Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Polly Teale's Jane Eyre in Rhode Island

Polly Teale's Jane Eyre premieres tomorrow, August 6, in Providence, Rhode Island:
OUT LOUD Theatre presents
Jane Eyre
by Polly Teale, based in the novel of Charlotte Brontë
August 6 - August 29
All Performances begin @ 7:30pm
Mathewson Street Theater (Providence, RI)

England's critically acclaimed adaptation comes to RI!
Polly Teale, of England's Critically Acclaimed Theatre Company "Shared Experience", presents a Jane Eyre unlike any  other. Based in visceral and exploratory storytelling, we are taken beyond the classic story we know and love. "Shared Experience"  has created a story that draws back the curtain and allows us to see the woman behind the name.

Director: Kira Hawkridge
Stage Manager / Lighting Designer: Marc Tiberiis II
Assistant Stage Manager: Sydney Katic
Crew Member: Lexie Lankiewicz
Production Manager: Siobhan LaPorte-Cauley
Dramaturgy: David Nando & Emily Parker
Original Artwork: Katie Hand
Photography Exhibit: Justine M. Johnson

Jane Eyre: Katherine Skoretz
Bertha: Sarah Leach
John Reed / Rochester: Johnny Sederquist
Mrs. Reed / Mrs. Fairfax: Emily Parker
Bessie, Blanche, Diana Rivers, Grace Poole: Siobhan LaPorte-Cauley
Brocklehurst, Pilot, Lord Ingram, Saint John Rivers: David Nando Rodgers
Abigail, Helen, Adele, Girl in Market, Mary Rivers: Aubrey Dion
Ensemble: Beth Alianiello, Natasha Cole

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

In Silent Revolt

The Blackpool Gazette reviews Simple Dame Fairfax by Anna Bransgrove:

(...) There is a satisfying air of authenticity and truthfulness in this reinvention of Mrs Fairfax, thanks largely to Bransgrove’s moving evocation of the haunting events in the widow’s past, her emotional vulnerability and her dilemma as a woman alone and dependent on others.
The realities of life in service – the daily chores, the social expectations and domestic responsibilities – are brought to life though Bransgrove’s careful and adept writing.
But it is the clever, penetrating and thoughtful reshaping of Mrs Fairfax that lingers longest in the mind and invites any fan of Jane Eyre to revisit the book and consider whether the rather conventional and kindly housekeeper was secretly just as much ‘in silent revolt’ against her lot as the determined little governess we know so well. (Pam Norfolk)
Bustle has a thing with lists. This time it's books with 'steamy male lovers'. But, please, check your posts:
Wuthering Heights’ by Charlotte Brontë (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
This book is a double whammy of hot dudes. It’s hard to choose who is the steamiest lover in this classic Brontë tale. Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester? I vote both. Both are sexy in their own way and are utterly unforgettable. If you haven’t read this book yet, or you thought you’d skip over it in high school and college, you are missing out on a dramatic and moody love story that still holds up today. (Crissy Van Meter
The Independent discusses the recent TES list of the books 'every student should read before leaving middle school':
Book snobs and aspiring book snobs (a badge I claim) can relax, though, once they’ve recovered from the shock of Full-Frontal Snogging. Wherever your feet stop, any trip through the TES list brings a giddy sense of impending joy: stride from 13 (Jane Eyre) to 23 (The Kite Runner); hop to 24 (A Clockwork Orange); roll down to 59 (My Family and Other Animals) and take a moment at 72 (The Bell Jar). If there’s an agenda here, I don’t see it. It could be that that’s the value of a democratically produced canon: all the agendas cancel each other out. (Memphis Barker)
The Stir talks about the latests ads by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:
Dorothy Rodham's painful childhood almost sounds like the beginning of Jane Eyre. She was abandoned as an 8-year-old. Her grandparents took her in, but reluctantly. And it wasn't until she went to work for another family at the age of 14 that she discovered what a family looks like when the parents actually love their children. (Adriana Velez)
Contra Costa Times is concerned about Kim Kardashian's Selfish sales:
What's wrong with people? Don't they get that Kim Kardashian is, like, a literary, feminist genius on par with the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf?
And that "Selfish," her 445-page book of selfies is, like, a totally self-aware, ironic yet profound manifesto about fame and the presentation of the female body in a social media age?(Martha Ross)
The Argentinian edition of Rolling Stone covers the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago:
Finalmente, Florence [+ The Machine] se acercó al micrófono y dijo: "Oh, no, otra vez los truenos me vencen. Vamos a tocar una canción más, la tormenta está muy cerca, los siento mucho". El show de dos horas quedó reducido a 50 minutos que alcanzaron para dejar claro su raro carisma de poetisa pop inglesa, más cerca de Emily Brontë que de Katy Perry. (Juan Morris) (Translation)
The Quenn of Teen Fiction interviews the author K.C. Tansley:
I adore stories that feature ghosts! What was it that inspired you to write a story about them?
Me too! I’ve always been a fan of gothic stories and ghosts stories. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights. I believe in the unbelievables—ghosts, spells, and time travel. I wanted to put my own stamp on ghost lore and it was so fun to have them in the story.
Genteel Arsenal reviews Shirley;  Comics Star (in French) is working in a Wuthering Heights 1939 inspired illustration.

