Thursday, July 16, 2020

Isn't it unbelievable that in 2020 we still need to check whether Emily Brontë actually wrote Wuthering Heights? Breaking news: The Irish Times reports that a new study confirms that she did indeed write it.
But, in the wake of Branwell’s death in 1848, two of his friends, William Deardon [sic: Dearden] and Francis Grundy, began circulating the rumour that it was in fact he and not Emily who had written Wuthering Heights. As recounted by Irene Cooper Willis, an anonymous article appeared in People’s Magazine in 1867 claiming that Emily, as “a timid and retiring female”, could not have written so coarse a novel. Not long after, Deardon, under the pseudonym William Oakendale, published a letter in the Halifax Guardian, supporting the anonymous magazine article. Deardon claimed to recognise similarities between Emily’s novel and work which Branwell had shown him while still alive. Believing a woman incapable of writing Wuthering Heights, Branwell’s friends now suggested that the novel must have been written, or at least co-authored, by Emily’s brother.
The vast majority of critics have dismissed such rumours for what they are, unfounded and, quite frankly, sexist. That Emily was an outwardly unassuming woman tells us nothing of her literary imagination. But despite the consensus among most experts and scholars, a sometimes-vocal minority of amateur critics and enthusiasts continue to question if Emily did in fact write Wuthering Heights. In 2014, Chris Firth, having previously self-published a novel which disputes Emily’s authorship of Wuthering Heights, was quoted by David Knights in an article for Keighley News, stating his beliefs that Branwell is the famous title’s true author. Firth presents quite the conspiracy, stating how he suspects that, “for reasons unknown, Emily’s straight-laced sister Charlotte demonised Branwell and obscured his input to the creative success of the Bronte family”. Firth also indicates that he is looking forward to scholars using computational methods designed for authorship attribution-what those in the digital humanities call “stylometry”-to prove his hypothesis.
That is precisely what our recent study, published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (Oxford University Press), sets out to accomplish. Armed with stylometry we ask, who wrote Wuthering Heights? Stylometry is based on a simple premise: by counting the frequency of words in a text, you can form a profile of how an author writes, and then use that quantitative measure to forensically test things like authorship, influence, genre, or anything that might be related to how something is written. Using individual writing samples and some very clever tools developed by the Computational Stylistics Group, we algorithmically formed quantitative authorial fingerprints for each of the Brontë siblings, and then used those signatures to conduct a stylometric analysis of Wuthering Heights to see, statistically speaking, who is the novel’s most likely author. The same technique has been used to do authorship attribution tests of works by major literary figures like James Patterson, JK Rowling and Harper Lee.
You might be unsurprised to learn that there is no mystery to who really wrote Wuthering Heights - our analysis shows that it is most likely Emily. There are some limitations to the dataset that are discussed in the paper, but Firth’s 2014 assertion that computer-assisted methods would soon expose the duplicitousness of Emily and her sister Charlotte, supposedly capable of plagiarising their own brother, is complete nonsense. If anything, our results show that Branwell is the least likely member of the Brontë family to have contributed to Wuthering Heights. [...]
In 2004, the late Robert Barnard, former Chairman of the Brontë Society, called for an end to the baseless conspiracies around Wuthering Heights which have persisted for far too long. It is our hope that this computer-assisted study, which uses the quantitative analysis of style to assess the authorship of Wuthering Heights, might be the last word on this matter. Individuals and publications who continue to feed unfounded, sensationalist rumours should be held accountable for the drivel they are peddling. At the very least they are spreading misinformation about an important cultural work; at the worst they are reviving those Victorian sentiments that forced Emily to first publish under a male pseudonym. The computers agree with 99 per vent of literary scholars and experts: Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights. (Rachel McCarthy & James O’Sullivan)
The Guardian reviews The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé and looks back on her previous works.
Her novels range from the epic Segu (1984), about a west African kingdom doubly besieged by Islam and Europe, and I Tituba (1986), the true story of a West Indian obeah woman caught up in the Salem witch trials in Puritan New England, to Windward Heights (1995), which transposes Emily Brontë to Guadeloupe, where Condé was born. (Maya Jaggi)
Fala (Brazil) recommends five books written by women.
1. O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes
A obra tem como plano de fundo a fazenda Morro dos Ventos Uivante, onde vive a família Earnshaw. Após o patriarca adotar um menino de origem desconhecida e o levar para casa, Catherine, a filha mais nova, inicialmente sente ciúmes do recém-chegado, mas acaba desenvolvendo um forte vínculo com Heathclieff [sic].
Com a morte de seus pais, Hindley, o primogênito, toma a frente como o chefe da família e começa a maltratar e humilhar Heathcliff cada vez mais, usando-o como um empregado. Devido à diferença social entre Heathcliff e Catherine, o amor dos dois se torna impossível, levando Cathy a casar-se com Edgar Linton, seu primo rico.
Desta forma, Heathcliff vai embora, mesmo sabendo que Catherine o ama. Dois anos depois, ele volta para se vingar de Hindley e Edgar Linton, pelo abandono de seu amor e seu sofrimento.
O livro foi escrito por uma das irmãs Brontë, Emily Brontë, e se tornou um clássico da literatura mundial. Aclamado pela crítica, foi considerado a obra-prima da escritora, sendo, também, seu último livro.
Por conta de sua narrativa, a complexidade dos personagens e a mistura entre o estilo romântico, gótico e realista, a história é capaz de transmitir o sentimento de ira e vingança gerado pelo amor proibido.
A escritora expõe os sentimentos e a alma dos personagens de forma distinta, característica que causou um estranhamento nos leitores da época, pois mostrava suas falhas de carácter e o abismo social que separava os dois irmãos.
Emily Brontë criou um mundo muito particular, no qual construiu umas das narrativas mais trágicas e românticas da literatura inglesa. (Analuá Baptista) (Translation)
The Eyre Guide discusses the symbolism of the sun and the moon in Jane Eyre.

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