Planet Century 19

July 23, 2014


The Return of the Women of Literary Instinct

Cambridge University Press has reprinted Marjorie A. Bald's Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century:
Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century
Marjorie 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 23, 2014 01:30 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


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)
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 22, 2014 12:26 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

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 the 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 21, 2014 09:42 AM

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

Brontë Liqueur

Several news outlets carry the story of the revival of the so-called Brontë Liqueur by an entrepeneur who happens to be the great grandson of no other than James Roberts, the philantropist and Brontë enthusiast who bought the Brontë Parsonage in 1927 and gave it to the Brontë Society.

North Yorkshire businessman, Sir James Aykroyd, has revived Brontë Liqueur, a tipple he first discovered some 40 years ago during a business trip to Paraguay, South America. [You can read the story here]
Now four decades on, he has managed to fulfil his dreams of bringing the liqueur to the UK, transforming both its look and its taste for a more discerning consumer.
Sir James, who worked in senior roles with Buchanan’s whisky and Martini and Rossi and more recently stepped down as a shareholder and chairman of Speyside Distillers, said: “Back in 1928 my great grandfather - Sir James Roberts – bought the Haworth village parsonage and gifted it to the Brontë Society.
“Today that building is the Brontë Parsonage Museum and this is something our family is immensely proud of - I still hold the key to the parsonage’s front door.”
While the original Brontë Liqueur was honey-based and presented in a ceramic jug, the new-tasting drink celebrates God’s Own County with blackberry and sloe and a hint of jasmine. (Clare Burnett)
The Drinks Report:
A percentage of all sales of Brontë liqueur will be donated to the Brontë Society to ensure that the legacy of the Brontë family endures.
The original Brontë liqueur was packaged in a ceramic jug. The liqueur is now presented in a glass 70cl bottle inside a metallic dark blue box with gold highlights. UK RRP £27 per 70cl bottle. (Felicity Murray)

New York Magazine's Grub Street:
The producer of the new booze attributes the line to Emily Brontë, but it's actually a lovely bit from a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay published in 1844, the year before Emily started on Wuthering Heights. Other than that, this liqueur is faultless and is destined, eventually, to come to the U.S., where it will inevitably wend its way into an untold number of doomed affairs. It's just the thing to sip while wandering the moors, in the drizzle, to shake off a nightmare. You know, the one in which Heathcliff turns into a Bukowski beer bro. (Hugh Merwin)
More on The Spirits Business, FoodBev, The Star (Malaysia)...

by M. ( at July 18, 2014 11:55 AM

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 too 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

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Look down and see what death is doing — Paulina of the dead Hermione, Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, Act III

Jane Austen’s tomb and ledger at Winchester Cathedrale

Dear friends and readers,

Cassandra’s moving eloquent letter, what today would be called “grief-work.” Jane wrote her last work, a poem July 15th, Wednesday, and she died in the small hours between night and morning, July 18th, 1817.

The four novels she managed to publish; she left behind ms’s of sufficiently finished novels for Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, as well as several unfinished or first drafts of novels, her juvenilia, poems, stray satire (“Plan of a Novel”) and two-thirds as many letters as we have now.


Cassandra (Greta Scacchi) facing Fanny Knight Austen (Imogen Poots) shortly after Jane’s death (2008 Miss Austen Regrets)

CEAl1. From Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight. Sunday 20 July 1817 Winchester Sunday

From the opening we gather that Fanny has been doubting whether Aunt Jane really loved her — Fanny has picked up the distanced stance Austen shows in some of her letters to Fanny and probably has also discussed some of what happened when the Fanny and Jane were together at Godmersham and Henry’s lodgings/houses in London. Cassandra is concerned to persuade Fanny otherwise; Cassandra also asserts that Fanny’s “benevolent” purpose was useful: Aunt Jane enjoyed Fanny’s letters. I am drawn by the attempt not to say untruths: Jane Austen is described as reacting “not unchearfully.” That does not mean cheerfully.

She was fatally ill and those dying often begin to cut themselves off from life and the living, whether to preserve their strength or what nature does as the active body and mind begin to lose their energy to react and to perceive. So she did not show the interest in the final letters Cassandra claims she was roused by earlier.

Jane died Friday, the 18th and it was on Tuesday “her complaint” returned — whatever was the central core pain; she slept much of the last days. Again that is said to be common. The dying sleep more and more.

Then the famous passage — how much Jane meant to Cassandra, precisely what she meant to her. It is less often pointed out that the sentence ends with one of these comments I find outrageous if it is literally meant and I fear it is.

I have lost a treasure, such a Sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed, — She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, & it is as if I had lost a part of myself. I loved her only too well, not better than she deserved but I am conscious that my affection for her made me sometimes unjust to & negligent of others, & I can acknowledge, more than as a general principle, the justice of the hand which has struck this blow.

Cassandra conceives there is a supernatural being who has inflicted on Jane Austen, another person from herself, an early death in hideous pain, the humiliation of her twisted and weakened body to teach Cassandra a moral lesson. Were that so, were there such a malevolent irrational unjust creature; if people could, they ought to hunt it from the universe (much as we are encouraged to envision heroes and heroines in Dracula stories hunt out the vampire). There are some ideas it is our duty not to defer to — I refer to the way such ideas function socially, they distract from action to do something about whatever it is that has killed the person if this is possible. Psychoanalytically one might understand such trains of thought as strongly narcissistic or therapeutically masochistic, the person finds comfort in imagining there is some meaning here focused on her, feels guilty she is still alive, does not want to believe the death is natural and meaningless and determines she is punished this way. That Cassandra could write such a sentence, shows the difference between her mind and her sister’s. No where in Austen’s writings does she avail herself of this kind of literal nonsense.

I find it interesting as a revelation that Cassandra says she will not suffer materially from her feelings. Is that so? She is presented as stoic by Austen much earlier too — when Tom Fowles died. Perhaps a stance of self-control, or maybe she was inclined not to give way to feelings psychosomatically. It is also said that sometimes the person deeply involved with the beloved is so stunned as to experience a kind of “novacaine” effect: they are in a state of near hysteria, PTSD, so as to be at a distance from the death, not realize it cognitively fully until weeks or months later when this first state wears off.

We then have a depiction of the dying itself — which I would be inclined to believe unqualifiedly in except that we do have that poem on Winchester races — so it was not all piety, gratitude and acceptance. The poem was apparently composed or dictated on the 15th so perhaps the writing and mood occurred before the “complaint” came back so forcefuly and Austen went into her last phase. I’m told (and have seen) that sometimes before the onset of death moves into the very worst of the ordeal, there is a suddenly very good day (insofar as strength, consciousness, being there and alive are concerned).

Over the course of this year and a half we have enough evidence to visualize a radical deterioration of Austen’s body and looks, especially towards the end. Around the time of the famous phrase about her mother having the couch and she three chairs propped with pillows (not in Cassandra’s selection but from either the Austen papers or RA Austen-Leigh’s book) we can see she is so weak she cannot sit up. Imagine what that looks like. The last half year and more there is a nephew around to carry her. She tells us she is every wrong color. Beyond the ordeal of severe intolerable pain (opium doesn’t get rid of that, and makes you drugged; it’s cocaine that does the trick and that does not come in until the later 19th century — and is today forbidden medicine, a great cruelty I’ll mention here as part of the endlessly stupid and counterproductive so-called war on drugs) – beyond that ordeal it’s humiliating to have your body look the way it does. That’s why Austen does not refer to it.

Imagine too how exhausted she would have been. Go back to the picture that Cassandra drew of her when she was in health. The dark eyes, the intensity, the lack of sleep — she suffered bad headaches and troubles with her eyes when in health.

Cassandra says she has nothing to reproach herself with insofar as these last hours are concerned, she did not willfully shirk any thing she could do for her sister. That means sometimes she too was too exhausted and had to rely on Mary Lloyd Austen and Martha Lloyd. There is no mention of Martha in this letter (ever discreet Cassandra), but in Jane’s last letters there are ambiguous references to Martha, one of which suggests she was with Jane and Cassandra in May. Whether Martha was still there the last week we cannot know. Edward visited, James, Henry was in and out and there on Friday.

Jane was begging for death just before, saying she could hardly have patience, was near beyond endurance. Had they had anesthesia she would have been begging for it — but that mercy was not available to her either. Only oblivion and in those last hours she is recorded as saying that”s what she craved — death.

On the Thursday Austen had been anxious about some errand that Cassandra did — one wonders what it was that bothered her as she lays dying. Fanny is under the impression that Cassandra wrote Charles that day, no it was Mrs Austen, the mother. After that Austen lost it altogether from pain and Lyford came with opium, enough to make her insensible. The concluding ordeal. Cassandra sat with Jane’s body and head in her lap — Jane she could not hold up her head.

Didn’t they have pillows? Could not they have made a sort of bolster? If so, if they had, apparently her head could not be stable enough to satisfy them. It rolled and so Cassandra did 6 hours, Mary Lloyd Austen 2 and Cassandra until Jane died. Cassandra was gratified to be the one who closed her eyes. There is no mention of when Austen’s heart stopped beating — that’s death.

And then we get this image of “a beautiful statue” — which is how Cassandra wants to see it and maybe did. A sweet serene air quite pleasant to contemplate. But the dead do not look like Madame Tussaud’s wax figurines. They look like corpses and it’s creepy. Remains of real people who lived and whatever happened to them. A lot of people can’t bear to see the corpse when rigor mortis sets in and it does so pretty quickly. Some people go ston-y, some look like mummies (the elderly) and some if it’s a gradual decrease of blood pressure and the body dies bit by bit (as apparently Alexandre d’Arblay did) some of the extremities can look like puffy wax. Cassandra does not want to articulate what she saw as she looked down to see what death was doing; she preferred to see in the oblivion, the absence at long last of the terrible pain — Jane knew no more — a serene look, which is often claimed as a sign the person went to heaven.

For a second time she addresses Fanny on the assumption that Fanny is feeling all she is, the first time to say she hopes she is not upsetting her, the second time with the usual Christian metaphors — she has forgotten what she said earlier when she uses the word “merciful.” The truth is she is not thinking about her words literally. Cassandra does not talk about sleeping or resting — she could not fool herself as she had been through it with her sister. She does earlier use the phrase “the poor suffering soul.” It has the ring of a priest’s rhetoric.

I offer Shakespeare’s tough line, who if you read him is ever accurate: In Winter’s Tale Paulina looking down at the dead Hermione: Look down and see what death is doing — in this case “and what the ravages of disease have done.”

The following Thursday would be the funeral — Maggie Lane describes it in her Jane Austen’s Family through Five Generations; she quotes part of letter by Edward, Jane’s brother, to his son, several days before where Edward reports that Jane knew her situation, that Mrs Austen was intensely grieved but nothing compares to Cassandra’s affliction; he says Jane is much altered since James-Edward has seen her last — Caroline’s Reminiscences suggests that this was so by the spring: she was allowed to come upstairs briefly and registers a shock. (The scene is the one where Jane offers a chair to the married woman as opposed to herself, unmarried.) Edward too denies there was “very severe pain.” It does seem as if Jane Austen was one who lost blood pressure gradually: “Lyford said he saw no signs of immediate dissolution but added that with such a pulse — 120 — it was impossible for any person to last long.”

The casket seems to have been carried by Edward, Henry and Frank and James-Edward. Charles not there. He is often not there, the one further away in all Jane’s letters. James was too ill to come again, but wrote a poem entitled “Venta! within thy sacred fane” (which suggests he had read his sister’s last poem); he does convey awareness and envy that his sister’s gifts were fulfilled (a woman’s) and not his (as others have said), but also love and appreciation of her, a deep sense that to have had her around was a kind of gift. Like Henry, he is also concerned that everyone should know her satiric bent (which people must have known about) never “hurt the feelings of a friend:”

In her (rare union) were combined
A fair form and a fairer mind
Hers, Fancy quick, and clear good sense
And wit which never gave offence:
A Heart as warm as ever beat,
A Temper even calm and sweet:
Though quick and keen her mental eye
Poor natures foibles to descry
And seemed for ever on the watch
Some traits of ridicule to catch.
Yet not a word she ever pen’d
Which hurt the feelings of a friend
And not a line she ever wrote
“Which dying she would wish to blot,”
But to her family alone
Her real & genuine worth was known:
Yes! They whose lot it was to prove
Her Sisterly, her Filial love,
They saw her ready still to share
The labours of domestic care
As if their prejudice to shame;
Who jealous of fair female fame
Maintain, that literary taste
In womans mind is much displaced;
Inflames their vanity and pride,
And draws from useful work aside.

Such wert Thou, Sister! whilst below
In this mixt scene of joy and woe,
To have thee with us it was given
A special kind behest of Heaven …

The usual custom was followed and only the men were at the burial. Perhaps Mary Lloyd and Cassandra washed the corpse and dressed it, covered it with sheets.

