This is a poem that I found tucked into a copy of Waiting for Godot at the library. Isn’t it lovely? I thought it was such a nice little surprise when I saw it. Just to see another person’s handwriting in this digital age is enough to make me happy!
A while ago I finished Charlotte Brontë’s The Professor and I realized that I have now (sadly) read all of the Brontë sister’s seven novels. I thought I’d do a roundup of them all, focusing on the ones that seem to have been overlooked by most people.
Agnes Grey (1847) centers around the story of a young woman and the hardships she faces as a governess. While it’s a nice book, I have to admit that it didn’t really grab me on a deeper level. Anne Brontë’s second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), however, is one of my all-time favourite books. It tells the story of Helen Huntingdon and her unhappy marriage with the brutish drunkard Arthur Huntingdon, and her decision to finally leave him. There are parts of the book that seem so modern that it’s amazing to think that it was published 165 years ago. No wonder it caused such a stir back then. I just love how strong of a character Helen is and her determination to make her own choices in life, despite the societal pressure she faces. While most people hold up Jane Eyre as one of the ultimate feminist books of the 19th century, in my opinion The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is just as daring, if not more, because it’s so explicit in its treatment of women’s liberation. That’s why it saddens me that it’s not more widely read!
Continuing on the theme of overlooked Brontë novels, Shirley (1849) is a novel that definitely deserves more readers. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
“[...] Shirley is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.”
That sums it up pretty nicely. What I like the most about the book is the friendship between Caroline and Shirley. They are so different and live under very different circumstances but there’s so much love and admiration between them. Villette (1853) is yet another Brontë novel that’s often overlooked, unfortunately. It tells the story of Lucy Snowe who goes abroad to work as a teacher. She finds herself alone and struggling and eventually she makes the acquaintance of a peculiar schoolmaster, who is a very interesting character in my opinion. All I can say is that there’s so much passion in this book and this is something that seems to run through all of Charlotte Brontë’s novels, not the least in Jane Eyre (1847). Which is a book that I love, of course. How could you not? It’s romantic, dramatic and absolutely beautiful. So much has been said about it that I don’t think I have anything to add! Finally, The Professor (1857) is about a male teacher who goes to Belgium to work and the story then revolves around his life there as he’s trying to find his footing in life. It’s my least favourite novel by Charlotte Brontë but that’s not saying much considering how much I love her other books. What I like the most about her writing is that the characters she creates are utterly fascinating and so full of passion, with all their imperfections. You feel that they are real.
Wuthering Heights (1847) is one of those books that has been universally praised and that everybody seems to love. That’s why I had very high expectations when I finally picked it up. While it didn’t quite live up to them, it’s still a great book of course. I like the ruggedness of it and that the characters are so complex that they’re sometimes unlikable. That’s also what makes them believable.
Posted in Books
Tagged agnes grey, anne brontë, charlotte brontë, emily brontë, jane eyre, literature, shirley, the brontë sisters, the professor, the tenant of wildfell hall, victorian literature, villette, wuthering heights
This is my last post on Vienna and it’s about shopping. I just wanted to mention a very nice little shop I visited when I was there: Le Shop (located on Kirchengasse 40). It’s run by a graphic designer and it has so many lovely things for sale. I only bought some masking tape but I would definitely have bought more if I’d had more money and room in the suitcase.
Thankfully there is also an online store, which is definitely worth a visit too. I really like all the patterns and quirky drawings on the tea towels and cups.
Dash Dot Socks, €47, Tea Cup “No baby in a corner”, €14, Use my beehive Tea Towel, €15.
(All pictures are from Le Shop)
My second favourite museum in Vienna, after Belvedere, is the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM). It has such a large collection that you can easily spend several hours there without having seen half of it. Apart from the picture gallery, there is also the Egyptian and near Eastern collection, the collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the coin cabinet and the Kunstkammer (Chamber of Art). But this time I focused entirely on the picture gallery.
