Planet Century 19

October 31, 2014


A literal ghost writer

Although we first posted about this exactly a year ago, we believe the staff at Keighley News have chosen a fitting news story for Halloween.
Emily Bronte’s “lost” novel has been published after she communicated from the grave with a modern-day writer.
This is the claim of Leeds woman Morwenna Holman, who says she collaborated with the ghost of the famous author of Wuthering Heights.
‘Spirit writer’ Morwenna last year published Westerdale after many hours speaking with “real perfectionist” Emily and has gone on to write a sequel entitled Heaton.
Morwenna’s communication with Emily Brontë began when she visited the Parsonage Museum at the age of 10.
She said: “Before then I had been seeing a young girl in period dress in my bedroom, but she never said a word to me.
“She did not frighten me I had been seeing spirits since the age of about eight.”
Morwenna said she recognised Emily from her portrait in the museum, and almost immediately she heard a voice telling her she had to write a special novel when she was older.
She said: “At the age of 18 my psychic powers reached their full strength and Emily told me I had to write her second novel, which was destroyed by Charlotte when she lay dying.”
Westerdale is described as a tragic drama set in the wild landscape of the northern moors, detailing fear, aggression and rivalry between two families.
Morwenna said Westerdale took a year to complete.
She said: “Emily was a real perfectionist and hard to work with, but she brought such an essence of love that it made it enjoyable.”
In 2013, long after it was written by Morwenna, Westerdale was accepted by Olympia Publishers and it is now available on the website Amazon.
Morwenna said that in the intervening years she had worked with many other spirits, writing 10 of their life stories, but she recently collaborated again with Emily to write the famous woman’s third novel, Heaton.
Morwenna said: “For the first time I saw her smile as I unpacked the first precious editions of Heaton and in that smile was the warmth of the most wonderful spirit I have ever encountered.”
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said there was no firm evidence that Emily had written a second novel in her lifetime.
But she said that in 1871, an American author wrote a series of works allegedly dictated through a clairvoyant by famous writers including Charlotte Brontë.
Ann added: “This means Emily wasn’t the first. There’s a precedent for these sisters to write from the grave.” (David Knights)
Still on the Halloween theme, New Republic lists 'The 20 Most Terrifying Non-Horror Books You'll Ever Read'. Villette is a runner-up for the 'You're Convinced You'll Never Find Anyone Who Will Really Love You' category:
Villette by Charlotte Bronte: Lucy Snowe's love for her married fellow teacher is heartbreaking enough before you discover the story is based on Bronte's real-life story of being sent to Belgium alone to earn money to support her family. (Hillary Kelly and Chloe Schama)
The Daily Star on what to expect from Strictly Come Dancing's Halloween special programme:
Alison Hammond will be embracing her inner Kate Bush to dance the American Smooth to Wuthering Heights (along with a lot of fake fog, we presume) (Emma Kelly)
The Herald mentions it as well:
TV presenter Alison Hammond and Aljaz Skorjanec will dance the American Smooth to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, and promised on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two they will be Cathy and Heathcliff "with a twist".
Scary in a way, The Telegraph discusses 'Why Britons only really feel up when they’re down':
One major difference between a middle-aged British woman and her twentysomething self is that the older incarnation is cured of the notion she can make a man happy. By 46 she’ll have realised British males enjoy being harbingers of doom.
In fact, it’s something she should have noted in 1984, when every male she knew had Morrissey’s glumster anthem Heaven knows I’m Miserable Now on a loop. But back then, in her teens, she believed Jane Eyre’s happy fate was to rescue Mr Rochester. Over the course of the next three decades it will dawn on her that Eyre’s sole reward for this supposed rescue is a lifetime shackled to a blind would-be bigamist in his burnt-out mansion. But by then she’ll also realise she prefers stories that end “They all lived unhappily ever after.” Goodbye Charlotte Brontë, hello Val McDermid. (Rowan Pelling)
The Independent interviews writer Deborah Levy, who sounds like a Brontëite:
Describe the room where you usually writeI hire a modest garden shed built under an apple tree. On the wall hangs a microscopic photograph of Charlotte Bronte's quill pen – an artwork by genius Cornelia Parker.
The Huffington Post (Spain) interviews writer Santiago Posteguillo about his book and he of course can't help but also mention Jane Eyre:
¿Qué tres clásicos debería leer todo el mundo antes de morir?El Quijote de Cervantes, Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brönte [sic] y Guerra y Paz de Tolstoi. (Guillermo Rodríguez) (Translation)
Someone who has finally read Jane Eyre is this columnist from the Bennington Banner:
Dear Ms. Fabricatore (my junior year English teacher),
I have completed reading "Jane Eyre" and am ready to discuss the various characteristics portrayed by Jane in respect to her relationships with Mr. Rochester and Saint John. Though I am 19 years late, can you please remove the INCOMPLETE from my assignment?
Sincerely, Jared
P.S. I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner, but c'mon — look at the cover! It doesn't exactly scream "EXCITING READ!" And the first 100 pages does it no favors either. But the book picks up significantly towards the end of Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester, and her dialogue with St. John is phenomenal. I was enraptured over the last 100 pages to see if Bronte would extricate Jane and return her to Rochester. The back-and-forth with St. John over his trip to India was masterful writing, and I was truly surprised how captured I was ... at least as much as Jane! (Jared Della Roca)
Must Reads (Netherlands) reports that Jane Eyre has made it to the longlist of Cobra's survey of favourite books.

According to The Hindu,
there is so much in literature about four in the morning…Shakespeare in ‘Measure for Measure’, Leo Tolstoy in ‘War and Peace’, Charlotte Bronte in ‘Jane Eyre’, Emily Bronte in ‘Wuthering Heights’, Mark Twain in ‘Huckleberry Finn’, Vladimir Nabokov in ‘Lolita’, H.G. Wells in ‘The Invisible Man’, Fitzgerald in ‘Great Gatsby’ and the most famous wake up in literature perhaps, Kafka in ‘Metamorphosis’ (Sudhamahi Regunathan)
While The Weekly Standard Book Review looks at slang and its origins.
Charlotte Brontë liked to let her hair down linguistically from time to time. In an unpublished piece of early fiction, she imagines a scene at a horse race in which the owner of the defeated favorite suspects that his horse was doped. Ned Laury introduces an underworld informer, Jerry Sneak—the man who interfered with the horse—but demands: “Who’ll provide the stumpy, the blunt, the cash as it were to pay for the liquor that cousin of mine will require before he peaches?”
This kind of “flash” slang was doubtless not what the Brontë family used at tea in Haworth parsonage; but it was disseminated through magazine articles that offered readers a vicarious taste of vulgar vocabulary. (Sara Lodge)
Via the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page, we discover this illustration of Jane Eyre by Manuela Cappon.

by Cristina ( at October 31, 2014 12:19 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6.30. Very fine ― cold. Breakfast alone ― & to rail at 7.30. Stratford Place by 10. Paid young Underhill £2.10.0 for his work: a good Lad.

John Leech is dead. ―――

Went out to get a hat ― brushes ― Bradshaw &, ― coming back met Sir Henry Storks. Went out again about Drummond’s Circular notes. Returned to pack ― pack ― pack, ― & paper up all things ― till 6. When I am going to the Digby Wyatts’.

The weather has become intensely cold all of a sudden, ― & I feel miserable accordingly.


Somehow ― I was sad  sleepy.

At 11. I came away, cab home.

Letter from C.F. who has returned.

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

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


The Gypsy Maiden

A new book and  republished one, both of them recently published:
Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period
Sarah Houghton-Walker
Oxford University Press
16 October 2014

In early eighteenth-century texts, the gypsy is frequently figured as an amusing rogue; by the Victorian period, it has begun to take on a nostalgic, romanticized form, abandoning sublimity in favour of the bucolic fantasy propagated by George Borrow and the founding members of the Gypsy Lore Society. Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period argues that, in the gap between these two situations, the figure of the gypsy is exploited by Romantic-period writers and artists, often in unexpected ways. Drawing attention to prom
inent writers (including Wordsworth, Austen, Clare, Cowper and Brontë) as well as those less well-known, Sarah Houghton-Walker examines representations of gypsies in literature and art from 1780-1830, alongside the contemporary socio-historical events and cultural processes which put pressure on those representations. She argues that, raising troubling questions by its repeated escape from the categories of enlightenment discourses which might seek to 'know' or 'understand' in empirical ways, the gypsy exists both within and outside of conventional English society. The figure of the gypsy is thus available to writers and artists to facilitate the articulation of dilemmas and anxieties taking various forms, and especially as a lens through which questions of knowledge and identity (which is often mutable, and troubling) might be focussed. 
And a republication of a book first published in 1991:
The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Psychology Revivals)
Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind
By Meg Harris Williams, Margot Waddell
October 13th 2014

Literature is recognised as having significantly influenced the development of modern psychoanalytic thought. In recent years psychoanalysis has drawn increasingly on the literary and artistic traditions of western culture and moved away from its original medical-scientific context. Originally published in 1991 The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Keats's metaphor for 'the awakening of the thinking principle') is an original and revealing exploration of the seminal role of literature in forming the modern psychoanalytic model of the mind. The crux of the 'post-Kleinian' psychoanalytic view of personality development lies in the internal relations between the self and the mind's 'objects'. Meg Harris Williams and Margot Waddell show that these relations have their origins in the drama of identifications which we can see played out metaphorically and figuratively in literature, which presents the self-creative process in aesthetic terms. They argue that psychoanalysis is a true child of literature rather than merely the interpreter or explainer of literature, illustrating this with some examples from clinical experience, but drawing above all on close scrutiny of the dynamic mental processes presented in the work of Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantic poets, Emily Brontë and George Eliot. The Chamber of Maiden Thought will encourage psychoanalytic workers to respond to the influence of literature in exploring symbolic mental processes. By bringing psychoanalysis into creative conjunction with the arts, it enables practitioners to tap a cultural potential whose insights into the human mind are of immense value.

by M. ( at October 31, 2014 01:30 AM

October 30, 2014


Charlotte's windfall

The Telegraph and Argus explains why nothing has been said about the Brontë Society's recent extraordinary general meeting:
Despite the EGM taking place on Saturday, October 18, the decision apparently cannot be revealed: minutes from the meeting have still to be agreed.
A spokesman for the Brontë Society confirmed that the minutes of the EGM were being circulated to members, adding that details would be made public in the near future.
The Telegraph and Argus also has good news concerning the celebration of Charlotte Brontë's bicentenary in 2016:
Plans to celebrate 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth in 2016 have been given a major cash boost of nearly £100,000.
The Brontë Society’s contemporary arts programme has been awarded a grant of £99,178 by the Arts Council of England.
As well as its museum role, Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage is home to a contemporary arts programme which celebrates the radical nature of the Brontës and the ways in which they have inspired successive generations of artists and writers.
The grant has come from The Arts Council’s Lottery-funded programme Grants for the Arts.
Across the ocean, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reviews the Jackson Hole High School stage production of Jane Eyre:
The actors’ lines are nailed down, and their blocking is tight.
“It’s got good pacing, and this incredible, amazing story is filled with romance and mystery,” Lewis said.
Go any night to find out who the lunatic is that stalks the shadows and sets fire to Thornfield Hall. Let these students take you back in time to find out if the champion of early feminism does find love. It costs only $12. (Jason Suder)
The Fairfield Mirror finds a Brontëite in writer Sarah Daltry.
GW:  What are you reading now and who are some of your favorite authors?
SD: (...) My favorite classical authors are Hemingway, the Brontës and Salinger.  My favorite contemporary authors include Courtney Summers, Lauren DeStefano, Jodi Picoult and Tom Perrotta. I like to read realistic contemporary and young adult fiction. A lot of adult fiction tends to have a certain focus, genre or literary. Sometimes I just want to read a story that isn’t genre, just realistic, but also not trying too hard to be literary. (Georgina White)
Dread Central interviews Axelle Carolyn about her debut as a film director with the movie Soulmate:
I think people enjoy it most when they know not to expect a conventional ghost story. Nowadays ‘ghost story’ seems to imply fast-paced, jump scare, nonstop terrifying situations, but while we have a couple of good jump scares here, the movie takes you in a very different direction. It’s a supernatural drama, but selling it as a horror is a bit misleading. It’s very much character-based, psychological; I often describe it as a spooky Jane Eyre. If you’re open to that, you’ll enjoy the different directions it takes you into. (Staci Layne Wilson)
The Huffington Post discusses sex in fiction:
Our sexuality is naturally (and I do mean naturally) a part of what we are. So fiction has to deal with it in one way or another (and I do mean one way or another). The spinsterly Jane Austen hints of 'intimate attachments'. Charlotte Brontë permits Jane Eyre more freedom of expression with her 'bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh' allusion to intercourse with Mr Rochester. (Richard Masefield)
What Mr Masefield seems to have overlooked is the fact that Charlotte Brontë wasn't coining a euphemism but quoting from Genesis:
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Paris Match has a 'dime a dozen' set of Brontë references in an article on the Clooney-Amal marriage:
Un mois après de luxueuses noces vénitiennes, l’acteur américain est présenté à la bonne société libanaise et à ses plus hauts dignitaires, dans un décor emprunté au romantisme des sœurs Brontë.
On croit voir Jane Eyre dans chaque recoin tapissé de ce manoir à la Hurlevent, sur les pelouses du parc qui borde la Tamise et sous les lambris de la salle de réception. (Pauline Delassus) (Translation)
The Wall Street Journal instructs readers on 'How to Make a Unique Fall Bouquet' and 'Embrace the darker side of the season with a Brontë-esque arrangement'.
The colors we most associate with fall are the warm tones of red and amber—hues that jostle alongside each other on trees and bushes as they burst into flame. But this time of year, with its grayer skies and longer nights, can put you in a mood that’s more Brontë than Binchy. Why not unleash your own creative force with an arrangement that uses flowers in mysterious dark plummy shades that are a little less obvious but no less autumnal?
To create a hauntingly beautiful Brontë-esque bouquet that wouldn’t seem out of place in that well-known household of English literature, you’ll want to look for brooding shades.
Taking inspiration from the sweeping Yorkshire moors covered in deep purple heather and expanses of silvery foliage contrasting against a dusky sky streaked with pale pink, I chose velvety chocolate Dahlias, chocolate Cosmos (which, delightfully, actually smell like chocolate), plum Astrantia, deep-red Black Baccara roses and dark Cotinus foliage. To offset these dark colors, I added some silvery purple-tipped Acacia, full-blown palest pink Sweet Avalanche roses and, for a final flourish, bunches of charming pink-flushed snowberry. (Robbie Honey)
The Motley Mind posts about Jane Eyre. The Brontë Parsonage website has a post on how the garden looks like in September.

by Cristina ( at October 30, 2014 11:17 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Exceedingly dark ― gray ―dull ― coldish ― dry.

Breakfast at 8.30. Walk in garden with B.H. From 10.30 ― to 12.30. overlooked memoranda & wrote some letters. ―

Lunch. Read papers. & at 2 walk with Bern H.H. to beyond the Race course ― a little rain. Back at 4.30 ― & sleep till 5.30. Dinner at 6.

Roger, brother of F. North is mad at Firenze, & as Catharine N. is to be married next week, this is a misery. Someone has to go out to bring him home with 2 keepers ― either Currie or Bern: ― for many reasons, Bern is best. And it is possible we 2 may go as far as Marseilles together.


Bed at 11.

Nicholson is the “new partner” here.

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

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


Tea with Mrs Brontë at Ponden Hall

A very interesting alert from the heart of Brontë Country for today, October 30:
If you ever wanted to know more about the mysterious mother of the talented sisters, this is your chance. Ponden Hall, near Stanbury, inspiration for Emily's Wuthering Heights, is the venue for this talk about Mrs Brontë by local lecturer Angela Crow - and it's followed by high tea in the Regency style, with a definite Cornish flavour. Visitors will also have a chance to tour Ponden Hall and learn about its history with the current own. (Brontë Parsonage Museum website)

Date: Thursday October 30, 3pm. 

by M. ( at October 30, 2014 01:30 AM

October 29, 2014


Wuthering Halloween

Chicago Now offers readers tips on how to sync their Halloween costume to the local weather forecast:
Maybe it's time to rethink that skimpy costume, anyway. Now you have a good excuse to go for a more  creative  and weather-appropriate option.  Embrace the cold and wind.  Here's your chance to  be a  Wuthering Heights romantic,  a sweater girl, a lineman for the county, or  maybe even the football hero  you  wish you could be (we sure could use one, now...). (Weather Girl)
And if you want more than just a costume, here's what's happening on Halloween on the other side of the pond (in London), as listed by The Telegraph.
Kate Bush and Wuthering Frights. For an unusual Halloween twist, try this Kate Bush-themed party where the best Kate Bush costume and re-enactment of Cathy at Heathcliff’s window (a scene from the book Wuthering Heights) and the best drawing of a horse will be awarded. There will be DJs playing songs from Kate Bush and others as well as a retro smoke machine.
When: October 31-November 1; 8pm-1am
Where: The Three Compasses, Dalston
Price: Free
Details: (Soo Kim)
And speaking of Kate Bush we can't overlook the fact that China Drum's take on her Wuthering Heights has made it to number 15 on the list of Greatest Covers compiled by BBC Music. This is what Metro says about it:
Wuthering Heights – China Drum
A scarily rousing version of the Kate Bush masterpiece from the US rock band. What would Emily Brontë say? (Chris Hallam)
New Republic comments on Michel Faber's latest (last?) book.
But there's nothing wrong with recognizing that the circumstances of an author's life can make a work more poignant. Henry James’s desperate love for his cousin Minnie Temple is the lifeblood that keeps The Wings of the Dove—a famously dense novel—alive. The torment Charlotte Brontë suffered over unrequited love pulses through Villette, the pseudo-biographical story of a teacher at a girls school in Belgium who falls passionately in love with a married fellow teacher. Understanding the isolation and despair Brontë felt when she was sent to teach (and send home money) at a similar school—and then the devastation of her own attachment to a certain M. Héger—elevates Villette from a middling novel to a fascinating, if problematic, one. Similarly, knowing that this was to be "the saddest thing I’d ever written," as Faber told the Times, and that Faber inserted the married couple's storyline after learning of his wife's terminal diagnosis, grants the epistles an added richness. (Hillary Kelly)
 The Times of India asks writer Suchita Malik about her literary influences.
Literary works that have influenced you.
I grew up reading the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot and many others. Later, I fell in love with and admired the novels of Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James and other great American novelists. Their technique of writing, choice of universal themes as well as an emphasis on realistic portrayal of characters and circumstances influenced me a great deal. (Ipshita Mitra)
Grazia (Italy) considers Jane Eyre the revolutionary type and Cathy the free spirit. Escritoras Inglesas writes in Portuguese about Villette. Flavorwire interviews Mallory Ortberg, author of the upcoming Texts from Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at October 29, 2014 11:20 PM

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


Congratulations to Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly for its recent publication of its Fall 2014 issue!

The Blake Quarterly is a scholarly journal that publishes notes, articles, and reviews related to the works of William Blake. It is a critical source of information about Blake’s works that we use for the William Blake Archive.  As we move forward with the redesign of the Archive, we hope to integrate issues of the Blake Quarterly into a special place on the site to match the special place it has in our hearts.

Image courtesy of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly

by mwils31 at October 29, 2014 03:35 PM

William Morris Unbound

Terry Eagleton 50th Anniversary Interview

‘For the university, is there hope?’, Professor John Schad asked yesterday in the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts Building. Terry Eagleton, whom he was interviewing there, seemed inclined to answer no, speaking apocalyptically of the ‘effective end of universities as a centre of humane critique’ in our time. So, in Kafkaesque fashion, plenty of hope, but just not for us, in the twenty-first-century academy. But is there not a performative contradiction here? Does not the very fact that Eagleton could make such an announcement, to an enthusiastic audience of 130 (including the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and admirers who had travelled up from as far away as South Wales), at a public interview that celebrated both Lancaster University’s 50th anniversary and Terry’s own extraordinary 50 years in the literary-critical business – does not all this suggest that we might in fact need a slightly more nuanced account of ‘hope in the university’ today?

John Schad’s wide-ranging and beautifully judged interview reminded us of the many ways in which Terry has been not just a brilliant literary critic and theorist, but also an important public intellectual, speaking on behalf of socialism and the oppressed in a variety of tones and registers (including humour, a topic which had some prominence in the interview: ‘I know I’m going to write a book on comedy’). The fact that a revered Marxist public spokesperson is now, since his enforced retirement from Manchester University in 2008, a celebrity intellectual in the neo-liberal university system, complicates matters no end, but does not just cancel out that former role.

Perhaps we need some new sociology of the role of stellar oppositional figures – particularly in retirement, as they now ‘sit loose’ to formal academic requirements – in the marketised university economy, since they are themselves commodities (in terms of institutional visibility and recruitment) and yet eloquent enemies of commodification. To walk that fine line, to sustain critique without just being absorbed and marketised oneself, seems a lot more complex now than it presumably was in the good old days when F.R. Leavis, after retirement from Cambridge in 1962, took up his new post at York three years later. So we look forward to a comparative study of figures like Eagleton and Alain Badiou, as they wrestle with such contradictions and do their best to speak for radical hope still. Moreover, as I reflected during the wine reception in the LICA foyer that followed this splendid Schad-Eagleton interview, we shall all hopefully be assembled here again in ten years time, for Terry’s 60th anniversary as critic, theorist and socialist.

by Tony Pinkney ( at October 29, 2014 01:58 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Dark ― cold. Rose at 7. Wrote till 9. ― alas!

Alas! ― those long prayers! ― Breakfast. Miss Hardings is a “clever woman.” The delight of all in the Campagna picture greatly refreshes me. Sate talking & singing with Lady J. ― & Miss H. till 11. ― then, left all those kind people, & came, in a dog cart, to Sandwich.

Rail to Ashford ― change & bother ― & so to Hastings by 1.40. Walked to 4. High Street, & found poor Sarah & Mr. S. ― the happy ― finishing dinner. They made me eat 2 very good mutton chops ― & were very kind & pleasant.

We set out all 3 ― up the Croft Lane, & over the hill, ― & then poor dear Mr. S. who is greatly aged ― went back: a kindly really good man. S. & I came on to the Rail ― how sad & hard is her life now, whose seemed so bright! We parted at the rail station. ――――――――

Rail to Lewes ― arriving at 5.30 ― but no porters or flies, ― & it was long before I could get my trunk to Hunts.


Mrs. Hunt was at Torquay ― which for my own sake, I am sorry for.

Most pleasant evening. ―

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

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


Emily's Portrait

A new novel with the Brontës as characters has just been published in Norway:
Emilys Porträtt
Margareta Lindholm
Kabusa Books
Release: August 2014
ISBN: 978 91 7355 366 7
Cover of: Anna Henriksson
Malin Lindroth in Göteborgs-Posten gives more details:
Ungefär halvvägs in i Margareta Lindholms roman Emilys porträttbörjar jag tänka Hollywood och storfilm. Med sina djuplodande, minimalistiska romaner är Lindholm inte precis en författare som jag brukar förknippa med hollywoodproduktion, men här är ju intrigen så storslaget filmisk! En berättelse om frihetssökande, klassklyftor och vänskap, kretsande kring de ikoniserade författarsystrarna Brontë – nog låter det som maffigt storfilmsmaterial?
Ramberättelsen är effektivt enkel: porträttmålaren Erin i sin ateljé ser tillbaka på sin tid som tjänsteflicka i Brontës prästgård där hon, i mötet med de skrivande systrarna, kom att upptäcka sig själv som skapande, normbrytande människa.
Porträttet av den världsfrånvända Emily, som snabbt blir Erins vän, hör till romanens höjdpunkter och jag tycker mycket om hur Lindholm låter ikonerna ta ett steg tillbaka och underdogen Erin träda fram. Samtidigt blir det som har varit Lindholms styrka allt sedan debuten 1997 – det vackra, avskalade språket – efterhand lite av ett problem.
När Emily börjar stjäla material ur Erins liv för litterära syften introduceras en intressant konflikt som det hemingwayska språket inte riktigt förmår att fördjupa och det samma gäller resonemangen om det konstnärliga seendet, som blir lite väl romantiserande för min smak.
Orden är för vackra för att nå ned i konfliktdjupen och jag ser för lite av Erins inre kamp för att jag riktigt ska tro på hennes transformation.
På film hade man kommit långt med antydda konflikter och repliker av typen: ”Erin! Har du någon gång älskat? Har någon älskat dig?” I romanens form blir Emilys porträtt mer av en språklig skönhetsupplevelse där jag inte ser tillräckligt av det berömda isberget under ytan – det outsagda som Hemingway pratade om – för att jag ska lita på att det finns där. (Translation)
A good review can be read on Unt.

by M. ( at October 29, 2014 02:07 AM

Petrifying attraction

A.V. Club considers Andrea Arnold a natural-born thrillers and one of '18 directors who haven’t made a horror film, but should'.
So many horror movies focus on young female characters, and so few of them connect to those characters in a meaningful way. One of the best adolescent heroines in recent film appears in Andrea Arnold’s drama Fish Tank, about an impoverished, standoffish English girl who aspires to be a hip-hop dancer. Arnold followed that up with a stripped-down, de-aged Wuthering Heights, continuing to show unsentimental sensitivity to her young subjects. Both movies also generate a lot of tension from grounded stories, a quality that would serve Arnold well in any number of horror subgenres, from the psychological to the supernatural (preferably shot in the old-fashioned 1.37 aspect ratio she used for Tank and Heights). Any Final Girl of hers would kick ass in believable and boxily framed ways. (Jesse Hassenger)
Writer Santiago Posteguillo keeps on mentioning Jane Eyre in his promotional interviews. From Culturamas (Spain):
P.- ¿Cuál de estas historias le resulta más atractiva e interesante? ¿Por qué? A mí me emociona enormemente la de Cartas rotas donde se ve como Charlotte Brönte (sic), que sufrió una vida llena de padecimientos, en lugar de quedarse sola en una esquina de su casa, llorando y sintiendo lástima de sí misma, reconvierte todo ese horror vivido y lo transforma en Jane Eyre, una de las obras maestras de la literatura universal: entretenida, enigmática, misteriosa, moral y donde la justicia y el amor triunfan y pueden con todo. Una lección de técnica literaria y de resistencia vital ante la adversidad. Creo que el relato conmoverá a mucha gente. (Benito Garrido) (Translation)
Pathfinder (Greece) wonders about the connection between skin colour and attraction:
Τα παραδείγματα των γυναικείων προτιμήσεων ξεκινούν από τον ρομαντικό ήρωα του μυθιστορήματος, “Ανεμοδαρμένα Ύψη” της Emily Brontë, Heathcliff, και καταλήγουν στον Χαβιέ Μπαρδέμ. (Έλενα Κρητικού)(TranslationThe Courier Online
considers Jane Eyre a 'Petrifying Page Turner'. Female Arts reviews the Butterfly Psyche adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Edie Faulkner posts about Cowan Bridge and the Brontës. A Night's Dream of Books and Babbling Books continues posting on their Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at October 29, 2014 02:07 AM

