5 hours ago
Rough, wild, cruel and semi-savage: the early reviewers who used these words of Wuthering Heights were also thinking of the landscape in which the novel is set. In popular mythology, moors are a bogland, a badland, an undiscovered bourn from which travellers risk failing to return. The final image of Emily Brontë's novel is of three headstones.The Guardian also finds that, 'Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime lists are full of gaps'.
Brontë didn't see the moors as dread and drear, though, nor its bogs as a slough of despond. Even the headstones are touched by beauty: moths flutter around them and a soft wind breathes through the heather and harebells. For every detractor of the moors, there is an enthusiast; for every scare story – "As you value your life or your reason, keep away from the moor," Sir Charles Baskerville is told in Conan Doyle's novel – a paean to their dark allure. Ted Hughes wrote of "the empty horror of the moor" but his poems celebrate its denizens' stubborn survival. [...]
One of the strengths of Atkins's book is its resistance to the obvious. He doesn't dwell on Brady and Hindley, or the Brontës and Top Withens, or the mass trespass on Kinder Scout, because those moorland stories are well known. And though he touches on all the famous moorland fictions – Wuthering Heights, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Jamaica Inn, Tarka the Otter, Kidnapped, The Secret Garden, Lorna Doone, Treasure Island – he gives more weight to authors few will have heard of, including Beatrice Chase, Canon Atkinson, Frank Elgee and Joan Rockwell, the last an American whose would-be wry account of living in the north of England he finds angrily defaced in the local library.
UK Amazon's list is (slightly) more serious, no doubt secure in the knowledge that the English language literary tradition began here– with Swift and Defoe. UK Amazon is better read and also more attentive to the Anglo-American tradition. So we find George Eliot, Emily Brontë, Virginia Woolf, and even Mary Shelley. There's a nod to the 19th-century US with Little Women, but (incredibly) no Twain, no Stevenson and no Henry James. (Robert McCrum)Patry Francis discusses 'Why We Love Stories About Orphans' in The Huffington Post.
Another reason we love our fictional orphans is for their utter lack of self-pity. Most of them simply don't have the luxury to spend their time bemoaning their fate. Nor do they have anyone to assume responsibility but themselves. The "poor and plain" Jane Eyre is an example of that clear-eyed vision. She engages our imagination in a way that the countless beauties celebrated in novels do not because everything she gains, is earned through strength of her character, diligence, and a focus that dwells on others rather than self.Many similar examples are used in an article about heroes on KTAR:
Heroes in literature. Reading classic books with your children will also give them examples of heroism. Books like Great Expectations, Jane Eyre and Tale of Two Cities are fantastic illustrations of characters faced with tremendous adversity who chose to do noble things. They become heroes to someone. There are modern-day classics, as well, among them the Harry Potter series, which to me, shows all that is good and noble in the human spirit. (Becky Rickman)El litoral (Argentina) reviews a new edition of a Spanish translation by Jorge Luis Borges of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own:
En el prólogo a su Orlando, Virginia Woolf comienza agradeciendo a quienes la ayudaron a escribir ese libro, incluso cuando algunos sean tan ilustres que apenas se atreve a nombrarlos, pero “nadie puede leer o escribir” (en inglés, se sobreentiende) sin estar en perpetua deuda con Defoe, Sterne, Emily Brontë, De Quincey y una larga lista. (Julio Anselmi) (Translation)The Sydney Morning Herald reviews a stage adaptation of Teleny or The Reverse of the Medal.
For [director Robert] Chuter, the play does explore more serious themes that may have been submerged in the novel - how ageing affects sexuality, and how nudity in some ways remains a taboo. "Someone called it a male Heathcliff and Cathy, to a degree. Without becoming melodramatic and camp. It's not a camp production at all." (John Bailey)The Dragon's Cache continues with the Anne Brontë series of posts, this time on spousal loyalty. El refugio de Beth, in Spanish, shares some illustrations from an English learners' edition of Jane Eyre. Heroes and Heartbreakers explores Rochester, hero or not? The Christian Century talks about something we heard before, to treat Jane Eyre as a sacred book. Bloglovin', lovely literature and For Book's Sake have a more traditional review of the novel.