18 hours ago
What do Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" and the graphic novel "Watchmen" have in common?Regrettably, the answer is a bit disappointing:
They are both sitting on bookshelves in Cal State Long Beach English professor Tim Caron's office. For the casual reader, comic books and graphic novels are in an entirely different category from literature. (Kevin Butler)Eslpeth Barker reviews Claire Harman's Jane's Fame for The Independent. She mentions the Brontës but, for a change, not in the usual way:
But when she died, the gravestone her family erected made no mention of her writing, her papers were dispersed, and despite sporadic interest over the decades, it seemed that a line had been drawn under her very existence, until that Memoir [produced in 1870 by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh] was prompted by some sense of rivalry with the Brontës' great celebrity and a growing annoyance at drifts of speculative gossip.The NPR programme All Things Considered interviews Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, authors of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels. Apparently if you like the Brontës you are "in the (romance novels) club". You can listen to them here.
And so her fame spread, with new editions and gathering critical acclaim, first, notably, from Sir Walter Scott, who identified her as the creator of an entirely new way of writing; naturalistic and concentrated, unlike the traditional literature of drama and sensation to which he himself subscribed – "the Big bow-wow strain" as he adorably put it. Scott and Thomas Macaulay were perhaps the first of many fervent male admirers, who have included Tennyson, Wilde, Fenimore Cooper (who wrote his first novel, Precaution, in the manner of Persuasion), Coleridge, GH Lewes, Bulwer-Lytton, and even Robert Southey, who had been so rude to Charlotte Brontë: "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and it ought not to be." (Austen turned down an offer of marriage for literature.)
This is a Gothic novel of a sort, and Gothic novels have secrets stashed in their attic like the crazy wife in Jane Eyre. Ralph Truitt is more or less what he says he is, but Catherine is not, and the gap between what she seems to be and what she actually is fuels A Reliable Wife. (Scott Eyman)Audrey Bilger publishes a quite interesting post on Robert Frost's Banjo about Rochester and Heathcliff:
What is it about men like Heathcliff and Rochester that makes some women—and maybe some guys, too—think they’re romantic heroes? Sure, they’re strong and surly, but given what actually gets said about them—by their own creators, no less—they come with built-in warning signs. (Read more) (...)Varmt Igen posts about Jane Eyre (in Catalan) and i don't really know what kind of girl i am likes Jane Eyre 2006.
What Emily and Charlotte both make clear is that there’s nothing sexy about a bully. Heathcliff and Rochester are never offered as romantic ideals. Instead, both novels may be read as cautionary tales, warning women away from vicious men and showing that true love is more about stability and constancy, and not about biting, scratching, and clawing. Rakes may indeed reform, but that doesn’t mean that women should seek them out and take responsibility for their redemption. Real happy endings are built on honesty, fidelity, and equality. We wouldn’t admire the younger Cathy and Jane Eyre if they settled for less.