Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jane Eyre in Malmö

On Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 12:24 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new adaptation of Jane Eyre opens today, February 13, in Malmö, Sweden:
Jane EyreAdapted by Kirsten Thomsen
Directed by Ana Azcárate

Malmö Stadsteater
13 february -  23 april

”Tror du därför att jag är fattig, enkel, osynlig och liten att jag inte har något hjärta, att jag är utan själ? Jag har lika mycket hjärta som du, och lika mycket själ.”
Den föräldrarlösa Jane Eyre blir efter en svår barndom anställd som guvernant hos den demoniske Mr Rochester på Thornfield Hall. Jane som är en självständig, intelligent och målmedveten ung kvinna hittar snart en vän i den annars så gåtfulle Mr Rochester. De samtalar om allt och utvecklar en kärlek på lika villkor. Men Rochester bär på en fasansfull hemlighet och Jane flyr från sitt eget bröllop.
Jane Eyre blev redan när den kom ut 1847 en stor framgång. Berättelsen om Janes öde har i generationer fängslat sina läsare. Med en stark kvinnlig berättarröst är den inte bara en spännande romantisk skildring utan också ett ställningstagande för kvinnans rätt till självständighet och lika värde.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily Herald Tribune has selected the best romantic novels of all time, including
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: This apparent love mismatch between a "poor, obscure, plain and little" governess and a tortured Byronic hero with a dark past is one of the most memorable love stories in modern literature. While Jane seems reserved and insecure, she is a strong and passionate woman that will settle for nothing less than a man that loves her and treats her as an equal.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: Heathcliff is a foster child who develops an unconditional love for his foster sister, Catherine, and are forced by circumstance and prejudice to live their lives apart. (Maureen Curry)
San Francisco Chronicle thinks that, 'there’s nothing sexier or more romantic than being well read' and adds Jane Eyre to not-your-typical list of romantic reads.
Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë (Penguin Classics, 624 pages): For those unfamiliar with Brontë’s title heroine and her complicated beau, Mr. Rochester, you’re in for a treat. Jane is no damsel in distress — read how she goes from abused orphan to mistress of her own fate. (Tony Bravo)
Wuthering Heights makes it onto the list compiled by Trendencias (Spain)
Cumbres borrascosas’, de Emily Brontë
La mediana de las hermanas Brontë (las escritoras, se entiende; había tres hermanos más) solo escribió esta novela que, para colmo, no fue muy bien recibida en su momento, aunque el tiempo la ha puesto donde se merece. El amor aquí es enfermizo y oscuro, teñido de venganza y envidia. La historia entre Heathcliff (un muchacho acogido por el cabeza de familia de los Earnshaw) y Catherine dista mucho de ser romántica; se crían juntos desde pequeños y, aunque en teoría Heathcliff es un hijo más, la realidad demuestra que no todos los miembros de la familia lo tratan así. Para corazones con coraza (#perdón). (Puri Ruiz) (Translation)
And no Brontë novel is included on Coast Weekend's list.
Also not included here are the great romantic classics of authors like Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, the Brontë sisters, and the like — proof certainly that there are plenty of literary romances out there. However, it’s doubtful that most readers don’t already know about these authors’ works. (Kate Giese)
Oxford University Press Blog has a quiz on romantic quotes which includes a couple of Brontë-related questions.

Apart from Valentine's Day, it's also Lent and Bustle has selected '20 Short Books To Read For Lent', one of which is
17. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea is Jean Rhys' prequel to Jane Eyre. This is the story of Rochester's first wife, the woman he demanded answer to "Bertha," whom he locked away in an attic. (Kristian Wilson)
The Independent reviews the novel Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift.
Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday is about one such defining moment. It is set in 1924, the year of Conrad's death, and its housemaid heroine, Jane Fairchild, reads the news of his passing in the morning paper before putting it on her master's breakfast table. Jane, plain Jane, that good Brontë name, is 22 years old, an orphan and an outsider, but not so plain as to be unattractive to the neighbouring posh boy: Paul Sheringham. (James Runcie)
The Independent also finds a Brontëite in writer and broadcaster Joan Bakewell.
Chose [sic] a favourite author and say why you admire him/her.
Too many to select one: Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, none better than any other. Each draws you into a world of their own making, and I like being steeped in their worlds.
Republican American reviews the play The Moors.
There are times when one can't help but think of "Jane Eyre," when Jane, the governess, fell head over heels in love with Mr. Rochester, only to learn that his insane wife, hidden away in the attic, is still alive. (Joanne Greco Rochman)
New York Racked features photographer and 'professional proposal planner' Ash Fox, who tells about a proposal for a Jane Eyre fan.
. . . and, a personal favorite, a proposal in the Nomad hotel bar The Library.
"That one was super cute," she said. Because the fiancée-to-be's favorite book was Jane Eyre, Fox helped her client incorporate the 19th-century novel into his proposal: They bought a copy, carved a heart shape in its center, an [sic] placed the ring inside. Fox strategically positioned it on a bookshelf at eye level by the bar. When the girlfriend arrived, she made a beeline for the book. As she opened it and glimpsed the ring, her boyfriend dropped to one knee.
"He knew her so well. He knew she was going to pick up that book!" Fox said. "That's the nice thing about a proposal where you're making it about the girl, not about yourself." (Laura E. Entis)
Keighley News has an article on the reopening of the Brontë Parsonage Museum a couple of weeks ago and some of the highlights of the Brontë 200 year. La Nueva España (Spain) features Ángeles Caso's Brontë-related novel Todo ese fuego. Miranda Seymour in the Times Literary Supplement reviews Helen MacEwan's biography of Winifred Gérin:
Biographers – from the irrepressible James Boswell until relatively recently – were not always a quiet lot. How impartial was the biographer of Byron (Doris Levy Langley) when she insisted that her marriage (to Mr Moore) must take place within stepping distance of her favourite subject’s coffin? How necessary was it for the indomitable Richard Holmes to retrace, on foot (albeit without a donkey companion), the actual route of R. L. Stevenson's pilgrimage through  the Cévennes?
12:38 am by M. in ,    No comments
Bookish Knits posts a selection of different Jane Eyre-inspired knitting patterns:
Jane Eyre Shawl   by Nikol Lohr


Image from the pattern page - not mine. Click here for the Jane Eyre Shawl of beauteous beauty.
Image from the pattern page
Now, I’ve knitted this shawl and wear it quite frequently, so I really should get some pictures up on the blog. Perhaps Jane herself would rather I didn’t show it off; it is functional like her with its faroese styling but it has a flourish of something special, too.

Rosamund’s Cardigan by Andrea Pomerantz


Rosamund's Shawl - Knitter Nerd
Picture credit through pattern link
Yes, they’ve spelled her name wrong, but it comes up in a search for ‘Jane Eyre knits’ so it must be inspired by her. Regardless, Rosamond is one example of the wonderful characterisation in the novel; a bit part, she nonetheless has depth in her longing for St. John Rivers.

Wandering the Moor by Celeste Glassel


Wandering the Moor - Knitter Nerd
Picture credit through pattern link
Heartbroken and still on her feet, my favourite Jane is one who does nothing but survive. She leaves Rochester even if it nearly breaks her and she keeps going until she finds a new village, a new life which she carves out for herself. It’s in those chapters when she is wandering the moors that you truly see her worth.

Jane Eyre Tea Cosy by Loly Fuertes

Jane Eyre Tea Cosy - Knitter Nerd
Picture credit through pattern link
Though I’m not certain I could imagine Jane with such an extravagantly embroidered dress, I had to include this for the sheer fact that it’s adorable. Not usually a reaction I have around this book!

