Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 9:21 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
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The Independent (Ireland) reports that,
Five leading Irish authors have put a twist on some of the world's best-known novels to raise awareness of a medical condition that can lead to blindness.[...]
Bestselling authors such as Sheila O'Flanagan, Sinead Moriarty and Colm O'Regan have reworked the endings of famous classic novels for AMD Awareness Week 2014.
Ms O'Flanagan turned 'Jane Eyre' on her head while Ms Moriarty gave 'Little Women' a more satisfactory ending. [...]
Ms O'Flanagan's reimagining of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' was inspired by her first impressions of the book as a younger woman.
"I always felt that it ended badly. I thought that Jane was far too good for Mr Rochester and she should never have married, so in my version she doesn't," she said.
She said she found the task of writing in somebody else's voice a "really interesting challenge".
"It is completely different but it was really enjoyable; hopefully if you read my ending it still sounds like it is the same voice and not like somebody has just tacked on something different." (Michael Staines)
The Irish Times carries the story as well, written by Sheila O'Flanagan herself:
When I first read Jane Eyre I remember disliking the character of Mr Rochester intensely and hoping – despite Jane’s obvious feelings for him – that she’d come to her senses and get over him. He’s vain, arrogant and self-centred (as well as being the kind of man who shut his mad wife away in an attic) and definitely not good enough for Jane.
On re-reading it recently, I took a slightly less belligerent view towards him, but I still thought Jane was far too clever and smart to have spent the rest of her life with him, and I liked having the opportunity to change her story.
She goes on to share her new ending for the novel:
Jane Eyre: Reimagined by Sheila O’Flanagan.
Reader, I did not marry him. I said yes when he asked me but my assent was based on a surfeit of emotion brought on by our conversation. I knew that I had been mistaken in yielding to him. My regard for him remained warm, but I was a very different woman from the Jane who had slipped out of Thornfield Hall on what should have been my wedding night, penniless and bereft.
Then I had nothing except the excessive embarrassment that Mr Rochester had caused me for asking me to be his wife when he had another still living, although quite mad. But he had not seen fit to share that information with me and he had allowed me to think that we would have a happy and lawful life together.
And although I forgave him, because the heart behaves differently to the head and because his circumstances had been changed by the actions of that same wife in nearly burning him to death, I had changed too. When I left, I had neither family nor money. And although I had some fortitude borne from a life first with aunt Reed and then at Lowood School, such fortitude was only augmented by having to sleep in the open air and go without food, but still survive.
And, God giving me reward for such fortitude, also rewarded me by bringing me to my family. There can be no luckier person in her cousins than I. My Maker rewarded me too with my fortune, which every woman knows will make her free.
And so, Reader, I was a free woman with means of her own who had survived an ill-fated start to life and the trials and tribulations visited on me. (Read more)
Lotta Olsson in Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) defends the reinterpretation of the classics:
Man ska absolut omtolka litterära klassiker. Självklart! Annars skulle ju till exempel inte Jean Rhys ”Sargassohavet/Den första hustrun” ha blivit skriven, om den galna kvinnan på vinden i Charlotte Brontës ”Jane Eyre”. Det finns massor av begåvade, underbara omtolkningar där man utgår från det litterära verket men vänder på perspektiven. Som Jo Bakers ”Huset Longbourn” som kom på svenska i våras, en version av Jane Austens ”Stolthet och fördom” sedd ur tjänstefolkets synvinkel.
Varken Jean Rhys eller Jo Baker låtsas skriva en spännande fortsättning, och de påstår sig inte skriva som vare sig Charlotte Brontë eller Jane Austen. De skriver som sig själva, och de skriver inte ”Jane Eyre – återkomsten” eller ”Systrarna Bennets senare öden”. Snarare vill de få oss att läsa en redan högt älskad roman med andra ögon. (Translation)
However, a February 18, 1991 article now republished by New Republic argues that, 'You Should Absolutely, Positively Read the Canon in College'.
Your list of classics includes only dead, white males, all tied in to notions and values of Western hegemony. Doesn't this narrow excessively the horizons of education?
All depends on how far forward you go to compose your list of classics. If you do not come closer to the present than the mid-eighteenth century, then of course there will not be many, or even any, women in your roster. If you go past the mid-eighteenth century to reach the present, it's not at all true that only "dead, while males" are to be included. For example—and this must hold for hundreds of other teachers also—I have taught and written about Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Katherine Anne Porter, Doris Lessing, and Flannery O'Connor. I could easily add a comparable list of black writers. Did this, in itself, make me a better teacher? I doubt it. Did it make me a better person? We still lack modes of evaluation subtle enough to say for sure. (Irving Howe
If you want to work out how long reading the canon will take, you may want to take a look at this infographic shared by Bustle.
It also reveals quite a few unexpected details, like the fact that George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is now longer than the Bible, or that Little Women and Jane Eyre are almost the exact same length. (Emma Cueto)
Fast Company takes a look at the 15 most-highlighted passages from classic novels on Kindle. Jane Eyre has made it to number 14 with
"It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.”
Ebook Friendly shares another infographic, this one on the 'love DNA of famous classic novels'.

And more for bookworms, as The Millions has an article by writer Chloe Benjamin 'on fiction and sleep'.
Charlotte Brontë had so powerful an imagination that she referred to her characters as her “inmates.” 
Here's the actual quote she is thinking of. 

A columnist from The Plainsman shares some of the items of her very own  'museum of wonder'.
There are snatches of quotes from great books and lyrics from all the songs I’ve ever heard. There are movie stills and paintings and faces and buildings — Versailles, Harold and Maude, The Clash and Jane Eyre are all on equal footing. (Becky Sheehan)
The Good Men Project mentions seeing Peter McMaster's all-male take on Wuthering Heights. Jessica Rules the Universe posts about Luis Buñuel's film version of the novel. Un libro entre mis manos writes in Spanish about Agnes Grey. 

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