Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

April 22, 2006

114572925808473541

The Cat by Emily Bronte

Now that exams are over, I can devote more time to blogging and transcribing and all of that good stuff! So, here is the English translation of Le Chat, Emily's Belgian devoir posted back in March. In this piece, Emily defends cats against those who despise them.

Aside from her arguments, there is another reason to like cats. Cats like the Brontës. Well, at least my cat does. She is a maine coon, known for their strange traits and above-average intelligence as well as size. Among other things she will read my books given the chance (unlike a human being, she prefers reading with her nose in my book rather than over my shoulder). Like some other maine coons she eats with her paws as though she had hands. She also sits upright on her tail with her hind legs out like a child, which gives the impression that she at least considers herself to be a little person as she sits thus on the couch.

She watches Brontë adaptations with me. The first time I noticed that she wasn't just spending time with me was when I was watching the musical of Jane Eyre. There's a line where Mr Rochester in Hay Lane describes 'Mr Rochester' as "a thoroughly unpleasant, violent fellow not to be trusted with man nor beast." At this, my cat turned to me and began to paw at my arm until I said: "Yes, I know it isn't true." Her favourite one is the 1973 version of Jane Eyre. It is the only one where she will come from wherever she is to watch it- sitting directly in front of the TV and following it closely (she seems most interested in Mr Rochester, Jane, and Mrs. Fairfax). The very first time she did this I remember her cocking her head to one side just as Jane was saying: "The eccentricity of the proceedings was piquant."

March 19, 2006

114280555913444195

The Butterfly, by Emily Bronte I've just finished transcribing Sue Lonoff's translation of Emily's Belgian devoir entitled 'Le Papillon' ('The Butterfly'). I've transcribed the translation rather than the original French this time so that the anglophone readers of Bronteana can enjoy some of Emily's work as an essayist as well. I will transcribe the French at a later date. The transcript is available here. I have also begun to scan the rest of the illustration I have for Villette, and these will soon be appearing on the site. Thereafter, I have some for Shirley, The Professor, and Jane Eyre to add in time. Le Papillon is my favourite of Emily's devoirs, at least of those I have read so far. Here are a few excerpts from the transcript: In one of those moods that everyone falls into sometimes, when the world of the imagination suffers a winter that blights its vegetation; when the light of life seems to go out and existence becomes a barren desert where we wander, exposed to all the tempests that blow under heaven, without hope of rest or shelter– in one of these black humors, I was walking one evening at the edge of a forest. It was summer; the sun was still shining high in the west and the air resounded with the songs of birds. All appeared happy, but for me, it was only an appearance. I sat at the foot of an old oak, among whose branches the nightingale had just begun its vespers. "Poor fool," I said to myself, "is it to guide the bullet to your breast or the child to your brood that you sing so loud and clear? Silence that untimely tune, perch yourself on your nest; tomorrow, perhaps, it will be empty." But why address myself to you alone? All creation is equally mad. Behold those flies playing above the brook; the swallows and fish diminish their number every minute. These will become, in their turn, the prey of some tyrant of the air or water; and man for his amusement or his needs will kill their murderers. Nature is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of destruction. Every being must be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself must cease to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, and we praise God for having entered such a world.

March 13, 2006

114230509483551641

Filed under: Academic,E-texts,Emily Bronte,The Belgian Essays,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 9:39 pm

Le Chat by Emily Bronte


Last night I decided to read some of the Belgian devoirs before I went to sleep. I had read a few of Charlotte's devoirs but none of Emily's. This one, Le Chat (The Cat) is the first. It was composed in 1842. The work is interesting, and I think there is enough of the author's opinion running through it that you wouldn't say she was simply adopting an argument set down by Monsieur Heger. I found it charming, in a sense. The topic might seem trifling at first glance, but she uses the occasion- defending cats- to comment on human hypocrisy, cruelty, and ingratitude. I think she finds her place somewhere towards the end where the narrator argues with the lady who prefers lap dogs to cats. The ending was nicely placed as well: "For, assuredly, the cat was not wicked in Paradise."

