Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009 3:57 pm by Cristina in , , , , , ,    7 comments
Let's begin today's newsround by taking a look at writers and the Brontës.

A few days ago we recalled Paul Auster's admiration for Emily Brontë, and today his own writing is differentiated from Wuthering Heights in the New Statesman.
What distinguishes Auster's execution from that of Coleridge in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" or Emily Brontë in Wuthering Heights or Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter or Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness is that - as in the work of Stephen Poliakoff - the necessity of the telling is accorded far greater significance than the telling itself. This priority misses the reliance of the former on the latter. (Leo Robson)
Literary Minded features Emily Maguire, author of Smoke in the Room:
Jane Eyre is Maguire’s ‘touchstone book’, but more for her as a person, than a writer. ‘It’s just a really important book to me … I just love it’.
But as you can imagine - and have seen in the past - not everyone is so keen on the Brontës. The Telegraph reviews Poisoned Pens: Literary Invective from Amis to Zola by Gary Dexter:
Gary Dexter has wisely restricted himself to hatchet-jobs in which both attacker and attacked are writers. The result is a particularly articulate catalogue of spite and spleen that becomes, when the focus shifts from the page to the person, a real bitch-fest. De Quincey goes for Wordsworth’s legs ('not a well-made man’); DH Lawrence calls Jane Austen an old maid, and Charlotte Brontë, having written Jane Eyre, a pornographer. (Mark Sanderson)
What?! Why?!

Well, that's - erm - food for thought. And while we mull it over, we continue with a review of the film An Education in The Yorker.
As a coming of age story, it follows a fairly typical template, which Hornby acknowledges with knowing references to Jane Eyre, the book Jenny is studying in class. (Natalija Sasic)
Brief: Creative Loafing mentions the fact that Wolfmother recently performed Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, and if anyone is curious about what he's doing now ATV Network traces a profile of Diederick Santer, who produced Jane Eyre 2006. It hasn't reached The Seattle Times yet that Ellen Page is no longer part of the forthcoming adaptation of Jane Eyre.
Talented, poised and just 22, Page seems ready to challenge herself - if her signing on for the title role of a big-screen BBC production of "Jane Eyre" last year is any indication. (Moira MacDonald)
It looks as if it no longer is any indication then.

Luetut 2006-2009 posts in Finnish about The Professor.

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  1. If you are interested to see what exactly D.H.Lawrence wrote about Charlotte Bronte, the excerpt from "Poisoned Pens" is the following:

    "And I’m sure poor Charlotte Bronte, or the authoress of The Sheik, did not have any deliberate intention to stimulate sex feelings in the reader. Yet I find Jane Eyre verging towards pornography and Boccaccio seems to me always fresh and wholesome…Wagner and Charlotte Bronte were both in the state where the strongest instincts have collapsed, and sex has become something slightly obscene, to be wallowed in, but despised. Mr Rochester’s sex passion is not “respectable” till Mr Rochester is burned, blinded, disfigured, and reduced to helpless dependence. Then thoroughly humbled and humiliated, it may be merely admitted."
    - “Pornography and Obscenity”, 1929, in Late Essays and Articles
    Ed. J.T.Boulton (2004)

    I guess someone was jealous because Charlotte's novels were sexier than his without adding any of the explicit scenes he used in Lady's Chatterley Lover. Lol!

    And if you are interested in reading a comparison between two very sexy books by the above writers, namely: The professor vs Lady's Chatterley Lover check this out:

    I have given my humble opinion about it there.

  2. Thanks a lot for that! Fantastic quote. I guess just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is with the rest of things.

    I wonder, though, what D.H. Lawrence might have made of the even clearer sexual tension in Wuthering Heights.

    And I think we linked back to The Egalitarian Bookworm's post back when it was first published, though I have enjoyed reading your comment there now.

  3. Curiously enough I am with the reviewers that say about Wuthering Heights that it is strangely sexless, meaning that I am not sure actually whether it is in a physical, sexual way that Heathcliff and Catherine long to be together. Or at least I can believe that about Heathcliff, but Catherine confuses me. When she says to Nelly that the two men (Heathcliff and Linton) must learn to tolerate each other's presence, if they love her, and causes Nelly to exclaim that either she is "ignorant of the duties she undertakes in marrying; or else that she is a wicked, unprincipled girl", I doubt whether Catherine had in mind entertaining sexual relationships with both.

    Perhaps that total identification of the two lovers being actually "one and the same" that exists in Wuthering Heights, as opposed to the need of maintaining the boundaries of self in Jane Eyre makes the sexual desire more clear and easily recognized in the later book.

  4. Good point, of course. But what with Cathy and Heathliff being teenagers and hormones racing, etc., I do think it is quite open for interpretation too.

  5. Oh well, DH Lawrence always did have issues.

  6. Lawrence is a huge favourite of mine; his celebration and depiction of the unity of male/female sexuality and companionship is key to modern lit and a gauge which serves to illustrate just how wide the gap in such subject matter and theme was between modern thought and the outdated and old fashioned values.

    It's strange reading his words on Charlotte, considering idiots had been unfairly calling the genius a pornographer all his lifetime and beyond; Lawrence celebrated desire and instinct and passion in its purest form and its culmination in copulation, reproduction, and thus fecundity; it is creativity in its purest and honest form.

    What Lawrence may've thought of Bronte shouldn't take away from both artist's work, after all he had harsh words about his hero, Thomas Hardy, and it seems he has misread Bronte's intention with Jane and Rochester, and the significance of the latter being brought to equal status with the heroine via ill fortune and providence; methinks he is applying his art to that of others: the very same he seemed to do to Thomas Hardy.

  7. Well, this comment comes rather late, but I found what D. H. Lawrence said about Jane Austen too:

    "This, again, is the tragedy of social life today. In the old England, the curious blood-connection held the classes together. The squires might be arrogant, violent, bullying and unjust, yet in some way they were at one with the people, part of the same blood-stream. We feel it in Defoe or Fielding. And then, in the mean Jane Austen, it is gone. Already this old maid typifies “personality” instead of character, the sharp knowing in apartness instead of togetherness, and she is, to my feeling, thoroughly unpleasant, English in he bad, mean snobbish sense of the word, just as Fielding is English in the good, generous sense."
    A propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1930)