Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: experience of your reading, themes & research question

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    5

    experience of your reading, themes & research question

    Hello,

    Sorry if this thread looks like my other one.
    I'm French and I have recently became really interested in Brönte's books but also Jane Austen (and many other British writers).
    I'm very into literature and next school year I have to handle out a sort of big French essay (about 70 pages), with a reserach question, on a book of my choice. I have to give my professor 2 choices: my choice is to work both on Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice.

    I've read Pride and Prejudice as the time was passing by I became awar that I am not really able to find a research question (that I will answer quoting and analyzing the text) that would be interesting enough for this work. I've first thought about working on women in this book and their role, but I was told that it is too "classic". I also thought about working on wedding but once again I was refused because it is too vast and not original enough for many persons worked on this subject. The same things occurs with the research question I found that dealt with "dance" and the one that dealt with "dance and the body". Besides, my professor does not want me to work on the era, even if he agrees with me working on the literature movement. I'm very into stylistics analysis and narratology so I thought about working on something in connexion with that but I cannot manage to get something satisfying enough...
    Now, I've run out of ideas.

    Do you have any ideas? Maybe there's something in the book you think more interesting to study...?

    Best regards and thank you in advance for your answers!

    P.D.: Sorry for my English and all the mistakes I may have made.

  2. #2
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Posts
    1,187
    I'm so sorry nobody has answered. I'm not an academic and I can't give useful advice. I hope somebody comes along soon (although I have a vague idea that French and American academic study tends to move along different lines.)

    Good luck. (I've never got into Wuthering Heights despite reading twice. Love Jane Austen, though.)
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  3. #3
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Saarburg, Germany
    Posts
    3,105
    Hmm...

    I remember I once thought that Austen wrote in a kind of 'French' way, but for the life of me, I can't now remember why. I can no longer feel it... Maybe you could do something with that?
    Austen isn't very symbolic, apart from how she describes Pemberley, which coincides with Darcy himself. Other than that there is well-nigh nothing in P&P.
    However, English wit might be a good one? How does it work? It works a bit like Cyrano de Bergerac (the epitome of French wit) and back in the days it was highly praised. Insulting someone without really insulting them is kind of an art.

    WH is maybe more French in set-up though... I mean, well-nigh all films I have seen and books I have read in French deal with some kind of thing that happened in the past (known or not known to the viewer or reader) that carries on having consequences at the time the story plays. And WH has that quality as well. It's a story of revenge, not unlike The Count of Monte Cristo. It's quite grizzly, but the stories are also quite uplifting the end, although that's probably Romanticism for you. Zola and Balzacs stuff doesn't end that well...
    You could do something about supernatural stuff in WH, but that's been done at length before. The weather... been done before as well.

    What way would you like to go though?
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  4. #4
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Reading, England
    Posts
    1,965
    Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights are contrasting books. Maybe you could do something on how the wild weather and landscape of Wuthering Heights corresponds to the wild behaviour of the characters, and the serene countryside of south of England corresponds with the characters in that book. That is probably a cliché too.

    There is rather a lot in both books about entailed properties, i.e. who inherits the property and the estate. It is quite complex but I do not know if you can get 70 pages out of it.

    Maybe you could do something on what it meant to be a gentleman.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  5. #5
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Saarburg, Germany
    Posts
    3,105
    Oh, yes, there was some interesting speculation about entailment in WH from you, Kev!

    But maybe that goes with the problem of not wanting anything to do with the timeframe...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  6. #6
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Posts
    1,187
    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Maybe you could do something on what it meant to be a gentleman.
    That's a fascinating subject. Thackery and Trollope thought "being a gentleman" was the ultimate virtue, although they are highly critical of people who do not live up to the moral standards of their social position. Dickens scorns the idea - Sam Weller at Bath.

    Austen is ambiguous. When Lady Catherine tells Lizzie that she and Darcy are socially incompatible, Lizzie replies "He is a gentleman. I am a gentleman's daughter." Lizzie does not take the line that social position does not matter. (The servants in Austen never figure as characters, in contrast to most novelists of the time. She doesn't patronise them by treating them as comic relief. Reminds me of Racine.)

    Then Lady Catherine comes back: "But what about your mother?". Lady Catherine's point is that Mrs Bennet isn't a lady. And we know she has a point in that Mrs Bennet is insufferably vulgar. There is the irony that Lady Catherine is no better.

    That is probably more of a muddle than a help.
    Last edited by Jackson Richardson; 07-28-2015 at 04:27 AM.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    5
    Thank you for your answers JonathanB! You're right, French and American academic studies are not really working the same way.
    As for your second post, it is indeed an intersting subject, I will put this one in the list to send to my professor Thank you for the quotations and explainations that make the idea more accurate !
    Do not worry, this is helpful! Thank you!
    Last edited by Rosierock82; 07-27-2015 at 06:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post

    WH is maybe more French in set-up though... I mean, well-nigh all films I have seen and books I have read in French deal with some kind of thing that happened in the past (known or not known to the viewer or reader) that carries on having consequences at the time the story plays. And WH has that quality as well. It's a story of revenge, not unlike The Count of Monte Cristo. It's quite grizzly, but the stories are also quite uplifting the end, although that's probably Romanticism for you. Zola and Balzacs stuff doesn't end that well...
    You could do something about supernatural stuff in WH, but that's been done at length before. The weather... been done before as well.

