Sunday, March 01, 2015

The (Mexican) Tree of Literature

Source. CandidMan
A curious initiative at the XXXVI Feria Internacional del Libro del Palacio de la Minería (México D.F.):
Esta bonita pieza creada por el artesano Miguel Ángel González, artista de Metepec, nos muestra grandiosas escenas de historias escritas por autores como William Shakespeare, Alejandro Dumas, Dante Alighieri, entre otros.
Como parte de los atractivos de la XXXVI Feria Internacional del Libro del Palacio de Minería (FILPM), se exhibe un enorme y colorido “Árbol de la literatura“, pieza creada por el artesano Miguel Ángel González, artista de Metepec.
Ismael Ordoñez Mancilla, secretario técnico del Consejo Editorial de la Administración Pública Estatal del Estado de México, informó a Notimex, que la obra de aproximadamente 180 kilos de peso y 1.50 metros de altura, fue realizada por el artista luego de haber leído los 60 libros representados en el "Árbol de la literatura". Explicó que el autor de la pieza leyó cada una de las obras, "pues de otra manera no habría tenido elementos de juicio suficientes para plasmar, a través del barro y el color, la esencia de cada autor y cada título". Cada figura y cada tonalidad refleja fielmente al autor y lo que quiso transmitir a través de su obra. (Notimex, Translation)
On the right side of the sculpture you can see Catherine from Wuthering Heights, side by side with the three musketeers and just above Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Heathcliff at his diabolical worst

Without a stick of scenery to convey the moorland setting and the two great houses between which the action occurs; and just two actors and a little over an hour, despite the book’s rambling family tree and gradual unfolding over a few hundred pages, the company had a challenge from the start.
They rose to it impressively. Alison Campbell is first class, her great range of expression making her superb in every female part, from middle aged housekeeper to teenage heroine.
Jeremy Fowlds also gave a fine performance, his quick shifts of voice and body language convincing he was everyone from genteel Edgar to Heathcliff at his diabolical worst.
As the programme promised, the production gets you itching to dig out a copy of the book and delve back into the stirring story which not only has so much to say about love and relationships but the time it was written, from industrialisation and religious beliefs to fear of revolution and the shifting class system, the gentry’s position no longer comfortably set in stone but impoverished outsiders like Heathcliff able to come along and stake their claim. (Annabel Britain)
Todmorden News reviews the local Wuthering Heights performances:
Tom Jennings is an expert Heathcliff with a vivid thirst for vengeance and Madeleine Jefferson is a brilliant Catherine who copes well with a challenging role.
When tragic circumstances repeat themselves, Rosie Crowther plays an engaging Cathy and the supporting cast all do a great job, especially those who double up.
Some scenes are very cleverly devised physically and the use of projection, light and sound are inspired and of a professional standard.
This time they get the set spot on too, it serves its purpose simply and is visually very effective. So, even if you know the story or not, this play comes highly recommended.
Even though it is dark, tragic and twisted, it is also brave, surprising and new. Don’t always judge a book by its cover.
The Telegraph explores the growing interest in thrillers by women:
The thriller in a domestic setting has a long history, of course. Think Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’ fantastic reimagining in Wide Sargasso Sea. (Rebecca Whitney)
Jane Eyre, a domestic thriller? Well, not so crazy, after all.

Lapham's Quarterly posts an infographic of day jobs by known writers. Including Charlotte Brontë.

Also in The Telegraph we read an interview with the writer Kazuo Ishiguro:
In the corner of Ishiguro’s sitting room are a number of guitars on stands. He picks one up, a dobro, and starts to play a low blues on his lap. As a teenager, he tells me, he played music, watched a lot of films and barely read anything – though that, he points out, is not unusual for a boy. It wasn’t until his early 20s, when he suddenly discovered Dostoevsky and Charlotte Brontë, that books came into it at all. (He is now 60.) A lot of from writing songs what he learnt about writing he gained. (Gaby Wood)
The Santa Fe New Mexican reviews Samantha Ellis's How to Be a Heroine:
Romance of course plays a key role, prompting quips that would delight Dorothy Parker: “Tornado love,” Ellis writes, referring to Wuthering Heights, “is more appealing than postmodern love.” The author asserts that “unrequited love is delusional, thankless, and boring,” and is therefore inclined to strip female characters of their heroine status if they waste any time and energy on it. (...)
Ellis notes this as she pores over her “frenziedly annotated” copy of Sylvia Plath’s collected journals and her wine- and bathwater-tinted copy of Wuthering Heights. For this reader, by that measure and others, How to Be a Heroine is a smash. (Grace Labatt)
The Times presents the new BBC adaptation of Poldark:
“Ross [Poldark] is such a fascinating combination I think, of a whole host of literary and movie heroes,” says Debbie Horsfield, the new version’s adapter, sitting for shade under a canopy outside the house. “I think of him as being part Rochester, part Heathcliff, part Robin Hood, part Darcy, part Rhett Butler. He’s got elements of all of those great literary and movie-hero rebels.” (Andrew Billen)
The Chicago Tribune recovers a three-years old interview with E.L. James:
But James said the themes go deeper. After the Miami event, where a reported 700 women turned out, "I was talking to a bunch of women," she said. "They said, 'Oh my gosh. We just did "Jane Eyre" in our book group. ("Fifty Shades") is so "Jane Eyre." '
"I just looked at them and said, 'Well, you know, it's 'Beauty and the Beast,' if you want to take it a step further back. I mean, there are universal themes that run through all of these stories. So this is my take on that, really." (Steve Johnson)
Lifehacker demystifies (a little too much) creativity:
This might be in part due to famous artistic families like the Waugh family, who produced three of the greatest writers of the 20th century (Arthur, then Alec and Evelyn) or the Brontës. Nowadays, we've come to expect the children of celebrities and creatives to inherit their parents' talents. (Jory MacKay)
Starts at Sixty! talks about the #ReviewWomen2015 initiative:
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, Mary Ann Evans and Nellie Harper Lee are better known by their male pseudonyms, respectively George Sands, George Elliot, and Harper Lee, rather than their real names. Even the Brontë sisters were originally known as Acton (Anne) Currer (Charlotte) and Ellis (Emily) Bell. Do women need to become men to be appreciated, to be reviewed? (Karen O'Brien Hall)
An exhibition of dolls in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is described in La Nación:
[Gustavo] Tudisco tuvo que ponerse estudiar sobre la muñeca cuando llegó a sus manos esta colección, sobre la cual ya prepara un libro junto con Patricio López Méndez, el otro curador de la muestra. "La costura, la pintura y el piano eran las principales actividades de las damas, todo lo que podemos encontrar en las novelas de las hermanas Brontë o en las de Jane Austen. En ese momento empieza a asomar una conciencia de lo femenino, un ideal de mujer, y surge la idea de la adolescencia, una conciencia de ese período que hasta entonces no existía. (Joaquín Sánchez Mariño) (Translation)
Culturamas (Spain) quotes Virginia Woolf talking about Emily Brontë:
Las ideas de la autora inglesa, en cambio, eran más pròximas a los momentos de visión de Hardy o a la escena significativa de Emily Brönte (sic).Woolf ponía como ejemplo de su idea demomento el fragmento de Cumbres borrascosas, en el cual Catherine saca las plumas de su almohada puesto que “presenta unidos elementos dispares y los integra en una visión divorciada de la trama en sí pero fundidos en la textura poética de toda la trama”. (Anna Maria Iglesia) (Translation)
On The Daily Breeze Reading we read about a Take a Book — Leave a Book share stand created by three local Girl Scouts in San Pedro which includes a copy of Jane Eyre; Garbo (Romania) quotes Emily Brontë about soulmates.

