The Belgium bit is autobiographical. Charlotte Bronte went to a school over there and fell in love with her teacher, who was married and did not return her feelings. He was a very seductive chap though - used to blow cigar smoke into his pupils' desks so they could smell him.
Oddly enough when he destroyed all her letters by ripping them up and putting them into the waste paper basket years later, it was his mrs who took them out and stuck them back together again. Probably aware they might have some value on the market.
I'm sorry she didn't get her man.
Paul Emmanuel is such an attractive chap- in his nutty, Jesuitical way. I'm a little in love with him myself.
She did in time, get another one, an Irish curate in her father's parish called Arthur Bell Nicholls, who had been mad about for years and years and whom she kept turning down.
I should find out more about her. We live quite close to Haworth. I'm beginning to feel an outing is called for.
Wherever I go my camera goes with me :)
2012-01-18 07:12 pm (UTC)
I suspect strongly writing it was an act of catharsis and enabled her to move on.
That's a lovely review - thank you.
I'm very pleased you like it
Most excellent observations!I0m going to read it very very soon. So, thank you!
I'm glad. I think it's a terrific book.
2012-01-17 01:32 pm (UTC)
I loved this when I was about 13 - although it was some years before I discovered the autobiographical aspect - I was particularly taken with the - er - "non"-ending you'll see what I mean!
Yes, I haven't quite finished yet. A non-ending? How intriguing.
2012-01-17 01:34 pm (UTC)
PS I'm delighted that you liked Mary Rose - another favourite of my youth
Mary Rose is beautiful.
I understand Hitchcock wanted to film it. I wish he had.
2012-01-17 02:29 pm (UTC)
It was performed at the Shaw in about 1972 - but it was done "in the round", which ruined the mystery of it - you could even see the stage makeup
I've been wondering what sort of stage magic you'd use to pull off the disappearance on the island.
In the round I'd have though that particular coup de theatre- and a number of others- would have been impossible to manage.
2012-01-17 04:34 pm (UTC)
It was more catwalk than in the round - Mia Farrow kept running along a catwalk into the audience - and the "coups" were adminstered with a back platform and lighting. I was so disappointed - except that casting her was an excellent idea, if it hadn't been for the cosmetics!
The young Mia Farrow had just the right elfin quality for the part.
Barrie wrote for the proscenium arch just as Shakespeare wrote for the projecting stage of the Globe.
I'll be interested to see what you think of Jane Eyre. I read it in my early twenties and loved it, but I suspect the reasons I loved it are the same reasons you won't!
I love Villette, so I think I will probably love Jane Eyre too. Bronte is a fascinating writer.
2012-01-18 07:13 pm (UTC)
Angela Carter said of all the great novels it was the closest to being trash, which is probably true but despite that it is impossible not to love it (though I love Villette more)
Bronte isn't afraid of being trashy. That's one of her strengths as a writer. She pushes things to the limit- and sometimes beyond.
It's a novel that continually surprises. For the first hundred pages or so I hadn't a clue where Bronte thought she was going.
I've read them all, although I'm sad to say that I had read Jane Eyre so often before doing so that the other three have blurred in my mind to "stories of love and longing that aren't Jane Eyre."
Yes, I can see how that might happen.
Little Dorrit was the first Dickens I read as an adult- and it remains my favourite for reasons that have little to do with its intrinsic quality.
Nature glares and glooms, angels flit in and out, perspectives open onto eternity. And all the while the little life goes on. A schoolmaster takes his charges on a day trip into the country, rolls are spread with butter.