Eccentric Musings (jakaEM)

"I have undergone sharp discipline which has taught me wisdom; and then, I have read more than you would fancy." Emily Brontë


still figuring this place out - Jen W

25 following

Currently reading

Friend of My Youth
Alice Munro
Progress: 115/288 pages
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood

Reading progress update: I've read 294 out of 1184 pages (25%)

The Bront√ęs - Juliet Barker

01/02 - page 15 (1%)


To get a BA from Cambridge in 1805, after 4 yrs of study you were given a question in mathematics, moral philosophy, or classical literature & two weeks to prepare & defend a dissertation *IN LATIN*. 3 of your classmates attacked your argument, also orally in Latin, by proposing alternates "in syllogistic form". You returned the favour for them (your performance as defender and interrogator both counted toward the granting of your degree). For an Hrs. degree, you then wrote an exam. Whoa.


01/02 - page 87 (7%)


Gosh, I think she just used "beg the question" incorrectly. And innovatory? Must be a Britishism for innovative. She sure is bound, bent and determined to rehabilitate Patrick Bronte's bad rep. I love her undisguised scorn for previous biographers in the text and endnotes, esp. Mrs. Gaskell.


01/03 - page 165 (14%)


Elizabeth's and Maria's deaths at boarding school (aka 'Lowood' in JE); CB comes home very ill. Barker repeatedly rationalizes that it was "no worse than others" but 12+ deaths in about 4 yrs with 31 girls (1/3 of popn) pulled coz of illness in first 2 yrs? Compared to 11 deaths over 10 yrs at what she says is a comparable boy's school (she doesn't tell us what total popn. of latter is either). She's understating it quant and qualitatively. Why?


01/04 - page 238 (19%)


Lots of focus on the juvenalia, and esp. on Branwell's part. Barker works hard to make this [the intense time/effort the four children put into the creation of these imaginary worlds) seem less extreme, less precocious, less ... weird. I don't buy it. They are all essentially dysfunctional and very unhappy outside of this really closed, really tightknit, fabricated universe of their own creation and the confines of the Haworth parsonage.


01/04 - page 245 (20%)


I'ma need her to stop using the word 'extant'.


01/04 - page 294 (25%)


I hope I don't start to dislike Charlotte so much that it influences my reading of her books. :-( Her talent is immense, but she's coming across as arrogant, judgmental and spoilt. OTOH, Barker is so damn intent on repairing P. Bronte's rep, but he's coming across as naive, rigid, and also scatterbrained. They all seem exceedingly odd, except, so far, Anne.