Wuthering Heights in the market

The Telegraph reports that Kate Bush's former home in Eltham, London is on the market. If you don't remember its name, is easy to imagine: Wuthering Heights.
What is a house called Wuthering Heights doing in Eltham, a genteel suburb of south-east London?
By rights, it should be on the Yorkshire moors, covered in dark clouds, with gales rattling the window-frames and a woman in the distance screaming: “Heathcliff! Heathcliff!”
The explanation is quite simple once you remember that Emily Brontë is not the only celebrated author of Wuthering Heights.
A song of that name launched the musical career of that reclusive genius Kate Bush in 1978. And it is her old house, on Court Road, Eltham, that has just come on the market for £3 million. (Julia Flynn)
Herts and Essex Observer reminds us of the broadcast tonight (Channel 4, 8pm) of the new season of Walking Through History. The first episode will feature Haworth and the Brontës:
Walking Through History first came to our screens last year, a pleasing addition to the schedules for amblers and history buffs alike, as Sir Tony Robinson and the team tackled a series of visually spectacular walks through some of our most historic landscapes - all the better if they can stumble upon some stories from Britain's past to boot.
Now in its fourth series, for those who've yet to catch it, in each episode Tony follows a bespoke route which allows him to explore the history behind certain events or period, as well as take in the landscape. This series; well, it's much of the same.
Tony's first walk of the new series takes in the dramatic moors and valleys of West Yorkshire, the home of, and inspiration for, the Brontës, the literary family behind classics Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
Our presenter has four days of walking ahead of him, and starts out in the Victorian wool capital of Bradford and treks the giant loop around what is known as Brontë Country. Cha rlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell were born in the suburb of Thornton, and Tony traces their childhood to the much-romanticised Brontë hub of Haworth.
Alison Graham adds in Radio Times:
Tony Robinson walks that well-trodden literary path along the south Pennine moors to Haworth in West Yorkshire, home of the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
There can’t be a northerner who has never run across those very tussocks on school trips yelling “HEATHCLIFF!” but Robinson is admirably restrained. Though it’s been told so many times, there’s still something fantastically, tragically winning, something that calls to anyone who loves literature, in the story of the girls, their brother Branwell, and their home, the Parsonage.
Along the way Robinson meets Brontë experts and reads apposite excerpts from Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, though he’s not a fan of the latter. It’s too “overwrought and complex”. Really?
New Statesman talks about the latest exhibition of Paula Rego's works in London and sums  up her work:
Not all artists are good at explaining their work but Paula Rego knows just what her pictures are about: they deal, she says, with “the beautiful grotesque”. It is a neat encapsulation of psychologically complex works that illustrate nursery rhymes, fairy tales and the folk stories of her native Portugal, that show women as dogs or sexual avengers and that reimagine classic novels such as Jane Eyre and The Metamorphosis. (Michael Prodger)
The Greenfield Recorder reviews The Hawley Book of the Dead  by Chrysler Szarlan:
She began to write at that young age—mostly stories about horses, animals she loved and still loves.
“And then when I was 12 I got my hands on a copy of ‘Jane Eyre,’” she added. “So that took me to a whole other level of reading and writing and thinking about writing.”
She laughed at the juxtaposition of “Virginia Woolf” and “Jane Eyre.” “No wonder I write New England gothicky stuff!” (Tinky Weisblat)
The Sydney Morning Herald publishes another review: David Malouf's The Writing Life:
He describes how, as a child, the ending of Dumas' La Reine Margot prompted "hysterical weeping". His vivid memory of reading Jane Eyre on the beach leads him to reflect on the way the imaginative space of a novel can allow us to inhabit two very different environments simultaneously. An essay on the influence of Walt Whitman on D.H. Lawrence describes the shock of encountering the subversive ideas in Lawrence's poem Snake in a school reader. (James Ley)
Cosmopolitan lists some of the literary classics revisited in Anna Todd's After:
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
When it first appears in the series: Hardin mentions Rochester and Jane in an attempt to dissuade Tessa from marriage in book one.
What it reveals about Hessa: Hardin readily admits that Jane and Rochester's relationship isn't the best counterexample of marriage, but "I just love hearing you ramble about literary heroes." He also loves reminding her of tortured protagonists. Wonder why.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
When it first appears in the series: Tessa wanders into Hardin's room during a party at the frat house in book one and discovers his extensive collection of classics. "I grab Wuthering Heights and pull it off the shelf," she says. "It is in bad shape, the pages showing how many times it has been read."
What it reveals about Hessa: Hardin uses Wuthering Heights as a means to discuss his and Tessa's relationship in literature class: "Catherine and Heathcliff were just so similar that it was hard for them to get along, but if Catherine wasn't so stubborn they could have lived a long and happy life together." The specter of Heathcliff hangs around Hessa throughout the story. And yet, they remain inexplicably drawn to each other, making Heathcliff-esque Hardin determined to make sure they end up together at the end.
Bonus: Tessa says, "Catherine Earnshaw and Elizabeth Bennet are much better company than my mother." #Burn. (Heeseung Kim)
Once again the Spanish writer Santiago Posteguillo makes a Brontë reference. He talks in Las Provincias (Spain) about his new project:
Avanzó que está preparando un relato corto sobre los perros literarios y citó los casos de Argos de 'La odisea' o Pilot de 'Jane Eyre'. Estos canes sólo están infectados por el «virus de la literatura» y sugirió que 'Cujo', de Stephen King, no sería un mal relato «para una persona que no ha aprendido a amar a los perros» (en referencia a las autoridades sanitarias). (Carmen Velasco) (Translation)
Kölner Stadt-Unzeiger gives voice to the scholar Friederike Danebrock:
Das kam bei den Zeitgenossen zum Teil nicht gut an. „Sturmhöhe“ etwa, die tragische Liebesgeschichte von Heathcliff und Catherine, geschrieben von Emily Brontë, stieß zur Zeit ihrer Veröffentlichung auf blanke Ablehnung, weil die Protagonisten für den damaligen Geschmack gar zu leidenschaftlich ans Werk gingen. (Translation)
Culturamas (Spain) has an article about the Brontës with some usual blunders (Brönte, some dubious portraits...) and some unusual ones (Brandwell?):
La que hoy me trae aquí, sentada en mi escritorio y aporreando las teclas del ordenador, es la familia Brönte (sic), quienes tomaron como pilar uno de los más bellos artes que todos conocemos, la escritura.
Ninguno de sus antepasados podía presagiar los dones que desde ya temprana edad se empezaron a manifestar en los pequeños hermanos Brönte (sic), Charlotte, Emily , Anne y el a veces relegado a un segundo plano, Brandwell (sic). La extremada educación de su padre junto con el vertiginoso desarrollo de su imaginación, hicieron que su capacidad para la construcción de historias cada vez más complejas, aumentara de una manera casi sin precedentes. A pesar de la temprana felicidad que dio este talento en un primer momento oculto, las desgracias al igual que en otras familias, no se hicieron esperar. La muerte se convirtió en un invitado de honor en los primeros años de los Brönte (sic), el fallecimiento en primer lugar de su madre y posteriormente de sus dos hermanas mayores fueron los hechos que más marcaron todas y cada una de sus obras. (Pilar Martínez) (Translation)
Caitriona Doherty talks about being a superfan in Wessex Scene:
Accept that no work made by human hands will ever be perfect. But you can like a thing, flaws and all. For example, you might love Jane Eyre with all of your heart, but you have to admit that it has some pretty questionable sexual and racial politics. The novel is still brilliantly written, and still makes a powerful feminist statement, especially for the time period. But it does have flaws that don’t deserve to be ignored.
Gina Barreca lists movies that can "make a guy go into a panic" in Psychology Today. Needless to say, we don't agree at all:
Tie: "Wuthering Heights" or "Jane Eyre" — any adaptation, any director, any time period.
Business Standard (India) has an article on the actor Dilip Kumar, one of the few actors who played both Heathcliff and Rochester in the big screen. Groruddalen (Norway) talks with an inmate at the Bredtveit prison who aptly quotes from Charlotte Brontë's ("I am no bird...").

by M. ( at October 29, 2014 02:06 AM

Vaccinations for the Brontës

'Tis the season of all things Gothic and so Chris Priestley shares his 'top ten tips for Gothic writing' over at The Guardian's Children's Books section.
4. Mad, bad and dangerous to know
Why not have a Byronic anti-hero? Mean and moody like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights or Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. Or perhaps the most Byronic anti-hero of all: the creature in Frankenstein.
Meanwhile, the Leicester Mercury looks at the current temporary exhibition at the British Library: Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination where
Manuscripts by the Brontës, Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker rub shoulders with a letter from Byron and antiquarian works such as Nathaniel Spencer’s Complete English Traveller, an 18th century travelogue which pictures a druids’ wicker colossus, “wherein malefactors, prisoners of war and sometimes innocent people (where there was a deficiency of the former) were burnt as sacrifices”.
USA Today's Happy Ever After interviews writer Karen Atkins and asks her,
If you could "accidentally" snatch someone from time, who would it be? Karen: [...] I'd go back and bring either Jane Austen or one of the Brontë sisters back with me. They all died tragically young, and I'm sure each of those women had so many words still stuck in her, waiting to get out. I'd want to show them the enduring impact their stories have had on readers for generations. I'd also probably be tempted to send them back with a few handfuls of penicillin and a vaccine or two. (Jessie Potts)
Spanish writer Santiago Posteguillo continues promoting Jane Eyre his book. From Diario Siglo XXI (Spain)
Si nos atenemos a un sentido más metafórico de la palabra sangre del título y la interpretamos como esfuerzo, me atrevo a preguntarte: ¿detrás de un libro escrito hay mucho esfuerzo? Normalmente, detrás de una obra maestra de la Literatura sí hay un gran esfuerzo, pero no detrás de todos los libros, porque los hay buenos y malos. El título hace referencia a la sangre física, como se refleja en algunos relatos, por ejemplo el del duelo entre Pushkin y el francés Georges d’Anthès o el de los vampiros de Drácula, y también a la sangre en el sentido metafórico al que aludías en tu pregunta. En este caso pienso en Charlotte Brontë, que vio morir a todas sus hermanas, mientras que a ella sólo le quedó el amor de un hombre casado, algo que en la época victoriana estaba muy mal visto. Brontë, sin embargo, recogió su sufrimiento y lo recreó escribiendo Jane Eyre, a la que imprimió un toque feliz que no pudo disfrutar en su vida real. Es lo que se llama justicia poéti(Herme Cerezo) (Translation)
The Times of India looks at the inspiration/influences behind some Indian TV programmes such as
Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi. A complex love story that revolves around a rich and beautiful girl Ishani (Radhika Madaan) and her poor admirer, the son of the domestic help Ranveer (Shakti Arora) has an uncanny resemblance to Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. This classic novel got adapted thrice into movies and now it finds an Indian soapy version. The current love-hate drama and complications — which is Ekta Kapoor's forte is gaining a lot of interest via TRPs. (Shruti Jambhekar)
Entertainment Weekly's The Community also finds traces of Wuthering Heights while writing about episode 3 of season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: School Hard.
This interaction between Marsters and Juliet Landau is perfect, setting up their deranged-romantic Wuthering Heights–meets–Sid and Nancy partnership. (Wendy Hathaway)
The Nation reviews the docudrama The Golden Era by Ann Hui which
 tells the story of Xiao Hong, a woman writer known for depictions of hunger and poverty in China during the 1920s and '30s. [Director Ann] Hui compares her works with those of Emily Brontë, who also focuses on unpleasant realities. (Liu Wei)
Did you like the Brontë Tote we posted about yesterday? Well, here's a giveaway of one. iheardin posts about Wuthering Heights. Frugal Chariot continues its Jane Eyre readalong.

by Cristina ( at October 29, 2014 12:08 AM

October 28, 2014

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 7 ― diminishing objects by packing.

Letters from Daddy Hunt, Mrs. Bergmann &c.

At 10 ― to Rail. (H.R.H. P. Alfred going to Dover ― he looks a smart, but not strong youth: alive to observation ― courteous &c.) at Sandwich by 1.40, & lunch at a little Inn ― (Lord Warden) while a Fly was made ready. Boy in a fit: fits always sorrow & worry me strangely, ― from child ― recollections of poor Jane.

Set off in Fly ― passing the Campagna picture in its case on a cart half way, & finding Dickenson at Betteshanger putting up the picture=nails. Lady James came in, & we got it up before Sir Walter came in. They were delighted at it & with it. Walk with Sir W.J. ― & then talk, till dressing time.


Very pleasant. Evening ― singing.

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

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

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin) in her characteristic thoughtful posture of the film, observing others

Another talking at cross-purposes while dancing scene: here irritated by Mrs Bennet’s talk of Lydia not coming to the ball, and differing on Georgiana marrying Colonel Fitzwilliam

Dear friends and readers,

What was aired on PBS last night was a spoilt version of the three-part mini-series I saw in the BBC version this summer using a BBC region 2 DVD.

Segments and scenes have been rearranged so as to turn an almost 3 hour mini-series (180 minutes) into a two part drama each 80 minutes (160), where the most hectic and thriller type scenes had the place of climax, ending on not the parallel set up in the original mini-series between the boy poacher, young Riley, being taken away in a cart from his mother to be tried and then hanged and now George Wickham (Matthew Goode) being taken away in a cart from a wailing Lydia (Jenna Coleman — who appears to have gained a little weight since her last frighteningly anorexic outing in a costume drama). When the young boy, Riley was cared away the boy Darcy and the boy Wickham rushed after him; now at the close of the BBC part 1 Darcy retreats to the house, and Elizabeth stands on the porch in her surveillance posture.

The worst aspects of the take-over of mystery thrillers and cheap modern sensationalist costume dramas all this summer have been deliberately made to dominate this Jane Austen sequel film. I wrote about the gothicization of Victorian novels on PBS in August (Bloody Murders and Country Houses), and this mini-series is seeking to titillate the same taste. They think they are not making a mistake for they will still get the costume drama and Janeite viewership and the more complaints will just get more hits, and be dismissed and may make up for any loss with attracting the same viewership with watched Masterpiece Mystery this summer — for note the rubric for this two parter — a Masterpiece Mystery.

What they did was ignore the art, pace, and meaning Towhidi and Daniel Percival’s contemporary and filmically stylish 3 hour costume drama, which includes the use of lingering voice-over from interwoven juxtaposed shots from deep past, recent past and sometimes more than one present scene throughout the 3 hours, a kind of spillage of thoughts and sounds across remembered time, and spectacular visual dissolving landscapes. The colors of the film are often golden, brown, burnt oranges and reds.

Opening shot

Allured by the film’s beauty and the performances of a number of the actors, this summer I studied Juliette Towhidi’s screenplay against intermediary sequel novel (I’d call it) by P.D. James, Death comes to Pemberley and can vouch for a number of still silent moments being shortened or cut altogether in this PBS version. In the BBC film Elizabeth’s shots (second long) are not cut or undermined so we see her in various stages of memory (first somewhat happy and triumphant as she looks forward to another Lady Anne Ball, but also remembers some of her mortifications at the first one when she had just married Darcy and overheard sneers at her), puzzle, brooding, hurt, disillusion, anxiety over Darcy’s attitude towards her, and (not to cover the long sequence of emotional development) across an intermingling reaction to his reactions. It is painful for her to remember how Wickham took her in:


This long tracing of an inner journey of Elizabeth’s ends not in (as is so common in women’s films, including the Austen canon) Elizabeth apologizing, humiliated in front of herself for her flaws, but at the close of Part 3 in Darcy apologizing, aware he has been mistreating Elizabeth, wrong to inflict on her his sensitive injured pride, and their making love successfully (in the middle of the movie, he comes to her in bed, sees her peacefully sleeping and decides to move away). He does this before she solves the mystery of who killed Denny. Towhidi’s conception of Darcy shows the inadequacy of the view Darcy is shy (the reading of Macfayden and Joe Wright in the 2005 P&P film) or needs to undergo an Oedipal transformation (Andrew Davies): he is a proud aristocrat whose self-esteem is rooted in his family history, public honor, home, lands and rank. He learns to moderate his adherence to these things in this film: by its end he has seen that Fitzwilliam is a flawed man, not to be fully trusted as an individual, and the worth of Alveston as a person and encourages Georgiana’s engagement with Alveston.

Matthew Rhys as Darcy taking his son to ride, smiling at the reverence with which Mr Bidwell treats the boy and his job as steward/butler

This trajectory, this underlying plot-design with Elizabeth as the key pivotal figure in most of the scenes, and Darcy a reactive on, which Towhidi drew out of James’s meandering novel has been lost completely from Part I. Its climax about 2/3s the way through Part 2 where Elizabeth goes to a temple on the Pemberley grounds to think and Jane (Alexandra Moen) joins her to comfort her.

Elizabeth’s nadir from Part 2

Where that will find a place in the next 80 minutes of the film PBS is airing I have no idea.

Irritatingly to me, the PBS people especially eschewed moments where both Martin and Rhys are not beautiful people but Darcy and Elizabeth aging and under pressure, either (in this first part) still talking to one another, and (I expect in the next two) growing estranged. What I liked especially was this lack of glamor. Yes it’s not probable or realistic that Elizabeth would be so underdressed, her hair except when at a ball neglected altogether (she appears not to have a lady’s maid to do her hair), but it’s in line with recent heritage Austen films which dress the Austen heroines to be genteelly on the edge or at least not super-rich, which after Elizabeth marries Darcy she is. But it does fit the character of Elizabeth as enacted by Martin — not pompous, not involved with self, but with her boy (we see her reading to him) and her function as the mistress of Pemberley as a sort of going concern of people to be seen to, fed, gardens to be cared for, menus gotten up. Darcy is seen at the stable with his little son, about to go riding. Above all both are clever, but Elizabeth less prejudiced: she isthe person who puts together first who murdered Denny and why and her quick application of a signed statement by the murderer saves Wickham’s life. Sir Selwyn Hardcastle (our detective magistrate) played with a virtuoso flare by Trevor Eve never gets near the truth; has it all wrong from the end of the original Part 1 on (taking Wickham’s emotional self-blaming to be a confession). Nancy Drew could do no more.


Mrs Reynolds showing off what has been prepared for the ball — historically accurate — P.D. James’s stories often have an upstairs/downstairs perspective

James’s novel is a weak sequel: she tries to tell a story of the next phase of the characters’ existence as left there by Austen at the close of P&P. In James’s book The mystery element only emerges about half-way through: we do not meet the Bidwells until the last third of the novel: in the film the gothic elements begin immediately and the Bidwells are visited before the end of 10 minutues and their life and presence at the cottage and the father’s as butler in the house are woven into the film early on and throughout. James is writing a romance, rehearsing some of Pride and Prejudice in case the reader doesn’t know the story (!) and her book meanders tepidly as a novel of manners. Hers is the idea (to give her credit where it’s due), that the Darcy and Elizabeth marriage is not going well because of the distance in rank between them, how people treat them, and thus the death threatens their marriage centrally because it threatens Darcy’s self-esteem and the reputation (as he sees it) of Pemberley. James is politically conservative and this fits her outlook: an egalitarian marriage will be rocky, strained at best. Some of her descriptions of the grounds of Pemberley show she has Ann Radcliffe in mind.

Trevor Eve as Hardcastle

There are number of problems in James’s novel: She’s just not passionate enough about the detective murder bit — she’s doing that because it’s what she knows how to do (her life’s metier), and her treatment of the magistrate is apparently not anachronistic (though Trevor Eve in the film adaptation is made to act a Sherlock Holmes role — he does it rather well). She has read 18th century novels and historical novels and to some extent this reminds me of Winston Graham and like Jo Baker’s Longbourne, it’s not just not as good, not as thoroughly realized or researched because its franchise is not the 18th century or 18th century novel or modern fictional historal novel: it is Austen seen through a Radcliffean kind of descriptive glass. I bonded with Elizabeth as recreated by James: I am drawn to her use of theme of disillusion for Elizabeth, anxiety Darcy does not value her, Darcy’s own humiliation, and all this getting in the way of their marital relationship because it is so hard to escape other people’s views of you.

Juliette Howtidi has so re-structured the original novel and changed it — darkened, gothicized, swung the politics in another direction –the screenplay and then this film is almost another work. Some elements are the same. The basic story outline. The depiction of the relationship between the servants and Darcys is even more reactionary than that found in Downton Abbey. The lead servants, Mrs Reynolds (Joanne Scanlon) and the Bidwell father (Philip Martin Brown) treat the lower servants with condescension and ruthless discipline, disrespect really, identifying wholly with the idea that they are living their long- hard working lives worthily by abasing themselves before the patrician luxury they provide. On the other hand, her scenes of the family together are filled with good feeling, the humane characters sympathized with, including when dancing …

One of the family scenes from Part 1

In this mini-series there is a certain amount of mutiny, and Wickham and his sister’s angry and resentment is made palpable and understandable. She weaves the Bidwells in early to show us one family’s vulnerability and anger (Will murders Denny thinking Denny is Wickham, the man who seduced and abandoned his sister). Howtidi changes Elizabeth to make her identify with the Bidwells, protest against coerced marriage for money. In the book there is a deep sense that somehow Darcy was right to doubt whether he should go against all norms and relatives and that is taken up in the film where Darcy is shown to be wrong: it is actually an undercutting notion for the real radical content of the Austen’s and goes with those who interpret it as humiliating Elizabeth and teaching her a lesson (there’s a scholarly essay to the effect of The humiliation of Elizabeth … following on the humiliation of Emma …), but this is not how the film has it. The film questions this stance intensely at the same time as it presents Elizabeth’s hurt and pride. This depiction of their struggling relationship is valuable and I hope influences further heritage films and appropriations of Pride and Prejudice.

Given the time and arrangement originally followed on the BBC the relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth as an development out of Darcy and Elizabeth some 6 to 7 years ago works. It does not in this foreshortened and rearranged version so the best part of the film is lost.

I am not claiming this is a great mini-series in the BBC version. I concede that Towhidi was not above herself mixing the subgenres of the Austen canon (familial romance, melodrama with recently some use of gothic features) with those of the mystery thriller, with its use of horror characteristics (thus we had Denny’s bloody head crushed by a piece of iron in both versions), and a group of secrets as linchpin: who killed Captain Denny (Tom Canton), why did Denny rush out of the carriage to the woods (where was he going). Anthony Trollope mocked the kind of reading and readers’ experience where it mattered who was at a stile at 1:15 pm on a specific day (in the Victorian period Wilkie Collins was among the first to feed this game taste), but it seems when combined with violence (and sex) this is a winner for increasing readership (and sales of books and advertiser’s interests). But in the structuring of the three hour mini-series, the psychological development of the characters, the nearly thwarted or destroyed romance of Georgiana and Henry Alveston (she accepts Fitzwilliam in Part 2), are at least as dominant as the mystery thriller obsessive gothic elements.

A good filmic moment: combines the film noirish gothic colors with a moment of strain for Elizabeth and Darcy

Towhidi (far more than James) tried to piggyback the formulaic mystery plot stuff (where the detective usually tidies up the world by the end) onto a new reading of Wickham (which has been becoming more widespread since the 2005 Joe Wright P&P and the 2009 Lost in Austen) as having offered in his original story some real truths (such as Darcy’s rivalry with him as a motive for strong antagonism) so that part of the story of the murder is the stigmatizing Wickham has endured, his bitterness and ruthless behavior in response. She has harked back to older readings of P&P where Lydia is seen as a spiteful shallowly vain creature: in this film adaptation we are asked to feel sorry for Wickham who was pressured into marrying Lydia: he would have had a happier life, perhaps been a better man could he have married the cottager, Louisa Bidwell (Nichola Burdell); at the same time he is clearly (as Denny is trying to point out in the scene Wickham obsessively remembers over and over) cruel in his behavior to Louisa (he is trying to buy his son from her to give to his sister: Mrs Younge (Mariah Gale) is discovered to be his sister, intensely devoted to him to the point she wants to bring up his child as its mother.

In Towhidi’s version, Georgiana and Henry Alveston carry the film’s explicit mainstream liberal humane message: Henry is a lawyer who is sympathetic to the goals and ideals of the French revolution, and he and Georgiana are kindred spirits. They sit and look at picturesque views of Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Scottish castle over a river. Their romance is not used to make a contrast with Elizabeth and Darcy’s conventionally pro-establishment one in James’s book; it is in this film.


A general outline and some features of Part I (nearly 60 minutes) of Death Comes to Pemberley as available on the Region 2 DVD version of the BBC version:

Gravestone of Darcy’s great-grandfather, a suicide, almost lost Pemberley, lived alone in his later years with a dog

The story of Part 1 begins with two housemaids’s terror in the woods: they have been tricked by some male servants to look for the ghost of Mrs Riley into the woods. They are (very like Austen sees the gothic in part in Northanger Abbey) over-excited and glad to be frightened by their own nervous over-reaction to signs of a ghost. We see a grave of another generation Darcy. The next sequence is about Elizabeth’s delight in her existence: her boy, Fitzwilliam, running about the house, preparations for a extravagant ball she with Mrs Reynolds’s help has shown she can cope with. Her pride and triumph are tempered by her knowledge of how others see her and her memories. She talks with Georgiana, who is staring out windows: longing for Alveston to turn up as escort to Mr and Mrs Bennet. Elizabeth visits the Bidwells: Will dying of a disease, Louisa home with her sister’s baby (so it’s said to be).

Louisa and baby George (we discover named after Wickham, the father)

The elusive bed-ridden reading Will

On her way home, Elizabeth encounters Mrs Younge, and tells Darcy about it when she returns to Pemberley. The Bennets arrive and the first vexations emerge with Mrs Bennet trying to persuade Darcy to allow Lydia and Wickham to come to the ball.


James Fleet as Mr Bennet has lost his cool wit against the hysterics of his wife, and Towhidi is not above using despising of women to give us scenes where the wise doctor is told to give large drafts of sedatives to both Mrs Bennet and Lydia. But he does love his daughter, Lizzie, and in the BBC version near the opening of part 2 we see a moment of his peaceful satisfaction as he sits in the Pemberley library escaped to his books.