To us it may seem somehow unusual that someone should be buried in the cathedral (we think how crowded it could get) but apparently in this era not so. Austen was related to clergy, her mother had relatives in academia and the aristocracy, Henry was now a curate. He was back and forth, had been there by the Friday. Henry is still there, will go to Chawton Monday and be back with Cassandra on Tuesday.

She says she didn’t mean to write at length but the subject compelled her. I am mot sure which Mrs Bridges (Fanny’s mother’s family) is to be “remembered kindly to Cassandra,” who is with Fanny. As usual LeFaye does not tell us. One has to wade through a family history in the appendix and guess the woman as Jane Hales from the J.


Again Diane Reynolds was the only person on the list to write about the letter as a whole: I thank her for keeping up the reading and discussion with me until the end.

JA has died two days before, on a Friday. Cassandra is still in the first shock after the death, what we might call a liminal state, and means only to write a short note amid all the business at hand. However, she ends up writing a longer epistle, one that she says gives her comfort or “draws her on” — the words will pour out.

Ellen has covered this quite well. I can’t, however, help but repeat a few points and perhaps add a bit, for this is a long letter. I canthink of few more sincere — or better — expressions of a lifetime of a loving relationship than this: “I have lost a treasure, a Sister, a friend such as never can be surpassed,–She was the sun of my life, the gilder of any pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part ofmyself.” If Jane Austen had never written a word, such an ability to enter into a long-lasting loving relationship with another gave her life dignity and worth. Any one who has lost a dearly loved other — or who dearly loves another — can only respond with a yes to Cassandra’s words. We see too that the sisters found in each other the kind of relationship one usually finds in a spouse — and we see in this the kind of emotional support, the buttress against loneliness, that allowed each to stay single, especially Jane when faced with Bigg Wither.

Yet we see too CA’s sang froid – -or at least stoicism — or attempt at it: “You know me too well to be at all afraid I should suffer materially from my feelings …I am not at all overpowered and very little indisposed, nothing but what a short time with rest and change of air will remove.” I cannot but think of Elinor Dashwood and to think that the genesis of her character (and Marianne’s) came from the discussions CA and JA must have had about histrionic people. Of course, CA will suffer deeply — how could she not — but it is true often in the first relief of a loved one in pain dying and amid all the immediate concerns, we think we will get over it easily. It is impossible to feel a loss until the person has been really gone for a time. Or perhaps CA knows all this and simply wants to comfort Fanny.I also read in this C’s desire not to be pitied, certainly not by this niece.

As is so often the case in death, it is the living who must be attended to and comforted, including Fanny, who must be reassured that Jane did love her. That reassurance is first and foremost on Cassandra’s mind and she addresses it in detail, going over the pleasure FK’s letters brought JA, and I note, along with Ellen, the
moments of faint praise–JA responded “not unchearfully” to Fanny’s last letter and was in a “languor” that dampened her enthusiasm. Fanny was not stupid, and she noted JA’s irritation with her. I can’t help but wonder if a worried letter from FK had recently arrived that C here addresses and later burnt.

As she goes on to write, Cassandra says she hopes her recounting of JA’s last moments don’t “break your heart my dearest Fanny.” In some ways, Fanny is an intimate Cassandra can confide in — but in some ways a person who perhaps can be dumped on–perhaps Cassandra feels a bit of guilt that might indeed be saying what could break Fanny’s heart — or perhaps the hearts of people FK might share the letter with. Perhaps, however, she wants others beyond FK to read all this.

I am surprised that the funeral/burial will not be held until six days after the death — the body will be decomposing and smelling unpleasant unless some sort of embalming has been done. Were people embalmed at that time? We get the image of JA in her coffin with ” a sweet serene air over her countenance” — I can only imagine the open coffin in the rooms where they were/are staying. I know for a long time it was considered important that people die with a serene expression rather than in struggle — as people did and do — as it gave reassurance that the person had gone to heaven and was not fighting demons dragging them to hell. Cassandra repeats those conventionalized hopes, and with a note of sincerity, hopes to meet with Jane in the afterlife. She really can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. I agree with Ellen that Cassandra must not be thinking entirely straight when she opines that JA’s death is a punishment or correction to CA for loving her too much and at the expense of others. She is distracted, trying to cope with her grief. Today, she might write in Buddhist terms of letting go of attachment — in either case, we can hardly in our better moments regret having loved deeply or feel that a loving God would punish that.

I thought that beyond Austen’s head moving back and forth, that the caretakers, especially Cassandra, took some comfort in being able to lay Jane’s head on their laps, though I also think it means Jane was tossing about a bit more than C lets on. To me, it bespeaks some struggle — I imagine it was more than “a slight motion,” but that she possibly was struggling through the opium to say something or struggling against death–that it was not an entirely serene passage. Anyway, it is impossible to know. Even if it gave them some comfort, I don’t think they would have rested her head on their laps for so long without some feeling of need. But again, this is speculation.

I too wonder what errand Jane was so anxious about on her deathbed that C had to run out and do it. I would love to know.

CA comes across to me as intelligent and canny, her chief conventionalities written to forestall any trouble from Fanny, as in, don’t worry if I have given you too many details, for “you will apply to the fountainhead for consolation … our merciful God is never deaf to such prayers as you will offer.” (Is this a bit of acid flattery, worthy of her sister–or is it sincere? There’s certainly a bit of flattery in assuring Fanny she is the first to be written to after Mrs. Austen.) I do read a bit of defiance in the assertion that Jane’s soul lies “in a far superior mansion” to Winchester Cathedral, and find it telling that her burial there “satisfies” because JA admired the building so much rather than out of religious sentiment about being closer to God in a sanctuary. I also read a bit of acid in her hopes that none of her brothers “suffer lastingly from their pious exertions” in attending the funeral. It would, at the very least, be human to wonder why Jane and not them?

The funeral will be early, so as not to interfere with church services, and CA will head back to Chawton right afterwards, having no reason to stay in Winchester. Henry will soon be at Chawton — CA thinks that will help. I am imagining the mother at Chawton. It seems as if she is not to attend the funeral? That seems hard to believe but perhaps it was too much for her.

I am glad we have this letter.


Extract from the diary of Mary Austen, nee Lloyd, (1771-1843)


17 July 1817 “Jane Austen was taken for death about ½ past 5 in the Evening”
18 July 1817 Jane breathed her last ½ after four in the morn; only Cass[andra] and I were with her. Henry came, Austen & Ed came, the latter returned home”
Hampshire Record Office ref 23M93/62/1/8


I too am glad we have this letter. Sex is apparently no longer a forbidden subject — I say apparently because much about sex is still not truly discussed at all or distorted. But we still have a number of verboten ones: money, especially among friends and at work (that helps the employer enormously); particulars about religions and death — these two are everywhere in Cassandra’s letter and the whole text becomes a source of anxiety as well as controversy if we deconstruct its layers.


by ellenandjim at July 13, 2014 02:43 AM


A Love for the Pages

We present today a new self-published novel with strong Brontë echoes:
A Love for the Pages
by Joy Penny
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 16, 2014)
Kindle Edition / Nook Edition
ISBN-13: 978-1500132385

Kiss. Marry. Kill. Nineteen-year-old June Eyermann has always known exactly which of her favorite Byronic heroes goes where. She’d kiss moody and possessive Rochester from Jane Eyre and marry prideful but repentant Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, leaving obsessive and spiteful Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights to be chucked off a cliff—but no. She couldn’t leave any of her heroes behind. She lives for her favorite fictional worlds.
But June is about to get a serious wakeup call when she returns home for the summer after her college freshman year. Stuck somewhere between feeling like a kid again under her parents’ roof and being forced to start acting like an adult with worries about her future career, June looks at the library volunteer position offered to her as a way to keep her sanity for the next few months before she can go back to school.
What June doesn’t expect to find at the library is her favorite romantic heroes brought to life—all in the same man. Obstinate, prideful and even a bit rude, Everett Rockford shouldn’t exactly be “dating material,” even if June’s heart rate accelerates whenever she’s near him. But after discovering his enigmatic past and witnessing a few fiery moments of tenderness, June can’t help but see Rochester, Darcy and even Heathcliff in Everett. If she’s going to make it through the summer without becoming a tragic heroine in her own story, she has to separate the man from the ideals of fiction in her head. Because if there’s one thing she knows about Byronic love stories, it’s that they don’t always end happily ever after.

by M. ( at July 13, 2014 01:21 AM

July 12, 2014

The Little Professor

Who Will Win?: A Story of the Crisis of Today

OK, everyone, brace yourselves.  Here we have what is quite possibly the worst religous novel I am going to read this year.  Now, I grant that it's still only early July, and there are plenty of opportunities yet remaining to find something even more incompetently written than this monstrosity, but...really, I doubt it.  Who Will Win? is that bad. 

Isn't it awesome?

Anyway, before I completely fall down the well of snark, a few Serious and Scholarly observations.  "Zuinglius" appears to be someone from the anti-Ritualist John Kensit circle--in fact, given the novel's stylistic ("stylistic") and propagandistic resemblance to "Frank Briton's" By and By, likely Kensit's own work, it may well be by Kensit himself.  (Kensit actually makes a cameo appearance in Who Will Win? as "John Kentis.")  Moreover, there's some interesting overlap between Kensit's own (failed) attempt at obtaining a Parliamentary seat in early 1899 and the novel's narrative of a Stalwart Protestant successfully winning a seat on an anti-Ritualist ticket.  Who Will Win? appeared in Hodder and Stoughton's December 1899 list, which suggests (unless the author a) wrote very quickly or b) had his work sent through the press very quickly) that it probably isn't a direct fictionalization of Kensit's run, but may well be connected to it.  In any event, the choice of pseudonym suggests both the book's intention as the harbinger of a new Protestant Reformation to overturn the Anglo-Catholic tendencies in the Church of England (again, Kensit's big bugbear), and its frequent assaults on transubstantiation. The novel further examines Protestantism's relationship to a number of ongoing transformations in fin-de-siecle British and European culture, including feminism (there's a suffrage campaigner and it's taken for granted that women can attend university), Socialism (there are hints of working-class unrest), and, interestingly enough, antisemitism (the novel is pro-Dreyfus).   The book is, however, single-target in its argumentation: it holds that to solve any and all ills, evangelical Protestantism must be reestablished as the core of British identity, and both Anglo-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism expelled, repressed, and otherwise erased.  When the Protestant campaigner, Frederic Wykeham, wins his election, he promises the people that "the Protestant cause should have his first attention in Parliament, and that he would leave no stone unturned to banish the evil from our midst" (244).    The conclusion, in which Parliament bonds together over the question of Protestantism in the CofE, is set in 1900, so that the novel casts the new century as the positive turning point of Britain's once-inexorable slide towards Romanism.

I'm going to discuss the novel's plot, which I fear may bring on another attack of the snarks.  I will try to remain strong in the face of temptation.

We have three main couples: Philip Vavasour and Millicent Greville; Bertrand D'Auvergne and Philip's sister, Helen; and Frederic Wykeham and Nervula Lauriston.  Of this crop, Philip and Fred are staunch Protestants throughout; Millicent is an Evangelical, but "prone to look at men apart from what they teach" (363); Bertrand and Helen are deeply attracted to Anglo- and Roman Catholicism, with frightening results in Helen's case; and Nervula is a feminist disinclined to marriage.  (Let me eliminate any suspense you may be feeling: they all wind up strong evangelicals at the end.) All of them must deal with the unholy trio of the Anglo- (later Roman) Catholic Orbillieres, brother and sister, and the suave Roman Catholic Father Montmorency.  Most of the plot twists depend on the unholy trio being Mighty Morphin Power Rangers of sorts: all of them adopt multiple names and disguises, passing themselves off as members of different denominations in order to effect stealth conversions among the Protestant populace.  Montmorency, for example, shows up as himself, as a stone worker, as a mysterious dude with a moustache... This plasticity clearly suggests something demonic at work. Characters who have no truck with this shape-shifting, like Philip, are in the spiritual clear, while characters willing to tolerate it, like Bertrand, are hovering outside the bounds of faith.  And then there's Millicent:

"Oh, Mr. Montmorency," she exclaimed, "I never expected to see you here, much less employed in this way."

"What be you a-talkin' of, miss?" he replied. "I don't understand them big words. My name is Ben Jones."

"Well, you certainly remind me very much of a gentleman I have seen elsewhere."

