Category Archives: Johnny Gruelle

Happy World Book Day! (What’s on your Night Stand?)

Super quick post to wish you all a Happy World Book Day!

So here’s my quick reader’s quiz for you…

  • What YOU are reading today (What’s on your night stand)?
  • Who is  your favorite author?
  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • What’s your favorite series?
  • What was / is your favorite book as a child?
  • What genre of literature do you gravitate you?
  • Bound / paper or e-book? And why?
  • Where is your favorite place to read?
  • What’s the one thing that keeps you from reading?
  • AND… what / who do you wish some one would write a book about?

Here, in no particular order, are some of the books we’ve looked at over the last 9 months on ritaLOVEStoWRITE…

tolkien books

Tolkien’s perfect trilogy.

2006 edition of Brave New World published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics

2006 edition of Brave New World published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fourth edition of The American Language is still available on Amazon.com.

The fourth edition of The American Language is still available on Amazon.com.

The Shel Silverstein collection "borrowed" from the shelves of an obliging independent brick and mortar bookstore, Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The Shel Silverstein collection “borrowed” from the shelves of an obliging independent brick and mortar bookstore, Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Cover of Wives and Daughters. [ Image courtesy:  Amazon.com]

Cover of Wives and Daughters. [ Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

Anne Tyler 3 books

The Anne Tyler trifecta

Milne House at Pooh Corner1000

Classic Winnie the Pooh

Anansi Boys

I’m reading Gaiman’s Neverwhere now, but I blogged about Anansi Boys a little while ago.

Tweedeedle

Tweedeedle by Johnny Gruelle (of Raggedy Anne fame)

Dune cover art [Image courtesy: Book Wit]

Dune cover art [Image courtesy: Book Wit]

Complete set of the seven books of the Harry P...

Complete set of the seven books of the Harry Potter series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

[Image courtesy: Goucher Library. Photo by: ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

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Clearly I’ve got a thing for the classics and children literature. [Interesting I have no problem airing my eclectic musical taste for all the blogosphere to see, but when it comes to books I hide my paperbacks in the closest… what’s up with that? The fact is I don’t read ENOUGH, or at least — I don’t read as much as I’d like. Maybe I should take a pledge on this World Book Day to READ MORE! But would that mean I’d have to blog less? Hmmmm.]

 

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Pride and Prejudice characters: Charlotte and Mr. Collins

Charlotte & Collins

For a woman who came from a family of clergymen — her father, two brothers and four cousins wore a collar — Jane Austen certainly enjoys poking fun at them in her novels. And Pride and Prejudice’s  Mr. Collins is her most ridiculous clerical caricature. How on earth does sensible Charlotte wind up with such a buffoon?

A clergyman was a professional, just like a lawyer or doctor. He made his living in the pulpit, not at the bar or in the examining room, but he still needed to be a well educated man. Add to that a vicar needed have a high moral standard, be a good speaker and have compassion for the poor and needy.

David Bamber is Mr. Collins  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

David Bamber is Mr. Collins in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Instead we get conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly, self important Mr. Collins. He is a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, a social climber with a very good opinion of himself and his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

He comes to Meryton to visit the Bennets. As closest male relative he is set to inherit the Longbourn estate on Mr. Bennet’s death. That is something, to his credit, that he feels some guilt over. So he decides to marry one of the five Bennet sisters. Jane is all but engaged to Mr. Bingley so he sets his sites on Lizzie.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Poor Lizzie receives two of the worst proposals  of marriage in literature. The first is from Mr. Collins. He wants to get married because:

  1.  as a clergyman it would set a good example to the parish.
  2.  it will add to his happiness.
  3.  it is “the particular advice “ of Lady Catherine.
  4.  he has a violent affection for Elizabeth

Of course he doesn’t expect a rejected. For one thing he’s SUCH a catch, and for another he’s chosen well. The girls are desperate and he has them in a corner.

He literally can not believe that she declines his offer. Neither can her mother. And for a while Longbourn is long born with strife.

Queue Charlotte.

Charlotte Lucas is plain, pragmatic, good-tempered, funny, sensible, intelligent and unromantic.  She is 27 years old and Lizzie’s intimate friend. She’s such a good friend, in fact, that she comes to the rescue when Lizzie refuses Mr. Collins. She keeps him in good humor by listening to him and, one assumes, diverts him, making sure he’s out of ear shot of the shouting Mrs. Bennet and the giggling Lydia and Kitty.

