Coincidentally, I'm fruitlessly trying to interest journal publishers in a recent essay I've written about Charlotte's persona invention. So if you're interested in taking a look as it languishes in limbo, let me know.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
My friend Laura put me on to this scathing critique of Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Bronte. Of course, I fully believe that Charlotte was an ambitious, ego-ridden pain in the ass; and while I have never visited her house in Haworth, I have been to enough laudatory museums to recognize the irritable streak that arises in a reader who is confronted by too many "I Heart Charlotte" totebags, etc. But Charlotte doth always protest too much, and I bet she polished up a certain poor-me persona for Mrs. Gaskell's benefit . . . not to mention that Mrs. G was a shrewd reader of character, even if she was the well-behaved wife of a Unitarian minister. Read her novel Wives and Daughters, and you'll have no doubts.