"I have ne'er a-been in these parts afore, but I heard there was a job to be had here, so I came to get a bite and a sup."  (54)

That sound you hear reverberating around the planet is that of a thousand facepalms.  But yes, there's a symbolic reason for Millicent's inability to grasp that, gasp shock horror, she's looking at the Catholic priest: her willingness to take his speech at face value, so to speak, reflects her deeper incapacity to distinguish spiritual truth from moral error.  Indeed, this encounter merely reinforces another Deep Symbolic Moment when she is trapped in the Roman catacombs, "left absolutely in the dark" (41); she wanders within a space consecrated to Christian suffering, yet cannot negotiate it herself or properly view her surroundings.  The moral, as Philip explains to her, is that "Rome is a very dangerous place; you may be lost in it in more ways than one" (42).  The novel enjoys racking up these Deep Symbolic Moments, as when Bertrand becomes so wrapped up in theological speculation that he promptly falls and breaks a bone (hey, it's a fall! The fall! Get it?) or when, after taking a walking tour that involves climbing a lot of mountains, the characters wind up in Deinseidel, which Helen dubs "a regular Vanity Fair" (118) (hey, mountains and Vanity Fair! It's just like The Pilgrim's Progress! Get it?)  However, the characters like Millicent, Helen, and Bertrand frequently show themselves to be bad readers, and their inability to decode the religious symbolism of their own lives manifests itself in their susceptibility to Catholicism's myriad attractions.  

This question of reading is frequently at the heart of the novel--what characters read and how they do it. Bertrand complains at one point that Philip is too "painfully literal and logical" (104), as part of their debate over transubstantiation--a debate that unfolds, as it normally does, around the question of figures of speech.  What is "literal"? What is the status of metaphor? Is the metaphor the literal meaning? Philip and Fred, both literalists, are the plot's best readers, capable of leaping tall prooftexts at a single bound--I mean, capable of bruising other characters by whacking them over the head really hard with prooftexts--I mean, capable of identifying, deploying, and properly assessing the value of prooftexts in any given situation.  (Whew.  The urge to snark was getting a little overwhelming there.) At a rought estimate, 99% of the novel consists of nothing but characters playing prooftext tennis--a game that the Protestants always win, of course.  The Catholics get ahead by recommending that people keep calm and smell the incense, or something, but since the novel consistently outs them as lying liars who lie (wait...I feel snark returning), they don't succeed for very long.  (This is the kind of novel in which Jesuits actually boast about secretly running the world's governments, because when you're in charge of a massive evil conspiracy, boasting about it is exactly the sort of thing you do.)  By the end of the novel, the characters have prooftexted their way through transubstantiation, the eastward position, vestments, apostolic descent, clerical authority, confession, obedience to parents, celibacy, Bible reading, lying, and just about anything else that can have a relevant (or not so relevant) prooftext attached to it.  In fact, the characters are prooftexting even before the excuse for a plot hoves into view.  However, and returning to reading, one of the things about the book that is legitimately interesting is tracking its references to contemporary controversial texts--that is, its attempt to construct a library of good Protestant reading, and to warn readers away from dangerous materials.  Thus, we have references to the Methodist pop novelist Joseph Hocking's The Scarlet Woman (being serialized almost contemporaneously with this book), Nunnery Life in the Church of England, and so forth.  Most of the novel's references are relatively recent, suggesting less a "canon" of controversial texts and more a play-by-play of what the up-to-date evangelical will have on his or her library shelves.

by Miriam Burstein at July 12, 2014 11:40 PM


Yorkshire did Britain proud

Wales Online asks for a Grand Départ for Wales and remembers the Tour days in Yorkshire (with a picture of the peloton passing through Haworth Main Street):
“Grand” is a great Yorkshire word and last weekend was an extraordinarily grand sporting occasion when the Tour de France’s first two days went off so brilliantly around the County, taking in the industrial cities of Leeds and Sheffield as well as the more touristy spots such as York, Harrogate, the Brontë country and the Dales. Yorkshire did Britain proud. It means that the Tour de France organisers will want to come back for more Grand Departs in the UK before long. (Rhodri Morgan)
A letter to the Yorkshire Post tries to defend the ITV commentators,  Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, after the 'Harworth/Haworth' incident:
Regarding the error with Harworth/Haworth, did Mr Sheridan not hear the apology and the observation that not all the Brontë sisters are buried at Haworth?
As regards the mispronunciations, there are lots of Yorkshire folk who pronounce some of our county’s place names differently. Well done to all who organised this year’s Grand Départ.
From: David Horsley, Snaiton, Scarborough.
The letter was a reply to this previous one:
HOW I agree with Godfrey Lomas (The Yorkshire Post, July 7). The amateurish and ill-researched TV commentary on Yorkshire’ s Tour de France was unforgivable. After the mispronunciations and factual inaccuracies cited by your correspondent on day one it got even worse as the peloton descended into West and South Yorkshire. One commentator confused Haworth with Harworth where the late Tom Simpson grew up, later making a garbled reference to the Brontës on arriving at the famous village.
From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.
The New York Times reviews The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma:
The foundling may be a familiar figure in the history of the novel, most prominently in Dickens and the Brontës, but Ma gives us a striking 21st-century iteration. In 1992, China passed a law allowing foreign adoptions. Since then, Americans have brought home more than 80,000 Chinese children — most of them girls, because of China’s infamous one-child policy and a cultural prejudice that favors sons. (Mona Simpson)
The Guardian recovers an article from 1989 about Laurence Olivier:
It was really in William Wyler's powerful version of Wuthering Heights that he came fully into his own. His Heathcliff in that film was blazingly romantic enough even for Garbo, who was apparently amazed if only as a spectator. (Derek Malcolm)
The Herald thinks that the Scotland's Better Together campaign is written by a 'great female writer' (meaning exactly what?):
You could be forgiven, as Better Together publish a new paper on pensions, for thinking that one of the great female writers had intervened. Could that be Jane Austen? Emily Brontë? Gertrude Stein? Virginia Wolfe [sic]? Claire Tomlin [sic]? Mary Wollstonecraft? (Andy Bollen
A very bizarre list we may add.

Book Reporter reviews Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey:
All told, Nobody is Ever Missing is a powerhouse of a book, and one that assuredly can take its place in a continuum of feminist literature, from the story of Bertha Mason’s tragic plight in Jane Eyre on through Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novella The Yellow Wallpaper to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmade's Tale and beyond. (Damian Van Denburgh)
Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail talking about hair:
At night, when I plait it before bed, I feel like some kind of Brontë-esque romantic heroine. When I pile it all on top of my head in a messy bun, it’s very La Dolce Vita.
My Bookish Ways interviews the writer Letitia Trent:
If you could experience one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
That’s a great question. I’d love to read Jane Eyre again for the first time. Or maybe The Great Gatsby, another book I know so well that I can hardly remember not knowing it.
The Derby Telegraph has a Jane Eyre reference in this quite sad article;  K.M. Weiland offers the chance to win two ARCs of the upcoming Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. The Poetry and Prose Audio Gallery uploads a recording of the Charlotte Brontë's letter to G.H. Lewes (12th January 1848). Old Hollywood Lover reviews Jane Eyre 1944. Culture Clash does the same with Jane Eyre 2011.

by M. ( at July 12, 2014 01:15 PM

Brontë Cocktails

A new book about literary cocktails has just being published. With a cocktail for each Brontë sister:
Cocktails for Book Lovers
by Tessa Smith McGovern
Publisher: Sourcebooks (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402293402
ISBN-13: 978-1402293405

The perfect pairing for anyone with a literary thirst! From Jane Austen’s little-known fondness for wine to Hemingway’s beloved mojitos, literature and libations go hand in hand. Cocktails for Book Lovers blends these in a delectable book that will delight both readers and cocktail enthusiasts alike. This irresistible collection features 50 original and classic cocktail recipes based on works of famous authors and popular drinks of their eras, including Orange Champagne Punch, Salted Caramel and Bourbon Milkshakes, and even Zombie Cola. So dip in, pick your favorite author or book, and take a sip—or start at the beginning and work your way through. Cheers!
Includes the following Brontë cocktails:
Anne Brontë
Brandy Eggnog (Milk, Brandy, Simple Syrup, Egg Yolk, Ground cinnamon)
Charlotte Brontë
Negus (Mulled Wine) (Port Wine, Water, Sugar, Lemon)
Emily Brontë
Heathcliff's Crush (Madeira wine, Berry vodka, Elderflower Presse, Orange juice)

by M. ( at July 12, 2014 11:03 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries



Disturbed by those horrid Portuguese coming upstairs at 2.30. ― Did next to nothing before breakfast. Afterwards ― worked pretty quietly & successfully at Jameson’s Florence till 3. Penned Cretan drawings till 4.30 or 5. Then walked to the Academy: few pictures besides Hook’s delight me: those indeed do. E. Landseer is absurd. Lee offensive. I forge J. Lewis ― who is not only original but excellent & wonderful. J. Lewis & Hook ― . ――

Walk back, & penned again till 7: dress & to Eaton Place. My pictures of Kasr es Saad & Janina really look lively ― & depress me ― as being better ― to my


seeming than what I do now. ― A most friendly & pleasant party in all ways. Afterwards I sang ― good piano. & walked home with Archie Peel ― about 12.

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

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

William Morris Unbound

Fellowship and Julian Assange

As an earlier post on this blog suggests (25 June 2011), I remain on the lookout for namesakes in Morris’s copious oeuvre, so I really should not have missed the Antony who briefly crops up in A Dream of John Ball: ‘Hob Horner and Antony Webber were slain outright, Hob with a shaft and Antony in the hand-play’. I’m glad that my namesake died fighting bravely against medieval tyranny, and his fate is a reminder of just how serious the issues are in Morris’s celebration of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt. The famous invocation of fellowship in that text – ‘fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death’ – is often cited at Morris Society meetings as a celebration of their genial hospitality, yet its contextual meaning in the romance itself is rather more fraught than that.

For what John Ball is celebrating in those memorable words is the villagers’ forcible freeing of a political prisoner, i.e. himself, ‘when ye lighted the archbishop’s house for the candle of Canterbury’, an act which brings down on them the retributory military attack we witness in the opening chapters of the work – in which my namesake and several others are killed. So Morrisian fellowship in the present isn’t just a matter of warm mutual feelings over a glass of wine on Morris’s birthday, March 24. Its contemporary equivalent would be something more like marching off to the Ecuadorean embassy, driving away the British policemen who keep round-the-clock guard there (at an annual cost of several million pounds to the tax-payer) and freeing the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, whom the UK government has in effect been vindictively keeping political prisoner there since June 2012. Unless one is willing to embark on ventures of that order, one should not be invoking John Ball-style ‘fellowship’ quite so lightly.

by Tony Pinkney ( at July 12, 2014 02:41 AM


Tea with Jane

An alert for Sunday, July 13 in Grosmont, North Yorkshire:
Tea with Jane Eyre
July 13, 2014

Susanna McCleary (soprano/violin), Virginia Blakey (soprano) and Dorothy de Val (piano) provide the music that interlaces a dramatisation of the story of the writing of Jane Eyre, told from the point of view of both Charlotte Brontë and Jane herself – with the help of Reuben Jones and Jess Netherway. The music will include songs by Felix Mendelssohn and John Joubert and a sonata for violin and piano by Kalkbrenner
Tickets £8.00 in advance, £10.00 on the door (Includes teas & cakes) Ticket reservation Tel: 01981 240814 or from Part-Y-Seal Tearooms

Following on from the success of Tea with Puccini and Tea with Mozart at the Savoy, Monmouth, in spring this year, Tea with Jane Eyre is to have its premiere at Part-y-seal, Grosmont, on Sunday 13th July at 3pm. The celebrated venue takes a literary turn as Fred & Jeanette and the cast of Tea with Jane Eyre invite you to join them and one of the great figures of English literature, Jane Eyre, for tea.
Tea with Jane Eyre investigates who, if anyone, Mr Rochester was that so beguiled the Victorians. Rumour has it that Charlotte fell in love with a married man, and resolved the impossibility of the situation by writing Jane Eyre, in which the wife conveniently throws herself off the battlements in a fit of madness. Much of this compelling, soul-wrenching and heart-warming tale is known to be biographical, but how much? Come and make your own mind up, have some delicious tea and be delighted by the Bronte myth, poetry and music in one afternoon.
The proceeds of the concert will go to St Nicholas church (who have kindly provided chairs for the concert), to Help Musicians UK (a charity that gives financial assistance to disabled musicians) and to the Equart project, which gives talented blind opera singers assistive technology to enable them to perform on stage professionally.