Listening the Tenant

Naxos releases a new audiobook of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:
Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Read by Piers Wehner and Katy Carmichael
Unabridged
Naxos Audio Books (August 3, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1843798927

In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë created a strong, modern heroine who challenged the prevailing morals and politics of the Victorian era. When Helen Graham shut her bedroom door on her abusive, drunken husband, it was a door-slam heard around the world. Escaping to Wildfell Hall after a loveless marriage, Helen, the mysterious tenant, lives in quiet seclusion, but her reclusive nature quickly becomes the subject of local gossip. Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, becomes intrigued with Ms Graham and soon discovers the shocking secrets of her dark past...

Monday, August 03, 2015

Oh, I am not going to die, am I?

The Guardian compiles some famous last words. The poignant words that Charlotte Brontë said to Arthur Bell Nicholls are reported:

“Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy,” Charlotte Brontë told her husband, while TS Eliot simply whispered the name of his wife, Valerie, and nothing more. (Oscar Rickett)
The Daily Mail talks about some of the prison occupations of the sex offender and Australian entertainer Rolf Harris. We don't think Charlotte would love to know this:
‘The powers that be have asked me to paint inspirational people and write quotes from them, so I have done about ten so far, all about 18in by 24in with their names & dates and below the portrait, some of the quotes they’ve made.’
Harris said other figures he has painted include Sir Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, Steve Jobs, Charlotte Brontë and a sepia image of Mark Twain. (Chris Greenwood)
The Wall Street Journal explains the rules of London 'small talk':
The U.K., however, was another matter entirely. The birthplace of Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters and Milton, the mecca of modern wit, and the absolute hardest place I’d ever tried to initiate conversations. I quickly learned that in London, “chat” was not just an interchange between two people, but also a trait you could possess single-handedly. The more you had, the less someone else had, as though it could be acquired by force. (Riva Gold)
Unusual Historicals interviews the author Tiffany Apan:
As a side note, the more I research, the more I am fascinated by how distorted many events and eras have become over time. Combine that with my love for Tolkien, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, the Brontës, Wilde, and romantic stories, and you pretty much have my inspiration for the series. (...)
I'm actually reading several and a lot of it historical non-fiction as I research for my book series. One in particular is A Chainless Soul:A Life of Emily Brontë by Katherine Frank.
Oblikon (France) reviews Far from the Madding Crowd 2014:
Images grand angle, collines, troupeaux de moutons, ça fleure bon Les hauts de Hurlevent. Il y a indéniablement un plaisir des yeux à voir les personnages se perdre dans cette nature abondante d’autant que la lumière légèrement jauni avec des pointes de saturation, notamment sur les costumes, octroie au film une ambiance relativement envoûtante, le cadre idéal pour un quatuor amoureux ! (Sarah Benzazon) (Translation)
Absolutely Gothic now posts about Heathcliff and Catherine's Bedroom Scene.

Jane Eyre and Seed Cake

Via Bustle we have discovered this infographic which of of Book-Themed Desserts. Jane Eyre is associated with a seed cake:


The origin of this pairing is this post on BlogHer of a Caraway Seed Cake for Jane Eyre:
In one of the first bright spots in the novel Miss Temple invites Helen and Jane for tea, and shows the young girls true kindness: “[...] she got up, unlocked a drawer, and taking from it a parcel wrapped in paper, disclosed presently to our eyes a good-sized seed-cake. "(...)
 According to Andrea Broomfield in her book Food and Cooking In Victorian England: A History, seed cakes originated in East Anglia in the 16th Century where they were traditionally served during the harvest time. Caraway seeds were also thought to aid in digestion, so this cake was served after large meals. It became most popular during the Victorian age and was frequently served with tea. It was usually flavored with some kind of spirit, such as Madeira wine or brandy, was nicknamed a “keeping cake” because it didn’t spoil easily. 
If  you want to more more about the cake, ingredients, recipe, etc. check the post. And, if you're taste is more on the mince pies (also mentioned on the novel) you can read The Little Library Café.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

It started out in Yorkshire ...