Voice and Piano

A new cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights just for voice and piano:

PianoAndRoll YouTube Channel

O canal brasileiro de rock para piano gravou esse mês com a vocalista Lucy Silversong a "Wuthering Heights" no estilo lírico.
A música é mundialmente conhecida em sua versão composta e interpretada por Kate Bush.
A banda brasileira Angra popularizou ainda mais a música no mundo do rock com sua versão contida álbum Angels Cry. Na apresentação no Rock in Rio em 2011, a banda tocou a música com a participação especial da Tarja Tureman. (Everton Soares on Whiplash)

Friday, February 27, 2015

From the great Victorian grandeur to the beauty of the moors

The Telegraph and Argus reports that Brontë Country is one of the destinations selected as part of a new national tourism campaign.

Brontë Country is among destinations across the district being promoted as part of a new initiative.
Visit Bradford is taking part in a national campaign showcasing the region’s heritage.
The venture is part of a VisitEngland project, which will include a series of national radio adverts.
Several itineraries in the district will be spotlighted, including a visit to Haworth and the chance to experience life as a Bronte sister.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for employment, skills and culture, said: “We are delighted to be working with VisitEngland on this campaign to promote our heritage to visitors from near and far.
“Bradford has a rich and fascinating history and this is highlighted by the variety of experiences people can enjoy across the district this spring.
"There’s something for everyone, from the great Victorian grandeur to the beauty of the moors.
“People who wouldn’t normally consider visiting the Bradford district are going to find out about all the wonderful experiences we have to offer.”
If you'd like to see how much tourism has changed in the area, do take a walk down memory lane with Keighley News and reminisce about the local Brontë bus firm.

