June 14, 2018
Which is your fave Charlotte Bronte book? You would say that she wrote only one book – Jane Eyre. But this is not true. She is little known for a book called Villette, a book far superior to the one she is known for. Joanna Russ talks about the dangers of restricting the gamut of female achievement. For one thing, by recognizing one book over others it reflects what perpetuates the stereotype. While Jane Eye is ultimately a love story, Villette is not.
“If a woman writes homosexual love poetry, suppress it and declare her an unhappy spinster—Amy Lowell.
If you still have trouble, invent an (unhappy) heterosexual affair for her to explain the poems—Emily Dickinson.
If she is not easy to edit, writes ten-act plays about women going to war to rescue their men, plays about women’s academies becoming more popular than men’s academies, and endless prefaces about men, women, sexist oppression, and the mistreatment she herself endures, forget it; she’s cracked—Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle.
If she writes about women’s relationships with women and “women heroes” (in Hacker’s phrase), print a few of her early lyrics and forget the rest—H. D.
If she writes about women’s experiences, especially the unpleasant ones, declare her hysterical or ‘confessional’—Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton.”
Nowadays what was once the status quo is being disrupted at every turn. Tim Whitmarsh
the A G Leventis Professor of Greek culture at the University of Cambridge brings to our attention the “controversy” of the skin-color of the ancient Greeks. DId Achilles resemble Brad Pitt? Probably not.
The author investigates the nature of Achilles’s appearance and here he takes linguistic cues to decode skin tone and hair color. Not that the Greeks would straight jacket themselves in this way;
“The presence, in at least some early Greeks’ minds, of black Africans on the battlefield at Troy, however, might be thought sharply to reduce the possibility that the Greek forces themselves included warriors whom we would call black today. The big question, of course, is whether we can say anything about what Greeks themselves looked like. Here we have to tread especially carefully, because there are a lot of traps. People often and very easily refer to ancient Greeks as ‘European’, as if the meaning of that term were self-evident. But ‘Europe’ is a historical construct, not a fact of nature.”
Read Black Achilles for more.