As you walk up the stairs to the second floor you immediately see some Gustav Klimt paintings, like the one pictured above (Egypt I, 1890/1891). He was commissioned to do them in time for the opening of the museum in 1891, in order for the walls along the staircase to be decorated. Right now there’s an exhibition where you can actually see the paintings up close via a bridge that’s been built twelve metres above the floor. A great idea because it was fun to be able to see the paintings more closely. Now for some other masterpieces from the collection:
1.) Vienna Seen from the Belvedere, 1758/1761 – Canaletto, 2.) Summer, 1563 – Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 3.) The Art of Painting, 1666/1668 – Johannes Vermeer. But to me the very best part of the museum is the section with the paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In particular these paintings:
4.) The Hunters in the Snow, 1565 , 5.) The Tower of Babel, 1563.
You can also browse through the collection at the online gallery, which I highly recommend!
(All pictures are from KHM.)
Posted in Art, Museums, Travel, Vienna
Tagged austria, canaletto, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, gustav klimt, johannes vermeer, khm, kunsthistorisches museum, museum, pieter bruegel, Vienna
I was in Vienna last week and spent a lot of time visiting museums, of course. There are so many great museums in Vienna that it’s difficult to pick a favourite, but if I had to pick one I think it would be Belvedere:
It has such a diverse collection and many of the painters featured there are not ones you usually hear very much about, so I always feel like I’m discovering something new when I’m there. Plus, the palace in itself is amazing. Not to mention the garden. Anyway, here are some of the paintings that stood out to me the most this time:
1.) Sonja Knip, 1898 – Gustav Klimt, 2.) On Corpus Christi Morning, 1857 – Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 3.) The Kiss, 1908 – Gustav Klimt, 4.) The Steamboat Landing Stage on the Danube at Kaisermühlen, 1871/1872 – Emil Jakob Schindler, 5.) Die breite Föhre nächst der Brühl bei Mödling, 1838 – Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld.
The whole collection is also available to browse through online. Very cool.
(All pictures are from belvedere.at)
Posted in Art, Museums, Travel, Vienna
Tagged art, art museum, belvedere museum, emil jakob schindler, ferdinand georg waldmüller, gustav klimt, ludwig ferdinand schnorr von carolsfeld, Vienna
Today is 4th of October which means that it’s Cinnamon roll day (“kanelbullens dag”) in Sweden. Any occasion that gives us an excuse to eat more is a good thing in my opinion, so hooray for cinnamon rolls! I was surprised to discover that the day has only been a thing since 1999 though – I thought it was a much older tradition. But either way I’m happy that it exists!
Posted in Food
Tagged cinnamon rolls
Over the holidays there were many British costume dramas shown on TV and I watched nearly all of them. It started with Lark Rise to Candleford, which takes place in the late 19th century. The narrator and main character is Laura Timmins who begins working at the post office which her aunt runs in a nearby town. In the series the inhabitants of both that town (Candleford) and the small village (Lark Rise) that Laura comes from are portrayed. I like it because it’s bright and humourous and the characters are flawed but very likable.
Then I moved on to Cranford, set in 1842-1844, which is a bit more serious than Lark Rise to Candleford but it definitely has its funny moments (a cow in a pyjamas, need I say more?). It focuses on Miss Matty Jenkyns and her circle of friends as they struggle to cope with the rapid changes in society, like when the railway arrives.
Then there’s the Jane Austen related ones, starting with the 2009 adaptation of Emma. I have to say that I was a little disappointed with it because the characters were sometimes very far from how I imagined them when reading the book. In the case of Mr Knightley it was a good thing because I actually preferred him in this TV version, but with Mr Elton and Frank Churchill it was the opposite and they were nothing like I had pictured them. But the story is so entertaining in itself that it doesn’t really matter if one or two characters are a little “off.”
With Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 adaptation, of course) I think it’s absolute perfection from start to finish. Now I get why it’s so loved and talked about. All of the actors seem so right for their roles and they’ve captured the characters incredibly well. People often mention how good Colin Firth is in the role of Mr Darcy but I think Jennifer Ehle’s Lizzy deserves a mention as well! They have such great chemistry together.
As a side note I also watched Lost in Austen, which is a twist on Pride and Prejudice. It’s about a modern-day girl who suddenly finds herself a visitor in the Bennet family (while Elizabeth is living the modern life in London). She then has to deal with being around all of her fictional heroes while trying to avoid messing up the storyline. Quite an interesting premise and parts of it were actually pretty funny.
Photos from: bbc.co.uk // Doily inspiration from Pugly Pixel