Flavorwire reviews the play You on the Moors Now, currently on stage in New York City.
Last night I saw You on the Moors Now, an experimental play currently running in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which cannily combines characters and plot points from four novels: Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The story, such as it is, consists of the respective heroines banding together after spurning their various suitors. They end up camping out on the moors. Meanwhile, they are pursued by the rejected men, themselves united in an attempt at revenge, or requited love, or some other concession. The cast features a delightfully queered Mr. Darcy, a manic Jane Eyre who longs to travel in space, a Cathy Earnshaw with unexpectedly pronounced leadership qualities, and sundry twists and gimmicks which wouldn’t have worked if much of the audience didn’t have a basic understanding of at least a few of the four novels.
A cast of jeans-clad secondary characters switch in and out of minor roles, giving pleasure to audience members like me who know lots of inside-baseball (or inside-drawing-room) references: four-and-20 families is the number of people Mrs. Bennet brags she dines with. Nelly Dean is the unreliable narrator of much of Wuthering Heights, and so on and so forth. Amusing as well is the way that writer Jaclyn Backhaus enlists these minor players into espionage, spying for either Team Men or Team Women as the tension heats up. [...]
The idea of remixing and reinventing these classics of “women’s literature” is hardly new. Popular romance and mystery novelist Georgette Heyer traded in books that were sophisticated Austen fan-fiction, while Daphne DuMaurier and Jean Rhys were spinning off the Brontës, offering their own retort to these earlier authors. And still, the echoes of these formative books’ plots in literature are everywhere. Wuthering Heights is the godmother of a lot of YA romance, with its privileging of intense, all-consuming emotion and its angst about sex and the end of childhood’s gender freedom. Jane Eyre is the parent of feminist resistance novels and Gothic romance all at once, while Pride and Prejudice gave birth to the romantic comedy structure and the use of satire and wit to critique a male-driven world. [...]
But for those of us who are influenced by this canon, which is quite a large group of readers of all genders and backgrounds, these texts are foundational due to the way they occupy themselves with the sometimes conflicting ideals of self-actualization and romantic love. In You, on the Moors, for instance, the female characters travel away, finding jobs, even studying organic chemistry. Eventually, in the show’s final scenes, some are able to find love, but only after having “found themselves” first. This isn’t really a new innovation. In fact, it underscores the plot points that all the novels (save the more complicated Wuthering Heights) share: a woman’s journey is first to an understanding of both her limitations and her power. Love comes later, a cherry on top. [...]
At its best, You, on the Moors Now uses canonical characters to provide a cutting commentary on the kind of gender norms that bloggers and personal essays writers are tackling every day. “These men, they grieve,/ They go riding/ Or they travel/ Or they ask someone else to marry them/ Or they take it out on the person nearest them/ Or all of the above,” says Lizzy Bennet. To which Jane Eyre chimes in, sounding decidedly modern: “The world gives them the chance to ‘get over it’/And we climb over hills away from them/ We starve ourselves/ And run away.” (Sarah Seltzer)
More moors as three reviews of the film Catch Me Daddy mention Wuthering Heights.
This tremendous debut feature by British brothers Daniel and Matthew Wolfe opens with a deadened rendition of Ted Hughes’ Heptonstall Old Church. Mist rolls over the shabby roofs of nowhere towns. Most of the film’s characters live in mobile homes surrounded by gorse and heather. They subsist on milkshakes and anything that dulls the pain: prescription pills, weed, alcohol, cocaine and cheap crystallised concoctions.
This is recognisably Hughes’ Yorkshire: its pitiless poetry is ever ready to engulf its unfortunate human inhabitants. But it is equally the tramping ground of Emily Brontë, where the darkest nights harbour and hide runaways and doomed romantics not unlike the youngsters at the heart of this riveting thriller. Neither Brontë nor Hughes knew that their moors would someday host a sizable Asian community. (Tara Brady in The Irish Times)
Critics have likened Catch Me Daddy to the classically British social realism of Ken Loach or Andrea Arnold. Daniel Wolfe objects. "It's too easy, isn't it? Because it's up north, it's got street cast people, [they label it as] Ken Loach," he says. "It's not social realism and it doesn't intend to be. None of our influences were that. I love Andrea Arnold; Wuthering Heights is in one of my favorite films of the last five years. But she wasn't an influence on this." (Rachel Segal Hamilton on Vice)
It’s a British film. The plot is much ado about nothing much. On the Yorkshire moors, six nasty thugs in two separate cars pursue a runaway couple at the beck of the Asian girl’s father. But the direction, by first-timer Daniel Wolfe (co-scripting with brother Matthew), and editing (Dominic Leung, Tom Lindsay) are often dazzling. And the cinephile’s brain — this cinephile’s at least — is starting to boggle at the number of films cinematographer Robbie Ryan is turning to gold, whatever their original element. He did it for Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (same location, almost same plot). He has done it for Ken Loach. In Catch Me Daddy, shooting increasingly at night as the film gathers pace and tension, his work is astonishing. (Nigel Andrews in Financial Times)
Writer Anna Todd picks Wuthering Heights as one of her favourite books for Cosmopolitan.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It took me two reads of this to understand it, but once I did, I was in love with the angsty, destructive relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff.
The Telegraph shares 10 'surprising facts' about John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
• It came out on a Friday
The book was published on Friday April 14, 1939, on the same day that the film Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier, had its premiere in New York. It was also the day that President Roosevelt wrote to Hitler to say: "Are you willing to give assurance that your armed forces will not attack or invade the territory or possessions of the following independent nations?" with a list that included Poland, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Ireland. (Martin Chilton)
Rté's The entertainment network reviews the film The Boy Next Door.
Claire is suitably impressed by the garage door stunt, but spends the next few days trying to figure out what she is really impressed by. She is plunged into a welter of what would be termed ‘hot flushes,’ if we were discussing a Jane Eyre costume drama. (Paddy Kehoe)
That indefatigable fan of Charlotte Brontë's, Santiago Posteguillo, is interviewed by La Razón (Argentina).
Qué hay que leer sí o sí? Todo lo que está sugerido en estas anécdotas. Pero “Jane Eyre”, de Charlotte Brontë, es la más hermosa historia de amor. (Paula Conde) (Translation)
The Lewisville Leader mentions a local student whose favourite books is Jane Eyre while Patheos's Love among the Ruins examines the novel from the 'Theology of the Body' perspective.

The Brontë Society thanks members on Facebook for the wonderful response received when they asked for spare copies of Brontë novels to send to a school in Algeria.

Adopt a Poet

Eckleburg asks you to adopt a writer or artist. One of the, is the poet Rita Maria Martinez, author of Jane-in-the-Box, who contributes with the poem  Jane Eyre Dreams of Laci Peterson:

This work is free and available to read and view below. We do encourage all readers, however, to support our contributors’ and editors’ hard work by participating in the Adopt a Writer program. Your gift through this page will support the participating contributor directly and immediately. 60% of each and every gift goes directly to individual participating contributors within seconds. Please consider gifting whatever is comfortable for you. Every little bit helps. Keep writers and artists fed and off the streets. More information here.

Jane Eyre Dreams of Laci Peterson
by Rita Maria Martinez

Captivated by stories of abusive relationships,
of mysterious deaths and missing persons,
I watched late night programs like Wicked Attraction,The New Detectives, and Deadly Women.Fascinated by blood splatter theory, gunpowder residue,
fingerprint bruises on abandoned female corpses,
I hoped to crack the code behind Bertha’s unabashed cackle,
wondered if I could cope with Eddie’s cockamamie
plan to keep her caged like a gerbil. One evening I caught
a recap on Laci’s fate: The bay slowly erasing her features
as her husband nonchalantly purchased and watched
snuff films, streamed an endless parade of women
on his high def screen, their faces eventually blurring
like his wife’s. He could barely remember what the wifey
looked like—though her photo was plastered everywhere,
so pretty and preggers in that little black cocktail dress.
Finally, the decomposed body surfaced,
limbs drifting like disembodied mannequin parts.
After the baby washed ashore, those at the morgue admired
its perfectly formed fingernails, its golden eyelashes,
which flooded my thoughts, then my dreams, for months.
Always the same image: Conner’s eyelashes dissolving
into a warm, golden light enveloping Laci,
who eternally sleeps on a bed of sand, seashells
nestled and glowing in her hair.