The Straits Times (Malaysia) reviews the upcoming novel Nelly Dean by Alison Case:
Her overwhelming desire to be seen as not just the help but also a member of the family is fleshed out by Case, such that Nelly is strengthened as not just a narrator but as significant and compelling a character as the others.
By moving her from the periphery to the centre of the story, Case makes you realise that Nelly may have suffered more, perhaps, than the tragic figures she waited upon. (Gurveen Kapur)
Apparently yesterday, August 1, was the National Sisters Day and The Albany Herald publishes a whole sisterly article, including examples of well-known sisters:
Famous English poets and novelists Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë originally published their work under the male pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. (Mary Braswell)
The Independent interviews the writer Anna Smaill, who is the Man Booker Prize 2015 longlist:
Nevertheless, Smaill is quick to point out that her audience so far mainly comprises “older adults”, and sounds sceptical about dividing literature into clear-cut categories and genres. “A lot of the distinctions have been artificially drawn.” The novels she grew up reading at her local library – Jane Eyre, the works of Charles Dickens – evade all manner of pigeonholes.
Another writer, Martina Boone, shares her favourite Southern Gothic Novels on The Young Folks:
A lot of people either don’t know what Southern Gothic literature is, or they think of it as the heavy William Faulkner, Eudora Welty stuff they’re forced to read in high school. I happen to love most (not all) that heavy stuff, but I also adore books like Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights that are considered traditional Gothics.
Do you know that Serco (probably the biggest company you've never heard of) was born in Yorkshire? Wanganui Chronicle (New Zealand, where the company has some 'problems' with a prison which was operating) tells us:
It started out in Yorkshire ...
I come from Yorkshire, so appreciate the need to tread carefully - think Wuthering Heights, the Yorkshire Ripper and Emmerdale. Be afraid ... it's not for the fainthearted.
Serco grew massively from there. (Mark Dawson)
Seraglio and Rebecca's Fashionand Life post about Wuthering Heights. Absolutely Gothic explores Catherine Earnshaw Linton's Hysteria. Annabelle Troy, author of Jane Eyre Gets Real, posts about Jane Eyre and the blue moon.

Emily's Birthday Celebration

An alert from the Brontë Parsonage Museum, for today, August 2:
Emily's Birthday Celebration
All aboard for Emily's birthday

August 02nd 2015 11:30am - 04:40pm
TICKETS ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE UNTIL 4.30pm ON FRIDAY 31 JULY.

AFTER THIS TIME, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND, PLEASE COME ALONG TO KEIGHLEY STATION BEFORE 11.30 ON SUNDAY TO PAY ON THE DAY.

Emily Bronte's birthday falls on 30 July and we will be celebrating the 197th anniversary of her birth with a special celebration on Sunday 2 August.  We hope you will join us, but as places are strictly limited to 30, be sure to book soon!

Our special guests will board the 1145 steam train from Keighley and hear a talk by railway historian David Pearson.  On arriving in Haworth at 1205, visitors will then transfer to a vintage bus and travel up to West Lane Baptist Church - just across the road from the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

There will then be the opportunity to wander around Haworth and have some lunch in one of the many cafes or pubs before gathering at the Museum at 1315.  You will have the chance to explore the Museum - Emily's former home - and hear a talk on Emily Brontë as well as partake in a guided walk up onto Penistone Hill for a view of the wild landscape which so inspired 'Wuthering Heights'.   The afternoon will conclude with tea and homemade cake.

At 1555, the vintage bus will take our celebration guests back over the moors to Oxenhope in time to board the 1615 train back to Keighley. Estimated arrival in Keighley is 1640.

This is sure to be a very special day so make sure you book without delay!  

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Yorkshire Day by Candlelight

I'ts Yorkshire Day, and the Yorkshire Post gives forty reasons why Yorkshire is special:

The moors at Haworth, which make the village well worth an overnight stay rather than a quick Brontë-bagging day trip.
The York Star publishes a list of great Yorkshire women:
The Brontë sisters
Charlotte (1816-1855), Emily (1818-1848), and Anne (1820-1849), were novelists born in Thornton, near Bradford.
Between them they produced some literary classics.
Charlotte, the oldest, is best known for her novel Jane Eyre, which published under the pen name Currer Bell.
Emily’s one and only novel, Wuthering Heights, is considered a classic of English literature.
The youngest of the sisters, Anne is the least known, and her best known work is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Her life was cut short by TB at the age of just 29. (Ben Green)
Living North has an article on the current Brontë Parsonage exhibition, The Brontës, War and Waterloo:
The Brontës, War and Waterloo exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth (the former home of siblings Emily, Anne, Branwell, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Maria) is filled with writings, drawings and personal objects, all of which relate to war. ‘The Brontës weren’t just good writers they were good artists so you’ve got sketches and artwork of battles. Then there’s silly things like their father Patrick Brontë’s gun sleeve,’ explains Brontë scholar and the exhibition’s Co-Curator Emma Butcher (she adds that there was a rumour Patrick kept his gun by his bed for fear of a local uprising and would shoot it out of his bedroom window every morning). (...)
Obsessed as they were with war and soldiers, did they really condone violence? As Emma makes clear, it’s difficult to tell from their later novels, where war doesn’t feature directly, but if you look back at their childhood works, which Emma has done, you find a definite support for war. ‘Although they wrote them in their teenage years, there is patriotic material in there which glorifies war,’ says Emma. ‘It’s difficult to know where their loyalties lie but I do think that Charlotte Brontë and her hero-worshipping of Wellington kind of gives it away. She can’t be much against it because she was hero-worshipping a military idol.’
Emma believes it gives an indication of how the controversial heroes from their later novels were created. ‘These ideas of dysfunctional and violent masculinity stem from their obsession with war,’ says Emma. ‘The fact that Heathcliff can beat up his dog, beat animals and beat up his wife is very shocking but it links back to their idealisation of violence and the fact they were used to writing and thinking about violent men.’ (Read more)
Tomorrow, August 2, is the final day of the National Parks Week 2015. We read in the Sunderland Echo:
The North York Moors, designated a park in 1952, and has 7 million visitors a year. The moors cover 554 miles of heath and moorland, as well as 26 miles of dramatic North Sea coast in England’s North East. This is Wuthering Heights territory. The National Park also protects more than 800 ancient monuments.
The Daily Post talks about the Conwy's Castle Hotel which
Built on the site of a 12th century Cistercian Abbey, former patrons of the hotel include William Wordsworth, Samuel Johnson and Charlotte Brontë – who honeymooned at the Castle. (Tom Davidson)
It was only one night, in June 1854.

