Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brussells (for Brussels)

It's time to start thinking about the garden again. This year I want to plant a lot of Brussels sprouts. If you're also a fan of le petit chou, you know how good the little darlings can be either roasted or steamed. But I recently discovered that they make a delicious and delicate coleslaw as well, substituting for the bigger and somewhat rougher cabbage. Recently, I had to set aside my copy of Villette (which I was reading on the strenuous recommendation of a friend) because I could only understand un peu de français, Charlotte Brontë's second language, the mastery of which she was seemingly showing off a bit in the book. I've since been presented with the Oxford annotated edition, however, and am once again enjoying this quasi-autobiographical novel. (Along with her sister Emily, Charlotte went to Brussels in 1842 to attend the pensionnat, or boarding school, of Constantin Heger, and returned the following year to take up a teaching post there.) If you're not yet persuaded that you too should be reading Villette, the wonderful Brussels-Brontë Group website may be able to sell you on the idea. Unlike sell and spell, the word Brussels has two S's and one L, which seems to make it a little bit tricky. There were 21 hits on this typo in OhioLINK, and 414 in WorldCat.

(Digitally restored version of the damaged portrait of the Brontë sisters by Patrick Branwell Brontë, from Wikimedia Commons. From left to right: Anne, Emily, and Charlotte.)

Carol Reid

1 comment:

Th said...

But it is 'Bruxelles', e.g. in

VIAF has at least four Brussells in it right now. One is a variant personal name, the others look like typos.