Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Well, it's that time of the year: Valentine's Day is approaching and websites are compiling their lists. College Magazine recommends '10 Books For Any Hopeless Romantic', including both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
6. Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is not your typical romance. In some ways, I would argue it isn’t even a romantic novel. It’s more of a bildungsroman (a coming-of-age tale). Although the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester is one of intense emotion, it doesn’t steal the whole show. Jane and her journey to find herself does. Charlotte Brontë may not have been the first women to write about identity for women in a patriarchal world, but she might have been the first one to make you happy-cry about it. Need a classic read with an iconic love story? Jane Eyre is pretty perfect for you. [...]
9. Wuthering Heights
Oh look, the other Brontë sister! Do you see a motif of powerful, women writers on this list?  Not done on purpose, if that says anything about great literature… Do not make the mistake, though. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre have absolutely nothing in common. As a much darker and much more wistful novel, Wuthering Heights shapes a different tale. The creative narrative format (almost Inception-like) can make the plot difficult to follow at first. But the tragic love story shines through. Ever felt like the past parallels your present? Mr. Heathcliff sure does. And so will you when you get engrossed in this literary classic. Some people say you can be either a fan of one Bronte sister or the other, but never both. Which one are you? (Ana Lopez)
PopXO recommends '23 Romantic Books Every Girl Must Read Before Turning 23!' and among them are
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Again, a headstrong, young woman who is painfully aware of her physical appearance as she is of her limited means. She is a governess at Mr Rochester’s house, who is a prick for being already married and playing hard-to-get and breaking poor Jane’s heart. Again, sorry for the spoiler but this is one must-read for its strong protagonist who lives by her own values and in the end does get what she wants. [...]
21. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The only novel to be written by the author, Wuthering Heights draws a lot of criticism for having at the heart of it, an extraordinarily turbulent love story that transpires between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. We say, read it for yourself and decide! (Amrita Paul)
Money Talks News recommends the opposite on this list of '15 Ways to Stay Sane as a Single on Valentine’s Day'.
1. Splurge on yourself
Take the money, time and effort you would spend on a partner and spend it on yourself. Splurge on something you enjoy but never do. Get a massage. Buy your favorite take-out food and watch your guilty pleasure movie (No “Wuthering Heights” or other tragic love stories, please). (Nancy Dunham)
Visalia Times-Delta is pretty original and recommends Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye as a Valentine's Day read.
"Jane Steele” by Lyndsay Faye. Released late in 2016, Faye’s satirical spin-off on "Jane Eyre" is the well-written romp through a strange and yet familiar English landscape. Jane lives in a world dominated by those whose views on life fall outside the norms. As a result, she is constantly questioning herself and her right to be happy. Having been, in her mind, responsible for the death of her “cousin” (you will need to read the book to find out why the quotation marks), Jane readily gives in to the baser instincts that predominate society’s fascination. She has a difficult time developing positive relationships with those around her, looking instead for all reasons she does not deserve to be happy and loved. Will this Jane find her Mr. Rochester and live happily ever after, or is she doomed to follow a dark, lonely path?
Anyway, onto regular news now. CBC Books has writer Heather O'Neill recommend 9 books which inspired her.
The ending she disagreed with
I related to the early section of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, set in the orphanage. Jane, with all the other little girls with rebellious thoughts in her head. Jane, standing on a chair with no one allowed to speak to her. I sometimes felt that I was being punished for being a girl or that being a girl was inherently shameful. Growing up, I liked stories with schools of girls, A Little Princess, Madeleine. There's something that appeals to me about the composition of all those small girls. There are like an army, ready to be deployed.
I never liked where this book ended up. I don't think that Jane Eyre should have gone back to Rochester. I never got the attraction. Perhaps because I was the same age that Jane Eyre was when I read the book and I had no interest in older men, even though they were always trying to make conversation with me at the milk freezer at the back of the corner store.
Publishers' Weekly has a Q&A with YA author Nina LaCour.
There’s a tinge of the Gothic and ghostly in the novel [We Are Okay]. Marin is a fan of The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre. How did the genre influence you as you were writing? I love Gothic literature! When I was a high school teacher, I got to teach an elective on it for juniors and seniors. I’ve studied and taught those books a lot and I’m drawn to the themes. It’s a natural progression, I suppose, of seeing the things I love become what my characters love. I was also interested in examining what it’s like to love books and then to have a traumatic thing happen, and revisit them—to have them ring more true.