The criticism in this edition, however, is somewhat heavy handed. I have looked over a few of Emily's other devoirs. In each, the editor tells us how Emily's French shows her 'resistence' to the very end, in the from of syntax etc, to the domination of M. Heger, or this new language. I think this is absurd. It is very natural for someone learning a language to express themselves for a time in their customary forms. I recieved 13 years of French language training and yet I still prefer using French words which reflect 'English' ideas- I am not 'resisting' French. In fact, despite my preference for maintaining my… 'barbarisms' as M. Heger might say, when I compose in French, I 'think' in French as well. Also, at the moment I am a teaching assistant for a Latin class. In Latin, word order is fluid- quite the opposite from English. Very often students merely use Latin words in English word order on their assignments.

Since it is short, and one did not exist, I have transcribed Le Chat. There is an English translation in this book but I think the French is more vital, and more authentic- obviously since the French is the work of Emily herself and not a translator.

March 9, 2006

114194876382401581

Filed under: Academic,E-texts,Juvenilia,Resources,Translations — by bronteana @ 6:46 pm

Resource Update: E-texts and Translations

A very special thank you to Professor Maddalena De Leo for providing e-texts for the Brontëana resource site including several texts more complete than those previously posted there. Professor De Leo was also very kind in allowing me post her translation- the first in Italian- of Albion and Marina.

This translation comes from Professor De Leo's groundbreaking work, 'All'Hotel Stancliffe e altri racconti giovanili' (edited and translated by Maddalena De Leo, 2004, Edizioni Ripostes, Salerno-Roma).

March 5, 2006

114158879687810086

Filed under: Academic,Charlotte Bronte,E-texts,Illustrations,Juvenilia,Resources,villette — by bronteana @ 1:51 pm

Brontëana Resources: Albion and Marina, Villette.

Especially for Brontëana, Charlene has taken the time to transcribe one of Charlotte Brontë's Angrian tales- Albion and Marina. The e-text is now available on the Brontëana recource site and in the sidebar to the left. I have also made some substantial changes there. I'm working on the design elements but I have also made some progress with uploading the ridiculous number of images I have. There is now a page for illustrations of Villette from an early edition of the novel (I would guess early 1900s, from the style). I would prefer having a separate directory for each edition, since I have illustrations by more than one artist, but I am still trying to work this out.

These images of Villette were donated by Charlene as well.

March 4, 2006

114149906262276709

Filed under: Academic,Books,E-texts,Fan Fiction,Jane Eyre,Paraliterature — by bronteana @ 1:55 pm

Thornycroft Hall (1864) by Emma Jane Worboise

Thanks to reader, Shoshana, I stumbled upon this rewrite of Jane Eyre. A very… interesting one.

Published in 1864, Thornycroft Hall has more than a few echoes of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which appeared some eighteen years earlier. It seems that the evangelical Emma Jane Worboise felt the need to provide a more "Christian" version of the earlier novel, including not only a spirited defence of Rev. William Carus Wilson and "Lowood School", but also repeatedly urging the necessity for immediate acceptance of Christ.

I have not had the time to read much of it, but here are a few more excerpts from literaryheritage.org.uk:

The similarities between the opening chapters of this book and Jane Eyre are striking. An orphaned girl is brought up by uncongenial relations, and a furious (though justified) temper tantrum leads to her being sent away to school. But here the novels diverge: Ellen is very happy at the Clergy Daughters' School, and defends both it and Rev. William Carus Wilson vigorously from Charlotte Bronte's strictures.

And it was no "Do-the-girls Hall," as some people have asserted: I here
solemnly declare that during the whole of my residence–nearly five years–I never saw the table otherwise than plentifully and wholesomely supplied…I confess that sometimes, at the breakfast hour, our olfactory nerves were saluted with a perceptible odour of burnt porridge; but I have known the milk to be burnt now and then at Thornycroft Hall; and certainly our bread and butter was cut in "planks," not slices, and the butter was, perhaps, a little hard to find…but if you had seen the large dishes-full replenished again and again till every girl was satisfied; if you had seen them passing down the long narrow tables in the lofty eating-room, disappearing with astonishing rapidity; if you had counted the number of "planks" each young lady consumed, you would not have imagined any pupil to be badly served.

