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Leaders at the Marathon County Public Library want to know: what is the most influential book in the county?Claire Hodgson discusses madness in The Independent:
That's why they're holding a "Literary Smackdown". The competition pits popular fiction and non-fiction books against each other in a March-Madness style bracket. Library leaders say it's a great way to get people excited about reading.
"To kind of get people to think about reading and maybe read some books that they haven't read since high school," said Amy Ryan, Marathon County Public Library Assitant, "A lot of these picks are books that are in the literary canon that a lot of teachres teach."
The competition starts today. Each week new books will face off, including "The Great Gatsby," "Jane Eyre," and the Harry Potter series.
I admit I was naïve. I've always thought that madness was interesting. My early heroines had been Sylvia Plath and her Bell Jar, Virginia Woolf before The Hours, and Winona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted. Their breakdowns were a rite of passage for the posh, liberal and bohemian. These were my poster-girls (and they were mostly women not men) of madness, but there were others throughout literature (the Brontës, Emily Dickinson, Zelda Fitzgerald).We hope she means the Brontës as depicting and writing about madness, not as 'mad' themselves.
The literary term for this sort of novel is the bildungsroman. In English, we might call it a novel of self-discovery and it is a classic genre in both Western and world literature. Our literary canon is full of such tales of self-realization. Tom Jones and David Copperfield are examples of the genre as are Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, and A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Though works involving a heroine are few, Jane Eyre comes to mind as a rare exception. But generally, women, and particularly Jewish women, are absent from the genre. (Janice Weizman)The Brooklyn Rail is reminded of Balthus when visiting the exhibition Murdering the World, Paintings and Drawings 2007–2013 by Mark Greenwold.
Puritanical American systems of judgment are more prone to misunderstand the sensual and open eroticism in Balthus’s painting. Conversely, European cultures, particularly modern English and French writers and artists, are aware that the extremely sensitive world of children merits respect, that it is equally complex as that of adults. Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Alain Fournier, Colette, St. Exupéry, among many others, have explored the theme of children’s imagination. It’s clear that in Mitsu, Balthus was not just the boy looking for his cat with such determination, but was the cat. By identifying with the cat (as in his 1935 painting “The King of Cats”), a creature that makes unpredictable turns from affectionate to unapproachable, Balthus found a vehicle to perpetuate a mystery about himself. It was also during this same period, around 1922, that Balthus made a vow to remain a child forever, reaffirmed when he chose to illustrate only the first half of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights when Heathcliff and Cathy were most happy, and from when Balthus’s inner world became willfully solidified.Daily Moms makes the case for 'Embracing Your Inner Hoarder':
Greenwold is just as intensely invested in his pictorial ambition to simultaneously intersperse form and content as Balthus had been. They both went against the grain of their times; while Balthus was painting in the height of Cubism’s popularity, Greenwold began his career during the dominance of Pop Art and Minimalism. (Through thick and thin, both kept their visions intact.) Both have a sophisticated rapport with art history: Balthus revered the monumental frescoes of Piero della Francesca; Greenwold prefers Sienese small-scale, egg-tempera panel paintings and the intimacy of early Dutch painting, especially Jan van Eyck. Yet both have also been able to extrapolate and incorporate formal aspects of the art of their time into their own work. I suspect among the few differences between them would be, for example, Balthus’s obsession with English novels, particularly those of Emily Brontë, versus Greenwold’s passion for European and American Jewish literature, Kafka and Saul Bellow in particular; or the size of the paintings, Balthus large, Greenwold small; or the age of the subjects—Balthus refused to grow up and hence only painted adolescent girls in various personifications of Cathy with a few exceptions of self-portraits, especially one in which he appears as Heathcliff at the age of 27, sitting to the left while Cathy is being combed by an old maid in “Cathy Dressing” (1933). (Phong Bui)
Some of the stuff we found included: [...]
Books, books, and more books. Amazing finds like my grandmother’s copies of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre – with her name (written by her and the date she got it … LOVE!!) (Kay Wyma)