Sunday, December 05, 2010

‘But we have never been like that, have we? Writing to please?’

It seems that Markington Hall (Harrogate), the home of William Wilberforce in Yorkshire, is for sale. The present owner, descendant of William Wilberforce, says to the Daily Express:

William added: “I’m very proud of my ancestor. Few people realise he was so much more than an anti-slave campaigner. He was also responsible for the first bit of human rights legislation and he spent a third of his fortune supporting schools for underprivileged girls. The Brontë sisters went to one of his schools and I like to think he had something to do with their later success.
I think that Mr Wilberforce is in error here. It's true that William Wilberforce helped the Brontës but in a rather indirect way, helping his father Patrick Brontë when he was in Cambridge:
He was a benefactor to poor evangelically inclined clergymen and ordinands, contributing to Patrick’s upkeep while he was at St John’s. Later he helped him to obtain justice in the William Nowell affair. Whether he and Patrick met during the latter’s Cambridge years is not known, but they could have been brought together later, for example during Wilberforce’s stay with Dury, the vicar of Keighley, in July 1827. ( A Brontë Encyclopedia, Robert & Louise Barnard, Blackwell Publishing, 2007
The Deccan Herald (India) reviews positively Jude Morgan's The Taste of Sorrow:
In Jude Morgan’s The Taste of Sorrow, the sisters come back as dramatically as it is discreetly possible for the dead. This is a flesh and blood biography.
Facts come in thick and fast but are instantly converted into warm breaths, sidelong glances, sighs and suppressed longings. The mother does not go gently into the night, she rants and raves blasphemously, already not a woman one saw during those days, on her deathbed because of ‘too many children, too quickly’. The girls are there for each other, with ‘the ripple of Papa’somewhere around. Patrick Brontë is a widower ‘consoling himself by turning into an old, childless bachelor’. (...)
The inherent elegance of piety and poverty, the isolated living tantamount to mere survival at times, the losses, the little, little pauses that tuning-forked into silences that screamed, the submissions and the rebellions that grew out of these submissions, all recorded for posterity in a way their lives have seldom been chronicled. Character after character, big or small, taken into account, empathised with, expressed inside out. A huff and a puff, and the Brontë building is up.
The author richly compensates for Emily’s cry — ‘But we have never been like that, have we? Writing to please?’ By penning intricately interwoven life stories of this extraordinary trio in a way that would please the harshest of critics and the most dyspeptic of readers.
In allowing us a taste of sorrow, Morgan ladles out a host of feelings — feelings that make up three of the world’s most beloved authors. The emotional and the cerebral seesaw is set just right in this pulsating decoding of the Brontë psyche and personalities.(Shinie Antony)
Ottawa Citizen recommends taking a course in Oxford University:
If you've ever wished you had gone to England's University of Oxford, here's your chance. The 2011 Oxford Experience is a one-week residential course at Christ Church, one of the most prestigious and beautiful of Oxford colleges. You can take one or more one-week programs during the period from July 10 to Aug. 13. The courses cover some 50 subjects as varied as The Brontës, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, Victorian Scandals, and Opera in the Age of Bel Canto.
Jan Freeman discussing the use of the word 'complected' in the Boston Globe:
Still, if complected had been a favorite of Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, it might be the standard form today.
Geekosystem discusses Anne Rice's opinions about Twilight:
Her opinion of the Twilight books is largely positive, however. She points out that love between an older, threatening, but protective male and a young, weak, and vulnerable female is an old and legitimate trope. Considering that we do have some affection for Jane Eyre, we have to reluctantly admit that we see her point.
On the other hand, did Jane Eyre have two sequels and screaming fangirls? Well… actually it probably did have the 17th century equivalent of the latter. (Susana Polo)
We adore a happy ending! and Lone Star Concerto briefly posts about Wuthering Heights 2009; 667B Baker Street reviews (in a rather too purist way) April Lindner's Jane.

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