    What way would you like to go though?
    Thank you for your Post Kiki1982 and for taking the time to write such a long message!
    I agree with you, WH has from a narratological point a view some similarities with French literature. Maybe that can make a subject .... I have to think about it ...
    Thank you for telling me about what has already been done before, I will avoid those subject then.

    I actually would like to find a subject that would imply some stylistic analysis and narratological studies to enhance or highlight a particular theme of the book. Maybe I can work on how the reader may react while reading the book. The thing is that it may be too philosophical...

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Maybe you could do something on what it meant to be a gentleman.
    Good idea!! Thank you very much! I will add this one to the list of subjects I want to work on, that I have to send to my professor.

    As for weather and landscape it is indeed probably too cliché for many works has already been done on this subject.
    The idea of "entailed properties" is a good one, but unfortunately, I think I won't be able to wrote a 70 pages essay on this :/

    Thank you very much for all your ideas!

  10. #10
    Registered User Iain Sparrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    xxxxx
    Posts
    548
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosierock82 View Post
    Good idea!! Thank you very much! I will add this one to the list of subjects I want to work on, that I have to send to my professor.

    As for weather and landscape it is indeed probably too cliché for many works has already been done on this subject.
    The idea of "entailed properties" is a good one, but unfortunately, I think I won't be able to wrote a 70 pages essay on this :/

    Thank you very much for all your ideas!
    I think you risk boring your professor to tears, either by exploring what it means to be a gentlemen, the English countryside, or the narrative/stylistic qualities of the books in question. It seems to me that Wuthering Heights is nothing shy of a rebuke of both Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. The two books are more than merely contrasting works. You may not be aware that Emily's sister, Charlotte, could not stand Jane Austen or understand the affection readers had for her novels, and made no bones about it. That sentiment would most certainly have filtered down to Emily, and I think had a profound effect on Wuthering Heights. After all what is Pride and Prejudice, really, it's what we today would call a "costume drama". You may want to approach the two novels as adversaries, dark against light, masculine against feminine.

  11. #11
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Posts
    1,187
    Quote Originally Posted by Iain Sparrow View Post
    After all what is Pride and Prejudice, really, it's what we today would call a "costume drama".
    That is totally misleading. The popular movies of Austen certainly have the appeal of costume drama, but she hardly ever describes clothes in any detail (in contrast to Dickens or Balzac who spend a page describing what a character is wearing.) Her novels are all firmly set in the present (her present, not Iain Sparrow’s) and the social mileu she knew. Dialogue not description is the stuff of her narrative (there’s a subject there).

    The movies have lead her to being popularly viewed as romantic – girl in pretty frock falls in love with man. But for me her appeal is that she is the very opposite of romantic. Feelings are not the ultimate test of value. In the age of Byron and Shelley, she preferred Dr Johnson, Crabbe and Pope (and so do I).

    You could contrast romanticism in the two books.
    Last edited by Jackson Richardson; 07-28-2015 at 04:26 AM. Reason: added mileu
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  12. #12
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Posts
    1,187
    Emily Bronte and Jane Austen are almost as different as possible but they have two very unFrench characteristics.

    ONE They were both women novelists. Apart from Georges Sand (whose work I’ve never seen in print) I am not aware of any French C19 women novelists (or indeed Russian ones), whereas in Britain they included some of the most distinguished writers.

    TWO They were the daughters of clergymen brought up in the vicarage. This meant they were in an odd social position – on a level with the gentry (and from typically more literate and cultured homes) but not necessarily altogether part of them - Emily Bronte definitely thought of herself as an outsider and Jane Austen takes a notably ironic view of social status while fully accepting social position carries responsibility. Charlotte Lucas has more social status as a knight’s daughter than a clergyman’s wife.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  13. #13
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Reading, England
    Posts
    1,965
    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    Emily Bronte and Jane Austen are almost as different as possible but they have two very unFrench characteristics.

    ONE They were both women novelists. Apart from Georges Sand (whose work I’ve never seen in print) I am not aware of any French C19 women novelists (or indeed Russian ones), whereas in Britain they included some of the most distinguished writers.

    TWO They were the daughters of clergymen brought up in the vicarage. This meant they were in an odd social position – on a level with the gentry (and from typically more literate and cultured homes) but not necessarily altogether part of them - Emily Bronte definitely thought of herself as an outsider and Jane Austen takes a notably ironic view of social status while fully accepting social position carries responsibility. Charlotte Lucas has more social status as a knight’s daughter than a clergyman’s wife.
    Both of them are rather critical of clergymen in their books. I was a little surprised Emily Bronte was quite so critical of religion. All her religious characters were sanctimonious and hypocritical. Her hero and heroine weren't interested in going to heaven. iirc the only clergyman or particularly religious character in P&P was Mr Collins, who was not a particularly spiritual person.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  14. #14
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Saarburg, Germany
    Posts
    3,105
    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Both of them are rather critical of clergymen in their books. I was a little surprised Emily Bronte was quite so critical of religion. All her religious characters were sanctimonious and hypocritical. Her hero and heroine weren't interested in going to heaven. iirc the only clergyman or particularly religious character in P&P was Mr Collins, who was not a particularly spiritual person.
    It's interesting you say that.