*Laci Denise Peterson (1975–2002) was an American woman who went missing while seven and a half months pregnant with her first child. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted of murder in the first degree for Laci and in the second degree for their prenatal son, Conner.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Which is Jane Austen's best-known novel?

A couple of Victorian fellow writers to begin with today. The Wall Street Journal has an article on Anthony Trollope and admits the fact that,

During his lifetime, Trollope was a prolific and popular writer, the author of 47 novels. His literary reputation, however, never soared quite to the heights of that of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and the Brontë sisters. His ranking has been on the rise in recent years, though, and the publication of “The Duke’s Children” in its original text should help keep that momentum going. (Melanie Kirkpatrick)
While Bustle lists '20 Forgotten, Overlooked Classics By Women Writers Everyone Should Read'. One of them is Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell:
Fun fact: Elizabeth Gaskell was good friends with Charlotte Brontë — she even wrote Brontë’s biography. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when those two got to chatting about plot structures and character development. Despite being significantly less well known, Gaskell was a brilliant novelist in her own right. Her ironic, sometimes even mocking, depictions of society’s rigid, often ridiculous, rules, give her work a delicious, unexpected edge, particularly in this novel.
Gaskell definitely had a subversive streak, and it elevates her work from charming and sweet, to grown-up and fascinating. (Erin Enders)
Speaking of subversive streaks, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall makes it into Flavorwrire's staff picks.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
I am reading books by two writers who rhyme; Anne Brontë and Elena Ferrante. I’m re-reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the third Brontë sister’s blisteringly feminist critique of an abusive marriage, widely seen as a rejoinder to her sisters’ romanticizing of controlling Byronic hero types. The novel is told in nested narrative (letters within journals within letters) which makes the narrative feel really clever and self-aware. Meanwhile, I’ve just begun Book 2 of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels (The Story of a New Name). Everything everyone says is spot-on; the overall story tightens its grip the further you travel with these characters who start to feel like your own friends, enemies, and love interests. — (Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large)
Quoted selects the 'top 10 cars in fiction' and recalls that,
Even before the motor vehicle, we saw vehicles of the time acting as status symbols. Consider Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: Upon deciding he will take a wife, Rochester, the owner of the estate where Jane is a nanny of sorts, goes to buy a carriage for his pursuit, and makes sure it represents him well as a man who comes from money. Seeking Jane’s help, he pleads, “You must see the carriage, Jane, and tell me if you don’t think it will suit Mrs. Rochester exactly.” (Hanne Keiling)
Somewhat remotely related to Jane Eyre as well but sadly missing from the list, we would suggest Thursday Next's (the heroine of Jasper Fforde's series of books) Speedster.

PopMatters reviews Minae Mizumura's A True Novel:
If you have heard of Minae Mizumura’s A True Novel at all, it’s likely for one of two reasons: Either because it has been loosely inspired by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (Mizumura makes a reference in the beginning of the novel to “the desire to emulate being the basis of all art”) or because of its unusual structure. A True Novel is a “nested” novel which, over its 855 pages, unpeels like a giant onion.
There never seems to be a clearly delineated point in this narrative—which centers on a grimly self-made Japanese man, the handsome and Heathcliffian, Taro Azuma—when the story actually “starts”, in the way one expects a traditional novel to begin. In fact, the novel commences with a 165-page prologue by a fictionalized version of the author, who positions the story she is about to tell as “true” and introduces the reader to Taro during the period when she knew him, as a chauffeur working in the US in the ‘60s. [...]
The story that follows, narrated by Fumiko through the filter of Yusuke’s memory, centers on Fumiko, Taro, and Yoko, the Cathy-like young woman with whom Taro grows up, loves, is rejected by, and, after her marriage to someone else, has an affair with. Fumiko’s own relationship with the younger Taro is somewhat ambiguous through most of the story, and while reading those portions of the narrative indirectly narrated by Fumiko, one would do well to bear in mind that, in Japanese novels just as in Western ones, the narrator is not always to be entirely trusted. (Michael Antman)
Télérama (France) remarks on the influence Jane Eyre had on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca while Jolie (Germany) selects the novel as one of the most beautiful love stories.
Jane Eyre von Charlotte Brontë
Noch ein Klassiker, der wirklich das Lesen wert ist. Die Verfasserin dieses Artikels hat "Jane Eyre" von Charlotte Brontë an einem Tag gelesen, weil es sie so fesselte. Heulattacke inklusive. Eine Liebesgeschichte, wie sie heute auch noch geschehen könnte. Junges Mädchen verliebt sich Hals über Kopf in ihren Chef und damit beginnen die Irrungen und Wirrungen. (Nadine Lang) (Translation)
Current interviews Beth Bellemere, who 'is presenting a program on her “Downton Abbey” adventures at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, at the Scarborough Public Library (Maine)'.
Q: What do you plan to talk about during your presentation at the library?
A: I will start with a fun questionnaire focusing on what the castle looks like now and its history, as well as some of the more interesting aspects of the house and grounds, such as the follies placed in many different locations throughout the property.
I’ve also done a lot of reading around the show and will be talking a little bit about why Julian Fellowes chose Yorkshire as the location for the house, even though that’s not where it is in reality.
I think Yorkshire might have been chosen because a lot of the most popular literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the books written by the Brontë sisters, was based in Yorkshire, in the north of England. (Kate Irish Collins)
Now for some fashion. Vanity Fair (Italy) on the 'greasy wave' as shown by several fashion designers.
Tsumori Chisato
Lo styling è dichiaratamente ispirato all'istitutrice Jane Eyre protagonista dell'omonimo romanzo scritto da Charlotte Brontë: raccolto casto con la riga perfettamente nel mezzo ma con un finish più definito e lucido sulle due bande laterali ondulate che incorniciano la fronte. (Eleonora Negri) (Translation)
Vogue (Spain) makes one of those 'never-read-the-novel' kind of comments:
Con una estética juvenil que coge como referencia la estética británica clásica, Gucci actualiza su silueta. Mientras que su predecesora y compañera, Frida Giannini, pretendía continuar en cierto modo el legado sexy de Tom Ford, Michele propone una era con prendas suaves que acarician la piel. Ha sido un desfile interesante y fresco con el que la firma se despide del glamour y abraza una nueva sensibilidad. Pero no hay lugar para la nostalgia (o sí, pero únicamente para la que añorar los años 70 o el allure que envuelve la obra de Jane Eyre). (Beatriz de Asís) (Translation)
But the blunder of the day comes from Vogue UK (EDIT: It has been corrected now). It's not the first time we see it, but it never ever fails to make us laugh out loud:
"I love Jane Eyre," said the designer [Alessandro Michele], referring to the heroine of Jane Austen's best-known novel. (Suzy Menkes)
Finally, the Brontë Parsonage Museum Facebook page surprises us with the fact that Samantha Ellis (author of How To Be A Heroine) is 'doing research for her forthcoming book about Anne Brontë'. CSJL Literary Jewelry and Aanna Greer are discussing Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre opens in Birmingham

