Posts tagged ‘bronte sisters’

Literary Cannon

I have taken it upon myself as a  kind of belated new year’s resolution (aside the ‘must loose half my body weight for girlie holiday’ and ‘don’t leave cleaning the car until i loose a passenger under the filth!’) to invest in some of the books that we discussed as featuring on a typical ‘Leavis-like’ literary reading cannon.

I have so far spent so much money on Amazon I now have shares in the company …. and 5 books!

I finished 1984 last night after a week or so of dispersed readings and to be honest by the time I’d finished at around 2am this morning i was all but ready to jump from the nearest cliff (of which I doubt there is any around here as I live in the Midlands! – re-think plan!) it was so depressing!

I understand that at the time of its publication, it was considered to be very ‘forward-thinking’, even an innovation, in literature terms. However, would it really have killed Georgie to throw in a more racy sex scene or even a happy ending for the loved-up pair of traitors??!

I have now started the first few pages of Jane Eyre, which no doubt will take me a while to read for fear of ripping the ’tissue-like’ pages of the book (shame on you penguin classics!) and so I will post my progress shortly.

A Woman Of No Importance: why it might be considered to offer us ‘sweetness & light’…

I read this play as part of my A-Level English Literature course, and to be honest, my ‘pre-omg-yawnfest!’ diagnosis was swiftly swept under the carpet, as this play was full of superbly written wit and humour as well as a voyeuristic insight into the social circles of ‘polite society’.

Why ‘sweetness & light’?

I feel that this media text offers it’s audience ‘sweetness & light’ because:

  • mainly due to its context (the high-class social circles of Victorian Britain)
  • written by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, who was highly thought-of in his field. He remains one of the great playwrights of all time, and his works still feature on many of the ‘reading cannons’ of A-Level English lit courses today.
  • although some may criticise the ‘references’ within the play that were ‘shunned’ by high society (single mothers etc), it is written with expert precision and encompasses the ‘whit’ and banter that was a commonplace ‘reflex’ in such circles

Values the text communicates:

  • ‘family’ – the importance of family ties and being there for one another
  • ‘pride’ – Mrs Arbuthnot retains her pride throughout, even though she has an illegitimate son.
  • ‘secrets’/’secret-keeping’ – this theme is ‘toyed with’ throughout the play, and also the importance of how life-changing secrets can be within societies such as this
  • ‘age=superiority’ – the older characters remain ‘aloof’ over those who are far younger

Overall, i feel that this play more than deserves its pigeon hole amongst the likes of ‘Jayne Ayer’, ‘Great Expectations’, & ‘The Brontë sisters’ to name but a few, and fills our lives with endless sugar and sunshine…