Mrs Rochester of Ferndean by Elizabeth Felgate

Mrs Rochester - Knitter Nerd
Picture credit through pattern link

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:06 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
Impact gives Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre a 9/10.
‘It’s a girl’ – the words that both open and end director Sally Cookson’s stage vision of Jane Eyre. In my opinion, there couldn’t be a more apt way of rounding up Charlotte Brontë’s well known tale. Jane’s journey from powerless child to strong, spirited, independent woman in this production highlights what Brontë’s story is truly about: a struggle for one woman’s individual equality and liberty, or, in short – just the story of an ordinary girl. While Jane herself may be ensnared by no net, this production certainly ensnared and enthralled the audience, including myself, from start to finish.
The choice to adapt such a popular and established novel to the stage was always going to be an ambitious one, yet director Cookson has risen to the occasion by creating a very open, modernist version of the classic novel. Michael Vale’s ingenious set certainly reflects this ethic – you will find no wooden panelling or intricate period detail here. Rather, a stripped back wooden platform and various ladders that dominate the stage space, allowing for near constant fluid movement from the characters and the interesting utilisation of different levels of space. The actors’ engagement with this set also allowed for poignant moments and emotions in the story to be conveyed. The world weary way Jane (played by Madeline Worrall) climbs the ladder after her discovery of Rochester’s terrible secret, conveys superbly the character of a woman who has suffered immensely, yet, must keep on going. (Scarlett White) (Read more)
Hereford Times reports that the filming of the independent adaptation of Wuthering Heights has now began.
Filming began in the county for a new independent film of Wuthering Heights.
Film crews were at the Lion Ballroom in Leominster at the weekend for the new adaptation of Emily Brontë's novel.
Crews will be filming in Herefordshire, including Kilpeck Church, until the summer.
Sha'ori Morris, who plays Catherine Earnshaw, and Paul Eryk Atlas, who has been cast as Heathcliff, will be interviewed on TV once the trailer is edited in early March.
There will be an independent cinema release in summer 2017. (Rebecca Cain)
Deseret News recommends the classic 1939 film adaptation as one of several 'romantic movies from the past'.
'Wuthering Heights'
A young orphaned gypsy, Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), is found and brought home by the wealthy Mr. Earnshaw. Touchy about his heritage, Heathcliff is temperamental but becomes fast friends with Mr. Earnshaw's daughter, Cathy (Merle Oberon). As the two grow up, Cathy and Heathcliff fall in love, but Cathy is sensitive about Heathcliff’s penniless heritage and doesn’t take his feelings seriously. After overhearing Cathy talk about her engagement to another man, Heathcliff runs away, seemingly forever. But a few years later he returns, now a wealthy and sophisticated man obsessed with seeing his former, and now married, love.
Starring the great dramatic actors Olivier and Oberon, "Wuthering Heights" is a superb romantic tragedy based on the first half of Emily Brontë’s only novel of the same name. The year 1939 has long been heralded as Hollywood’s greatest, and this film was one of the 10 films nominated for the outstanding production Oscar that year.
"Wuthering Heights" can be seen Feb. 15 at 12:15 a.m. Mountain Time on TCM. It can also be seen on Amazon Video and iTunes. (Elizabeth Reid)
The Wall Street Journal sends 'A Valentine to the Bad Boys of Literature'.
The “mad” part of the equation became popular in the mid-19th century, when no self-respecting romantic hero could get through a story without displaying some headbanging and frothing at the mouth. In “Jane Eyre,” Charlotte Brontë has the arrogant Mr. Rochester tell the heroine: “I must have you…My soul demands you: it will be satisfied, or it will take deadly vengeance on its frame.” Charlotte’s sister Emily has the even more savage Heathcliff of “Wuthering Heights” fall into paroxysms of despair over Catherine: “Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable!” (Amanda Foreman)
While The Guardian has selected the 'Top 10 books for the broken-hearted', which includes
9. Villette by Charlotte Brontë
This story of a lonely woman’s love for an unattainable man caused George Eliot to cry: “Villette! Villette! It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power.” I first read it aged 18 and was swept away by its restless energy – the way Brontë, as Virginia Woolf put it, expresses “untamed ferocity perpetually at war with the accepted order of things”.
Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe – a cauldron of repressed emotion and desire. “Deeper than melancholy,” Snowe says, “lies heart-break.” This was Brontë’s last novel and for many her finest. (Susie Steiner)
The Irish Times reviews the novel Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea.
A first-person narrator done really well is a terrifyingly powerful thing. It grabs you by the throat, like in Jane Eyre, and refuses to let you go until you’ve heard her or him out. (Kathleen Flynn)
And The Nation reviews Garth Greenwell’s first novel What Belongs to You.
 This goes, like the story, to the heart of desire. There is something ephemeral and ungraspable about wanting another human being, because the hunger can never be fulfilled. Love, if that’s the term that applies here, is like a question without an answer. That’s as true of Heathcliff or Lolita as it is of Mitko, and Garth Greenwell knows this very well. Although he uses words with precision and care, taking pains to describe small details, they can never pin down the longing that burns at the center of the story; instead, they outline its shape by filling in everything around it. (Damon Galgut)
Gulf News has interviewed writer Jacqueline Wilson.
A book you wish you had written: “Jane Eyre”. (Suparna Dutt-D’Cunha)
Cinema Blend spoke to film director Burr Steers about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Beware of spoilers!
Those of you who stayed through the end credits of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies know that the end of the narrative is hardly the end of the full story for Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. As we see in the mid-credits sequence, the zombie George Wickham (Jack Huston) actually managed to survive his duel with Darcy, and has assembled an army of the dead as well as the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse for revenge. Right now it’s a question mark as to whether or not we will ever see the end to this impressive charge, but director writer/director Burr Steers did recently reveal to me what he would love to do should he be given the opportunity to make Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2.
I spoke with the filmmaker before the film’s opening during a Los Angeles press day for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and as our time was winding down I brought up the post-credits sequence and asked what his vision for a follow-up would be. Steers is certainly excited by the prospect – particularly because the movie would be able to drift away from the story established by Jane Austen – but if you think the vision is just about zombie uprisings, you’ve only thought up a fraction of the picture. Said Steers,
I have a whole idea for it, but I don’t know if it’s, we’ll see how this does. The thing about it is, you have these characters, and now you can take these characters and go off and do anything you want with them, and it’s kind of great… I was thinking more in sort of vague story lines, but escape from post-apocalyptic London, Wickham sort of ascending to a dark throne. And also, the other thing that’s really funny is you can bring in, and you have to limit yourself on this, but you can bring in any character that’s part of public domain, any character from the Brontë’s or you could have Heathcliff… It’s like Marvel, it’s all… You can have Jules Verne! You have some people coming over in balloons! (Eric Eisenberg)
The Hindu takes some lessons in fashion from literature.
And, since no literary article can be complete without the Brontës, we will look at Jane Eyre. The poor, plain governess who comes to Thornfield Hall with her plain grey and black working clothes and one relatively nice dress (for her that is ) and a brooch given to her by her favourite teacher as a parting present.
There is her beautiful and vicious rival Blanche Ingram vying for Edward Rochester’s attention. And, although dressed in the latest fashions, he does choose Jane quite quickly. She also refuses his offers of dress, asserting her independence. Charlotte Brontë teaches this most valuable lesson – sometimes it is more than just outward appearances that make us attractive. (Vijetha S.N.)
Eric Ruijssenaars discusses on the Brussels Brontë Blog whether Charlotte Brontë tried to stop Villette from being translated into French or not. Celia Bland reviews Jane Eyre on Critical Mass. The Fellowship of the King posts about 'the many faces of Jane Eyre'. Dirt Road Princess posts about Jane Eyre 1983.
12:40 am by M. in    No comments
As we reported earlier, the writer Margaret Forster (1938-2016) has died. Her prolific body of work never crossed paths with the Brontës except for a couple of biographies and several mentions here and there in her novels. Let's take a brief survey of the Brontës appearing in Margaret Forster's books.

