Bronte Siblings: FITE!

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Have at it, then. I've recently read the Du Maurier biog, so curious to see how this polls out.

Poll Results

Emily 9
Anne 3
Charlotte 3
Rogue Branwell fan! 2

Branwell Bell, Saturday, 14 December 2013 23:12 (five years ago) Permalink

Jane Eyre > Wuthering Heights. That's all I've got to go on.

Romeo Jones, Sunday, 15 December 2013 18:09 (five years ago) Permalink

I have no dog in this fite.

Aimless, Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:38 (five years ago) Permalink

Wuthering Hites > I haven't actually read any of the others. :(

jmm, Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:47 (five years ago) Permalink

I really need to revisit the Tenant of Wildfell Hall because it's been like 20 years since I read it, but I unexpectedly fell in love with a television adaptation of it recently, which might sway me for Anne. Notwithstanding that, I'd probably go for Charlotte.

Branwell Bell, Sunday, 15 December 2013 22:41 (five years ago) Permalink

It's marvelous! I reread it last spring.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:02 (five years ago) Permalink

I remember it as wonderful! And one of the most evil (yet reformable) rakes in literature. (Played by Rupert Graves in this adaptation, so, um, that might have helped.) But I am much older than when I first read it, and fear childish tastes may change.

Branwell Bell, Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:10 (five years ago) Permalink

In some ways it's superior to Jane Eyre; she uses the epistolary form to shrewd effect.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 15 December 2013 23:26 (five years ago) Permalink

I said this in an old novels of 1847-8 thread:

I need to re-read Wuthering Heights. I feel like it's the right winner – real high eerie weirdness, broken & brilliant narrative structure – but I haven't looked at it in an age, and I have always loved Jane Eyre, sad voice talking to itself, flat life pierced by odd, angry fairy-tale wish story.

& that still stands - so I think my vote is Charlotte - there's a tone she has that I love.

That said I reread Emily's poetry last night bcz of this poll & I'd forgotten how it kicks - looks a bit like straight Victorian melancholia but is this super intense verse from a cloistered death-world. Started Wuthering Heights too – haven't read it since I was 18 or so – and thought it the best thing ever within 5 pages: Lockwood being a total dope, really creepy breakdown of social rules, domestic animal attacks, "gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun". I've always suspected I read it too young, or came at it badly – should commit to this reread.

Anne, I've only read the Tenant, no real memory of it. Branwell… I have read a few of the Horace translations I think, but not in the running obvs.

woof, Monday, 16 December 2013 09:43 (five years ago) Permalink

I put in Branwell because he's such a curious character, and as I said, have recently read Du Maurier's book. (And every time she - or he - described his "Infernal World" I just felt complete "OMG yes" because Branwell is in many ways the archetypical Fan Fiction writer who cannot escape their source material.) But don't really consider him "for the running" as it were, except through some perverse choice, but mostly because I really wanted Fizz to expand on his adolescent fascination with him, because he is kind of a fascinating character.

I rather have the opposite approach to Wuthering Heights, in that I recall reading it when younger and being captivated by all the gothic super-intensity, but attempting to re-read it about 5 years, ago, I felt a bit "oh come on." (And I'm usually a big fan of Victorian lugubriousness.) That might just be over-familiarity with the narrative at this point and if I approached it with a fresher eye I'd feel more disposed to it.

But Jane Eyre is just such a universe in itself. (And also, it itself has inspired the best fan fiction, from Wide Sargasso Sea to ... while on holiday I woolfed down "The Flight Of Gemma Hardy" which was basically "Jane Eyre in Orkney" (how was this not ~made for me~?) which only reinforced my appreciation for the original.)

Branwell Bell, Monday, 16 December 2013 10:10 (five years ago) Permalink

I've not read any of them since my teens, I think, and never read anything by Anne, so this is a straight fite between Emily and Charlotte for me. Jane Eyre is probably the best novel of any of them but I really disliked Villette. I'm not planning on re-reading any of them any time soon so I'm going to go with heart rather than head and vote for Emily and her preposterous melodrama.

Matt DC, Monday, 16 December 2013 10:18 (five years ago) Permalink

I wasn't ready for Wuthering Heights when I read it in high school. It might have been my first attempt at 19th century literature, I can't remember. Since then I've been bowled over by comparably dirge-like things like Ethan Frome and Anne Carson's Emily poem Glass Essay -- maybe it's time to have a second go.

jmm, Monday, 16 December 2013 11:22 (five years ago) Permalink

Wuthering Heights is my vote for best of their novels. Damn, is that a hateful book.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 December 2013 12:32 (five years ago) Permalink

"Hateful" is such a good word.

