Below are links to what I’ve been writing at other sites over the last two weeks. I have a lot planned for this week, but I am entertaining overseas visitors at present and am really rather exhausted. We’ll see how I go.
On having been a teenage writer: ‘But I’m not ten years old anymore. It’s been getting better as time goes on, particularly in offline modes where I am finally being treated like I might know what I’m talking about, might have written something myself, might have experiences and feelings in me. Less of the “you’ll know better when you get older” and such, if you know what I mean. The continuance of these experiences online in particular was therefore quite a shock.’
News of interest: Catching up on some international news stories of feminist interest I haven’t seen much attention paid to.
A story to put a grin on your face: a library, a community, and a wonderful plan.
Dreamy video clip of the day: who’s up for some Sarah Blasko?
My Iconography series at Bitch Magazine took a trip to the nineteenth century…
Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre: ‘Jane Eyre (1847) is, of course, one of the most widely-read books in the English language. But I wonder about the kinds of readings that are to be had here. And I wonder what I’m getting out of this book that would have gone over the head of Brontë, as a white woman from a colonising nation. These are sensibilities supplied by Jean Rhys’ parallel novel Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), as we will see.’
Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Clashing Worlds in 19th Century England: ‘But one of the main reasons I like them both so much is that they’re not about navigating comfortable worlds of privilege so much as they are about the clash of experiences. 19th century England wasn’t all garden parties and precisely angled fans, after all, but a context full of religious and political turmoil, the beginning of the end for a particular vision of England. In the minds of Gaskell and Eliot, those clashes sent up some sparks of brilliance.’
Jane Austen, a Contemporary Kind of Lady: ‘Jane Austen has quite the hold over the contemporary imagination. Not only are her books still bestsellers almost 200 years after her death, but there’s a veritable industry around adapting and appropriating her work. From The Jane Austen Book Club to Jane Austen’s Fight Club, Miss Austen’s influence reaches more widely than ever. So how did these books about young women searching for eligible gentlemen in the English countryside get to be so popular?’
Independent Women: ‘At a time when divorce was the height of scandal, Louise Mallard and Nora Helmer were literary characters who looked to a better life without their husbands. And they suffered terribly for it. Let’s explore the rise of representations of women learning to live their lives far from being under a man’s thumb.’
… and then out of it.
Morgan le Fay: ‘One of the world’s most enduring literary traditions has to be the Arthurian legend, which gives us the most intriguing figure of Morgan le Fay. Mother, sister, lover, healer, and witch, she’s had to be extremely flexible to fit the changing requirements of Arthurian narratives. She’s been an ally to Arthur, the wicked witch, and she’s presently popular as an object of feminist reclamation. Let’s take a trip with the various incarnations of Morgan le Fay, and discern how such a malleable character has sustained the kind of power she has over imaginations across the centuries.’
A Selection of Brilliant Careers: ‘I thought to myself, I’ve never read My Brilliant Career (1901), and that’s supposed to be one of the best feminist works to ever come out of Australia. An excellent topic on which to write, I surmised! This plan did not quite work out as I had expected. So let me tell you a little bit about Miles Franklin, and some other Australian women writers you, readers, may find of interest.’