Author: Jennifer Holberg, Professor of English
Books & Culture online
Emily Brontė hears dead people.
Or at least she does according to the latest entry in the Brontė family literary sweepstakes, Denise Giardina’s Emily’s Ghost. To be fair, Emily only gets all Sixth Sense-y in the beginning and ending sections of Giardina’s novel (somehow, I guess, the otherworldly presences just aren’t as convenient or necessary in the vast middle chapters of the novel). And lest the reader believe that these voices are evidence of schizophrenia or a matter of purely imaginative inner dialogue (the latter a possibility that Anne Brontė raises at one point in the novel), Giardina has her Emily affirm quite forcefully the reality of her auditory companions. What’s more, Giardina’s Emily is ardently and actively political (a Chartist, no less); strongly and nobly rebellious against everything well-established in early Victorian society; and the participant in a passionate, if unconsummated, romance. Throw in a pinch of plot elements taken from Jane Eyre and a dash of Jo March-style hair-chopping, and you begin to get the idea of the portrait of Emily Brontė this book gives us.
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Posted in: Arts & Literature
on Sep 22, 2009
In Glittering Vices, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung carefully parses the meanings and attractions of the seven deadly sins. Historically and biblically informed, her explorations lead readers to meditate on personal participation in these sins. She doesnt forget to provide a way out of these meditations. If the first part of each chapter describing one of the sinsenvy, vainglory, sloth, avarice, anger, gluttony and lustis a mirror, then the end of each chapter is a window on the other side of which is Christ, armed with the power to transform even the deadliest of vices into virtues.
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Jane Zwart, professor of English at Calvin College, reviews Toni Morrisons new novel, A Mercy, for Books and Culture magazine. "Indeed, A Mercy is a novel, to borrow from one its characters, about 'piecing together scraps' as 'a way to be in the world,' she writes. The review is part of Books and Culture's celebration of Black History Month.
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