It’s safe to say that October hasn’t been my most productive month with regards to blogging. I’m not participating in Victober as a new job has taken up most of my time, as has the essay I’m desperately trying to write on Charlotte’s juvenilia. Vanity Fair, the monumental and magnificent novel by William Thackeray (a literary hero of Charlotte) has also stolen a few hours of my life. Add to this the three books I’ve been asked to review for the wonderful Juvenilia Press, and you can maybe understand why I’ve been slacking in the blogging department. However, although I’ve not had much time this month, I can always make time for the Brontës. So why haven’t I?
Well, to put it bluntly, I had my first real experience of trolling this month and it left a slightly sour taste in my mouth and dampened my enthusiasm for sharing my thoughts and ideas. This is meant to be a fun and light hearted blog celebrating all things Brontë, but I guess the troll didn’t pick up on that, or possibly they thought their mind was superior to my own (their blogging name was rather telling) and decided to put me in my place. In the past people have disagreed with my ideas and opinions (mainly about Branwell), and let me know, but none have attacked me on a personal level, and none have had the audacity to state that I’m insulting readers with my thoughts. Until this month. Step forward a troll who felt the need to leave snotty and uneducated comments about several of my posts, and seemingly without actually bothering to read them, either thoroughly or at all. I don’t like the idea of deleting anybody’s comments on my posts because I love having a platform through which I am able to express my thoughts, and others are able to respond to them. However, I will absolutely get rid of anything insulting or threatening, as I did in this case.
I am extremely grateful to everybody who takes the time to read and comment on my posts, even those who disagree with me, but I’m not going to tolerate personal attacks. I’m not going to engage with or reply to anything of this nature, it’s just going to be deleted. My own little troll has taught me a lot about the nastier side of blogging though, and I am genuinely grateful for that. These comments have since been deleted due to the fact that this person got very shouty (lots of capitals) when assuring me that my opinions were wrong, they accused me of insulting readers’ intelligence, and didn’t actually bother to read the posts they were commenting on.
First of all, my opinions are my own, and I have taken great care never to present my views as facts on this blog site, so maybe I should say that this person is a troll in my humble opinion and this is not a concrete fact. Secondly, I’m not entirely sure whether the troll thought I was insulting the intelligence of my readers or readers of the Brontës, but seriously, why would I do either of these things? I’m a Brontë lover who blogs about the Brontës, and whose readers also love the Brontës. Thirdly, comments were made about the material discussed in posts that I had already mentioned IN THE POSTS (I can do shouty too). The troll clearly neglected to read the posts which I think says a lot about them.
I’m constantly inspired by all of the Brontës, especially Charlotte, who is absolutely “my Brontë”. Following this incident, I was sorely tempted just to walk away and abandon blogging but instead I asked myself what Charlotte would do in this situation. And then I reminded myself exactly what Charlotte did do in this situation, and how she refused to give up and give in. She continued to write throughout her teens and into adulthood despite the pressures to get an education and then to find a suitable career. She famously ignored the advice of Poet Laureate, Robert Southey who (more kindly than history remembers) instructed her to abandon her writing because “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life”, she didn’t give up when Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell failed to set the world on fire, nor when The Professor was repeatedly rejected for publication. She also didn’t give up writing even in the face of personal tragedy. Charlotte was gutsy, determined, and driven, and for that I adore and admire her more than I can say. I’ve had an incredible response to Brontë Babe Blog this year, reached people all over the world, and come into contact with some incredibly supportive bloggers of all topics, and Brontë fans from all walks of life. I will continue to be inspired by my heroine whose “trembling little frame” housed “an independent, indomitable spirit” according to Thackeray. Reader, “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it” just like Charlotte did, and I hope you will continue this journey with me. Rest assured, I’ll be back with plenty of new posts in November.
Southey quote is taken from The Brontës: A Life in Letters edited by Juliet Barker (London: Penguin, 1997).
Thackeray quotes are taken from Charlotte Brontë: Unfinished Novels by Charlotte Brontë (Dover: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1993).
Final Brontë quote about writing is taken from Charlotte Brontë: The Self Conceived by Helen Moglen (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984).
By Nicola F. a.k.a. The Brontë Babe.
Thanks for reading. Find me on twitter @BronteBabeBlog where I tweet about books, the Brontës, and animal rights, or on my Brontë Babe Blog Facebook page. Look me up on Goodreads too. I also have a side project where I blog about my love of Classic Crime Fiction over at The Classic Crime Chonicle. I’d love it if you joined me there.
I’d also love it if you stopped by The Journal of Juvenilia Studies where you can read my essay, “Autobiography, Wish-Fulfilment, and Juvenilia. The ‘Fractured Self’ in Charlotte Brontë’s Paracosmic Counterworld”.
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