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Shirley
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Archived Group Reads 2019 > Schedule and Background Info

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (last edited Apr 21, 2019 10:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Schedule for May 2019 Read
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

Week 1: May 5-11: Ch. 1-9
End: Briarmains

Week 2: May 12- 18: Ch. 10-17
End: School Feast

Week 3: May 19-25: Ch. 18-27
End: First Bluestocking

Week 4: May 26- 31: Ch. 28-37 (end)
End: The Winding Up

I included the title of the last chapter in each section to help with any discrepancies in versions. :)


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Thank you Renee
These are always helpful.


message 4: by Renee, Moderator (last edited Apr 21, 2019 07:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
I enjoy a little background knowledge. :)


message 5: by Renee, Moderator (last edited Apr 21, 2019 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars


message 6: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
From Shirley...

“The period of which I write was an overshadowed one in British history, and especially in the history of the northern[ Pg 26] provinces. War was then at its height. Europe was all involved therein. England, if not weary, was worn with long resistance—yes, and half her people were weary too, and cried out for peace on any terms. National honour was become a mere empty name, of no value in the eyes of many, because their sight was dim with famine; and for a morsel of meat they would have sold their birthright.

The "Orders in Council," provoked by Napoleon's Milan and Berlin decrees, and forbidding neutral powers to trade with France, had, by offending America, cut off the principal market of the Yorkshire woollen trade, and brought it consequently to the verge of ruin. Minor foreign markets were glutted, and would receive no more. The Brazils, Portugal, Sicily, were all overstocked by nearly two years' consumption. At this crisis certain inventions in machinery were introduced into the staple manufactures of the north, which, greatly reducing the number of hands necessary to be employed, threw thousands out of work, and left them without legitimate means of sustaining life. A bad harvest supervened. Distress reached its climax. Endurance, overgoaded, stretched the hand of fraternity to sedition. The throes of a sort of moral earthquake were felt heaving under the hills of the northern counties. But, as is usual in such cases, nobody took much notice. When a food-riot broke out in a manufacturing town, when a gig-mill was burnt to the ground, or a manufacturer's house was attacked, the furniture thrown into the streets, and the family forced to flee for their lives, some local measures were or were not taken by the local magistracy. A ringleader was detected, or more frequently suffered to elude detection; newspaper paragraphs were written on the subject, and there the thing stopped. As to the sufferers, whose sole inheritance was labour, and who had lost that inheritance—who could not get work, and consequently could not get wages, and consequently could not get bread—they were left to suffer on, perhaps inevitably left. It would not do to stop the progress of invention, to damage science by discouraging its improvements; the war could not be terminated; efficient relief could not be raised. There was no help then; so the unemployed underwent their destiny—ate the bread and drank the waters of affliction.”


message 7: by Renee, Moderator (last edited Apr 21, 2019 10:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Charlotte Brontë

https://www.britannica.com/biography/...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charl...


From Wikipedia...
“In 1848 Brontë began work on the manuscript of her second novel, Shirley. It was only partially completed when the Brontë family suffered the deaths of three of its members within eight months. In September 1848 Branwell died of chronic bronchitis and marasmus, exacerbated by heavy drinking, although Brontë believed that his death was due to tuberculosis. Branwell may have had a laudanum addiction. Emily became seriously ill shortly after his funeral and died of pulmonary tuberculosis in December 1848. Anne died of the same disease in May 1849. Brontë was unable to write at this time.

After Anne's death Brontë resumed writing as a way of dealing with her grief,[21] and Shirley, which deals with themes of industrial unrest and the role of women in society, was published in October 1849. Unlike Jane Eyre, which is written in the first person, Shirley is written in the third person and lacks the emotional immediacy of her first novel,[22] and reviewers found it less shocking. ”


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Renee

Bonjour, Renée,
Thank you for the bibliography, it’s very instructive.
May I join the discussion about Shirley, please?


message 9: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
So glad to have you! You always have wonderful insights to share. :) I’m already stared reading in order to prepare and finding the novel to be a thought-provoking treat.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Renee wrote: "So glad to have you! You always have wonderful insights to share. :) I’m already stared reading in order to prepare and finding the novel to be a thought-provoking treat."

