Saturday, May 28, 2005
Heathcliff, Come Home
I suppose many readers of The Valve eventually get around to The Yale Journal of Criticism on their own, but if un-lit blogs can point you to the New York Times front page, it must be OK for me to point you to "Petted Things" by Ivan Kreilkamp, starring the Brontë sisters as animal rights pioneers.
Kreilkamp's essay pleasingly draws from history, the authors themselves, and recent Derrida in the service of (to me) a novel, amusing, and evocative association of realism with anthropomorphism. The critic even shows good reason for having treated "the Brontës" as a group rather than as individual novelists.
Potential Disney adaptors of Jane Eyre should especially note the story of Clumsy, A Dog:
"Tell how he grows ugly in growing up; . . . Madam's disgust for him; the rebuffs he suffers . . . . Clumsy, for that is what she calls him now, banished to the yard; his degradation; detail his privations, the change in food and company."
Everyone else should especially note that Carol Emshwiller's Carmen Dog carries far more entertainment value than its equivalent in Lucas-movie-and-junk-food.
Afterthought: The Brontës as potential writers of noble-dog stories reminds me of one of my own favorite alternate-literary-history scenarios: What if, rather than giving up their shared fantasy worlds, the Brontë sisters had successfully brought their mature styles and concerns into Gondal and Angria, weirdly anticipating Joanna Russ's Alyx, M. John Harrison's ret-conning of Viriconium, Samuel R. Delany's Nevèrÿon...?
Pointless, I know, but at least it's a break from imagining the rest of Emma.
Virginia Woolf’s biography of EBB’s spaniel is pretty good, too. Better than Orlando, anyway.
I like ‘em both, but I admit that Flush would probably make a better movie.
And then there’s the Disney Ulysses, with poor Dogsbody played in a dog’s body and Garryowen taking over for the Citizen....