2 hours ago
So many biographies have been written about Charlotte that it is hard to imagine there is anything new to discover. But it is how the facts are constructed and construed that make all the difference. Now, to mark the 200th anniversary of Charlotte's birth, literary biographer Claire Harman brings this most enduring writer more completely to life than ever before.Howard Jacobson describes how he built his impressive library in BBC Magazine:
Going far beyond the novels, Harman has been forensic in her research and draws on little-known material to explore the origins of Charlotte's writing and the key figures in her life all from the perspective of Charlotte.
Harman brings new understanding to the two central males in Charlotte's life: her father Patrick and Monsieur Constantin Heger, the professor husband of the headmistress of the Belgian school Charlotte attended as a student, and then as a teacher. Charlotte was utterly smitten, Heger was not. But he proved a huge inspiration, haunting each of Charlotte's later novels, as Rochester in Jane Eyre, Paul Emanuel in Villette and Louis Moore in Shirley. His failure to respond to her also drove her determination to get her own and her sisters' work published. (...)
This is a truly fascinating read for a book so dense with information and detail. It does not try to influence us, at least not more than any biography must. It presents a flawed and human Charlotte, who is somehow all the more credible and empathetic for it. She was someone who had moments of success, yes, and someone who briefly enjoyed flirting with success and being out in the world. (Sophie Gorman)
Novels were more problematic because more people seemed to have written them. I knew Dickens was literature. And Charlotte Brontë. And William Makepiece Thackeray. But was F. Marion Crawford? Was George Manville Fenn? Did the fact of a writer's having been published in many editions, with illustrations, count for him as literature or against him? At this stage all I had to go on was the mustiness of the volumes. The more mildewed they were the more protective of them I felt. It was me against the world.The antiques dealer Tim Hogarth is interviewed by the Yorkshire Post:
Do you have a favourite walk or view? Being brought up in the Brontë village of Haworth I know plenty of good walks in and around the surrounding villages of Oxenhope and Oakworth. It’s easy to follow in the footsteps of the sisters, walking from the parsonage to Top Withens, which was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. The wild moorland landscape has remained unchanged and it is both dramatic and beautiful.The Register-Guard reviews The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville:
While the story is a retelling of the classic tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” with heavy doses of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride & Prejudice,” it remains exceptionally unique. There is incredible dialogue about racism, prejudice and equality, but it is never heavy-handed. The characters are fully realized, and not everything (or everyone) is black and white. This light ambiguity is refreshing in a book for young readers. (Taylor Worley)The Sri Lanka Guardian reviews The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud:
It is not, in other words, an immediately obvious basis for a work of postcolonial reappropriation, a kind of novel that tends to be constructed around source material — Jane Eyre in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, Robinson Crusoe in Coetzee’s Foe — with better-stocked and more elaborate fictional worlds. (Namara Smith)Osnabrücker Zeitung (Germany) recommends some Christmas gifts:
Eine kleine Geschenkauswahl für Liebhaber britischer Literaturklassiker und Kostümfilme, die zu jeder Teestunde passt: Charlotte Brontës (1816–1855) Lebens- und Liebesgeschichte einer selbstbewussten Gouvernante „Jane Eyre“ (1847) ist gerade in einer dicht am Tonfall der Originalversion orientierten Neuübersetzung von Melanie Walz im Insel-Verlag erschienen (652 Seiten, 29,95 Euro). (Translation)Jane Eyre mugs at the Toronto Sun. Finally, as we already reported, fuckyeahjaneeyre does the Jane Eyre month again this year:
What is the ‘Jane Eyre Month’ exactly?
It will be similar to a Jane Eyre meme but it will last for slightly more than a whole month and every week will contain a different task for the people who decide to participate in the project. It’s a month dedicated exclusively to Jane Eyre -the book, the film and tv adaptations and everything else related to Jane Eyre.