Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Course Outline

Below is the outline for our course. Selections and materials will expanded as we talk further. A paper on Pym and food and a partial bibliogrpahy on Pym will Follow. Don't forget our own women's magazines and interests in crafts and knitting, as well as the Killer Hobbies mysteries and novels about quilts. Images will not show up, but I will post many separately. Remember, this blog is a work in progress.

CommUniversity 2011 –Miss Brontë Meets Miss Pym
Ellen M. Tsagaris, J.D., Ph.D.
Week 1

“Let me explain that I am not at all like Jane Eyre. . .”

Figure 1; sketch attributed to Branwell

I. Course Introduction. Can a Single Woman life a Full Life? Can any woman live a full life, just for herself?
A. Charlotte and Barbara, women’s work and spin-offs
B. Food in Pym
C. Unsuitable attachments in both
D. Jane Slayer and The Crimes of Charlotte Brontë
E. The Blog: Miss Charlotte Brontë meets Miss Barbara Pym
II. Background women’s housework and women’s lives v. women’s writing lives:
o Plato
o Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
o John Donne and Barbara Pym on Excellent Women
o Pym on Housework in Less than Angels and her mode of writing
· Julie and Julia, Martha Stewart, Rachel Rae, Paula Dean, etc.
o Bronte Sisters
o Coventry Patmore and his Angel of the House
o The Marquis and the Customs House Agent; Hawthorne and his unfortunate comment about “That Damned Mob of Scribbling Women” which included Harriet Beecher Stowe and E.D.E.N Southworth
o Southey and Charlotte; Ironic in light of Charlotte’s hero worship of Lord Byron [Byron’s “dry bob” comment in Don Juan].
o The Feminine Mystique
o Poets and chapbooks
o Juvenilia and Politics including The Duke of Wellington and Byron
o Women’s magazines
o The Killer Hobbies Mysteries
o Glaspell, Lee, The Nutshell Series of Unexplained Death
o Shirley Jackson and Domestic Horror

Figure 2: A Page of Charlotte’s Juvenilia
Charlotte’s married name was Mrs. Arthur Bell Nicholls , pseudonym Currer Bell/(1816-1855)Writer. Born April 21, 1816 in Yorkshire, England. Said to be the most dominant and ambitious of the Brontës, Charlotte was raised in a strict Anglican home by her clergyman father and a religious aunt after her mother and two eldest siblings died. She and her sister Emily attended the Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge, but were largely educated at home. Though she tried to earn a living as both a governess and a teacher, Charlotte missed her sisters and eventually returned home.
A writer all her life, Charlotte published her first novel, Jane Eyre, in 1847 under the manly pseudonym Currer Bell. Though controversial in its criticism of society’s treatment of impoverished women, the book was an immediate hit. She followed the success with Shirley in 1848 and Villette in 1853.
The deaths of the Brontës are almost as notable as their literary legacy. Her brother, Branwell, and Emily died in 1848, and Anne died the following year. In 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, but died the following year during her pregnancy. The first novel she ever wrote, The Professor, was published posthumously in 1857. biography.com.
II. Books and artifacts brought:
A. 1848 edition of Jane Eyre.
B. Illustrated Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
C. Ann Parker Doll
D. Greek Wuthering Heights
E. Films, tapes
F. Biographies, criticism and other books
G. Branwell shot glasses and jug
H. Books on Pym
I. Hazel Holt Mysteries
J. Needlework patterns and cookbooks
K. The artifacts of editing, clergy, and anthropology

Figure 3: Front page of first edition of Jane Eyre.

III. Intro to Excellent Women
Week II – Jane Eyre, Excellent Women and Jane and Prudence, will be expanded as we get to second week
A. Jane Eyre
a. Virginia Woolf on “The Continuing Appeal of Jane Eyre”
b. Barbara Hardy “Dogmatic Form: Charlotte Bronte” this and above essay from
Norton Critical Edition
c. Plot
d. Main Characters
e. Estate issues, Bertha, and Mr. Rochester as second son
f. Unsuitable attachments and Barbara Pym; could this love story really have come true
g. Bertha’s POV; is Jane really that nice?
h. Fraser and biographical elements in the novel

B. Wide Sargasso Sea- novel by Jean Rhys and Film
C. Life of Charlotte Bronte and Mrs. Gaskell

Week III - will be expanded as we get to third week
A. Wuthering Heights, a brief discussion, and An Unsuitable Attachment and The Sweet Dove Died
a. Plot
b. History and photos of the real houses; Emily’s historical sources
c. Major characters
d. Themes
i. Destructiveness of love
ii. Estate and real estate issues and Heathcliff
iii. Nature v. culture
iv. Moors [Deanna Raybourn and Silent on the Moor]
v. Ghosts
e. Questions to ponder:
i. Given the similarity of many of the names in the novel, what role do you think names play in Wuthering Heights?
ii. Compare Edgar to Heathcliff; do you think Catherine can really love Edgar?
iii. Describe the personality of Nellie Dean, aka, Ellen.
iv. Contrast Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
v. Would it change your view of Heathcliff if he turned out to be an elder son of Mr. Earnshaw? Why or why not?
Week IV – will be expanded as we get to fourth week
A. Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Less Than Angels, A Very Private Eye, Quartet in Autumn
a. Plot
b. Characters
c. The live of a governess

Figure 5: pre-Raphaelite inspired cover of Anne's Book.
B. Agnes Grey
a. Plot
b. Characters
c. Bronte influence on the Romance Novel; my book on Pym

Figure 6: Early edition
C. Masterpiece Theater version
D. Conclusion and Survey

Heathcliff paper Doll

uilts and needlework. This is the world of romance, of coziness, of coffee and tea parties, shopping, mystery, writing, intrique, ghosts, and love. Enjoy!

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