Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë

Basically the slightest mention of Charlotte Brontë revives my mania for Villette, which is today in full swing. Here's a little roundup of good things from the internet's observance of the occasion slash annotated bibliography for when I place my shrieking screed about Villette. I am sort of ignoring the Jane Eyre stuff a little bit, because...Villette. Also worth noting: not a male byline among them.

  • LitHub wins the day with Brontë essays in triplicate from a trio of female critics. These are good essays, each one, and they hit necessary themes when contending with Brontë—genre, protofeminism, and the intimacies of reading. 
  • The Millions offers a heavily Victorian memento mori-y visit to the Brontë house
  • The Pool features Samantha Ellis's (correct) argument that Villette is the grown-up Brontë novel.
  • This piece on Brontë beyond Jane Eyre, from the New Statesman, is a little surface-y, but I'm putting it here for thoroughness and a sense of the conversation.
  • In the Spectator, Ysenda Maxtone Graham, under a provocative title that foregrounds gender, argues in passing that critics are overcompensating and people really do like Jane Eyre better.
  • Honorable mention to The Toast, which ran this a long time ago and I think kind of crystallizes the reception division between Jane Eyre people and Villette people.
  • Okay, fine, one Jane Eyre thing. I'm linking this one because of the way its opening implicitly connects Jane Eyre to the Austen Industrial Complex, which connection suits the argument.
  • And mostly unrelated to my basically imaginary Jane Eyre vs. Villette binary (there is enough room for two books!) (even if one of them is better, just saying), the Guardian features Emma Butcher on Brontë's private fantasy stories. Really nice piece.
  • Brontë's Christian (proto-)feminism. I do think calling it "radical" is perhaps a bit much—similarly "some anti-Catholicism" is probably underselling it. Lucy Snowe, not big into popery.