Branwell Bell, Monday, 16 December 2013 13:41 (five years ago) Permalink

thru their work alone Emily feels like she'd be the hardest to live with which is why i always vote Emily

wee knights of the round table (Noodle Vague), Monday, 16 December 2013 13:43 (five years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 13 January 2014 00:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Only 50 pages in, and The Tenant is even more wonderful than I remember. Voting Anne!

Branwell Bell, Monday, 13 January 2014 00:11 (five years ago) Permalink

But don't read her poetry.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 13 January 2014 00:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Also voting Anne, I think.

I'll have to dig up my copy of England Is Mine; remember the take/gloss on Branwell in the 'Lucifer Over Lancashire': Billy Liar, Branwell Bronte, John Cooper Clarke, Mark E. Smith, and the North' chapter being decent.

etc, Monday, 13 January 2014 00:48 (five years ago) Permalink

Haha, that Hark A Vagrant comic is excellent and pretty OTM. But it's also right, in that for all the glorifying of melancholy brooding arseholes that goes on in the other two's books, Anne provides a quite realistic counterpoint of "Look, I cleaned up Branwell's vom-stains, this is not glamourous, this is gross."

Branwell Bell, Monday, 13 January 2014 09:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Quite right.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:04 (five years ago) Permalink

somewhat ashamed to say the only work of any of these i've read was charlotte's "the professor" this summer, and it wasn't very good

k3vin k., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:15 (five years ago) Permalink

Aw nuts, I'm sorry I missed this poll.

I love all the Bronte sisters, that Kate Beaton OTM with that comic, but would have voted Charlotte because Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever.

Alfred OTM about the hatefulness of Wuthering Heights. I've always been annoyed when it gets categorized as a love story. What book are those people even reading?

carl agatha, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:19 (five years ago) Permalink

i just recommended to a friend on twitter that he read c bronte's villette, because lucy snowe is such a delightfully mean narrator, and then having been reminded of how much i love this book i have been sitting up re-reading it on project gutenberg, unable to stop.

if you're happy and you know it, it's false consciousness (c sharp major), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:45 (five years ago) Permalink

Can't believe 2 people actually voted for Branwell! This is p much the distribution I expected, but that surprised me. Didn't expect that red-headed rogue to get any votes.

Glad I voted for Anne, though. Last night, while re-reading the scene in Tenant where Helen turned down Bore'em's proposal, I was simultaneously both air-punching and saying "You go, girl!" but also collapsing in giggling fits at the wit and sharpness displayed. It's a very funny scene, while also being very pithy, very much like the political bite under the frothy humour of Austen.

And yeah. The idea that Wuthering Heights is nothing but "a love story" ... bloody hell, I know our culture has some fucked up ideas about romance and abusiveness (as captured perfectly in that comic) but Wuthering Heights is a *revenge* story that happens to have some love subplots in it. To read it only as a love story is deliberate point-missing (and probably tells more about the conception of "what women authors write about" rather than the actual themes of that book.)

I need to read Vilette next. I keep thinking I've read it, but I'm not sure I have.

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:59 (five years ago) Permalink

(God, I have come to love the Brontes, though, because they write women who *are* mean and spiteful and sharp and shrewish and incisive and all those things women are ~not supposed to be~ and still get to be the heroine of the story anyway without being reduced to 1-dimensional shrew stereotypes. That gratifies me so much. Reading women who don't have to be ~nice~ or be "likeable" all the time, women who get to be complex and complicated and multi-faceted, with good parts and bad parts, just like real human beings!

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:04 (five years ago) Permalink

Mallory Ortberg, I L U

^^^How to tell if you are in a Bronte novel

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 21:29 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Do we blame Charlotte for making Anne's work less known - as a result of her temporarily blocking further editions of Anne's second novel, leading to a mangled edition being widely read for decades ?

abcfsk, Tuesday, 8 April 2014 15:35 (five years ago) Permalink

Not that she's to blame for the mangled editition, Thomas Hodgson is, but that probably wouldn't have been the text followed if she didn't block the original in the first place.