by M. ( at July 12, 2014 01:36 AM

July 11, 2014

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • Mrs. O. F. Walton, The Mysterious House (RTS, n.d.).  Late-Victorian religious novel about moving next door to what is rumored to be a "haunted house."  Mrs. O. F. Walton was best known as the author of Christie's Old Organ and A Peep Behind the Scenes (an attack on using child actors).  (eBay)
  • Mrs. Mackarness, The Cloud with a Silver Lining and The Star in the Desert (John D. Williams, n.d.).  US reprint of two novellas the first about marriage, misunderstandings, and murder, the second about reconciliation between an estranged married couple.  (eBay)
  • Eva Konig, The Orphan in Eighteenth-Century Fiction: The Vicissitudes of the Eighteenth-Century Subject (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Studies how the figure of the orphan became a way of working through questions of subjectivity in early modern fiction.   I'm reviewing this for Choice. (Review copy)
  • Ann Wierda Rowland, Romanticism and Childhood: The Infantilization of British Literary Culture (Cambridge, 2012).  Not about children's literature, but rather about how Romantic authors reinvented the concept of the child.  (Scholars Choice)
  • Srinivas Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (Chicago, 2011).  Analyzes the oriental tale's intersections with the rise of eighteenth-century realism.  (Scholars Choice)

by Miriam Burstein at July 11, 2014 07:30 PM


Tragically beautiful tales

Daily Mail reviews The Secret Life of Students (Channel 4):
It’s a miracle they manage to get any studying done. ‘My phone is the main distraction when I’m reading,’ admitted a literature student, struggling to plough through Jane Eyre before her lecture the next morning. She didn’t switch it off, though. (Christopher Stevens)
This article in the Ipswich Star talks about the Theatre in the Forest talks about a Wuthering Heights upcoming Summer production:
Also looming over them is second play Wuthering Heights, which the cast - bolstered by Rachael McCormick and Johnson, the latter present in cardboard cut-out form only when I popped by - are rehearsing during the day.
“The concept Jo is going for... one it’s not Shakespeare so that makes it different. Errors has all sorts going on, with Wuthering Heights we’ve all got a dedicated part, it’s an ensemble piece, not that I think it’s going to be ‘it’s Wuthering Heights day guys, chill out’,” says Thorpe, sparking laughter. “And the sets for both are amazing.”
“Having two extra actors, who are both lovely and brilliant, will help immensely because they’ll be two people who haven’t done Errors who can bring fresh energy to Wuthering Heights,” smiles Carrick.
The Comedy of Errors runs at Jimmy’s Farm, Wherstead, from July 8-August 2. Wuthering Heights runs from August 6-24. (Wayne Savage)
The Phoenix New Times recommends high school books that you should reread:
Wuthering Heights
By Emily Brontë
Despite the connotations that come with the label "romance novel," Wuthering Heights is not a pretty story. Yes, there are soul mates, love, and stunning scenery, but this Brontë sister's only novel is a dark one. The love between Heathcliff, the adopted gypsy boy, and Catherine, the daughter of the house known as Wuthering Heights, becomes as twisted and vengeful as it comes. We should warn, this story is not for everyone. There's a fair amount of abuse, both mental and physical, and Brontë displays some of humanity's ugliest flaws. But if you like dark, passionate, jealousy-wrought, tragically beautiful tales, look no further. (Evie Carpenter)
The Guardian celebrates the 25th anniversary of the death of Laurence Olivier:
His smouldering Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939) turns a look of annihilating hate on Cathy's husband, Edgar, that no other actor could have matched. (Michael Billington)
The North West Evening Mail reports the arrival of the Wuthering Heights Chapterhouse production to Muncaster Castle:
This summer they will be presenting Emily Brontë’s classic love story, Wuthering Heights.
Set on the beautiful, mysterious wilderness of the Yorkshire moors, this treasured story of enduring love and passion has thrilled and entranced audiences for generations.
The adaptation that is being brought to Muncaster Castle in August has been written by award winning writer Laura Turner and will be presented at open-air venues across the UK.
Laura Turner, said: “It’s a bit like Marmite, people either love it or hate it, and I fell in love. It’s a challenging story to adapt, spanning two generations, but I hope that I have managed to instil all the passion and wildness of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece and that people fall for Catherine and Heathcliff just as I have.”
Radio Times interviews writer/director John Carney :
“Look at Wuthering Heights or Anna Karenina or Brief Encounter. Complex, compromised love is far truer to life. Difficult relationships and unfulfilled love are what interest me as a storyteller.” (Alan Jackson)
USA Today recommends 'red-hot' romance e-books:
You Make Me by Erin McCarthy (free)
If you loved Wuthering Heights, you'll enjoy this sweeping romance by a New York Times best-selling author. Caitlyn fell in love with her foster brother Heath, but now she's moved on and found a safe boyfriend. When brooding Heath reappears, how can she choose? (BookBub Editors)
The Doings La Grange interviews the local librarian:
What is your favorite book and why?
Margaret Whalen Stec: This is an extremely difficult question to answer for a bibliophile. There are too many! My favorite classics are “Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë.
Bibliotherapy on Schwarzwaelder-Bote (Germany):
Einige Bücher aus "Romantherapie" hatte Algie auch beim Frauenfrühstück dabei. "Bei einem gebrochenen Herz, also wenn die Liebe durch äußere Umstände nicht funktioniert, hilft das Buch ›Jane Eyre‹ von Charlotte Brontë", war ein Beispiel, das die Buchhändlerin nannte. Bei akuter Einsamkeit werde "Der goldene Kompass" verschrieben. Die Seelenwesen, die darin vorkämen, seien die idealen Begleiter für einsame Menschen. (Denise Palik)
Haber Turk (Turkey) recommends Jane Eyre 2011:
Feminist edebiyatın en eski klasik romanlarından biri sayılan Jane Eyre, fakir ama, gururlu bir kızın başından geçen olayları, sınıf çatışmasına dayandırarak dramatik bir anlatım biçemiyle okurlarına sunan iyi bir biyografik hikâye. 2011 yılında beyazperdeye uyarlanan Jane Eyre; erdemli ve dürüst bir insan olabilmenin zorluklarını etkileyici bir biçimde aktararak iç çekişmelerin ‘aşk’ duygusuyla tamamiyle değişim gösterebileceğini vurguluyor. Peki, aşk her kapıyı çalar mı?
Jane Eyre romanını okuyan, okumayan herkes bu film aracılığıyla belki de hayatlarında hiç şahit olmadıkları acı gerçeklerle yüzleşecekler. Çünkü Jane Eyre'in ana ekseninde zorba bir yenge ve aşkın baskın gücü yer alıyor. Yetim kalan ufak kız Jane Eyre’nin, yengesinin himayesinde büyümesi onun hor görülüp, yalancı olmakla suçlanması ve her daim sessizliğini koruduğu için daha çok üzerine gidilmesi adeta psikolojisini bozuyor. Bir de bütün bunlar yetmezmiş gibi malikâneden uzaklaştırılarak yatılı okula gönderilmesi durumun vehametini büsbütün arttırıyor. Tabi okulda yaşadığı şiddet içerikli olayları hesaba katmazsak! Zaten bu yaşananların izleyicileri derinden yaralayacağı kanısındayım. (Arzu Çevikalp) (Translation)
Bunny Mummy has visited Haworth; Estantería Azul and mividaenlibros (both in Spanish) talks about Jane Eyre.

The Brontë Society's website remembers another AGM event. The annual church service (June 14):
Our service this year commemorated the strong strand of evangelical belief which linked William Grimshaw, the Wesleys and Patrick Brontë. Led by the visiting choir of Christ Church, Blacksburg, Virginia, the congregation sang four of Charles Wesley’s hymns all of which would have been familiar to the Brontës. (Read more) (Christine Went)

by M. ( at July 11, 2014 03:38 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Registration has now opened for  ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Solutions and Resolutions’ conference on 20 September at Senate House, London: tickets can be purchased at To celebrate the official […]

by Jo Taylor at July 11, 2014 12:11 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. & coloured Crete Sketches before breakfast.

Letter from Giorgio ― Χριστὸς is dead ―. ――― G.’s letter is not very distinct as to what is passing: ― Spiro it seems has made no decision as to leaving Corfû. Poor good G. says ― “let us go again to Crete ― Rettino & Zitzo, & ai Deka, & la gallina.” ―― I coloured, finishing 12 more of the Cretan drawings ― all day ― 36 in all. ― Nobody came at all. Talk with Gush about the rooms. Later, Robinson came ― (the Artist on the 1st floor,) & we agreed, that as he wishes to go, I shall take those in addition to my own. So I shall suppose 360£ lost for 3 years. At the end of that time, should that be so, I shall have still 1640£ remaining: but it seems to me rather that large rooms would give me a better chance of increasing my 2000£. Ἄς εἴδωμεν.[1] ―

At 5. I went to Nicolas the Cabinet maker, & ordered another Cabinet for sketches. Then to Foord’s ― ordering other mounts for the absurd & utopian batch of 240 I propose doing by next year. Bickers & Bush, Roberson, Day ― & lastly W. Nevills, where I dined on cold Lamb ― W.N. being alone. Nothing is settled yet about Allan, or other matters. ― W.N. is sadly vague & dim.

He walked to Holborn with me.

Home by 9.20.

[1]Let’s see (NB).

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

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

July 10, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

1954 Kraft Television Theatre Alice on YouTube

From our elevator buddy Jenna comes this link to something I’ve never seen, but is way cool.  A 1954 TV version of Alice on the Kraft Television Theatre, featuring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.  Interesting that they are involved as they were also on the Disney TV show One Hour in Wonderland on Christmas 1950 that promoted the soon-to-be-released Disney animated film.  Share and enjoy!

by Matt at July 10, 2014 04:00 PM

Regency Ramble

Montacute House Part IV

It's ages since we started the visit to this house, so having left you in the parlour I thought it might time to rescue you and moved on. 

We enter the drawing room, that originally had served as a bedroom. It retains none of its Regency features with regards to decoration, but some of the pictures are from our era.

The hunting scene is from 1790

 The lacquer cabinet is from around the late 17th early 18th Century so could easily decorate a Regency drawing room. as could this Louis XIV Boulle writing-table. on the right.

I particularly liked this mahogany card table from around 1750. I thought it elegant. The top leaf would fold when not in use.

Until next time:

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 10, 2014 12:00 PM


"If you ask yourself what Jane Eyre would do, you can’t go far wrong"

Caitlin Moran in Marie Claire lists her favourite five books. Sadly, it seems that the writer of the article has a problem with her Brontës.
Jane Eyre by Emily Brontë
She wasn’t beautiful, but ‘plain as you are’ and very ordinary and working class. But what I liked about Jane Eyre was the idea that you could create yourself – you’re not at the mercy of your heritage or your parentage. If you ask yourself what Jane Eyre would do, you can’t go far wrong.
The Washington Post reviews Muriel Spark's The Informed Air and traces a profile of the author:
The pieces in “The Informed Air” remind us that Spark became a novelist only in her 30s. Before turning to fiction, she wrote poetry, important biographical studies of Mary Shelley, the Brontë sisters and John Masefield, and did a good deal of reviewing. But in 1951 she impulsively entered a short-story contest that offered a prize of 250 pounds. After scribbling “The Seraph and the Zam­besi” in just one afternoon, Spark then borrowed some needed typing paper from a small art dealer’s shop, promising that if she won, she would come back and buy a picture. She did win. (Michael Dirda)
The Delaware News-Journal reviews the comedian Sandra Bernhardt stand-in show:
Whatever you say about the big-lipped Bernhard, she is an original – almost to a fault. Only an original would concoct Twitter wars between Jane Eyre and Nicki Minaj, Joan of Arc and Snooki. (Margie Fishman)
A Brontë reference in this article on GhanaWeb:
Hey, wraithlike reminiscences, O Great People of the World, you mean? Where is Heathcliff, the Byronic hero of Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”? Wraithlike reminiscences! Inferiority complex! Psychological, cultural, spiritual neo-colonialism!  (Francis Kwarteng)
Everyday Should Be Saturday is clearly not a reader of this blog:
It's spectacular, and I would totally watch a rebooted version because there's no way in hell I'm reading "Wuthering Heights" and would much prefer a dog explain it to me. (cjanerun01)
Lo Spazio Blanco (Italy) reviews the Italian translation of Jane, le renard et moi:
Il rifugio sono i libri, e soprattutto Jane Eyre, un’eroina un po’ storta che a passo a passo riesce a riscattarsi, e che illumina di colore i tragitti in autobus di Helene.
La nostra protagonista, invece, deve affrontare ancora qualche passaggio prima di raggiungere lo stesso destino e incominciare a vedere il mondo a colori: un’ultima prova, una gita di classe, ancora qualche umiliazione, e poi un incontro nel bosco con la volpe del titolo, un esserino rosso e tenero che le riporta in dono la possibilità di comunicare profondamente con un altro essere umano. Da lì, come per magia (o per miracolo, come dice la protagonista), dopo l’(auto)emarginazione Helene ricomincia a fare amicizia e il suo mondo rifiorisce di colori. (Elena Orlandi) (Translation)
AEnetwork (Italy) talks about our obsession with putting labels to everything/everyone:
Senza andare ad immaginare lotte a suon di “n00b” ottocentesche tra lettrici di Jane Austen contro quelli delle sorelle Bronteë, anche nella letteratura cosiddetta “bassa” si è assistito a qualcosa di simile con Twilight vs Harry Potter, o addirittura alla terrificante guerra civile tra Team Jacob vs Team Edward. (Andrea Sarchielli) (Translation)
The Times' opinion column mentions Charlotte Brontë;  Cathy Cullis uploads her own painting Tea with the Brontës; Coffee Sugar Lemonades visits Haworth;  Putting life into woods visits Hathersage and its Charlotte Brontë connections; Elegance of Fashion reviews Jane Eyre 2011; Whizba compares Jane Eyre 2006 and Jane Eyre 2011; Chelly Wood posts about Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at July 10, 2014 11:19 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6 ― & penned a little before breakfast: & afterwards ― besides writing notes & letters till 12.30. The horrid people above & below ― the 2 Portuguese do not rise till 12 ― & the Coopers can in no wise manage this irregular work. ― Lunched with the G. Clives, who go to Shoreham House to day & back ― & away wholly on Monday ― worse luck.