Her biography of Daphne du Maurier (1993) contains a lengthy discussion of Du Maurier's biography of Branwell Brontë (in the chapter Breaking Point):
The project she decided to embark on was the kind of book she had never attempted before — a straightforward, properly researched biography of Branwell Brontë. She had always loved the Brontës ever since at the age of twelve she read Wuthering Heights — 'it's the most extraordinary book, miserable and very highly strung ... it left me sleepless' — and in 1955 had been pleased to be asked by Macdonald to write the introduction to a reissue of the novel in their classics series. She had taken the task very seriously, using it as an opportunity to go to Haworth and visit the parsonage and the Brontë Museum with Flavia and Oriel Malet. The three of them stayed at the Brontë Guest House ('main meal at 6.3o pm and no alcohol!') and had long walks across the moors, thinking themselves into the lives of the three sisters and becoming quite swept away by the atmosphere of the parsonage, especially the nursery, which Daphne found 'very happy ... why do people pretend it is gloomy?' When she got back, she read all the juvenilia of the Brontës, published in the Shakespeare Head edition, and was struck by the amount of work done by the ill-fated Branwell. (...)
Another biographical book (although narrated in first person) where Charlotte Brontë features is in Memoirs of a Victorian Gentleman: William Makepeace Thackeray (1978):
Miss Charlote Brontë, for example, was forever taking me to ask over and urging me to live to the image I had (...) (p 167-170).
And several Jane Eyre mentions:
What I was actually reading was mostly still children's stuff, Arthur Ransome and such like, though I'd read Jane Eyre and had attempted Virginia Woolf (Orlando, of which I made nothing whatsoever). It was always annoying when the rest of the family began arriving home and the house once more became more like a busy meeting place than a library.  (My Life in Houses (2014) p.27)
'About what, ma'am?'
Jane Eyre, the sensation of London last summer, or so everyone writes to me. I see no reason why you may not read it, Wilson. it is about a poor governess, of good family but in reduced circumstances, as so many are.' Mrs Browning looking at her curiously, then said, 'Wilson, do you remember first coming to Wimpole Street? And were you very afraid of us all? Did we make you suffer, like poor Jane Eyre, and were you very lonely?'
Wilson smiled. It was typical that one question should follow another without pause for reply. 'I remember it very well and thought everyone kind but I was lonely and lost, as you might expect.' (Lady's Maid (1990) p. 265)
A bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of deep red damask, stood out like a tabernacle in the centre; the two large windows, with their blinds always drawn .down, were shrouded in festoons and falls of similar drapery; the carpet was red; the table at the foot of the bed was covered with a crimson cloth; the walls were a soft fawn colour, with a blush of pink in it . . .He read on, but Gwen heard no more, only the rise and fall of his voice. She was in the room with Jane Eyre, oppressed by the mahogany and stifled by the red drapes. She fought for breath and there was a hissing in her head. It was the room of her nightmares. Her father noticed nothing. He loved to read to them and paid little attention to the effect of the words he read out. Should he look up from the book, he had Winifred to be gratified by. She sat, rapt, her mouth slightly open and her expres-sion one of utter concentration. (Keeping the World Away (2006), p 19)
I had to say I had no idea, that he had said he would make all the arrangements. I feel naive not to have checked such details, which are not so very minor. But I have some money. I am not Jane Eyre, and if anything unpleasant transpires, I can simply come home. Mr Russo is to pick me up at Tilda's address, tomorrow. (Diary of an Ordinray Woman (2013), p. 102)
Uncle Tom's Cabin she dismissed as sentimental and dull, and it annoyed her to be told how I had cried and cried over it, but she liked Jane Eyre. It was a bond I never had with my other children. Whatever happened later to us, it is an undeniable fact that there existed between Rosemary and me a wonderful closeness —  (...)
What did I care what colour the kitchen was, and, anyway, it always ended up the colour she wanted and had decided on before she ever opened her mouth. What she tried to do was persuade me that I actually wanted what she wanted. And as for the reading, I hated the books she gave me, even Jane Eyre. She liked melodramatic, sad stories. I like funny books, or comics. It was the same with the wireless, upon which we were heavily dependent.  (Private Papers (1996), p.61-62)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:02 pm by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
Nottingham Post reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre at Nottingham's Theatre Royal.
The cast certainly didn't disappoint. Felix Hayes was not the typical love interest, but then neither was his character Rochester. He was everything the part called for; rude, uncouth and demanding, with a huge presence whenever his strode onto the stage.
And with just ten cast members there were several other stand-out performances. Simone Saunders slipped effortlessly between her parts as Bessie, Blanche Ingram and Diana Rivers, while Melanie Marshall was a captivatingly unusual (and tuneful!) Bertha. And it would be impossible not to mention Craig Edwards, who provided some much-needed light relief as Rochester's dog Pilot, launching himself about the stage, throwing himself to the ground, and using what looked like a short riding crop as a wagging tail to great comedic effect.
Unfortunately I couldn't warm to Madeleine Worrall's Jane. The Jane Eyre in my mind's eye has a calm poise and dignity. Madeleine rather scurried and hunkered about the stage, often appearing to cower up to Rochester and frequently losing control of her emotions.
And speaking of hunkering, a certain respect is due to all the cast for the amount of climbing they did. The set was a bizarre and somewhat ugly contraption made up of wooden ramps, platforms and numerous metal ladders, surrounded by white drapes. It looked a lot like we'd caught the Theatre Royal during a spot of decorating. The cast clambered around like monkeys for over three hours, travelling in endless circles up and down the steps. In fact, I rather feel like when I close my eyes to go to bed this evening I'll be seeing people climbing ladders in my dreams!
The music was something else, with an on-stage band serving up everything from Mad About the Boy when Jane first feels a twitch of feeling for Rochester (also a nod to his first wife Bertha's mental state) to Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. This was stunningly performed by Melanie Marshall, but to me still seemed to jar.[...]
All in all it was a thought-provoking performance, but as a die-hard Brontë fan I would have done a few things differently. (Jade Beecroft)
While The Sydney Morning Herald gives 4 stars out of 5 to the cinema-screened production.
Cookson's Jane is played by Madeleine Worrall and her performance in idiomatic Yorkshire is full of detail and a broad spectrum of dramatic intensities. And Felix Hayes as Rochester has a masculine swagger and growling darkness mitigated by a roughness and freshness which suggests the young man behind the ogre-ish mask.
But this is very much an ensemble production and Cookson turns it into a rich and strange coming together of fringe-inflected theatre and a resonant projection of a classic.
The stage has a few high, wooden benches and long ladders from which a world of magic and realism (but with the latter predominating) are summoned up.
The movements of dogs and horses are abstractly but graphically delineated. Snatches of rock music and hymns are sung. There's plenty of chanting and swooping and improvisational group work but the overall effect is one of discipline and dramatic coherence.
Cookson creates a powerful simulacrum of Charlotte Brontë's world with a strong emphasis on the exotic torments of childhood. And her actors led by Worrall as Jane are convincingly childlike.
This Bristol Old Vic Jane Eyre is clearly the fruit of a passionate collective inner journey. Cookson and her cast have gone deep into the subtextual grandeurs and desolations of this extraordinary family romance but then come back to the rhythms and understatements of Brontë's very powerful dialogue. The effect is a bit of a revelation, like removing the varnish and dirt of an old painting. Jane Eyre seems new minted. (Peter Craven)
Another review can be read on Theatre Girl Blog.