abcfsk, Tuesday, 8 April 2014 15:56 (five years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Reading the Glass Town/Angria/Gondal writings. Amazing – teenage ultra-high intensity flare outs of gothic/romantic noise – naive and absurdly over-gifted. Really strange tone coming from public figures/stories inserted into private shared world, w/ rumbling angst beneath. Feel like I need an all brontes, all the time phase.

woof, Tuesday, 2 September 2014 09:37 (four years ago) Permalink

what are you reading it in? i hesitated over it on two for one oxford classics a while back but wd have had to buy Hume or Locke or the bible or smth to get the full value for money, which made the prospect of getting round to the bronte volume somewhat depressing

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Wednesday, 3 September 2014 08:06 (four years ago) Permalink

yes, the Oxford Classics. Bit steep (given I am generally reading the Brontes in a Delphi Classics kindle edition), but I felt like I hadn't been buying enough books lately.

woof, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 09:00 (four years ago) Permalink

^ I'm reading the impressive and I think important "Charlotte Brontë - The Imagination in History" by Heather Glen at the moment. It's a bit wordy, but in the opening chapter she posits that the CB juvenilia was sophisticated and has strong ties to her later novels, and

"is not an obsessive return to a private structure of feeling - the insistent "first-person stress" that Raymond Williams found in Brontë's writings - but an imaginative intelligance at work. Theirs is the 'seccentric' viewpoint of history's spectral others - those excluded from official narratives, without effective agency, those who have 'no claim'. The focus in each is on the private experience of a solitary individual, unable to shape or even to understand the world in which she finds herself; the perspective not that of the authoritative, but of the uncomprehending, the situated, embodied gaze. 'I looked up,' says Lord Charles in 'Strange Events','and thick obscurity was before my eyes':'the returning sense of sight came upon me,' says Lucy,'red, as if it swam in blood' (Villette 165). Yet in each there comes also into focus the quite distinctive outline of that which the narrator confronts. And the presence of that looming other, impenetrable or impervious, points, it is beginning to seem, to their author's imaginative concern with a 'most real and substantial' world."

abcfsk, Monday, 8 September 2014 21:21 (four years ago) Permalink


abcfsk, Monday, 8 September 2014 21:21 (four years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

As good a place as any other to mention this in: BBC One announces new drama by award-winning writer Sally Wainwright

Two hour biopic for BBC. I'm pleased Sally Wainwright is doing it, and super excited in general, but fear I'll be the fanboy nitpicking and whining. The story is almost too perfect for a biopic so if they mess up or leave out some of the very much Hollywood-worthy scenes from real life it'll be frustrating.

Two things I absolutely need to see in this

1 (likely to be included): 'Acton' and 'Currer' revealing themselves to be the Miss Brontës when showing up unannounced at the publisher's, to comical response.*
2 (less likely): Charlotte angrily listing W Makepeace Thackeray's faults to his face as she was ""moved to speak to him of some of his short-comings (literary of course), one by one the faults came into my mind and one by one I brought them out and sought some explanation or defence""

abcfsk, Monday, 18 May 2015 10:54 (three years ago) Permalink

* "When the clerk came with the message to see him, (publisher) Smith sent out to ask for their names which the Brontës declined to give, saying they had come on a private matter. Ever corteous, Smith concealed his impatiance and went out to meet the two "rather quaintly dressed little ladies, pale-faced and anxious-looking", who were waiting for him. An amused Charlotte later reported their first meeting.

"Did you wish to see me, Ma'am?'
'Is it Mr Smith?', I said, looking up through my spectacles at a young, tall, gentlemanly man.
'It is'.
I then put his own letter into his hand directed to 'Currer Bell'. He looked at it - then me - yet again - I laughed at his queer perplexity - A recognition took place - I gave my real name - 'Miss Brontë' - We were both hurried from the shop into a little back room.. Smith hurried out and returned quickly with one whom he introduced as Mr Williams - a pale, mild, stooping man of fifty - very much like a faded Tom Dixon - Another recognition - long, nervous shaking of hands.. Mr Smith loquacious:
'Allow me to introduce you to my mother and sisters - How long do you stay in Town? You must make the most of the time - to-night you must go to the Italian opera - you must see the Exhibition - Mr Thackeray would be pleased to see you - If Mr Lewes knew 'Currer Bell' was in town - he would have to be shut up - I will ask them both to dinner at my house &c'

abcfsk, Monday, 18 May 2015 10:54 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Annoyed to discover 200 pages into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall that I've been reading a completely abridged edition.

devvvine, Friday, 23 March 2018 21:46 (one year ago) Permalink

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