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lizzie thanks her friend,  but “Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; — its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” With a little encouragement on her part Mr. Collins transfers his ‘violent affections’ form one lady to the next and…

”In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both… he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men… and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.”

Lizzie is surprised that Mr. Collins could so quickly change his mind  and settle on another life partner. But she is astonished that Charlotte could accept his proposal.  Charlotte reminds her however that she is…

”not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”

In some ways Charlotte winds up in same situation as Mr. Bennet in the marriage department. Neither of them respect or love their partners. And both do what they can in daily life to avoid interacting with their spouses Mr. Bennet shuts the door to his library, while Charlotte sits in her parlor and encourages Mr. Collins to work with his bees or visit Lady Catherine.

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

At the end of the novel Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins informing him that — despite warning to the contrary by both Collins and Lady Catherine — Lizzie and Darcy are soon to marry. Mr. Bennet advises Mr. Collins to  “Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.” If Mr. Collins heeds this wise advice he’d shift his alliance to Darcy who would never put up with the vicar’s toady behavior. That, combined with Charlotte’s even handed temper–which (hopefully) would rub off on Collins–MIGHT make him a more tolerable fool.

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Here’s a clip of the wonderful Julia Cho and Maxwell Glick in a scene from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…


Johnny Gruelle 12.24.12 Thought of the Day

“What is all the racket about? Did you put red pepper on the lollypops?'”
— Johnny Gruelle

JohnnyGruelle01

John Barton Gruelle was born on this day in Arcola, Illinois, USA in 1880. Today is the 132nd anniversary of his birth.

Gruelle followed his father, Richard Gruelle, into Art. But, while Richard Gruelle was a member of the acclaimed Hoosier Group and produced beautiful American Impressionist landscapes and portraits, Johnny’s art took on a more commercial side. He was a prolific political cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book author in the early 20th Century. But he is best known for creating Raggedy Ann and Andy.

His career started in newspapers.

In 1901 the 20-year-old Gruelle landed his first newspaper job, at the gossipy Indianapolis tabloid, the People. There he worked for several months creating rough-hewn “chalk-plate” portraits. [Johnny Gruelle, Inspired Illustrator by Patricia Hall]

He worked for several paper, both in black and white and  color, and

would turn out as many as ten cartoons each week, his style steadily growing more expert and refined. [Ibid]

000

Mr. Twee Deedle

Before Raggedy Ann came out he  produced a popular cartoon for the New York Herald, Mr. Twee Deedle. It ran from 1911 to 1914. That brought commissions for children’s books. He wrote and Illustrated All about Cinderella, and illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Nobody’s Boy, All About Hansel and Grethel, All About the Little Small Red Hen and  Sunny Bunny.

Rapunzel, from the 1914 Cupples & Leon edition...

Rapunzel, from the 1914 Cupples & Leon edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, illustrated by Johnny Gruelle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His daughter Marcella found an old rag doll in the attic of their family home and, after cleaning it up, Gurell painted a face on it and gave it to the girl. He created stories and adventures about the doll and incorporated other toys in Marcella’s nursery. Marcella loved the doll, Raggedy Ann, and the folk-lore her father built around it.  And Gruelle thought other children might like the stories too.

The original patient for Raggedy Ann

The original patient for Raggedy Ann

He patented the doll in 1915 and worked with the PF Volland publishing company in Chicago to put out Raggedy Ann Stories in 1918.

The Raggedy Ann and Andy stories are similar in structure to the more modern Toy Story movies. The dolls and toys have full, adventurous lives when the humans aren’t looking. But, the second the humans enter the room all the dolls are back in place, just where they were left.

Raggedy Anne and Andy's adventures are available on Project Guttenberg at www.guttenber.org

Raggedy Anne and Andy’s adventures are available on Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org

Gruelle’s beloved Marcella, his daughter and muse, died in his arms from diphtheria when she was 13. He was heartbroken and could only find comfort from her old rag doll. He continued to write Raggedy Ann stories in tribute to Marcella for the rest of his life, capturing with each joy-filled illustration the little girl he lost.

Marcella plays with Raggedy Ann.

Marcella plays with Raggedy Ann.

His writing and illustrating career flourished. He went on to draw and create stories for books, magazines and newspapers, until his death in 1938.


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