10 Fascinating Facts About Charlotte Brontë - On Wednesday 7th December, I’m very honoured to be returning to my old University, the University of Huddersfield, to give a public lecture on Charlotte Br...
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“This is the copy of ‘Jane Eyre’ that I read as a girl from the library in Big Stone Gap,” she said, picking up a worn green leather volume. “We used it in my movie, and they let me keep it.” (Dan Shaw)Big Stone Gap is also the title of the film.
The book that holds an everlasting resonance... Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It’s an inspirational story that every woman should read. (Rob McGibbon)The Independent's Between the Covers mention that the Brontë Parsonage's Twitter is one of their followers:
While we’re waiting, here at Between the Covers we are celebrating a more wholesome demonstration of literary success: being followed on Twitter by @Keats_Shelley House and @BronteParsonage. The latter tells us: “It’s a very wuthering day on t’ moors today, but it’s still our favourite place.” We’d like to favourite that comment, but we’re not sure how the Brontes would appreciate “to favourite” as a verb, and we don’t want to stop them following/haunting us.Moira Redmond asks herself in The Guardian why so many writers create fictional nuns:
Charlotte Brontë – daughter of the parsonage – is deeply suspicious of Roman Catholicism in general, and the figure of the nun in Villette is quite troublesome. But as s/he isn't a real nun – well, perhaps we won't examine the psychology of that too closely. She was certainly reflecting back to Gothic fiction and supernatural, creepy religious figures, rather than looking at career opportunities, and she and her heroine Lucy Snowe take a good Protestant line against Papist nonsense.Isabel Berwick visits Lake Mytvan in Iceland, one of the locations of the TV series Game of Thrones in Financial Times:
But Brontë is the exception: most authors understand more and condemn less.
“Set-jetting”, visiting the locations where our favourite TV series are filmed, is growing in popularity, helped in part by the emergence of the new breed of long-running, high-budget, television series. It’s a modern iteration of the literary pilgrimage – Stratford-upon-Avon has long thrived on the memory of its most famous dead resident, as has Haworth, the Yorkshire village that was home to the Brontë sisters.The Sydney Morning Herald talks about Glen Duncan's Last Werewolf trilogy:
Duncan says he is tempted to do a ''kind of prequel'', The Chronicles of Jacob Marlowe, in which we get the 200 or so years of the world's most literary werewolf, as he takes tea with Robert Louis Stevenson and gets to grips in many ways with the Brontë sisters, before making his debut in The Last Werewolf. (Jason Steger)The columnist Cal Thomas begins his latest article in Chicago Tribune with a quote from Jane Eyre:
If at my convenience I might break them (laws), what would be their worth?" -- Charlotte Brontë, "Jane Eyre".The quote in fact doesn't only refer to laws but also to principles. We leave our readers to evaluate its pertinence in an article like that.
There will be some who turn their noses up at the news that EL James’ erotic fiction Fifty Shades of Grey has become one of the UK’s most borrowed library books.FemaleFirst lists several bad boys turned good:
They will bemoan the fact that cornerstones of literature like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina do not appear.
The one thing Jane is sure to remind readers of in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is the image of the young woman reaching for the idealized kind of love.The Herald examines the Bible:
A Prince Charming Mr Rochester is not. Flirting and then coldly distancing himself from Jane, his affections towards her change as quickly as the direction of the wind. For Rochester, it is not enough to be the object of Jane’s love. Indeed, if he were a true gentleman he would consider the consequences upon Jane’s reputation should the seduction of the Governess of his household come to be heard of.
His initial indignation towards Jane has little to do with protecting her reputation; rather it merely serves to manipulate Jane into thinking that her beloved Mr Rochester has suffered with the guilt and possible repercussions of his feelings.
Rochester’s scheming only comes to light when Jane learns that he is already married on her wedding day. But her pain and feelings of betrayal are very soon cast away once Rochester confesses the truth.
Even then Jane’s pain is on his behalf. Of course we only have Rochester’s word that his wife is the psychotic harpy he portrays her to be but he banks on Jane’s love for him to cloud her usual judgement.
Jane’s worth is only further proven when she leaves Rochester regardless and it is this lesson in worth that Rochester must learn before he is redeemed and reunited with Jane.
It is only after he lets Jane go, only after his crazed wife burns his stately home to the ground, taking his sight and mobility along with her that Jane returns to him - a new man no longer a liar and manipulator, but quite simply the man Jane had always longed for.