Fitzwilliam first trying to persuade Elizabeth

In a threaded in talk with Fitzwilliam in a garden who then proceeds to try to court Georgiana to persuade her to marry him (despite his misgivings over her reputation, to him stained by her early near-elopement with Wickham), it emerges that Darcy is so fragile he cannot stand to have the Wickhams mentioned, much less in his house.

And of course they arrive, in a flying coach, Lydia hysterical, and the flashbacks begin. Some of these are Wickham’s memories of Denny’s protests against him, Denny’s scorn of him.


We are in the carriage drive, see Wickham and Denny’s coldness, and the silly Lydia’s complacency and Denny’s abrupt rush out of the carriage. A confused time of running about in the wood which ends with Wickham coming upon Denny’s bleeding to death before Wickham can quite reach Denny, and Wickham ‘s shooting his gun to attract help. This occurs at the 30 minute point in the original BBC version.


Now Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage is to be tested. The formulation “death comes to” is found in a number of James’s novels and it is central to this film. In this second deepening half-hour, the intermingled talking and walking of Elizabeth and Darcy occurs, with scenes of them in their drawing room, as they try to cope with what’s happened and the behavior of everyone around them. Darcy must call a magistrate, Hardcastle, the son it emerges of the man who insisted on hanging the Riley boy. This Hardcastle is intensely aware of how he’s seen hostilely by those who remember his father’s harsh injustice. the use of landscape and voice-over and intermingled shots of past memories and present shots begins.

Elizabeth listening hard to Georgiana towards the end of the original Part 1

Threaded in are the scenes (brief but there) between Georgiana and Alveston, their joy in one another, their having to deal with Fitzwilliam’s scorn of him, and reactionary put-downs, how he would send Georgiana to stay with Lady Catherine de Bourgh lest she be somehow “besmirched” or hurt by nearness to this crisis. Repeatedly Elizabeth defends her right to stay, to help out, to follow her individual desires, which include loving the lawyer. Elizabeth’s scenes with Georgiana over the course of the whole film show their developed relationship and is another of the element which come out of Austen’s book.

The neutral way Wickham’s envy and anger at his lack of status are presented constitutes a less usual way to present the source of revolutionary feeling: rage at injustice. Wickham has brought Lydia to a ball she is not welcome to come to. They were going to “crash” their way in by coming late at night and daring the Darcys to turn them away. Wickham does feel rage; how could others think he’d murder his best friend so brutally? He is the outsider. He is admired by Colonel Fitzwilliam for his violence against the Irish in the Irish uprising; he is himself no revolutionary, rather simply narrowly amoral on his own behalf. He extracted (in one of the film’s many flashback scenes) as much money as he could get from Darcy as payment to marry Lydia. But he is almost executed because he is nobody, as the boy Riley was cruelly cut off. Mrs Younge’s fierce malignity towards Elizabeth is jealousy but it’s made understandable; the actress conveys something poignant in the wood.

Mariah Gale as we first see her (through Elizabeth’s eyes)

The hour ends with Wickham taken away because Hardcastle is convinced Wickham killed Denny nefarious reasons, like the 30£ Hardcastle finds in Wickham’s hat (actually we will discover the money Fitzwilliam gave Mrs Younge to buy the infant from Louisa Bidwell with), that the shots were fired by Denny to try to protect himself. Hardcastle never deviates from this conclusion and his gathering of clues after this (in Part 2) just serves this thesis.

As I am a reader who has never liked Lydia the depiction of her as doing all she can to needle Darcy (saying in another room how Elizabeth wanted Wickham to marry her), and her vanity at thinking all men are after her a hard version of Mrs Bennet, similarly silly and having a wholly inadequate idea of how they fit into society, their own status as nullities. In the film gradually we see that Wickham and Lydia suit one another: the way they get through life is to live off others and pretend to be gay.

I’d call the novel a weak sequel, and its film adaptation in the 3 part version a strong one, even if under pressure to draw an audience, the genre of mystery thriller or a P.D.James novel (she is an English and BBC brand name) was resorted to.


PBS has only so much money (see Rebecca Eaton’s book reviewed by me, a sort of apology for what Masterpiece theater has become in the last couple of years). From their point of view it is more valuable to pay for the Newshour to send Margaret Warner to the Ukraine, to have foreign correspondents, to support good documentaries. There has ever been a contingent at the BBC which despises costume dramas a tea-time soap operas for women. This despising and the lack of money since Mobil left (Viking Cruise and Ralph Lauren are no substitutes) is what leads to not having beautifully-done and respectfully aired adaptations of great books and to trashing even of minor work.

Next week I will write about Part 2 (the second hour) of the mini-series as aired in Britain.



by ellenandjim at October 28, 2014 02:13 AM

The Little Professor

The Forlorn Hope

The title of one of Charlotte Maria Tucker's (a.k.a. the un-Googleable A.L.O.E.) final novels, The Forlorn Hope (1892), is not ironic, but military. The soldiers in question belong to the evangelical Church Militant, and their cause is abolition.  Most of the novel's action takes place in the antebellum USA in the 1830s, and the narrative prominently features both the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, whom Tucker turns into an unexceptionably orthodox Christian, and, perhaps more interestingly, Mary Parker, the embattled president of the Boston Anti-Slavery Society (not surprisingly, Tucker skips over the Society's heated divisions and Parker's break with Garrison).  While Tucker carefully rewrites her historical figures into exemplars of evangelical purity, her actual protagonist is the fictional Gloria Girling, introduced with an ominous Dickensian echo: "the girl had great expectations" (10).  If, unlike Pip, Gloria begins her career already genteel, her plot echoes his in its litany of disappointments and moral failures; the novel is a failed Pilgrim's Progress whose heroine fails to escape Vanity Fair--here, life in the slave-owning South--until late middle age.

In this plot, the single-minded Mary Parker acts as Gloria's foil.  Parker, a "Good Samaritan" (28), is introduced helping a drunken female slave, Dido, who has fallen by the roadside, and by unselfconsciously loaning Dido her own clothes, Parker immediately distances herself from the elegant and material-minded Gloria (who will spend most of her life seeking such pleasures).  By contrast, Gloria introduces herself to Parker while she is still tending to Dido--"I am Miss Girling, an Englishwoman, a warm supporter of the cause of Abolition" (29)--and this presumption that she has the right to interrupt Parker's charitable work on the basis of her social superiority undercuts Gloria's claim to political radicalism.  Unlike Parker, whose politics emerge directly from her absolute devotion to God, Gloria grounds her abolitionist sympathies in a quasi-literary sentimentality that frequently seems disconnected from any actual slaves; when Gloria attends a meeting of the Boston Anti-Slavery Society, she does so got up in a fantastic dress and hat, ornamented by a feather "which, to her romantic imagination, seemed an emblem of defiance to all oppressors" (45).  For Gloria, abolitionism is ripe with opportunities (albeit not always conscious ones) for self-display, but also enacting her own fantasies of heroism and heroinism.  When the meeting is broken up as part of a (historical) attack on Garrison, she cannot but fall for her rescuer, Pindar Pomfret, who takes the part of a "devoted champion" (77) straight out of historical romance.

By opting for the evil Pindar over the evangelical Henry Alleine (a fictional descendant of Joseph Alleine), Gloria starts down the anti-romance path familiar from legions of realist novels warning female readers of the dangers of excessive sentiment.  Amazingly, Gloria marries Pindar not only after he gives her a "serpent-shaped bracelet" (116), which anyone half-awake would realize is Not a Good Sign, but, even worse, is revealed by Mary Parker to be one of the men who put a price on Garrison's head (122).  Given that Pindar has already revealed himself to be pro-slavery, Gloria's decision to marry him is yet another instance of romantic folly, in which she gives way to his melodramatic threat of suicide should she desert him.  (Moral of the story: choose the Boring Christian over the Exciting Swashbuckler.)  To no reader's very great surprise, Pindar turns out to be an emotionally abusive husband and gold-digger, but more importantly from the novel's point of view, he effectively squelches Gloria's initial efforts to convert.  Equally, he wrecks her feeble efforts to continue abolitionist work; she is not even able to free Dido, now her slave, without Pindar's permission, and in the end he simply sells Dido out from under her.  "I told you before that a wife has no property of her own," sneers Pindar (186), implicitly linking Gloria's legal and moral condition in this bad marriage to slavery.  It is no wonder that when Pindar is finally killed many years later at the beginning of the Civil War, he leaves his wife bankrupted morally as well as spiritually.  

It should surprise no-one that the novel's fervent support for abolitionism is accompanied by some extremely stereotypical representations of the slaves and freedmen themselves, who are either saints (if saved) or moral dissolutes (if not).  The novel insists that freed African-Americans can only establish their moral characters on a sound footing by converting to a combination of evangelicalism and self-help.  Arguably, the novel's most heroic figure is Garrison's fictional servant, a freedman named Juba (who, for some reason, insists on calling Garrison "massa").  He sacrifices himself three times over the course of the narrative: first, he is badly injured protecting Garrison; next, he voluntarily gives himself up to slavery to redeem his sister Dido from the Holly plantation (which Gloria was supposed to inherit, and eventually does); and finally, he earns his freedom a second time by saving Cornelius, the son of his abusive new owner, from drowning.  As dear Corny points out to readers who might be too dull to pick up on the analogy, sacrifice #2 sounds suspiciously like Christ's (214), which Juba modestly disclaims, but the comparison stands.  (Juba's superior sanctity gives his relationship to Garrison something of a Crusoe-Friday flavor.)  While Juba's Christian heroism certainly points up Gloria's own moral failures, said heroism is still accompanied by a lot of ow-inducing stereotypes (he's a bit of a trickster, always singing, eternally grateful and deferential to all the white people...).  By contrast, Tucker's treatment of the biracial "Dame" Araminta Diggens, who is arguably even more of a racist monster than Pindar, suggests some real anxieties about intermarriage.  An unobservant Catholic, in stark contrast to the various types of Protestant otherwise wandering through the text, the highly-fertile Araminta twice marries white men--the second time to Gloria's own grandfather, Mr. Holly.   Unlike Juba and Dido, Araminta aspires to cross boundaries of sex, race, and class: she usurps Mr. Holly's role as the head of the plantation, violently separates herself from the Black slaves, and tries to perform the role of genteel lady.  First appearing "gorgeously dressed, but in exceedingly vulgar style" (157-58), Araminta parodies Gloria's own performative garb at the abolitionist meeting--but where Gloria dresses symbolically for those who care to notice, Araminta opts for such excess as to signal nothing but her own lack of gentility.  Later, as Mrs. Holly, Araminta refurbishes the house in grandiose style, but pinches pennies when it comes to the actual redecorating process--with predictable results.  Significantly, her attempt to displace Gloria ultimately fails, for although she inherits the estate from Mr. Holly, it does not descend to her children (it's not clear if any of the children are Holly's).  After emancipation, it is not up to the biracial woman to manage an estate of freedmen, but the much-chastened white woman, now fitted to the task after years of extreme suffering and spiritual renewal.  

by Miriam Burstein at October 28, 2014 01:10 AM


Jane Eyre Connell Guide

A new Jane Eyre guide just published:
The Connell Guide to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
by Josie Billington (Author)
Jolyon Connell, Katie Sanderson, Pierre Smith-Khanna and Paul Woodward (Editors)
Connell Guides (1 Sep 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1907776175

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

by M. ( at October 28, 2014 01:30 AM

October 27, 2014

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

 photo alfredstevenshead1870s.jpg

I am afraid that the real world (which doubtless represents a lower level of reality) has intruded itself recently, I will be back soon. This is by Alfred Stevens, who was Belgian rather than British as I am sure you all know; I hope she takes care not to turn round too quickly, she could easily poke someone's eye out with that hairpin.

October 27, 2014 08:41 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Mad Hatter on the Cover of New Yorker Magazine

The issue of The New Yorker Magazine cover dated October 27th, 2014 features our favorite Hatter.  Get your copy now while you can!

by Matt at October 27, 2014 04:00 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


BAVS are very happy to announce the elected postgraduate representative for 2014-16 is Emma Butcher (Hull). Congratulations to Emma, and may we wish you the best in the position! Many […]

by Jo Taylor at October 27, 2014 09:07 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Dry ― gray ― lighter. Tired, & not well all day.

Continual pokering.

Mrs. Robinson & Miss Louis came ― before the pictures went away, which they did at 1. Then W. Lushington came, & Archibal Peel ― & Mr. Morier, who ages greatly.

Packed & arranged till 6 ― horridly tired. ―

7.45 ― to 61. Eaton Place.


Evening pleasant as ever here ― but room too hot.

home by 11.

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

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


Skirt & Tote

A skirt from with, literally, quotes from Jane Eyre among others:
The Jane-Quotes Skirt
At BOB by Dawn O'Porter

Have you ever sat alone in the bar and had nothing to read? May that never be the case again. This Karen Mabon print is awash with inspirational female quotes from three of Dawns favourite books, all set onto a navy background. The books are: ‘A room of ones own’ Virginia Woolfe ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ Jeanette Winterson, and ‘Jane Eyre’ Charlotte Brontë. Be inspired, never be bored.
 The 1950s were awash with fun patterns and novelty prints, and 'The Jane' skirts play homage to that. Made from stretch cotton with a fused waistband, the skirts boast pockets and a metal zip. The designs are fun, flirty and just on the right side of bonkers...Just.
And well, this has probably nothing to do with our Brontës. But, we it seems fair to, after women's fashion it's men's turn:

Whills & Gunn - Bronte Tote
At W.G. Trunk Co.
This basic tote by Whillas & Gunn is your go-to kick around bag. Carry a laptop and some books through customs or fill it with fruit and vegetables on the way home from the office. Although it is made from a rugged cotton twill it is also lightweight which allows you to pack it into you suitcase or backpack when it's not needed.

by M. ( at October 27, 2014 01:30 AM

October 26, 2014

The Beautiful Necessity

Why I Haven't Been Here. And Also, a Gorgeous Calendar!

The Beautiful Necessity was my very first blog, started in February 2008.  At the time, I lamented that there wasn't more out there for enthusiasts of Pre-Raphaelite art to get information both on the original movement, and its influence and marketing in the modern day.  But now...there are some incredible resources out there, not the least of which are Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, run by my dear friend Stephanie, and The Kissed Mouth, run by my dear friend Kirsty.  Because of this, and new extracurricular obligations that are taking up much of my time, I haven't posted here very often lately.  I do still plan to post here if I find new content, but the posts will be admittedly few and far between.  Thankfully, as I said, Stephanie and Kirsty are incredible experts in the field, and I highly recommend following everything they both do!!!

In the mean time, I DO have new content to share with you!  The incredibly talented Hannah Titania recently coordinated the creation of a new calendar for 2015 called Pre-Raphaelite Muses.  This calendar features gorgeous never-before-seen images of modern day Stunners who are not only inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art, but are artists in their own right who help create new beauty every day!

Or, in Hannah's words,

"After finding other Muses from different parts of the world, who shared the same inspiration and love for Pre-Raphaelite art, I started the Facebook group 'Pre-Raphaelite Models and Muses'. People enjoyed sharing their Pre-Raphaelite inspired photographs, and I loved all of the creativity. I then had the idea of bringing modern Pre-Raphaelite Muses together to create a calendar.

One of the most important things about the Muses in the calendar is that they are not simply models dressing up in a certain style, they are being themselves.

Each Muse in the calendar holds a special type of beauty that is described as ‘Pre-Raphaelite’. Apart from all being artists’ models who pose in the Pre-Raphaelite style for photography, paintings and drawings, they are also artists themselves, care about nature, and inspire others through their being and ideals. All the Muses in this calendar were chosen not only for their unique beauty and artistic endeavours, but also because they have a passion for Pre-Raphaelite art. Every page has text about who each Muse is and their art. There are musicians, writers, crafters and artists."

The calendar is available at the Pre-Raphaelite Muses website, and an exclusive sneak peek will be seen in the Winter issue of FAE magazine. 

It can also be purchased on Etsy, here and here.  You can also follow new information on the project on the Facebook page.

Incidentally, I was supposed to be a part of this project, but failed to get an image to Hannah in time for this year.  Hopefully if the project is successful, I can participate next year!

by Grace ( at October 26, 2014 03:23 PM


Shadowy Regions

Austin Daily Herald has a sad-but-true realisation:
Try as you might, you’re never going to read all of the classic books everyone recommends. It’s physically impossible to read the all-time greats we celebrate in literature, from Leo Tolstoy, Fydor Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens to Emily Brontë, Tzu, Homer and Dante Aligheri. (Trey Mewes)
San Francisco Classical Voice reviews the latest symphony by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho,  Earth Shadows (Maan varjot):
The second movement, which Saariaho refers to as “the heart of the composition,” is more elegiac and spectral in nature. The organ and orchestral lines glisten in ghostly phrases as if we listening to the lingering spirit voices at Miss Havisham’s wedding. The music, though perhaps not literally intended, takes on a gothic quality reminiscent of the shadowy regions of Edgar Alan Poe or Emily Brontë. (Jim Farber)
Calgary Herald talks about the play Victor and Victoria’s Terrifying Tale of Terrible Things:
Victoria on the other hand, is a bit of a fantasy witch. She likes to get lost inside her mythical worlds, where she usually plays a version of Olivia de Havilland in Wuthering Heights, perched on the precipice of some cliff scanning the horizon for her Heathcliff. (Stephen Hunt)
Is this a blunder? Olivia de Havilland never was in any Wuthering Heights movie...  although she played Charlotte Brontë in Devotion 1946.

Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) explores several of the costume recreations inspired by the Brontës and their contemporaries. Escritoras Inglesas (in Portuguese) reviews Syrie James's The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë. Idiot Box reviews Wuthering Heights 1992.

by M. ( at October 26, 2014 01:48 PM

News from Anywhere

A Mysterious Book

In an earlier post, we touched upon the identity of the tragic poet Gerald C. Siordet. That post was prompted by the auction—still ongoing—of an Earthly Paradise volume signed by Jane Morris to Siordet.

Why is the book still up for sale after its first auction's end date? Well, it had to be taken down for a while, for very interesting reasons.

The book was originally posted to ebay with a second item grouped in with it for free. This second item, a book, wasn't in prime condition, so it seemed a mere token to accompany the Jane-inscribed book. It soon emerged, however, that this free book was extremely rare, and quite valuable.

The book is a rare volume of Siordet's poetry, published after he died in battle in Mesopotamia during WWI. It includes a portrait of Siordet, pictured here. It's so rare that no copies seem to exist in the US, and only two can be found in the UK.

The book is on its way to a new home, where the public will be able to view it (more on that later), so all's well that ends well. The Jane Morris-inscribed Earthly Paradise on the other hand, taken off of ebay in the interim, is still without a home. Feel free to rectify this situation. The vendor is Humanity at Heart, a British charity.

by Clara Finley ( at October 26, 2014 01:28 PM


Wuthering Heights back in Warsaw

A new chance to see the Wuthering Heights "adults-only" adaptation by Julia Holewińska and Kuba Kowalski, first premiered in Warsow, Poland in 2012:
Wichrowe Wzgórza
Teatr Studio im. St. I. Witkiewicza

26.10.2014 19:00
27.10.2014 19:00
28.10.2014 19:30

Adapted by  Julia Holewińska and Kuba Kowalski
Directed by  Kuba Kowalski
With Monika Obara / Lena Frankiewicz , Natalia Rybicka, Anna Smołowik, Miron Jagniewski,  Marcin Januszkiewicz, Krzysztof Koła , Wojciech Solarz, Wojciech Żołądkowicz and Lena Frankiewicz

Hollywood zobaczyło w Wichrowych wzgórzach materiał na wielki melodramat, opowieść o tragicznej miłości w efektownej scenerii ponurych wrzosowisk. Adaptując powieść na potrzeby filmu uproszczano jej wymowę, uładzano bohaterów, wreszcie amputowano jej kluczową drugą część – banalizując w ten sposób arcydzieło Emily Brontë. (...) Próbujemy z Julią Holewińską spojrzeć na Wichrowe Wzgórza jak na swoistą „encyklopedię miłości”. Brontë zawarła w swojej powieści niezliczoną ilość wzorców miłosnych relacji, od tych bratersko-siostrzanych, poprzez miłość rodzicielską i synowską, koncentrując się wreszcie na związkach kochanków. Dokonując wiwisekcji uczuć stawia swoją główną bohaterkę Katarzynę przed fundamentalnym wyborem między tym, co racjonalne, kontrolowane, gwarantujące rozwój, ale i stawiające wzajemne ograniczenia, a tym, co irracjonalne, niebezpieczne, twórcze, ale i autodestrukcyjne. Relacja Katarzyny i Heathcliffa, najistotniejsza zarówno w powieści jak i naszej adaptacji, to utopijna wizja miłosnego związku funkcjonującego poza jakimkolwiek kontekstem kulturowym: uczucie łączące przybrane rodzeństwo wymyka się klasyfikacji, istnieje poza językiem czy konwenansem, jest gwałtowne, nie uznaje kompromisów, jest wreszcie niebezpieczne i destrukcyjne.

by M. ( at October 26, 2014 10:48 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Very dark at times ― but dry.

Chevalier Dos Santos,
Miss Julia Goldsmid,
Mrs. Naylor,
Evelyn Baring,
Mrs. Henry Baring,
Mrs. Prescott
A. Glennie ―

These were among the interruptions of the day. As for me, when able, ― I worked at dividing & selecting drawings ― & making 4 little sketches of Carlo ― Miss Louis’s dog, ― for her. Did not go out.

At 7.30, came Glennie & J. Uwins ―


and a most pleasant evening it was: “vastly ― vastly” so. It was nearly 12 before they went. Glennie is little altered, tho’ he must be 64 or 65: but Giacomo Uwins has a white beard.

“O come passano i dì ― felici!”

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

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

The Little Professor


Operating on the theory that "Useful Links" ought, in fact, to be useful, I went into the sidebar and cleared out all the dud links and/or links that were redirected to pages now consisting of (ahem) dubious content.  Talk about a bloodbath--many lists lost up to a quarter of their entries.  (Incidentally, I was struck by the number of dead links that had once been hosted at university servers.)  Sic transit etc.

by Miriam Burstein at October 26, 2014 04:55 AM

October 25, 2014

The Little Professor

This Week's (Slightly Belated) Acquisitions

  • Robert Player, Oh! Where Are Bloody Mary's Earrings? (Harper, 1972).  Neo-Victorian-cum Tudor-cum Edwardian mystery about a pair of earrings, a gift to Mary I, supposedly invested with miraculous powers.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter (Vintage, 1982).  It's Macbeth, but not Shakespeare's version.  (I was hoping to use this for a Macbeth unit in intro to lit analysis, but it's over 600 pages of closely-printed small type,  (Amazon [secondhand])

by Miriam Burstein at October 25, 2014 09:17 PM


This year, as I sat myself down to write the annual Halloween post (below), I traipsed, as is my wont, over to the Literary Gothic site.  Only to discover that it's no longer there.  It thus joins Black Mask as a vanished archive of frequently rare Gothic e-texts.   Unlike the HorrorMasters archive, which can still be accessed in its entirety via the Wayback Machine, Literary Gothic is completely kaput.  (The Wayback Machine only has the home page and, on occasion, additional pages with dud links.)  While I suppose one could reflect on the irony of a horror site vanishing into the electronic ether (it's...a ghost!), the site's disappearance has obvious ramifications for anyone seeking to save their students a bit of money by linking to free texts.  Or, to put it differently, the site's disappearance demonstrates why the promise of free e-texts for students rests on a fragile foundation.  And that's before one gets into the problem of assessing the quality of such e-texts, which varies widely and wildly according to the site.  Anyone who suggests "it's all on the 'net!" should be reminded that, really, it's all on the 'net until it suddenly isn't.    

by Miriam Burstein at October 25, 2014 07:37 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Dark morning ― but no rain.

Dickenson, Underhill: ― at 10.30 ― in cab to City, & got my annual Dividends ― this year £115.0.0. Leaving £100 with Mr. Scott, I returned home, just in time to show Lady Hatherton & Lady Fanny Harcourt my pictures. After they went, I finished the Sir Walter James picture ― & touch it shall I no more.

At 2.30 to the City again to Scotts, & was only just in time at the Bank to “accept the Stock.” ―

Back ― & bought Inkstands & at Parkins & Gotto, & then back to Stratford Place ― arranging letters &c. &c. Reginald Cholmondeley came: & now I am going to dress.

The whole evening was remarkably delightful, being a pleasant & surprising mixture: only Miss Bromley ― affected & vain, I never could endure.


Vastly pleasant.

