[Editor's note: In celebration of the holidays, we're spending the next two Tuesdays by counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #12, was originally published March 3rd.] Since March is Women’s History Month, we’ve been thinking a lot about the women who have had positive and lasting impacts on our lives — and perhaps not surprisingly for a bunch of literary geeks like us, we’ve realized that many of them are fictional. For all the hullabaloo about the dearth of strong female characters in modern culture, thankfully there are some wonderfully powerful, kick-ass maidens that have inspired us with their strength, self-discovery, and incredible brilliance over the years. Click through to see our list of ten of the most powerful female characters in literature, and then be sure to pipe up with your own suggestions — we’ve chosen the ten who resonate most deeply with us here, but since there are many more than ten strong ladies in literature (thank goodness), we want to know which ones blow you away on a daily basis. … Read More
If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: Charlotte Brontë’s most famous heroine, the indefatigable Jane Eyre. … Read More
Bookworms, meet your new favorite Tumblr: The Composites, a brilliant new project dreamed up by Joyland co-founder Brian Joseph Davis, takes descriptions of famous literary characters and, using law enforcement composite sketch software, creates images of what they’d presumably look like in real life. “I recognized his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw — yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake,” Jane tells us in Chapter 13 of Jane Eyre. Is this Javier Bardem lookalike what you were picturing when you first read those words?
Click through to get a better look at Mr. Rochester, and an assortment of other famous faces — from Humbert Humbert to Madame Bovary — and submit your own suggestions for characters to feature here. … Read More
Sometimes even the most literary among us need some suggestions. And who better to oblige than the authors themselves? Welcome to Bookshelf, wherein we ask authors to design us a fantasy library, giving us their recommendations for the perfect reading material on a variety of topics. This week, we are treated to a to-read list full of twisted fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi, the author of four novels (including 2009′s wonderful White is for Witching), the most recent of which, Mr. Fox, comes out this week from Riverhead Books.
We thought Oyeyemi perfect to suggest books about subversive witchery and remixed folklore, since Mr. Fox itself is in many ways a fantastic intertextual retelling of the Bluebeard tale, only here Bluebeard is a writer who keeps killing the same imaginary woman again and again. The novel also tackles the relationship between muse and artist, shows the way characters can both be and not be one another, themselves, someone else, and manages to subvert the classic fairy tale logic over and over again while still being wholly satisfying, funny, and perfectly dark. We asked Oyeyemi to suggest some of her own favorite twisted fairy tales, whether concerning wicked stepmothers, houses on chicken legs, or the king of the rats, so check out her picks after the jump and prepare to fall into another world.
Author photo by Saneesh Sukumaran. … Read More
There are many things that make us excited about the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre: For starters, it has been way too long since there was a period romance in theaters — The Young Victoria? The director is indie filmmaker Cary Fukunaga, whose debut feature, Sin Nombre, we absolutely loved. The cast includes Mia Wasikowska, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Sally Hawkins. There are beautiful shots of moody walks across even moodier moors. And most importantly, judging from the trailer, the film embraces the dark Gothic romanticism that always made us prefer Team Brontë over Team Austen.
Click through and tell us what you think. … Read More
Toronto-based company Postertext is a dream come true for bookworms who are looking for an affordable way to decorate their walls; their posters feature text from a classical work that has been arranged to depict a memorable scene. While the current offerings include AP English standards like Moby Dick and The Metamorphosis, you can also make a book request if you don’t spot something that strikes your fancy. Click through to preview a few of our favorites. … Read More
Remember when you couldn’t go to a multiplex without bumping into a Jane Austen adaptation? The mid-’90s were a veritable explosion of corseted dresses and witty courtships, from faithful period pieces like 1995′s Sense and Sensibility to 1996′s Emma to updated valley-girl translations like Clueless (1995). In 1999, a Canadian company tackled Austen’s more obscure Mansfield Park, TV viewers tuned in to countless BBC miniseries versions of her work, and the fad lasted until about 2005, when Keira Knightley starred in Pride & Prejudice.
But recently, USA Today notices, Austen’s fashionable fairy tales have begun to fall out of vogue. And it looks like this decade’s 19th-century literary It Girls will be none other than the Brontë sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre will both hit the big screen next year and a biopic is also in development. So, what gives? Why have the Brontës subsumed Austen in the pop-culture imagination? … Read More