Still on the stage, as the Post-Chronicle reviews the play The Moors.
Emily Brontë gets a severe make-over in “The Moors,” a grimly funny new play by Jen Silverman that is currently enjoying its world premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre. This is one of those typical love-it-or-loathe productions of which the New Haven Theatre is famous (infamous?). It is here that I found myself once again asking, “If not at Yale Rep, then where?” [...]
The period recalls and simultaneously sends-up the novels of the Bronte sisters with wicked glee. In essence, Jen Silverman has produced her own warped version of “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre” with a dash of “Carrie”, a dollop of “Rebecca” and a spoonful of “American Idol” tossed in for good measure. So what’s it all about? Silverman has several ideas percolating here including the rise of female empowerment and the ugly temptation of fame. But it also seems to be about an embittered working class and their attempt to subvert and destroy their superiors. “The Moors” is obviously a play that could benefit from more than one viewing. (Tom Holehan)
The Telegraph features the new season of TV series Happy Valley, created and directed by Sally Wainwright. Her next project is mentioned in passing:
Wainwright is now in pre-production for To Walk Invisible, a BBC film about the Brontë sisters and their relationship with their brother, which she wrote and will direct. Haworth, the Brontës’ home, is near where she grew up. (Jessamy Calkin)
Fangoria has a Q&A with Mia Wasikowska about Crimson Peak.
Fngoria: Having done a few films based on period literature, was that something you’d been enthusiastic about before you took those roles?
Mia Wasikowsk: Yeah, I really like those Gothic novels. You know, Guillermo puts everybody to shame when he starts talking about that literature, but I did like the Brontë sisters, and then I read Frankenstein and The Turn of the Screw on this film, and gained a wider appreciation of the genre. (Michael Gingold)
The Mary Sue reviews the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:
The oddest thing about P&P&Z, however, might be the visual approach to the material. Austen’s material always has a summery, pastoral quality, even when the narrative has tragic elements. Considering the best Austen films, there’s a vibrancy to the sad Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion that just works with her language, and there are moments when the film plays into that, but those moments are brief before clouds roll by and things look more like the Brontë sisters’ world than Austen’s. Why not tell a zombie story that comes to its climax in the daylight with flowers and sunshine? That would have at least been visually interesting for a zombie movie. (Lesley Coffin)
The Independent reports on the latest goings-on in the 'world of books':
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Royal Society of Literature has asked some of its fellows to name their scariest literary moments.
Hilary Mantel chooses the moment in Jane Eyre after Rochester asks her, “You don’t turn sick at the sight of blood?”
This columnist from The Hindu tells about his ideal vacation.
There’s so much to do. Maybe I’ll people-watch (definitely some form of communion). Or, when in a less sociable mood, maybe I’ll do Brontë-ish things like walk the moors with Bill Sikes’ bull terrier racing ahead. Ahead lies a cliff, a sheer drop, and when I look down, I’ll see an umbrella bouncing on the waves. The outside is black, the inside has a plaid pattern. I don’t know whose it is, but somebody must have had a black-and-plaid umbrella snatched away by these wild winds. And oh, a Cornish sunset. I don’t know what that’s like, but I imagine that will go well with this scenario. Think about it, this is a museum too. It’s Heathcliff’s museum. This is where he walked, that is where he spied on Cathy. What do you mean he’s not real? I first met him when I was in school, when no one knew what it meant to wuther. (Baradwaj Rangan)
Not your regular vacation either - the possibility of staying in the real-life room with the window through which Lockwood saw Cathy's ghost. Recommended by Express among other Brontë-related things to do in Brontë country. Spinning a corn-free yarn posts about Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. Gloria's Blog reviews very positibely, All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The Breathtaking.

We are terribly saddened by the news of the death of writer Margaret Forster last Monday. The Evening Standard quotes her on being a writer.
Goodbye, Margaret, the reluctant ‘legend’
Farewell to Margaret Forster, novelist, Evening Standard book reviewer — and all-round “legendary girl”, according to fellow Cumbrian Melvyn Bragg.
Paying tribute to Forster on Radio 4’s Front Row last night, Bragg recalled hearing of her first as a “legend. I lived 10 miles away and there was this legendary girl in Carlisle called Margaret Forster, there really was!”
Forster, though, who died yesterday aged 77, would have had no time for eulogies. Uninterested in publicity, she told Desert Island Discs in 1994 that, growing up,  “I didn’t know such things as writers existed … I never thought of a writer as being a job or indeed of writers being alive. In some way,  I thought all writers were dead — you know, your Dickens, your Austens, your Brontës.”
RIP.
Several Brontë alerts for today, February 10:
The Huddersfield Literature Festival and Kirklees Libraries present
Wednesday, 10 February
Mirfield Library, 7pm

Patrick: Father of the Brontës, by Colin Pinney

Colin Pinney, takes on the guise of the Reverend Patrick Brontë to reveal the story of Branwell Brontë and his famous sisters: Charlotte (Jane Eyre), Emily (Wuthering Heights) and Anne (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall). The performance includes the Brontës' comments on each others works and springs a few surprises. 
In Indooroopilly, Australia:
Wednesday, 10 February | 10:30 – 11:30am
Indooroopilly Library
Charlotte Brontë: Her 200th birthday year

Enjoy the wonderful world of literature through a series of talks with Susannah Fullerton, one of Australia’s best-known literary lecturers. Susannah brings to life the lives and writing of great novelists and poets in her fascinating lectures. Susannah is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, the largest literary society in the country and Patron of the Kipling Society of Australia. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tuesday, February 09, 2016 11:42 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
The most romantic line in film and television has been voted and it is from Emma Thompson's wonderful - and Oscar-winning - adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. However, a line from Wuthering Heights got some votes, too. From The Telegraph and Argus:
The words “My heart is, and always will be, yours” from Sense And Sensibility have been voted the most romantic line from romantic literature, film and TV drama.
They are uttered by Edward Ferrars to Elinor Dashwood in director Ang Lee’s 1995 screen version of Jane Austen’s classic novel.
The line, which is from Emma Thompson’s Oscar-winning screenplay, was the top choice of 2,000 British women who were polled for the TV channel Drama.
It gained 16% of the vote, placing it ahead of heart-melting moments from Dirty Dancing, Titanic, Wuthering Heights, When Harry Met Sally, Notting Hill, Ghost, Far From The Madding Crowd, Love Actually and Pride And Prejudice. [...]
Emily Brontë’s line “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” from Wuthering Heights took fifth place and received 10% of the votes.
The list was created as the Drama channel launches its Leading Man Weekend for Valentine’s Day.
The press release with the release has been published by many other websites.