At 2 ― called on J. Warren ― alive & amiable.
The Stephen Caves ―  kindly ― but I imagine displeased by the vote.
Mrs. Jamison & Mrs. Coleridge ― cheerful.
Fairbairns ― out.
Mrs. Satherland ― out
Fairbairns ― out
Bulwer ― out.
Col. Campbell ―with whom I walked all the way to Waterloo Station ―mindful of old Corfû days, it is vexatious to see one whom I like to much ― so little. He returns on Tuesday to India for 4 years.
Miss Dennett ― the Duke is not quite so well.
Alfred Morrison ― out.

Returned to dress: & cab to Queen’s Gate. A very kind note had come from Mrs. Bruce about the Argostoli ― which she & he like greatly. It was begun on Feby. 8.


Dinner gravely pleasant ― somewhat dry.

Πολὺλίγοκρασὶ.[1] ― Talk till 10 ― when I sang. Somewhat heavy there [is]. ― Cab home by 11.30. Found the Portuguese people at “dinner” ― & nearly broke my legs over ice=pails: & their servant was insolent enough.

[1]Very little wine (NB).

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

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


Emily Brontë's Spectre

A paranormal book for today:
Haunted Halifax and District
By Kai Roberts
The History Press
Format: Paperback
Published: 2014-07-07
ISBN: 9780750960069

Nestled amidst the windswept moorlands of the South Pennines, Halifax has always had a wild reputation: ‘From Hell, Hull and Halifax, good Lord deliver us’ ran the ‘Beggars’ Litany’. But was it just a grisly fate at the hands of the Halifax Gibbet, England’s last guillotine, that they feared? From historical boggarts to modern poltergeists, the region teems with intruders from beyond the veil: they stalk the gritstone crags and the austere chapels, the tumbledown mills and the ancient taverns. Haunted Halifax & District explores the manifestations and territory of these unquiet spirits, all in the light of the area’s colourful history and wider folkloric context. Including such highlights as the spectre of Emily Brontë and a headless coachman with two headless horses, it will intrigue visitors and residents alike.

by M. ( at July 10, 2014 01:29 AM

July 09, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

July 9th Tee Fury T-Shirt Design Features Cheshire Cat and Alice

Tee Fury July 9 T Shirt DesignAttention Carrollians! Today’s TeeFury T-Shirt features the Cheshire Cat and Disney’s Alice.

This shirt is available today (Wednesday, July 9th) only!  

If the design is popular enough (which seems likely), then at some point TeeFury will bring it back in their Gallery.  But then it will cost $18.  Today only, it’s only $11 plus shipping.

by andrew at July 09, 2014 08:32 PM

Fall Meeting Date Announced!

Our next meeting, in Toronto and environs October 3–5, promises to be a doozy!  Check out our Events Page for all the details.  See you there!

by Matt at July 09, 2014 08:02 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Jørgen Roed

 photo Roed.jpg

A very Protestant church scene!

July 09, 2014 07:31 PM

Alexandre Cabanel, Baroness von Derwies, 1871

 photo CabanelBaronesspaulvanDerwies0.jpg

I think I have rarely seen a more unflattering portrait than this (if one puts aside some of Goya's depictions of the Spanish royal family): did he really have to give her such a sour expression? Was she pleased with the likeness? The dress, by contrast, is strikingly beautiful, free of the bad taste that one associates with that period (if not the excess).

July 09, 2014 07:27 PM

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

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun by William Blake

By Margaret Speer

A couple of weeks ago, in a carpe diem moment of this, my last summer as an undergraduate bum, I found myself in the wonder emporium of my cousin’s basement. My cousin and her friends suggested we watch the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, which is an old family favorite. I had never seen the film in question. In fact, I didn’t even really know there was a prequel. There is, though, and it’s called Red Dragon.

Here’s the way Wikipedia describes the part of the film relevant to this blog post:

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun by William BlakeA serial killer, nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy,” appears . . . “The Tooth Fairy” is actually a psychotic named Francis Dolarhyde who kills at the behest of an alternate personality he calls “The Great Red Dragon.” He is obsessed with the William Blake painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed [with the] Sun, and believes that each victim he “changes” brings him closer to “becoming” the Dragon. His pathology is born from the severe abuse he suffered at the hands of his sadistic grandmother, since he was orphaned after his parents died at young age . . . Dolarhyde attempts to stop the Dragon’s “possession” of him by going to the Brooklyn Museum and literally consuming the original Blake painting.

Let me break down the experience of watching this movie in a basement for a William Blake Archive Project Assistant. First, there was the seemingly endlessly repeating close-up shot of the painting of The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun accompanied by loud, terrifying music, the dragons’ back muscles all bulging sinisterly and his huge horns curling wickedly. This is the same painting that hangs large in poster form in our University of Rochester Blake Archive office. The winged creature (creepy in the best light, I must admit) that keeps me company while I proofread endless transcriptions of letters written by William Blake, or “Mr. B.” as he charmingly nicknames himself, compels Ralph Fiennes to violently murder entire families.

Also, in a surprise moment accompanied, of course, by more horrifying booming music, cold-blooded killer Ralph Fiennes / The Tooth Fairy reveals a massive tattoo representation of Blake’s Red Dragon covering his entire back. As these things went on on-screen, I shouted again and again over the din of scary-movie music and the shrieks of the young-twenty-somethings filling the basement, “This is how I know no one listens to me!!! I have told you guys SO MANY TIMES that I work for THE WILLIAM BLAKE ARCHIVE!!! As in, THIS WILLIAM BLAKE!!! Of this terrifying movie!!! Why would you make me watch this?!?!”

The most awful moment of the film, though, for me at least, was when the Tooth Fairy dons a hipster jacket and pretends to be a PhD candidate writing on William Blake so that he can gain access to the original The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun at the Brooklyn Museum. For one brief moment, I thought I was back in my element of comfort: the scene begins with a graduate-student-looking character and an elderly librarian traversing an archive together. Then the librarian leaves, and Ralph Fiennes gazes at the masterpiece with a reverence I found easy to identify with, right before his hand darts out and he crumples the paper and stuffs it in his mouth.

I was the only occupant of the basement who screamed just then. And it was bloodcurdling.

by Eric Loy at July 09, 2014 05:04 PM



The Christian Science Monitor reports the Harvard Gazette article about the Brontë juvenilia owned by Harvard University:
According to the Harvard Magazine, the Brontës referred to themselves as "scribblemaniacs" and continued writing tiny volumes into early adulthood. Though such juvenile works were dismissed as mere curiosities for decades, they are considered much more valuable today. In 2012, another tiny Brontë volume was expected to go for about half a million dollars at auction.
While Harvard's collection has been accessible to scholars for a long time, this is the first time they have been made available to the public in an online format. In addition to being digitized, the collection was fully restored in hopes of preserving this so-called "Brontë juvenilia," which had become increasingly fragile over nearly 200 years, according to the Harvard Gazette. (Weston Williams)
Pasadena Star-News talks about the Pasadena Library and Village Improvement Society:
But the most fascinating thing is that for many of the early decades the library has compiled the bestsellers of their time. Take 1880-1889, for instance: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen; “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë; “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe; “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens; “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville; “The Works of William Shakespeare.” (Larry Wilson)
Jadaliyya talks about Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar's The Time Regulation Institute, translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe:
But there are semantic and interpretive mistranslations that warrant notice. The first sentence of any novel deserves special care, offering as it does as what Spivak called “entry into the protocols of the text.” Take, for example, the famous opening of Jane Eyre, over which so much ink has been spilled: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” Onto the apparent directness and simplicity of this single sentence is condensed the vast symbolic distance of obstructed social mobility that Jane overcomes in her life’s journey. (Nergis Ertürk) 
Zaman (Turkey) talks about siblings in literature:
Viktorya edebiyatının bu en önemli üç kadın yazarı aynı soyadını taşımaktadır: Brontë. Charlotte, Emily ve Anne adlı üç kız kardeş, yazmaya dönemin kadın yazarlarının çoğu gibi erkek ismi olan müstearlarla başlar. Babaları Patrick Brontë de şiir yazmış ancak edebiyat dünyasında istediği başarıyı yakalayamamıştır; bazı biyografilerde otoriter bir figür olarak anlatılır. Annelerini erken yaşta kaybeden üç kız kardeş böylece babalarıyla yaşadıkları Yorkshire’daki Haworth köyünde aynı evin üç odasında Uğultulu Tepeler, Jane Eyre ve Agnes Grey adlı romanları yazar. Edebiyat çevrelerinde çok ses getirse de müstear adla yayımlanan bu kitapların etrafında oluşan gizem, eleştirmenlerin üç romanın aynı kişi tarafından yazıldığını iddia etmesine kadar varır. Buna dayanamayan abla Charlotte, nihayet Londra’ya giderek gerçeği açıklar ve İngiliz eleştirmenlerin bütün dikkati bir anda ailenin üzerine çevrilir. Ancak talihsiz kız kardeşlerden Anne ve Emily, romanların yayımlanmasının üzerinden çok geçmeden hayatlarını kaybederler. Charlotte Brontë, kardeşlerinin ardından edebi şöhreti tatmış olsa da, henüz kırk yaşına varmadan o da aynı kaderi paylaşır. Jane Eyre’in yazarı Charlotte, kardeşlerin dış dünyayla en bağlantılı olanı ve onlar için anne figürüdür. Baskın karakterinin ve belki daha uzun yaşamış olmasının ona edebiyat tarihinde daha sağlam bir yer kazandırdığı düşünülebilir. Gelgelelim, bugün hâlâ Uğultulu Tepeler’in Jane Eyre’den daha iyi bir roman olduğunu savunan eleştirmenler var. Bu üç kadın yazarın, içki ve afyondan erken yaşta ölen erkek kardeşleri Branwell’in de kısa öyküler yazdığı bilinmektedir. (Yasal Uyari) (Translation)
Mirada21 (Spain) comments on a very curious Southafrican literary critic:
Philani tiene en su poder obras como “Cumbres borrascosas”, de Emily Brönte (sic), títulos de John Grisham y muchas novelas más. Hablando de la obra de Brönte (sic) Philani comenta: “ Esta mujer se ganó el respeto de todos los hombres y mujeres en los siglos XVIII y XIX. Por eso, su hermano trató de decir que él escribió parte de ese libro”. (Pablo Valentín-Gamaza Lamana) (Translation)
The Nationalist (Ireland) mentions a local primary school student who recited an excerpt from Jane Eyre in an exam;  The Misfortune of Knowing posts about Jane Eyre.

Finally on the Brontë Parsonage website there is an account of another event that took place in the recent AGM: the Liverpool excursion.
The sun shone brightly as The Brontë Society headed west towards Liverpool, just as Branwell Brontë had done in 1845. Anne records in her diary paper for 31st July that year that Branwell had left Luddenden Foot and his post as a Tutor at Thorp Green, 'and had much tribulation and ill health he was very ill on Tuesday but he went with John Brown to Liverpool where he now is'. Anne expresses her hope that Branwell will both be better and do better in the future. Speculation still surrounds Branwell’s leaving of Thorp Green and this visit to Liverpool (Read more). (Sally McDonald

by M. ( at July 09, 2014 12:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Thanks to the Portygoose man over me ― who comes home at 4 I woke up & rose. Looked again vainly for the dear old rawing of Philates Castle, with all the Albanian Beys sitting. It is doubtless not in the 3 cabinets ― & I fear totally lost. Penned out till 8. & after breakfast worked somewhat at Jameson’s Florence, which must be done ― tho’ I fear it will give me good deal of trouble.

Then penned out till lunch time. A frightful heavy & dreary weight of undefined gloom oppresses me: ― one of the morbid irrepressible fits of which I thank God I now have but few, in comparison with former days.

Slept a good deal afterwards; no one came all day* ― but little Underhill; ― various notes ― invitations &c. &c. At 5.30 I called on Philip Bouverie ― pleasant visit. Sartoris & Grenfell ― out. Cab home. Walked about Stratford Place with everlasting bright good dear Mrs. G.C.

* Except Fortescue.

At 7.30 to Lowndes Square.


Very good dinner & pleasant evening.

But I do wish I could hear from my good Giorgio Cocàli.

