Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday with the YA Highway

The YA Highway is an awesome blog comprised of authors from all over the world.  Every week they host Road Trip Wednesday: asking a question for bloggers to respond to and link back to their blog.  This week's question is

If you could travel back to any historical era for research purposes, which would you choose?

My answer: I pick TWO SWEEPING ERAS- 
Regency England and Victorian England, because I am obsessed with these time periods. (And here's where I go all nerd-girl on you). If I had a million dollars and didn't have to chase down old college transcripts, I would go to The University of Oxford and get my Masters in Victorian Literature. Just for the love of learning. 
a bit of light reading
Because I read books like this for fun. *side note: I actually almost did apply to Oxford a few years back, until I saw the OUT OF COUNTRY FEES! Yikes. I am still paying off my undergrad student loans- ten years after the fact!

Jane Austen- the woman, the legend
So if I had my magical time machine, first I'd go chill with this chick, my home girl Jane.

(She holds me in high esteem because of my dazzling wit). We would sit in the garden and gossip about the latest parties. I would remark how I love the style of these dresses, one really can hide a multitude of sins beneath the fabric! And then we'd get down to brass tacks.  I'd ask her how she does it.  A woman. Writing. On her own.  A single woman at that- never married.  Because that's what I really am interested in.  By the end of her short life, she had garnered respect and praise from a few male authors of her time; praise for being a worthy writer, not just a "woman novelist." Jane Austen paved the way for countless generations of women writers after her. 

Charlotte Bronte, chillin with a book
Next, I would hop in my time machine and travel to Victorian England, to visit Charlotte Bronte. (Yes, I know she spells her name using an umlaut over the last e, but I can't figure out how to do that here- so, sorry). 

Ah the Victorians.  So much going on.  The religious fervor.  The feminism.  The industrial revolution and abject poverty.  Again, a single lady.  A woman author.  I would love to pick her brain, to spend a month with her. What a brilliant intellectual.  Jane Eyre is a book I can read again and again, and each time I glean some new meaning.  Her opinions on a woman's power, worth, and autonomy were scandalously revolutionary for her day.  I LOVE IT.  And then there are her ideas on faith.  Read this, and see if it does not hold true still today.  Especially today:
"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is — I repeat it — a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them."

Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre, preface to the second edition (1847) 
quote taken from here
I especially like the part about the narrow minded doctines! Preach it sister!
Currently, I am writing an Urban Fantasy. But perhaps later in my writing career I will try my hand at a historical fiction piece.  I certainly do love this time period enough, and there were many fabulous, strong women to use as inspiration.  Hmmm.... perhaps I will think on this further.  Thanks YA Highway for the prompt!
So, where would you travel for research? 

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  1. Great choices! I definitely agree with the Victorian Era - I used to work at Sovereign Hill, this place in Australia set in the goldrush era, like an old-timey town, and dress up in those massive corsetted big-butted dresses. In summer, it was such a pain, so I'm amazed those women survived past 40! :D

  2. Oh man...I can't believe how many posts I just read, and this is the first to mention meeting Jane Austen! Such a good pick.

  3. Great choices. I now want to read JANE EYRE because that quote from the preface is awesome!

  4. I read books like that for fun, too! In fact, I might just have to check that one out. And I LOVE that quote.

  5. I'm not too sure about the Victorian era. It was all about the men in those days. There's something about the era though, that's undeniably romantic. Maybe it was the big butt dresses? ;)

  6. Nathalie, I know what you mean. It WAS all about the men- which is why I love these women so much more. Plus, I probably wouldn't need a bustle- I could fill out a big but dress on my own- I travel with "natural padding"

    HOORAY for everyone loving the quote! It just made me love Charlotte that much more.

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  8. Heather- you'll have to let me know what you think of Jane Eyre. It's deep- but SOOOOO worth it! If you're ever up for killing about 4 hours- the Masterpiece Theater Jane Eyre (2006) is BRILLIANT! The actress who played Lucy in the Narnia movies plays the young Jane. So wonderful.

    "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."
    - Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (I cried at this part in the book/movie- you'll see why)