Saturday, 28 November 2009

Twilight, Brontës and... other things. Oh my.

I can tell you one thing: I dislike the Twilight saga. I think it's melodramatic, I think sparkly vampires make no sense, I think Edward is creepy and Bella is bland as all hell.

When the author of the series starts comparing her work to the likes of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I can't help but disagree with her. She's nowhere near the same level as Emily or Charlotte... thankfully, Anne is avoided by her. Thank heavens for small mercies, huh?

Once, whilst flicking through a copy of Eclipse in Waterstone's, looking for one of the Wuthering Heights references, I came upon a part where Bella read an extract from the book, looked up and said "I'm Cathy", or something similar to that.

My initial reaction was 'oh good, maybe that means she'll die'. You shouldn't compare yourself to either Catherine, especially not the elder... after all, she ends up dead. Her daughter doesn't fare much better, if you think about it.

The books have, somehow, managed to romanticise Heathcliff. People forget that he's a terrible man, cruel and violent... yes, he loves Cathy passionately, but the love is self-destructive. You can't make him into a good man, no matter how hard you try.

...And yes, the Twilight saga does get me ranty. How did you guess?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Happy 190th, Emily.

One-hundred-and-ninety years ago today, Emily Jane Brontë was born... and it's not like she's been forgotten this year.

The No Coward Soul exhibit at the Brontë Parsonage recently received her famous portrait by Branwell - the portrait that was once part of the 'Gun Group' portrait... it's not like the National Portrait Gallery was actually displaying it, which is probably wise, considering its condition.

To celebrate Emily's birthday, I'd say... read some Wuthering Heights or a few of her incredible poems. If you can, go out onto the moors and see what she saw, the raw power of nature and its incredible hand...

This year really is the year of Wuthering Heights, though. There's the ITV adaptation, the big-screen adaptation... for a book that nobody liked to begin with, its recovered rather well.

Happy birthday, Emily.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Votes for Women!

I've discovered why I shouldn't watch Mary Poppins prior to starting on my History coursework - I just have that same song stuck in my head... 'Sister Suffragette' isn't a bad song, though, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.

I'm looking for feminist things in novels from the 1800s - from Jane Austen, to the Brontës, to Mary Shelley, and so on. We apparently get extra points for mentioning novels and the like in our research.

...Does anybody have any suggestions as to which characters, and which novels, would be best for something like this?

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Sabrina the Teenage... Brontëite?

Well, anti-Brontëite, perhaps. She doesn't seem to be very fond of Wuthering Heights.
However, Aunt Zelda liking it is... to be expected, I suppose. Yay for her.

Sabrina: I can't get through 'Wuthering Heights'. Can someone please tell me what happens so I can write my book report?

Zelda: Oh, honey, don't take a shortcut. You need to discover the love between Catherine and Heathcliff on your own.

Sabrina: You're right.

She picks the book up again and considers the amount of unread pages to those she's read.

Sabrina: Aunt Hilda?

Hilda: Sorry, never read it. Emily Brontë bugged me. She was in my English class and she always thought she was so brilliant.

Sabrina: I know a way I can find out on my own.

She stands.

Sabrina: Take me into the book, knowing what happens would be heaven. Flip ahead to page two-eleven.

She points at herself activating the spell and in a swirl of sparkles vanishes.

Ext. A dark and misty night on the desolate moors. A petite blonde in a flowing white gown slogs through the mire.

Sabrina: Heathcliff! Heathcliff! Dang, these moors are cold!

Int. Spellman living room. Another swirl of sparkles and Sabrina's back in her white gown shivering, rubbing her arms and blowing on numb fingers.

: All right, you're right. I'll read the book. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Long and Winding Short Cut, originally aired 30/4/99.
This was probably the earliest exposure to the Brontës that I ever had, if I'm honest.
...I'm slightly bothered by Hilda's reference to Emily being in her English class, though - I very much doubt that would've happened, considering Emily's limited schooling.
Other than that, yay for unexpected Brontë references and unexpected Brontëite characters... in an American show.

