Friday, February 06, 2009

The Six Degrees of Charlotte Bronte

I blame Nicola Cornick for my procrastination thoughts. She has introduced me to the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon game. Basically, you take two seemingly unrelated figures in history or literature and see if you can make a connection in six or less steps, using famous/celebrity figures. I chose Charlotte Bronte to go back to because I think she holds more appeal than Francis Bacon. Nicola likes to use either Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer. Every new person counts as a degree. For example to get from David Bowie to Charlotte Bronte in 3 degrees, David Bowie>Philip Glenister>Elizabeth Gaskell>Charlotte Bronte. David Bowie wrote the song Life on Mars which served as the title of the tv series that Philip Glenister starred in. Philip Glenister was also in the production of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote the first biography of Charlotte Bronte.
Catherine Cookson to Charlotte Bronte is one degree. Catherine Cookson>John Martin>Charlotte Bronte. Catherine Cookson lived in the landscape that inspired Victorian/Regency painter John Martin’s painting. One of John Martin’s painting hung in the dining room where Charlotte Bronte and her sisters wrote.
To get from James Bond to Charlotte Bronte is 5 degrees: James Bond>Ian Fleming>John Buchan>Rupert Penry Jones>Richard Armitage>Mrs Gaskell>Charlotte Bronte. James Bond was created by Ian Fleming who lists as one of his influences John Buchan who wrote 39 Steps. Rupert Penry Jones starred recently in 39 Steps but he also starred in the UK drama Spooks which now stars Richard Armitage. Richard Armitage starred in Mrs Gaskell’s North & South and Mrs Gaskell was a good friend and biographer to Charlotte Bronte.
UK prime minister Gordon Brown is one degree from Charlotte Bronte. Brown>Emily Bronte>Charlotte Bronte. Gordon Brown famously referred to himself as a Heathcliff figure. Heathcliff was created by Emily Bronte who was the sister of Charlotte.
Personally I like doing this sort of thing as writing is all about making connections and seeing how jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together. I also enjoy trivia but that is another story. Whether the author works out all the twists beforehand, or writes as award winning crime novelist Ian Rankin does by putting in bold writing I think this girl could play a part at the end, it does not matter. The important thing is that the author has had to make connections between two seemingly unrelated people. How do these things fit together and why.
So does anyone else play this game? Or does anyone else have a figure they prefer to use?

This month's contest:

My next book Impoverished Miss Convenient Wife is published in hardback this month and in paperback in April. The hero Simon Clare was inspired by Richard Armitage. So on that basis how many degrees of separation is there between me and Charlotte Bronte? (hint:Richard Armitage is used in an example above) Please send the answer to for a chance to win a paperback copy of Impoverished Miss, Convienent Wife. Please put February Totebags Contest in the title. I will be drawing the winner on 13 February.
Jane A was the first out of the hat and so she will get a copy of Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife.


Nicola Cornick said...

LOL, Michelle, I am so glad I have managed to distract someone else as well! And congrats not only on making your David Bowie - Charlotte Bronte connection but also a big thank you for the picture of Richard Armitage. I am snowed in today so think I will curl up and treat myself to my DVD of North and South!

Michelle Styles said...

So glad that you approve and yes, being snowed in is a good excuse to watch North & South. RA just is in that. The last episode is so fantastic, when he urges to look back, look back...I may have to watch it again.

Donna Alward said...

WHo needs an excuse?

Everyone is so hung up on the look back....I am mesmerized by the proposal. The cool, aloof Mr. Thornton laying his heart on the line with such passion....oh sigh!

Michelle Styles said...

Well, okay, we can just on about the last episode and how sigh worthy.
I also love the first bit when they show why RA beats up the man who was about to light a fire in his mill.

In case anyone needs another hint -- the number 2 will do.

Pat Cochran said...

The game was known as Six Steps To
Kevin Bacon when I was introduced to the game! I'll have to put on my
thinking cap, take some aspirin,
and start studying the question,
( Thinking always give me a bad,
bad headache! )

Pat Cochran

Michelle Styles said...

Ah yes, six steps to Kevin Bacon.

And I have tried to give the answer. There does not need to be an explanation of why. I just need a number. Which was given in another hint.

Michele L. said...

Ooo...drool worthy picture of Richard Armitage! Loved the movie North and South! Sigh...

Loved your post Michelle!

Michelle Styles said...

Glad you approve of the picture of Richard Armitage, Michele L. I was writing this blog and suddenly thought -- my day could be brightened with a picture of RA.
North & South is now such a classic series.