Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:51 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
Rebecca Armstrong's take in The Independent on the new covers for The Bell Jar and Anne of Green Gables is truly great.
That's also why I love the classics. You can pick up any edition of Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Dracula (a classic in my book, at any rate) and despite the cover art or sloppy printing, it will be the same old friend inside.
And yet, and yet. Despite all of this, book covers matter. They move us, they bother us. [...]
Regardless of the (valid) raging about the sexualisation of young girls, this is also offensive because it's wilfully stupid. Why represent Anne as something she's not? It's like whacking a picture of Peppa Pig dressed as Jane Eyre on Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece and wondering why three-year-olds got the hump when they were bought it. Mislabelling, whether it's of lasagnes or literature, does us all a disservice. 
Now if only someone did draw that picture...

Anyway, the Jane Eyre mentions in reviews of the latest episode broadcast in the US continue. Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker:
It turns out he’s married to a mad woman who’s locked up in an asylum. (If I had a nickel for every time I heard that excuse…) It’s all very “Jane Eyre,” and makes me wonder how Edith is going to get herself out of this latest romantic jam. She really has a thing for damaged men, doesn’t she? Whatever you do, Edith, just don’t let that crazy wife near the attic. (Meredith Blake)
There was quite a literary feel to the whole thing from O’Brien’s clever reference to Oscar Wilde to the “Brideshead Revisited” inspired costumes to Edith’s new love interest’s Jane Eyre-inspired storyline. (Diane Clehane)
 Things in London are jazzy. What with a trip to a jazz club, and Edith's editor revealing that he's married (well, yes, he's been flirting with Edith, but his wife is a madwoman! AKA, the Mr. Rochester/"Jane Eyre" excuse). (Kristi Turnquist)
Back in London, Edith is looking very fetching in her green beret. This does a little to distract from the fact that she is going bananas on her editor who she phone-Googled earlier because he MIDLY flirted with her and HE'S MARRIED. Turns out this wife of his is a REAL nutcase, in an institution even. So Edith is basically Jane Eyre now. I always kind of knew it. Let's everybody try not to burn the house down! (Lizzy Acker)
It was so clear in this episode that there’s a woman Edith is capable of becoming when, to borrow her words, she remembers she’s “not an object of pity to the entire world.” (I loved how forthright she was with Michael, the editor, about being jilted at the altar.) It seemed like she might even become that woman with Michael as her romantic partner until she realized he is already married … to a mad woman. Oh good. I always felt this show wasn’t nearly enough like Jane Eyre. Now that issue is finally resolved. (Jen Chaney)
A few days ago, Robert McCrum listed in the Guardian 'English literature's 50 key moments from Marlowe to JK Rowling'. And now he's compiled a follow-up wondering, 'Are these the 50 most influential books by women?' also in the Guardian.
Last week's post about the 50 turning-points of English (and American) literature stirred up quite a bit of debate, raising some interesting issues. One of the big complaints about my selection was the inadequate representation of women writers. This blog has been admittedly slow to engage with the gender politics of literature, but this challenge – what about the women ? – is self-evidently a fair question. [...]
14. Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1847-48)
We suppose the lumping them together is to make room for others but they could at least be matched to their novel and not just be all thrown in there higgledy-piggledy.

Barbara Taylor Bradford has written about Mr Darcy for the latest issue of The Lady
But to understand Mr Darcy’s truly enduring popularity with readers and TV viewers, let’s look at another leading man.
Byronic-style heroes were popular in 19thcentury fiction and Heathcliff, protagonist of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, is a case in point. Brontë was one of our great literary geniuses and created Heathcliff from old cloth. He was moulded from dark forces and was difficult, temperamental – in many ways, a most unlikely hero. Offended and hurt when he hears Catherine Earnshaw discussing him with Nellie, the housekeeper, he runs away – before Catherine confesses to Nellie how much she loves him.
Years later, when he returns to Wuthering Heights – rich, prosperous and more polished – he discovers Cathy is dying – and he sets out to wreak revenge on her entire family. This is where the book becomes very different from Pride And Prejudice.
To me, Wuthering Heights has always been a paean to death and a story of revenge – it has never been a love story. And perhaps that is why Wuthering Heights has not had the great popular success of Jane Austen’s book.
For ultimately, Heathcliff is a hero who can’t compete with the much more normal, adaptable and ultimately ‘acceptable’ Mr Darcy. For while the difficult Mr Darcy starts off resembling Heathcliff, he evolves – largely thanks to the love of a good woman, Elizabeth – into a reasonable, thoughtful and kind, modern man. He is, in effect, tamed. And what woman doesn’t, at least secretly, love the idea of taming a wild man. Especially one as handsome as Colin Firth.
An alert from Malta, New York:
The Round Lake Library’s evening book discussion group meets at 7 p.m. to discuss the Charlotte Brontë’s classic, “Jane Eyre.” New members are encouraged to attend. The group meets at at the library’s Malta branch, in the Malta Community Center, 1 Bayberry Drive, Malta. Copies of the book are available for loan at the library circulation desk. The group is moderated by Charlene Durham. For further information, go to http://roundlake.sals.edu or call 518-899-2285. (The Saratogian)
A columnist from My Plain View discusses 'Jane Eyre and ‘Single Awareness Day’' while The Daily Campus considers that Wuthering Heights, among others, has stood the test of time as a 'love story'. The BeniciaPatch reports on a poetry competition where a poem by Emily Brontë was read. A columnist from the Asbury Park Press says she has written 'for fun and for pay, in the style of [...] Charlotte Brontë'. Bad reviews of good books shares a few on Wuthering Heights while PS: writes in Portuguese about the novel. Necromancy Never Pays reviews Tina Connolly's Ironskin.

Finally, in local news, The Telegraph and Argus reports that the Haworth West Lane Methodist Church has been closed due to tombstones toppling over and graves sinking. The Keighley News suggests a visit to the Visions of Angria exhibition, which is open through February 23rd. And the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page is asking for comments on how people are liking their new website.

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