Looser also critiques Byrne in ways academics don’t often — that suggests that despite all her efforts Byrne has not quite ‘arrived” — Looser does not accept the portrait nor the characterization of Austen Byrne is determined to turn her into. What I did like best was Looser’s insight was that behind all Byrne’s efforts is areally a desire to find an Austen desirable to men, avidly wanted by men and I’m with her in thinking this no more ‘real” or desireable than the stories of the gentle asexual spinster who wrote out a compensatory need to romance.

This is Byrne’s best book thus far: it has the most life in its style — it has a nice mood I’ll call it. And she’s interesting on these small things — the problem is (as Nancy Mayer has suggested) there is a quiet skewing going on and sometimes misinformation. Like her other three she is strongest at providing context even if the context is sometimes not proven or not quite apt. I’m enjoying it because she goes on at length about details often left out in accounts which stick to a general trajectory design.

Byrne’s chapter on cocked hats is a case in point. She brings out a great deal of interest about Henry’s life including how he managed to avoid getting involved in a mutiny and the cruelty that was meted out to the people who led it — and state terror against the local community sympathetic to the mutineers, themselves hungry for bread. Byrne then turns to P&P and asserts that all this is in P&P. No it’s not. Austen only takes the non-violent and more bright aspects of local militias and the slight references to say flogging remain slight …

Her book on Jane Austen and Drama may be read for the interest of the drama for again and again similarly she asserts that this or that is in a book or influenced Austen when there is no such proof nor does she demonstrate one.


Elinor (Hattie Morahan) and Marianne (Charity Wakefield) in a fundamental clash (2008 S&S by Andrew Davies)

Simlarly packaged, John Mullan’s What Matters in Jane Austen. Mullan’s book is the same size, has a similar kind of cartoon picture, similarly readable, hagiographic, and he goes on about small things in Austen — in his case the how accurate she is — almost crazily so — when it comes to time, distance, and details about her characters lives which he does go into to show how meaningfully she uses these. He too weighs in on Austen’s character and is of the school that is willing to admit (as I see it) that she hardly knew any literary people in her era, was not known by anyone beyond her family-friend circle. He is not willing to admit that this made part of the limitation of her outlook and book’s perspectives but is is implicit in how he works her actual literal concrete details that she so literally and painstakingly developed as probable narratives.

Mullan has a chapter on sisters and finds on the whole more antagonism and indifference as much as closeness. I believe him when he says there are only 5 significant conversations between Elinor and Marianne and the first two give Marianne these comic cliches (as jokes partly) and the last is the Imlac conclusion to the novel. By contrast there are 12 private ones between Jane and Elizabeth in P&P, many nuanced and long: I know I made the experiment of counting scenes between Jane and Elizabeth in the 1995 P&P and found Colin Firth right to suggest he was hardly in it: the movie can be better thoroughly analysed as the journey of two close sisters. He goes over first names: the only wife to address her husband by his first name familiarly (without the Sir Lady Bertram uses) is Mary Musgrove and he does similarly: the conversations show a lack of respect. Admiral Crofts talks of Sophy but she addresses him as Admiral. Telling details on widows and widowers too.

He carries on bringing home to you aspects of Austen’s text that are really there and people are inclined to deny or overlook. By the time he finished with the importance of weather, I realize why she said she works with twigs to make trees. Remember how she complains in her letters she doesn’t get much “experience” (in her imagination she does, but what we are confronted with does matter). You thought there are no lower class people or servants in Austen. Think again. I knew that in MP the names and people are there and pile up – and that they are often connected to Mrs Norris who is seeking power over these people but also connected to them. But Mullan almost persuades me the servants and lower classes are there — not quite as he does not quite persuade me the seaside works as a danger throughout the novels.

Then he gets to characters who never talk – are never quoted directly — and who are never on stage. Emma is littered with such absent presences — now think of Mrs Churchill. I didn’t realize Captain Bentick is never directly quoted. I’m not sure Mullan’s explanations are satisfying — he’s a bit too popular and coy but that this pattern of characters who are important but not there in some sense and never speak does tell us something about the author psychologically and I’m not meaning to me snarky and call her anal-retentive.