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

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

The Little Professor


Off to this year's NASSR--a conference I've never before attended, thanks to being a Victorianist.  Yes, I'm talking about Victorian stuff, which I hope is not grounds for summary ejection.  

by Miriam Burstein at July 09, 2014 02:26 AM


July editions

New editions of Brontë novels:
Wuthering Heights (Scholastic Classics)
Emily Brontë

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: 03 July 2014
ISBN 13: 9781407144078 
Jane Eyre (Scholastic Classics)
Charlotte Brontë

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: 03 July 2014
ISBN 13: 9781407144061
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

Publisher: Alma Books Classics Evergreen
Published: 04 July 2014
ISBN 13: 9781847493736

by M. ( at July 09, 2014 01:59 AM

July 08, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Macmillan to Reissue Lots of Alice Books for Alice 150

Can’t keep a good idea down, Macmillan is jumping on the Alice 150 bandwagon with a slew of new editions of both Alice and Looking Glass, not to mention Morton Cohen’s Carroll biography.  Details here.

by Matt at July 08, 2014 04:00 PM


Soap Opera for the Ages

The Telegraph & Argus reports the upcoming Open Garden Day at the Brontë Parsonage Museum next weekend:
The Brontë Parsonage Museum will this weekend hold its first Open Garden Day.
Resident gardeners Jenny Whitehead and Geoff Taylor have been preparing for the event on Sunday.
Parsonage spokesman Hermione said the Parsonage gardens were full bloom.
She said: “You can enjoy the natural surroundings of the Parsonage, just as the Brontës did.
“We are busy potting-up the spare plants for a bring-and-buy stall. All you need to do is bring a plant from your garden and go away with one of our home grown plants.”
The event runs from 11am to 3pm. There will be home-made cakes and tea.
In the same journal we read about the initiative of a Bradford Literature Festival (scheduled for late September):
One of the founders, Oakenshaw mother-of-one Syima Aslam, said: "It will be everything from the Brontës right through, so there will be a focus on our heritage but at the same time it will be about modern literature.
The Huffington Post makes a list of 'beautiful friendships between classical authors'. Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë are on it:
The reclusive Brontë sisters generally shied away from social situations, but Charlotte found herself circulating in intellectual society after her novels’ critical and popular successes, and she befriended several thinkers of the time. Most notably, Brontë easily bonded with the famous novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, and they became fast friends. Brontë stayed at Gaskell’s home several times, though the constant merry-go-round of socializing proved uncomfortable for Brontë, who once hid behind the curtains to avoid speaking to Gaskell’s guests. Their relationship fortunately survived such setbacks. After Brontë’s untimely death, Gaskell wrote a somewhat controversial biography of her friend that has remained an important, if flawed, resource for readers. (Claire Fallon)
Interview Magazine (August 2014) publishes a Glenn Close interview to Mia Wasikowska:
As Charlotte Brontë's famous governess in Cary Joji Fukunaga's adaptation of Jane Eyre (2011), Mia Wasikowska is so ethereal as to seem almost translucent. But if we feel we can look through her and see clearly what she's feeling, her thoughts remain closed off from us, hidden behind dark, still eyes. It is no surprise, then, when Edward Rochester, played by Michael Fassbender, asks, mystified, "Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre?" They sit by a fire, but Wasikowska's Eyre seems to receive no warmth from it. "I can see in you the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage," Rochester says, "a vivid, restless, captive; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high." (...)
WASIKOWSKA: The first book I studied in school was Lord of the Flies and, as most teenagers probably are, I was kind of eye-roll-y about it. But as we started dissecting it, it was the most interesting thing ever. I love The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Jane Eyre, of course.
Another list appearing in The Huffington Post is about 'dark and stormy' books. Guess what Brontë novel fits in this category:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
A passionate, practically demonic love affair between Catherine Earnshaw and the infamous Heathcliff drives Brontë's masterpiece to the top of our list. Getting revenge on those whom you thought never loved you (but they did!)--can you say soap opera for the ages? (Oyster Books)
Uloop (and many tumblr and blog websites) attributes the following quote to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre:
“Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.”
This is quote is NOT from Jane Eyre and as far as we know it is not by Charlotte Brontë either.

A reader of Tampa Bay Times hits the spot replying to those censors who enjoy banning modern books from schools and ask for returning to classics:
Some of the most revered novels — novels that have been treasured through many generations — are awash with violent passions: greed, hate and, yes, sex. They were never intended to preserve young readers' innocence. Instead, they mirrored all kinds of human problems. Think, for instance, of Treasure Island,Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre. (Abigail Ann Martin)
Heatworld on the Kardashians novel:
Joyce. Austen. Dickens. Brontë. Pynchon. Kendall and Kylie Jenner from off of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Updike. In the cannon of literary greats, it’s only fair that Kendall and Kylie Jenner — twin authors of Rebels: City of Indra, or at least their names are on the cover so they probably came up with a character name or something — should be considered among the best. (Joel Golby)
When Women Talks lists several fictional heroines:
My number one, forever and always. Jane Eyre was so incredibly ahead of her time – written when women were considered inferior to men, Jane looked after herself. Refusing to settle for anything less than she deserved, Jane saved herself. And, in the end, she saved Mr Rochester, too.
ABC (Spain) reviews Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels:
Resulta impensable nombrar la vida y obra de una Mitford sin referirse a las demás Una puede escribir sobre Jane Eyre sin nombrar ni a Emily ni a Ann (sic), sólo a Charlotte Brontë . Pero resulta impensable nombrar la vida y obra de una Mitford sin referirse a las demás.  (Rosa Belmonte) (Translation)
This reviewer in AftonBladet (Sweden) cannot hide her Brontëiteness:
Jane Austen har aldrig varit någon favorit hos mig. Hon är för enögd, torr och stram. Systrarna Brontë har med sina romaner Svindlande höjder och Jane Eyre allt som Austen saknar; lidelse, gåtfullhet, själsligt mörker. (Anneli Jordahl) (Translation)
You Gotta Read Reviews interviews the writer Kelliea Ashley:
What books have most influenced your life? Jane Eyre. I like the tall, dark, brooding type of hero. 
A librarian and Brontëite in The Daily Tribune News; Shelf Love reviews Jude Morgan's The Taste of Sorrow; The Starving Artist posts about Jane Eyre; Vivrelivre (in French) reviews the Yann & Édith comic adaptation of Wuthering Heights; MagicofBooks reviews the webseries The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. Classic Chapters adapts Chapter 9 of Wuthering Heights on YouTube.

Finally, checking the Brontë Society's website we noticed we missed this event in the recent AGM. It's almost an off-AGM event:
Members gathered happily for the now traditional informal supper at The Old White Lion on AGM Sunday, June 15, 2014. Everyone looks forward to this evening of good food, good company and lots of Brontë chat. This year we were especially fortunate, as Gillian Stapleton had offered to talk to members about the making of a replica of Charlotte Brontë’s wedding dress. Gillian is a costume historian and many members will remember her excellent talk on ‘The Well-Dressed Governess.’

Gillian has painstakingly re-created Charlotte’s wedding dress by gathering all available comments, studying records of fabrics and styles of the period, and from an in-depth knowledge of Charlotte’s taste in clothes. The dress is featured in this photograph with Emily Evans. Emily, aged 10, our youngest member, and at four feet ten inches the same height as Charlotte. The dress is simply beautiful and challenges previous thinking.
It was a magical evening. For those who couldn’t attend on Sunday there’s good news: Gillian will soon be publishing a book on her research and the dress. Gillian will also be bringing the dress to the Museum before too long, so watch out for details. (Sally McDonald)

by M. ( at July 08, 2014 12:49 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore how contemporary understandings of the Victorians are shaped by representations of clothing and costume. It will interrogate the cultural afterlives of the Victorian body, […]

by Jo Taylor at July 08, 2014 10:33 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. & went at 7.30 to H.J. Bruces’ in a cab ― the Argostoli being taken there, saw it hung in the dining room ― & cab back by 9.

Did hardly anything all day ― so many people came: penned out a little ― Cretan sketches.

No letter from George. The man below really is going, & I shall risk taking the rooms ― at least for 3 years on ― making 200 in all.

C. Church & his wife & pretty little girl Ida ― Lor Somer ― Moore of the 8th my comrade on the Gange ― Julia Goldsmid & Mrs. Naylor, Mr. Robinson the downstairs man, ― & S.W. Clowes ― & later Edgar Drummond.

I lunched or dined on bread beer & tongue ― resolving to go to W. Nevill’s. But I remembered he was to be at Godalming: ― so at 7.45 ― I went to see AT & T. Woolner ― but the former had gone ― & the latter was just going out. So I came home at 8.30 ― & wrote a lot of Crete journal.

I shall go to bed at 9.30.

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

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

The Cat's Meat Shop

The Difference between a Squib and a Puff

[probably to be taken with a pinch of salt, like all articles 'revealing' the true nature of the criminal underworld]

It appears by the Enquiry made by the Justices of the Peace for the City and Liberty of Westminster, that there are in the Parish of St. Paul's Covent-Garden twenty two Gaming Houses, some of which clear sometimes 100l. and seldom less than 40l. a Night.

The Gamesters have their proper Officers both Civil and Military, with Salaries proportionable to their respective Degrees, and the Importance they are of in the Service, viz.

A Commissioner or Commis, who is always a Proprietor of the Gaming Houses: He looks in once a Night, and the Week's Account is Audited by him and two other of the Proprietors.

A Director, who Superintends the Room.

The Operator, the Dealer at Faro.

Croupees, two who watch the Cards and gather the Money for the Bank.

A Puff, one who has Money given him to Play, in order to decoy others.

A Clerk, who is a Check upon the Puff, to see that he sinks none of that Money.

A Squib, who is a Puff of a lower Rank, and has half the salary of a Puff.

A Flasher, one who sits by to swear how often he has seen the bank stripped.

A Dunner, Waiters.

An Attorney or Solicitor.

A Captain, one who is to fight any Man that is peevish, or out of humour at the loss of his Money.

An Usher, who takes care that the Porter or Grenadier at the Door suffers none to come in but those he knows.

A Porter, who at most of the Gaming-Houses is a Soldier, hired for that purpose.

A Runner, to get Intelligence of all the Meetings of the Justices of the Peace, and when the Constables go upon the Search; his Fee half a Guinea.

Any Link-boy, Coachman, Chair-man, Drawer or other Person who gives notice of the Constables being up on search, has half a Guinea.

  1. Daily Journal, 11 January 1722

by Lee Jackson ( at July 08, 2014 08:04 AM


Jane Eyre's musical in Seattle

A production of Gordon & Caird's Jane Eyre musical, begins previews tomorrow (July 9) in Seattle, WA:
Taproot Theatre presents
Jane Eyre

Book by John Caird
Music and Lyrics by Paul Gordon
Additional Lyrics by John Caird
Based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte

July 11-August 16 | Previews July 9 & 10

Charlotte Brontë’s great love story comes to life with music to lift your heart and set your spirit soaring. This beloved tale of secrets and the lies that secrets create, of unimaginable hope and unspoken passion, reminds us what it is to fall deeply, truly and completely in love.

by M. ( at July 08, 2014 01:30 AM

July 07, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Fifty Shades of Alice?! Ew.

Again from our Fearless Leader (kinda edgy, dontcha think?).  Ok, did we really need this?  Who can say.  And who will review it for KL?  Hayley, please say no ;-)  Is that a mushroom or are you just happy to see me.  Ugh. The first two of three appear to be published (Wonderland and Looking Glass) as audiobooks or on Kindle, what could the third be?

by Matt at July 07, 2014 04:00 PM

Regency Ramble

Three Tips for the Aspiring Writer

I don't often give advice. But this past week I was at the optician's  I let fall that I was a published author, as one occasionally does. The recipient of this information, a very nice man, offered that he had wanted to write a book, then decided that he didn't have anything to say that he thought others might find of interest.

Really? Don't we all have stories to tell? Even if it is only what happened at work today. It wasn't the time or the place to offer advice, nor was I asked for it, but here is some of what I might have said had I got it together.

I must say that unlike other authors I have met over these past several years, I had no thought of becoming an author.  Yes I liked the challenge of crafting a clearly argued memo, or creating a well thought out report on some item of business but an author?  No.  I was an avid reader.

Until one fine day; I wrote a novel. What a surprise.

All right so it was a very bad novel, but I finished it.

Tip # 1

Finish the book.
You will hear authors say that a finished book can always be fixed. I would suggest that while it is likely true for some, not my first one.  It was an exercise of undeveloped muscles. A training run. Never to see the light of day. You know all those things they say never to do in a book. I did them all. I had no clue, apart from writing THE END.

And then I took classes

Tip # 2

Learn your craft. Books on the subject. Classes. And above all reading books by authors you admire.

It took five more novels under my belt before I won my first contract. It was like winning the lottery.

Also quite painful.  All those: thanks but no thanks. Interestingly enough all but one of those next books are now in print.

Tip # 3


Don't give up. Don't second guess yourself. Or put yourself out of the running. Finish, polish and submit.

We all know the classic examples, Stephen King, J K Rowling etc. etc and Ann Lethbridge. Oh well, I couldn't resist (not that I am putting myself in their category, of course).

And a publisher is not your only option. These days, self-publishing or inde-publishing provides a whole other avenue of getting you're work out there. More on that another time.