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

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


Creative Writing and Auditions

Two very different Brontë alerts for today, October 25:
A Day of Creative Writing at Ponden Hall with Anne Caldwell
Saturday 25 October 2014, 10.30am - 3.30pm

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is hosting a one-day workshop with us here this October -  ‘A Day of Creative Writing at Ponden Hall’ with poet Anne Caldwell on Saturday October 25 (10.30am-3.30pm).
Tickets are available from the Parsonage (email Sue Newby at, or phone her on 01535 640185) on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets cost £50 and include a soup and sandwich lunch, afternoon tea and cake, and a tour of the Hall.
And in Washington City, Utah, auditions for a Jane Eyre.The Musical production:
 AUDITION NOTICE: Jane Eyre, the musical
Saturday October 25th 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and
Wednesday, October 29th 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Brigham’s Playhouse
25 N. 300 W.
Washington Utah, 84780
(In Cottontown Village, next to the Red Barn)

by M. ( at October 25, 2014 01:30 AM

A debt of gratitude

In the midst of its inner 'wars', a reader of Keighley News thinks that the Brontë Society is owed a 'debt of gratitude'.
The Brontë Society owes a debt of gratitude to those early founding fathers of the society, for their dedication to ‘promoting and commemorating the lives, times, literature and art’ of the Brontë family – Brontë Society chairman steps down due to health (Keighley News, October 9).
Those early stalwarts used to meet in a room above what was the butcher’s shop above what is now the information centre, at the top of Main Street in Haworth.
In 1928, the then Parochial Church Council declared, in modern parlance, Patrick Brontë’s Parsonage was no longer ‘fit for purpose’, and put it up for sale. To our internal gratitude, the Parsonage was purchased by a wealthy benefactor who, having applied for trust status, gifted the Parsonage to the existing members of the Brontë Society, who by law immediately become trustees. We are therefore bound by law to ‘maintain and care for the Parsonage, to hold in trust in perpetuity’ (forever).
It should now be seen and appreciated that since 1928, Brontë Society members worldwide are now trustees of the Brontë Parsonage Trust. We therefore own the Parsonage and every thing in it. We can’t sell it, can’t give it away and, more importantly, no one can take it away from us. John Thirlwell and his ‘co-conspirators’ are in breach of trust law in attempting to do so.
Somewhere along the line, the Parsonage was granted charity status, readily granted by an ‘arm’ of the government, called the Charity Commission, in order (as I see it) to avoid the thousands of charities springing up all over the country from applying for grants for various causes.
So now we have become The Brontë Parsonage Charity Trust. A stand-alone entity responsible for raising our own funds as non-paid members. We trustees cannot pay ourselves for any services rendered, though we can pay for accountancy work etc. Charity Law forbids remunerated employees from having any control over the trust’s governance. Thus any attempt at any sort of takeover by our own employees renders them liable for instant dismissal on those grounds.
We can, by law, employ staff to carry out some duties that may need a full-time operative, such as clerical work, but such numbers must be kept to a minimum to keep costs down.
All this information should therefore stop those spurious efforts by Mr Thirlwell and co dead in the water, and any continuation of his destruction of our Brontë Parsonage Charity Trust is a total waste of time and effort, as we have charity law and trust law on our side!
Go Home Mr Thirlwell, you can’t win.
Still locally, the Keighley News also reports that the 'Black Bull in Haworth now the centre of a vibrant music scene' and also that 'Councillors apply for community asset status for Haworth's Royal Oak pub to try and block Tesco bid':
Council vice chairman, councillor Angel Kershaw, explained that if the application to Bradford Council is successful the parish council would have have the right to be consulted in the event of the pub being sold off.
She said if the pub is put up for sale councillors would then have six months to suggest alternative ways of retaining the premises as a community asset.
"The Royal Oak has been allowed to become run down," she said. "It's quite obvious that the people who own it have not invested in it.
"We would like the brewery to sell it to another brewery that is interested in it, or to invest money and bring it up to scratch.
"Its location by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway means it could be a brilliant place. The pub dates back to before the 1850s and we know it was there at the time of the Brontës.
"We very much want it to continue as a centre for community gatherings.
"It's the only pub left on that side of the village. If it goes then people who aren't physically fit enough to get up the hill to the other side of Haworth will be left without a local pub."
Tesco's plans to turn the pub into a convenience store have encountered strong opposition from local people and councillors.
One of its applications, which would have involved locating a cash machine on the outside of the building, was rejected by Bradford planners earlier this month. (Oct) Worth Valley Ward Councillor Rebecca Poulsen said this cash machine would have been in a "ridiculous and dangerous" location.
Tesco has argued that a convenience store in the building would create 20 jobs, boost economic regeneration and bring extra trade to Mill Hey. (Miran Rahman)
The Irish Times lists '10 fictional characters who are given a novel of their own'. One of which is:
Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, told from the perspective of the madwoman in the attic. Rhys reimagines the voice of the beautiful and fragile Antoinette Cosway, years before she is shipped to England to start her new life as Bertha Rochester. (Sarah Gilmartin)
The Times publishes the obituary of the author Mary Cadogan (1928-2014):
"I used to devour the Magnet and the Schoolgirl avidly in the 1930s... at the same time as I was devouring the works of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Anne Sewell", she recalled. "It never struck me then, or now, that there was anything fundamentally in opposition about these two types of reading".
Spanish writer Santiago Posteguillo speaks in Las Provincias (Spain) about the suffering of Charlotte Brontë and what she turned it into:
Pero pese a sus diferencias, bajo todos los escritores incluidos en el libro subyace la presencia común de la sangre, "ya sea física o metafórica". Y ha puesto como ejemplo el sufrimiento de Charlotte Brontë, quien "tuvo la genialidad de reconvertirlo, en lugar de en soledad, en una obra maestra como 'Jane Eyre'", ha observado. (Translation)
La plana al día (Spain) thinks that Tennyson's Enoch Arden follows in the footsteps of Wuthering Heights.
Enoch Arden es una historia de amor. Una historia total que sigue la senda de Wuthering Heights (Cumbres borrascosas), publicada por Emily Brontë casi veinte años antes, en 1847. (Translation)
According to Closer Magazine (France), Isabelle Adjani, who played Emily in André Téchiné's Les Soeurs Brontë, considers Isabelle Huppert, who played Anne, her rival.
L'autre Isabelle, sa sœur Brontë détestée, sa rivale de toujours. (Coralie Vincent) (Translation)
Vasabladet (Sweden) thinks that Wuthering Heights is one of the best fall reads. A columnist from La Jornada (Mexico) speaks about her love of books and mentions reading the Brontës. The Times makes a list of Gothic art, music... and Wuthering Heights seems to be in. reviews Jane Eyre 2011. Booked til Tuesday reviews Ironskin by Tina Connolly. thatgirlwiththenovel posts about Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at October 25, 2014 12:31 AM

October 24, 2014

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


To quote a famous example Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South raised the question of social and cultural tensions between the North and the South of the country. The opposition between cities and […]

by Jo Taylor at October 24, 2014 03:30 PM


The Victorian Studies Association of Ontario executive invites proposals for 20-minute papers to be presented at the Association’s 48th annual conference at Glendon College, York University, Toronto, on 25 April […]

by Jo Taylor at October 24, 2014 03:26 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. Bright, gorgeous hues of foliage ― cold withal.

Wrote a letter or 2, ― & walked round the garden before 7.30. Breakfast ― with F. Riley, & Decie, ― & we 3 walked to Rail ― 8.13. ― Riley is a queer dry uninteresting cove, ― tho’ I dare say good Decie is both good & interesting. We 3 parted at Waterloo Station. ―― I found no letters from Corfû ―strange. Violently I set to work on unfinished bits of the Campagna picture ― & generally improved it. ― Arranged & attempted to pack a little, but at 1 ― went out. Met Lord Kirkenwall, to whom I only said, “I don’t like your book” & passed on: for I am always unable to say terse or sharp things. To Martins, & Lady Waldegrave’s, & to Drummond’s, where I drew out £17.0.0, & then, (having vainly tried to get a map of the Riviera,) I went to Days ―: Days had notrubbed off my drawings ― tho’ I wrote to them to do so in June. ― Returned, variously shopping ― by 5 ― & then called at Lady Hathertons, & at Emma Parkyns ― who is still very unwell. Home by 7. Dinner ― 7.30 ― μοναχῶς. Ἔπειτα ― arranged books & other matters till bed time.


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

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


Theatre and Jane Eyre meeting Thomas, the tank Engine

A couple of rendez-vous with theatre adaptations of Brontë novels.

The Peter McMaster's all-male Wuthering Heights will be performed today, October 24 at the Folkenstone Fringe:
Wuthering Heights
Directed by Peter McMaster

Four performers explode their own experiences of being men in this bold theatrical debut from 'one of Scotland's most interesting young theatre makers' (The Scotsman)'. As the men recall the dark expanses of the Yorkshire moors, sing together full-throated and bold, recall poignant memorials of being a boy and dance optimistically to the howling tones of Kate Bush, the energy of this brave new performance is not to be missed.

McMaster's all male, award-winning interpretation of Emily Brontë's seminal text, re-visits the iconic landscapes and characters from Wuthering heights and places them alongside the stories of the male performers. This re-imagined classic considers how almost 200 years after the book was published, the lives and aspirations of men are now different. From the perspective of this all male company, this timely new production questions what should be left behind in history and what should be held onto as we move forward into the 21st century.

Fri 24 Oct | 19.30 - 20.40
£10, £8 concessions
Quarterhouse, 49 Tontine Street, CT20 1BN
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a student performance of Robert Johanson's Jane Eyre adaptation:
Jackson Hole High School Drama is ready for the curtain to go up on its fall performance of “Jane Eyre,” the stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s opus. (...)
For six nights — Thursday through Saturday and Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 — the drama students will bring “Jayne Eyre” (sic) to life in the high school auditorium.
There are many theater adaptations for the classic story, but the Robert Johanson script that drama teacher Evie Lewis found is the most true to the novel. Most members of the cast had not read it. After becoming familiar with the relationships they embraced it.
“The kids don’t read this that often anymore,” Lewis said of the book. “They’ve really enjoyed discovering this whole story and this period.”
The teens command the lines and movements of Victorian classicism, all as young professionals.
Senior Cheyenne Garnick was raised around the theater and personifies the independent and outspoken governess Jane Eyre. Her lines come naturally, and even when she struggles to remember the exact phrase her passion for the theater is obvious.
Senior Douglas DuPont, who has performed in the fall drama productions since his freshman year, takes on the role 38-year-old Mr. Rochester with acumen. In preparing for the part he observed older men’s mannerisms so that he could fix his “lazy, high school posture” when he was onstage.
“It’s art,” he said of the performance.
However, these are students, and as they learn in English or math classes they broaden their vocabulary, their understanding of history and their public speaking skills, taking on new words with each day. They might struggle with the pronunciation of “solace” or “artifice,” but they learn, correct and move on. (Jason Suder in Jackson Hole News & Guide)
And finally, the NEPCA’s 2014 fall conference  (Northeast Popular / American Culture Association) (Providence, Rhode Island) schedule contains a talk that is quite.... well... bizarre?
Session II: Friday, October 24, 2:45–4:15 pm
“Jane Eyre on the Island of Sodor”
Andrew Hazucha, Ottawa University

by M. ( at October 24, 2014 01:14 AM

Haworth on TV - then and now

The Telegraph and Argus reports that Haworth is going to be on TV this weekend. In the first episode of the fourth season of Channel Four's Walking Through History :
Haworth and Brontë Country will be featured again on national television this weekend. Presenter Sir Tony Robinson will front an episode of his latest documentary series, which is called Walking Through History, on Channel Four at 8pm on Saturday. The footage was filmed in Haworth and Stanbury earlier this year when Sir Tony visited Ponden Hall, the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Haworth Parish Church.
This was also on TV but in 1977: Joan Bakewell visiting Haworth. (Via the Brontë Parsonage Museum Facebook page).

Still locally, Virtual Festivals recommends a trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway as it is
a unique way of enjoying the beautiful countryside immortalised by Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.
And moving further north, Big Think recalls Charlotte's opinion of Edinburgh:
... and that charm certainly did not miss its mark with Charlotte Brontë. In a letter dated 1850, she wrote: "My dear Sir, do not think that I blaspheme when I tell you that your great London, as compared to Dun-Edin, 'mine own romantic town', is as prose compared to poetry, or as a great rumbling, rambling, heavy Epic compared to a Lyric, brief, bright, clear, and vital as a flash of lightning." (Frank Jacobs)
Not so accurate is the columnist of Spartan Daily, who attributes the wrong quote to Charlotte Brontë:
There is this quote from the novel “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë about depression that has always stuck with me.
“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.” (Jerica Lowman)
And Vogue looks back on a 1961 essay by Joan Didion where she discusses crying too:
 It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one’s head in a Food Fair bag. There is a similar case for all the small disciplines, unimportant in themselves; imagine maintaining any kind of swoon, commiserative or carnal, in a cold shower.
This is what this columnist from The Huffington Post remembers of her first time reading Jane Eyre:
It all started when I read Jane Eyre as a child. Rather than focusing on the gothic romance between Mr Rochester and Jane, all I could think of was the crazy wife locked in the attic. The thought haunted me for weeks and weeks, or more realistically, years and years. The image of her laughing on the roof as the house burnt down is absolutely terrifying, because she isn't a monster or a vampire or some extra-terrestrial being - she is one of us, a normal person pushed to the brink of her mind. (Shadi-Sade Sarreshtehdarzadeh)
The Pittsburgh City Paper also comments on Jane Eyre's gothic-ness:
[Playwright Carole] Fréchette relies heavily on gothic tales of the past — Jane Eyre, The Tell-Tale Heart, the legend of Bluebeard — to fuel the first half of her story. In the second, however, the "spookiness" gives way to a melancholy tone poem perfumed with more than a little magic lyricism about love and loneliness. (Ted Hoover
This reviewer from The Spectator hasn't enjoyed the film Fury, directed by David Ayer.
Action movies are, of course, wonderful, as long as the director and the writer control their impulses to blow us away with violence. I suppose today’s films are made for those who blog, text and post selfies: non-readers, whose imagination has to be jarred from their narcissistic state. Mind you, I’m not a fan of French films where everyone sits around and talks and nothing, but nothing, ever happens. (Directors of such movies are called auteurs.) Nor am I mad about films, or books for that matter, that focus on everyday grievances, the regrets that pile up as the years crawl by. (I tend to hit the popcorn too much.) But there is a happy medium, and the old flicks had it in spades. Was there violence in Rebecca? In Wuthering Heights? In Laura? Could anyone ever get bored with The Best Years of Our Lives? Or the best war film ever, Go Tell The Spartans, about early Vietnam, starring the great Burt Lancaster. And if you hate the Germans and the fascists, go see The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, written and directed by Vittorio de Sica, starring the best looking woman of her time, Dominique Sanda. I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. All I’d like to know is where has all the talent gone? And as always I will answer my own question: movies today reflect what the audience wants to see, and the audiences are imbeciles and uneducated fools and that’s why Fury will be a hit, so help me God. (Taki)
More on films, as A.V. Club looks at the different screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice:
In 2005, director Joe Wright cast Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen as the stars of his Pride And Prejudice. The film downplays the satire (although not the comedy) and takes a more romantic approach—both by emphasizing the love stories and in the literary sense of the word. In Wright’s Romantic aesthetic, the natural world reflects his characters’ emotional states. Darcy’s failed first proposal takes place outside in a torrential downpour, while the lovers’ reconciliation happens as the sun peaks over the horizon of a misty field. That climax even styles Darcy as a Heathcliff-esque hero with a flowing coat and proudly displayed chest hair. Where the 1940 version offers broad comedy and satire, Wright goes for sentiment. Both work well as individual films, and it’s a testament to Austen that her novel is rich enough to provide fodder for these wildly divergent interpretations. (Caroline Siede) 

by Cristina ( at October 24, 2014 12:56 AM

October 23, 2014

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Signals Catalog, Now with More Alice!

Back in March we blogged about this cool necklace, and now catalog giant Signals has added it to its inventory.  Just in time for Christmas!

by Matt at October 23, 2014 04:00 PM

Regency Ramble

Regency Fashion October 1814

October is clearly the month for walking at Ackermann's

An evening primrose-coloured French sarsnet petticoat, trimmed round the bottom with a double border of clear muslin, drawn full with a narrow ribband of corresponding colour to the petticoat; high body of jaconot muslin, with reversed drawings; long sleeve, drawn to correspond. A silk ruff.

 A silk net handkerchief-sash, tied in streamers and small bows behind.

A Shipton straw bonnet, tied under the chin with a net handkerchief crossing the crown, and trimmed with a band of the same silk net.

Sandals of evening primrose-coloured kid. Gloves to correspond.

Very smart. And more sandals.

Until next time

by Ann Lethbridge ( at October 23, 2014 12:00 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Wet ― gray ― windy. Rose at 7. Wrote to Mr. Edwards ― Mrs. Robinson, & F.L. Breakfast ― 9.15. Pleasant. ――

At 11 ― walk with Riley, E. Wolstenholme, ― & S. Vincent, thro’ Richmond Park to the Star & Garter Terrace ― that loveliest of all lovely views. How many years since I came first here with R. Gale! ― (in 1834 I think. ―) A pleasant walk: we came back to Lunch; ― & afterwards, I talked first with one, then with t’other, till dusk, when Mr. Ball came ― (Botanist, & Alpine club traveler,) & we all were very merry ― singing to little Frank &c. Poor little Ruth is always very unwell.


Dinner & evening most pleasant. There can be no kinder or more hospitable people than these.

Bed at 11.

(Inspector of Schools. “Who brought the message to the Virgin Mary?”
Little girl. “Garibaldi Sir!”
Inspector. Nonsense! Gabriel.)

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

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

The Little Professor

It's the Annual Halloween Horde of Horrors!

To change things up a bit, this year's installment of things horrific features eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century literature (to about 1835 or so).  More verse (and longer texts in general) on the table than usual.   

  • The Black Forest; Or the Cavern of Horrors: A Gothic Romance.  A "German" tale (well, maybe--that was the marketing angle) in which a man finds himself taking up the sword of vengeance (literally) from...well, somebody buried in this mysterious cave.  
  • Gottfried Burger, "Lenore" (Thomas Taylor's translation | Walter Scott's translation).  Foundational Gothic text, especially when it comes to the "please check to make sure your would-be bride/bridegroom is actually alive" trope.  Once you've read this poem, you'll find echoes of it everywhere.
  • Robert Burns, "Tam o' Shanter."  The dangers of riding home after having one too many...
  • S. T. Coleridge, "Christabel."  An early example of the female vampire.  
  • Daniel Defoe, "A Relation of the Apparition of Mrs. Veal."  A woman manages to pay a visit despite being, you know, deceased.  
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown."  Puritan goes for ride, has unpleasant experience.  
  • E. T. W. Hoffman, "The Sand-Man."  Nightmarish creatures, automata, madness, etc.  
  • Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  The one with the headless horseman.  
  • M. G. Lewis, The Castle Spectre.  Villains! Innocent heroine! Revenge! Murder! Oh, and a ghost.  Successful drama by the man better known as author of The Monk
  • ---, "Albert of Werdendorff, or the Midnight Embrace."  (You'll need to turn to p. 35.)  "Lenore," basically, except here it's the dead woman who comes back for the man.  Lots more weird stuff in this volume, so do read on.
  • Richard Brinsley Peake, Presumption; Or, the Fate of Frankenstein.   Early (and, shall we say, loose) adaptation of, well, Frankenstein, featuring more singing than perhaps one might expect from the novel in question.  
  • John Polidori, The Vampyre.  One of the first successful vampire tales in English.  Bears considerable responsibility for the sexy vampire phenomenon.
  • Alexander Pushkin, "The Queen of Spades."  Would-be gambler gets advice...unfortunately for him.
  • Leitch Ritchie, "The Man-Wolf."  Gentleman discovers that he has some unseemly issues.  
  • Walter Scott, "Wandering Willie's Tale."  Inset ghost story from Redgauntlet.  
  • J. L. Tieck, "The Field of Terror."  (1st story in the volume.)  I've heard of having a hard row to hoe, but this field takes that saying to new heights...
  • Horace Walpole, The Mysterious Mother.  Gothic drama featuring the usual run of conspirators, angst, and, um, misdirected romantic interests. 
  • The Weyhill Ghost.  Comic poem in four cantos (and somewhat dubious rhyming couplets) about what happens when a traveler becomes convinced that a ghost had visited him in the night.  
  • Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson, The Priory of St. Clair; or Spectre of the Murdered Nun.  A Gothic Tale.  Lust! Convents! Murder! Annoyed ghosts! A Gothic chapbook (requires download).
  • John Wilson [a.k.a. "Christopher North"], "Extracts from Gosschen's Diary #1."  (Starts on p. 596, if the link doesn't take you there directly.)  Priest hears the confession of a man who murdered his lover.  
  • William Wordsworth, "The Thorn."  Oh woe is me! O misery!

by Miriam Burstein at October 23, 2014 02:11 AM


Christian Ethics struggling against enclosure

A paper and a thesis. New Brontë scholar additions:
Christian Ethics in Wuthering HeightsMarianne Thormählen
English Studies, Volume 95, Issue 6, 2014, pages 637-653
Even the first reviewers of Emily Brontë's novel thought it lacked a moral, and literary critics have struggled to find an ethical dimension in it. Many of them have concluded that the book is “amoral” and that it constitutes a world of its own to which no extraneous rationale can be applied. This article maintains that there is in fact a moral to Brontë's story, and that that moral is consistent with the ethical teachings of Christianity. When the actions of characters and the outcomes of their individual life stories are examined, it turns out that whatever lasting happiness any one of them experiences is the outcome of loving-kindness that is, patient and forgiving, in accordance with 1 Cor. 13:4–7. The concluding section of the article looks at the reasons for the inability of generations of readers and critics to perceive this ethical pattern. Finally, the significance of Heathcliff's strange way of dying is seen in relation to the loss of his desire for revenge.
The Outward Female Vision: The Struggle Against Enclosure in the Novels of Charlotte BrontëKon, Sheree
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The good of Villette in my opinion Miss is a very fine style; and a remarkably happy way (which few female authors possess) of carrying a metaphor logically through to its conclusion. And it amuses me to read the author’s naive confession of being in love with 2 men at the same time; and her readiness to fall in love at any time.l So begins William Makepeace Thackeray’s letter about Villette and its author Charlotte Brontë (1816-55), "the poor little woman of genius," "the fiery little eager brave tremulous homely-faced creature."
2 While Thackeray twice praises Brontë for her style and an enjoyable novel in his responses to Jane Eyre and Villette, in his later review he assumes a more condescending, paternalistic tone. Although in 1847 he correctly identifies the author of Jane Eyre as a woman, he does not center his assessment of the novel on her female nature. But in speaking of Villette to Lucy Baxter in 1853, Thackeray notes that he "can read a great deal of [Bronte's] life in her book, and see [s] that rather than have fame, rather than any other earthly good . . . she wants some Tomkins or another to love her and be in love with."

by M. ( at October 23, 2014 01:30 AM

Emulating Jane Eyre

This columnist at Christianity Today has a question:
I couldn’t think of a lot of protagonists from classic literature whom I wanted anyone to emulate, except in the most vague way—because they learn lessons and grow up and so on.
I posed this question to my students, because I didn't (and don't) have an answer. We came up with a few answers: Ulysses (but not the gods); Jesus (but not a lot of the patriarchs, at least not halfway through their "stories"); Paul, maybe; sheriffs in old Westerns; superheroes, at least in the early days; Founding Fathers. (Jane Eyre, maybe, but . . . maybe not.) But I brought up the fact that Lizzy Bennet and Emma Woodhouse are not people we ought to emulate, nor are a lot of Biblical characters, nor Shakespeare protagonists, nor many, many, many protagonists from classic literature, especially in the nineteenth century. (Alissa Wilkinson)
This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist thinks that,
Had Charlotte Brontë stretched out on Dr. Sigmund Freud’s couch, she might have reduced Jane Eyre’s traumas to a psychological exercise instead of writing the lush novel that’s become a classic. (Bob Hoover)
Cosmopolitan is quite surprised that people like writer Anna Todd read and enjoy the classics.
In high school, Todd loved reading the books we're all forced to read in English class. Whether for school or pleasure, she only read classic novels like Pride & Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, and when she found a book she liked, she'd read it over and over again. "Most people in my class were like, 'This is terrible,' but I got really, really into it, and I loved it." (Amy Odell)
Sveriges Radio's Kulturnytt (Sweden) finds that Núria Amat's El país del alma is
en kärlekshistoria som skulle kunna vara skriven av systrarna Brontë eller varför inte Emily Dickinson, och ett porträtt av en stad  i mentalt sönderfall. (Fredrik Wadström) (Translation)
Fantasymundo (Spain) reviews the book Cielos de ira by María Martínez Franco and thinks that the Brontës wrote 'garden tragedies'.
Quizá la historia podría adaptarse perfectamente al formato de serie televisiva española, tan de moda hoy en día, con bonitos trajes y preciosos decorados pero, al menos en la novela, la autora no consigue mantener el interés necesario y pasamos demasiado bruscamente de un Forsyth o Le Carré o la tragedia de jardín de Austen o Brontë. (Alberto Muñoz) (Translation)
2 Paragraphs finds what Kate Middleton and Charlotte Brontë have in common. And two reviews of Wuthering Heights stage productions: Pagan Spirits on Aquila Theatre's and Creative Drinks on shake & stir theatre co's. The Reviews posts about Jane Eyre 2011.

by Cristina ( at October 23, 2014 12:31 AM

October 22, 2014

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

Screen Grab of the Letters Master List in-progress

I’ve written before about my ongoing project of compiling a “master list” of the present locations for all of Blake’s correspondence. To collect all of this data, I’ve scoured a tall stack of fat books and a lot of online catalogues. The baseline for this list is the work info that we’ve already verified on the Blake Archive: both for letters that we’ve published and for those that are on deck for publication. Locating the rest of the letters has taken (and is still taking) some hunting around.

Screen Grab of the Letters Master List in-progress

Screen Grab of the Letters Master List in-progress

Sometimes, this is a quick process: past print editions of Blake’s letters or past catalogues pin a letter’s location down to a specific library. Ideally, the online catalogue for the library in question is complete and easy to navigate, and I simply confirm that the letter is still there. Other times, it’s not so simple.

This week, the editors at the Blake Archive had a routine email back-and-forth about locating a specific Blake document: the 11 December 1805 letter from Blake to William Hayley. According to the last print catalogue of Blake’s works, the letter should live in a collection donated by the Keynes Family Trust to the Fitzwilliam Museum. But, upon trying to locate it recently, it doesn’t appear to be there.

After combing through every account I could find of the letter’s whereabouts (including G. E. Bentley’s massive online bibliography of all things Blake) the account of the letter’s location changes over time: in the earliest account, the letter was definitely in Geoffrey Keynes’s collection, which was donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum. A later account corrects the phrasing, saying that the letter is “presumably” with that donated collection. The most recent attempt to locate it reports that the letter is neither with the family that donated the collection, nor in the collection itself.

Hopefully, the letter is only temporarily misplaced–not truly lost or untraced. The goal of this list is to figure out the present location–or at least the last known whereabouts, as in this case–of any given letter written by or to William Blake. And even when we don’t know where that is, the final list will provide the most up-to-date provenance, so that we don’t have to duplicate the sometimes tedious process of figuring out exactly where a letter lives.

by hardeepssidhu at October 22, 2014 07:59 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Wheelock Family Theatre Alice Musical Oct 17 – Nov 16

This just in:  The Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston is mounting a new Alice musical.  Starting last Friday and running weekends through November 16th, tickets available here.  From their press release:

This new adaptation sends us on a fantastical coming of age adventure. Alice, relying on her wit and empathy, must negotiate the seemingly arbitrary rules of polite society; the tea parties, the poetry recitals, the croquet matches, and the important dates with royalty. In this distorted adult world of Wonderland, will Alice retain her dreams when pressured by the capricious nature of conformity?

This new musical adaptation of the stories “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice through the Looking Glass” by Stoneham local, Andrew Barbato, offers a fresh musical perspective on the satirical vignettes drawn up by Lewis Carroll. Barbato, who has graced local stages as an actor, has been writing plays since he was a teen. “WFT has been an instrumental force in my artistic development and I feel lucky to have been mentored by founding members Jane Staab and Susan Kosoff,” says Andrew. “Places like WFT replenish my soul and remind me that the journey is much richer than the destination.

A nice review of the show appeared in the Boston Globe on Oct 22nd.

by Matt at October 22, 2014 05:19 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose earlier. Worked at the Sir W. James Campagna ― improving it considerably till 2. ― Men putting up the screens for the unborn drawings: Cecil Lane came, & lunched ― & at 4.30 I went to Rail. Came to Barnes with Sir F. Doyle ― merrily piuttosto. Mrs. Prescott had sent the “Midge” ― so I was there by 6. ― Dinner & evening very pleasant. Immensely kind friendly people.