Mannydown where Austen danced at assemblies and which she could have been mistress of had she chosen to marry and have children (18th century print)

Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible — Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey

I wish I could read D. Miller in detail understanding his sentences one by one, for his view of the inward retreating life of Austen would help make us understand her books deepl. His book is ostensibly on Austen’s style: she takes the distanced stance she does in order to detach herself from a stigmatized self. According to Miller, Austen uses her satiric distanced narrator to keep at bay the social doom that would follow if she ever wrote as the person she was. Thus her real self can not appear in her fiction. No successful unmarried woman can be found, no artist. Instead we have a narrator unmarked by all the things that make for a particular persona, and the characters too must not be witty in the way she was — only the narrator is permited the caustic hard statements. It’s a kind of refusing personhood in her very own book. In her books all we get are women gung ho on marriage, which was far far from her case.

He also goes into the nuances, the melancholy of the style, the more than occasional harshnesses, and what he calls the paranoia. This could have some connection to her crueller portraits of young women who are isolated and powerless too. His book on inward policing in imbricated ways in novels (Dickens’s, Trollope’s) very worth while too — if you can decipher the sentences.


by ellenandjim at July 15, 2014 01:30 AM


Paving the way

The Tour de France's Grand Départ into Yorkshire is still being discussed. The Peeblesshire News features the
70-strong armed forces peloton who paved the way for the world’s most famous cycle race. [...]
Nicky Roche, Chief executive of the Tour de France hub said: “Preparations for the Tour took many months and we are grateful to the military cyclists for their assistance with the final planned tests.” Nursing a few muscle aches, the second day saw the military cyclists leave York across Ilkley Moor up the cobbled main street of Haworth made famous by the Brontë family through Todmorden into Huddersfield. 
ECNS (China) reports how
On a Saturday morning in Beijing's Wangfujing Street, the Foreign Language Bookstore sported a banner to promote its "big summer exhibition of imported books".
Staff members on the ground floor tried to sell an Oscar-movie collection to customers. The most eye-catching shelves stocked best-selling novels of blockbusters such as The Hobbit and Twilight; best-sellers like Eat, Pray, Love and The Time Traveler's Wife; and classics like Jane Eyre and Romeo And Juliet.
Comedian Jack Dee plays agony uncle for 'some desperate public figures' in The Guardian:
Dear Uncle Jack, our politicians are playing fast and loose with the facts on human rights and the media seem to lap it up. Before long, I fear it'll be too late. What should I do? Shami Chakrabarti Dear Shami, how sad to hear that politicians and the media appear to be tarnishing their good reputation. Well Shami, in the words of Kate Bush (and no, it's not what you're thinking – "Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, come home. I'm so cold! Let me in-at-your window,") – in the words of Kate Bush to Peter Gabriel: "Don't give up." It didn't work for Gabriel as he appears to have done nothing since, but the sentiment might be useful. Good luck.
Teen Ink has a post on Wuthering Heights. Entre Reticências writes in Portuguese about Jane Eyre. Nitrate Glow reviews Jane Eyre 1934.

by Cristina ( at July 15, 2014 01:13 AM

July 14, 2014

Regency Ramble

Regency Fashion ~ July 1814

Nothing like a party dress to put a girl in a good mood, don't you think?  This is one of the prettiest I've put up for a while.  I can definitely see one of my heroines wearing this out to dinner.

Oldenburgh Dinner Dress from the July 1814 LBA

French white satin slip, decorated round the bottom with a rich blond lace, and headed with a superb pearl trimming: a wreath of laurel leaves formed of pearls, in an angle in the front of the slip. 

The trimming is perfectly novel, and the effect of it is more elegant than can be conceived from the engraving which we have given. Over the slip is a short Russian robe of white crape, open front, edged round with a rich pearl trimming to correspond with the slip; the wreaths which ornament the robe is formed of pearls also, to correspond. 

The front of the dress is formed in a most novel and tasteful style, peculiar to the inventress, Mrs. Bell. The back continues full, and the waist very short. Crape long sleeve, trimmed with pearl bands at regular distances. 

Small lace cap, superbly decorated with pearls, and finished with tassels to correspond; a fancy flower is placed to the side. The form of this cap is extremely elegant, exquisitely tasteful, and becoming.

 A white satin Chapeau Bras, ornamented with a spread eagle on the crown, worked in chenille, is indispensable. 

The hair is worn up a-la-Grecque on the left side, where it is fastened in a full knot. Gloves and slippers of white kid. Plain ivory fan.

Until next time:

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 14, 2014 12:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Worked from 6.30 to 8, & after breakfast at the city & distance of the Florence but the light was bad. Later I penned out somewhat.

F. Thrupp only came[.]

At 5. walked to Brompton & dined with Fanny Coombe.


Walter seems a nice lad enough. The accounts of Peppering are not pleasant.

Cab home by 9.30.

