Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:21 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The recent survey about non-readers lying about what they have read is still being featured on news outlets such as CBC Books, The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor... The Guardian Books Blog asks readers whether they have ever lied about reading a book.

Speaking about reading (or not) in order to brag about it, UVU Review begins a review of ‘Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir’ by Poe Ballantine as follows:
Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere” is one of those book titles pushed so close to ridiculousness that it is almost worth it to read it on account of the name alone. That way, you can boast to your friends that lately you’ve read, “Hamlet,” “Jane Eyre,” and “Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere.” It has a ring, and sometimes a book needs to scream at people for attention. (Jack Waters)
We wonder whether anyone has ever lied about reading Fifty Shades of Grey? At any rate, Aleteia looks at one of its consequences: erotic retellings of classic novels.
This summer marked the sudden popularity of another genre of erotic fiction: scandalous retellings of classic literature. Naturally, the ever-popular Jane Austen and Brontë romance novels were among the first to be targeted. Here are just a few of the literary gems flying off the shelves at your local bookstore:
Jane Eyre Laid Bare reads the cover in white font against a dark background displaying a suggestive, magenta corset. “The classic novel with an erotic twist,” promises the subtitle. The back cover assures you that “this is not your mother’s Jane Eyre.” The amalgamation is credited to both Charlotte Brontë and Eve Sinclair – but really, how much of Brontë’s work remains in this lurid sex romp, aside from the characters’ names? Jane Eyre was certainly considered scandalous for its time due to the dark subject material, overly impassioned characters and, yes, underlying sensual tension. Yet the nineteenth century’s understanding of sensuality was worlds away from our modern society’s oversexed and overstimulated perspective. There is no doubt that a powerful attraction is certainly implicit between Mr. Rochester and the titular Jane, but Jane Eyre Laid Bare somehow manages to translate that subtle sensuality into voyeurism, lesbian ventures, and gratuitous sex scenes crammed into the book at every possible moment. The two worlds simply do not mix well. Sinclair’s writing itself is jarring, dropped suddenly and without ceremony into Brontë’s meticulously interwoven world of social taboos and societal expectations. [...]
The list goes on with Wuthering Nights, which sinks the impassioned tale of Heathcliff and Catherine to new lows with the same disturbing bondage imagery made popular by Fifty Shades of Grey, while Mr. Darcy’s Bite capitalizes on the trending vampire romances following Twilight’s unparalleled success. There seems to be no reprieve. (Kim Scharfenberger)
Women24 actually chooses Heathcliff as one of the 'Top 7 Worst book boyfriends'
Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: Oh, what a tortured and angst-ridden soul. As much as I love the very gothic, but still romantic Wuthering Heights, I have to mention how irritating Heathcliff can be. Chasing after Cathy Earnshaw to no avail, and then deciding to destroy innocent lives in retribution? It's got the makings of a true sociopath, if you ask me.
And another list: The Huffington Post includes Bertha Mason/Rochester as one of the '9 Most Sympathetic Villains In Books'.
3. Bertha in "Jane Eyre"
Sure, she does some crazy things. She tries to set Rochester on fire, and then eventually ends up burning down his house. But we couldn't blame Bertha after reading Jean Rhys's brilliant response to "Jane Eyre," "Wide Sargasso Sea." This book recalls the courtship of Bertha and Rochester, and it paints Rochester as far more villainous than Antoinette. (In Rhys's telling, Rochester renames her Bertha when they move to England.) Their marriage is arranged, and he is a horrible husband. She is definitely mentally unstable, even in Rhys's book. But does that justify locking her in an attic?
To be honest, we must admit to never having thought of Bertha as a 'villain'.

El correo (Spain) looks at the other side of the coin: heroines.
De sobra conocida es Jane Eyre (en la obra de Charlotte Brönte (sic)), un personaje vivo, ardiente y rebelde, muy religiosa pero dispuesta a denunciar la gazmoñería farisaica y la hipocresía de las convenciones de su tiempo. (Itsaso Álvarez) (Translation)
Jane Eyre is also mentioned in an article on Neil Gaiman's Coraline in The Huffington Post:
What it is about Coraline that agitates, and captivates? The novel presents parallel worlds accessed by mysterious passageways and mirrors that are akin to Lewis Carroll's adventures under ground and through the looking glass. The connections to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre are also powerful, though far less noted by critics. Jane is the first exceptional girl heroine of Victorian fiction; she is approximately Coraline's age when her story begins; she lives for most of the novel in a house with a terrifying parallel world in the attic; she is as intrepid as Coraline, and as alone much of the time. Gaiman knows what readers like, and have liked for centuries: he happily supplies, in this story designed for his own daughters, echoes of and allusions to fairy-tale and fictional heroines familiar to readers in English. In Coraline, he has his finger on the pulse of what you loved when you were little, what mattered to you. Gently, he warps it, and makes you afraid as you would have been then -- and perhaps even more so, now. (Anne Margaret Daniel)
io9 finds echoes of Wuthering Heights in Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season:
The bulk of the novel is set in Sheol, where Paige and her cohorts are abused, trained, forced to obey their Rephaim masters, starved, punished, and abused again. There is endless, nonsensical worldbuilding. If a voyant fails to be a good soldier in the Rephaim army, he or she is consigned to become . . . a street performer! So basically Sheol is full of human voyants who are either super soldiers, or starved, abused acrobats and singers. Why would the Rephaim do that? The system makes about as much sense as a porn movie plot. Also, of course, Paige has conflicted feels for her Rephaim master/abuser/protector/Heathcliff figure. Cue more worldbuilding about his past. [...]
We don't get any character development — other than Paige going from hating her Rephaim to, well, you've read Wuthering Heights, so you know what's going to happen. All we get are more details larded onto more worlds. (Annalee Newitz)
The Spectrum also recalls the origins of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters:
Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” the material chosen for the reading, will be read for one night only this Monday. Partially based upon the Brontë sisters of literary fame, this play concerns the lives of three sisters who long to return to Moscow where they believe their happiness lies. (Jack Dura)
Metro features the exhibition Victoriana: The Art Of Revival where
There’s Yinka Shonibare’s photo series Dorian Gray (2001), in which the artist recreates scenes from Oscar Wilde’s book, as well as Paula Rego’s lithographs of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. (Zena Alkayat)
The Naperville Sun interviews the Director of Circulation Services at the Lisle Library District.
What is your favorite book and why?
One of my favorite books to have studied and discussed with my colleagues is "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë. I appreciate the second generation's story, which is sometimes eliminated in film adaptations.
The Brontë Society website has a short article on a recent visit from a few members of the Brontë Society of Japan. While yesterday's treasure trove find on the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page was one of Charlotte Brontë's lovely watercolours.

Covered in Flour and Estella's Revenge both comment on chapters I-XI of Jane Eyre as part of Septemb-Eyre. Unputdownables comments on the first week of Agnes Grey.

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