The pious and slightly priggish Marshall Cleaton is certainly no Mr. Rochester, but he and his mother are surprisingly appealing characters, despite the rather heavy-handed evangelistic fervour they both display.

…Pious and priggish? The full e-text is now listed in the sidebar.

March 2, 2006

114135426588595586

Filed under: E-texts,Emma (a fragment),Resources — by bronteana @ 9:32 pm

Emma Fragment and Brontëana Website


I have spent most of the day working on this. What began as the simple task of transcribing Emma, the two chapters of Charlotte's last unfinished novel, turned into a website. This website: http://bronteana.bravehost.com I had plans to make a website for some time, but at last I was forced to create one in order to share this transcript. It would be simply too large for a post. So far, the only item there is 'Emma'. The design is a template, and very unattractive but for now, it will have to do! There is also a handy guestbook so everyone can leave me a note. I am able to add a message forum but I am not sure if I want to go that far at this point. If there is interest I may add it.

This transcript is of chapter one of Emma. I transcribed it personally from a book I have. It appears, from the type, wear, illustrations etc to be from the 1890s. It is part of my collection of antique books. The image above is a scan I made of the first page of 'Emma'. The book itself is the unloved last volume of 'Bronté Works'. And is the 'Professor Emma and Poems' volume. There are also a few illustrations. I can tell from its condition that it was seldom read… The transcript is now listed along the sidebar along with the other Brontë e-texts, and the website is also listed in the links list above.

The Emma fragment was made into a novel called Emma Brown recently. Comment on this book will be forthcoming. I am quite exhausted at the moment. Remind me not to edit half a novel, transcribe a chapter from another, and make a website all in one day. It hurts… The second chapter should be up before next week, when I shall go back to school and return to my regularly scheduled essays and seminars. Speaking of which, when I wasn't working on Emma and the website I was editing and annotating the Mr Christi novel (an unpublished novel by one of Canada's first Modernists). Can you imagine Jane Eyre boarding in a house full of Ginevra Fanshawes? Now, that's terrifying!

In the same volume is also Thackeray's wonderful 'Last Sketch' preface to Emma, and tribute to Charlotte Brontë. I'll have that posted later as well.

November 18, 2005

113237125998676083

'Cottage Poems' by Patrick Brontë

At last! The Cottage Poems have been published by Project Gutenburg! Click here to read the full texts. They were released on november 16th. Could 'Maid of Killarney' be far behind? How very exciting! Other Bronte texts available through the Project include:

A, C, and E Brontë: Poems by Currer, Ellis and, Acton Bell
Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey, Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, Villette, The Professor.

Il y a Jane Eyre ou Les mémoires d'une institutrice>>, le roman en Francais aussi. Je ne sais pas qu'est le traducteur de cet roman. C'est tres intéressante. Je pense qu'il est comme lire la roman encore- pour le premier fois. Il a un peu plus …de melodrame. Ou plus de poésie, peut-etre. D'accord. Chacun langue chante son poésie. And, no, there is no text for Shirley! Shame, shame! (Nothing for Branwell either).

Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights.

Also: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Brontë volume one and two.

A friend of mine is responsible for Really Slow productions of Shakespeare. People volunteer to record their lines, and then this is all pasted together with the magic of the internet into… a really slow production of Shakespeare. Some of my other friends and I were then inspired to try a really slow production of Jane Eyre the Musical. The trouble here was that all of my friends are ladies (the ones who sing, at any rate). And so, we had a soprano Rochester and myself who plays St.John Rivers (also a soprano, although I can sing alto as well). I forget how Brocklehurst came out… Our Jane was a certain classicist from Nova Scotia. Alas, before we ever even took our little horrendous productioni seriously, she ran away to a religious order.

And now, she's back! And she's not a nun. She found true love… in the religious order. I am astounded and amazed, and it is beautiful. She is no longer my soon-to be nun friend who despaired of leaving behind her copy of Villette. I now have a deliriously happy non-nun friend who can have as many books as she likes- and the true love thing is rather nice too.

ps. Don't worry, Martha- I got your email! I think this deserves a post of its own 🙂

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.