Bustle makes a list of books 'worthy of being read by candlelight'. Among them, Wuthering Heights:
Romance and candlelight go hand-in-hand, and the tumultuous, passionate love story of Cathy and Heathcliff is just the thing for reading near the flame. Their drama and angst, plus the powerful backdrop of the English moors, makes Wuthering Heights ideal for stormy reading situations — and all the better if you have to lean in to soak up every compelling, masterfully-crafted word. (Sandie L. Trombetta)
Fusion criticizes the Hollywood obsession with white guys biopics:
There is, for example, a biopic about the man who wrote Peter Pan (Finding Neverland), but no biopics of Toni Morisson, Mae West, Charlotte Brontë, Celia Cruz or Lorraine Hansberry. (Kelsey McKinney)
popmatters talks about the track Your Level Best by Stern:
‘Your Level Best’ is about doing your best in the face of adversity, while also being a commentary on adversity itself and its seemingly never-ending presence in our lives,” says [Chuck] Stern, who is clearly not a lunatic. “Escalating, repeating, ascending to heaven. Triumph in minutiae and defeat. That kind of thing. Also, I’ve always felt a “woman in the attic” vibe (from Jane Eyre) but I’m not sure how that plays into it. Musically, I think it’s oAdrien Begrand)
ur most post-hardcore ditty. Unwound is probably an influence on this one.” (
Key4biz (Italy) reviews the Italian translation of Susanne Goga's Der Verbotene Fluss:
Solo con l’aiuto dell’affascinante giornalista Thomas Ashdown, Charlotte si avvicina alla verità, una verità sconvolgente, sepolta tra quelle antiche mura. Un romanzo pieno di mistero e romanticismo. Una storia che alle atmosfere di Jane Eyre unisce una suspense unica ed elettrizzante. (Translation)
the Brontë Sisters posts about Charlotte Brontë and J.M.W. Turner. Mesis Dolgok (in Turkish) reviews Jane Eyre.

Jane in a (Catholic) Church

A special screening, in a church, of Jane Eyre 2011 in Valladolid, Spain:
Jane Eyre
Iglesia del monasterio de San Benito el Real
C/ de San Benito, 3
August 1, 22:15 h

Protagonizada por Mia Wasikowska y Michael Fassbender, basada o en la novela homónima de Charlotte Brontë

Entradas a la venta en la taquilla de la Sala San Benito, a partir de las 19:30 h cada día de proyección (no numeradas). No se podrá acceder al recinto una vez iniciada la proyección.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Another bookish girl in love with Heathcliff?

The Guardian talks about gender and writing:

And for a long time, in literature, there has been “a gender for fiction”, and that gender has been male. At least since Charlotte Brontë called herself Currer Bell, and Mary Ann Evans settled on George Eliot, female writers have taken male pen names in hopes that they will be taken more seriously by the reading public. In more recent times, the trend has been for successful authors to go genderless. Two of the world’s top-earning authors happen to be female and both go by their initials – JK Rowling and EL James.
As a matter of fact the names Currer, Ellis and Acton were chosen by the Brontës not to be obviously male, but to be ambiguous.