    I seem to remember that Austen's family was reasonably well off until her father died at which point their circumstances were reduced.
    The Brontës weren't faced with that situation, but were just not very rich, I think living on about £300 a year, and their father had a curate as well (the last one was Nichols whom Charlotte married), whom he must have paid about £50 (maybe less) to help him with his parish duties.

    I read some time ago that Emily had a different way with religion than her sisters, because she was the youngest and was raised by an aunt who came to care for the children when Brontë's wife died and she passed her beliefs on to small Emily, like her Yorkshire stories. Emily was still very young at the time. She ended up having more of a 'holistic' belief (God is in everything around us) than a doctrinal one like her sisters. She kind of despised the believer who says, 'The Bible says...' So she also depicts these people as sanctimonious, because they know what the Bible says, but don't live by it, though they might think they do, like the old man in WH (I forget his name).

    Austen, conversely, deals with the social side of the clergy: how do they cope in a society that expects them to be totally devoid of worldy concerns? Trollope's Framley Parsonage deals with an ambitious clergyman who gets stung, but he comments that prime ministers, when considering a bishopric, do not only consider that a clergyman performs his duties well, he should also be able to keep his head hiigh in high society. It's whom you know, not what you do or know. The same idea is reiterated by Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes, Prime Minister! when he says that most bishops are not even religious. One of the candidates for the bishopric at issue is eligible, meaning his wife was the daughter of so-and-so. And the candidate who is the most religious they don't want or would like to put out somewhere in Wales because he's dangerous to the establishment because he's too Christian...
    Collins is the ideal country parson because he ios able to soothe Lady Catherine. If he wants to stay there in all security for life, he needs to do his weekly act and give a good sermon and primarily keep Lady Catherine sweet. In that Lady Catherine has said he should marry, he will marry so he has come to collect a wife from among his cousins.
    Last edited by kiki1982; 09-04-2015 at 09:54 AM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  15. #15
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Reading, England
    Posts
    1,965
    £300 a year was not bad for then. I seem to remember reading that Charles Dickens' father earned £70 a year. He had to go to debtor's prison at one point. In a book I am reading now, London Labour & London Poor, reports interviews of people trying to get by on 6 shillings a week!

    I could not help wondering what their father Patrick thought about his daughters' representations of the clergy. Reverend Brockenhurst (is that is name) was based on the governor of the school Charlotte attended. (Come to think of it, I wonder whether he felt bad about sending his daughters there after reading Charlotte's account of it in Jane Eyre, as well as Mrs Gaskell's in her biography of Charlotte Brontë). I wondered what he thought of Emily's heroine, Cathy, being relieved at being thrown out of heaven.

    Joseph was the old man in WH. I was amused when someone, probably Nell, reported entering Wuthering Heights to find the very pious Joseph in a sort of Elysium. He was eating oat cakes in front of a roaring fire, ignoring the cries of Linton Heathcliffe, who was probably lying in soiled sheets or hungry or thirsty.

    I have often wondered what clergymen's responsibilities actually were. If they more than writing sermons, performing weddings, funerals and baptisms. I gather they had a semi-officially recognised functions too, such as administering parish relief for the poor or governing church schools. Administering parish relief appeared to be one of Mr Elton's reponsibilities. Not everyone in Britain was part of the established church (i.e. Church of England and their Welsh, Irish and Scottish equivalents). Apart from Jews and Catholics, there were many non-conformists: Methodists, Unitarians, Congregationalists, Quakers and Baptists. I have been a little surprised to learn that actually relatively few people had much Christian faith or attended church in the C19th. I assumed that before Darwin shook so many people's religious faith, that nearly everyone was religious and believed in God. Most of the working class stayed away, especially in urban areas. Irish Catholics living in Britain were much more religious. If Church of England had semi-official responsibilities expected of them, they could not perform them for members of denominations. Relatively few people applied for Parish relief, no matter how poor.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Help: Research question
    By H&O Prod. in forum General Writing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-06-2015, 12:43 AM
  2. Urgent. I need help with my ee research question. Please
    By Jerry Pan in forum Pride and Prejudice
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-04-2015, 06:01 PM
  3. Is reading world literature only in english a true experience?
    By Max Ernst in forum General Literature
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 02-01-2015, 08:21 AM
  4. How does knowing about an author damage reading experience?
    By dark desire in forum General Literature
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 06-12-2012, 10:14 AM
  5. Research Question
    By sean78 in forum The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-12-2008, 09:58 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •