The Conversation: Brontë, Austen, and More

Lovely Anna sent me a newspaper clipping about Emily Brontë, or rather an upcoming BBC show about her called To Walk Invisible. Emily is the middle Brontë sister and author of Wuthering Heights. I admit that WH is my least favorite of the Brontë works but there is no denying that each of those ladies could write beautifully and powerfully. Their stories are intriguing. Overall I may prefer Austen to the Brontës but Jane Eyre (Charlotte B.) had me captivated like few other books have. 

Browsing soon-to-come shows on the Roku PBS channel I saw that a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights will air soon. More tempting than that is a new Northanger Abbey which happens to one of the books I am reading at the moment. 

Now for a little back story on reading Northanger Abbey. As every Janite knows, Jane Austen disliked romanticism. For our enjoyment as well as her own she poked both subtle and obvious fun at it, particularly as it was expressed in Gothic novels. You will remember an incident in Emma where Miss Smith recommends The Romance of the Forest Mr. Martin. At such prompting I had to The Romance for myself and soon had Ann Radcliffe's book downloaded to my Kindle. Halfway through the story I found I had no will to carry on and abandoned the effort. On recently finishing Pride and Prejudice I turned to Northanger Abbey and though Northanger does not parody The Romance I quickly saw what Mrs. Radcliffe had provided Miss Austen much to work with. I thought that perhaps I would enjoy Northanger Abbey more if I first finished The Romance of the Forest (no, I was not going to start The Mysteries of Udolfo thank you very much). At 52% I once again admitted defeat and felt myself acquainted enough with Mrs. Radcliffe to be able to join in the merriment of Northanger Abbey

Perhaps I have been unfairly harsh on Ann Radcliffe and perhaps I even ought to give Udolfo a try. After all, Ann is creditet as being a founder of the Gothic genre and influencing later authors such as Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Walter Scott. Even Dostoyevsky as a child listened enthralled with terror on winter nights as his parents read from her novels. I say, perhaps. For now I will enjoy a parody.

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