The Daily Mail presents one of the Brontë books for this August, Nelly Dean by Alison Case:
It's a brave author who strays into Brontë country, but American scholar Case has thrown herself wholeheartedly into her companion piece to Wuthering Heights.
Nelly Dean was housekeeper at the Heights and the novel's main narrator. Here, she sets about filling the gaps left by her original account of events, weaving 'a homespun grey yarn... among the bright-dyed and glossy dark threads of the Earnshaws and Lintons'.
This isn't false modesty, since Cathy and Heathcliffe are little more than bit players for much of the novel and their fireworks largely offstage.
Instead, the focus is on Nelly herself, her doomed love for her childhood sweetheart, Hindley, and her devotion to his son, Hareton, to whom she is nothing short of a mother.
There are a couple of daring twists along the way, but the tendency of Case's characters to talk in paragraphs makes for rather slow going.
Given that Nelly's tale extends to nearly 400 pages, you could be forgiven for feeling that a little more glossy darkness would perhaps not have gone amiss. (Stephanie Cross)
A charity walker in The Darlington & Stockton Times:
He will also be joined by friends and family for different stints of the journey which will see him walk along the Pennine Way and visit the home of the Brontë sisters before finishing the challenge with a drink in second Strathmore Arms with his wife, Maggie and children Amy and James. (Katie Richardson)
Keighley News informs that the Vintage Bus Tours are working all the summer (July & August) Sundays:
The Summer is here so we are now running steam trains every day until September.
The holiday period also marks the return of our vintage bus service, which connects Haworth station with Main Street, as well as to Oxenhope and Ingrow.
We know that our passengers really enjoy using the Rover tickets to travel on the tour, so this year we are running both a service on weekdays during the summer as well as tours around the Worth Valley linking Oxenhope station, Haworth village and Haworth station on summer Sundays.
Every Sunday in July and August, Vintage Bus Tours will operate between the three stops, the first service departing Haworth at 11.25am giving six round trips in all.
In addition, the Summer Orange timetable comes into operation for our weekday service when Vintage Bus Tours will operate throughout the week between Oxenhope, Haworth and Ingrow stations.
As well as the bus service included in the price of a railway Rover ticket, we are very pleased to announce that we are working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum to offer a discount for our passengers. (David Knights)
TES has published a top 100 list with the "fiction books all children should read before leaving secondary school – according to teachers":
13. Jane Eyre
15. Wuthering Heights
The Huffington Post gives reasons to read Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman:
Modern writers have struck gold taking classics like Gone with the Wind,Rebecca, Wuthering Heights and Little Women in improbable directions, one even garnering a Pulitzer. They've killed characters, taken liberties with everything from setting to sexual orientation and too often, though not always, embellished these tales with pedestrian plotting and insipid prose. (Loretta Bolger Wish)
The Sydney Morning Herald interviews Emma Stone about her role in the latest Woody Allen film, Irrational Man:
"I think maybe my thought for Jill's life is that she's grown up in this middle-class, very clean-cut family," she says. "It's almost like there is this craving for some toxic energy to come into her life because she so desperately doesn't want to be, you know, like everyone else in her town."
Isn't she just another bookish girl in love with Heathcliff? "The dark, quiet man you believe you can save? Yeah, but when somebody tells you they're crazy, you should probably believe them." As Oprah says, she adds. (Stephanie Bunbury)
The Gulf Today (UAE) talks about sacrifice and individualism and quotes from Wuthering Heights:
Therefore, the universal search for unity to ensure peace goes against the grain of human nature as we just found out. Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Emily Brontë whose protagonist Heathcliff powerfully underlines the primacy of the individual when he says, “God shall not get the satisfaction I will.”
Well, at same time we need peace and what is the solution?
Well, sacrifice. Your individual desires, your dreams, your pride, all need to be sacrificed in the larger interest of humanity. (Shaadaab S. Bakht)
Onislam talks about muslim education and quotes Jane Eyre:
Away from his widowed mother, his beloved grandfather, and his honorable family, he was left, far in the desert with a poor family to learn his language skills from their purest origins.
That was the first childhood memories of our prophet Muhammad-may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, which has always sounded harsh to me as harsh as when little Jane Eyre was sent to Lowood Institution, and when Oliver Twist was misplaced in the workhouse. (Julunar)
Portadown Times announces the Chapterhouse Theatre's performances of Jane Eyre in Banbridge; Just Olga posts about the Brontës and briefly talks about the two Luccia Gray's Eyre Hall novels published so far.  Mousin' About publishes an original Jane Eyre illustration by Alison Mutton. Novel Conversations reviews Re Jane by Patricia Park. BookNotes and FootMarks has not enjoyed Jane Eyre as much as she expected.

Frock Flicks publishes a quite comprehensive post on Costumes in Wuthering Heights Movie & TV Adaptions

Calligraphic Covers

Manuela Cappon is an Italian illustrator who recently sent us some examples of her work. Like these two covers she designed for Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildell Hall:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Ring to bring her at Thornfield and in the darkness marry her

Alice Spawls in the London Review of Books has a strong opinion about the recent claim that this photograph represents the Brontës:

Apart from anything else, it looks nothing like them. When Anne was four she told her father she wanted ‘age and experience’ but the women in the photograph are closer to middle age than the sisters would have been (Anne was 28 when she died). They’re too cross-looking, too – the Brontës weren’t called pretty but were ‘of pleasing appearance’ and would have worn their hair in spaniel curls, defying the likes of Mr Brocklehurst, who in Jane Eyre threatens to have Julia Severn’s naturally curly hair cut off for ‘conforming to the world so openly’. They were too young (and unmarried) to have donned a cap for the occasion like the woman on the far left, and would have worn their finest dresses – a wide-necked gown with a pelerine or collar for modesty perhaps. In the painting by Branwell known as the Gun Group Portrait, of which only one figure remains, they went bare-shouldered, though later engravers added chemisettes. 
Incidentally, Keighley News also published again Ann Dinsdale's opinion on the subject:
 “When Emily died no one knew who she was, so why would anyone take pictures of three obscure clergymen’s daughters?
“And why would they want to have their photos taken? Charlotte was very shy about her appearance. She sat for a portrait in 1850, and it’s clear it was an ordeal for her.
“A photograph would have been such a big thing because it was so unusual. It would have been documented somewhere.”
Ann said the women in the photograph did not resemble those in Branwell’s famous portrait, which is believed to show a good likeness to the real-life Charlotte, Anne and Emily.
Ann added: “We have three portraits of Anne painted by Charlotte and they all show a woman with small, sharp features and curly hair, and it’s not a likeness to the women in the picture.
“In my years at the Parsonage, I’ve lost count of how the pictures we’ve received that purported to be of one or more of the Brontës.” (David Knights)
The Brooklyn Rail reviews Caryl Phillips's The Lost Child:
Most students of literature know Emily Brontë, or at least we think we do: brilliant, passionate, undisciplined, even feral, yet at the same time wan, reclusive, depressive, diminished. Her sister Charlotte wrote that Emily’s sole novelWuthering Heights “was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials.” Though she credits Emily with a greater mastery, Virginia Woolf’s praise for the novel infers a similarly alien energy: “It is as if she could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparences with such a gust of life that they transcend reality.” Elizabeth Hardwick confidently conjures a familiar portrait of all three Brontë sisters in the single sentence, “They are very serious, wounded, longing women, conscious of all the romance of literature and of their own fragility and suffering.”
Or perhaps we simply accept how little of substance we can hope to know of her. In the same essay Hardwick backpedals, “No one and no amount of fact can give flesh to Emily Brontë's character. She is almost impossible to come to terms with, to visualize.” She is one of literature’s great unknowables. How incredible, then, that when she appears midway through Caryl Phillips’s new novel The Lost Child, she is at once bracingly unfamiliar—that is to say, human—and unquestionably alive. Sickly and introspective, yes, but also alternately stolid, independent, tender, ambivalent. Like all of Phillips’s characters, she is in and of the world: “Again she lifted her head to the skies. Let those who need shelter seek it out. She whispered,Go, seek it out.”
Though the book jacket frames his novel as a reworking of Wuthering Heights“written in the tradition of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea,” Phillips has undertaken no neat retelling. The overt engagements with Brontë and her masterpiece are brief interludes, though they do much to establish the themes and tone of the novel as a whole. (Read more) (Sam Huber)
The Daily Mail has an article about a Lord of the Rings themed wedding. Curiously enough it seems that the couple a few days ago celebrated the 'legal' wedding and it was Brontë-related:
On July 10 the couple had their legal wedding which channelled the Emily Brontë novel, Wuthering Heights.
Amy [the bride] added: 'I'm not originally a Lord of the Rings fan that was Will's day.
'I love reading Thomas Hardy, Daphne Du Maurier and authors like that so Friday was more the day for me.
'But both weddings followed a literary theme.' (Sadie Whitelocks)
Which links quite bizarrely with this other piece of news. Maybe you have read about this Little Women project (reboot, rewrite, re...wtf?). The Washington Post gives more ideas for this new wtf-rewriting genre:
Writer: No um. Look. I can’t be like “so i’m adapting ‘Jane Eyre’ . . . there’s a girl named Jane and she meets a guy named Mr. Rochester, and they’re both wizards fighting a dark power that rises in the east and is threatening to draw all the rings of power unto itself, and there is another wizard named St. John who is lame.”
Exec: You are a fountain of great ideas. (Alexandra Petri)
100 Swoon-worthy romances on NPR Books:
Jane Eyre
A poor, mistreated heroine, a dour, misunderstood hero, and a mad wife locked in the attic — if that's not romance, we don't know what is! Reader, she did indeed marry him, and they lived happily ever after. 
Another list in the Manchester Evening News. This one is an introduction to Gothic fiction:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Heathcliffe (sic)!!! Who doesn't know this dark and desperate love story - a battle of class, survival, prejudice and, ultimately, the heart? If not, it's time to get Brontë's 1847 novel in your life - published a year before Emily's untimely death and later re-edited by her sister Charlotte. (Sarah Walters)
And BlogHer has another one. "Ten fictions worth seeing as much as they are worth reading":
Jane Eyre (2011)— This passionate, chilling and charmingly British film is based on Charlotte Brontë’s autobiographical tale of woe. The film explores every emotion to the depth by spinning the story line on a wheel of anticipation. (Alesya Izoita)
Tri-City News has also something to say about adaptations of novels:
If your tastes are more English, there seems to be a recent mini-industry in making films based on Jane Austin’s romantic fictions about the landed gentry of 19th century England; check out Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, or Emma. A more wildly romantic treatment of English life can be found in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and also in any of the movie adaptations based on Jane’s love for the tragic Mr. Rochester.
It's always a good idea to recover this Brontës meet Power Rangers 1998 video. ActuaLitté does is and adds something more. Do you remembered that it was directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord?
Des années avant de réaliser The Lego Movie, Chris Miller et Phil Lord jouaient déjà avec des personnages de plastique. Pour cette parodie publicitaire de 1998, les compères se sont emparés des sœurs Brontë — Charlotte, Emily et Anne — pour en faire des sortes de Power Rangers féministes.
Aidées par les fillettes, elles devront lutter contre les abominables phallocrates, qui refusent de concevoir qu'un livre, et plusieurs encore moins, puisse être écrit par une femme. À l'époque, les ouvrages des trois sœurs, et notamment Les Hauts de Hurlevent, de Charlotte Brontë, avaient largement participé à la disparition de certains tabous littéraires.
La vidéo faisait partie d'une série de fausses publicités, qui mettaient toutes en scène des personnages réels sous forme de jouets fictifs, mais cette courte série ne fut finalement jamais diffusée. (Antoine Oury) (Translation)
Jane Eyre 2006 is going to be available on the Korean video streaming service DramaFever and Miaoaoao presents the cast here. The New York Times has an article on buying properties in Yorkshire (and Brontë country, of course);  shihtzubookreviews fancasts Wuthering Heights; Dresses and Travels visits Haworth; David Johnson uploads to Flickr pictures of North Lees Hall; Surgabukuku posts about some new Jane Eyre additions to his/her book collection.