So, unless you are a Christian, one should read it as you would Wuthering Heights or War And Peace, though even more closely. With the exception only of the likes of Milton, Shakespeare, Burns or Blake, most writers refer only sparingly if at all to their literary predecessors. Writers great and small, however, have dipped into the Bible as frequently as if it were a cookie jar and dinner a long way off. (Rosemary Goring)We have a few leftovers from yesterday's Valentine excesses:
Sara Nelson, editorial director of print and Kindle books, recommends these titles for Valentine’s Day: (...)Charlotte Brontë will probably be turning on her grave after finding out that her letter to M Heger features in the Daily Mirror as an example of a 'most romantic letter':
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. I spent my adolescence searching for Healthcliff (sic). I’m thankful (now) I never found him. (Ron Charles)
Charlotte Bronte to Prof. Constantin Heger (Nov 18, 1844)Or maybe she would be secretly pleased that the same letter is featured in The Guardian chosen by Andrea Clarke, author and British Library curator as one of the best love letters ever:
The author of Jane Eyre ought to have to known a thing or two about conducting love affairs but she just melted when it came to the academic, Prof Heger, who taught her languages in Brussels. He tore them up in shock, since he was married, but, ironically, his wife fished the remnants out of the bin.
“Truly I find it difficult to be cheerful,” she wrote to him “solong as I think I shall never see you no more.” (Ben Burrows)
To Professor Constantin Héger, 18 November 1844Emily Brontë would not be very pleased either after being listed on a top ten of the soppiest love quotes in Independent Woman:
While studying languages in Brussels, Charlotte Brontë became infatuated with her Belgian professor. On her return to England, she wrote to him, revealing the extent of her feelings, and confessing: “Truly I find it difficult to be cheerful solong as I think I shall never see you more.” Her letters were torn up in shock by the professor who was married with children. Curiously, it is thanks to his wife, who retrieved them from the waste-paper basket, that we are privy to their contents today.
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” - Emily Brontë/Wuthering HeightsFloriology (you read right) on Rapid City Journal:
Floriology shows up in much European literature, with multiple references in works by Shakespeare, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. Symbolic flowers also figure prominently in pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 19th century, one of the most famous being “The Death of Ophelia” by Millais. (Lauren Harris)NewsOK lists Valentine's Day movies:
“Jane Eyre” (2011): Director Cary Fukunaga (“Sin Nombre”) and his talented young cast, including Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell, bring fresh energy to the often-adapted gothic tale. Every aspect of the narrative is heightened: The mystery crackles with suspense, the romance smolders with sensuality, and the coming-of-age story flares with intensity. (Brandy McDonnell)The Huffington Post explores book crushes:
Rochester from Jane Eyre: Only a melodrama is thrilling enough to tempt you. If you end up dating a nice, pleasant boy, you'll inevitably look over at him as you watch The Biggest Loser together over takeout pizza and think, "Boooooring." A real romance involves a dark, brooding man with a tragic secret. Secrets, after all, are a useful source of drama you can talk over with your girlfriends at drinks, as are his emotional volatility and inability to reassure you about where you stand with him. With a Rochester for a boyfriend, you will never fail to be the center of attention at girls' night. And every time he tells you he's just too broken to really be with anyone right now, you love him even more. (Claire Fallon)The Tyee is a bit nostalgic.
Apart from foreign films, I haven't actually seen a romance lately that made me feel anything at all. Leaving aside costume dramas and period pieces from Jane Austen and Jane Eyre et al., most of what passes for romance is a pale anemic version of life, sucked free of anything that might make a mess or wreck up the place. (Dorothy Woodend)Hypable tries to be funny listing the worst possible boyfriends in literature:
Heathcliff is the ultimate anti-hero. You want to like him, you want him to be more than he ever could be for Catherine and for himself. Readers want to believe his cruelty is merely an expression of his frustrated love for Catherine, or that his sinister behaviors serve to conceal the heart of a romantic hero. Sadly, this is not the case.The Yorker insists on the same thing:
Heathcliff and Catherine are both terrible people. Neither does anything to deserve love that they harbor for each other. But Heathcliff goes above and beyond in his treatment of Isabelle. (...)
Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre is by far one of the worst choices for a boyfriend ever. First, he keeps his wife locked in the attic. Of course, he took her money for himself, moved her away from her family, and managed to sleep his way across Europe.
In case that wasn’t enough evidence, consider this: He’s rude, abrupt, always on the edge of violence, likes to order people around, and teases Jane on at least one occasion until she cries. Oh yeah, he’s a winner. Did we mention he’s totally into bigamy? (Jen Lamoureux)
He’s dark, mysterious, brooding and moody. I personally have never understood the fascination with Heathcliff. His aim in life is to get revenge and will stop at nothing to achieve this. He is difficult to understand, impossible to reason with and is prone to domestic violence. I couldn’t think of anything worse! Add that to the fact that he is in love with another woman, with whom he was brought up (incest anyone?), he just spells out recipe for disaster. He doesn’t really have a good thing going for him – so leave him to Cathy and steer clear! (Nicola Haydon)We have also several international Valentine mentions: Mediaset TGcom24 quotes from Wuthering Heights; Il Corriere di Bologna features Maria Grazia Izzo choosing Wuthering Heights as her favourite book; Aksam (Turkey) lists both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as romance classics; Diário da Manhã (Brazil), Ça Depend des Jours (France), El Comercio (Ecuador), El País (Spain), Il Giorno (Italy)...