And why not start and get to the heart of the matter with your excerpt so well chosen, Renée, that it inspired me!
Reading between the lines, here are my humble thoughts:
"certain inventions in machinery were introduced into the staple manufactures" was not the problem, it was only the last straw that broke the camel's back. The Luddites could have adapt without violence to a new way of doing their work… and they finally had to, it’s inevitable ― Adapt or die.
The problem, as usually, are the Politicians:
First, they act without any consideration of what the results of their actions will be ― in this case, mostly Napoléon whom wars weakened all Europe.
Second: "The throes of a sort of moral earthquake were felt heaving under the hills of the northern counties. But, as is usual in such cases, nobody took much notice."
The political authorities, whatever they are, act only if the stability of the country seems to them in danger, because therefore depends their "thrones" and comfort.
They act only if the stability of the country seems to them in danger, because on it depend their thrones and their comfort.

It's going to be fun, Renée!


message 11: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Good start to the conversation! I’m loving this book so far. I’m really interested in the history and the way it’s presented through the form of the novel.

I agree that the workers would have adjusted in time, found other work, etc. But the pressures of the Industrial Age, the Napoleonic Wars, changing trade laws certainly ratcheted up the timeframe.


message 12: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Continued from my previous comment...

But there are many examples where the workers/miners, etc. suffered great hardship during the adjustment period while learning a new trade or being unable to find new work. They suffered and their families suffered. Not just deprivations of food and comfort, but also the loss of familial and social connections if they had to move for work or take on longer hours.


message 13: by Gabrielle (last edited Apr 25, 2019 01:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Renee wrote: "Continued from my previous comment...

But there are many examples where the workers/miners, etc. suffered great hardship during the adjustment period while learning a new trade or being unable to ..."


I agree, Renée, about your point of view of the workers. Still recently in the north of France, lot of factories "disappeared" and times are as difficult for the workers who find themselves without an employment than during early 19th that C. Bronte describes. When there's suddenly no jobs in a town, houses loose their values, so you can't even sell yours to move in another town.
My point was: life would be more easy and adjustable for the people without the Politicians, whether they are kings, emperors or presidents... but I am certainly too independent, maybe anarchist? 😊


message 14: by Becky (new)

Becky Plant | 2 comments I would love to join the discussion if I may! I will pick up the book today.


message 15: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
We’d love to have you. I believe the Mutual Friend Read culminates this week. So we will start with Shirley this weekend.


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments I’ll be back from vacation just in time


message 17: by Trev (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trev | 216 comments Readers of Shirley may be interested in this recent article about 'The Shears' public house in Liversedge, West Yorkshire, which was probably well known to Charlotte Bronte due to it's historical significance and relevance to her novel.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...

It's fate is in the balance, as are two other properties in the area which are closely associated with 'Shirley.' Until recently both were open as museums, owned by the local council, but due to Government austerity cuts one has been closed down and the other has severely restricted opening times. The closed property is 'Red House' which Charlotte Bronte used as a model for Briarmains in the novel. Charlotte's friend Mary Taylor lived at Red House. The other property is Oakwell Hall, a Tudor Manor House, which is Fieldhead in Shirley. In Charlotte's time Oakwell Hall was a girl's school.

All three properties as well as other locations are close enough to be visited as part of a 'Shirley' trail but it seems a shame that both the historical significance of the novel and the locations associated with it are not being deemed important enough to be preserved.


message 18: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Thanks for the article, Trev


message 19: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee M | 1933 comments Mod
Brittany (Lady Red) wrote: "I’ll be back from vacation just in time"

So glad you can join us!


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Me too, Renee! I love Bronte!
I’ve heard Shirley is a very different type of book from her other novels, so I’m excited.


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