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Choisya
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'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]

 

Connie:   A Classic I would like to re-read with folks here is a little known one by Charlotte Bronte - Shirley, which I feel has relevance to our own troubled economic times It was written in 1848/9 at a time of great social and political unrest in England and throughout continental Europe.  The miseries induced by trade depression and an economy in the process of rapid change from an agricultural to an industrial base, had led to mob violence and riot.  However, Bronte placed Shirley in the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and deliberately designed it as a social novel as a counterpoint to her great romance Jane Eyre, which had been published in 1847. In the first chapter she writes:

 

'If you think....that anything like a romance is preparing for you, reader, you never were more mistaken.  Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry and reverie? Do you expect passion, and stimulus and melodrama?  Calm your expectations; reduce them to a lowly standard.  Something real, cool and solid lies before you; something as unromantic as Monday morning....it is resolved that the first dish set upon the table shall be one that a Catholic - ay, even an Anglo-Catholic - might eat on Good Friday in Passion Week:  it shall be cold lentils, and vinegar without oil; it shall be unleavened bread with bitter herbs, and no roast lamb. '

 

However, Shirley is not a sombre novel and as my Wordsworth edition blurb says 'It is a human as well as a social novel with a perpetual relevance in its exploration of humanity's efforts to reconcile personal and economic aspirations with social justice and harmony. And despite CB's protestations, there are elements of 'lurv' and romance in it, as the B&N synopsis outlines. 

 

The novel is set in my native Yorkshire :smileyhappy: and deals with the Luddite attacks upon factories and the associated violence to property and person.  It contains a powerfully argued case for more useful occupations for women who were, at that time, condemned to either marry or to lead the life of an 'old maid'.  Shirley is a woman of independent means, has a lively disposition and enjoys the freedom to act as she wishes.  She is perhaps a prototype of ourselves and maybe the type of woman Mary Wollstonecraft in her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (written in 1792) was arguing for.

 

 

 

 

NB:  Please do not rank this or any of my posts.  Thankyou.  C. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-25-2009 06:43 AM
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

Choisya, you have me a bit confused.  This post seems a bit premature, unless you have some inside information that Shirley can not possibly be chosen on the LbW board, where it is currently in contention among the list of nominations.  I'm not sure why you decided to request it here, instead of supporting and voting for it there, or why you decided not to even wait to see if it is selected or not.

 

Connie, if you do decide to read this novel, please do not schedule it until the Masterpiece tie-in is over!  I really want to read this, and it has been on my TBR shelf for at least a few years, but I'm not sure I will be able to fit it in until we are a bit more freed up, as I intend to read all of the Masterpiece novels.

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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
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Choisya
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

Sorry D - I did not know it was on the list of LbW nominations!  I had missed it.  If it isn't chosen though, I would still like to read it here.    

 

 


dulcinea3 wrote:

Choisya, you have me a bit confused.  This post seems a bit premature, unless you have some inside information that Shirley can not possibly be chosen on the LbW board, where it is currently in contention among the list of nominations.  I'm not sure why you decided to request it here, instead of supporting and voting for it there, or why you decided not to even wait to see if it is selected or not.

 

Connie, if you do decide to read this novel, please do not schedule it until the Masterpiece tie-in is over!  I really want to read this, and it has been on my TBR shelf for at least a few years, but I'm not sure I will be able to fit it in until we are a bit more freed up, as I intend to read all of the Masterpiece novels.


 

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

Hey, Gals--

 

I'll be opening a thread sometime later in the spring when we'll be taking nominations here on Classics for selections beyond our PBS series.  Hold onto this for then, unless LbW does it before, which is fine, too.  I know there is some crossover among the various clubs.

 

Thanks for so thoughtfully writing out your suggestion, Choisya. 

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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marciliogq
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

I really need to enlarge my readings. Even studying literature I've never heard of this book before.
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dulcinea3
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte


Choisya wrote:

Sorry D - I did not know it was on the list of LbW nominations!  I had missed it.  If it isn't chosen though, I would still like to read it here.    

 

 


dulcinea3 wrote:

Choisya, you have me a bit confused.  This post seems a bit premature, unless you have some inside information that Shirley can not possibly be chosen on the LbW board, where it is currently in contention among the list of nominations.  I'm not sure why you decided to request it here, instead of supporting and voting for it there, or why you decided not to even wait to see if it is selected or not.

 

Connie, if you do decide to read this novel, please do not schedule it until the Masterpiece tie-in is over!  I really want to read this, and it has been on my TBR shelf for at least a few years, but I'm not sure I will be able to fit it in until we are a bit more freed up, as I intend to read all of the Masterpiece novels.


 


 

It didn't get selected in the other group, after all, BTW.
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DCGuy
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]
This really brings back very old memories from high school English for me.  I read just about every book written by the Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) during high school and probably their brother too had he been inclined to write.  Their writings were so much far apart from Dickens with the remote and lonely Yorkshire settings.
Message Edited by DCGuy on 05-13-2009 05:21 PM
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte


marciliogq wrote:
I really need to enlarge my readings. Even studying literature I've never heard of this book before.

 

Shirley isn't as well known, marciliogq.  You wouldn't be the only one in a typical roomful of readers who hadn't heard of it!  :smileywink:
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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DCGuy
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]

ConnieK wrote:

marciliogq wrote:
I really need to enlarge my readings. Even studying literature I've never heard of this book before.

