Thursday, March 08, 2018

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.
This quote from Jane Eyre feels appropriate for celebrating International Women's Day. The New York Times marks the day with a commendable initiative:
Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.
And so, Charlotte Brontë has finally got her New York Times obituary:
Charlotte Brontë was a 20-year-old schoolteacher — impatient, dreamy, long-suffering, unpublished — when, in 1836, she sent a sample of her writing to Robert Southey, England’s poet laureate at the time. Although her friend and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell would eventually write of Brontë’s “constitutional absence of hope,” the young teacher clearly already had a firm sense of her own worth — an enterprising spirit and ambition, and a longing for her own genius to find its way into the world.
In his reply, Southey acknowledged that Brontë showed talent, but he nonetheless discouraged her from pursuing her craft, and warned her off ambition itself. “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life,” he wrote, “and it ought not to be.”
Brontë wrote back conceding the wisdom of his advice, then devoted much of her life to ignoring it. When she later decided to send a sample of her work to the poet Hartley Coleridge, she made no mention of her gender. Coleridge offered no great praise, but even his unbiased diffidence failed to sap Brontë’s will to write, to publish, to be, in a sense, heard. It was a will that would ultimately produce some of the most revolutionary novels of the 19th century. (Susan Dominus) (Read more)
Another article reveals how this project was born:
Even more surprising were some blatant omissions of those who had achieved a measure of fame in their lifetime, like the poet Sylvia Plath, the writer Charlotte Brontë and the photographer Diane Arbus.
Why didn’t they get obits? I can only speculate. Perhaps the mark they made on the world wasn’t recognized until decades after their deaths. Or maybe some of them faded into obscurity, their achievements forgotten. It could be that The Times didn’t learn about their deaths until it was too late. Or that the omission was more purposeful, a judgment call of an editor who didn’t deem the death newsworthy.
Regardless, I now had an opportunity to give these women their due. (Amisha Padnani)
Oxford University Press Blog Australia lists their 'favourite heroines in classic literature', including
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
It is hard to find a character with more strength, determination, presence of mind and independence than Jane Eyre. Despite her relative poverty and lack of familial support, Jane never doubts her own worth, never relying on the men in her life to save or support her.
Kids' Book Review reviews the book Three Cheers for Women! by Marcia Williams.
Bessie Coleman, the Brontë sisters, Edith Cowan, Florence Nightingale, Anne Frank, Cathy Freeman, Malala Yousafzai and Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space, are just a few of the 70 plus profiles that appear in this wonderful book. It’s a celebration of inspirational and amazing women and their achievements.
News X highlights ' 8 charismatic women writers you need to know', including
Charlotte Brontë: Was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels have become classics of English literature. She first published her works (including her best-known novel, Jane Eyre). Her experience as a poet thus reflects the dominant trends in early Victorian literary culture and demonstrates her centrality to the history of nineteenth-century literature.
The Conversation introduces a selection of 'Five books by women, about women, for everyone' by reminding readers of the fact that,
Women’s writing has long been a thorn in the side of the male literary establishment. From fears in the late 18th century that reading novels – particularly written by women – would be emotionally and physically dangerous for women, to the Brontë sisters publishing initially under male pseudonyms, to the dismissal of the genre of romance fiction as beyond the critical pale, there has been a dominant culture which finds the association of women and writing to be dangerous. It has long been something to be controlled, managed and dismissed. (Stacy Gillis)
Hindustan Times editors pick their favourite female character from literature.
Antoinette (Bertha) Cosway from Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
It took her more than a century to get out of that attic but when she did, Antoinette (Bertha) Cosway turned the classic Jane Eyre on its head. In Jane Eyre, Bertha was the “madwoman in attic” whose marriage to Edward Rochester forces Jane to wait for years for her happily ever after.
Jean Rhys unlocks Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea. Hers is the story of a young lonely Creole girl caught in turbulent dying days of colonialism and slavery. A demanding cold husband proves too much for young Antoinette, who far away from home is driven to madness.
Rhys’s Antoinette is a completely different person from Charlotte Brontë’s Bertha, a reminder that there are layers to us and we can be a different person to different people.
PS: Jane Eyre was published in 1847 and Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966 . (Charu Gupta, Associate Editor)
Shine (China) is excited to announce that
The original manuscripts of five writers — Charlotte Brontë, D.H. Lawrence, Percy Bysshe Shelley, T.S. Eliot and Charles Dickens — are coming to Shanghai.
The drafts and correspondence of the writers will be exhibited at the Shanghai Library from March 15 until April 15.
