Literary Analyses

Agatha Whiskey by Colleen Mullaney (+ a Q & A with the author)

From the author of Gin Austen, Colleen Mullaney’s new book, Agatha Whiskey, is a delicious and mysterious collection of cocktails and mocktails. 

The perfect gift for mystery fans, Agatha Christie fans, amateur mixologists, and anyone who wants a fun drink to sip on all year round.

A celebration of Christie’s timeless murder mysteries, killer short stories, suspenseful plays, and unmatched characters—with cocktails that are so tantalizingly delicious, it must be a crime. Read More→

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The Chosen Place, The Timeless People by Paule Marshall (1969)

The Chosen Place, The Timeless People, was the second full-length novel by Paule Marshall (1929 – 2019). Following her first novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959), she published a collection of four novellas in Soul Clap Hands and Sing (1961).

In its recognition of the intersectionality of race, class, and colonialism,The Chosen Place, The Timeless People was ahead of its time.

A New York Times reviewer called it “the best novel to be written by an American Black woman” when it was published in 1969. Such praise sounds patronizing in the present day, but let’s discount the reviewer’s limitations and focus on the recognition the comment represented. Read More→

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Walking with Anne Brontë: Insights and Reflections

Walking with Anne Brontë: Insights and Reflections (edited by Tim Whittome, 2023) makes a passionate case for elevating the youngest of the Brontë sisters to her rightful place in English literature.

A collection of essays and personal reflections by Anne Brontë scholars and aficionados, this book will go a long way to the understanding and appreciation of Anne’s fortitude as a woman and her genius as a writer.

The following is excerpted from Tim Whittome’s Introduction to Walking with Anne Brontë, reprinted with permission. Read More→

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The Impressive Lessons of Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (1847)

This insightful analysis of Agnes Gray by Anne Brontë (1847) discusses the significance of the first novel by the youngest Brontë sister (1820 – 1949).

Originally published in the Brontë Society Transactions (now titled Brontë Studies, Volume 21, 1993). Reprinted by permission of Timothy Whittome (Walking with Anne Brontë, 2023). 

“It leaves no painful impression on the mind — some may think it leaves no impression at all.” Thus wrote one reviewer in the Atlas on January 22, 1848. I suspect that few of Anne Brontë’s readers would easily sympathize with this view, and it is the purpose of this essay to illustrate why I disagree with the Atlas. Read More→

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Literary Spinsters: The Single Heroine in 19th-Century Literature

Female protagonists in 19th-century novels were customarily used to facilitate the marriage plot. So the single woman, then commonly referred to as a spinster, wasn’t traditionally given heroine status. Here we’ll look at the concept of literary spinsters, and how they presaged the New Woman novels of the early twentieth century.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the single heroine begins to emerge in her own right. Some authors began to challenge the marriage plot and experiment with single female protagonists. Giving the single woman agency in the novel helped alter the traditional narrative trajectory for heroines.

Before the twentieth century, single female protagonists in novels were typically young and socially or financially powerless until “rescued” by marriage. Read More→

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