Monday, June 23, 2008

Firm as weeds among stones

The Daily Mail and other newspapers report the results of a survey conducted for Lulu.com by YouGov on so-called 'secret reads'. We have been unable to trace the complete list so we have to go by what the Daily Mail says:

Asked what book they are reading and many adults will come up with the name of some worthy or fashionable volume.
What they are less likely to tell you is that they are enjoying a children's book or a bodice-ripping tale of romance.
But these book are the favourite secret reads of British adults, according to researchers.
A quarter revealed their secret indulgence to be 19th century romances and classics such as Little Women, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
EDIT: 9. Jane Eyre (top ten list in Times Colonist)

We wonder, though, why these should be secret reads at all. Isn't it supposed to make you look all highbrow and intellectual to state that you read the classics? We are afraid that many people - people who haven't even begun to turn the first page - dismiss them as sort of Mills & Boon volumes. How wrong they are.

Fortunately, there are those who not only aren't ashamed but who also incorporate the classics into their own art. Conceptual artist Barbara Kruger has an installation called 'Another' at UC San Diego which is reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
'Another,' the conceptual artist's installation at UC San Diego, gives passing students something to think about with its use of quotation panels and news tickers embedded in clock faces.Kruger selected the 33 quotes for their ability to speak to the present, though they date from vastly different places and times. Charlotte Brontë opines on the necessity of education to eradicate prejudices, Thomas Mann likens speech to civilization itself and Voltaire warns that "Those who make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." (Leah Ollman)
We can't be 100% sure but we believe the quote will be:
Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. (Jane Eyre, ch. XXIX)
And isn't that true of the secret reads survey as well?

Now for a couple of celebrities. Actress Emma Lung talks to The Sydney Morning Herald and states,
"I have turned down some major parts … parts in established television shows because it isn't what I want to do," she said, adding that her dream role would be in a period drama. "Anything from an Austen or Bronte novel." (Emily Dunn and Elicia Murray)
Given how many Brontë productions are in the works right now she should hurry up and try for a part.

And, without further ado, from getdagoss via PR-Inside:
Reports are coming out that Amy Winehouse is suffering from tuberculosis, more commonly known as TB, and could possibly die if not properly treated. Her doctors say she has been coughing up blood in addition to her weight loss that has almost become legendary - both symptoms of the deadly disease. In literary circles, TB is often debated as a disease that afflicts genius.
Those struck down include the Brontë sisters, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Albert Camus, Honore de Balzac, Dylan Thomas, W. Somerset Maugham, Guy de Maupassant, Molière, George Orwell, and the list goes on and on with the most celebrated names in literature. (Adrian Twist)
Sure, because you get TB depending on your IQ or whatever makes a genius a genius. Now seriously, leaving aside the fact that Charlotte Brontë didn't die from TB, have they even stopped to consider the millions of anonymous people who died - and are still dying - from TB? Really, the 'geniuses' don't amount to much in the midst of those, and it shouldn't be something to be proud of.

As for the blogosphere: Pitite Nou reviews at length and in French The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne du Maurier. And The Oscar Completist reviews briefly Wuthering Heights 1939.

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