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

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



Republishing a recent post on the Brussels Brontë Group.  A new addition to the (large, but not always very constant) family of Brontë Blogs: the blog of the Brontë Society American Chapter:
I’m happy to report that a Brontë Society American Chapter Blog is now available.
Our primary purpose is to offer a visitor an opportunity to talk Brontë. The Brontë Society American Chapter blog home page invites visitors to comment on a selected Brontë topic. The current one is “How I met the Brontës”. Other pages include “Gallery” for photos and “Scribblemania” where Brontë inspired prose and poetry can be shared.

Brontë Society American Chapter Representative

by Cristina ( at October 22, 2014 01:30 AM

Handcuffed Heathcliff

Books Live interviews writer Anthony Ehlers.
As a writing teacher who has taught on writing erotica, what’s your take?
Erotica can be a sub-genre of romance. For all its kink, Shades of Grey by EL James is a love story – Wuthering Heights with handcuffs. There is a balance between emotional and sexual tension, but the story is highly idealistic and has a happy ending. It’s a safe way to explore fantasies and sexuality. (Joanne Hichens)
This is what an Ithaca Journal columnist recalls of reading Jane Eyre for the first time:
My parents collected Reader's Digest Condensed Books. I read them all, discovering, only years later that "condensed" meant "abridged." "Jane Eyre" was a darker tale than I knew. (Sandra Steingraber)
Mendoza online lists Emily Brontë among other one-novel writers.
2. Emily Brontë, Cumbres borrascosas. Publicada en 1847 con el pseudónimo Ellis Bell, la novela de Bronte se considera actualmente como un clásico de la literatura. En el comienzo btuvo duras reacciones de los lectores y los críticos, que vieron en sus páginas una historia deprimente. El tiempo sin embargo hizo justicia. (Translation)
Regretflix! reviews Wuthering Heights 2011.  A Night's Dream of Books and The Frugal Chariot are participating in  Jane Eyre readalong. Warmisunquausten reviews in Spanish the Cozy Classics edition of Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at October 22, 2014 12:20 AM

October 21, 2014

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


An exhibition curated by the Blake scholar Michael Phillips is opening at the Ashmolean in just over a month and will run until March. It will contain works from a number of institutions, as well as a recreation of Blake’s studio from his time at Hercules Buildings in Lambeth. There are lots of associated events being planned, most notably an Inspired by Blake festival in Oxford for two weeks in January.

Many thanks to Theresa Nicolson at the Ashmolean for sending us the flier:



by Blake House at October 21, 2014 06:44 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Dot and Bo Wonderland

Our favorite modern design shopping site Dot & Bo has a new page entirely devoted to Wonderland-inspired items.  Very cool stuff!

by Matt at October 21, 2014 04:49 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Fine ― ever. Rose latish. And all day long were interruptions ― Vincent & one of the Twin Lushingtons, ― S.W. Clowes & Mr. Okeover, ― Dickenson & a lot of men, who put up the 5th Cabinet, & 2 bits of side bookcases from 11 to 5. E. Baring & Straham, & Mrs. Bergmann, whom I could not see ― I am sorry to say. Did not go out at all.

At 7.15 ― came Godfrey L. ― who, I thought had been here today, ― but it was Vernon who came with Vincent. Before he went came E. Baring & G. Straham. But the dinner was woefully postponed, ― & when it came, (tho’ not bad,) was full of lapses & vacua.


All today I have thought of sending things to Malta ― & being there 2 or 3 months. But now, I opine quite the contrary. Menton or Eastward of that, or [Paro], or Gibraltar.

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

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


Jane F---king Eyre

Ok, so this is supposed to be funny (not the part which says that Jane Eyre has never been updated...ehem, ehem... but the actual story):
Jane F---king Eyre: adapted from Charlotte Brontë
J.K. Really (Author)
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 962 KB
Print Length: 68 pages

You can trust and believe I had the childhood from hell. When my spoiled-ass cousins weren't cracking me upside the head with leather-bound novels, I was getting locked in the family murder room by my bitchface Aunt. Just the fact we even had a murder room should tell you something about the next level kind of bullshit I endured.

Jane F---ing Eyre is the Victorian gothic romance Jane Eyre, retold by a heroine who's ready to get real. While Charlotte Brontë's classic has spawned dozens of film iterations, it's never been updated, probably because Mr. Rochester's little tricks wouldn't fly with any woman navigating the dating scene today. Re-telling this iconic piece of literature as a mashup of the original verbatim dialogue and what Jane's thinking with her Victorian filter off, allows fans to experience the romance, the horror, and the passive-aggressive jabs of Ms. Fairfax again as though for the first time... but with all the boring parts cut out.

by M. ( at October 21, 2014 01:30 AM

October 20, 2014


Governesses and bad boys

Music Omh reviews the Glyndebourne production of Benjamin Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw and wonders,
what sensible Governess would not have turned tail sharpish, faced with such monsters? – and we intend the question as a compliment to these unusually talented youngsters. Corrupted by an oik who got above himself in league with Jane Eyre’s evil twin? Hardly. The ceremony of innocence may have been drowned but these two gave it something to grapple with on the way down. (Melanie Eskenazi)
Anime News Network discusses Episodes 1-3 of the Japanese shōjo manga Wolf Girl & Black Prince:
That said, there's something about the jerk boyfriend trope that resonates with the type of person who enjoys it, because it sure appears a lot in fiction, and has for literally hundreds of years. (Consider Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, for example.) It's not just the "oh, girls really want a bad boy deep down" argument, either. Most women are quite aware that they're not going to be the one who changes a bad boy, and frankly, he's not worth the effort anyway. (Brooding, self-aggrandizing people do not make good friends.) However, the crux of compelling stories is drama. Ideal relationships are sweet but not often ideal entertainment. Fiction is a safe place for exploring an unhealthy dynamic between two characters. (Amy McNulty)
The Reviews posts about Jane Eyre 2011;  Babbling Books and Future.Flying.Saucers. continues posting about the original novel. The Bookworm's Closet didn't like Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at October 20, 2014 11:37 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Rose at 6. Certainly, in fine weather, few scenes in all England can beat Cadlands. ―

Breakfast at 7. Off in car at 7.30. Hythe ― 8. ― Rail 8.30 ― off ― 8.40. In Stratford Place by 11.30.

The Duke of Newcastle is dead..

O! life of sorrow & labour! at last finished. ― E ― “la Susanna!”?

At home found the Athens things, & took out the Rettimo & other carpets ―.

Lunch. ― And at 3 called on Evelyn Baring ― whom I saw, & asked him to dine tomorrow. Then went a searching for a Pedestal writing table ― & found one for £9.0.0 ― To Foords ― & back, (having left a note to ask G. Straham also ―) by 6.30. ―

Dined μοναχῶς, & bad before 10. tired.

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

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

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two



Dear creature! How much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will read the Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.’
    ‘Have you, indeed! How glad I am! What are they all?’
    ‘I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocketbook. Castle of Wolfenbach, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Necromancer of the Black Forest, Midnight Bell, Orphan of the Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries. Those will last us some time.’
    ‘Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?’

Friends and readers,

I am delighted to be able to announce the publication by Valancourt Press of a scholarly edition of what was once the rarest of the seven famous “horrid novels” listed in Austen’s Northanger Abbey: Eleanor Sleath’s The Orphan of the Rhine (1798). The text is based on the first edition and includes an accurate life of Eleanor Sleath (misidentified in the 1968 Folio Press edition) and useful bibliography. Readers will be able to experience for themselves the nature of the text, and another interesting woman writer is added to a fuller spectrum of gothic and women writers. The male lead is a secondary intriguing figure, who, together with the book’s heroine Julie de Rougine (Madame Chamont — characters regularly have more than one name), obliquely mirror a long-time love affair in Sleath’s life. The story belongs to a type outlined by Marianne Hirsh in her The Mother/Daughter Plot, except this solitary mother’s boy and girl grow up to become a Paul et Virginie pair (I allude to Bernardin St Pierre’s wildly popular novella, Englished by Helena Maria Williams). For myself the power of the novel resides in its many descriptive landscapes which capture some still or distant numinous pastoral vision whose deepest impulse is retreat.

Valancourt has also published Sleath’s Pyrenean Banditti (1811), introduction by Rebecca Czlapinski and Eric C. Wheeler


The gothic owes much … to the emancipation of the novel from overt moral commitment. Perhaps it derives most from the enormous interest around the turn of the century in the solitary eccentric, the misfit, the social outcast, or, to use the handy phrase, the guilt-haunted wanderer — Lowry Nelson, Jr, ‘Night Thoughts on the Gothic Novel’


by ellenandjim at October 20, 2014 02:01 AM


Marketing and Communications Officer

The Brontë Society is hiring. If you are interested in this position you should hurry up:
Marketing and Communications Officer, The Brontë Society
Yorkshire Closes Tuesday 21 October 2014 Paid (£20k-25k pro rata) Part time Artform: literature, museums   Contact: Sonia Boocock
Salary pro rata £20k - £25k / annum (dependent on experience)
The Brontë Society is seeking a Marketing and Communications Officer at an exciting time as we move towards the bicentenary celebrations of Charlotte Brontë in 2016, Emily Brontë in 2018 and Anne Brontë in 2020.  We are seeking an experienced and highly motivated individual with specific responsibility for developing and administering the Society’s marketing and communications strategies.

Purpose of the job:

To build the profile of the Brontë Society through all media and digital channels with the aim of growing the Society’s membership.
To promote the Bronte Parsonage Museum and its associated events programme in order to drive an increase in visitor numbers.
To develop and implement plans to maximise opportunities presented by the upcoming bi-centenary celebrations.
To manage marketing communications on behalf of the Society across print, digital and social media.
To manage the work of the Membership Officer and develop them in their role.
To develop and implement a PR strategy for both the Society and the Museum.
To  improve our understanding of visitor, membership and social media profiles in order to inform the development of  our offer and to maximise our appeal and income generation.

by M. ( at October 20, 2014 01:30 AM

October 19, 2014


British Mollusca vs Velveteen Rabbits

What can The History of British Mollusca and the Brontës possibly have in common? The answer in The Scarborough News:
The answer lies in the name ‘Currer’. It was the Christian name adopted by Charlotte Brontë, later author of Jane Eyre, when she self-published with her sisters Anne and Emily (‘Acton’ and ‘Ellis’) their first volume, a collection of poetry, under the joint surname ‘Bell’. (...)
But where did that unusual given name that Charlotte chose come from? It’s believed it may have been a tribute to a Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861) of Skipton, an early member of the Scarborough Philosophical Society which, in the early 1800s, built the Rotunda museum.
When the museum opened in 1829, women made up just 10 per cent of its membership – and it was to be a further 70 years before one achieved the dizzying heights of being elected as an officer.
But women collectors were a powerful force in the rapidly expanding scientific enlightenment of the late Georgian and early Victorian periods – several were major contributors to the Society during its early years, even though they had no family connection with it.
Miss Currer, who lived at Eshton Hall near Skipton, was a niece of Clive of India, and variously described by other scholars as ‘at the head of all female collectors in Europe’ and ‘England’s earliest female bibliophile’. She is also believed to have given £50 (nearly £4,000 today) to help pay the debts of the Brontë sisters’ father, Patrick, when he was widowed in 1821. Perhaps Charlotte’s adoption of her name 25 years later was a way of saying ‘thank you’?
A highly regarded book collector and scholar, with a library containing some 15,000 volumes, she donated large sums of money to the Society and bought cutting edge scientific books for the museum’s library.
These included the gorgeous leather-bound gilt-edge, four-volume set pictured here: History of British Mollusca by Professor Edward Forbes, FRS and Sylvanus Hanley, published in 1833 by John Van Voorst. (...)
The books are part of the Scarborough Collections, the name given to all the museum objects that have been acquired by the borough over the years, and now in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust. (Jeanie Swales)
Mantel’s artful use of various classic storytelling gambits no doubt reinforces one’s sense of this all-of-a-pieceness: her Brontë-esque preference for knowing, if not cynical, first-person female narrators; the crisp, droll narrative idiom; and her abiding curiosity about what might be called the crises of bourgeois sociability – disturbed and/or misfiring relationships between hosts and guests.
Chicago Theater Beat reviews the LifeLine production of Jane Eyre:
Minus that chemistry and so much of the early essence in Brontë’s book, “Jane Eyre” never really takes flight. The story is missing both Jane’s raw, beating, authentic heart and the gloriously undiminished empowerment she finds under the most oppressive circumstances. (Scotty Zacher)
The Glens Falls Post-Star gives more details about a story we loved a few days ago:
“What story were you hoping the teachers would pick?” I asked.
Girl after my own heart, she answered, “Jane Eyre.”
“For the fifth-grade play?” I asked.
“Yes, why not?”
I tried to imagine the elementary school putting on a play about a man who keeps his crazy wife locked up in the attic and tries to marry another, but gets tripped up because crazy attic wife keeps trying to light everyone on fire.
“I’m not sure ‘Jane Eyre’ would have been a good fit,” I said, picturing orange and red construction paper flames across the cafetorium stage while a screaming 10-year-old in a house coat leaps to her death.
“I would have played Grace Poole,” said my daughter, who had already cast herself as the devoted servant to the crazy lady.
“I agree ‘Jane Eyre’ would have been lovely, but what’s so bad about ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’?” I asked.
She looked at me like I had just kicked over a baby carriage.
“It’s about a stuffed rabbit that gets burned up in a fire!” she said.
I thought for a moment, quickly scrolling through my mental Rolodex of children’s literature.
I got nothing.
Three kids, and I couldn’t remember what happened to the stupid stuffed bunny.
“It’s true,” confirmed my niece, walking into the kitchen right on cue. “Everyone dies. The boy. The rabbit. Everyone.”
“Wow, that’s pretty depressing for the fifth grade,” I said, thinking “Jane Eyre” was starting to look pretty good. (Martha Petteys)
On Moviepilot we read a list of favourite recent films:
Jane Eyre 2011
Looking for a good love story with a bit of mystery behind it? Look no further. Not only is the book great but it bodes well in film. It doesn't matter which version you watch (though I highly suggest the 2011 or 1996 versions). Jane Eyre the plain, penniless orphan sets out to be the governess of Mr. Rochester's ward. During which time her wit ensnares her master but he has a deadly secret. (Danica Lynn Abeln)
Dr G in The Star (Malaysia) is a bit full of clichés:
Just like how Mr Rochester proposed his love to Jane Eyre with such primitive instinct of fixation: “You, Jane. I must have you for my own - entirely my own” with a tinge of ardor: “I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” With such primal enthusiastic passion, no women will decline.
Entertainment Wise publishes an excerpt of the upcoming novel After by Anna Todd:
Before I can stop myself, my hand is turning the knob on the only room I’m somewhat familiar with in this oversize house. Hardin’s bedroom door opens without a problem. He claims to always lock his door, but he’s proving otherwise. It looks the same as before, only this time the room is moving around beneath my unsteady feet. Wuthering Heights is missing from where it was on the shelf, but I find it on the bedside table, next to Pride and Prejudice. Hardin’s comments about the novel replay in my mind. He has obviously read it before—and understood it—which is rare for our age group, and for a boy especially. Maybe he had to read it for class before, that’s why. But why is this copy of Wuthering Heights out? I grab it and sit on the bed, opening the book halfway through. My eyes scan the pages and the room stops spinning.
Jenna Hermle reviews Jane Eyre. A Serpent for All Seasons posts about Wuthering Heights. And on The Sunday Times you can listen (yes, listen) to Helen Davies discussing The Colour Purple:
I had devoured Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton, and churned through Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jane Eyre, but nothing had prepared me for the sexual violence, degradation and grinding poverty that Walker presented in short, often misspelt sentences in her 1982 novel.
And Krissi Murison talking about The Yellow Wallpaper:
As any student of Victorian, feminist psychodrama will tell you, there is usually a madwoman locked in an attic somewhere. Jane Eyre had the violent arsonist Bertha Mason, but it is the not-so-reliable narrator, Jane, from this 1892 short story, that I find creepiest.

by M. ( at October 19, 2014 03:55 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Lovely ― early. ― all the rest of the day ― cloudy ― calm, warm[.]

Rose at 6.15 ― most surprising gorgeous flower & lawn & wood scenery!! ― wrote to Lady Simeon, ― Daddy Hunt &c. ― Letters from C.F. ― irritated by my last note, but kindly ― which I replied to: & from Mrs. G.C. ― sad enough about H. Mildmay. ――

Walked a little before breakfast. Breakfast pleasant, ἔτζι κ’ ἔτζι. Looked at house with E.A.D. ― & then walk in grounds & park ― beautiful ― to the sea: so to Dairy, Kitchen Garden &c. &c., home, & saw various rooms & the top of the house. Lunch: plain, unshowy folk. Afterwards, at 3.30 ― E. & I walked by a common ― very beautiful, to the Cottage ― by the sea, & so by Pine-woods to Eaglehurst, & home by 6.30 ― dark. I had no idea of the beauty of the scenery nor of the magnificence of Cadlands. ―

Ordered Fly for tomorrow, & dressed.


Evening ― some not good singing: & I tried but, really could not sing to such a piano.

Bed at 11. Hospitable kindly folk, & very thorough well-bred. Edgar is an A 1 man.


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

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

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two


Matavai Bay (1773-74) by William Hodges (at times in the entourage of Hastings)

Dear friends and readers,

In my previous, a preliminary portrait sketch of Philadelphia Austen Hancock, known to “history” as Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza’s mother and Warren Hastings’s mistress for a brief time, I spoke of a single letter by her to Hastings somewhere in Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh’s invaluable Austen Papers. I have since discovered it appears in the section immediately after that made up of Saul Tysoe Hancock, Phila’s husband’s letters, mostly to her: Chapter 4: Eliza in France, 1777-78. Written four years after Hancock’s death, and sent by Hastings’s brother-in-law and man of business in England, Woodman, who controlled and conducted all the Hancock affairs, it confirms all I suggested was true of her character and circumstances.

Although Ronald Dunning has placed on line copies of the texts from this edition, for the convenience of the reader I replicate the text here: its poignancy speaks for itself:

Philadelphia Hancock to Warren Hastings, Paris, 3rd March 1780

After a silence of so many years on your part, nothing shd have prevailed on me to have troubled you with another Letter but my earnest desire to have some information concerning Mr. Hancock’s affairs, and and to whom can I apply but you? Let me conjure you by your Friendship for his memory and by those uncommon marks you have given of it to his Family not to refuse me this request last perhaps I shall ever make you & by the very opportunity let me know how far Mr. Hancock’s have been collected in and how far his Creditors satisfied or likely to be so. Mrs. Forde continues to write e and distresses me beyond measure on account Louisa’s Fortune which was in Mr. Hancock’s Hands. I know not what answer to make her & have vainly waited to receive some Account from you. I shall be happy to hear it will not be all lost. Mrs. Davis is returned from America a Widdow with two Children in great Distress. Is there anything for her? Has my Uncle given you any Account of the Money in his Hands? — about two thousand pounds, I imagine, besides my Brother Hancock’s Bond which I fear we shall see but little of. I have met with many mortifying and disagreeable Events in my Life, but none that has given such lasting Affliction as the reflection that many worthy Persons may be sufferers by the confidence they have unfortunately placed in person whose name I bear, not from any fault of his I will be bold to say for never was there a Man of better principles than Mr. Hancock but from a concurrence of unlucky events — I know not what — some people are born to be unfortunate — I wish also much to know if anything is secured for Clarinda whose demand I enclose to you, be t ht as it may I take it on myself that she shall not be a sufferer in her little Fortune. Alas! She has but too severely suffered in her Health and perhaps may not live to to want it — it is now more than five months that she has been quite helpless and that from so small a beginning as a whitlow on her left thumb which notithstanding all possible assistance and after six operations performed threatened the loss of her Hand & even her life & before those wounds were healed the humour conveyed itself to her right shoulder where she has already had three severe operations performed and threatened with a fourth without some extraordinary change in her favor. She has been attended by three Surgeons, one of them the first in Paris, and a Physician; the latter still attends her and one of the Surgeons Dresses her Arm twice a Day — God knows how it will end, though I am assured her life and the use of her Hands are at present in no danger. — This has been a most unfortunate affair on all accounts & has cost me more anxiety than I can describe; the expence too has been and is still very heavy, it could not have happened at a worse time, but of that I shan’t complain if the poor faithful creature can be restored to me.

I once thought to have confined this Letter to Business but knowing your Heart as I know it and convinced that in spite of appearances it is not changed for your Friends, I cannot refuse you the satisfaction of knowing my Daughter, the only thing I take Comfort in, is in perfect Health, and joins me in every good wish for your Happiness — you may be surrounded by those who are happy in frequent opportunities of shewing their attachment to you, but I will venture to say not one among them who can boast a more disinterested steady and unshaken friendship for you tnan that which for so many years animmated and will ever continue to animate the Breast of

        Dear Sir, your obliged Friend, Phila: Hancock

It is with pleasure I can add here that Clarinda is much better and altho still quite helpless is thought to be out of danger & in about a fortnight may be able to quit her Chamber.

In a letter I some time ago troubled you with, I requested you would send me a collection of Coins &c. I now request you will not think about it as the person I designed them for I shall probably never see again.

Phila’s tone is that of a woman who has had an intimate (using the world in its moral and emotional sense more than the physical, though the physical was there originally) with Hastings. She opens with his silence of so many years. After that letter of 31 January 1772 which I summarized in my previous, whose text begins on p 58 of the Austen Papers, which Hastings wrote to Philadelphia as he was landing in India, he did not write again — as we recall it was one which let her know he was dismissing her. She is hurt and knows he does not want any letters from her. In her Postscript she refers to a letter which she did “send some time ago,” disobeying his implied orders not to bother him ever again, and which he never answered. But, asks she, “to whom can I apply but you?” She conjures him by all their ties to tell her what he knows of Hancock’s financial affairs.

So Woodman has not been forthcoming — for he would know and had not told her. And her brother, George Austen has been cautious and either not told what he was not sure Hastings would approve of or was not fully apprized of what Philadelphia needed to know. I fear that Philadelphia wanted to know about her money and get it at to pay either Lambert or de Feuillide and surmize both Woodman and George Austen were holding out in order to stop this relationship from going further. It could have stopped Feuillide marrying Eliza. We do not know if in response Hastings directed Woodman to be more forthcoming.

And as I surmised, we have evidence at last — testimony — to how much these unpaid bills and all this borrowing Hancock insisted she keep up from her uncle (Francis), from others (anyone who would give her money that Hancock thought ought to), distressed her and continues to aggravate her as people as desperately genteel as herself try to collect from her all the more persistently now that he’s dead. Hancock mentioned his guilt over Louisa (as I wrote these are relatives by second marriages: Mrs Davis may be another. We confront the problem that when women married we get only their married names so we lose where the connection is: we just have it Mrs Davis is widowed and broke.

Philadelphia feels an intense mortification at bearing the name of this man who died owing so much money and having failed to live up to the confidence others had in his abilities. This sense of the man’s name who shames you because it is yours is found repeatedly in women’s correspondence where there is debt: Charlotte Smith voices it over her extravagant husband. These debts are the result of his persistently buying into the values of high status as we shall see in his letters in my next installment on Chapter 3: Hancock and India. When Philadelphia says Hancock had “high principles” but she is referring to morals outside social status, probably to his not having deserted her and having taken on the role of legitimate father to Betsy.

Clarinda is the servant Hancock kept mentioning: I assumed she was young, perhaps a sort of playmate for Eliza, but now it emerges she is old, and has endured the misery of surgery in this era (no anesthetic). Philadelphia seems to have has this woman with her (though she may be staying at an infirmary run by the Surgeon). She clearly sees herself as obliged to care for her. When she says “the poor creature” needs to be “restored” to her perhaps it’s a way of saying Philadelphia wants her health restored so she can be a servant again. Servants did lend masters on the economic edge money (we see how Thackeray’s Crawleys fleece and bankrupt Rawdon’s aunt’s servants and their landlord in Vanity Fair this way)

But Philadelphia cannot resist moving out from “business” to speak of the “heart.” Despite all appearances she must believe “Knowing your heart as I know it” he still wants to hear of “my Daughter.” Eliza in “perfect health”: and “joins in every good wish” for his “happiness.” He may be surrounded by people now with frequent opportunities of showing their attachment but hers and Eliza remains “disinterested” “steady” over “many years.” Such feelings continue to “animate the breast” of Phila Hancock.

A PS tells of how Clarinda is better, and “although helpless” she will be “out of danger” in about a fortnight.” Able to “quite her chamber.” It ends on a note of despairing pathos: he should ignore the letter she troubled him with “some time ago” (he did, not to worry) to ask for “a collection of Coins” but now she says he should “not think about it” (no evidence he did anyway) “as the person I designed them for I shall probably never see again.” She plangently tries to reach him emotionally but and expresses how the social arrangements she must endure have repeatedly cut her off from others whose friendship she valued and thought valued hers.

