Christmas Lunch and Entertainment 2016 - The annual Brontë Group Christmas Lunch took place last Saturday, 3 December. Around 40 members turned up to enjoy a three-course meal, drinks and entertai...
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In the murky definition where the literary crosses swords with the popular, note the names of these authors: Dickens, Balzac, Brontë, Tolstoy, Lessing, Hemingway, Sands, Eliot, Austen, Proust, Shelly, Faulkner, Joyce, McCullers, Fitzgerald, Cather, Stowe, Wharton, etc. -- some female and some male. Their stories have been told from the point of view of both genders; stories that are about the human species and not confined merely to an isolated gender.This made us think of Charlotte Brontë's own words, from an 1849 letter to William Smith Williams.
The gender of a novelist is irrelevant to their creativity. The criterion is talent, a mysterious and extraordinary gift that does not discriminate. A talented female author can find her way into the mind and heart of her male characters just as a male writer can do the same with his female characters. If there is some mythical dividing line between the insight, wisdom, and literary skill between men and women, it is not apparent to me. As for the reasons women dominate the reading market or perhaps the writing profession, I don't have the answers -- I can understand economic and opportunity parity, but not intellectual and artistic parity. (Warren Adler)
I am reminded of the 'Economist'. The literary critic of that paper praised the book if written by a man--and pronounced it 'odious' if the work of a woman.The Economist separates what belongs to Scotland from what belongs to the rest of the United Kingdom. So:
To such critics I would say--'To you I am neither Man nor Woman--I come before you as an Author only--it is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me--the sole ground on which I accept your judgement'.
A less great Britain loses a quarter of its territory and almost all of its mountains. Scotland lays claim to the ski resorts (and, sadly, a bit more of the rain). It gets some of the oil in the North Sea. But for actors, athletes, tourism and treasure, the kingdom comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland holds a generous lead. Among inventors, Scotland gets John Logie Baird who devised the first television, while England lays rights on Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. The 18th century poet Robert Burns goes north, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontë sisters and others stay south. Among politicians, the Scots can claim Gordon Brown; the rest of Blighty gets Churchill. In music, Annie Lennox and the Bay City Rollers have to hold their own against England’s Bowie, Beatles and Stones. (P.K., D.D.M. and K.N.C)Bustle also uses a north-south example to explain where actor Charlie Hunman comes from in England:
Not only is Charlie Hunnam a Secret Brit like Andrew Lincoln, Damien Lewis, and Michael Sheen, he comes from a small town in the North of England. He’s from lake country like… north of Yorkshire, meaning north of Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden and Downton Abbey. (Leah Thomas)Jarvis Cocker scans the letter B in bookshops, but apparently skips the Brontës, as he writes in an article for The Independent:
Whenever I'm in a bookshop, I go to the "B" section and compulsively scan the shelves murmuring "Bradbury… Brontë… Burroughs…' I am, of course, looking for the name Richard Brautigan. I seldom find it. It's a nervous habit that dates back to the time when all his writing was out of print and the only places to find his novels and poetry were second-hand booksellers and charity shops.The Deccan Chronicle, however, does find a Brontë reader in writer Rasleen Syal.
What inspired you to write this book?Female First interviews another writer: Kate Horsley.
I have grown up reading classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, which define love as pure, everlasting and all consuming. With time, I realised that in this age of technology, the old world love has lost its charm. The invariable link-ups, break-ups, betrayals, crumbling marriages, is the truth of today. India has witnessed so many cases of love gone awry, resulting in acid attacks, rapes, murders and other such heinous crimes. My book reflects this techno-crazy society we live in and the sham world of romantic love it endorses. (Garima Nagpal)
The book has been compared to Jean Rhys and Valerie Martin, so how does this make you feel?Breathless Blog interviews yet another writer, A.J. Llewellyn.
It’s lovely to hear comparisons like that, because I’m a huge fan of Wide Sargasso Sea and Mary Reilly. The former is the classic example of a literary response. Rhys takes a marginal character who is blamed and hidden away in Jane Eyre and pushes her into the centre of the narrative. She rewrites the book from the perspective of the 'madwoman', giving her a story so compelling that it's impossible to go back to the original in the same light. In Mary Reilly, Martin rewrites Jekyll and Hyde from a maidservant's perspective and my novel is very much in that tradition. Like Mary Reilly, Oona is female and working class. She's an intense person, a brave one too, and feels equal to the tasks of tackling the doctor and unraveling the island's mysteries. A lot of the gothic elements of Frankenstein are still there in The Monster's Wife, but I think my focus was on emotion more than on science, psychology more than philosophy. If Rhys's book is told from the perspective of the 'mad', then mine is from the perspective of the 'monsters', people whose experience of illness and disfigurement has made them outcasts. To me the monster and his bride represent everyone who is rejected by society for being different. The so-called 'normal' people are the ones who create all the horror in the book. (Lucy Walton)
I’m guessing that like most writers you’re also a passionate reader. What is you favourite book?The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses some paper topics:
Of all time? Oh my goodness, how do I answer that? I’d have to say Jane Eyre. It was the first romance novel I ever read, and I still worship it. [...]
Here’s a nice simple one - your favourite hero and why?
Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. He was so proud and loved her so deeply he was willing to let her go. Sob! And when she did come back and found he was blind, he was humbled by her love. And love gave him his eyesight back. Aaahhh…I love this story. (Domino Lane)
Back when I was in grad school, though, I found myself going nuts. You want me to write a dissertation on Victorian literature? Just Victorian literature? Why?
I’d just spent five years studying Victorian literature, creative writing, composition and rhetoric, multicultural theory and pedagogy. The idea of suddenly developing a laser-thin focus on some esoteric topic—Brontë’s use of the word “hitherto,” say, or Charles Dickens’s obsession with his sister-in-law’s big toe—seemed peculiar to me. Wasn’t the point of the study of literature to jump from idea to idea, following connections, discovering distinctions, unwinding the strands of thought to see where they took you?
Apparently not. Following the oral defense for my three qualifying exams, I was left standing in the hall for an uncomfortably long period while my three area professors debated with each other. (Paul Hanstedt)