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 07, 2014 12:00 PM


Botany Book Trace of the Week

There have been lots of interesting submissions on lately! One book trace, in particular, stands out for as evidence of its past use. Submitted by Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, the copy of Gray’s School and Field Book of Botany shows small plant samples pressed between its pages. Perhaps a past student felt moved to place examples for close study alongside the text?

by Brandon Walsh at July 07, 2014 08:23 AM

Regency Ramble

Fashion for June

PROMENADE OR WALKING DRESS from Ackermann's Repository June 1812
A ROUND robe of jaconot or fine cambric muslin, with long sleeve and high waist, with fan ruff of lace, ornamented up the front with borders of needle-work or lace, and finished at the feet with ball fringe. 
A Spanish hussar cloak of deep amber sarsnet, lined with sea green or white, and trimmed with broad thread lace, put on very full. 
Hair disposed in bands and waved curls; a large square veil of white lace, thrown over the head and shading the face. 
Half-boots amber-coloured kid, and gloves a pale primrose. 
Small French cap of lace, ornamented with a small cluster of spring flowers, on one side, are often seen in this style of costume, and have an appropriate and pretty effect beneath the long veil.

by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 07, 2014 09:01 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


A very misery. ― But ― “one struggle more” ― I rose at 6.30, & before 8 completed all I can ever do well, of the Argostoli. After breakfast, Came Foord the man at Foords ― & pasted & fixed in the Argostoli: ― all which lasted till 11. Then there was a visit from Gush, who has been applied to by Mrs. Robinson, her vacillating as to giving up his floor: ― whereat I rejoice ― for an additional 100£ a year is at least for 3 or 4 years no absolute [ruin], & is a fillip & motion to energy ― to say the very smallest. Two letters came ― one very nice from Lord Lilford: the other, good & sensible, from W.N. about the 2 pictures. My idea is to spend 120£ on AQllan’s board, say 20£ or 30£ for 5. Years: but this we shall see about.

At 1 ― came Mrs. Clive, Halliday & Mrs. Cosway: who looked aver drawings till 2.30 ― meanwhile, a Mrs. Sutherland also came ― less absurdly than formerly ― but still quite enough so. After these went, I penned out a little Κρητηκὰ― & at 4.30 ― walked out ― across the Park to Holman Hunts ― out ― also G. Middleton. Returning, saw P. Bouverie smoking a cigar on a bench in Kensington Gardens ― with whom walked to Oxford St. nearly home. ―

Bouverie is a kindly good fellow ever.

At Stratford Place, dined alone ― reading Sir W. Napier’s life.


I have lost a drawing ― that of Φιλάτες― the castle view, ― & cannot find it anywhere. Day’s bill came in too ― pleasing to relate 7£ in my favour. No letter from George ―― !

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

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

Regency Ramble

Montacute House II

Here is the front door which says

Through this wide op'ning Gate
None come too Early none Return too Late

This is a quote from Alexander Pope's Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Paraphrased  and come from a speech of an upper class ne'er do well, thought to have been added in the nineteenth century to the East frontdoor of this 17th century house

The coat of arms above the porch into the door are those of the house's builder, Sir Edward Phelips 1560- 1614 and dated 1601.
The door opens into the screens passage at one end of the Great Hall.

In this picture you can see the open door, and the passage behind the screen. This passage divides the great hall from the dining room.

And of course the screen itself.

It really is beautiful. It is a single story screen.

By this time, great halls were where the lord met his guests and took them up to the first floor private dining room.  At one time, the floor was tiled.  I am sure it was used similarly in our time.
The fireplace and paneling on this wall are original.

The stained glass in the windows is heraldic with the coats of arms of Elizabeth the first and Sir Edward Phelips and his brothers.

At the other end of the hall is a plaster frieze that  shows a story of what might happen to a man who strikes his wife with a shoe.

Until next time


by Ann Lethbridge ( at July 07, 2014 08:54 AM

The Little Professor

Some Danger Involved

At Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt's suggestion, I picked up (can you pick up an e-book?) Some Danger Involved, the first book in Will Thomas' series about late-Victorian detectives ("private enquiry agents," excuse me) Barker and Llewelyn.  It's Thomas' first book, published a decade ago, and it has first-book problems--the detective plot unfolds slowly and awkwardly, characters tend to stand and speechify, and Barker has so many quirks that he makes Sherlock Holmes look like, well, Watson--but I was interested enough to download the next book, so clearly Thomas did something right.  Beyond that, though, some aspects of the book did intrigue me when I had my (neo)Victorianist hat on.

At one level, the novel clearly falls into the Henry Mayhew-esque or Charles Booth-esque "in darkest England" narrative line, which has proven extremely popular with neo-Victorian novelists.  The novel plunges Llewellyn into an unfamiliar London cityscape populated by various and sundry Others, whether Other in terms of race, class, or religion.  This London is clearly marked by traces of imperial power, in the form of people, objects, and ideas moving from the colonies to the metropolis and back again; immigrants and emigrants abound.  Britain's imperial reach is religious as well as military and financial: Barker himself is the Baptist son of a "missionary from Perth" (197) who did his work in China.  Although the Chinese community in England figures on the novel's fringes, in the form of restaurant owner Mr. Ho, Barker's Chinese gardeners, and Barker's previous right-hand man (now deceased), Mr. Quong, the novel's primary focus falls on the Jews, both the long-resident Sephardim and the newly arrived Ashkenazim.  Through Llewelyn's gaze (and, sometimes, active participation), the novel introduces us to both a number of real Jews--Moses Montefiore, Nathan Rothschild, Israel Zangwill--and several fictional ones, taken from a cross-section of all levels of the Jewish community, very wealthy and very poor alike.[1]  At various points, we see a funeral service, visit Bevis Marks (warning: audio auto-plays), take a tour of the Jews' Free School, run into Jews sitting shiva, and get a glimpse of what it might be like to be a shabbes goy.  Llewelyn is simultaneously puzzled by the lack of Jewish difference (Bevis Marks, thanks to its Christian architect, looks like Charles Haddon Spurgeon's church) and the recurring signs of Jewish otherness (Zangwill's casual invocations of the golem); he attempts to link Jewishness to explicitly Jewish bodies, a strategy which constantly run aground on characters like Michael da Silva, who looks like a "well-fed country parson" (57).  These Jews raise the question, that is, not only of what it means to say "I belong to this group," but also of what it is to be English.  Are the mostly-assimilated Sephardim English? What about Ashkenazim born in England, like Zangwill? And what to make of the immigrants, who cause anxiety for their assimilated counterparts, and for whom English is a second (or third) language? (Zangwill notes that the first murder victim, Louis, was "formal in his English" but more outgoing in Yiddish [101].)  The Jewish characters negotiate multiple spaces in the novel, figuratively and literally; the plot does not confine them to Maida Vale or the East End.  Llewelyn's individuated Jews stand in stark contrast to the undifferentiated hordes who spark the deadly imaginations of working-class Englishmen, who rage against the immigrants stealing their jobs.  At the same time, these Jews are not passive victims before the possible rampages of the so-called "Anti-Semite League," but social activists and, when the situation calls for it, fighters--fighters with blunt swords, that is.    

As is so often the case with this kind of fiction, the majority gaze on the minority population can certainly threaten to render the Other simply exotic.  The novel addresses this issue sidelong with Llewelyn himself, who is himself socially and culturally problematic:  a Welshman and son of a miner, he managed to go to Oxford, thanks to aristocratic patronage, only to marry a working-class girl ("how George Gissing," I thought, and was amused to find when I reached the afterword that George Gissing it was indeed), be caught thinking about stealing a coin, and thrown in jail.   Llewelyn's situation is not "just like" that of the Jews or Chinese, but he is marginal along multiple fronts, from that of social class (what is a working-class man who attends Oxford?) to gender (he's extremely small) to national identity (the provincial Welshman).  "I do have the black hair and swarthy skin of my once great race, the true Celts of Britain" (7), Llewelyn harrumphs, and he thus finds himself neither one of the racially and religiously despised, nor exactly an Englishman.  As such, he functions as both insider and outsider to English culture, somewhat akin to Patrick O'Brian's cosmopolitan Dr. Maturin.  Similarly, Barker's long travels overseas have left him a polyglot with a belief in the superiority of many Asian cultural practices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for either jingoism or racism.  "I was shaking my head at Barker's choices in help as I stepped out of doors," Llewelyn observes. "Chinese gardeners.  Jewish butlers.  Lazy clerks.  Temperamental French cooks, and last but not least, downtrodden Welsh assistants" (74).   The novel thus positions Barker's home as a kind of international intersection point, in which all races, religions, and nations co-exist, if not always peacefully, at least with considerable good humor.  This mutually beneficial relationship seems to stand apart from what happens overseas, if Barker's contempt for racists is any indication.  

Barker's status as a missionary child points up something rather unusual about the book: the characters are both unapologetic Dissenters, Barker a Baptist (and follower of Spurgeon) and Llewellyn a Methodist.  Finally, a violation of Rule #2! Barker has chunks of the Bible memorized, knows his Jewish history and culture because Jews are "the chosen people" and "[i]f you are Christian, you must believe it so, because the Bible never contradicts it" (136), and dislikes blasphemous invocations of the Lord; Llewelyn, while less ostentatious, nevertheless "prayed and prepared myself to meet my Maker" (264) when he thinks he's about to die.  (There's also Brother Andy, a prize-fighter turned evangelist to the poor.)  As we roam from Christian type to Christian type, it becomes clear that the novel finds that a certain kind of religious belief is necessary for peaceful co-existence: Barker, Llewelyn, Brother Andy, the various Jewish groups, and even the Messianic Jews (who in reality would have called themselves Hebrew Christians) stand apart from the self-interested fanatics like the Rev. Painsley (a take-off of Ian Paisley?), who uses anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant rhetoric to further his career, and the Anglo-Israelite Mr. Brunhoff, ditto.  At base, the novel associates the "right" kind of religiousness not so much with 100% moral righteousness or theological correctness (it's not that kind of book) but, instead, with a basic empathy for the poor and marginal.  That is, the book elevates practical faith over doctrine.  It is hard not to notice, however, that the Big Bad isn't religious at all, that Barker had previously investigated an anti-Semitic attack that "turned out to be the work of a Jewish atheist" (136), and that one scary suspect comes across as the love child of Richard Dawkins and the crudest brand of online atheist.  Thus, while the novel's call for interfaith toleration and mutual help is, in effect, secular (in the sense that the state should not privilege any one religion or actively discriminate against non-Christians), it certainly isn't in favor of secularists.   


[1] It's not clear to me if "Rabbi Mocatta" is supposed to be a real member of the ultra-illustrious Mocatta family--I haven't been able to identify a historical parallel of the right age and profession, although there were so many of them that I may have just missed one.    

by Miriam Burstein at July 07, 2014 02:13 AM


Bradfordians Jane

A new amateur production of Jane Eyre opens tomorrow, July 8, in Bradford-upon-Avon, Wiltshire:
The Bradfordians Dramatic Society presents
Jane Eyre

Join the multi award winning Bradfordians for their annual summer production, a thrilling new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s gothic masterpiece ‘Jane Eyre’.
Follow Jane on her journey from poor orphan child and abused schoolgirl to wealthy heiress. From humble beginnings as a penniless governess at Thornfield Hall, Jane finds herself falling in love with the master of the house, but where does that sinister laugh that haunts the corridors come from? What terrible dark secret is the enigmatic Mr. Rochester concealing?
A wonderful story, an atmospheric venue, and a cast of 40 of the best local talent. Enjoy a picnic and a glass of wine on the banks of the Avon before the show.
The perfect recipe for a perfect summer’s evening

Performances: 7.30pm Tuesday 8 July – Saturday 12 July
Venue: The Tithe Barn, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LF

by M. ( at July 07, 2014 02:19 AM

The Tour de France in Haworth

Today is of course the day that the Tour de France passes through Haworth. It's an event that has been in the making about a year! The Telegraph and Argus looks at what's happening today, such as the locations the riders will be passing through.
Other highlights include the cobbles of the picture-postcard High Street of Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters.
KCRA 3 points out the same thing and provides some background on the Brontës:
Britain's love affair with the Tour de France was rekindled when its 101st edition started Saturday in a region famed for the literary works of the Brontë sisters and the rugged terrain which provided the setting for their most famous novels. [...]
The second leg Sunday will indeed see the peloton speed through the small town of Haworth where the Brontë's -- Charlotte, Emily and Ann (sic) -- lived in the early 19th century.
Their most famous works, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and the Tenant of Wildfell Hall are literary classics set against the backdrop of the wild and windswept moors that surround their birthplace in the West Riding. (Paul Gittings)
The Daily Beast looks at some of Yorkshire's most famous facts.
And it is hard to think of any greater challenge to the soul than the cultural terrain of Yorkshire: the excruciating passions of Wuthering Heights, tortured love in which landscape and climate form essential elements of the torture. This is literature born in the frigid air of the parsonage. In a group portrait, the Bronte sisters—Emily who delivered Wuthering Heights, Charlotte who delivered Jane Eyre, and Anne The Tentant of Wildfell Hall— exude a dark, introverted vision of 19th century enslaved womanhood that only the bleakness of the Yorkshire moors could validate.
The Brontës laid a basic foundation of what has become the Yorkshire brand: A forbidding and yet majestic land in which masochism is an essential part of character building. (Clive Irving)
La Verdad (Spain) also describes Yorkshire:
Yorkshire es un condado verde y oscuro, de lluvia y viento, el escenario de 'Cumbres Borrascosas', la historia brutal, pasional, escrita por Emily Brontë. (J. Gómez Peña) (Translation)
The Guardian also describes the atmosphere and landscapes:
Later, as the riders went over Côte de Cray and the Côte de Buttertubs, the crowds were so close they could breathe on the peloton.
It could have been the Pyrenées or the Alps, not Heathcliff country. (Sean Ingle)
The Independent wonders which is better: Yorkshire or France and lists the Brontës among the famous people from Yorkshire.