A (not very accurate) image of a “white Persian cat” (angora), for a time a popular and prestigious cat to own in the 18th century (by Jean-Jacques Bachelier, 1724-1806): in Hancock’s letters he mentions in passing the murder of one Hastings bought for Eliza by someone angry possibly at Hastings or Hancock

My next two blogs from the Austen Papers will be on Hancock’s letters to Philadelphia from India. Before that though I will be posting about the papers I heard at the October 2014 Burney and JASNA conferences in Montreal.


by ellenandjim at October 19, 2014 01:39 AM


The Essence of the Brontës

Carcanet Press has republished Muriel Spark's essays on the Brontës and her selection of Brontë poems and letters:
The Essence of the Brontës
A Compilation with Essays
Muriel Spark
ISBN: 978 1 847772 46 6
Publisher: Carcanet Press,  September 2014
Lives and Letters

Muriel Spark always regarded the Brontës with a novelist's eye. As Boyd Tonkin argues in his lively introduction, written for the new edition, the Brontës inspired Spark at the very beginning of her own career, but not in a straightforward way. Through her critical and biographical on the Brontës Spark identified not only their achievements but also their flaws and failings, and thereby began to define, as Tonkin puts it, 'her own best route'. As she herself said, in a piece recorded for the BBC at Emily Brontë's grave in 1961, 'I was fascinated by [Emily's] creative mind because it's so entirely alien to my own'.
This book, first published in 1993, collects Spark's essays on the Brontës, her selection of their letters and of Emily's poetry. Evident throughout are Spark's critical intelligence, dry wit, and refusal to sentimentalise - qualities that gave her own novels their particular appeal. At the same time, The Essence of the Brontës is Muriel Spark's tribute to the sisters whose talents 'placed them on a stage from where they could hypnotize their own generation and, even more, posterity'.

by M. ( at October 19, 2014 01:30 AM

October 18, 2014


Things far more dangerous than Heathcliff

The Yorkshire Post vindicates the validity of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
The latest version includes Geoffrey Ambler, a Bradford industrialist and senior RAF officer who reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal in Fighter Command during the Second World War, and his scientific collaborator Margaret Hannah – a mathematician who became a lecturer at Leeds University.
Another new addition is Sir James Roberts, the former owner of Saltaire textile mill who later saved the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth.
The Sheffield Star has eaten at the Greenhead House Restaurant in Chapletown:
There are times when the soul needs as much sustenance and nurture as the body. And that a few hours in food heaven help you through the hellish. We walked into the charming three-storey 17th century cottage and relaxed in a drawing room filled with cushions, nicknacks and antique furniture. It was like being in Charlotte Brontë’s dolls’ house.
The New York Times reviews  The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton:
It’s a lot of fun, like doing a Charlotte Brontë-themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board. Some readers will delight in the challenge, others may despair. (Bill Roorbach)
The Chicago Daily Herald remembers that the LifeLine Theatre performances of Jane Eyre has been extended:
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, has extended its production of "Jane Eyre," adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel by ensemble member Christine Calvit and starring Anu Bhatt as Jane and John Henry Roberts as Edward Rochester. Performances continue through Nov. 16.
The Daily Express invites you to take their literary quiz and find out which classic literary character you are:
Great works of literature entertain, inform and reflect the world back at us.
Do you identify with a particular character - perhaps you share Jane Eyre's quiet wisdom and determination, Lizzie Bennet's quick wit, Holden Caulfield's contempt for the status quo or Edmond Dantes totally focused drive?
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Sarah Moss reviews The Surfacing by Cormac James in The Guardian:
The last expedition of Sir John Franklin has been lost for over 160 years, but the search continues. A Canadian team this summer found the hull of one of Franklin's ships, the Erebus, reported abandoned in 1848. Franklin and his men were looking for the last section of the Northwest Passage, where British governments since the 16th century had hoped to find a quick trade route to the fabled wealth of east Asia. Like hundreds before them, they died in the attempt. Most of the British men who died after them in that area were search crews; well before the end of the 19th century, more explorers had died looking for the Franklin expedition than were on it in the first place. The search, motivated by Franklin's widow and by a powerful mixture of Victorian sentiment and imperial rhetoric, became a national project. There were folk songs, poems, lantern shows, essays by Charles Dickens and a play by Wilkie Collins. There's a glancing mention in Jane Eyre.
The Globe and Mail interviews the writer Carrie Snyder. She's is not a Brontëite, sorry:
What agreed-upon classic do you despise?
Pass. If I don’t like a book, I stop reading it, and therefore do not despise it. For example, I could never get into Jane Eyre despite having made repeated attempts. Please don’t hold this against me.
We read on The Cambridge Student:
When I was thirteen, I was forbidden to do three things: hard drugs, join the Tory Party and read Wuthering Heights. My mother explained that teenage girls read Emily Brontë’s novel when young and suggestible. The next 10 years are spent searching for Heathcliff, trawling an adolescent smog of lynx and insecurity for a whiff of angst-fuelling testosterone. (...)
Perilous as this passionate romantic view may be, my mother missed a trick. Far more dangerous than Heathcliff to sexually frustrated teenagers is the super-embossed goo of kissing in the rain and writing letters that is Noah from The Notebook. (Sarah Howden)
The TImes reviews Gwendolen by Diana Souhami:
Just as Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea resurrected Antoinette in a post-colonial prequel to Jane Eyre, so Souhami's first novel Gwendolen becomes a 21st-century feminist rereading from the perspective of Daniel Deronda's heroine. (Fiona Wilson)
Grazia (Italy) reviews the performances in Milano, Italy of Faust Marlowe Burlesque :
È una storia nota, quella di Faust che stringe un patto col diavolo Mefistofele pur di appagare la sua sete di conoscenza. Meno nota la versione di Aldo Trionfo e Lorenzo Salveti, scritta per due mostri sacri come Carmelo Bene e Franco Branciaroli. Un pastiche di attuale complessità, che cita Goethe e Marlowe, senza precludersi riferimenti letterari eclettici come quelli a Cime Tempestose. (Gabriele Verratti) (Translation)
Milliebot Reads compares several covers of Wuthering Heights editions.

by M. ( at October 18, 2014 08:57 PM

In Memoriam. Robert Demeger

Several news outlets report the death of the British actor Robert Demeger (1951-2014):
Although Robert Demeger played some challenging leading roles, including an acclaimed King Lear for director Deborah Warner early in his career, and went on to cover an impressive range of work on screen and on stage in the West End as well as for both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was always happy to describe himself, with characteristic self-deprecation, as "a jobbing actor". (Alan Strachan in The Independent)
He played the role of Joseph in Wuthering Heights 1992.

by M. ( at October 18, 2014 01:25 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Slept well. Rose at 7. & by 9. was up at De V.’s ― breakfast. prayers ― & talk till 11 ― when I went off in a car. I am very glad to have seen these good people again.* Ryde by 12. these Isle of Wight places are odious ― & full of bore. Steam ― by Osborne (1846!) & to Cowes ― & so to Southampton ― going on to another pier, whence I went to a 3rd ― & so by another Steamer to Hythe ―: There a lunch at the Drummond Arms ― & car on to Cadlands. Very splendid place. ― Walk till 5. Came in ― & saw sweet Mrs. Edgar Drummond ― & now ― 6-7 ― am in my “own room.”


Dinner pleasant. Afterwards ― a bore, along of these Jenkinsons.

(he lingered till Saturday Tuesday h 22nd.)


* Alas! alas! I never did nor can! this day ― 1 Aug. 1865 ― I hear that yesterday poor De Vere was murdered!

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

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

Victorian Poetry Network

Inaugural Poems in Victorian Periodicals

New or re-launched Victorian periodicals often published as their very first item, in their very first issue, a poem to define the “personality”, ideological orientation, and readership community of the title. These inaugural poems emphasized the cultural value of poetry to the periodical, a value that enhanced the periodical’s claim to literary prestige and also the serial’s educational, political, or religious mandate. The poems are usually — but not always — meta-textual commentaries on the aims and ambitions of the periodical. Sometimes the relationship between the inaugural poems and the periodical is harder to decipher.

The crucial factor is placement. When inaugural poems are positioned first, in the first issue of a new periodical, as the initial contribution, usually their status as the interpreter of the title’s “personality” is clear (see, for example, Edwin Arnold’s poem for Atalanta). When the first poem in a new title is placed later in the volume the relationship to the periodical overall is less certain and open to interpretation (as with Good Words‘ first poem, “Little Things”, and Woman’s World‘s “Hazely Heath”, respectively discussed by Caley Ehnes and Kathryn Ledbetter). The positioning of poems within each separate part of a periodical title conveys important information about the conceptual place of poetry overall, which was part of what Robert L. Patten and David Finkelstein term the “editor function”. Poetry is often placed repeatedly in the same position in a periodical part: such as at the beginning, after a fictional instalment, and at the very end of the issue before the advertisements. In addition, poetry read across periodical issues often creates a pattern in terms of the visual layout and illustration, linking poems across issues as well as within each issue.

The Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry offers many inaugural poems, some of which are listed below. What features do different inaugural poems share? Are inaugural poems a poetic category all of their own? What do they tell us of the cultural value of poetry at a title’s launch? Do inaugural poems always have to be on the first page? Here I interpret the category of inaugural poems as generously as possible to include the first poems published in the first issue of a periodical title.

Unsigned, “To My Bird (Adelaide)”, The Keepsake, 1829, 19-20.

Leigh Hunt, “Abraham and the Fire-Worshipper. A Dramatic Parable,” Household Words, 30 March 1850, 12-13.

Edmund Ollier, “The City of Earthly Eden,All the Year Round, 30 April 1859, 11-13.

Shirley Brooks, “Once a Week”, illustrated by John Leech, in Once a Week, 2 July 1859, 1.

Unsigned, “Little Things”, Good Words, January 1860, 15.

Edwin Arnold, “Atalanta,” illustrated by F. Somerville Morgan, Atalanta, October 1887, 2-3.

Violet Fane, “Hazely Heath”, Woman’s World, November 1887, 16.

Richard Le Gallienne, “Tree-Worship,” The Yellow Book, April 1894, 57-60.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, “A Roundel of Rabelais,” Pageant, 1 (1896): 1.


Works Cited

Caley Ehnes, “‘Little Things’: Poetry, The Periodical Press, and Good Words

Kathryn Ledbetter, “Time and the Poetess: Violet Fane and Fin-de-Siècle Poetry in Periodicals,” Victorian Poetry Spring 2014 (52.1)

Robert L. Patten and David Finkelstein, “Editing Blackwood’s; or, What Do Editors Do?”, Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805-1930. Ed. David Finkelstein. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.


by Alison Chapman at October 18, 2014 03:00 AM

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • Mrs. Seamer [a.k.a. Mary Seymour or MFS], The Young Missionaries (Sunday School Union, c. 1874).  Activities of various Christian children in Switzerland.  This copy was given as a Baptist prize book in 1887.  (eBay)
  • Sarah Doudney, Loser and Gainer (Sunday School Union, 1873).  Short novel by a prolific children's author, this one about a young boy whose desire for a book leads him into temptation and (minor) theft.  (eBay)
  • Sarah Stickney Ellis, Pique: A Tale of the English Aristocracy (Porter & Coates, n.d.).  US reprint of a didactic novel about a young woman's major character flaw and the effect it has on her prospects, romantic and otherwise.  Mrs. Ellis is best known today for her conduct manuals (Women of England, etc.).  This copy has an interesting scratch-off Christmas label attached  (still unscratched).  (eBay)
  • Charlotte Maria Tucker [ALOE], Flora, or Self-Deception, and The Great Reformer (Robert Carter, 1869).  US reprint of two works, one a novel about a young woman who fails to understand her own moral character, the other a potted biography of Martin Luther.  From the 1870s on, Tucker was a missionary in India.  (eBay)
  • Joseph Jeffrey Walters, Guanya Pau, ed. Gareth Griffiths and John Victor Singler (Broadview, 2004).  Reprint of the first African novel in English, originally published in Liberia in 1891.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • Robert Edric, The Monster's Lament (Doubleday, 2013).  Aleister Crowley meets organized crime, among other things, in the mid-1940s.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • Claudia Stokes, The Altar at Home: Sentimental Literature and Nineteenth-Century Religion (Pennsylvania, 2014).  Tracks the interplay of sentimental rhetoric and theology in multiple spiritual contexts (including the LDS and Christian Science).  I'm reviewing this for Choice.  (Review copy)

by Miriam Burstein at October 18, 2014 01:23 AM


Bonnie Greer and Auditions

Today, October 17, at the Ilkley Literature Festival, we have a rendez vous with the president of the Brontë Society, Bonnie Greer:
Bonnie Greer: A Parallel Life
Ilkley Playhouse Wildman 1.30–2.30pm

Award-winning playwright, author and critic Bonnie Greer discusses her touching, funny and thought provoking memoir: A Parallel Life – a voyage into the making of a woman who set out to unmake what she’d been born and brought up to be. Born in segregated, racist America, Bonnie defeated the odds to become one of the most important champions of civil – and human – rights.
And in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Young Actors Company
Neptune Theatre

Auditions for Jane Eyre will be held on Saturday, October, 18 2014 at 10am at Neptune. Please enter via the Studio Theatre doors on Argyle Street. You are to prepare one monologue under two minutes in length. No need to make an appointment.
Students who are cast will rehearse Fridays from 6:00-10:00pm and Sundays from 10:00am-5:00pm beginning Friday, January 9, 2015.
In this process-oriented program, students work with a professional creative team to hone their acting skills. The culmination of this rehearsal period is a fully mounted show on Neptune Theatre’s Studio Stage from March 4-7, 2015. 

by M. ( at October 18, 2014 01:30 AM

An ivory quill-cutter

The Telegraph and Argus has a letter from the Brontë Parsonage Museum telling about the latest goings-on:
This morning was spent organising the return of Elizabeth Gaskell’s escritoire (or writing desk!) that we have had on loan from Manchester Museum.
We have also been introducing our new collections intern, Alana to the role. She will be working with staff, including Collections Manager and the Library and Collections Officer for the next six months to gain experience in the museum.
Alana will also be writing this column in future, keeping you up to date on all things Brontë related.
It’s been a busy month. Last week, we were alerted to a Charlotte Brontë letter coming up for sale by auction, the next day! Sadly, we were unsuccessful in our bids as it sold for double the estimated price.
We were disappointed that we couldn’t bring the letter back home to the place where it was written over 150 years ago.
To lift our spirits though, we were thrilled to receive an exciting donation to the collection. An ivory quill-cutter which the Brontë family would have used to sharpen their quills before they put quill to paper!
This was an important tool in the Brontë household and was probably used many times by the young Brontë children to achieve such miniscule handwriting inside their tiny books, and later in life for writing their letters, poems and novels. We will display the quill-cutter from February 2015.
The year 2016 marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and there will be celebrations all over the world.
We have been putting together a list of objects to exhibit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York to commemorate the bicentenary, which will include a Charlotte Bronte dress, a selection of her artwork, and one of the famous handmade ‘little books’.
The exhibition will travel between the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Parsonage, and finally the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York throughout 2016.
Staff have also been star-spotting in Haworth! Actress Drew Barrymore visited the museum, taking some time out from shooting scenes for Missing You Already, and she was later spotted in the Black Bull, Branwell’s favourite pub!
We also welcomed famous folk singer Maddy Prior who took a guided tour of the museum and came in to the library for a special treasures session.
Last Saturday we held a water colour painting workshop at the very atmospheric Ponden Hall. Sue Newby our Learning Officer, who organised the workshop, said: “The painting was really enjoyable and people produced some lovely work, but the highlight of the day might just have been the incredible home- made cake made by our host Julie Akhurst!
“Ponden Hall is such an inspiring environment for any creative activity that we do hope to repeat it in the future; in fact we have a writing workshop booked for October 25 run by Hebden Bridge based author Anne Caldwell.”
Rachel Hore tells about her struggles when young in The Independent:
As a conventional teenage girl of the 1970s dressed in Laura Ashley prints, I had little knowledge of feminist texts and found those I had come across beyond my sheltered experience. At the same time, nothing infuriated me more than some male of my acquaintance asserting that women were intellectually inferior to men.
Where were the great female musical composers?, they'd ask, as if this nailed the matter. The great female artists? I'd struggle to suggest examples. At least when it came to literature I could say Jane Austen, the Brontës, George Eliot, but these names were still only a handful and I didn't know enough history to commandeer a fuller answer. 
Daily Press interviews Jerry Lewis:
Daily Press: A generation of people grew up on your comedies – films like "The Nutty Professor," "The Disorderly Orderly" and "The Sad Sack." Groundbreaking comedies. Is there one film in particular that stands out as your own favorite?
Lewis: "Wuthering Heights" … oh, you mean my films! "The Nutty Professor" is the one that is the most special. (Mike Holtzclaw)
The Independent describes a more recent take on Wuthering Heights--Peter Kosminsky's 1992 version--as 'fitfully powerful'.

iDigital Times brings up a relevant point in connection with that:
... it’s been decades since Hollywood has tackled “Moby-Dick.” The book has a deserving reputation for its thematic density and the tendency of movie adaptations to treat the “Moby-Dick” dialogue like Shakespeare and its metaphors like lectures.
It’s a strange problem to have, since most major books end up getting a Hollywood adaptation every ten years or so. Just look at Jane Austen, Hamlet, “The Great Gatsby,” or even “Wuthering Heights.” (Andrew Whalen)
Palatinate discusses imaginative play and mentions the young Brontës:
Imagination has to be nurtured. Otherwise, we will all use it with minimal effort, just like we do with our back muscles. But regular exercise is not enough, a good diet is necessary too: feed yourself with words and images and your imagination will be fine. The lives of the three Brontë sisters show how play and imagination are intertwined, and how imagination can develop if it is allowed to follow the right course. Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell (a painter) created stories as children, fashioning the African kingdom of Glass Town and the Empire of Angria and the fictional continent, Gondal. They were particularly stimulated by their father who gave them books and toys to immerse themselves in. (Natalia Dutra)
The Drum comments on Yorkshire being chosen for the Tour de France Grand Départ.
Unlike boasting of being the birthplace of the Brontë sisters or David Hockney, or falling into low-level factionalism around a cricket team or quality of beer, La Grande Boucle conferred a rare honour, one which Yorkshire had been granted only by outsmarting the likes of Edinburgh, capital of a near-nation. (Lewis Blackwell)

by Cristina ( at October 18, 2014 12:43 AM

October 17, 2014


New Peer-Reviewed Resource! “walter dear”: The Letters from Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Her Son Walt

NINES is pleased to announce that our newest peer-reviewed resource is available for searching! “walter dear”: The Letters from Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Her Son Walt makes available, in many cases for the first time, the substantial material written by Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to her son. Published on the Walt Whitman Archive, this project is an exceptional contribution to nineteenth-century American scholarship. Many congratulations are due to Wesley Raabe of Kent State University for the development of an excellent resource.

You can explore the archive through this saved search.

by Brandon Walsh at October 17, 2014 05:14 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Fine ever ― & not so cold ― sun poco.[1] ―

Morning with ET chiefly. AT was in one of his irritating small=captions moods. I believe no other woman in all this world could live with him for a month. I walked alone to Murrow’s, & took leave of poor “Katie.” ― Then lunch ― & afterwards ― at 2 ― left in a car. ― It always wrings me to leave Farringord ― yet I doubt ― as once before ― if I can go again. I suppose it is the Anomaly of high souls & philosophic writings combined with slovenliness, selfishness, & morbid folly that prevents my being happy there: ― perhaps also ― vexation at myself for not being more so. The drive to Newport is hideous ― save just above Swainston ― & ditto to Ryde. It was past 5 before I got to a little Inn by the shore ― called ― … Vale ― close to Puckpool, & having dressed, the Landlord took me up by a path to the house ― a Swiss=like place ― with trees: a [battery] being on the shore. ― Here were De Vere, Mrs. D.V. ― Major Buchanan ―, & dear little Mary, who was very funny & nice. Dinner very pleasant ― & evening also ―: I read half Enoch Arden, & sang a good deal. De V. & B. walked down with me at 11.

Buchanan tells a sad story of the Clarks: ― Mrs. C. it seems “devellopped [sic] her complaint,” in the street at Malta ― & he was ordered to leave the Island: ― they are at Woolwich. ―

We had long talks of Corfû days “the past” ― as Mrs. D.V. says.

[1] Not much.

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

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


The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds

A new scholar book exploring the 'translingual, transnational, and transcultural' contexts the Brontë sisters works:
The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds
Edited by Shouhua Qi, Jacqueline Padgett
ISBN 9781137405142
Publication Date October 2014
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

While the reception of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë has drawn extensive attention from critics in the United Kingdom and in the United States, much needed scholarship on their position in other wor(l)ds - languages and cultures - remains to be done. This collection of essays looks at the works of the Brontë sisters through a translingual, transnational, and transcultural lens, viewing them as examples of heteroglossia, hybridity, and postcolonial reworkings. In applying principles of postcolonial theory, reception studies, translation theory, media analysis, and comparative literature, this collection is the first book-length study of the works of the Brontës sisters as received and reimagined in languages and cultures outside of Europe and the United States.

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

Saint Emily's favourite gin

The Museum Association Journal reports the Brontë Society emergency general meeting taking place this weekend at Haworth.
The chairwoman of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, has stepped down just 26 days into her 12-month term.
The society said Christine Went had been forced to take the decision due to "ill health and an urgent family matter". She was appointed as chairwoman on 6 September after a unanimous vote, and formally stepped down on 2 October. Went had previously been a member of the society for four years.
Her resignation came ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which takes place this Saturday. A group of more than 50 members have forced the meeting amid a number of allegations about the conduct of the council.
These included a claim that the council attempted to call an EGM to overturn a vote at the society’s AGM in June that defeated motions to extend the chairman of trustees' term of office and give the council the power to summarily expel trustees and members.
The group said the meeting would include discussion about electing a new council in order to “modernise” the organisation and bring “higher levels of professionalism and experience to the society”.
However, a clause in the Company Act prevents a vote removing the current council.
Doreen Harris, the honorary secretary of the society, who has taken on the work of the chairwoman until an appointment is made, said: “Regarding the EGM, we look forward to a frank exchange of views to enable the Brontë Society to go forward into the bicentenary period a stronger and more united organisation.” (Rebecca Atkinson)
TES has a letter from a head of English on the new English literature syllabus.
Perhaps it’s not actually who is speaking that they are objecting to, but what they’re saying. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre also features on OCR’s syllabus, but from nowhere has come the suggestion that this honest portrayal of the tribulations of a 19th century governess is unsuitable material for our children, despite the fact that the novel was initially condemned by critics for violating “every code, human and divine”.
It seems that social comment is acceptable as long as it’s studied at a safe historical distance. God forbid that, after reading about Brand’s call for a more compassionate approach to drug addiction, Dizzee’s ideas about Britishness or Moran’s opinions about the treatment of women in the 21st century, rigorous linguistic analysis might be also accompanied by some classroom discussion of the UK’s (failing) drugs legislation or the gender pay gap. (Alexandra Smith)
Sentieri Selvaggi (Itali) mentions François Truffaut's Les Deux Anglaises et le Continent:
“Aveva dei problemi personali, che risolse tuffandosi nelle Due inglesi. […] Per i due terzi seguì pressappoco la mia stesura, ma nell’ultima parte – la morte di Anne e della madre – apportò alcuni elementi nuovi: stava leggendo la biografia di Branwell Brontë scritta da Daphne Du Maurier, e si ispirò un poco alle Brontë”  [Fragment from J. Gruault, Il segreto perduto, in Il romanzo di François Truffaut, cit., p. 86] (Translation)
Marie Claire (Italy) finds a Brontëite in writer Valentina D'Urbano:
I tuoi miti? Le sorelle Brontë, che prego quando ho il blocco dello scrittore “santa Emily aiutami tu”. (Laura Goria) (Translation)
Forbes features a type of gin called Caorunn and finds potential drinkers:
Carounn (sic) is also made with the following: heather (Scottish Highlands heather—think of it, this could be the official gin of Wuthering Heights fans), Coul Blush apple, dandelion for an herbal twist and rowan berry—a traditional medicinal herb of the Highlands. (Katie Kelly Bell)
female arts reviews the Butterfly Psyche Wuthering Heights production:
Jazz Hazelwood's direction is sharp, well-realised and manages to expertly lead the actors through the complexity of their many shifts and character changes with success and vivacity. She navigates a concept, which could have easily slipped into absurdism into an elegant, engaging example of storytelling.
This is a play that will please even the most avid lovers of the book, whilst holding its own as a brilliant production in its own right. A thoroughly enjoyable and captivating piece of theatre that held the audience's attention from start to Finish. I look forward to seeing more from both Butterfly Psyche and Livewire Theatre.  (Naia Headland-Vanni)
Girls Love to Read posts an entry by Zana Bell talking about Jane Eyre vs Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at October 17, 2014 12:09 AM

October 16, 2014

Edward Lear's Diaries


[blotted] ― did not rise ― as it would be too cold to draw out[.]

Afternoon ― cold & windy.

Prayers at 9. Breakfast. Afterwards ― talk with ET till 12.30. Certainly, there are few like her. ― Their interview with the 2 ― who made a very low courtsey to AT ― but shook hands with ET ― & the boys. Talk of the Danish war, when ET said ― “you know, [maam], we are all Danes.” ― At 12.30 ― I walked to Murrow’s, & brought up K. Lushington. Lunch ― AT’s manner is assuredly odious at times. ― After lunch, sate with him ― reading scores on scores of letters ― from fools ― madmen ― admirers ― would-be=employers ― &c. &c. ― some letters very curious. Galileo Galilei ― & his ideas of a poem on. ― Later, Mr. Worsley came. ― & at 3.30 he walked a little way on the Down with us. AT & I went on to near[Alamo] Bay ― which they are fast spoiling. Back by 5.30 ― looking in at a Shepherd’s cottage. ― Dinner. AT’s ways ― & afterwards, my outspoken opinion about his morbid absurdity & unphilosophical bothers. Evening pelasant, I “explaining” Crete to them both.

Bed at 11. Uncomfortable bed: noise of flapping window or door: sleeplessness & indigestion.


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

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

The Little Professor

A Mother's Sacrifice; And Other Tales

Maureen Moran, among others, has demonstrated the extent to which representations of Roman Catholicism--both by Protestants and Catholics--could not escape Gothic tropes and narrative conventions.    Indeed, Catholicism posed problems for nineteenth-century realism--a mode that, according to Valentine Cunningham's provocative argument, was inescapably Protestant, translating post-Reformation "religious ecstasies" into something "merely secular" (e.g., "love").1   Protestant realism finds God at work in, for example, plot construction (those providential coincidences so beloved of nineteenth-century novelists like Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens), but, despite Protestantism's own mystical tradition, generally rules out miracles and manifestations; when visions appear in Protestant novels, they normally do so when bracketed off explicitly as dreams (as in Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke or Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays).  Catholic realism, by contrast, is not chary about introducing miracles and visionary messages--and thus finds itself situated in an awkward position vis-a-vis "mainstream" realist conventions and the Gothic, even when it isn't trying to be Gothic in the first place.  Moreover, because so much nineteenth-century Catholic fiction from the UK and Ireland emphasizes how Catholics have been systematically alienated from their own inheritance, physical and spiritual, it again finds itself on Gothic grounds (the wronged heir and/or the wrong heir being popular Gothic villains and protagonists alike).  

A. M. Clarke's collection of four novellas, A Mother's Sacrifice; And Other Tales (1893), illuminates the ways in which Catholic authors put pressure on Protestant protocols.  The collection itself is various, and aside from general themes of sin and redemption, isn't particularly unified: the title novella, supposedly a translation from the Russian, tracks an impoverished peasant woman's attempts to have an icon of the Madonna painted in honor of her dead child; the two middle tales are very much on Wilkie Collins/Mary Elizabeth Braddon territory and feature murder, wastrels, and lust; and the last tale is a historical novella set during the Great Plague.  Although A Mother's Sacrifice is intriguing for its ambivalence towards folk spirituality--the mother appears to be vaguely on the right track, but the entire enterprise is suffused with dark comedy, and the woman's ironic death at the end is certainly not exalted--it's hard to know how much of this is the original and how much of it is Clarke.  