Titled “Where Great Writers Gather: Treasures of the British Library,” the exhibition includes Brontë’s manuscript of “Jane Eyre” with the climactic line from the concluding chapter: “Reader — I married him.” [...]
“Nothing matches the thrill of seeing first hand original manuscripts: from Charlotte Brontë’s scrupulously neat fair copy to Charles Dickens’ hurried and rather messy draft pages, they reveal the many different ways in which writers create,” Alexandra Ault, the British curator of the exhibition, said. (Yang Meiping)
The Guardian Books Blog mocks a recent revelation:
In a fit of thin-skinned, liberal foot-stomping, millennials are, say two UK newspapers, empathising with the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. “The sympathies of today’s millennial students often lie with a mistreated creature whose ambiguous near-human status prefigures today’s interest in animal rights,” says the Times. The Sun, nuanced as ever, says: “Snowflake students claim Frankenstein’s monster was ‘misunderstood’ — and is in fact a VICTIM.” While the Sun is realising, in its own roundabout way, the point of Frankenstein, here’s a guide to the other books it must imagine that young, idealistic students have been getting wrong: [...]
Wuthering Heights
Why should we care about some posh crumpet running off with a biracial farmhand? Some might claim Emily Brontë’s novel is a criticism of religious hypocrisy, classism and gender that asks us to empathise with people trapped by society’s unfair expectations. But Heathcliff and Cathy are typically impulsive young people and were forced to return to the bank of mum and dad, likely after splashing out on turmeric lattes and avocado toast. Only Joseph was sensible (and definitely would have voted for Brexit). (Sian Cain)
However, Business Insider manages to make a similarly silly point about Wuthering Heights in earnest in an article on 'The 9 biggest signs you're finally over your narcissist ex-partner'.
8. You root for different people in books or films
Neo said you may notice you root for different characters in films and books. For example, in "Wuthering Heights" you may have loved Heathcliff. After going through what you did, you'll probably realise that is no longer the case. A brooding, toxic man isn't your Prince Charming anymore. (Lindsay Dodgson)
Vanguard (Nigeria) discusses hatred with a blunder in Charlotte Brontë's time.
Charlotte Brontë, the 18 Century English novelist gave practical ‘working class’ description of ‘hate’ in her novel ‘Shirley’ -a story set during the anti-industrial riots of the Napoleonic era.  “Misery” she said “generates hate”, because those in misery have a tendency –often in a most bizarrely unfair manner- to locate someone to blame for their situation. And so referring to the misery of bitter workers displaced by industrial machines in the novel ‘Shirley’, Charlotte said that they “hated the machines which they believed took their bread from them; they hated the buildings which contained the machines; they hated the manufacturers who owned those buildings.” They might as well have hated those who produced the ‘machines’. Or even the  whole idea about ‘science and technology’, by which the ‘machines’ were produced. But if all that Charlotte’s justifiably-bitter workers do is ‘hate’ the ‘machines’, the ‘buildings’ housing the machines, and their ‘manufacturers’, only in remonstration of those being the reasons they lost their legitimate means of livelihood, they will be justified to hate –provided they do nothing to stop the ‘machines’ or destroy the ‘buildings’ housing the machines or harm the ‘manufacturers’ of the machine. But what justification will rogues have –who for sixteen years had fed ravenously from the fats of the land- to hate a man whose only fault is that he has put an end to their ‘thieving’ bazaar? What justification have they to suggest that unless he is a ‘saint’ himself, he has no justification to put a stop to their ‘roguery’? Or isn’t that what anti-Buharis are suggesting? Isn’t that the reason there is such a growing army of inveterate haters of Buhari? Isn’t that the reason they are up in arms hating and spreading ‘hate’? (Mohammed Adamu)
Nerd Planet (Italy) reviews the new film adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel.
Una pellicola che sa mescolare, con un effetto davvero inedito, atmosfere ispirate sia da Edgar Allan Poe che dalla letteratura generata a partire dai lavori delle sorelle Brontë e da Jane Austin [sic]. (Andrea Prosperi) (Translation)
Keighley News reports that there's an initiative in Keighley, 'spearheaded by the town's Rotary club', to retain Keighley's newly-created 'green space' where an old college has been demolished and transform it into a town park.
"Keighley receives many visitors – the Worth Valley Railway and the Brontës being two of the main attractions," [Chris Pickles, president of Keighley Rotary Club] added.
"Let us make the town look more attractive to these visitors, and maybe regeneration will follow.
"It is time some pride was injected back into Keighley – for too long we have 'suffered' as an underdog of Bradford. (Alistair Shand)
Ara (in Catalan) announces that Carme Potacelli's stage adaptation of Jane Eyre is nominated in three categories to the XX premis de la Crítica, which will take place on March 26th. La Nación (Argentina) announces the broadcast of Invisibles (To Walk Invisible) tonight at Max.

Finally, an announcement posted two hours ago on the Brontë Parsonage Museum Twitter account:

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