For February the hosts of The Classics Club have asked What Classic has most surprised you so far and why?
And I’m not sure if it’s just the books I’ve read or the questions themselves, but I constantly seem to be going back to the same book to answer these questions. I’m glad I checked to see what the next few questions were or I would probably have given up on the monthly memes after this month.
I’m starting to get an inkling as to why Charlotte Brontë was so bent on keeping Emily and Anne’s writings out of the public eye, but I will save that pronouncement until I read more of her novels. Villette counts as my 8th (of 9) novel for the Back to the Classics challenge, is on my Classics Club list and is my final novel for the 2012 Mount TBR Reading challenge (keep an eye out for my wrap-up post).
Villette is Charlotte’s third published novel and the fourth she wrote. It is the second novel, Jane Eyre was the first, that I’ve read by Charlotte. As with all of the Brontë’s works a portion of this novel comes from Charlotte’s life and you can definitely see the influences in the themes of loneliness and even with whom Lucy Snowe falls in love with. It was an interesting read and rather long, but overall I would say I enjoyed it, but am not in love with it the way I was in love with Anne and Emily’s work. For me this would definitely change if the novel were grouped differently. There were a lot of chapters and the story meandered along at times and I feel that if the some of the chapters were shuffled and the novel divided into distinct volumes it would’ve been easier to read. I also think the book was about 100-150 pages to long, but we all know that’s a common issue I have with the classics.
I don’t usually participate in memes, other than the random ones I do in my head, but I think I’ll participate in The Classics Club meme as it’s only once a month and it’s such a great community. If you haven’t checked it out, click the image to the right! Or click here. (I feel like most of you regular commenters are already a part of it!)
My instinct was to say one of the Jane Austen novels. I’ve read each of them at least once and most of them at least twice and I did read my favorite already for this challenge, Mansfield Park - but I decided not to go with Jane Austen. My next thought was to go with one of the ‘young adult’ novels that I love like something by Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowling or Louisa May Alcott, but I vetoed that too.
And then I realized rather than choosing my favorite classic of all time, I’m going to choose my favorite classic I’ve read for the challenge so far. I don’t read a lot of classics in general, as you can see by my very short re-read list for this challenge, so I’m using this challenge to broaden my classic (primarily Western) literature reading.
Like I said on the last Lunch Break Interlude barely two weeks ago. It never fails that if I post a regular update something else awesome comes along that I want to share. So lucky for you dear blogging world I don’t have a set schedule!
After all the hullabaloo (aka my What about Anne Brontë? series here, here and here) I realized I didn’t have any clue where my copies of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are and I tried to find three editions of those two and any Anne novel but couldn’t find separate editions Instead I splurged and spent most of my remaining Amazon gift cards from Christmas/Birthday on a nicer collection and a gift for Tom to the right. The book contains Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey.
On a completely different note, and the REAL reason for this post, last week Claire over at Word by Word (direct link to the post) posted about Tagxedo. Tagxedo is an awesome program you can enter a blog address or any amount of text and it will create a designed tag cloud for you. Mine is below.
How scandalously shocking! From divorce and debauchery to alcoholism and adultery, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was not only startling, but it was well ahead of its times in terms of Brontë’s revelations of the mistreatment of women, education of children and the inability to women to fend for themselves and their children regardless of position or circumstance.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall counts for both The Classics Club (4/85) and Mount TBR Reading Challenge (14/24). And although I enjoyed this novel, it will be some time before I read Villette, The Professor, or Shirley – definitely need a break. It also doesn’t hurt that I somehow ended up with two books from the library which I’m very excited about—books about books are always awesome! (And by somehow I mean I put them on reserve and am very happy they arrived quickly.) However, let’s jump in to my musings on the novel.
I hope you enjoyed reading my three-part mini-series of postings about Anne Brontë. I know I enjoyed looking into her life and writings. You can read Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 by clicking the links. Once you’ve read those take a moment to read this quite by May Sinclair, a biographer of the Brontë, from 1910 to fully understand get an idea of the impact of this novel.
“The slamming of Helen Huntingdon’s bedroom door against her husband reverberated through Victorian England…”