A new adaptation of Jane Eyre opens today, February 26, in Birmingham, UK:

Blue Orange Theatre presents
Jane Eyre
Adapted by Eric Gracey
26th February -7th March

Charlotte Brontë’s tale of a young woman’s courageous fight through injustice and hardship was a revolution in literary fiction. It is a story that continues to inspire and enthrall over 150 years after its publication.
Jane’s life begins with physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her aunt. During her time at school, her spiritual and moral sensibilities flourish despite continued oppression.
Eventually, Jane is employed as a governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls in love with Edward Rochester, master of the house. Rochester eventually proposes to Jane but the complexities of his past ensure that Jane’s struggles are far from over.
Spring Tour 2015
26th February - 7th MarchBlue Orange Theatre, Birmingham
8th March North Hall, Leamington Spa
11th March Kings Lynn Arts Centre, Norfolk
12th MarchDiss Corn Hall, Norfolk
13th MarchThe Cut, Norfolk
14th MarchTheatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay
15th March Swindon Arts Centre, Swindon
17th-18th March Loughborough Town Hall
19th MarchBierkeller, Bristol
20th MarchQueens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury
21st MarchLichfield Garrick, Lichfield
23rd MarchThe Groundlings, Portsmouth
24th March  The Lights, Andover
25th March  The Hawth, Crawley
26th March Library Theatre, Solihull
27th March The Artrix, Bromsgrove
28th March Leicester Guildhall, Leicester
7th May The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
8th May Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Currer Bell's love for Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds

The Guardian reports that a copy of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds (mentioned in Jane Eyre) that belonged to Frances Currer is for sale.

A rare first edition of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds belonging to Frances Currer, the woman believed to have inspired Charlotte Brontë’s pseudonym of Currer Bell, has come to light.
Dubbed “England’s earliest female bibliophile” in Seymour de Ricci’s history of collectors, Frances Mary Richardson Currer’s library in her family home of Eshton Hall, Yorkshire, ran to 15,000 to 20,000 volumes. Among them lay Bewick’s classic of British ornithology - the work Jane Eyre is reading as Charlotte Brontë’s novel opens, and whose “enchanted page[s]” the author also celebrated in poetry. [...]
Currer herself would have been known to the Brontës, said the antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch in its catalogue for the edition: she was the patron of the Cowan Bridge School, attended by Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily, and was known locally as a generous patron.
“It is thought that she was the ‘benevolent individual, a wealthy lady, in the West Riding of Yorkshire’ who gave £50 in 1821 to a fund to aid the impoverished and recently widowed curate of Howarth [sic] – Patrick Brontë,” said the bookseller.
The first page of the manuscript of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, who wrote the novel under the pseudonym Currer Bell – now believed to be taken from local patron Frances Currer.
In an essay, scholar Marianne Thormahlen goes so far as to suggest that “it is not impossible that Charlotte herself had access to Miss Currer’s books at some point”. Winifred Gérin, meanwhile, writes that “while a governess at the Sidgwicks, Charlotte had certainly heard much of their neighbour, Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Skipton, whose property touched Stonegappe, and whose library was famous throughout the north”.
“There are many points of contact between Currer and the Brontë family,” said Mark James at Bernard Quaritch, “but frustratingly, as far as I know, it is not known whether Charlotte and Frances Currer ever met.”
Despite this, the bookseller writes in its catalogue that it is “generally thought” that Frances Currer inspired the Currer Bell pseudonym Charlotte Brontë would go on to adopt. The novelist would later write that she and her sisters Emily and Anne, who took on the pseudonyms Ellis and Acton Bell, made the “ambiguous choice” of names because of a “sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice”.
Bernard Quaritch acquired Currer’s edition of British Birds at auction from the estate of a private collector, and has priced it at £5,000. Just 1,000 volumes were printed of the first volume and 1,750 of the second, and James at the antiquarian bookseller said that “sets in very good contemporary bindings like this are scarce”. [...]
Bewick’s work was popular for its wood engravings depicting birds in their natural habitats. The Brontë children’s own edition was much read and copied, Christine Alexander going so far as to write in The Brontës in the World of the Arts that “the profound effect that Bewick’s two-volume History of British Birds, in particular, had on the creative development of the Brontës cannot be overestimated”. (Alison Flood)
The Huffington Post on 'How To Be Married To A Writer'.
You have a very hard time believing the Brontë sisters sat around the fire every evening and took the piss out of their father and brother. Perhaps you should have married a modern-day equivalent of a Brontë sister, although to be honest, that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, either -- all that depressed scribbling in journals in itty-bitty handwriting and pressure to take part in the parish and whatnot. But still, you believe the Brontë sisters respected their menfolk. At least more than your wife does. (Katherine Heiny)
Vulture has a recap of episode 10 season 19 of The Bachelor in which
 Chris looks longingly to the sea as Becca strolls back and forth aimlessly, like two leads in a tropical Brontë novel. (Ali Barthwell)
Beware of spoilers in this analysis of the second season of Broadchurch on Digital Spy.
By far the most successful additions to the Broadchurch cast in series two were James D'Arcy and Eve Myles as damaged Heathcliff and Cathy wannabes Lee Ashworth and Claire Ripley.
Their relationship was every bit as fascinating as it was toxic and it's been quite a marvel (no pun intended) these past weeks watching D'Arcy simultaneously play out two hugely contrasting performances - as Lee and as mannered gentleman Edwin Jarvis on US series Agent Carter.
Torchwood star Myles meanwhile played wonderfully against type as the troubled Claire - her chemistry with D'Arcy, with David Tennant, with Olivia Colman, was hypnotic and the ambiguity of Claire's relationship with Hardy (did they? didn't they?) was engaging. (Morgan Jeffery)
And finally The Guardian describes Cary Fukunaga's take on Jane Eyre as 'critically adored'.