And it’s a traumatic way that Marin lost Gramps. I thought the idea of ghosts was central to the story. When I first started writing, I toyed with the idea of having actual ghosts. Sometimes I write something like that, but then revert to my natural form of realism. There are ghosts in the story, but not in a Gothic way—in a psychological or emotional way. (Emma Kantor)
The Huffington Post interviews writer Sadia Ash:
MW: Before moving into romance you edited screenplays and worked in entertainment publicity. How did you make the move to romance and were there any specific works or authors who inspired you to do so?
SA: I studied female novelists in grad school. My influences were the Brontë sisters, George Eliot and George Sand—all women with male pen names. A few years ago, I wrote Harbor Haven, a political thriller script about an out of work journalist who works in a Chicago laundromat and takes on a corrupt senator. It went nowhere. Then, I wrote Time and Tide, about a Victorian artist. Before I finished it, my editor suggested I write a contemporary romance first, a genre with a big audience. She was spot on, and Juniper Smoke built up a fan base in six months. Plus, I love all romances. As a teen, I hid Victoria Holt novels in my Physics and Math textbooks and binged. (Mara White)
ABC (Spain) has interviewed writer Silvia Herreros de Tejada, who lists Jane Eyre among the books that have influenced her.

The Atlantic brings up a couple of examples of writers who didn't stick to the norm when writing.
There are writers who are entirely conscious in how they go about creating. Say, for one example, James Joyce, who battled typographers to retain a single period in Molly’s “soliloquy.” There are other writers who are simply—what?—instinctive geniuses. Wuthering Heights is an example. Emily Brontë’s sister, Charlotte, noted “its immature but very real powers … the power of grandeur.” Yes, its structure is awkward, and its point of view breaks constantly. But the whole is a jewel. (Joe Fassler)
This columnist from Vogue gushes over Luke Skywalker and adds that,
Enjoying celebrities or fictional characters isn’t novel—we’ve all been swooning over Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy for more than a century—but it does mean sharing your devotion with the masses. I am invested in Luke Skywalker, but so are millions of other people. (Janelle Okwodu)
Fans of the TV series ShadowHunters may be able to help with this question in a recap of episode 2x6, The Iron Sisters, on Forever Young Adult.
Speaking of Maia, she was reading Jane Eyre when she and Simon first meet. I've never read it myself, so is there an anvilicious hint that I'm missing there? (Mandy Wan)
Alligator tells an anecdote about Lauren Marlowe, who has just been chosen Alachua County’s Teacher of the Year.
When a student told Lauren Marlowe she felt alone, the eighth-grade English teacher saw herself.
Marlowe, 35, went home that night and found a fictional character the student could relate to — Jane Eyre. She brought back her only torn and tattered copy of the book and gave it to the Oak View Middle School student.
“I’d like to introduce you to one of my closest friends,” she wrote in the book. (Meryl Kornfield)
A couple of Victorian references. Maine Public has an article on Charles Dickens and food and points to the fact that,
Dickens was particularly fond of Port Negus, a mulled wine drink that can be found in works by many other Victorian novelists, including Charlotte Brontë and William Makepeace Thackeray. (Nicole Jankowski)
The Paris Review mentions John Ruskin:
Poor John Ruskin. Once he was beloved by the entire Anglophone world; now it’s just my one friend who has Ph.D. in Victorian literature. Recalling Ruskin’s past greatness, Danny Heitman writes, “It’s hard for contemporary readers to grasp how famous Ruskin once was. Reverently read and reflexively quoted, his pronouncements on everything from painting to poetry to private capital rang among his fans with an almost scriptural authority … Charlotte Brontë claimed that she did not truly perceive visual art until she read Ruskin’s Modern Painters. Ruskin, she said, ‘seems to give me eyes.’ ” (Dan Piepenbring)
On Facebook, the Brontë Parsonage Museum has shared pictures from the launch of Branwell's exhibition, Mansions in the Sky. And The Brontë Society remembers Elizabeth Brontë, born on February 8th, 1815.

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