More romance (and more references to both Austen and Brontë) as Jezebel discusses the craft of their love stories.
This is the way adaptation plays out: Person A comprehends some information about person B’s nature from what B says or does, and that changes how A approaches her afterward. It sounds simple, but I think it’s very difficult to write and nearly impossible to write well. Almost no one tries. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte each did this over and over. [...]
Charlotte Bronte takes us a step deeper. Jane Eyre uses almost every potential complexity of the adaptability technique and uses it to paint characters not only vividly but even luridly. Both Jane and Mr. Rochester are moving targets: neither of them settles into a single set of characteristics. They always have a restless connection. In other words, the attraction Waldman describes as based in character doesn’t always lead to respect or an ideal marriage, it can also lead to big, off-kilter, bizarre and thrilling love—it has no less of the dirty force of love based in other, male-valorized qualities. Where Austen might be making a pattern for all love, the way marriage ought to be, Bronte uses the adaptation technique to make her characters and their connection idiosyncratic. [...]
It’s not everywhere in the canon. It isn’t in the work of George Eliot, Woolf, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or Dickens; however romantic and psychological they are, those authors use other methods. Where the free indirect discourse of Flaubert, the minimalism of Hemingway and maximalism of Nabokov are often credited with marking the great countries on the map of modern literary fiction, I think the geniuses of the adaptable character are under-praised. Brontë and Austen are often lauded, of course, but for irony, psychology and free indirect discourse: rarely for the scale of this achievement. (Catherine Nichols) (Read the full article)
Norra Skåne (Sweden) features the Malmö stage production of Jane Eyre and interviews cowriter Anna Azcárate.
Anna har vänt och vridit på verket och tycker det finns många saker hon skulle kunna säga om det. Som att det är det perfekta verket att spegla sig i ur ett feministiskt perspektiv för att se den blinda fläcken i vår samtid. Eller att behovet av klassiker inte är svårare än att ett barn vill höra favoritsagan om och om och när barnet blir större får sagan olika prismor.
– Men jag ska inte sticka under stol med att det också är en förbaskat spännande berättelse, tung och maffig, med sagans alla stora element. Och jag är mycket en berättare.
Och den som älskar sin Jane Eyre kommer att känna igen sig.
– Absolut. Jag ser ingen mening med att återskapa Jane Eyre som en ny berättelse.
Några av kvinnorollerna spelas av män. Finns det någon speciell mening i det?
– Inte mer än att skådespelarna är väldigt duktiga och bra på att vara gränsöverskridande. Och det handlar om resurser när många karaktärer ska bakas ner till sju skådespelare, säger Anna Azácarate. (Yvonne Erlandsson) (Translation)
Sveriges Radio (Sweden) has interviewed actress Natalie Sundelin, who plays Jane.
Jane Eyre befinner sig i en värld full av konventioner och oskrivna uppförandekoder. Men hon är befriande fri från koketteri, sarkasm och självutplånande humor, menar regissören Anna Ascarate.
Hon är på något vis en tidig feminist, innan begreppet riktigt fanns. Hennes starka röst, självaktning och självrespekt gör henne angelägen idag.
- Det finns ett ögonblick när Jane säger "men är det inte märkligt att vi kvinnor skulle förväntas vara mer stillsamma än män?". Det där embryot, den lilla spröda starten till en feministisk teoribildning, just ögonblicket när den unga Jane reflekterar över att vi förväntas vara olika, det är så vackert - ett av de ögonblicken under repetitionerna när jag fått kontakt med ett riktigt feministiskt tilltal. (David Richter) (Translation)
More articles on the play The Moors mentioning the Brontës:
[Playwright Jen] Silverman first read Gothic classics Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights when she was young, and she revisited the titles while studying comparative literature at Brown University. While those novels—with their trappings of mystery, melodrama, murder, and longing—may have influenced The Moors, Silverman did not want her play to seem like a literary or historical adaptation. “That’s the reason we have the actors speaking in an American accent,” she explains. “This is a very contemporary and American play, and to those ends the moors represent something more than what they are.”
Silverman was inspired by the letters Charlotte Brontë wrote about daily household life on the Yorkshire moors. “The sense of location permeated the letters [and] emerged as a character,” says Silverman. “It mesmerized me and it made me think about how people condition themselves against such a bleak and unworldly landscape, and how that relative inhospitality offers a kind of permission—particularly for women—to let them dream in a way they might not otherwise." (Frank Rizzo on American Theatre)
La región de Inglaterra, conocida como Moors o Mooreland  [sic]está ubicada en North York y compuesta por vegetación mas bien de altas hierbas y pequeños arbustos, en la que hay frío y mucho viento. Esta área del país ha inspirado numerosas obras novelísticas famosas que se desarrollan en esta región, entre ellas están Wuthering Heights de Emily Bronte, y Arthur Conan Doyle, el famoso creador de Sherlock Holmes, en su popular obra The Hound of the Baskervilles, ambas llevadas al cine. (Bessy Reyna on Identidad latina) (Translation)
SBS (Australia) reviews the film The Choice.
When it’s charting Gabby and Travis’s steadily growing attraction, The Choice is light and lovely. A laid-back vet with a lake house and a grill isn’t exactly Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but Walker brings a slight, pursed edge to Travis’s languid drawl – not so much as to make him brood, but just enough to draw us in. (Bilge Ebiri)
And it's back to Brontë mentions connected to Crimson Peak now that it's coming out on DVD. From Slant Magazine:
So precisely defined is every aspect of Allerdale Hall's physical decay that even the people who dwell within it feel more like conduits for the manse's soul than independent agents. If Wasikowska's surprisingly fortitudinous naïf is meant to recall Jane Eyre, Hiddleston's version of Rochester comes not from Charlotte Brontë's classic tome, but the revisionist version found in Wide Sargasso Sea, a feckless brute who maintains a veneer of respectability just long enough to nab a wife he can exploit to boost his own faded status. Hiddleston's best performances always hint at a bit of sleaze beneath a show of welcoming charm, and the hunger that fills Thomas's eyes whenever talk of money arises lays bare the sham of his romance from the start. (Jake Cole)
Inspired by the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Independent thinks of more literary mash-ups 'we need to see' (do we really?).
Whatever happened to Baby Jane Eyre?
Charlotte Brontë’s novel is one of our favourites, but this dark masterpiece comes unstuck with its ersatz happy ending “Reader, I Married Him” business. But reader, what if, it were to make good on its gothic potential by taking a leaf out of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s 1962 camp classic?
To wit: Jane didn’t marry that lying bully Rochester but instead she and the attic-bound Mrs Rochester together started a fire to dispose of him.
However when we catch up with the pair a few decades later, their relationship has soured; with Jane having locked Bertha in the attic once more for thwarting her marriage hopes all those years ago, this increasingly deranged recluse stalks the house in her ragged governess’s uniform. But what’s Bertha plotting? Cue a battle of divas like nothing the 19th century has ever seen. (Hugh Montgomery)
The News section of the Illinois State University brings back an article from 2012 wondering whether you can actually die of a broken heart.
A broken heart: The very idea has graced the arts for centuries – from Romeo and Juliet to Wuthering Heights and Downton Abbey. Yet can someone actually perish from the sadness of a lost love? Can a heart break? [...]
“There is a famous scene in Wuthering Heights where Catherine tells Nelly, ‘I am Heathcliff,’” quotes Professor of English Cynthia Huff, who is the Department of English expert on Victorian literature. “There is this idea that Catherine and Heathcliff are conjoined, and they literally cannot exist without each other.”
According to Huff, the idea of oneness is celebrated in the Victorian “Cult of Sensibility,” that uplifts emotions (or sensibility) over sense. “The original notion was to keep sense and sensibility in balance,” said Huff, “but with the ‘Cult of Sensibility,’ strong emotions held sway.”
Though Catherine dies wasting away after giving birth to a child, Huff said her students are rarely forgiving of the Heights’ heroine. “They usually call her a drama queen,” said Huff with a laugh. “She refuses to eat. She refuses to sleep. When she dies, is it a broken heart? Is it Catherine making herself ill? Is she an early anorexic? Clearly, Brönte [sic] wants us to know she is suffering.”
Huff noted another character in Wuthering Heights, Hindley, could be said to die of a broken heart. “Hindley becomes increasingly self-destructive. He is an alcoholic, who drives himself further into his vices of drinking and gambling.” (Rachel Hatch)
The Week lists '10 endearingly weird snow words', one of which is by Charlotte Brontë.
5. onding
"It was a very grey day; a most opaque sky, 'onding on snaw,' canopied all; thence flakes fell at intervals, which settled on the hard path and on the hoary lea without melting."
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, 1869 [sic]
The Scots gifted us with onding, a heavy and continuous rain or snow. Onding also refers to breathing or smelling as well as a figurative onslaught or noisy outburst. (Angela Tung)
An alert from Garden City, NY:
 I will say that everyone in town is reading these days and the ladies who belong to the American Association of University Women's reading group will tackle Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” on Tuesday, February 9th 1 p.m. The book ws published in 1847 and probably read by most people as I know I read it in High School. You just might want to read it again as we look at things in a different light as we progress through the years. Its really amazing how we remember or do not remember things from years ago. (Garden City News)
Plymouth Herald has selected the five best love stories in fiction, including Wuthering Heights. According to Librópatas (Spain), Catherine Lowell's The Madwoman upstairs is the perfect novel to read in the 'Brontë year' (we wonder why not an actual Brontë novel though). Abby King discusses love in Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations. Medusa Was Framed posts about the Red Room scene in Jane Eyre.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
After its stay in Bristol, the Jane Eyre production first seen (as a one-part production) at the National Theatre in London comes to Nottingham:
Tue 9th February- Sat 13th February
A Bristol Old Vic and National Theatre Co-Production
Jane Eyre

