Jessica Duffin Wolfe

October 31, 2013

Staring at Ghosts

It is Halloween and I am writing a lecture about Wuthering Heights. To that end, here is Branwell Brontë’s 1834 painting of his sisters. Look at them gazing out weirdly at us—or at—what? Why are they all looking off in such strange directions? Who on earth are they looking at? Obviously they are staring at ghosts. Branwell’s weak abilities as a painter here get at something real about the people he knew best.


October 11, 2013

Nation Chuffed by Nobel Win

wrote about Alice Munro and her Nobel Prize for The Toronto Review of Books:

“When a young English professor taught us about Munro in 2002 he read us this passage from her 1990 story “Friend of My Youth.” Normally shy and quiet, he grew more and more animated as he went. When he came to the end he banged his fist on his desk and shrieked “and that is why Canadian literature consistently wins more prizes than any other national literature in the world!””


Read the full piece.

September 26, 2013

Jane Austen’s Guffaw

I wrote something for The Toronto Review of Books about the David Gilmour wretchedness that erupted yesterday:

Yesterday we learned from David Gilmour that being in conversation with “a young woman” means one doesn’t need to take one’s words seriously—but then Gilmour also taught us that literary “seriousness” is just for straight white dudes. Education’s great, eh? I can hear Jane Austen guffawing into a carefully hemmed sleeve in the sky. […] Hearing about Gilmour’s terrible perspective has at least given us a chance to push forward a better conversation about what it means to read well, honestly, widely, ethically, and about what it should mean to “teach literature.”

Full post is here.

June 1, 2013

My Mother’s Miraculous New Book

My scientist-atheist mother was witness to a miracle, and as a child I helped her chase saints from Rome to the Bronx to Grace Street in Toronto. After twenty-five years of miracle-hunting, now the book is out, and we are very excited about it.

Medical Saints (Oxford, 2013), by Jacalyn Duffin

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