I'm more interested in the middle tales, "The Wyntertons of Netherwood" and "Answered at Last."  As I mentioned, both stories are narrated by solicitors, another tie with the Victorian Gothic (which frequently features professional men coming into contact with unspeakable horrors--Mr. Utterson in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a classic example).  "The Wyntertons" is part of a Catholic novelistic tradition about the collapse of Catholic families under attack by Protestantized (and, by implication, secularized) culture.   Wynterton inherits a property, initially alienated from the Church during the Reformation, which supposedly bears a curse: "You are no doubt aware that in cases like the present, in which a Catholic, or one who had been a Catholic, took possession of an estate belonging by right to the Church, a curse of some kind invariably rests on the actual holder of that estate, whoever he may be" (76-77).  Here, the circuit of possession--from the Church to an "apostate" (76) and ultimately to a lay Catholic--is incomplete; despite building a new church on the estate, Wynterton continues, rather than concludes, Protestantism's ongoing appropriation of sacred spaces.  Matters are not improved by the current heir, Hubert, who consorts with wicked Protestants like Sir Philip Fletcher--a man with his eyes on Wynterton's lovely daughter, Beatrice.  Hubert's fascination with the material trappings of Protestant culture (gambling dens, for example) leads him to murder, opening up a space for Sir Philip to blackmail Captain Wynterton into giving him Beatrice for a wife. Sensation-novel tropes accumulate apace.  As our narrator observes, this situation ultimately traces back not to Hubert, but to Wynterton's own sin: his own son died at birth, and he substituted another child from a working-class twin birth so as not to distress his wife.  It should come as no shock that the man Hubert murders is, in fact, his twin brother, so that Wynterton's "original sin" leads to fratricide.  "I interfered with Providence and practised a gross deception," moans Wynterton (98). The divine curse, working itself out upon the family, is all too legible, as Wynterton's projected future, based on a fiction (the false heir), wrecks the family fortunes.  As a false heir, Hubert is merely one more would-be link in the chain of wrongful possessors, who take the sacred and make it profane out of greed.  Disaster follows disaster: Beatrice agrees to marry Sir Philip and Wynterton dies almost immediately, albeit with God's mercy.  At the same time, Hubert's crime leads him to become a true "penitent" (110) and he winds up living happily overseas as a farmer, reconciled with the Church.  Similarly, Sir Philip dies just before he marries Beatrice, an honest convert in his own right; in this cluster of providential exiles and deaths, we see the power of divine forgiveness at work.  In other words, the novel averts the poetic justice one might expect from a Wilkie Collins novel, and substitutes instead the potentially unappetizing reminder that all sinners may be forgiven.     Finally, Beatrice sells the property and donates most of the proceeds to the Church--thus healing the broken circuit of possession--and miraculously dies on the day she professes her vows as a Carmelite, rewarded with "glory everlasting" (115).  The "fix" for the curse, which appears Gothic but is not, requires all the false inheritors to understand and reject their own worldliness.   Or, to put it differently, the family must grasp that the curse is part of the fabric of reality,  which cannot be separated from the workings of Providence.   Marriage with Christ the Bridegroom is Beatrice's reward for subduing her own earthly desires; this is a rather different iteration of the marriage plot.  Pointedly, however, it leaves the Wyntertons not only dispossessed, but entirely extinct.

"Answered at Last" trespasses on even more overtly Gothic space.  Our narrator, the solicitor Mr. Furnival, is called out to conduct some business in the countryside.  There, he has an experience that, as he says, demonstrates that "the supernatural" still works in the world, and that it is explicitly the hand of God making His "over-ruling Providence" felt (118).  Whilst sitting in the country-house library, the narrator has a horrifying vision: a man brutally stabs a young woman to death.  The difficulty, then, lies in accounting for the vision, which the butler coolly dismisses as impossible ("There are no ghosts in this house" [121]); the narrator's host is equally unimpressed.  (If it's not a ghost, then perhaps it's "delirium tremens" [125].)  That the solicitor insists on the truth of his vision subverts one Gothic convention, in which the professional man initially rejects evidence of the supernatural.  (The butler's disinterest subverts the convention in another direction--normally, servants are more likely to believe in ghostly manifestations, and therefore ought to be listened to.)  Narrator, host, and butler alike make a key interpretive error, though: they understand the vision in terms of "haunting."  If the house is haunted, then the vision announces the undercurrents of unresolved past violence persisting into the present.  But whereas "The Wyntertons" made the Catholic past into its own "ghost" forever stalking the Catholic present, here the vision is not of the past at all, but of the future: a lapsed Catholic man, ultimately rejected by his devout beloved, murders her in a fit of rage.  It is essential that Furnival reject purely Gothic readings of this phenomenon (the ghost) in favor of the miraculous.  The use of this premonition, though, seems initially hard to determine.  In the end, the man still stabs the woman and the woman still dies.  It is only at the tale's end that we discover the vision's real purpose: many years later, Furnival encounters the Spaniard, Alfonso del Mar, again in an Australian hospital (yet another act of providence) and successfully persuades him to confess to a priest.  Furnival's premonition turns out to be Alfonso's haunting: "Ever since that fatal night a curse has pursued me.  I have failed in everything" (144).  The Gothic "curse" turns out to be divine punishment via the medium of human conscience.  But in del Mar's confession, the narrator finds the answer to his own puzzlement: the premonition enables Furnival to lead del Mar back to the Church and, therefore, to his own salvation, for "having repeatedly made acts of humble contrition and complete resignation to the will of God," del Mar will likely receive a "merciful" judgment from Christ (148).  Interpreted from a properly Catholic point of view, then, supernatural horrors turn out to have beneficial consequences.  


1 Valentine Cunningham, "The Novel and the Protestant Fix: Between Melancholy and Ecstasy," Biblical Religion and the Novel, 1700-2000, ed. Mark Knight and Thomas Woodman (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 46.  

by Miriam Burstein at October 16, 2014 01:50 AM


Heathcliff Adrift

Devil's Eye (Source)
Today, October 16, at the Durham Book Festival. A talk and an exhibition:
William Atkins and Benjamin Myers: Lives, Landscape, LiteratureThursday 16 October,
Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars

This special event celebrates the dramatic landscape of the moors, in both words and pictures. William Atkins’ The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature is a deeply personal journey across our nation’s most forbidding and most mysterious moors.
Atkins will read from his work, surrounded by Heathcliff Adrift, an exhibition of poems and images from author Benjamin Myers (winner of the 2013 Gordon Burn Prize) and photographer Nick Small, covering Heathcliff’s ‘missing’ three years in Wuthering Heights, when he leaves Haworth a boy and returns a wealthy man, and the moorland landscape, as seen through his eyes. Extracts from Myers’ haunting poems will be read aloud during the event.
The Moor was The Guardian’s book of the week and described as ‘an ambitious mix of history, topography, literary criticism and nature writing, in the tradition of WG Sebald, Robert MacFarlane and Olivia Laing.’
Caught by the River gives some more information about the Heathcliff Adrift exhibition:
A clever idea cooked up by a triumvirate of Caught by the River pals and contributors – Nick Small, Ben Myers and Will Atkins – Heathcliff Adrift is a series of narrative poems, a selection of which are being reproduced and exhibited in Durham Cathedral for the duration of Durham Book Festival 2014.
Ben says of the idea’s genesis: “It was conceived while walking the moors of the West Riding in Yorkshire and born out of the questions: where did Heathcliff go and what did he see? The work runs alongside stunning landscape photographs taken by Nick Small which explore the idea of what happened to Heathcliff during his ‘missing’ three years in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, an era in which the industrial revolution was in its earliest days and the ragged beauty of the landscape was under threat from the arrival of mechanisation.”
Nick says: “This collaboration between Ben and I was born on the pages of Caught by the River. Having exchanged correspondence over an number of years we finally met in the fitting environs of a Hebden Bridge pub, with beer in hand and in the company of chief alchemist Jeff. When Ben asked me to provide photographs to accompany his Heathcliff poems we both found that we referenced the peerless collaboration between Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin, “The Remains of Elmet” as our inspiration. The photographs are taken on the South Pennine Moorland between Calderdale and Haworth. The intention was not to create a literal narrative accompaniment to the poems. Instead, I wanted to present a series of images that would convey the wild and weird nature of the landscape that is my “back yard” and to explore some of the emotional themes that the landscape itself evokes: love, fear, life, death, awe, euphoria and, above all, time(lessness).”

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

October 15, 2014


Horrified by her own stockings

Bustle lists '13 contemporary novels all feminists should read'. It's not Jane Eyre that's on it but
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
As much as I like Jane Eyre, I still think that Jean Rhys’s retelling is an essential critique. The novel refocuses the story and makes Bertha, Rochester’s crazy wife in the attic, the protagonist and narrator. That alone makes a powerful statement about who gets to have their story told and which women are worthy of being the center of attention, and Rhys follows through with a short but impactful novel about Bertha and Rochester in the their early days. (Emma Cueto)
Blogtaormina (Italy) features another list: the one compiled by literary critic Piero Dorfles for the Italian TV programme Per un pugno di libri.
Poche, a nostro giudizio le scrittrici selezionate: Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, Elsa Morante e Mary Shelley. (Milena Privitera) (Translation)
And speaking of lists, Ecns (China) has an article on the Book List Challenge. Apparently,
Li Jiajia, an anchor at Guangdong Satellite TV, based in Guangzhou in Guangdong province, accepted the challenge on Sept 26, after a friend working at Phoenix Satellite TV nominated her.
She listed 10 books, including Wuthering Heights, 1984, Animal Farm and Chinese writer Yu Hua's Brothers and To Live.
"The books I listed were those I could remember instantly when I received the challenge," Li says. "They are both insightful and a pleasure to read, and they easily stand out from what I have read." (Si Huan)
And yet more lists, as The Independent reviews the book Lists of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher which includes
Hemingway's must-read books for aspiring novelists: War and Peace, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights[.] (James Kidd)
The Star is reminded of a Brontë novel when reviewing The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
Mystery and intrigue infuse every page of this first novel by British writer and actor Jessie Burton. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, “where the pendulum swings from God to a guilder,” there’s a Brönte-like [sic] mood afoot from the moment Nella Oortman arrives at her rich husband’s house on an Amsterdam canal. (Nancy Wigston)
The Spectator discusses heroes and makes an interesting point:
After any famous writer goes their own long journey, the difficulties of preserving their home for would-be pilgrims become more fraught: whether a literary shrine is tended or neglected, there will always be enthusiasts claiming that their idol has not been treated appropriately. As Simon Goldhill observes in Scott’s Buttocks, Freud’s Couch, Brontë’s Grave, Charlotte Brontë would have been horrified had she seen her stockings on public display at Haworth Parsonage, but in the 21st century they’re a precious link – however creepy – to a great talent now gone. (Philip Sidney)
Speaking of Charlotte Brontë items on display, The Economist's Prospero posts about the new British Library exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination where
there is a case dedicated to "Northanger Abbey", the gothic spoof written by the teenage Jane Austen; a waspish letter written by Ann Radcliffe to her mother in law; and early copies of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë and "The Raven" by Edgar Allen [sic] Poe. (K. S. C.
Brides offers guidance on how to find a passage for a wedding and suggests
Novels and plays: Writers such as John Updike, Thornton Wilder, D. H. Lawrence, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea) and Gabríel (sic) García Marquez offer great inspiration. (Terri Pous)
The Notre Dame & St Mary's Observer reviews the performances of the Aquila Theatre production of Wuthering Heights. Patras Events (Greece) has a quote on eyes by Charlotte Brontë. The deputy books editor at The Boar picks Jane Eyre as one of her favourite literary characters. More on Jane Eyre on the Lifeline Theatre blog, this thread on reddit/r/books (or in here) and Chicago Literati. WKTS posts in Polish about Agnes Grey.

by Cristina ( at October 15, 2014 09:08 PM

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

Snippet of manuscript.

I’ve been proofreading the Genesis manuscript (for longer than I’d like to admit), and surprisingly, I’m finding myself implementing a really basic rule of the archive for more or less the first time. The only other handwritten works I’ve ever proofed or transcribed were all letters. Since letters are basically one of a kind, and there are few guideposts besides common sense to indicate what Blake is saying most of the time, if a word or a letter looks funky, I transcribe it funkily. The “transcribe what you see” rule is very straightforward in these cases.

However, for a work like Genesis, this rule is supplemented by an ongoing consciousness that since Blake is writing by hand, everything he means is not going to be executed perfectly. For example, the row of indentations for each line down the page might look wildly variant, but basically, we get the picture, and though Blake may have been drunk that day or something, we understand that the indentation of each line should be represented by one “tab” space, and we represent it as such. Here are a couple examples of what I’m talking about from Genesis

Snippet of manuscript.

Obj. 3 line 6: It looks like there’s a space missing between “of” and “the”. Should we transcribe “ofthe deep”? No, because we can see that these are two separate words, and what’s more, we’d have to transcribe two words as one in almost every sentence throughout the work.

Snippet of manuscript.

Obj. 4 line 9: Here again, this “t” is missing its cross; should we transcribe it as ambiguous/ as an “i,” or note it? No, because the number of “t”’s missing their crosses might actually outnumber those with crosses. Wait, does Blake even know what a lower-case “t” looks like?! I think I have my dissertation project!!!

Hopefully I won’t go mad with the power this proofing project is affording me before I finish it, but at this rate….

by mspeer2014 at October 15, 2014 05:35 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Perfectly lovely day. Rose shortly after 6 ― & at 7 drew in the Garden ― Hallam & Lionel coming now & then. At 9 ― breakfast, ET, ― & afterwards ― AT. Talk with E.T. about the boys’ going to school. The news of a Railway to cut thro’ the park disturbs. Of Mrs. Park House L. ― & her Edinburgh life ―! Of F. & Kate L. ― & so on ― At 12 I called on poor Kate L. ― in the sunny room at Murrows I had in 1861. ― Saw the little Harry. Walked back by the Downs ― lovely. ―

2 Messrs Worsley at lunch ― rather tiresome ― but then I am not tolerant. At 3 ― Walked with AT to the needles ― he does not seem to enjoy scenery now ― & ever talks about the accursed railway. ― No one came to dinner, but he was “far from over wise” ― & at 8 came F. & Mrs. F. Pollock ― who staid till 10.30. One always seems to live in public here. (Letter today from D.J. Simeon ― they are away ― so I can’t go on Monday.)

AT’s ravings about England ‘going down hill’ ― “best thing God can do is to squash the planet flat” ― &c. &c. ― are wearying & distressing. Much talk of religion ― Balaam’s ass. ―


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

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


Charlotte Rhymed

An alert for today, October 15, at the Ilkley Literature Festival:
FRINGE: Something Rhymed
Ilkley Playhouse Wildman 9.15–10.15pm

Who did Jane Austen turn to for literary friendship? What about Charlotte Brontë? Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney discuss the friendship of female authors and share new writing inspired by the friendships of Ilkley Festival goers.

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

October 14, 2014

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray ― sunless ― fine. ― Rose at 6.30, & “packed” &c. till breakfast. Underhill came. ―

At 10 came to Railway ― & by 1.45 or 2.15 (in company with a very pleasant intelligent man,) came to Brocklehurst ― days of 1855!! ― & to Lymington. Here, there was a fuss about the Steamboat, ―going from the quay to the jetty & vice versa ― water not being deep enough. At last, got off with 2 passengers from the jetty. Ran aground on starting & had to wait the tide ― saw 2 wrecks in the river. Across the Yarmouth ― ˇ[by 4.10] & Fly to Farringford ― arriving before 5. Great loveliness of scenery ― but how much is being spoiled by “novelties” as the Spaniard says.

Saw ET & AT ― & walked in the field & garden with him ― the boys 2 here. Dinner pleasant ― & evening would have been so had not Mrs. C. come in, whom ― never liking at any time, ― I now dislike extremely on account of the H.H.J. business. Besides she is a bore. Emily T. is I think sadder than formerly: the sending the boys to school is a weight perhaps on the future. Alfred is more expansive & diffusive than usual. Although this is one of the places I am really happy in, ― (& few they are) ― tho’ the pleasure is “mingled with Melancholy” ― like Ellis Ashtons “fox color mingled with gray.” ― I had a letter from the good old gentleman yesterday.

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

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


Posthumous Vision

Raffaelli Editore has re-issued the works of the Italian poetess Nadia Campana (1954-1985), including Visione Postuma (originally published in 1986) where she showed her fascination with Emily Brontë.
Campana Nadia
Visione postuma
Collana Poesia contemporanea n. 53
A cura di Milo De Angelis, Emi Rabuffetti e Giovanni Turci
ISBN 9788867920464
Raffaelli Editore

Sono importanti questi saggi per comprendere la figura e l’opera di Nadia Campana. E sono tutti percorsi dalla passione per la vita e per la letteratura. Alcuni poi (in particolare quelli sulla Cvetaeva) hanno venature biografiche di impressionante profezia, come se l’autrice avesse scelto questo tipo di scrittura per svelare la parte più segreta di se stessa e il destino che da lì a poco si sarebbe compiuto. (Milo De Angelis)
Abbiamo intitolato Visione postuma questa raccolta di scritti di Nadia Campana, in gran parte inediti, prendendo spunto da quello inaugurale, particolarmente caro all’autrice. Il libro è diviso in tre sezioni. La prima raccoglie testi di poetica, ricchi di forza lirica e di presagio, dove il tema della morte volontaria appare centrale. La seconda comprende alcune riflessioni su due scrittrici di lingua inglese – Emily Brontë ed Emily Dickinson – e sull’arte della traduzione. La terza riunisce scritti brevi e di vario genere, dedicati agli interessi di Nadia Campana negli anni ottanta: i libri di poesia usciti in quel periodo, il teatro, l’insegnamento della letteratura nella scuola media.

by M. ( at October 14, 2014 01:30 AM

October 13, 2014

Regency Ramble

Thanksgiving - Canadian style

When I grew up in England, Thanksgiving was something I read about in "Little Women". As I understood it, the celebration related to something that occurred as a result of leaving Britain behind.  We did have Harvest Festival, or Harvest Home, a Sunday church service relating to the bringing in of the harvest that occurs around the autumn equinox, usually in late September. The church was decorated with wheat sheaves and other items of produce signifying a successful harvest and food items are given to those less fortunate. There were no special family gatherings.

When I came to Canada I was surprised to discover the extent of Thanksgiving in North America. To me it felt like having a second Christmas with turkey and all the trimmings and family in attendance, but no gifts.  I was also surprised to discover that it came a month earlier than the one celebrated in our neighbours to the south.

It certainly didn't take us long to adapt to this additional celebration in our annual calendar and every year we look forward to sitting down with family and friends. And if we have taken on the Canadian traditions of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to go along with our turkey, we retain some of our British roots with chestnut stuffing and bread sauce added to the table's delights.

Our family has much to give thanks for, despite trials and tribulations throughout the year, and I wish all my Canadian friends and family who are unable to be with us today, Happy Thanksgiving and all best wishes to those of you who will celebrate your Thanksgiving next month.

by Ann Lethbridge ( at October 13, 2014 12:59 PM


Chloë wants to be in a Brontë film

It's a quiet Monday in Brontëland. Harpers Bazaar features Chloë Sevigny who
wouldn’t mind playing a femme fatale, a Jean Harlow–esque comedienne, or the lead in a period drama—preferably anything Edith Wharton, Henry James, or the Brontës. (Christine Whitney)
The St. Joseph News-Press features a local classic book club:
From there, the group moved on to other classic tales, including books by Louisa May Alcott and Charlotte Brontë. The members also tackled three Russian novels in one year, including “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy. For longer novels, the group sometimes takes two months to read and discuss the book. (Jena Sauber)
Krytyka Polityczna interviews the Polish writer Agnieszka Graff:
Czy miałaś szczególnie ważnych bohaterów literackich, jakieś inspiracje?
Do tego dziewiętnastowieczna powieść angielska: Tessa Hardy’ego, Wichrowe wgórza Emily Brontë, potem Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë. (Michał Sutowski) ( (Translation)
The Edinburgh Journal discusses Michael Gove's new English Literature syllabus. Escritoras inglesas writes in Portuguese about Emily Brontë. Beauty is a sleeping cat posts about Agnes Grey. Allerhande, maar vooral literatuur (in Dutch) reviews Wuthering Heights 2011.

by Cristina ( at October 13, 2014 10:39 AM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Same gray dry fine weather, & bright moon at night. Did not go out all day. Underhill came at 9 ― & till 10 worked at the Cedar outline, wh. I have set him to do: he seems a good lad ― he gets 57£ per ann. (from the club ― Pratt’s) of which £5.5. go in his lodgings ― & £10.10 to his disabled mother ― leaving him 40 for board & clothing. So I don’t think what help I can give his would be misplaced.

I worked a little ― almost the last I can do ― at the Janina. And a good deal at the Campagna ― sky particularly. Then, I cleared out a closet, & more or less arranged various things. At near 6 ― the Railway people brought the Athens roba here, ― but I had no change to pay: so it was sent back to Foord’s.

Dined alone at 7. Piano ἔπειτα[.]

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

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


Compelling Portraiture in Wuthering Heights

Today, October 13, in Ponden Hall. A workshop on compelling portraiture photograpy:
Compelling Portraiture - A Creative Residential in Wuthering Heights
A site-specific residential photography training experience
13th – 15th October 2014

A creative residential in the real Wuthering Heights aimed at those who are passionate about exploring and learning more about creating stunning Portrait
Photography/Lifestyle/Dramatic Imagery and Story/Fashion based images.

Led by Carolyn Mendelsohn
Winner of Professional Photographer of the Year 2013 – Lifestyle

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.” Emily Brontë
Location: Ponden Hall, Haworth, BD22 0HR, England
Arrival: 4pm Monday 13th October ending at 5pm 15th October 2014

An amazing experience for those who love their photography, love portraiture, love history and a good classic.
A two day residential in the most – and I mean the most amazing and unique place. A place frequented by Emily Brontë, who often used the library in the house, and reputed to be where she based the story of Wuthering Heights. As part of these two days the small and select group of participants will stay in this beautiful, wild and wuthering building and experience the following.

Arrival day – 4pm. Cream Tea and a tour of Ponden Hall putting the two days in context. Meeting the facilitators and finding out more about how the days will work.

Evening Free time with personal mentoring and portfolio review tailored to where you are now to be arranged.

Day One:
First light photoshoot. (optional) - Get out on those blustery moors as the sun comes up and take sublime pictures

Workshop on Portrait and Lifestyle photography with a practical on location Portrait and Lifestyle shoot
There will also be individual and group exercises to play creatively as well as develop your skills
A Portrait and Lifestyle shoot facilitated by Carolyn Mendelsohn
Evening screening of Wuthering Heights (hopefully outdoor projection) – with hot chocolate and snacks.

Day Two
A possible visit to Haworth with an expert setting the scene for Wuthering Heights.
A workshop on creating dramatic and compelling photographs
Meet the make up Artist and Location Stylist. Question and Answer session.
Followed by an amazing on location Wuthering Heights Fashion/Themed shoot.

by M. ( at October 13, 2014 01:30 AM

October 12, 2014


Schoolgirl Stick-Jaw and Old Rumbustious Nonsense

The Toledo Blade interviews the author, illustrator and film director Marjane Satrapi:
“I read a lot and nothing was forbidden. I read a book about Che Guevara when I was 9 and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights when I was 10. I read Jean Paul Sartre when I was 11 or 12; I didn’t understand all of it.” (Tahree Lane)
Reuters interviews another author, Jessie Burton:
Q; Who are your three favourite authors?
A: Of all time, Charlotte Brontë, Hilary Mantel, and Margaret Atwood. (Verity Watkins)
The Independent remembers the figure of Brigid Brophy:
In 1967, she flung a pot of ink in the public’s face with Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without, a bracing argument in favour of dumping everything from Hamlet to Jane Eyre, that is smashing fun now that shock and outrage have subsided. (Christopher Fowler)
Not only Jane Eyre (which the author, and co-authors Michael Levey and Charles Osborne, describe 'like gobbling a jar-full of schoolgirl stick-jaw') but also Wuthering Heights (which 'will wash as a psychological-historical curio or as high old rumbustious nonsense, but not as a great novel').

The Boston Globe has an article about literary reworkings. Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is a standard example:
We’d broken this ground before, though, when Jean Rhys published her 1966 masterpiece “Wide Sargasso Sea” (Norton, 1982). It’s another upending, redemptive story, this time about Bertha Antoinetta Mason Rochester, the “madwoman in the attic” from “Jane Eyre.”
Charlotte Brontë herself felt remiss about Bertha. In an 1848 letter, she wrote she should’ve had more “profound pity” for her, but “I have erred in making horror too predominant.” Rhys grew up in the Caribbean, just like Bertha Mason, and her prose seems to swoon with insight and intensity; it took her 20 years to write the novel. And just as Brontë boldly embraced the topic of passion, Rhys tackles feminism, post-colonialism, and racism: Brontë often cited Mrs. Rochester’s dark skin and hair, unintentionally linking madness to miscegenation.
Rhys divides her book into three sections, with the first and last belonging to Bertha, the middle to Mr. Rochester. He doesn’t fare well: As one of Bertha’s friends says, “It is in your mind to pretend she is mad. I know it.” But Bertha is not so much genetically mad as traumatized. After the British outlawed slavery, when she was a little girl, freed slaves burned down her property and lives were lost. Now I’ll never be able to read the flaming climax of “Jane Eyre” without the double vision of Rhys’s heartbreaking retelling. The arson was inadvertent: As Bertha sees the fiery sky she says, “It was red and all my life was in it.” (Katharine Whittemore)
The Sunday Times publishes an article by John Carder Bush where he discusses the evolution of his sister Kate Bush from her childhood until the Wuthering Heights eclosion.  Kulturalna rzeczywistość (in Polish) reviews the Polish edition of Unfinished Novels. Billy Goes to School posts a couple of Wuthering Heights-inspired photographs. Finally, good news from the Brontë Bell Chapel Facebook Group:
Really great news , we have been given a grant from Community first . This is to create a visitor centre in St James church . This will incorporate the work of the Bell chapel action group and the Brontë artefacts. All this will enhance the visitor experience to Thornton.

by M. ( at October 12, 2014 05:12 PM

The Little Professor

In which I offer potentially useless advice

I have come around to the position that most advice to job candidates is potentially useless, not only because there are so few t-t jobs in most fields that "advice" implies more agency than most candidates have, but also because even the most general advice will inevitably hurt some candidates at some institutions.  Nevertheless.

One of the golden rules of application letters and CVs is: do not confuse, or try to confuse, the committee.  (The rest is commentary.)

