link to my latest post on Open Space, the SFMOMA blog. It's about the artist talks and conversation of Catherine Lord and Moyra Davey at UC Berkeley last month. It was a difficult piece to write in that I wanted it to be both straightforward and nonconventional, and I wanted to talk about Charlotte Brontë's Villette, which I finally finished, and which seemed to fit intuitively but in no way rationally with the work of Lord and Davey. So, technically, it was a difficult maneuver, and I'm happy with how I managed it. I sent the link to the article to both Davey and Lord, and Davey wrote back that she'd just finished reading Villette. This marvelous coincidence I consider a Charlotte Brontë miracle.
The Secret of Charlotte Brontë, by Frederika Macdonald, which was published in 1914. I'm reading a facsimile edition by the University of Toronto I bought on Amazon for $20.99. The text can also be downloaded for free, but I found that version to be rather difficult to read. Anyway, Macdonald was a student at the school in Brussels that Brontë based the location of Villette on—17 years after Brontë studied there, and she studied with the same professor, Constantin Héger, that Brontë fell in love with and based Lucy Snowe's love interest on. Macdonald's interpretations of Brontë's hopeless, unrequited love for a married man are fascinating. She sees it as a noble passion, citing the theory that unrequited love is a noble love because it asks nothing for itself—plus any passion that could inspire Brontë's creative genius has to be noble. I'm oversimplifying like crazy here, but Macdonald goes on and on about it, and I love it.