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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Emily's Journal

A new fictional diary of Emily Bronte, focusing on a tragic teenage love affair, has been praised by Bront researchers.
In her book "Emily's Journal", historian Sarah Fermi suggests the novel Wuthering Heights was based on the author's own doomed romance.
Experts have praised the plausibility, skill and detail of Sarah's 236-page portrayal of Emily's thoughts and motivations.


The Cambridge writer completed "Emily's Journal" after 15 years of research into unanswered aspects of the Bront family's lives.
She explored the theory that Emily experienced a profound and tragic relationship as an adolescent, social circumstances keeping the couple apart. The experience was said to have affected the rest of Emily's life and became the emotional source of both her poetry and Wuthering Heights.
Sarah looked at census records, parish registers and wills as she tried to match real-life evidence with the contents of Emily's works.
She chose to put forward the theory as a fictional journal, exploring Emily's life in minute detail, rather than as a biography.
Sally Wainwright, writer of TV drama At Home with the Braithwaites, this year turned the theory into a Radio 4 drama.
Sarah said her book was already selling well at the Bronte Parsonage Museum.
She said: "It might be of interest to the general public as an entertaining read and a completely new look at the Bront sisters.
"A great deal of research went into its creation and the theory is both possible and indeed probable."
Margaret Smith, editor of the Letters of Charlotte Bronte, said she was sceptical when she first started reading "Emily's Journal".
But she said: "I was gripped by the skilful interweaving of fact and possibility, and the way Sarah brought historic places and people to life."
Bob Duckett, editor of Bronte Studies, described the book as a superb mixture of historical research and plausible gap-filling.
Dr Heather Glen, who has written about Charlotte Bronte, said the compelling "Emily's Journal" was based on an extraordinarily detailed knowledge of the social history of Haworth.
She added: "Sarah really does convince us that something like what she describes could have happened and gives an intriguing glimpse of what the Bronte family dynamics might actually have been."
"Emily's Journal" is published by Pegasus, at £8.99 in paperback.


Read more about Emily's Journal by visiting the Bronte Parsonage Blog here.

Also, in a news brief from Canadian Christianity.com: The Department of English at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) has published its third annual issue of Soul in Paraphrase: A Journal of Literary Arts and Critical Inquiry. This year the theme is 'literary homage,' and it embraces the writing of 22 CMU students who analyze writers they have studied in their English courses. The journal contains parodies of famous poems; adaptations of famous passages; and drawings and photographs based on the novel Jane Eyre.

9 comments:

ChrisV said...

Good to read a new entry! Will you read...ok let me rephrase that....IF you have time, will you read Emily's Journal? It sounds promising.

We drove to Athens, Georgia from Chicago to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving. The trip is about 12-13 hours and we have Wuthering Heights on CD for the trip back. The journal might be a good book to follow this. Hmmm....

Brontëana said...

It's good to have something to post about! The last relevant news item appeared last week. And it was only tangent-y.

I HOPE that tomorrow will mark an end to our family crisis. My mom has an apartment lined up. She moves in on Friday.

I am not a fan of the theory that Emily had a tragic romance because it seems to be another manifestation of the pervading desire to explain away her imagination. But I have not read the book so I really should not comment.

ChrisV said...

Good news about your mom. I hope the move goes smoothly.

I guess there is two sides to the Emily (or really, any) analysis. On the one hand, it is interesting to try to piece together the bits of inspiration that contribute to an author/artist producing an amazing work but, on the other hand, imagination and creativity is the key to putting it all together. I don't know how many different men in Charlotte's life have been attributed to being components for Rochester. Taken to an extreme, it can get tedious. :-)

ChrisV said...

Oh yeah, I also meant to ask if there is any way to access that journal to see the images inspired by Jane Eyre. Do you think that it is only available to academics?

Amy said...

Oh, I'd love to get my hands on that. Is it only available in the U.K.?

Amy said...

Never mind...answered my own question. And if anyone wants to know, it's a lot less expensive to order it directly from Haworth Parsonage than to go through Amazon.uk. At least, if you're buying from the U.S.

ChrisV said...

I just realized that I didn't clarify which journal I was asking about accessing... I was wondering if you knew where to access the Soul in Paraphrase: A Journal of Literary Arts and Critical Inquiry ? I am curious to see the Jane Eyre inspired art work.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, bronteana. This is why the persistent theory that Emily was asexual or a lesbian (GASP!)are ridiculous as well. We just don't know enough about her to make any sort of claim with validity.

But as it is fiction, I might drag it down from the parsonage and give it a look-see. I can't resist speculation, I guess.

Mags said...

Sounds like she's being Becoming Janed. I feel your pain.