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The Brontë sisters published under the names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell 170 years ago, because, as Charlotte said with admirable understatement, “We had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.”
Times have only changed in that any author, male or female, is now subject to merciless scrutiny – and their fiction, which should speak for itself – judged by external, irrelevant criteria. No wonder so many retreat to anonymity to write afresh. (Anna Maxted in The Telegraph)
Rowling joins the likes of the Brontë sisters, Doris Lessing and Ruth Rendell on the list of authors who have adopted noms de plume.
"I can absolutely understand why JK used a pseudonym," says literary agent Jane Gregory, who co-founded the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and the Orange Prize. "The knives were out for her, weren't they?" (Ian Youngs in BBC News)
Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë used the names Currer, Ellis and Action Bell, respectively, to publish a book of poetry together in 1846. They continued to use the names when they went on to separately publish their own novels, including "Jane Eyre" by "Currer Bell," "Wuthering Heights" by "Ellis Bell" and "Agnes Grey" by "Action Bell." In 1850, Charlotte cleared up the mystery behind the names. She wrote that the sisters had used them because there were "averse to personal publicity" and that they had taken the names, "Christian" and "positively masculine," because their "mode of writing and thinking was not what is called 'feminine.' " (Tierney Sneed in US News)
When Jane Eyre, by a "Currer Bell", was published in 1847, it was instantly popular. But as speculation grew that Currer Bell was actually a woman, the language and sentiments of the novel suddenly appeared "coarse". Critic G.H. Lewes advised Bell, or rather, Charlotte Brontë, to write more temperately, following in the measured footsteps of Austen. (The Indian Express)
The irony here is that for centuries, women have been publishing under male or, at best, ambiguous pseudonyms as an end-run around a sexist literary culture that otherwise would have ignored them. The Brontë sisters did it because, as Charlotte later wrote, “we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.” (Lev Grossman in Time)
While many contemporary writers have taken up pen names for various creative reasons, the famous Brontë sisters did so out of necessity. In 19th century England, women were not permitted to publish, and so the sisters adopted the male pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, each maintaining their first initials. In May, 1846, they published their first anthology of poetry using these names. Though this initial work wasn’t very successful, some of the sisters’ most famous and best-selling works were also published under these pen names, like Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights, both in 1847. The following year, Charlotte and Anne travelled to London to meet face-to-face with their publisher, ultimately revealing that they were indeed women. (Samantha Grossman in Time)
3. What surname did literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë adopt?And Denver Post, Hollywood.com, Beaumont Enterprise...
Barker (Ashley Kirk)
16. Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)A top ten of popular and romantic novels is published in BoldSky:
A heart-thumping romance that should be given to girls before their 13th birthday, with the knowledge that they will reduce it to tatters over countless rereadings. Our dear Jane struggles for self-possession in 19th-century England while fighting off the magnetism of grouchy Rochester. Love wins.
22. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
A dark, turbulent novel about passion and wretchedness that never fails to stun.
This is another classic by Emily Brontë. It is about the egoistic Catherine and Heathcliff, who were too proud to express their love for each other and end up destroying themselves because of that. (Sanchita Chowdhury)
Steve Stanworth, a church warden at St James’s Church in Thornton, Bradford, has been fighting to persuade the Council to cut the churchyard’s grass on a more regular basis and is not looking forward to it being scaled back even more.A piece of curious lore. Did you know that a literary tea shop in Myanmar is named after Wuthering Heights? We read in Myanmar Times:
He said: “A lot of the lesser know places don’t get as much work done to them as it is. We have got In Bloom judging this week, and the place really doesn’t look its best.
“At the moment it looks like we’re going to have to look at other ways of getting things done. It might come to the point where we just let it grow wild again. I’m not happy about any cutbacks, and it certainly puts volunteers off – they lose heart.” (Chris Young)
When it first opened, Ko Than Thein’s tea shop didn’t have a name. With all the creative customers around, however, that didn’t last long. It was author Min Lu, Ko Than Thein recalled, who first took the Myanmar-language title of the novel Wuthering Heights and used it to name the shop Lay Htan Kone. It’s an honour that makes Ko Than Thein proud.This is a bit puzzling. According to the Delaware News Journal, the Brontës' characters are mainly narcissistic (?):
“I fell in love with the name he gave,” he said. (Zon Pan Pwint and Moh Moh Thaw)
You might want to quickly acquaint yourself with 19th-century English literature, particularly the work by the Brontë sisters, who had an affinity for narcissistic characters. (Margie Fishman)The Huffington Post talks about authors retiring from writing:
Yet the notion of reclaiming a life unlived distracts from their achievement of having completed their life's work. A writer's life cut short -- Keats, Marlowe, the Brontës -- haunts literary history, and the writer's fear of dying prematurely, before fulfilling his potential, once made for some of the West's finest writing -- John Milton's "Lycidas," Percy Shelly's "Adonis." (Alec Gewirtz)The Stanly News & Press talks about a local exhibition of the 50 years of West Stanly High School:
Every drama club program is there, as well as the costume worn by “Jane Eyre” in the first production under Ramona Bennet and Geraldine Holbrooks. (Mary Sycuro)Towed in a Hole has visited Haworth; ExcentriKs (in Spanish) and Könyvmolyka (in Hungarian) posts about Jane Eyre; Eclectic and Eccentric reviews Jane Eyre 2011.
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