Happy 197st, Emily!

Emily Jane Brontë was born on a day like today and 197 years after that she continues to impress, amaze and interest readers all over the world. Her intriguing personality, her mastery of poetry and prose make her a very prominent figure in 2015. Her only novel, Wuthering Heights, fascinates readers and gains one new adaptation after another, thereby living endless new lives and touching different lives.

We still wonder what Emily- the so-called sphinx of English literature would make of all that. We do, however, know that we are very happy for her.


This is the premiere performance of Ola Gjeilo's "No Coward Soul is Mine." (2011).
This piece was commissioned by the Mercersburg chorus for their 35th anniversary. 

(Text Originally posted in 2009)

EDIT: Check also this other posts and articles: Biographile, Ziua News (Romania), ABC (Spain), Andina (Perú), WCSH Portland, Surviving Translation, Museo LoPiù, Time Magazine, Il Post (Italy), Redecorating Middle-earth in Early Lovecraft, trombone com vara (in Portuguese), The Eclectic AtmaThe Paris Review, Surviving Transition...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Motivation? He's hot as hell

The Daily Express lists curiosities about tigers (today is, apparently, International Tiger Day). Including a Brontë reference:

5. Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre, had a cat called Tiger. (William Hartston)
The Telegraph makes a case for Agatha Christie's Devon:
With Emily Brontë, it’s easy. You tick off Wuthering Heights and Haworth. With Jane Austen, there’s Chawton and Bath. Even Dickens’s ghost is easy to locate in and around London.
But to pay homage to Agatha Christie, where do you go? (Chris Moss)
The Independent explores the works of the novelist Shirley Jackson:
Much of the golden thread of Gothic and uncanny fiction in English passes through a female line – from Mary Shelley and Charlotte Brontë to Daphne du Maurier, Angela Carter, Susan Hill and Donna Tartt. But Jackson, more than most of her sisters in mystery, lived in and through the vast abyss between untamed imagination and domestic routine. (Boyd Tonkin)
Jezebel is not so much exploring but obsessed with the works of Mary Stewart:
Then there are all the literary touches. Nine Coaches Waiting might as well be titled Jane Eyre, But If It Was in France, With More Attempted Murder. This Rough Magic, set on Corfu, is practically a tribute to The Tempest. Every chapter in her books begins with some quote from literature. (Kelly Faircloth
Flagpole (Athens, Georgia) publishes a profiel of the new director of the local library:
She now owns a Nook and counts among her favorite works Jane Eyre and Their Eyes Were Watching God, plus the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. (Rebecca McCarthy)
Camille Paglia is interviewed on Salon. She says a couple of controversial things about Hillary Clinton:
Fifteen years later, that’s still the sad role left for her to play. (David Daley)
Yes, it’s like something out of “Wuthering Heights” or “Great Expectations”–some Victorian novel, where a woman turns into this mourning widow who mopes on and on over a man who abused or abandoned her. Hillary has a lot to answer for, because she took an antagonistic and demeaning position toward her husband’s accusers. So it’s hard for me to understand how the generation of Lena Dunham would or could tolerate the actual facts of Hillary’s history.
Francine Prose tries to answer an impossible question (what is canon and who should be in there) in The New York Times:
I do think that there are works that everyone should read because they tell us who we are as human beings living in history. I would start with the Bible, the “Odyssey” and the “Iliad,” the works of Sophocles, Chaucer, Shakespeare. I think everyone should read “David Copperfield,” “Middlemarch,” “Wuthering Heights,” the essays of Virginia Woolf, not only because they will — by a sort of osmosis — improve one’s prose style, but because they can also sharpen one’s ability to think logically, to follow an argument and understand a complex sentence.
The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews The Antinomies of Realism by Fredric Jameson:
“Motivation” names, for instance, the entire gamut of Marxism’s relation to the working class. It is something we should not lose, whether in the sense of an entirely de-motivated, lazy affectlessness, or in the sense of demographically automatic “studies show ...” explanations. But motivation was also the achievement and domain of realism. Why does Isabel Archer go back to Rome and her toxic marriage to Osmond at the end of The Portrait of a Lady? Why does Heathcliff, so virile and menacing, fade into a crepuscular shade in Wuthering Heights?  (Ben Parker)
Forbes India has an article about something totally unusal (irony intended): writers with just one novel:
Emily Brontë
Writing under the pen name Ellis Bell, Emily Brontë was the third of four siblings. Her novel Wuthering Heights, which was published in 1847, led many to believe that it was written by a man, given its powerful language, imagery and sexual passion. Brontë died in 1848, and though it was believed that she was working on a second novel, its manuscript was never found. (Jasodhara Banerjee)
Consequence of Sound talks about a Titus Andronicus opera rock project:
Literature tells us that human suffering knows no bounds. We read Plath’s The Bell Jar, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Brontë’s Villette and come face to face with Orpheus-like characters using art as a means to negate pain. (Lior Phillips)
What your literary crushes says about your taste in men? Elite Daily unveils the enigma:
Mr. Rochester is basically the dude with more skeletons in his closet than ties. He’s the kind of guy you date for six months without knowing his last name, occupation or hometown. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter because he’s hot as hell and the sex is unbeatable.
Tread lightly — trying to weed out information from him will leave you with even more questions, like why he always keeps the guest bedroom door locked. Also, be wary of his crazy-as-f*ck ex. (Izabella Zayndenberg)
China Daily briefly mentions the Patrick De Bana Jane Eyre choreography for the Shanghai Ballet:
He's no stranger to Shanghai Ballet, which invited him to create a dance-theater productionof Jane Eyre in 2012. The result: a particularly impressive presentation of Bertha, the madwife of Rochester, Jane's employer and lover, in the course of the dramatic entanglementbetween the three lead characters. (Zhang Kun)
Judith Barrow interviews the writer Carol Lovekin:
Who are your favorite authors and what is it that you love about their work?
(...) Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle has the best fictional opening line ever and I reread Jane Eyre every few years.
El Periódico (Spain) recommends summer reading:
Un clásico para recuperar
Jane Eyre, de Charlotte Brontë. Cuando encuentro a una chica muy lectora de 13 o 14 años y que ya ha agotado todos los libros de fantasía que hay en el mercado lo recomiendo y en el 75% de los casos tengo éxito. (Xon Pagès) (Translation)
Siglo XXI (Spain) interviews the writer Teresa Viejo:
En la manera tuya de narrar, ¿sientes que se esconde algo de realismo mágico? (Herme Cerezo)
Un comentario de este tipo me abruma. Yo no busco ese efecto, lo digo con la mano en el corazón. El lenguaje me sale así porque soy una persona que he leído mucho y, si no has leído, no puedes tener un estilo propio. Durante mis veranos, mi única ocupación era leer. Leía cuatro libros a la semana y por mis manos pasaron las colecciones enteras de los Cinco o de Agatha Christie y muchos otros títulos como ‘Cumbres borrascosas’. (Translation)
Mia Wasikowska made a "quietly potent impression" as Jane Eyre in the 2011 film according to Ken Eisner on Georgia Straight; this reader of the Darlington & Stockton Times visited Norton Conyers and shares his opinion.

Imagine there's no ... oh, no, not again

Ok, we have to report this. We suppose that there are people out there who really believe this stuff. We are not one of them. And this is all we have to say. It's less painful when it's quick.

John Lennon and the Brontë Connection 
by Jewelle St. James
St James Publisher
Paperback – July 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-0973275261
(A reworking with new 'findings' of The Lennon-Brontë Connection (2011)).

Is ex-Beatle John Lennon the reincarnation of the troubled Branwell Brontë, brother to England's most literary sisters? Did Branwell Brontë write part, or all, of Wuthering Heights? The untimely death of John Lennon in 1980 prompted Jewelle St. James to investigate life after death and other spiritual phenomena. Research spanning three decades, and ten journeys to England, from Canada, was necessary to uncover past-life mysteries and their often surprising connections.
The John Lennon Examiner has a priceless review:
The similarities between Branwell and Lennon are striking, in appearance, personality and life story. Both were artists of course--both loved to write stories and do drawings. But that's just the beginning. The focus of the story is still more heavily weighted on Branwell than Emily; but if Jewelle St. James really is the reincarnation of Emily, she is following a soul trait. Biographical sources describe Emily as shy, forever in the background, never one to toot her own horn. So it is with this book, as Jewelle becomes more accepting of the notion that she might have been Emily, but still reticent, by the end of the book. (Shelley Germeaux)
Reticent. Oook. *grin*