Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Lady Novelists

More Brontë mentions in celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The New Yorker's Page-Turner discusses the huge influence of Jane Austen on George Eliot.

In 1852, George Henry Lewes, the literary critic, sometime novelist, amateur scientist, and all-round man of letters, contributed an essay to the Westminster Review titled “The Lady Novelists.” In it, Lewes gave a survey of what he called “the field of female literature,” touching down upon the works of George Sand, Mrs. Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë—and Jane Austen, whose novels he had been championing for years. Austen, Lewes argued, was “the greatest artist that has ever written, using the term to signify the most perfect mastery over the means to her end.” [...]
Lewes’s essay, which echoes Austen’s own famous characterization of her art—as social miniatures, produced on two inches of ivory—would be notable as an early and perceptive analysis of Austen’s contribution to literature, with or without the qualification of gender. But what makes it particularly piquant is the name of the editor who commissioned him to write it: Marian Evans, the formidable literary critic and translator who within a few years would herself become a writer of fiction under the pseudonym of George Eliot. Even more suggestive is the fact that not long after writing this essay, Lewes and Evans were to embark upon one of the most notorious and productive literary love affairs of the nineteenth century—eloping to Germany in the fall of 1854, and living together as husband and wife for a quarter of a century, even though Lewes already had a wife, Agnes, from whom divorce was impossible. Talking about Jane Austen was one of the ways in which this high-strung, bohemian, and dauntingly intelligent couple fell in love. (Rebecca Mead)
It was of course her correspondence with G.H. Lewes that elicited Charlotte's notorious opinion of Jane Austen.

Rebecca Harrington writes in The Huffington Post about seeing Pride and Prejudice 2005 for the first time:
I will admit, the first time I saw Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I walked out of the theater in a fit of rage.
"The climatic scene took place outside in a garden? And it rained?" I screamed at my friend on the walk back home. "What is this crap, Jane Eyre?
My friend muttered in agreement.
Unfortunately, Die Achse des Guten doesn't include Jane Austen in the following statement:
Und außer Mary Shelley, Anaïs Nin, den Brontë-Schwestern und aktuell die Regisseurinnen Jane Campion und Kathryn Bigelow fällt mir gerade keine Frau ein, die irgendetwas Originelles zur Kunst je beigetragen hätte, die darstellende Form mal ausgenommen. (Akif Pirincci) (Translation)
The Province discusses the influence behind Anton Chekhov's play Three Sisters:
Anton Chekhov is said to have been inspired by the lives of Britain’s literary Brontë family when he wrote his play Three Sisters, taking from real life the notion of an educated family stuck in a provincial milieu on limited means.
In Chekhov’s fiction, though, no-one ends up writing Wuthering Heights. (Glen Schaefer)
And indieWire's The Playlist acknowledges the Jane Eyre inspiration behind the film I Walked with a Zombie 1943.

PopMatters reviews the music album All My Love in Half Light by Lady Lazarus.
The minimalistic song structures here and classic instrumentation, together with Sweat’s voice, are what make such imagery palpable. An elegiac quality pervades the work, steeped in the melancholy of a ghost adrift on the marshes of Wuthering Heights, unable to find a home to haunt. More plodding and hypnotic than melodic, the music has a fluid, weightless quality to it. (Cole Waterman)
Książki Polter (Poland) mentions an Emily Brontë-related poem in the latest issue of Coś na progu magazine. The Northeast Mississippi Daily News features a local spelling bee winner who 'enjoys classic books like “Emma” and “Jane Eyre.”' The Argus and Books and wonderful things both post about Jane EyreIa skriver inte writes in Swedish about The Professor. The Waterstones blog has a 'cheat sheet' on Charlotte Brontë.

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