As you may soon notice, I am a quote whore.
(My future self just came back through a crack in time and space to tell me that yes, indeed, in the future it has been established across the stars that I have a penchant for quoting -- especially when stuck on my own words and unable to create or express something meaningful... I guess it's old news, then.)
Thus I thought I'd take this opportunity to expound on my choice of header quote for this blog.
I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.
The quote is from Anne Bronte, part of the preface to the second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. For those unaware, when the Bronte sisters wrote their novels, they were all published under male pen names. This preface was written in the voice of Acton Bell, wherein 'he' explains some of the reasoning behind characters and events in the book that were seen to be shocking - namely a woman escaping her marriage to an absolute cad to save herself and her son, then trying to make a life for herself in a new town as a single mother. Horrors! (No. Really. To the Victorians that was horrific.) Other insinuations at the time had also been made that Acton and his brothers Currer and Ellis were, in fact, women (and possibly even all the same person). A fact that was never made officially public until after Acton/Anne and Ellis/Emily's deaths. While playfully not acknowledging the accusation of her gender, she points out, more accurately, succinctly and with a smidge of attitude than anyone prior to herself I have seen, that an author's gender should have no bearing on their writing or how it is judged. If a story, characters, and/or writing is good, then it is good no matter who wrote it. Because I love it so much, here is the whole paragraph:
Respecting the author's identity, I would have it to be distinctly understood that Acton Bell is neither Currer nor Ellis Bell, and therefore let not his faults be attributed to them. As to whether the name be real or fictitious, it cannot greatly signify to those who know him only by his works. As little, I should think, can it matter whether the writer so designated is a man, or a woman, as one or two of my critics profess to have discovered. I take the imputation in good part, as a compliment to the just delineation of my female characters; and though I am bound to attribute much of the severity of my censors to this suspicion, I make no effort to refute it, because, in my own mind, I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.
Preach on, dear lady.