Charlotte and Emily Brontë gave us romanticised, byronic heroes, but Anne refused to wear rose-tinted glasses when dealing with male alcoholism and brutality
literature meme — ten prose [10/10]
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of its title character, including her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of fictitious Thornfield Hall. In its internalisation of the action — the focus is on the gradual unfolding of Jane’s moral and spiritual sensibility and all the events are coloured by a heightened intensity that was previously the domain of poetry — the novel revolutionised the art of fiction. Charlotte Brontë has been called the ‘first historian of the private consciousness’ and the literary ancestor of writers like Joyce and Proust. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel’s exploration of classism, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism. [x]
Six Prose Writers: Charlotte Brontë (6/6).
You advise me, too, not to stray far from the ground of experience, as I become weak when I enter the region of fiction; and you say, “real experience is perennially interesting, and to all men.”
I feel that this also is true; but, dear Sir, is not the real experience of each individual very limited? And, if a writer dwells upon that solely or principally, is he not in danger of repeating himself, and also of becoming an egotist? Then, too, imagination is a strong, restless faculty, which claims to be heard and exercised: are we to be quite deaf to her cry, and insensate to her struggles? When she shows us bright pictures, are we never to look at them, and try to reproduce them? And when she is eloquent, and speaks rapidly and urgently in our ear, are we not to write to her dictation?
“Shirley" by Charlotte Bronte (1849).
I’ve started working on two new pages:
So far, it’s just films and documentaries that feature that Brontës as characters. I’ll probably add all the adaptations for their novels in the future.
I wanted to make a tag page so you can go straight to the tag for a specific work or Brontë. Like the other page, I’ll be adding to this page in the future.
I’m also thinking of another page listing all the non fiction and fiction books about the Brontës, so look out for that.
You can see the links on the front page by hovering over the picture on the left.
Girls are cruelest to themselves.
Someone like Emily Brontë,
who remained a girl all her life despite her body as a woman,
had cruelty drifted up in all the cracks of her like spring snow.
We can see her ridding herself of it at various times
with a gesture like she used to brush the carpet.
Reason with him and then whip him!
was her instruction (age six) to her father
regarding brother Branwell.
And when she was 14 and bitten by a rabid dog she strode (they say)
into the kitchen and taking red hot tongs from the back of the stove applied
them directly to her arm.
Cauterization of Heathcliff took longer.
More than thirty years in the time of the novel,
from the April evening when he runs out the back door of the kitchen
and vanishes over the moor
because he overheard half a sentence of Catherine’s
(“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff”)
until the wild morning
when the servant finds him stark dead and grinning
on his rainsoaked bed upstairs in Wuthering Heights.
Heathcliff is a pain devil.
If he had stayed in the kitchen
long enough to hear the other half of Catherine’s sentence
(“so he will never know how I love him”)
Heathcliff would have been set free.
But Emily knew how to catch a devil.
She put into him in place of a soul
the constant cold departure of Catherine from his nervous system
every time he drew a breath or moved thought.
She broke all his moments in half,
with the kitchen door standing open.
I am not unfamiliar with this half-life.
But there is more to it than that.