Devised by the company
Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..."
Almost 170 years on, Charlotte Brontë's story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman's fight for freedom and fulfilment on her own terms.
From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre's spirited heroine faces life's obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.
This acclaimed re-imagining of Brontë's masterpiece was first staged by Bristol Old Vic in 2014. Director Sally Cookson brings her celebrated production back to life for a national and international tour that begins with a two month run at the National Theatre.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Monday, February 08, 2016 8:42 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
The South China Morning Post features Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre as the production is one of the highlights of this year's Hong Kong Arts Festival (18-21 February).
Soon after Charlotte Brontë saw her first book, Jane Eyre, published to great acclaim in 1847, she wrote to a friend about something that was troubling her.
She had not, she confessed, served the character of Bertha, the mad woman in the attic, very well. She had made her a monster, instead of a real person with real concerns and feelings.
“It made me certain that I wanted to make up for that,” says Sally Cookson, whose thrilling new version of Jane Eyre for the Bristol Old Vic theatre in the UK will be performed here next week as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
“Charlotte Brontë felt she hadn’t given Bertha a voice … And I realised that just the word ‘voice’ had triggered an idea. Why not give her a beautiful voice, I thought …”
So she cast jazz and musical singer Melanie Marshall in an extraordinary role that makes the mad woman in the attic one of the voices in Jane Eyre’s own head, as well as letting her express her own pain and relationship with the story.
“I saw the [1943] Orson Welles film before I read the book,” Cookson says. “I remember being stunned by it: the music in particular was so extraordinary.”
Then she read the original book, recalls the director: “And he got it so wrong.” He had, she says, somehow missed out the voice of Jane altogether.
The tempting thing for any adaptation – and even a three-and-a-quarter hour play has to lose much more than it keeps – is to concentrate on the complicated love story between Rochester and Jane and the mystery of the attic.
But Cookson felt strongly that this book was more than a Gothic love story, and that the heart of the piece, “was Jane’s striving to find fulfilment in her life,” says Cookson. “It’s about an aspiration to be happy, and a feeling that you have to fight against injustice, whether that unfairness is against yourself or against other people.”
Cookson’s process as a director is unusual and painstaking, and remarkably challenging and exciting for the cast.
She rarely starts directing a play by using an actual script, for example. And she is renowned for changing things round at the last moment, keeping everyone on their toes.
“The dramaturge Mike Akers and I worked for about eight months with the book in front of us,” she says. “We were filleting the text, deciding which characters were in and which were out, what scenes we would include and which ones we would scrap, and what each scene achieved.
“And finally we got the actors in.”
At that point, she says, there was no actual script.
That would come from the actors improvising the scenes, and exploring the characters, and finding humour and pathos in small moments.
There was also no decision about stage design at the beginning, although after inviting the actors at a very early stage to play with ladders and a bit of scaffolding Cookson realised that she wanted Rochester’s house, Thornfield, to be almost a character in its own right. She would do that through a set that other people have called an “adventure playground”. (Victoria Finlay)
Stage Whispers and Performing ArtsHub reviews the production:
The tale is full of such vivacious and imposing characters, especially the cryptic and commanding, Rochester. Hayes makes Rochester a very handsome figure but does not neglect the tortured mannerisms and the intensely preoccupied gaze that give him his aura of charm and mystery. Overall, the play is extremely faithful to the text and very careful to preserve Brontë’s extraordinary writing, especially the moments that display Jane’s quiet determination and the sensitivity and humanity with which she asserts her morality. Bertha Mason is made a continual presence throughout the play with the haunting singing provided by Melanie Marshall. She is rendered incredibly spectral and yet undeniably present. This is a brilliant example of just one of the many ways in which music is used in an inventive and novel manner in this production. Fans of Brontë, and her protagonist Jane Eyre, will not want to miss this vibrant and fresh theatrical look at this legendary literary masterpiece. (Patricia Di Risio)
What a wonderful and original production! Director Sally Cookson’s theatrical interpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for National Theatre Live, co-devised with her cast of ten and co-produced with Bristol’s Old Vic, is intensely passionate, witty, touching and strongly feminist. (Liza Dezfouli)
New Haven Register reviews the play The Moors.
In dressing “The Moors” in an 1840s setting ripped from the pages of, say, “Wuthering Heights,” Silverman pokes the corseted ribs of any or all of the Brontës’ female characters while paralleling them to today’s narcissistic millennials so hungry to be noticed that every thought, emotion and meal requires documentation on social media. Nobody, it seems, wants to be invisible. (E. Kyle Minor)
The essay Remembering Slavery, Again by Susan Gillman in the Los Angeles Review of Books discusses, among other things, whether Heathcliff could have been black or not.
British novelist Caryl Phillips published The Lost Child, partly a prequel to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, in which he draws on the long critical speculation that Heathcliff, brought from the slave port of Liverpool to the Yorkshire moors, is black. [...]
The hymn “Amazing Grace” plays as the signature music in both the BBC’s Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners and an earlier documentary, the 2009 independent film A Regular Black: The Hidden History of Wuthering Heights, which speculates on Heathcliff’s racial identity in the context of Yorkshire’s historical connections with slavery. Amazing Grace is the title of both the aforementioned musical about the moral awakening of Captain (later Reverend) John Newton and a 2006 film about William Wilberforce, who led the successful fight in Parliament in 1807 to abolish the slave trade throughout the British Empire (but not slavery itself, which happened much later, in 1834). Yet, despite the circulation of these four productions across the Atlantic, it is safe to say that most Americans would not recognize the British roots of this black spiritual — and that few readers anywhere would recognize a “black” Wuthering Heights. [...]
To track degrees of social visibility requires that we do more than answer “yes” or “no” to the questions of whether Britain’s slave owners are forgotten or Heathcliff is black; it requires trying to determine when and why these particular hot-button issues become visible. The question “Is Heathcliff black?” has been asked more than once and the “hidden history of Wuthering Heights” shown well and repeatedly, by the 2009 documentary A Regular Black, for instance, and all the prior scholarship on which it draws. [...]
Wuthering Heights is the perfect example of how the traces of slavery are not new news and can be found in seemingly unusual sources. Wuthering Heights has, for years, been read as a literary classic, and yet, although arguably a historical novel of slavery, it has been overlooked as a historical source. Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 but set earlier (it opens in 1801, and the story extends back to the 1770s), that is, before the 1834 abolition of slavery in Britain. A historical novel under the mask of the Gothic, it is notoriously veiled in its representations of slavery in Yorkshire. Scholars have periodically debated whether and how the footprints of slavery can be tracked in Brontë’s classic, sometimes by relying on the same few enigmatic lines as textual evidence of Heathcliff’s blackness. (Most often quoted: Mr. Earnshaw uses the pronoun “it” when he arrives from Liverpool with Heathcliff, “as dark almost as if it came from the devil.”) The contextual evidence was first laid out in the 1980s by scholar Christopher Heywood’s “Yorkshire Slavery in Wuthering Heights” (1987), a landmark essay frequently cited, the standard-setter documenting the evidence for slavery around Dent, the region of Yorkshire that provides the key geographic context for Emily Brontë’s knowledge of slavery in Britain. Heywood’s research points to all the black afterlives of Wuthering Heights, including Phillips’s novel and two films, the 2009 A Regular Black, with commentary by Phillips, and Andrea Arnold’s 2011 Wuthering Heights, with a black actor as Heathcliff. All of this harks back to the original text, Wuthering Heights, and prompts the question: why would Brontë in 1847 have set her novel in late 18th- to early 19th-century England, when slavery had not yet been abolished, and then veil its presence? [Read more]
This Huffington Post humorous column on book clubs also mentions Wuthering Heights. In an altogether different light, of course.
Okay, the snacks were great, and so was the wine.
But the books were awful. I wanted to have fun, but everyone kept voting for books that were depressing. They called them "classics." I guess that's code for boring books where nothing really happens to people you don't care about, and books that leave you feeling there's no point being alive.
Like Wuthering Heights. What a mess those people were! They really needed serious chocolate or therapy or a week at an all-inclusive resort or even just a hot yoga class. Everything was so grim and confusing, and even that word "wuthering," plus the book cover made me feel like I was on the verge of a migraine. (Lev Raphael)
A.V. Club discusses the film adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary.
[Author Helen] Fielding helpfully calls out the Austen reference straightaway, kicking off the book with Bridget and Mark’s first meeting at the infamous turkey curry buffet. This Mr. Darcy also is curt and rude and a bit dismissive of our Bridget: “It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking aloof at a party. It’s like being called ‘Heathcliff’’ and insisting on spending your evening in the garden, calling ‘Cathy’ and banging your head against a tree.” (Gwen Ihnat)
Fife Today features Travelzoo's online literary game.
From Emily Brontë to Dylan Thomas, the interactive map, beautifully designed, features some of the most well-known entries in the globally popular canon that is English literature. Users have 30 seconds to match the book to its location.
AnneBrontë.org discusses the mask anecdote from when the Brontës were little.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments

