Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Literature cannot be the buisness of a woman's life"

So wrote Robert Southey, then Poet Laureate, to a Miss Charlotte Bronte who had sent her poems to him for advice. (Charlotte had even tried to hide behind an androgynous pseudonym)

Ms Bronte, all four foot nothing of her in high heels, replied and confessed that she did from time to time allow herself to think, but tried not to let it bother anyone. (And then wrote Jane Eyre which is a more than adequate reply to Southey...)

Come to think of it, Byron didn't like him either.

And so, although hardly noticed by the media over here, the British have finally appointed a woman as poet laureate and, as most commentators seem to agree, on merit, not as a token gesture.

If there is an afterlife, I hope Southey's watching.

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