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Friday, April 28, 2006

Digest of Brontë News

The forcast for today is wierdness with 10% chance of irrelevancy.

The Guardian has a review of Shanghai Nights by Juan Marsé:

Susana is a capricious girl who spends her time painting her fingernails and indulging in wild cinematic fantasies in which Scheherazade and Quasimodo appear in Wuthering Heights.


Here's a book most of us should be able to sympathise with: A Dead Language by Peter Rushforth.

Its heroine, Alice Pinkerton, is the spinster daughter of wealthy suburban New Yorkers. She reads, as Dickens once said, for life; and her obsession with books (with the Brontës and Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe and Tennyson, and so on) comes across, publicly, as a kind of madness, for which her small-minded neighbours hold her up as a curious exhibit.

More news on Emily Brontë the race horse.

Retiring judge Terry Hallenbeck is working through his alphabetised reading list, but somehow missed A... for Anne Brontë.

Lastly, we are told to keep teens occupied this summer by getting them writing:

So, get creative and dream up different ways of engaging that bright spark-propose e-mail, pen-pals, composing a thoughtful letter to Aunt Dorothy for the gift of Jane Eyre last Christmas; maybe even a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about some burning issue dear to your teenager's heart, such as why teens should be allowed to return home at all hours of the night and early morning.

Oh, yes, this will work. M. Heger put Emily to the same task, and the result is not very stimulating (she had to write several fictional letters). I can't imagine she found it enjoyable either. Some of the other advice is sound, though!


mysticgypsy said...

I always wonder as to why most people usually get Jane Eyre as a gift instead of purchasing it themselves. Is it merely the lack of interest in reading English Classics, or other factors?

I haven't come across many teens who picked up the book off the shelf of a bookstore or library on their own and then were smitten.

Brontëana said...

I really cannot tell. I don't know many people who have read Jane Eyre at all. Although a friend of mine who did read it because of the comic book I made of the novel told me that she had resisted reading it because she thought that it would be boring.

After taking these publishing courses, I might say cover design might have something to do with this. If you knew nothing about the book but just saw "Jane Eyre" and an unattactive Victorian woman sitting in a chair (which is what they usually have on the covers nowadays), you would probably not want to read this book. While the designs reflect the book in some sense, I think they totally miss the spirit of the book. I would like to see some work commissioned...

mysticgypsy said...

hmm I think book covers could play a part in people getting "attracted" to the book enough to read it.

However, I think one must look beyond the surface and unearth the goodness within (after all, isn't that what Jane Eyre advocates for as well?)

Even if the cover has an unsightly woman, that still shouldn't turn people away from seeing what is beneath...

Brontëana said...

I agree that in an ideal world that would be the case but not in ours. The cover needs to intrigue a person enough to get them to pick up the book and take a better look at it. But really, the whole cover is often full of lies... Which is why I hated writing backcover copy so much!

Sorry, I have only recently been liberated from the publishing side of the book world ;) It is vile, vile!

Re: Jane Eyre, I would like to see some work which is done by a fine artist who can show in Jane that there's something more behind her eyes- That would be intriguing enough, and closer to the spirit of the novel. Jane doesn't just sit around on chairs! She's quite active, and stirring. Actually, I have some covers to post shortly. They are odd because of how overly dramatic they seem to be.

mysticgypsy said...

They should show more of Bertha! ;)
(or would that be giving away too much?)

I think if they made a cover of Jane feeding on the (horrid) porridge, that would be not only raw but also shows the tempestous nature of the novel.

my 2 cents.

Brontëana said...

Maybe the Red Room would be a good choice!

mysticgypsy said...

I agree!:)
Incidentally I was writing about the Red Room for a paper right this moment ;)