Ruffles Without Ridges

Madame Bovary, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is delighted by 2017’s latest fashion trend: ruffles. For a 19th century material gal, it’s like deja vu all over again. Emma’s favorite gowns were always smothered in ruffles. Though a potent symbol of femininity, ruffles were originally designed for men (think Jerry Seinfeld’s “puffy shirt”). In 1500s Spain no gentleman’s attire would have been complete without a collar, a separate piece of cloth not attached to the garment below, that could be as large and ostentatious as any grande’ could want. This collar, or “ruff”, reached its apotheosis around 1570, when it achieved a … Continue reading Ruffles Without Ridges

Fiction Gets Brainy

Famous fictional brain, Sherlock Holmes, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, was engrossed by an article he recently read in The Paris Review. Entitled The Hundred Trillion Stories in Your Head, it tells the unique story of “the father of modern neuroscience”, Santiago Ramón y Caja. The first man to apply the term “plasticity” to the brain, Caja was born in 1852 in bleak and rocky Northern Spain. His father was a humble barber-surgeon, determined that his son grow up to an esteemed doctor; his mother an incurable romantic who used to sneak little Caja novels (all fiction was forbidden by the father) like candy. With … Continue reading Fiction Gets Brainy