Le Monde (France) compares Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome to Cathy and Heathcliff.
Emportés par la fièvre du maillot jaune, le Yorkshire s'est déplacé en masse pour applaudir les coureurs et la caravane du Tour. Sur le tronçon entre Leyburn et Ripon, un jeune couple encourage ses stars, Mark Cavendish et Chris Froome. Elle est frêle et gantée, lui est en redingote et hautes bottes. Seraient-ils Heathcliff et Cathy, les héros des Hauts du Hurlevent ? (Marc Roche) (Translation)
TV Visie has an article about the Tour's Grand Départ.

Well, that's all about the Tour... for now, we expect.

Kate Mosse picks Wuthering Heights as a timeless holiday read for the Daily Mail.
In its time Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Penguin Classics, £6.99) was also seen as transgressive and challenging. I’ve read the novel in every decade of my life and find something new every time. 
The Guardian also features Caitlin Moran and her new book How to Build a Girl.
"[...] Right, that's done," he said, standing up and looking at the bike. "You off to the library?"
"I suppose. While it's still there," I said, morosely. I'd got the new Terry Pratchett reserved, but it seemed rather futile to go and collect it now, given that I might die before I finished it. Perhaps I'd just reread Jane Eyre instead.
DVD Talk reviews the film The Lost Moment and thinks that,
It would seem that in the wake of success of both the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights and perhaps even more so Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca in 1940, a slew of brooding romantic period pieces followed. (Jamie S. Rich)
STV quotes from an interview by Radio Times Magazine to film director John Carey where he said,
''Outside of chick lit, couples don't just walk off into the sunset together - not in anything that has ever moved me, anyway. Look at 'Wuthering Heights', or 'Anna Karenina', or 'Brief Encounter' - complex, compromised love is far truer to life. Difficult relationships and unfulfilled love are what interest me as a storyteller.''
Music Times considers Kate Bush as on of six pop stars that 'went avant-garde'.
Kate Bush's music has always been eccentric, but this didn't hold her back from commercial success in the '70s and '80s. With her debut single "Wuthering Heights," Bush became the first female artist to hit number one on the UK charts with a self-written song, but her music gradually became stranger.
The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page is asking for your favourite Emily Brontë poem.

by Cristina ( at July 07, 2014 02:06 AM

July 06, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose before 6 ― & painted! ― (Argostoli) till 8.

After 9 ― Tarrant came, bringing 60 mounted drawings. Then at 11 ― (disgusted by the bothers of the Portuguese lodgers’s & their servants, / & Gush, went to look at Mr. Rothery’s house, No. 10. ― Returning ― Lady Grey & Miss De Vœux came, & staid till nearly 1. Then William Evans. ―Poi ― luncheon. ― Ἔπειτα, Mr. Morier again ― whose niece has died suddenly, whereby the “Storks dinner” is put off.

Wrote various notes & looked out of windows till 4.15 ― when I went upstairs & painted at the foreground of the Argostóli till 6.15. (But the light is so narrowed & contracted & small ――― bah! ― I never paint comfortably.)

Then I went out, at 6.30 ― (after watching darling little Kathleen Clive skipping about on the steps opposite, ―) & called at F. Thrupp’s ― but they were all away: ― I learned that J. Uwins was aroad. ― Walked on ― & called at Mrs. Wilson’s ― (in the same home Sir Howard Douglas lived in.) ― & then on Wade-Browne, who is a pleasant fellow & good ― but way out. Then I came home. Found a letter from Fanny Coombe. Marion Morse has a little girl. Yet it seems but a little time since I used to sit at the back of G.C.’s poney carriage, with Marion ― a baby ― in the nurse’s arms ― which the nurse I kissed all the drive through ―. At 8. had dinner ― but was only consoled by Sir W. Napier’s life.


The Daywork of life is easy enough. Eating & sleeping are the horrors. ― Cromek wrote this morning ― having received the halves of the two 5£ notes I sent yesterday.


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

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

The Cat's Meat Shop

A Proposal to put a stop to Street Robbing, 1728

To the Author of the London Evening Post ...

First, That an Order be directed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and by the Justices in the Out-Parts, to the Constables of the respective Parishes, commanding them to be at their Watch Houses by Eight o'Clock in the Evening, from Michaelmas to Lady-Day, and by Nine o'Clock from Lady-Day to Michaelmas; and that they call over their Watch every Evening at the Time above-mentioned; and every Constable disobeying the said Order, for the first Office to forfeit 10l. the second Office 20l. and the third Offence 30l. and one Months Imprisonment, (the Money to go towards defraying the Charge of the Watch.) And that no Constable presume to go off of his Duty, or leave his Watch-house, unless on his Rounds, which he is to go once in an Hour, or two at farthest, under the abovementioned Penalties; there being nothing more common than for a Constable, after he has impanelled his Watch, either to go home to Bed, or else to the next Tavern, and leave the Care of the Inhabitants and the Watch to a drunken Beadle; by which Neglect in the Constable, many a House and Shop has been broke open, many a drunken Gentleman abused by the mercenary Beadles and Watchmen, by extorting Money from them to buy Drink, as well as many a Villain let go for a Bribe.

Secondly, That the Number of Watchmen in every Parish be doubled, and none younger than Twenty four, nor older than Forty-five at most employed, and their Pay doubled; That every Watchman be sworn to a due Observance of his Duty and the Orders which shall be given him in Print, at the Time of his Entrance, by the Constable, who should be authorized for that Purpose. And that no Constable discharge his Watch till Six in the Morning from Michaelmas to Lady-Day, nor before Five from Lady-Day to Michaelmas. And that each Constable discharge his Watch in his own proper Person at the Times abovementioned, under the Penalty aforesaid, and call them over at the Time of discharging them. That every Watchman be armed with a Brace of Pistols and a Hanger at the Parish Charege; (but as these are of dangerous Consequence, the Watchmen should be regulated according to a further Scheme printed in this Paper the 10th of October) that each be loaded every Night before the Constable with Powder and Ball, and drawn the next Morning at the Time of their Discharge, and left in the Care of the Constable till next Night. And that every Watchman be hired [....] Constable and Churchwarden and at the time sign an Instrument with a Penalty for his true and due Performance of his Duty for that Time, to prevent his leaving his Place on any Reprimand, or the like on Male-Behaviour. That no Watchmen beat his Round or call the Hour, it being very notorious that when a Villain is breaking open a House, the Watchman, by calling the Hour, gives Notice of his Coming, the Rogue has then nothing to do, but to conceal himself till the Watchman is gone by , and then he knows he has another Hour to work, in which Time he seldom misses to effect his Villainy; and by this Means most of te Shops and House are broke open in the Night, which, by the Watchman's going his Round silently would be prevented, and the Rogue often-times apprehended, by coming upon him unawares. That the Watch go their rounds every Hour, two together, without talking, unless upon a Challenge of Who's there? Who comes there? or the like. And every Watchman that shall come drunk up to his Watch, to be found so when upon it, or be absent at the Time of calling over either at Night or Morning, or otherwise neglecting his Duty, or disobeying his Orders, which as it will be Perjury so to do, shall for the first Offence be whipt and forfeit forty Shillings, and for the second Offence be pilloryed and discharged. These may seem to some very severe Injunctions and Impositions; but it is certain that our Watch have for many Years past been very negligent, (not to say any worse of them) and without a strict Regulation and Reform of THEM I dare undertake to say twill not be in that Power of human Prudence to prevent STREET ROBBERIES.

Thirdly, That every Street-Robber that shall be taken, whether Man or Woman, upon Conviction of the Fact, be executed in this Manner; if a Man Convict, as soon as he has received his Sentence, he shall have one hundred Lashes on his naked Back with a Wire Whip, and three Days afterwards be hanged in the same Street where the Robbery was committed. If a Woman as soon as convicted and Sentence past, she shall have a hundred Lashes in the same Manner as the Man, and be burnt the Fourth Day in Smithfield. Every convicting Prosecutor to receive the Reward allowed for such Conviction in open Court, as soon the Verdict is brought in, without any Fee or Reward whatsoever; and the Charge of such Prosecution to be sustained by the Parish where such Robbery was committed. Tho' this rigorous and severe way of Punishment may startle some at first, yet let such consider the Nature of the Thing, and the absolute Necessity there is for it; for is a base Set of Miscreants, who are so abandoned to Vice and Villainy will, in Defiance of all Laws Human and Divine, become the Pest of Society, and laugh even at the extremest Punishment which the Law has at present provided (HANGING) I think it highly reasonable and necessary, there should be some more severe Punishment constituted for them than at present, that DEATH might appear in his Ushering in more terrible, and the Execution more exquisite and dreadful; for it's Severity in the Punishment that must deter others from these Villainies: The unheard of Barbarities in these STREET-ROBBERS, do in strict Justice require as severe Punishments; and till they find it, all Efforts to suppress them will be useless and vain. I know very well none but the King and the Legislative Power can do this; and as the Sitting of the Parliament is near  approaching, I humbly and earnestly recommend it to the serious Consideration of our Worthy Representatives of this City, to think of the Heads of Bill to lay before that August Assembly, and heartily wish them Success in their Undertaking. For surely nothing can more redound to their Honour, than to excite themselves in the Defence of the Liberties of that City they represent, and which is now so villainously disturbed by a Set of Miscreants, that us Inhabitants with the utmost Hazard go about it, to transact their lawful Affairs, to the great Decay of the Trade of this NOBLE CITY.

Fourthly, if his Majesty at any time upon the Conviction of a Street-Robber whether Man or Woman, should (our of his Royal Goodness and natural Propensity to Mercy) be pleased to mitigate the Sentence of Death by Transportation, I wish it was humbly moved to his Sacred Person that the Offender might first be branded in the Forehead with these Letters (S.R.); and then transported for 21 years, under the Penalty of suffering as above on returning within the Time; then, like CAIN, all Mankind would know them.

I question not but if these four Articles (with the former inferred in this Paper) were strictly put in Execution, the Number and Mischiefs of these Miscreants would soon lessen./ For there's nothing more in it than to stop the Cause, and the Effect will naturally cease; and I believe the Articles with the former point out the Way in a good measure to it.

London Evening Post, 31 October 1728

by Lee Jackson ( at July 06, 2014 06:13 AM


Not the Tour but a Walk

Fraser Hall village hall in Cowan Bridge. © Copyright John S Turner and licensed
reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
If you don't feel like being around Haworth when the whole Tour craziness is up the Main Street, we have a quiet (but also Brontë-related) alternative. As published on the Brontë Parsonage Blog:
Walk and Worship the Brontë Way

The Vicar of Tunstall, The Revd Carus Wilson set up the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in January 1824 which Charlotte Brontë and three of her sisters attended before the elder sisters, Maria and Elizabeth died of consumption in 1825.She subsequently drew on her memories of this experience as the basis for ‘ Lowood School’ in Jane Eyre. In 1824 all pupils walked to Tunstall Church for Matins- apparently Leck church was not large enough- ate a packed lunch in a room over the porch ( a parvise) and attended Evensong before returning to Cowan Bridge. In 1825 the latter church was expanded and the pupils were saved this long walk.
On Sunday 6 July it is proposed to commemorate this experience by services in both churches starting with Holy Communion at 8am in Leck, St Peter’s Church (car parking available), followed by a visit to the ‘fever’ graves of some of the pupils of the Clergy Daughters’ School.
Those who cannot attend this service can go to the Fraser Hall, Cowan Bridge, where all will assemble to leave as a group at 9.30am ( drinks will be available). The group will then walk to Tunstall following the same route the girls did. (Please wear suitable clothing and footwear) Matins will be held at Tunstall at 11am. The service will be in the style of the period. Bring a packed lunch to eat in the comfort of Tunstall Village Hall-where drinks will be available prior to the return walk.
Refreshments will be then available in the Fraser Hall, Cowan Bridge prior to Evensong at 4.30pm at St Peter’s Leck. As little or as much as you wish, of the Pilgrimage, can be undertaken.

by M. ( at July 06, 2014 01:04 AM