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

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



The Flute and Fagot Ensembles of the Stedelijke Academie Voor Podiumkunsten Adriaan Willaert (STAP) in Roesalare, Belgium performed last February this piece by the American composer Lewis A. Cocher: Aire

The ensembles were directed by Koen Brouns and Koen Coppé, respectively. The composer who pointed us to this video has also clarified for us its Brontë connections:
Titled "Aire", the title itself is a play on words: this work for woodwind ensemble is inspired by the novel "Jane Eyre". In my mind as I wrote the piece, I thought of the conversations between Jane and Helen Burns, and I pictured a contrast between Jane's early child love for fantasy and picture-books, and Helen's firm grip upon the reality of life...and death.

by M. ( at July 14, 2014 01:42 AM

I will never forget Wuthering Heights. Ever

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviews Lauren Owen’s The Quick.
If you like spooky Victorian fiction, you’re going to love Lauren Owen’s “The Quick,” a literary gothic novel set in 1890s England. The book opens in wuthering, withered Aiskew Hall, a deteriorating manor house on the moors of Yorkshire. James and Charlotte, two young siblings, live here without their parents. Their nursery’s owl wallpaper seems sinister, the library has a “priest hole,” or hidden cabinet, and most of the other rooms are closed up, although the children sometimes visit them.
They have only a few people looking after them — a housekeeper, a governess and a gruff gardener who’s trying to keep the roses from being choked by the weeds — but otherwise it’s a lonely place. Something’s not right, and you sense these children have reasons to be fearful.
For one, their mother is dead, and they almost never see their father. Sensitive and creative children, they are like two of the Brontë siblings. (Susan Balee)
The Clarion-Ledger discusses the benefits of having kids read during the summer holidays.
Many schools are also asking students to write reports on the books they read over the summer. “That increases reading comprehension,” said Grossenbacher, “and it helps students retain information.”
Writing a report on a summer book at Madison Central stuck with her. “I will never forget ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ” she said. “Ever.” (Annie Oeth)
Speaking of kids, the Daily Mail has a guide to good manners for teens:
The philosopher Schopenhauer said: ‘It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude.
To make enemies by unnecessary and wilful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire.’
This isn’t about indulging in some weird etiquette fetish. I don’t particularly care whether you know the correct bowl in which to serve consommé or whether you skin an apple before eating it.
I’m simply advising that you ‘make yourself agreeable’ and not in a peculiar Jane Eyre or trying to get a rich husband/wife sort of a way, but in a ‘be nice and the world will be nice back to you’ sort of a way. (Kate Reardon)
The Boston Globe features the bombing of a center for the handicapped in Gaza where
There was a seared copy of “Jane Eyre,” condensed, in English with Arabic translation (Steven Erlanger)
Milenio (Mexico) recommends the book La vida verdadera by Juan Vicente Melo which includes
un ensayo sobre la novela Cumbres borrascosas.
Melo habla con entusiasmo y rigor tanto de sus contemporáneos como de sus clásicos. En particular, el culto por la novela de Emily Brontë Cumbres borrascosas o su afición y conocimiento de la narrativa francesa del siglo XX, desde los escritores católicos hasta la nouveau roman, establece claves para entender las atmósferas narrativas y los dilemas de los personajes del mismo Melo. (Armando González Torres) (Translation)
Life According to a Bibliophile wonders how she would like living in Jane Eyre. Emma's Random Thoughts posts about the 2011 adaptation of the novel. A Bookish Affair writes about Agnes Grey.

by Cristina ( at July 14, 2014 01:23 AM

July 13, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Funky Stop Motion Snark on YouTube

YouTube seems to be a great source of unusual items lately, and this is no exception!

by Matt at July 13, 2014 04:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6 & began to work on at the Florence till 8. ―

After breakfast worked ― but little owing to Dickenson, Nicolas, Laura, Shakespear, & Bulwer all coming. Then lunch, & then sleep & work ― painting & penning out, ― till 6. The weather is lovely now, ― but this one must not think of.

Did not go out all day. ― till 7.15. Then to St. John’s Wood Lodge, where was a larger party than usual.


In spite of being “coquettish,” (as M. Blumenthal said I was, & lady Goldsmid approved,) I sang one or two AT songs: & one Shelley: but the [novelty] (or absurd unscientific character) of these songs is their attraction in chief. Afterwards Blumenthal played ― beautifully: a various=pleasant man, but who would soon bore me. Wilkie Collins is very greatly aged. Cab home ― near 12.


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

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