Wuthering Heights in Todmorden and more

Several alerts for today, February 25:

In Todmorden, UK:

Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society presents
Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Lucy Gough
With Tom Jennings, Madeleine Jefferson, Ben Coup, Rosie Crowther, Emily Coup, Richard Holley and Emma Cook
Hippodrome Theatre, 25th - 28th Feb 2015

Lucy Gough has written a passionate new adaptation of the timeless classic. Emily Brontë's gothic tale of tortured love is brought to the stage in all its turbulent, passionate glory. Long before Twilight stirred the emotions of a generation, Wuthering Heights embodied the eternal pull between good and evil, dark and light, and heaven and hell.
This exhilarating and vibrant adaptation of the literary classic brings to life the all-encompassing love between the taciturn, brooding Heathcliff and the emotionally unstable Catherine. Their destructive relationship is one of the most enduring love stories of English literature. It's terrific theatre which is completely true to the essence of the book.
The Story (in brief for those that don’t know it!) When the orphaned Heathcliff is taken in by the Earnshaw family, the two children of the family, Catherine and Hindley, react very differently – while Cathy and Heathcliff develop a strong bond and affectionate love for one another, Hindley is jealous of his fatherʼs and sisterʼs love of the adopted stray. From this beginning grows a tempestuous and haunting tale about love, revenge and belonging, over several generations. This adaptation is extremely close to the much loved original novel, while exploiting the sheer dramatic potential of the story to the full.
More information in Hebden Bridge Times or Todmorden News.

In Irvine, CA:
Woodbridge High School presents
Jane Eyre. The Musical
by Paul Gordon & John Caird.
WHS Theater February 25-28, 7.00 PM
In Rocky River, OH:
Rocky River Pubic Library
Reel Film and Book Discussion
Start Time: 6:30 PM
 Jane Eyre
Has Valentine’s Day got you in the mood for a little romance? Read Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel and then come to enjoy this 2011 film adaptation starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. After the movie, attendees are encouraged to stay and take part in a short, open discussion comparing the film to the book.
Location: Auditorium + Hauser Room

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Brontë books were safe

The Derby Telegraph tells the story of an avid reader and Brontëite who has won a Kindle after some of her books were damaged by water.

Readers were asked who wrote the classic novel Jane Eyre? Luckily for Charlotte Brontë fan Michelle, she instantly knew the answer. Michelle said: "The Brontë sisters are some of my favourite writers. I couldn't believe it. I entered straight away.
"I never thought I would win, though. I was so surprised when I got the call to say it was me."
Michelle said copies of her Brontë novels were not damaged in the water leak.
But she said she was forced to throw some of her other novels out.
She added: "My bookcase was against the wall which had been damaged by the roof leak.
"My Brontë books were safe, though, because they were in a box that I hadn't unpacked yet."
La Nación (Argentina) features Santiago Posteguillo, a well-known Brontëite.
Cada vez que el profesor Posteguillo cuenta en su clase de literatura inglesa que Charlotte Brönte (sic) tuvo una vida muy triste y que el único hombre al que quiso no le respondió siquiera una carta, sus alumnos no dudan en devorar Jane Ayre [sic], la novela de esa escritora considerada entre las historias de amor más bellas. [...]
5 La historia de amor de Jane Eyre redime la de su autora. Charlotte Brönte [sic] fue testigo de la muerte por tuberculosis de sus hermanas; el hombre del que se enamoró no le correspondió (ni siquiera le contesto una sola de sus numerosas cartas). Frente a estas desventuras, en vez de sumirse en la depresión o quitarse la vida, Brontë escribió Jane Eyre. "Una obra maestra de la literatura -dice Posteguillo- en la que su autora se premia en la ficción con una felicidad que no encontró en su vida real." (Silvina Premat) (Translation)
It's a somewhat 'print-the-legend' version of events, though.