The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds
Editors: Qi, S., Padgett, J. (Eds.)
Palgrave MacMillan
ISBN 978-1-137-40514-2
It is said at the very beginning of the introduction to The Brontë sisters in Other Worl(l)ds:
Ever since their first publications in the late 1840s, the works of the Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) have inspired countless literary adaptations (novels, dramas, short stories), musical works (settings of songs and poems, musicals, libretti, operas), films, ballets, art works, literary criticism, translations, and even comic books. The reception of the works of the Brontë sisters in Europe and the United States has drawn extensive scholarly attention. However, much needed scholarship on their position in other wor(l)ds—languages and cultures—remains to be done. 
This book, edited by Shouhua Qi and Jacqueline Pidgett, tries to fill this gap with a selection of several unrelated articles exploring this fascinating and largely unexplored territory. Their work, nevertheless, is not totally in the dark. In 1989, Donna Marie Nudd began to clear the field with Jane Eyre and what adaptors have done to her. But, arguably the book which put adaptations and derivatives in the Brontë scholar landscape was Patsy Stoneman's seminal work on Brontë derivatives in Brontë Transformations: The Cultural Dissemination of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Some years ago another (more ambitious) selection of papers was published in A Breath of Fresh Eyre. Intertextual and Intermedial Reworkings of Jane Eyre and more recently Hila Shachar focused on Wuthering Heights film adaptations in Cultural Afterlives and Screen Adaptations of Classic Literature.Wuthering Heights and Company.

Nevertheless, the primary intentions of The Brontë Sisters in Other Worl(d)s are more precise than these books. As we quoted before, Qi and Pidgett's aim is to engage in an approach which displays the negotiation and eventual appropriation of the Brontës' works by other languages and cultures. As in any compilation book, the different chapters and topics are not equally interesting and the final result is somewhat uneven.

The introduction firmly frames the intentions of the book (which largely exceed the final results of the book) which is to cover the cultural assimilation (in terms not only of translation per se) of the Brontës in different geographies. Regrettably many of the most promising and interesting venues hinted at the introductory framework like the different responses on the Brontës in Germany, France or in the Mediterranean countries are not discussed in the book which centers on more travelled scholar routes like the Caribbean or Mexico.

One of the most interesting chapters is the first one devoted to the Brontës' works in China. The popularity of Jane Eyre in China is well-known and was sparked by, of all possibles sources, the Jane Eyre 1970 film adaptation with George C. Scott and Susannah York. Shouha Qi documents this curiosity and traces the background to the evolution of the Brontës' reception in China from the very beginning until today. A fascinating account which nevertheless has to be read more as a summary digest of a much more detailed yet-to-be-written critical history of the Brontës in China.

An article about Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea in a book like this one seems almost unavoidable. One wonders, nevertheless, if it was really necessary. The book by Jean Rhys has been extensively discussed in many contexts and critical approaches before and we expected that this collection of papers could assume its groundbreaking status and could run away from its comfort zone. Nevertheless, Suzanne Roszak's discussion is not centered on the critically overcrowded postcolonial perspectives but in highlighting the generally ignored Gothic qualities of the Rhys text by itself and not only because of its Brontë predecessor.

The Caribbean continues to be the background of the following chapter. An a priori highly interesting discussion of both the transportation of Wuthering Heights to the Caribbean and its retelling in French in Maryse Condé's La Migration des Coeurs and its subsequent English translation as Windward Heights. The topic discussed by Jacqueline Padgett is a fantastic playground where adaptation, cultural assimilation and (re)translation work together as in very few other occasions in the history of literature (some Shakespeare plays are probably the only other cases we can recall). Nevertheless, the author of the article tends to overuse the critical literary tools when applied to simple interviews for newspapers or promotional texts and damages the overall (sometimes a bit twisted) vision of the author.

One of the best articles of the collection in our opinion is the one devoted to Luis Buñuel's Mexican film Wuthering Heights adaptation Abismos de Pasión 1954. Here we cross the boundary between literary adaptations and go into the more diverse intermedia studies, in this case film studies. Kevin Jack Hagopian does an excellent job discussing the film in several overlapping frameworks in which we can study it: as a Buñuel film, and particularly a film of his Mexican highly idiosyncratic period, as a Wuthering Heights post-colonial (but in a very special Hacienda-like way) adaptation or as a piece of (pseudo)melodrama with Wagnerian echoes.The angles are multiple and not necessarily exclusive. A good example of critical approach that only enlarges the subject of study and not encapsulates it in a particular framebox.

One cannot say the same about Saviour Catania's discussion of Yoshishige Yoshida's 1988 Japanese film Onimaru, also based on Wuthering Heights. Not because we think that his approach to the film using Georges Bataille's hypermorality, the framework of Noh theatre or his detailed study of the soundtrack of the film are wrong. No, they are not. They are fitting and thought-provoking. The problem is that what could become a very interesting discussion is obscured by the overuse of an impenetrable jargon that renders casual reading difficult and only seems to be addressed to an already converted audience.