 

Shirley isn't as well known, marciliogq.  You wouldn't be the only one in a typical roomful of readers who hadn't heard of it!  :smileywink:

 

Speak for yourself, ConnieK.  :smileywink:  I am more familiar with Shirley than Hamlet.  Yes, there is someone on this planet who has never read Hamlet.  Just what is this "To be or not to be?  That is the question." business anyway?  :smileywink:
Message Edited by DCGuy on 05-14-2009 03:34 AM
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DCGuy
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

This was a pretty good biography of the Bronte family that I read many years ago.   TB took a heavy toll on the family.

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brontes/Rebecca-Fraser/e/9780449904657/?itm=4

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]

DCGuy wrote:

Speak for yourself, ConnieK.  :smileywink:  I am more familiar with Shirley than Hamlet.  Yes, there is someone on this planet who has never read Hamlet.  Just what is this "To be or not to be?  That is the question." business anyway?  :smileywink:


I rarely speak for myself with such statements on the forum, DC!  Rather, I speak from years as a college English prof., and I can assure you more of my students have heard of Hamlet than Shirley!  Still, I'm glad to hear you have heard of it!  :smileywink:

 

If I might say so, too--you might want to check out Hamlet sometime when you get a chance.  Good stuff!

Message Edited by ConnieK on 05-15-2009 04:02 PM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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DCGuy
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]

ConnieK wrote:

DCGuy wrote:

Speak for yourself, ConnieK.  :smileywink:  I am more familiar with Shirley than Hamlet.  Yes, there is someone on this planet who has never read Hamlet.  Just what is this "To be or not to be?  That is the question." business anyway?  :smileywink:


I rarely speak for myself with such statements on the forum, DC!  Rather, I speak from years as a college English prof., and I can assure you more of my students have heard of Hamlet than Shirley!  Still, I'm glad to hear you have heard of it!  :smileywink:

 

If I might say so, too--you might want to check out Hamlet sometime when you get a chance.  Good stuff!

Message Edited by ConnieK on 05-15-2009 04:02 PM

 

I have read only 2 (that's right just 2) of Shakespeare's plays and have only seen 1 movie version of his plays.  I have only read Macbeth and Othello and have seen Richard III (the great Laurence Olivier performance).  Macbeth, by itself, has some of the best quotes that I have ever come across.

 

"Life is but a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.... It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury..  signifying nothing".

 

"Accursed be the tongue that tells me so".

 

And of course, the classic quote from Richard III,  "A horse.. A horse!  My kingdom for a horse".

Message Edited by DCGuy on 05-15-2009 05:15 PM
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marciliogq
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

I truly agree with you ConnieK. I'm a Masters in Literature and graduated in English Language and Literature but I've never heard of this book and affirm that we have no obligation to read all of the books even if they're classic ones. WOW! It's quite impossible someone not to know anything about Hamlet, not only "To be or not to be". It's so much more than only one famous sentence. I strongly recommend it! I won't promise reading Shirley right now, but I'll do it as soon as possible and we should discuss it.

What about Hamlet? I've read it three or fout times and discussed each act and sentence with my literature students. What a fantastic debate we had!!!

 


ConnieK wrote:

 

 


DCGuy wrote:

Speak for yourself, ConnieK.  :smileywink:  I am more familiar with Shirley than Hamlet.  Yes, there is someone on this planet who has never read Hamlet.  Just what is this "To be or not to be?  That is the question." business anyway?  :smileywink:


I rarely speak for myself with such statements on the forum, DC!  Rather, I speak from years as a college English prof., and I can assure you more of my students have heard of Hamlet than Shirley!  Still, I'm glad to hear you have heard of it!  :smileywink:

 

If I might say so, too--you might want to check out Hamlet sometime when you get a chance.  Good stuff!

Message Edited by ConnieK on 05-15-2009 04:02 PM
~ConnieK


 

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marciliogq
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Films

I don't remember exactly if this was the film about The Brontë Sisters I saw a few years ago. It's a French film with Isabelle Adjani. Les souers Brontë. But I remember there is a black and white version which is brilliant, but I can't remember for this time. When I do it I'll post it here.

 

Bronte Sisters  
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DCGuy
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

[ Edited ]

marciliogq wrote:

It's quite impossible someone not to know anything about Hamlet, not only "To be or not to be". It's so much more than only one famous sentence.


I must confess that I have never read Hamlet and know very little about the plot other than it somehow concerns a Prince of Denmark and the famous question quote involves some kind of suicide consideration on his part.  I believe another famous quote from the play is "Alas poor Yorick.  I knew him well".  But, I have never also seen the highly acclaimed movie "Citizen Kane" with Orson Welles and never understood his dying words "Rosebud".  I later found out it was a name brand of a sled (possibly from a boyhood toy)?
Message Edited by DCGuy on 05-19-2009 07:59 PM
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

I always think if we could dream-read in our sleep by putting a book on our night-stand--think how many more books we could read!  Ah.  And what sweet and interesting (or terrifying?) dreams we would have!  Wouldn't that be great?
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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dulcinea3
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Re: 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte


ConnieK wrote:
I always think if we could dream-read in our sleep by putting a book on our night-stand--think how many more books we could read!  Ah.  And what sweet and interesting (or terrifying?) dreams we would have!  Wouldn't that be great?

 

That would be wonderful, Connie!  Especially since I carve out the time to read from when I should be going to bed, and end up staying up too late!  I'd be able to get to bed earlier, and in the long run, get more read than I currently do!
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