Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thackeray was a tabloid writer

Jasper Fforde talks about book with the Newsweek staff about books. It looks like he doesn't have a very good opinion of Wuthering Heights.

A classic that, on rereading, disappointed: "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë. I had thought it was deep and full of painful unrequited love, but on rereading I think it's a bunch of very drippy people who accept being bullied for no very good reason.
Also on the Newsweek website an excerpt of Jasper Fforde's forthcoming book with the return of Thursday Next can be read: First Among Sequels.

Mr Fforde's opinion is to be borne in mind when reading the following statement by Erica Jong in The Huffington Post.
But deep down, the same old prejudice prevails. War matters; love does not. Women are destined to be undervalued as long as we write about love. To be generous, let's say the prejudice is unconscious. If Jane Austen were writing today, she'd probably meet the same fate and wind up in the chick lit section. Charlotte Brontë would be in romance, along with her sister Emily.
We beg to differ. Both novels have many, many layers and points of view and both have generated such a wealth of scholarly material that - if we were to judge on that ground alone - it would only go to show how many aspects there are to them. Remember what Mr Fforde has to say about Wuthering Heights. Ah, labels - what a bore.

Frances Welch writes for the Financial Times and shows the tabloid-y trends of Thackeray.
But before we wring our hands over the Daily Mail and its ilk, it is worth remembering William Thackeray’s comments on Charlotte Bronte, written upon the publication of Villette, in 1853. Thackeray wrote that, for all her success as a novelist, what Charlotte Brontë really wanted was “some Tomkins or another” to sweep her off her feet. “But you see she is a little bit of a creature without a pennyworth of good looks, 30 years old I should think, buried in the country, and eating up her own heart there, and no Tomkins will come.”
What he didn't say here is what he often showed when she was around: that he - big, tall, imposing man that he was - was afraid of this 'little bit of a creature without a pennyworth of good looks' as reported by their contemporaries. We think he was playing the macho here ;)

Incidentally, Elizabeth Gaskell is also mentioned in that article and today via ingenu0us we have come across a website where several pictures from the shooting of Mrs Gaskell's The Cranford Chronicles (actually Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions all rolled into one) are posted. All's looking good, isn't it? And Andrew Buchan - St John Rivers in Jane Eyre 2006 - appears in some of the pictures and plays Jem Hearne, according to the IMDb.

Jules Paranormal Backup sums up the ghost legends in Haworth: the Black Bull, the Parsonage, the graveyard. A ghost must have been playing a practical joke on this blogger when she was there, however, since the signs seem to have all said Howarth instead of Haworth. Seriously now, it's not such a difficult name to spell correctly, is it?

And to conclude: On the shelf posts about reading Jane Eyre for the first time without being acquainted with the story (!) and Artaud and the sea of iodine wrote a nice tribute to Anne on her death anniversary yesterday.

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