...For the record "page two-eleven" (211) in my edition of the book puts me at Kenneth announcing Hindley's death to Nelly.

Monday, 2 June 2008

No one mourns the wicked?

A thing I've noticed, in my novel-reading adventures.
The wicked are mourned, they are redeemed, they are missed so wholeheartedly.

In Wuthering Heights, Cathy may lash out at Heathcliff and tell him "nobody loves you - nobody will cry for you when you die", but someone does. Hareton views Heathcliff as more a father than Hindley ever was, and he cries and he mourns when Heathcliff dies - he fills in Heathcliff's grave "with a streaming face", and you can't help but feel sorry for him. Nelly points out that "poor Hareton, the most wronged, was the only one who really suffered much."
For all his wickedness, Heathcliff was a man. Hareton reminds us of that.

...It's in the eyes, in Wuthering Heights. Those Earnshaw eyes, the eyes that save Cathy from Heathcliff's murderous rage, Hareton's eyes, the eyes that haunt Heathcliff until his death - "those infernal eyes", he calls them. They're Catherine's eyes, too, as well as Hindley's.

And he's another one. Hindley may drink himself to distraction, but he aids Isabella as best he can - he's the reason she's able to flee from the Heights, after all.
Hindley tries his best, it must be said. Despite him being a failure of a father to Hareton, of course.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Poetry... what a great thing.

I have to admit that, prior to taking my A-Level English Language-and-Literature course, I never used to like poetry - I thought it was dull and tedious stuff, really.
But... now, I see it for the better.

Take On The Death Of Anne Brontë as an example.
That poem is heart-wrenching to read, in my opinion.
The cloud, the stillness that must part
The darling of my life from me;
Poor Charlotte. To lose two sisters in such quick succession... it must've been torment so see them waste away, knowing that there was precious little that could be done to save them.

And Anne's own Last Lines... they're beautiful. I find the version that Charlotte published in 1850 all the more poignant, just for the addition of her own comments.
These lines written, the desk was closed, the pen laid aside--for ever.
And I admit that I adore Stanzas To ----.
But my sad heart must ever mourn
Thy ruined hopes, thy blighted fame!
A strange bit of foreshadowing, which Emily seems to have been fairly good at. Hello there, Branwell... isn't it a bit early for your sisters to be doing things like this? It is, really.

And I think it's pretty obvious that I adore The Old Stoic, considering the title of this blog...
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
That vanished with the morn:

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!"

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
'Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.

...And on a final note in relation to poetry, I can only ever seem to find books of Emily's poetry.
I've yet to come across any of Anne's or Charlotte's, and I've never even seen a glimpse of Branwell's.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


I have here, sitting on my desk, an audiobook. It's a Doctor Who one, The Resurrection Casket... and it came free with the Radio Times.
...And I can't imagine that happening a few years ago, if I'm entirely honest. The Doctor Who audiobooks are insanely popular now.
In fact, audiobooks in general seem to be gaining in popularity... never mind the fact that I've yet to find an unabridged version of Wuthering Heights!

I've noticed that there's a Jane Eyre one that's popped up recently - I don't envy that woman's task, considering all of the omissions that Charlotte placed in the novel... although BrontëBlog have claimed that the Juliet Mills version "''reads' all these most naturally".
I wonder how difficult it'd be to read Agnes Grey in that manner?
F---- was a village about two miles distant from A----.
Agnes Grey, Chapter XXIV.
"Agnes, I want you to take a walk with me to ----" (he named a certain part of the coast - a bold hill on the land side, and towards the sea a steep precipice, from the summit of which a glorious view is to be had).
Agnes Grey, Chapter XXV.
If anyone can read that and make the omissions sound natural, they deserve a medal or two. Perhaps three...