Monday, May 24, 2021

Because HBO's The Nevers imagines 'White Women In Charge of Dismantling Empire', Foreign Policy has decided to attack a real Victorian white woman for not doing so while deliberately misreading her novel:
But it’s also true that sometimes one person’s empowerment can come at the expense of others—and historically, in Britain, white women’s rights didn’t always translate into colonial liberation. Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre, for example, built her literary reputation on a story that presented a mixed-race woman as a mad gothic horror who is burned to death so the virtuous white governess can ascend the class ladder. (Noah Berlatsky)
Missing the point of 'the virtuous white governess' ascending the 'class ladder' by herself and not on the back of Bertha's death invalidates the whole thing. But still, it's worth remembering that later Charlotte Brontë grew to regret having made Bertha such a monster. From a letter to William Smith Williams written to January 4th, 1848:
It is true that profound pity ought to be the only sentiment elicited by the view of such degradation, and equally true is it that I have not sufficiently dwelt on that feeling; I have erred in making horror too predominant. Mrs Rochester indeed lived a sinful life before she was insane but sin itself is a kind of insanity; the truly good behold and compassionate it as such.
Charlotte's father, Patrick Brontë, publicly denounced slavery on several occasions. Please stop judging history and its people from a 21st-century point of view, particularly if your knowledge of it is patchy at best.

Irish Examiner chats to writer Nuala O’Connor.
“That was brilliant,” she said. “Some were very knowledgeable, others, like me, were first timers.” Nuala has always been a prolific reader. Her sister, Nessa, who has, sadly, since died from cancer, guided the teenage Nuala’s reading.
“She was four years older than me, and we were best friends,” she says. “Nessa led me into Somerset Maughan, Evelyn Waugh and EM Forster along with the Brontë’s, and she took me to Howarth [sic] in Yorkshire” (Sue Leonard)
According to CBR,
While there's plenty of room for adult, carnal desire and adolescent, sexual discovery, horror rarely spends much time dealing with mature, functional relationships, and is even less concerned with romance with a capital 'R.' The closest one can get is the gothic subgenre -- films like Crimson Peak or classic novels Jane Eyre, as well as basically any vampire story. (Hannah Collins)
AnneBrontë.org has a post on 'William Dearden’s Defence Of The Brontës' without mentioning the fact that he was the first to try and convince the public that Emily Brontë couldn't possibly have written Wuthering Heights and the work was, in fact, Branwell's.


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