Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Like an iPad...

Delighted to find a bit of geek slavering over the latest in mobile technology in the Bronte novels. I have been focussing on Anne Bronte's work - youngest sister of 5 like me, grew up in a clerical household like me and of Irish descent (an Irish father to my Irish mother)...

Anyway to cut to the chase: in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall a book I urge you to read if you have only teen memories of Bronte novel sets as the complete and unabridged version was only released in its entirety in 1992. Yes. 1992. Prior to that the copy in circulation was based on a horribly purged version of one volume published against Charlotte's wishes in 1854...and she didn't like it because of its unsuitable subject matter and wanted it suppressed altogether. Poor Anne. Wildfell was the best-selling of any of the Bronte sisters works and sold out its initial print run. She was left to be remember by the charming but admittedly slight novella Agnes Grey.

Anyway back to the geek stuff and you can skip previous paragraph if that is your whole interest. Gilbert Markham who is fascinated by the said tenant Mrs Graham (who is Not What She Seems) brings her a gift which she insists on paying for until a compromise is reached. It is a copy of Marmion by Walter Scott - a long poem about the original Byronic hero Marmion - why do we call them Byronic btw if Scott invented this type...because Byron had better PR? Marmion is a man who is outwardly charming but is a depraved immoral hedonist so the gift is a wrapped motif for the book's own theme.

black and white drawing of small house of complex design raised above the surrounding buildings on a turntable.

The geekiness of it is the way the book is described and bear in mind that books at this time would have arrived from the bookseller unbound to be covered in your own choice of binding...but this "smart little volume [is]..an elegant and portable version of Marmion."

Elegant and portable. Such suggestive adjectives. They could come straight from a modern media advertising campaign. In 1848 when the book was published they suggest freedom, movement, travel, independence and of course, the whole idea of such a book is a little bit sexy which is why Mrs G initially refused it.

Oh Anne Bronte - I wish I had met you - you would have got on so well in 2013.


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