We had never stopped to think about it, but according to Bustle,
the first novel to include first person narration from a child’s perspective was Jane Eyre in 1847, and if that’s how long it took literature to acknowledge the perspectives of young people, it’s no surprise that it took until well into the 20th century to start writing books aimed at young adults. (Emma Cueto)
Página 12 (Argentina) lists fictional characters who may have influenced Christian Grey.
Así, Grey junto al borrascoso y en la cumbre Heathcliff, a Drácula (quien pone a Mina de rodillas), a Rhett Butler (con Scarlett escaleras arriba), al Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks de Annie seguramente pederasta, a Jay Gatsby (sus camisas son las mejores), al Bond-James-Bond de las novelas, al Paul de Ultimo tango en París, al ya mencionado John Gray (James ni se molestó en cambiar la fonética del apellido) de Nueve semanas y media, al Edward Lewis de Pretty Woman, a Patrick “American Psycho” Bateman (¿por qué conformarse con una fusta cuando se tiene una sierra eléctrica?), al chino Lee de El amante, al Brandon Sullivan de Shame y, por supuesto, a Madonna: quien dijo que lo de la James es inverosímil (“porque no hay hombres que practiquen tanto sexo oral”) y para que los ponga a todos en su sitio: sitio muy estrecho, entre correas y cuero rojo y negro. (Rodrigo Fresán) (Translation)
Libération (France) has an article on Janeites.
Il est toutefois surprenant de voir le pays de Voltaire succomber à cette vogue austenienne, faite de mariages de raison et de gentlemen sexy qui débarquent dans le comté. «En France, on a plutôt tendance à aimer le bruit et la fureur, de Byron à Faulkner – ou alors les sœurs Brontë», avance Laurent Folliot, maître de conférences en littérature britannique à la Sorbonne. De fait, l’œuvre d’Austen a longtemps été méconnue en France. Voire considérée comme de la romance améliorée. (Johanna Luyssen) (Translation)
Books with Bite talks about Wuthering Heights and its less than satisfactory adaptations;  Bedlam Magazine 'dissects' both Fifty Shades of Grey and Jane Eyre.

A Practical Jane Eyre Reader

This scholar book with Brontë content has been republished:

A Practical Reader in Contemporary Literary Theory
By Peter Brooker, Peter Widdowson
Routledge October 20th 2014

This introduction to practicing literary theory is a reader consisting of extracts from critical analyses, largely by 20th century Anglo-American literary critics, set around major literary texts that undergraduate students are known to be familiar with. It is specifically targeted to present literary criticism through practical examples of essays by literary theorists themselves, on texts both within and outside the literary canon. Four example essays are included for each author/text presented. 
The book contains the chapter:  4. Charlotte Brontë's " Jane Eyre". (Critics): V. Woolf, Marxist-Feminist Collective, S. Gilbert and S. Gubar, G. Spivak

Monday, February 23, 2015

Humourless Satan

We think that writer Ian Weir might be taking things a tad too far when he says in The Province,

“Satan is the character that has defined the modern anti-hero. The Byronic hero is Milton’s Satan, the Brontë sisters, Rochester, Heathcliff, that’s Milton’s Satan, translated into a different form.” (Peter Darbyshire)
Scarsdale's Hamlet Hub reviews Samantha Ellis's How To Be A Heroine.
At the heart of Ellis’ exploration is the belief that reading books can show us how to live. This is a belief I share passionately. I could see, reading “How to Be a Heroine,” that Ellis and I have sought different answers through books. My preoccupation has been more with deepening my capacity for empathy, which seems to come quite naturally to Ellis. She and I also have different taste in books. From the 19th century, I prefer Dickens and Trollope to the Brontës because I must have humor. “Jane Eyre” was a bit overwrought for my liking, and I never have understood the appeal of Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights.” (Sally Allen)
Lima Ohio features a high school student whose favourite book is Wuthering Heights. Rochester is the literary hunk of Feburary in Book Perfume.

New Spanish editions

A couple of new Spanish editions/adaptations of Brontë novels:
Cumbres BorrascosasEmily Brontë
Fecha de publicación: 13/01/2015
ISBN: 978-84-233-4917-3
Austral Ediciones
Translation: Juan González-Blanco de Luaces

El caso de la escritora inglesa Emily Brontë es verdaderamente excepcional dentro de la literatura. Falleció muy joven, dejando tan sólo una novela, Cumbres borrascosas, la épica historia de Catherine y Heathcliff, situada en los sombríos y desolados páramos de Yorkshire, constituye una asombrosa visión metafísica del destino, la obsesión, la pasión y la venganza. Publicada por primera vez en 1847, un año antes de morir su autora, esta obra rompía por completo con los cánones del «decoro» que la Inglaterra victoriana exigía a toda novela.
Esta obra es una larga y extraordinaria descripción de los actos y problemas psicológicos de unos seres locos o perversos que arrastran una existencia mísera y maléfica. Con ellos, su autora nos ofrece una visión de estos personajes que actúan demoníacamente por aridez protestante que se diluye en todas y en cada una de sus páginas.
And a Jane Eyre adaptation for young readers:
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
Ediciones Susaeta
Leer con susaeta - nivel 4
Illustrator: José María Rueda
Age: 12
ISBN:  9788467739886

En la novela "Jane Eyre", que logró una gran popularidad sobre todo entre las mujeres, Charlotte Brontë nos presenta a una protagonista huérfana y sin dinero, que gracias a su inteligencia y a su esfuerzo consigue cambiar su destino y convertirse en institutriz. Además, Brontë critica muchos aspectos de la sociedad de la época, como las pésimas condiciones de algunas escuelas e internados, algo que ella misma conoció de primera mano.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Revering Charlotte

