Tuesday, September 20, 2011
How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
So I've been reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I am totally hooked. I'm just never swept away in quite the same way as I am when I read a Victorian novel. And its fabulous to be discovering a new Bronte sister. I mean, I've known of Ann, of course, I just haven't gotten around to reading any of her stuff until now. And its wonderful. I thought she was going to be much more cerebral and much less emotional then her sisters. She is definitely more sensible, realistic, and wry, but the emotion is just as strong. She can be quite hilarious as well.
Here's what's gotten me thinking: Jane Eyre does hold a very special place in my heart, as does Villette. But why is Ann the sister who has been historically brushed aside when the other competition is Wuthering Heights? Why has history chosen to emphasize one and not the other? Especially when Emily only wrote the one, and its not as good anyway? This is of course my personal biased opinion, and I'm not trying to discredit or invalidate Wuthering Heights. It is a beautiful book and for certain readers packs quite a hefty emotional punch, which is why it has stuck around for so long. What I'm trying to say here, is that I wonder why Ann is the one who has been brushed aside when she's just as good a writer as Charlotte and (*ahem* better than *ahem*) Emily?
Bit of a rant, but really the broader question is this: how do we want to be remembered and how do we create that legacy for ourselves? I'm sure much of it we can't help, and is just up to chance and history. I mean, its not like Ann would have chosen to be Bronte the Lesser. I think all we can do is create the best work we can, work hard at everything else, and hope for the best.
Me? I want to be remembered as an author who tried to show that its not easy or naive, but honorable and okay to be happy. That there is truth and beauty. That good art leads to faith and faith is power. Faith in ourselves individually and collectively, but also faith in something larger than ourselves. Like truth and beauty.
How do you want to be remembered?