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Feminism used to view women as self-sufficient rather than requiring the protection of the stateNew Statesman reviews the new book Victoria's Madsmen by Clive Bloom:
If recent debates are anything to go by, feminism now seems to be about protecting the delicate, sensitive, victimised female of the human species. For example, we apparently need to be protected from pictures of topless women in the Sun, lest these images destroy our self-esteem. Feminism perpetuates the view that women are fragile – in the words of Andrea Dworkin, ‘to be rapeable, a position that is social, not biological, defines what a woman is’. In contrast, the feminists of the early twentieth century were keen to show that they needed little help and could fend for themselves, just like any man. Indeed, as early as 1847, Charlotte Brontë wrote: ‘Women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer.’
The Victorians were hypocritical prudes, covering up piano legs by day and visiting prostitutes by night. The men were stuffy, the women domestic paragons (Mrs Beeton) or hysterical (Jane Eyre’s Bertha Mason). Modern representations of the 19th century might not be so simplistic but they’re not far off.In the same magazine, another review, Telling Tales: Selected Writings 1993-2013 by Amit Chaudhury:
Clive Bloom is the latest historian to object to such stereotypes. In Victoria’s Madmen, he marshals a crowd of men and women to help him dismantle the myth of Victorian conformity and uniformity. (Hannah Rosefield)
“There Was Always Another” is his intriguingly titled introduction to Shiva Naipaul’s first two novels, Fireflies and The Chip- Chip Gatherers, written as forewords for the Penguin Classics editions. Here, Chaudhuri reflects on the varying subjectivities of writing families (William and Henry James, the Brontës, the Tagore family) and points out that they are usually “quite odd in their intensities”. (Deborah Levy)Irish Times complains about the lowering of standards in the Leaving Certificate exams:
The lowering of standards is most obvious in the case of English. In the 1980s students taking higher-level English were asked to discuss the proposition that “though all is eventually resolved in Wuthering Heights, there is a great sense of what has been lost”. In 2011 the proposition for discussion on the same novel was: “Catherine Earnshaw is a character that readers can like and dislike”. Three “likes” and three “dislikes” and an A1 is in the bag! (Sean Byrne)Like/Dislike is the kind of modern criticism on the Facebook/Instagram era.
Zee News (India) interviews the teen writer Shriya Sekhsaria:
The budding writer also loves reading the classics and terms `Wuthering Heights` by Emily Brontë as her all-time favourite. (PTI)Santa Maria New Times interviews another writer, Ashley Schwellenbach:
NT With the orphan story, and the boarding school high in the mountains, one thinks immediately of Harry Potter. Was that a conscious thing?Bookish Libraria talks with the author Jennie Fields:
AS I did that very deliberately. There’s a couple points in the book where one of the girls says something about being an orphan: “Oh, who would want to write about an orphan?” And that’s a very deliberate joke, because long before Harry Potter there was a lengthy tradition of orphan protagonists. I would contend that Jane Eyre was kind of more the orphan inspiration, you have the strong female character who is ridiculously intelligent and has a very rich interior life, and obviously religion played a significant role in that book, too. (Interview by Anna Weltner)
Which are your favorite classical authors?MadelineDyer.co.uk talks to Tim Bedford:
Well, Edith Wharton, of course! I also love Charlotte Brontë, early Henry James, John Steinbeck and Willa Cather. Any Brontë lover is a friend of mine!!
My all time favourite book is Wuthering Heights; I’ve read it most years since I was thirteen which unfortunately means nearly thirty times. I’ve read widely over the years and ultimately I love any good teller of tales.We are Movie Geeks may go a bit too far finding precedents of the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film:
With literary antecedents going back to the Brontë sisters and continuing through Gothic archetypes and on to the Telzey Amberdon stories by James H. Schmitz in the 1960s, the modern “empowered young woman” phase may have begun with a little cinematic heroine named Buffy, created by Joss Whedon over 20 years ago. (Dana Jung)The infamous words of MEP Godfrey Bloom (you know, the Bongo Bongo one) are also mentioned in The Telegraph:
He went on to say that female artists and writers had achieved little in the past few hundred years. “Women, in spite of years of training in art and music – and significant leisure time in the 18th and 19th centuries – have produced few great works.” So that puts Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Brontës, Mary Shelley and Christina Rossetti in their place. (Linda Kelsey)The Christian magazine The Briefing on singleness quotes from Jane Eyre:
My favourite Jane Eyre quote springs to mind here. The man she loves is trying to persuade her to abandon her moral convictions and live with him, even though he already has a wife. She responds by saying:Pen to Paper posts about marriages in Wuthering Heights; Bookaroo reviews Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy; film | captures uploads caps of Jane Eyre 2011.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? … Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by; there I plant my foot.”