Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I started reading the neglected Brontë today, Anne, and when I googled her for details, I found out she died on this day 165 years ago. Coincidence!

I decided to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall because months ago I started a long biography of the Brontes, and thought it would be worth reading Anne before going any further, having read the other sisters. I’m a big fan Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, less of Emily’s Wuthering Heights, which is a bit of an eye-roller. I do like Emily’s poems, though.

I’m enjoying Anne. Here we have a scoured hearth, and a weak but sufficient fire, enough for a single woman escaping a dreary past with hot tea, a small income and a mended dress. 

And we’ve got looooong sentences that don’t skimp on punctuation. As in the sentence with 19 commas and one semi-colon on p. 8: 
“Nothing told me then, that she, a few years hence, would be the wife of one - entirely unknown to me as yet, but destined, hereafter, to become a closer friend than even herself, more intimate than that unmannerly lad of seventeen, by whom I was collared in the passage, on coming down, and wellnigh jerked off my equilibrium, and who, in correction for his impudence, received a resounding whack over the sconce, which, however, sustained no serious injury from the infliction; as, besides being more than commonly thick, it was protected by a redundant shock of short, reddish curls, that my mother called auburn.”

Or the one on p. 14, also with 19 commas, which is even longer and squeezes in 2 semi-colons:
“Her hair was raven black, and disposed in long glossy ringlets, a style of coiffure rather unusual these days, but always graceful and becoming; her complexion was clear and pale; her eyes I could not see, for being bent upon her prayer-book they were concealed by their drooping lids and long black lashes, but the brows above were expressive and well defined, the forehead was lofty and intellectual, the nose, a perfect aquiline, and the features in general, unexceptional - only there was a slight hollowness about the cheeks and eyes, and the lips, though firmly formed, were a little too thin, a little too firmly compressed, and had something about them that betokened, I thought no very soft or amiable temper, and I said in my heart - “I would rather admire you from this distance, fair lady, than be the partner of your home.” 

What more could an unsung heroine ask for. 

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