"My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody." #VictorianSass #TheWomanInWhite #literature
"You write the book that your nature inclines you toward. You write the book that your education, your temperament, your training, your class, your race, your gender, your nationality incline you toward. You can’t write a book as another person."
This Day In History...
Sinclair Lewis becomes the first American writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. Here is a link to his acceptance speech from December of that year.
An interesting observation from that speech:
"…in America most of us - not readers alone but even writers - are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues. To be not only a best seller in America but to be really beloved, a novelist must assert that all American men are tall, handsome, rich, honest, and powerful at golf; that all country towns are filled with neighbors who do nothing from day to day save go about being kind to one another; that although American girls may be wild, they change always into perfect wives and mothers; and that, geographically, America is composed solely of New York, which is inhabited entirely by millionaires; of the West, which keeps unchanged all the boisterous heroism of 1870; and of the South, where everyone lives on a plantation perpetually glossy with moonlight and scented with magnolias."
Spooky Stories To Curl Up With This Halloween
Happy Halloween everyone!
It’s that time of year where it gets dark a little earlier, things go bump in the night, and little ghouls and goblins wander the streets in search of sugary treats. Okay, these days it’s more like little Iron Mans and Pop Stars…but kids are out there treading through crisp fall leaves getting sugared up on Snickers Minis nonetheless. It’s also the season of ghost stories! And I’ve got a few that I find particularly enjoyable this time of year…
Cranks, Crack-pots, and Martians
"I suppose that by this time you have received many letters from numerous cranks and crack-pots who quickly became jitterbugs during the program. I was one of the thousands who heard this program and:
- did not jump out of the window,
- did not attempt suicide,
- did not break my arm while beating a hasty retreat from my apartment,
- did not anticipate a horrible death,
- did not hear the Martians “rapping on my chamber door”,
- did not see the monsters landing in war-like regalia in the park across the street…”
—Letter dated November 1, 1938, from J. V. Yaukey of Aberdeen, South Dakota, to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the evening of October 30, 1938.
75 years ago on October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, Not everyone took to the streets however, and many, like the writer of this letter, felt that others were overreacting.
via Prologue: "Jitterbugs" and "Crack-pots" Letters to the FCC about the “War of the Worlds” Broadcast
Google Honors Edith Head, Oscar-Winning Costume Designer
Happy 116th Birthday Edith Head!
She passed away in 1981, shortly after working on her last film, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, which required repurposing styles from 1930s and 1940s pictures. According to Turner Classic Movies, she joked to director Carl Reiner, ”I guess I’ve come full circle when I design the exact dress for Steve Martin that I did for Barbara Stanwyck. He looks very funny in it, doesn’t he?”
"A literary influence is never just a literary influence. It’s also an influence in the way you see everything—in the way you feel your life."
Revisiting ‘Jane Eyre’ on the 166th (+1 day) Anniversary of its Publishing
Yesterday, I came across an article in the Huffington Post listing the lessons learned from Charlotte Bronte’s classic, Jane Eyre. They also mentioned that the novel was published 166 years ago that day, so I thought I’d revisit my review of the 1943 film adaptation starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. As you can tell from the original title, I was not the biggest fan of this over-dramatic retelling of a classic tale…
Jane Eyre: How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Bildungsroman
Who doesn’t love a gothic love story set on the windswept moors of England? No, not Wuthering Heights. The other Bronte novel—Jane Eyre. If anyone knew how to tell a darn good tale of long-suffering love it was those Bronte sisters.
Jane Eyre is rife with 19th century melodrama….a governess and her brutish employer falling in love on a lonely estate complete with a terrifying (psychotic) ex-wife in the attic.
Hollywood looks at the story of this Plain Jane governess and gets really excited….