For example, a basic yet commonly-committed no-no in CV construction: lumping all sorts of miscellaneous things under "publications."  Professor Doe picks up a CV, sees a long list of titles under the "publications" heading, and is duly impressed...until she looks more closely and realizes that "publications" includes conference papers, articles in circulation, articles in progress, and several entries on TVTropes.  There are, however, no actual peer-reviewed publications in sight.  At this point, Professor Doe becomes mildly irritated and aims the CV in the direction of a figurative recycling bin.      There are many reasons why a candidate might try to lump his or her work instead of split it, but the end result tends to be the same.  

To reiterate: do not confuse, or try to confuse, the committee.

by Miriam Burstein at October 12, 2014 02:32 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray ― but always fine. Rose before 7 ― & did a good deal at times all day to the Campagna in spite of many interruptions, ― for

Mr. Prescott.
Mr. Morier.
Middleton ― all came. Bob M. is engaged to be married. Poor Mr. Morier is much aged. ― At 4 or 5 I walked out with G. Middleton ―& then to pay Bicker’s bill ― & to Foord’s ― returning at 7 to dine.

Dined μοναχῶς.

A letter came ― a bill for £2.2s,7d ― being the charge for the last, or Athens parcel of Crete things & paper ― which has arrived at Liverpool.

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

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


Upcoming Nelly Dean

The Bookseller announces that The Borough Press (an imprint of HarperCollins which publisher director is Katie Espiner) has acquired the rights of a new novel by Alison Case: Nelly Dean.
The Borough Press has paid six-figures on a pre-empt for Nelly Dean by Alison Case, a book which revisits the events of Wuthering Heights through the eyes of the loyal housekeeper.
Publisher Katie Espiner signed UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) with exclusivity in Europe from Deborah Schneider at ICM.
Espiner was alerted to the début by Tracy Chevalier. It will be released in early 2016.
The literary agency of the author (Curtis Brown) gives some more information:
The debut novel from Alison Case, Nelly Dean is a story narrated by the housekeeper and narrator of Wuthering Heights. The narrative focuses on Nelly’s own story, her relationship with Hindley Earnshaw, and the stories of the youth of Cathy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw, and Nelly’s own parents. It concludes some years after the first novel ended, and contains revelations about Heathcliff and about Nelly’s background.
The world Alison Case has created is so singular, so utterly real, the characters so vivid, that it is an original story that does not require any knowledge of the Bronte classic to be appreciated. Alison has made Nelly’s story completely her own (but you may be inspired to go back and reread the original).

by M. ( at October 12, 2014 01:30 AM

October 11, 2014


Everyone should ponder what’s in their attic

Katherine Rue, author of Carly Keene. Literary Detective: Braving the Brontës, talks about her novel on KTOO, particularly about its Alaska references:
Katherine Rue made sure the book’s New York illustrator had an idea of where 12-year-old Carly Keene is from.
“I sent him a picture of my XTRATUFs. Then I sent him a picture of a tent set up in the marsh in Alaska. ‘Here’s the kind of mountains I’m talking about. Here’s what the water and the mountains and islands look like together. And just so you know, people from Juneau don’t use umbrellas. We all make fun of them. She needs a raincoat on the front’ – that kind of thing,” Rue says lightheartedly.
Published by New York-based In This Together Media, the book begins and ends in present day Juneau. It takes an interesting turn when Carly is walking downtown with her best friend Francesca.
“They go into a bookshop they’ve never seen down a little alleyway they’ve never seen when they’re walking home from getting hot cocoa downtown. And she’s reading a first edition of ‘Jane Eyre’ and falls asleep, and wakes up in 1846,” Rue says.
Carly finds herself in the home of the Brontë sisters in England as Charlotte Brontë is trying to write the classic “Jane Eyre.” Carly is stuck there until she can solve a mystery involving the literary family. (...)
Braving the Brontës is geared for kids ages 9 to 14. Rue warns there is some challenging vocabulary that parents may need to decipher. The book also references many other great works of literature besides those written by the Brontë sisters. But Rue doesn’t expect her readers to have read “Jane Eyre” or to know who the Brontë sisters are. (Lisa Phu)
The New York Times reviews Sarah Ruhl's 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write:
Judged by its title, Sarah Ruhl’s book might seem the very embodiment of Woolf’s prophesy, though its defensive flippancy, nearly a century later, might have surprised her. For a woman who confesses to a moral loathing of the word “quirky,” Ruhl comes alarmingly close, at first glance, to appearing just that: Does a successful female playwright (“In the Next Room; Or, The Vibrator Play,” “The Clean House”) and intellectual, offering a collection of her pensées in 2014, really still feel the need to reassure the public of her cute, harassed harmlessness? When the likes of Adam Phillips bestow their fragments on the world, it is with all due self-importance, and while Ruhl’s title is mindfully unpompous, it also asserts — though somewhat apologetically — a connection to living too vigorous for a pristine set of cleaned-up, embalmed reflections. That note of apology, thankfully, does not persist. “If one is interested in longevity as a writer,” she asks, “how does one respond to the cultural obsession with newness? Or to the sinking and perhaps paranoid feeling that women writers in particular, as soon as they are no longer perceived as potentially seducible daughters but instead as repulsive, dry menopausal mothers in need of lubrication — wait, Virginia Woolf said that Charlotte Brontë wrote badly when she was angry.” (Rachel Cusk)
We clearly disagree with Jacquie Moore when she says in The Calgary Herald:
I devoured Jane Eyre in the greasy lunchroom at the hotel. As it turns out, it’s not a terrifyingly Important Book after all but—as Ann-Marie MacDonald writes in her response to our required-reading survey on the following pages—simply a story that encourages one to ponder what is in one’s own attic. (...)

Ann-Marie MacDonald
A book that should be required reading for most humans.

Jane Eyre, because everyone should ponder what’s in their attic. (...)
Ivan E. Coyote
A book you said you read but didn’t.
Wuthering Heights. I was in my blue-collar pride phase. I still am. It just didn’t work for me, the poor boy being rescued by the rich family. It gave me a bad attitude.
We really loved this story in the Glens Falls  Post-Star:
Abigail came through the door and collapsed into a heap.
She had held it together at school. Acted tough. But now home, the heartache poured out.
Life had dealt the poor child a severe blow.
It took a while, but finally she pulled herself together enough to find the words.
“They ... they decided ... (tears wiped, snot sucked) ... they decided on which play they are going to do for 5th grade drama club. It’s ... it’s the Velveteen Rabbit!”
I hugged her and offered my condolences.
I asked her which story she was hoping they’d do
Girl after my own heart, she said, “Jane Eyre.” (Martha Petteys)
Amy Jenkins discusses Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd in The Guardian:
To this extent, FFTMC has a classic "marriage plot". A misguided heroine overlooks or misunderstands sensible Mr Right, goes off with imprudent Mr Wrong, learns the error of her ways, and returns to settle safely. Even when this story is told the other way round – it's the man who has been with Miss Wrong and must be converted (think Jane Eyre or Rebecca) – the marriage plot is nearly always told from the woman's perspective; it served to protect inherited wealth, no doubt, and warned many a young heiress away from an unreliable husband. When the man is the protagonist, on the other hand, he is rarely shown to pass over the sexy beauty for the plain Jane. Quite the opposite. He is encouraged to aim high and win the girl who seems impossibly out of reach – as with Gabriel Oak in FFTMC.
The Destin Log discusses the importance of playing  in childhood:
Playing games develops innovation and creativity. The authors indicate that when children are not told what to do by an adult, they have to figure out their own fun activities. The Brontë children created an imaginary world called the Great Glass Town Confederacy. This time spent in imaginary play became the backbone for the imagination the three sisters used in writing their classic adult books. (Tommy Fairweather)
The Daily Jeffersonian talks about the last performances of the Cambridge Performing Arts Centre Jane Eyre production:
In just his second show with CPAC, Heath Chaney -- who plays Edward Fairfax Rochester -- shares Roberson's sentiments.
"I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with friends and the people in the community that are so brilliantly artistic. It has been a reunion of sorts," he said.
Chaney describes the show as, "a timeless story about redemption." He adds that "Jane Eyre" is a perfect story for this time of year. "'Jane Eyre' is a dark story. There are secrets about Rochester. The music is dark."
Danielle Zaborski, who plays the role of Mrs. Reed, says that she sees Jane Eyre as the perfect production for Jane Austen fans and romantics, "It is right up their alley."
"I love the music," Zaborski said. "The music is difficult but beautiful once it comes all together." (...)
[Brent] Miller explained that "Jane Eyre" differs from other shows CPAC has done in the past. "This is more of an operetta than a musical, a lot of the dialogue is sung."
Many of the musicals that the Cambridge Performing Arts Centre has done in the past have featured stand alone songs that the audience is often familiar with. The music and songs in "Jane Eyre" are unfamiliar but as many of the people who have seen the show have said, it is beautiful. (Stacy Mathews)
The Washington Post reviews the novel The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue:
Atmosphere and atmospherics are crucial to the success of gothic fiction. “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Rebecca” and “The Haunting of Hill House” have at least this quality in common, that their protagonists inhabit and move through a largely unknowable world that darkens around them. “The Boy Who Drew Monsters” could not be improved upon in this regard. (Peter Straub)
The Daily Nebraskan reviews the film Gone Girl by David Fincher:
Once again, looking at the stories we tell is a surefire way to get at the heart of our cultural beliefs. Historically, it isn’t difficult to see the commonalities linking our fictional accounts of passion. Almost always, the unifying factor in our stories of passionate love is an element of danger or uncertainty. Lancelot and Guinevere. Romeo and Juliet. Heathcliff and Catherine. The names and the details are different, but we’ve always been telling stories of incredibly troubled love, the most tragic of which we use as our most iconic examples of passionate love. (Sean Stewart)
George Mason's University Student News Outlet reviews the Aquila Theatre production of Wuthering Heights:
The play was enrapturing and I found myself falling in love again with this classic tale. The actors continued to outdo my expectations as the play progressed; the acting became more intense and the emotions were synced with my own.
The last scene stood out to me. I felt that the play had its own heartbeat and crescendo — thumping rapidly at this pivotal point. (Richard Termine)
The Waikato Times (New Zealand) talks about Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca:
Rebecca is a rich character study. Maxim de Winter epitomises the "Byronic Hero". Arrogant and brooding, he is the Heathcliff or Rochester of the 20th century.
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) reviews the fifth season of Downton Abbey:
Temat för säsongen, som tar sitt avstamp 1924, tycks vara tvåsamhet, ett ämne som ligger genren starkt om hjärtat - trånande blickar över vidsträckta salsgolv är själva motorn i brittiska mästerverk som ”Stolthet och fördom” och ”Jane Eyre”. (Erika Hallhagen) (Translation)
Libero Quotidiano (Italy) reviews the TV series Un'altra vita:
Nel frattempo, il marito corrotto, dalla Svizzera, chiede a Vanessa -che a quanto punto è una sorta di Moll Flanders del basso Lazio- di testimoniare il falso. Ovviamente la puntata successiva si risolverà tutto per il meglio. Inutile citare la solita struttura iterativa che affonda nei classici del melò tra le sorelle Brontë e Daphne du Maurie. Cotroneo, a passeggiare affondando nei sentimenti, è maestro. (Translation)
Matheikal's Blog posts a poem with the title Heathcliff on his deathbed;  Stiles Kicks Ass, Yo posts a beautiful meme using Wuthering Heights 2011; Saylingaway publishes an interesting entry: Clothes in Jane Eyre's Time by Luccia Gray; Toastwig reviews Jane Eyre.

by M. ( at October 11, 2014 02:47 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Gray ― fine ― no sun. Did but little work ― some generalization of the Sir W. James’s picture. But Dickenson came to measure for the Water Colored Screen ― & after that Mansfield Parkyns came & staid a long time ― & then they came & hung up the portrait of my dear Ann (― done by Gush ―) & the remaining unhung prints. So I neither worked nor went out ― but mooned & moaned, & what I painted painted ill. And it is useless to think of leaving London before I go.

At 4 or 5 ― a note from Gussie, with Ten Guineas for her drawing of Suda Bay. Ahi!

“Depressed” & “sad” ― which one ain’t often now a days. At 7.30 to 15 Belgravia Square.


Very good dinner ― & pleasant evening ― in a way ― only the lamps hurt me. ― E.A. Drummond walked home with me nearly: home at 11.45.


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

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

Victorian Poetry Network

New Publications on Victorian Poetry

The latest issue of Victorian Poetry, for Summer 2014 (52.2), contains the following essays:

  • Gregory Tate, “Infinite Movement: Robert Browning and the Dramatic   Travelogue”
  • Lakshmi Krishnan, “Robert Browning and the Intelligent Use of Anger in The Ring and the Book
  • Charlotte Boyce, “‘Mighty through thy Meats and Drinks am I’: The Gender Politics of Feast and Fast in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King
  • Jill R. Ehnenn, “Strong Traveilling: Re-visions of Women’s Subjectivity and Female Labor in the Ballad-work of Elizabeth Siddal”
  • Marisa Palacios Knox, “Masculine Identification and Marital Dissolution in Aurora Leigh

The special issue of Victorian Literature and Culture (42.3 [Spring 2014]) on “Victorian India”, edited by Mary Ellis Gibson and Melissa Richard, has some articles relevant to Victorian poetry studies:

  • Alison Chapman, “Internationalising the Sonnet: Toru Dutt’s Baugmaree”
  • Máire ní Fhlathúin, “Transformations of Byron in the Literature of British India”


  • Caroline Gelmi, “The Pleasures of Merely Circulating”: Sappho and Early American Newspaper Poetry”, Nineteenth-Century Literature 69.2 (September 2014)
  • Matthew Rubery, “Thomas Edison’s Poetry Machine”, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 18 (2014)
  • F. Elizabeth Gray, “‘With thrilling interest’: Victorian Women Poets Report the News”, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies
  • Jayne Hildebrand, “The Ranter and the Lyric: Reform and Genre Heterogeneity in Ebenezer Elliott’s Corn Law Rhymes”, Victorian Review 39.1 (Spring 2013)
  • Jason Rudy, “Floating Worlds: Émigré Poetry and British Culture”, ELH 81.1 (Spring 2014)
  • Kirstie Blair, “‘Let the Nightingales Alone’: Correspondence Columns, the Scottish Press, and the Making of the Working-Class Poet”, Victorian Periodicals Review, 47.2 (Summer 2014)

by Alison Chapman at October 11, 2014 04:23 AM


Patti Smith introducing and signing Wuthering Heights

The Folio Society presents a new edition of Wuthering Heights with illustrations by Rovina Cai and introduced by Patti Smith. The singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist will be tomorrow, October 11, at the McNally Jackson bookstore (52 Prince Street, between Lafayette & Mulberry, New York) signing copies as a part of the New Yorker Festival:
New Yorker Festival Signings
5pm: the Folio Society presents Patti Smith signing Wuthering Heights

Location: 52 Prince St
New York, New York
United States
Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë
Introduced by Patti Smith
Illustrated by Rovina Cai

Wuthering Heights defies easy classification and stands alone as a uniquely powerful novel that transcends genres. Patti Smith, the singer-songwriter and poet, has written a new, lyrical introduction to this edition, in which she sums up Emily Brontë’s complex gifts.
Illustration by Rovina Cai
An extract from the introduction to Wuthering Heights by the acclaimed musician and poet Patti Smith

Through the endless winter of 1847 the Brontë sisters paced, sparred and provoked one another. They had written since childhood; a form of comradely self-entertainment, inventing scandalous histories, warring countries, dueling kings – their own game of thrones. At the ink-stained table, scarred in the center with a candle-burn the size of a small hand, each conceived of her heroine – drawing from the sap of their particular situations. Anne offered her own double with the gentle, empathetic Agnes Grey. In an act of proud defiance, Charlotte created the small, plain and beloved Jane Eyre. Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre each would be obliged to overcome numerous trials before securing constant and fulfilling love-on-earth by book’s end.

And what hath Emily wrought? No such earned splendor. She drew from her restive pulse and unleashed the unquiet apparition of Catherine Earnshaw, whose pale fingers reached from the grave as if to paralyze the breath of her soul’s predestined mate. Those who are not passionate are pallid, and those languishing from passion develop a color of their own – that of death. Charlotte and Anne’s protagonists sought redemption, equilibrium. Emily courted no such outcomes. She created a heroine spawned from interesting winds, reflecting her own emotional range, from inner waywardness to the deep restraint of self-deprivation. Emily was like a small volcano, dormant yet restlessly bubbling, and erupting through the words and actions of her chosen characters. She sternly adhered to her own sense of morality from which she would not waver, not even to appease her extremely vexed sisters. Snipping the chains of convention,Wuthering Heights was declared uniquely powerful, yet so savage and morally repellent that it was to plunge Ellis Bell, like it or not, into the public forum.

by M. ( at October 11, 2014 03:06 AM

October 10, 2014

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

(There would have been more, except that some Amazon seller decided to stick the wrong tag on a book and sent me a bizarre novel having to do with Celts and black magic instead of, you know, a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.)

by Miriam Burstein at October 10, 2014 11:40 PM


'An incredible story that is as relevant today as it was when it was written'

Here's a rather controversial statement from BlogHer:
It might not have been what Austen and Brontë had in mind when they pioneered the classic romantic novel, but the evolution of women’s literature to the modern genre “chick lit” certainly has the literary world abuzz with both praise and controversy. (Allie Paul)
The Washington Post does fit Wuthering Heights in its right literary genre though:
Atmosphere and atmospherics are crucial to the success of gothic fiction. “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Rebecca” and “The Haunting of Hill House” have at least this quality in common, that their protagonists inhabit and move through a largely unknowable world that darkens around them. (Peter Straub)
Novelicious finds a Brontëite in writer Jodi Taylor:
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why? I read Jane Eyre at school, enjoyed it and forgot it. I read it again a couple of years ago and was astonished at the power and passion of Charlotte Brontë’s writing. It’s an incredible story that is as relevant today as it was when it was written. I've read it several times since, finding something new and amazing every time.
The Museums Association has a little quiz on who said what on Twitter. Here's a hint: it wasn't the Brontë Parsonage that said this:
4. #DidYouKnow that Branwell Brontë worked on the railways&was sacked due to incompetence. Today marks 166 yrs since his death at the age of 31
The Morley Observer lists some of the events that took place last weekend as part of the ninth Morley Literature Festival.
The ninth Morley Literature Festival got off to a solid start at the weekend and there is still a lot more to see before it draws to a close on Sunday.
A heritage walk, Brontë Literary Lunch and manga workshop were among the events to make a splash with visitors.
Boy George talks about Kate Bush's comeback shows in the Nottingham Post.
I heard people moaning about Kate Bush's show because she didn't perform 'Wuthering Heights'. That's a weird one though because it's like me not performing ‘Karma Chameleon’. We'd probably get pulled off the stage" he laughs.
Manchester Confidential has an article - with pictures - on the re-opening of Elizabeth Gaskell's house. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books reviews Jane Slayre.

EDIT: As seen in the Drew Barrymore's instagram:
I went to the Bronte sisters house, where they lived and loved and wrote some of the most inspired novels ever written. It's was a house of brave and brilliant women. #girlpower

by Cristina ( at October 10, 2014 08:47 PM

16.21 hours

We find this curious (and slightly misleading). How long does it take to read a book? (Via Personal Creations)
There’s nothing quite like unwinding from a long day at work or enjoying an afternoon in the sun with a good book. Engrossing ourselves in the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the characters can be exhilarating and calming all at once. But we are also busy people, so it’s good to know how long it will take us to read this novel. That’s where we come in.
We took some of the most popular books of all time and estimated how long it would take the average reader to finish by multiplying word count by the average person’s reading speed, 300 words per minute, which will give you an approximate gauge of how long it will take any of the following great books.
Reading difficulty should be considered as well, as for most it may take longer to read an old book such Homer’s The Odyssey versus a newer text such as The Hunger Games. So, don’t set your watch with this guide – use it as a rough gauge to inform your next reading session. Enjoy the infographic!

by M. ( at October 10, 2014 08:44 PM

The Little Professor

An English Ghost Story

It's October, so it must be time for haunted house stories.  Kim Newman's An English Ghost Story offers up a variant drenched in idyllic nostalgia.  Our heroes, the Naremore family, are a vexed twenty-first century assortment of ex-punk rebels (the parents, Steven and Kirsten) accessorized by an unhappy adolescent (daughter Jordan) and an obessive military roleplayer (son Tim).  On the verge of a breakup, the Naremores exit urban London for life in the countryside, where they find "the Hollow," an ancient home that last belonged to Louise Teazle, author of a beloved series of children's books transparently set in that very spot.  London: hectic, cramped, rapidly transforming under capitalist pressure.  The Hollow: peaceful, spacious, a medieval relic.  (The Hollow's illusory edenic quality is, in part, thanks to the apples which dominate the scene.)  Despite its age, the Hollow promises salvation by erasing family history: "This was what they needed.  A new place, to start all over again, to build something.  Yet an old place, broken in by people, with mysteries and challenges, temptations and rewards" (loc. 112).  This fantasy--that a family in pain can simply be restarted, swept free of its accumulated history--is an error integral to the Gothic genre, which is filled with characters who yearn to bury the past, only to find that it persists in walking.  Newman's key innovation here is that the family brings the deadly ramifications of this error to the haunted house.  As in so many haunted house tales, terror erupts in the change from one house to the next; here, though, the problem is not that the family invades the home's space, but that the family's very nature transforms the initially caring home into something much more vicious.  The living people are Gothic; the ghosts, not so much.

In many ways, the novel's truest ghost is "Vron," Kirsten's old friend Veronica, whose wayward behavior as a woman in early middle age constitutes a different kind of haunting.  Vron is a tattooed Goth of sorts, dabbling in one thing or another--"the Wild Witch," Jordan calls her--whose influence has repeatedly disrupted the family in the past.  Most dangerously, Vron's irresponsibility when it comes to lovers, children, and friends represents the allure of complete, egotistical freedom.  Given to trendy enthusiasms, implicitly neglectful of her child, and possibly the overage seducer of Jordan's boyfriend, Vron embodies the ghost of adolescent rebellion--the childish things one must put away.  "No one ever really changes," she warns the Naremores at the end of the novel (loc. 4193), and that threat, even more than Vron herself, is the danger that really propels the novel's events.  

To be a family, the novel insists, is to change: in order to survive the Hollow, the characters must recognize that they exist as a growing, shifting unit, not as little atomized bodies of desire.  Despite their brief honeymoon in the Hollow, filled with childlike play (and, on the part of the adults, rather a lot of sex), the characters soon regress, or perhaps progress, to extreme forms of the behavior that got them in trouble in the first place.  Kirsty's straw feminist desire for self-realization--"[t]he daughter crisis diverted Kirsty from what she wanted to do, what she wanted to be" (loc. 1756)--leads her to reject her duty to care for others.  Steven's desires, by contrast, emerge in a parody of patriarchal power, as he takes charge of the family in order to save it: "I may have to be hard, make firm rulings you won't agree with, but you must believe me that it's all for the best" (loc. 2292).  Jordan tries to control both her own body and her boyfriend, Rick, in ways that suggest she resents adulthood (she fears her own developing physique) instead of embraces it; her brother imagines everything in terms of survival tactics, pitting him against his family instead of prompting him to defend it.  These drives toward selfish fulfillment and control are as much about the fear of others as they are about twenty-first century individualism.  The characters don't want to be vulnerable to the pains and sufferings and others; they want to live like Vron, who treats people like "toys" (loc. 4197).   

Thus the Hollow, whose ghosts vibrate in ultra-sympathy with the home's inhabitants.  As the multiple inset narratives suggest, living residents can engage warmly with the ghosts and live happily in return, or they can be angry and suffer horrible deaths instead.  It is here that the novel is, perhaps unintentionally, at its eeriest.  As I said at the beginning, An English Ghost Story seeps nostalgia: the Hollow is most closely associated with a children's author, whose books prompt fond memories of childhood happiness; those books in turn saved the sanity of a man kept hostage for many years; the house itself, far out in the countryside (a conventionally idyllic pastoral space, in other words), is a architectural hodgepodge of English styles from the Middle Ages to the modern.  Being content in the house requires that the characters abjure the rush of the modern world--Steven, after all, has to cut back on his business dealings at the end.  If Jordan, unlike Louise Teazle, ultimately decides that the Hollow "is not enough" (loc. 4230), nevertheless her family, to remain a family, must stay in the house and be trained to exist in sympathy.  The characters change, all right, but would they change if the ghosts were not there to force them into mindfulness?  The happy Hollow may be a carrot, but the horrors always remain as a stick.  "But not fighting was habit-forming," Jordan notices, "and the Hollow was supportive" (loc. 4219).  To have a loving traditional family, it appears, one still needs terror.  


by Miriam Burstein at October 10, 2014 01:40 PM

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Keynote Speakers: Professor Caroline Arscott (Courtauld Institute of Art, London); Professor Tim Barringer (Yale University); Meaghan Clarke (University of Sussex); Professor Kate Flint (University of Southern California); Professor Michael Hatt […]

by Jo Taylor at October 10, 2014 12:04 PM

Edward Lear's Diaries


Fine, but gray ― scarcely sunny.

Letters from B.H. Hunt ― he will, with his usual kindness ― be executor for Ellen. From Miss Dennett, who writes rather more hopefully if the Duke ― but her letter is very sad: ― & from Lady Hatherton ― very nice.

Wrote to Taylor, & G. Kokali ― (2 letters to him, having forgotten in the first to tell him to call at the Post in Nice.) Ellen, Mrs. Hunt & others. Worked pretty stiffly at Sir Walter’s picture, the sheep & middle distance ― till 4. Nobody came. ―――――――

But, just as I was going out, somebody did come: to wit Caroline & Augusta Bethell. ―――――――――

Emma Parkyns was in the Carriage below. ――

After which I walked to Kensington & called at Robt. Martineau’s ― out. back by 7. Dressed ― & to Lowndes Square ―


Very pleasant. Among the many anecdotes ― one from H.G. ― of Garibaldi: ― he had come to Taplow from Cliefden ― &, ― driving back ― many labourers left the plough to see him. “This” ― he said, “I like: in Italy the priests would not let them come: this is freedom.” ―― One more; ― at a[1] village school, the mistress (I think G.’s sister,) hearing the boys talk of Garibaldi ― said ― “attend to your books ― what can you know of Garibaldi ―? ― Do you,” ― (addressing a boy[)]― “even know who he is?” ― “Yes ―― he is the man who set Italy free, & took nothing for himself.” ― (Mistress shuts up.)

[1] The entry continues at the bottom of the opposite page, for 9 October.

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

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