Charlotte Brontë

[English | 1816–1855]

Charlotte Brontë was born in Yorkshire in 1816. As a child, she was sent to boarding school along with a number of her sisters but when two of those sisters died there, she was returned home and received the remainder of her education there. This homeschooling was also provided to two other of her younger sisters–Emily and Anne–who also went on to become authors of note. Jane Eyre–her seminal work–was first published in 1847 under the pen-name Currer Bell. Like other female writers of that time (and other times too) Charlotte felt her books would be more widely read if she hid her gender…

Jane Eyre

It is said that Jane Eyre is a novel of intense emotional power, heightened atmosphere and fierce intelligence. Indeed, it dazzled and shocked readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom on her own terms. According to William Makepeace Thackeray, it is:

The masterwork of a great genius

Its heroine Jane endures loneliness and cruelty in the home of her heartless aunt and the cold charity of Lowood School. Her natural independence and spirit prove necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of a shameful secret forces her to make a terrible choice…

Charlotte Brontë -- Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre (1847).

All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.

Shirley

Set during the Napoleonic wars at a time of national economic struggles in the United Kingdom, Shirley provides an unsentimental, but passionate depiction of conflict between classes, sexes and generations. The key protagonist is Robert Moore, a struggling manufacturer who has introduced labour saving machinery to his Yorkshire factory, causing a ferment of unemployment and discontent among his workers. Robert considers marriage to the wealthy and independent Shirley Keeldar to solve his financial woes, yet his heart lies with his cousin Caroline, who, bored and desperate, lives as a dependent in her uncle’s home with no prospect of a career. Shirley, meanwhile, is in love with Robert’s brother, an impoverished tutor – a match opposed by her family. As industrial unrest builds to a potentially fatal pitch, can the four be reconciled…

Charlotte Brontë -- Shirley
Shirley (1849).

Wilfred Thesiger

[English | 1910–2003]

a.k.a. مُبَارَك بِن لَنْدَن‎

From Thesiger's album (Vol. 13)
Do you remember?

Thesiger was a writer, an amazing photographer and an explorer. His most notable works are Arabian Sands (1959) which documented his journey across the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula and, The Marsh Arabs (1964) which documented his time living in the marshes of Iraq.

In the desert I had found a freedom unattainable in civilization; a life unhampered by possessions.

Wilfred Thesiger was a distinguished gentleman

I tasted freedom and a way of life from which there could be no recall.

Arabia
Arabia

p.s.
I haven’t been (yet) but Wilfred Thesiger’s books and photographs are on display at the Pitt Rivers Museum (which is part of Oxford University 😍).
Maps of Thesiger’s journeys in Arabia.
Wilfred Thesiger’s Photo Albums of Arabia, Volume 13

Edmund Spenser

[English | 1553–1599]

And all for love, and nothing for reward.

It's love that inspires
It’s love that inspires.

And he that strives to touch the stars, Oft stumbles at a straw.

Edmund Spenser was an English poet who is recognisef as one of the premier craftsmen of early Modern English verse. In fact, he is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

I hate the day, because it lendeth light To see all things, but not my love to see

The Faerie Queene was the first epic in English and one of the most influential poems in the language for later poets from Milton to Tennyson. Dedicating his work to Elizabeth I, Spenser brilliantly united medieval romance and renaissance epic to expound the glory of the Virgin Queen. The poem recounts the quests of knights including Sir Guyon, Knight of Constance, who resists temptation, and Artegall, Knight of Justice, whose story alludes to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Composed as an overt moral and political allegory, The Faerie Queene, with its dramatic episodes of chivalry, pageantry and courtly love, is also a supreme work of atmosphere, colour and sensuous description.

Her angel’s face, As the great eye of heaven shined bright, And made a sunshine in the shady place.

✍🏻 100’s (#01)

written in red and underlined twice for emphasis

100-words---01

Opening Lines

"One hundred words, one hundred words." He played those words again and again; six only but, all voiced by his incarnation of Mrs Robinson (her tone, and oh how he wanted to believe, her sultry undertone)  He spent the night with paper and pen. It was, when all was said and done, futile, for too fixated he'd become with seeking to create a 'hidden' vertical passage. It ended up with: thirty two times "I really want you." The following morning he fully intended to deliver it but, ended up transferring from English Lit to Civil Engineering.

‘The “F” word’

Out of all the English words that begin with the letter F, this one’s the only one referred to as ‘The F word.’ It’s one of the most commonly used words in the English language and, it can be used in many many ways.

'Fuck'
This is a language lesson…

It can be used as a transitive verb for instance, “John fucked Julie,” as an intransitive verb, “Julie fucks.”

It’s meaning is not always sexual. It can be used as an adjective such as, “Julie’s doing all the fucking work.”

As part of an adverb, “John talks too fucking much.” As an adverb enhancing an adjective, “Jameela is fucking beautiful.” As the object of an adverb, “Shirley is fucking beautifully.”

As a noun, “I don’t give a fuck.”

As part of a word, “Abso-fucking-lutly.”

And, as almost every work in a sentence:

Fuck the fucking fuckers.

There are very few words with the versatility of ‘fuck’:

Aggression — “Don’t fuck with me mate.”

Anger — “You’re doing my fucking head in.”

Difficulty — “I don’t fucking understand this situation at all.”

Dismay — “Aww, fuck it,”

Dismissal — “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”

Dissatisfaction — “I don’t like what the fuck is going on here.”

Fraud — “I got fucked at the used car lot.”

Incompetence — “He’s a fucking idiot.”

Inquiry — “Who the fuck was that!”

Trouble — “We’ve been caught, we are truly fucked now.”

… so don’t be offended!!

📙 Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger | American | 1919–2010

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused, frightened and sickened by human behaviour…

…you’ll learn from those, if you want to; it isn’t education, it is history and it is poetry.

Noted for its themes of angst and alienation and its critique on superficiality in society, Catcher in the Rye is often listed as one of the best novels of the twentieth century. The work is regarded as, “the defining work on what it is like to be a teenager;” although it is a bit dated now. It is usually placed alongside The Great Gatsby as being a classic of the post WWII era.

J. D. Salinger is a classic writer in the sense that he took his writing very seriously. He was was known to have locked himself up for hours and hours every single day. He’d write, revise, edit, rewrite again and again (and again). Arguably, Salinger wrote to collect his thoughts and ideas for his own peace of mind and mental health (i.e., not to get rich).

Don’t ever tell anybody anything.

📙 On the Road

Jack Kerouac | American | 1922–1969

On the Road is the novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. It has been described as, “one of the great American novels.” Above all else, it is a story about loss. Ted Gioia contends that it is a book of broken dreams and failed plans. It’s a book about the search for something meaningful to hold on to,” writes Meghan O’Rourke, “the famous search for ‘it,’ a truth larger than the self, which, of course, is never found.”

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.

Today, Kerouac is considered a literary iconoclast, recognised for his method of spontaneous prose — covering e.g., spirituality, promiscuity, drugs and poverty — and continues to be something of an underground celebrity. As Hilary Holladay puts it, “Kerouac was this deep, lonely, melancholy man… [you read this] sense of loss and sorrow on every page.” According to John Leland, aspects of the book such as the tales of passionate friendships and the search for revelation, “are timeless.”

Happiness consists in realising it is all a great strange dream.