Screenwriter and actor Will Smith (The Thick of It) writes in The Guardian:
As a teenager, I worshipped John Cleese and Stephen Fry and dreamed of being part of a writing or performing troupe. But I also revered Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, so in tandem with forging a career as a standup, occasional actor and comedy writer, I’ve also been trying to write novels.
Also in The Guardian, a review of These Are the Names by Tommy Wiering:
The opening chapter’s title “The Thing Itself” introduces a sense of timeless, elemental human battles, conjuring King Lear’s unaccommodated man in the pitiless storm. The steppe is a symbolic presence, like Hardy’s Egdon Heath or Emily Brontë’s moors, but without their sense of physical place. This landscape, like Lear’s, is often metaphorical; the migrants pass through “the thicket of horrors”, recalling Dante’s midlife “dark wood”. (Phoebe Taplin)
A reader from the Ilkley Gazette defends the maintenance of the Ilkley Literature Festival (The District Council is proposing to cut completely its annual grant):
Finally, let me point out that the Brontë sisters of Haworth, but a stone’s throw away from Bradford, and J B Priestley, the acclaimed author and playwright of Bradford, bear witness to the literary heritage of the district. (Sylvia Mann)
Lisa A. Phillips writes in Cosmopolitan about a dark phase of her life:
Another thing I wish I'd realized was that my pursuit of him wasn't really about him. It was all about me and my needs. Stalking is narcissistic.
That sounds awful. At times, I was awful. But one of the best things about writing Unrequited was that I discovered women who used the self-centeredness of unrequited love not to stalk but to change their lives for the better. Romantic obsession inspired dancer Isadora Duncan, writer Charlotte Brontë, and Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the founding mothers of feminism, to create their greatest works.
The Independent's Bonus Track features the infamous 1978 Top of the Pops cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Thirty years ago next month, the last of those Top of the Pops compilation albums was released. For those lucky enough to be too young to remember them, the albums had nothing to do with the BBC programme of the same name and could not feature the original versions of hit singles. Anyway, in researching whether this might make an interesting article, I listened to some of the songs covered and was disappointed to find most were reasonably well done. And then I came across the Top of the Pops version of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. Is this the worst cover version ever? Decide for yourself…. (Simmy Richman)
The Boston Herald films listing includes Fifty Shades of Grey:
Part “Cinderella,” part “Beauty and the Beast,” part “Jane Eyre” meets “Story of O,” the film is based on the 2011 fangirl fiction best-selling sensation by pseudonymous Brit E.L. James, and it is a giggle-inducing letdown after all the heavy-breathing build-up in a media desperate for something people want to hear about.
 The South China Morning Post reviews the audiobook release of Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet:
First published in 1997, but new to audiobook download, Kate Atkinson's second novel confirmed what her prize-winning debut, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, boldly announced: she's a major literary talent. Our narrator is Isobel Fairfax, who sounds like a Bronte heroine and speaks like one too: "Francis Fairfax, lately ennobled by the Queen, was in receipt, from the Queen's own hand, of a great swathe of land north of the village, on the edge of what remained of the forest." (James Kidd)
The Independent (Ireland) writes about how movies based on novels dominate the Oscars:
Classic fiction has provided the springboard to Oscar victory for many an adaptation, from Emma Thompson's screenplay for Ang Lee's version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility to the 1940 Best Picture win for Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. (Edel Coffey) lists several graphic adaptations of classic novels:
Emily Brontë's only novel has been adapted into a comic book by John M. Burns and edited by Sean Michael Wilson. This work, like other adaptations by publishers Classical Comics, comes in two versions - abridged 'original text' and paraphrased 'quick text'. The latter is aimed at children, and fans of the novel will most enjoy the former. (Shreya Ila Anasuya)
The St George and Southern Utah Independent reminds us the latest performances of Jane Eyre. The Musical at the Brigham's Playhouse:
Our production of the musical drama Jane Eyre is heading into the final two weeks of its run—that means you only have a few more performances left to see this superb cast in such a heartfelt show. The Brigham’s Playhouse experience is complete with mouth-watering confections, Brigham’s Brew Root Beer, and our famous fudge and fresh baked cookies, not to mention a fabulous live orchestra and Broadway-caliber talent in the best seats Southern Utah has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see the endearing tale all ages will love.
The Mary Sue vindicates the educational potential of videogames:
From pop art to poetry, most art forms have found a foothold on school curriculums. But even as tech advancements allow video games to grow ever more expansive in theme and visuals, it’s unlikely that Child of Light will be knocking the Brontës off the reading list anytime soon. You can study Skyrim in Texas, but while Rice University remains in the minority, it does prove that the tides are turning in gamers’ favour. Trouble is, outsiders looking in rarely get past the gore and misogyny of some of the more infamous exponents. Regardless of media hyperbole surrounding sex and violence in video games, there are plenty of titles willing and able to teach you a thing or two. (Elisabeth O'Neill)
Vozpópuli (Spain) interviews the writer Antonio Aparicio (Buenaventura):
Aunque sus editores le emparentan literariamente con la Jane Eyreo (sic) de Charlotte Brontë, lo cierto es que se trata de una historia que pretende y procura envolver a quien se adentra en ella, para ello, Aparicio se vale de algunos mecanismos, unos más efectivos que otros. “Quería dotarla de esa especie de realismo mágico. Ese halo que tiene de misterio, romántico, pienso que una historia de este tipo en esa época en Asturias tiene una carga emocional muy fuerte”. (Karina Sainz Borgo) (Translation)
El País (Spain) mentions the use of pseudonyms by the Brontës:
La autora de Cumbres Borrascosas, Emily Brontë, publicó la novela, considerada hoy día como un clásico de la literatura inglesa, con el varonil nombre de Ellis Bell (apellido que también utilizaron sus dos hermanas para ocultar su verdadero sexo). (Clara Ferrero) (Translation)
Il Fatto Quotidiano and Firenze Post review Faust Marlowe Burlesque  mentioning Wuthering Heights. Just Another Day in Paradise reviews Wuthering Heights.

Haworth History Tour

Amberley Publishing has just published a new book about Haworth:

Haworth History Tour
Steven Wood, Ian Palmer
Amberley Publishing
ISBN: 9781445646275
168 x 124 mm | Paperback | 96 pages | 120 illustrations | February 2015

Haworth is a picturesque Pennine village that is now famed for the Brontë family and the steam railway. Behind the tourist village of today lies a long history of people making a living from the uncompromising moorland of this area. Haworth History Tour takes the reader on a journey through the many changes the village has undergone in its long history. While some areas will seem relatively unchanged, many are now unrecognisable. The curious and nostalgic alike will delight in uncovering or rediscovering the roots of Haworth with the help of this wonderfully illustrated guide.