The last chapter is not exactly disappointing but a bit arbitrary. Why a study about Michael Berkeley's Jane Eyre opera in a book like this? Of course it can be justified, you can almost justify anything using the right redefinitions, as a sort of  translation to another language/media, the operatic language. But it is forced and frankly not convincing.

The Brontës in other wor(l)ds, though a bit disappointing towards the end, opens a new window of study exploring the critical landscapes that are just merely glimpsed across the book. It is no small achievement, to be a pioneer.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Tracy Chevalier presents the new Parsonage exhibition in The Guardian:
Somehow it is fitting that Charlotte Brontë’s 200th anniversary is in danger of being swamped by two other giants: the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on 23 April, and the Queen’s 90th, a birthday she shares with Charlotte on 21 April.
I don’t think Charlotte would have minded. She held her own among the greats of her day, making a point of sitting back and talking only to the governess at a dinner party Thackeray held for her. I think she enjoyed playing the role she gave to her most famous heroine, Jane Eyre, of being “poor, obscure, plain and little”.
In reality she was bright, sharp and ambitious. At the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth this year we are celebrating with the exhibition “Charlotte Great and Small”. Works by contemporary artists responding to the theme are on display throughout the Parsonage. In an exhibition space, I have chosen to showcase tiny things in Charlotte’s life – shoes, a scrap of dress, the miniature books the Brontës famously constructed – alongside quotes voicing her big desires. On hearing of a friend’s travels to the Continent, for instance, Charlotte wrote: “I hardly know what swelled to my throat … such a strong wish for wings – such an urgent thirst to see – to know – to learn – something internal seemed to expand boldly for a minute.” That is not the response of a timid woman sitting in the corner.
Indeed, she herself went to Brussels to study for two years, where she had the misfortune of falling for her teacher. Later she wrote him passionate letters he tore up but which his wife saved and sewed back together. They are now at the British Library, which has lent one for the Haworth show. It is bizarre, heartbreaking, voyeuristic, and it’s also exhilarating to see Charlotte’s words destroyed and then resurrected in this way.
The Brontë Parsonage Blog posts several pictures of the official launch of the exhibition.

A new biography of the newspaper publisher David Astor is presented by its author in the The Guardian:
He was also a brilliant talent spotter. He employed Patrick O’Donovan, a journalist he particularly admired, “on the basis of an essay he’d written on one of the Brontë sisters”, and replaced Ivor Brown as theatre critic with the peacock figure of Kenneth Tynan. (Jeremy Lewis)
More The Guardian. A review of the new Wellcome Collection exhibition in London: States of Mind. Traces the Edges of Consciousness:
Nightmare and the gothic make inevitable bedfellows. Hearing some of the contemporary accounts of hypnogogia collected by the artist Carla Mackinnon, and soundtracked in the gallery on a whispering loop, is like listening to the opening chapter of Wuthering Heights. (Tim Adams)
The Guardian also publishes an interview with Sally Wainwright, but no mention to her upcoming Brontë BBC film To Walk Invisible is made.

Two new reviews of Mick Jackson's Yuki Chan in Brontë country:
 Yukiko has travelled all the way from Japan to England, ostensibly to see her sister Kumiko in London, but ultimately to visit Haworth, fabled home of the Brontës. While the older Japanese women on Yukiko’s tour are overcome to be in the Parsonage where the Brontës penned their famed novels and to walk the same atmospheric moors that the sisters walked before them, Yukiko has no interest in some long-dead authors. She is in Haworth to follow the footsteps of her mother. Mick Jackson’s novel is a subtly haunting and strangely affecting read. And whilst the plot, like Yukiko herself, is somewhat curious, the sentiment of the novel is utterly authentic. (Yorkshire Post)
The titular Yuki-chan is the only youngster in a tour group of elderly Brontë fangirls making their pilgrimage to the village of Haworth, where the sisters once resided.
But while her companions are there to commune with the Gothic moors that inspired Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, Yuki is chasing her ghosts.
Ten years ago, her mother made a mysterious visit to Haworth. On her return to Japan, she was found dead in the snow.
Yuki, who considers herself something of a psychic detective, hopes that retracing her mother's footsteps will tell her why. (...)
She heads an ensemble cast of women in a landscape that, in a significant departure from the Brontë mould, is almost devoid of men.
No Byronic hero hijacks her quest; rather, she forms a bond with a teenage girl called Denny, who rides a stolen motorbike and has no qualms about shooting strangers in the butt if they annoy her.(...)
If you like this, read: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Penguin, 1966, $17.82, Books Kinokuniya), another novel ostensibly related to the Brontës. In Rhys' spin on Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, the madwoman in the attic comes to life as Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway, who is torn away from her native Jamaica after her marriage to a certain Englishman falls apart. (Olivia Ho in The Straits Times)
CBC News reviews the novel Heap House by Edward Carey:
Lucy and Clod join forces to get the bottom of his family's deep dark secret and their bond with the ever-growing piles of objects growing outside their home. The heaps of detritus take on a life of their own in this world, much like the wild moors of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. (Joanne Kelly)
Vulture reviews the film The Choice:
When it’s charting Gabby and Travis’s steadily growing attraction, The Choice is light and lovely. A laid-back vet with a lake house and a grill isn’t exactly Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but Walker brings a slight, pursed edge to Travis’s languid drawl — not so much as to make him brood, but just enough to draw us in. (Bilge Ebiri)
Abigail Deutsch discusses why having your email hacked feels so personal in The Atlantic:
Perhaps the juiciest part of any email account is the drafts folder, that electronic id brimming with unfunny quips, unaskable questions, and (in my case, at least) unstated declarations of love. All lie forgotten until a search for some mundane term calls them up again. And at such moments, I recognize that my email knows me better than I do, that it is—as Wuthering Heights’s Catherine says of Heathcliff—“more myself than I am.”
Daily Mail looks into the (in)famous little history of the monster mashup genre:
Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters came next, which saw the Dashwood sisters evicted from their home and forced to live on an island plagued by a rampaging octopus and giant lobsters.
This was followed by Jane Slayre, a fusion of Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre – but with vampires. It begins, ‘Reader, I buried him’. (Amy Oliver and Caroline Graham)
Wicked Local Raynham inserts Jane Austen and the Brontës in the romantic novels genre. We cannot disagree more:
Jane Austen was followed by the Brontë sisters with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and in the twentieth century Georgette Heyer was one of several novelists inspired by Austen’s works to write romantic novels and to firmly establish the genre. (Eden Fergusson)
The Boar thinks that Rochester is a jerk:
 A 2009 poll by Mills and Boon voted him literature’s most romantic character. But think about it: if your best friend was dating someone who behaved the way Edward Rochester does in Jane Eyre, you’d think they were, at best, a bit of a jerk; at worst, downright abusive.
He’s sarcastic and manipulative. He feigns betrothal to Blanche Ingram to make Jane jealous, and tries to marry her while he’s got his first wife locked in the attic. Then, when Jane tries to leave, he threatens rape. Surely that’d be enough red flags for any woman…(Rachel Sayers)
La Semaine (France) interviews Adeline Karcher, author of a recent thesis:
Jane Eyre, de Charlotte Brontë, un de mes personnages préférés, doté d’une grande force de caractère. (Aurélia Salinas) (Translation)
The Telegraph & Argus talks about the recent shooting of Charlotte, The Movie! at the Parsonage by the comic duo LipService. Octobersky briefly posts about Jane Eyre. The Book Carousel reviews Wuthering Heights.