Many-headed Dinosaurs

I’ve been dreaming of many-headed dinosaurs. Who hasn’t? I refer, in the main, to the readership of Fjona Uu’s new novel, The Brontesaurus Sisters, but then one doesn’t like to exclude anyone who might be engaged in personally-inspired many-headed dinosaur dreaming, does one?

In all honesty, I don’t know much about these so-called Brontë Sisters. They wrote some books, I’ve heard, and were, I’m told, sisters – thus the collective title. Indeed, being related to one another seems to have ensured that they are considered, more often than not, as a group; that they are compared to, complemented alongside and in constant competition with each other. Charlotte, Anne and Emily were their actual names, but it is much easier, is it not, to simply say ‘Brontë Sisters’?

Easier, yes – but is it fair? To what extent should we allow ourselves to stuff siblings into the same categorical sandwich? No doubt the sisters shared a similar background; perhaps even more than this. Maybe they led very similar lives, who knows? Clearly I don’t. But I do wonder whether this isn’t worth a second look, this whole ‘sibling group’ thing. No?

My wife, for instance, has a sister she hasn’t seen for thirty years. They have so little in common, these two – and yet one can see how someone from the future might be tempted to compare the two. For they are, after all, sisters. They come from the same family. And what are families, ultimately, but an elementary filing system: a way of ordering this chaotic universe of ours?

As non-readers may have guessed from the title, Fjona Uu’s book imagines the three Brontë Sisters as a single entity, albeit a three-headed single entity. In short, a Brontesaurus. Imagine that: a Brontosaurus  with three heads, each representing a sister in the same family. Now imagine your own siblings (should you have any) as heads on the shared body of a large dinosaur.

Why imagine such a thing? I can’t quite see why, but at the same time I can’t quite help myself. I hear that someone is contemplating a critical biography of the entire Laami family and, once again, my Fjona-U-fueled-fancy takes glorious flight. A bloated diplodocus hoves into view, fourteen or fifteen heads swaying above its fat heavy body. I see it in the swamp, thrashing wildly. I see the heads turn on each other, snapping and snarling. I see rivers of senseless blood running around the thick feet of Triassic monsters.

I’ve been dreaming of many-headed dinosaurs. Perhaps I should stop reading Fjona Uu and eating cheese before I sleep at night.

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7 thoughts on “Many-headed Dinosaurs

  1. Imagine if the Bronte sisters had lived in later more enlightened times and one of them had one of those charming operation which change one’s gender. Where would we be then with our Bronte sisters? There might be a period by which they would be known as indeed “the Bronte sisters”, but then” the Bronte sisters and brother”. It would be ungainly, and as a whoile, I feel not an unimportant point. It would also be I’m sure a fascinating area of examination for feminist critiques of literature, and maybe even Marxist – power or something.

  2. I’ve heard rumours that Charlotte Bronte was born Charlie. Mind you, past experience tells me that the barmaid at The Crippled Bee isn’t the most reliable source when it comes to literary gossip.

  3. Meanwhile, correctness becomes you: I also feel that your point was ‘not an unimportant’ one. Not an unimportant one at all…

  4. I’ve in the meantime thought a little further on the not unimportant at all matter. Ignoring for hout your Crippled Bee titbit, if subsequent to the first Bronte sister having the change – say Emily – then we have”the Bronte sisters and brother.” However if then Anne followed suit, we would have “the Bronte brothers and sister.” And then finally the eldest sibling giving way and changing, we are left with “the Bronte brothers.” It would cause havoc in teh distinguishing of the different periods. “I’m more of a Bronte brothers man myself,” says one, while “The Bronte brothers and sister for me,” says another. Acadaemia would be in perpectual ecstacies.

  5. To add one could be sure there would be some traditionalists who would have nothing to do with anything but the “authentic” sisters’ output, decrying the later works, regardless of quality, as abominations.

  6. You forget those who, in the true spirit of equality, would refer to them always as ‘The Bronte Personages’ (leading to the inevitable essay title: ‘Personages at the Parsonage: Three in One and One in Three?’)

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