Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ballad-worthy Wuthering Heights

USA Today's Happy Ever After has writer Eleanor Moran share her top 10 love stories. One of which is

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Lots of the great romances have heroes who are total arses, and this book is no exception. Heathcliff's a world of trouble and Cathy's not much better, but you'd have to have a heart of stone to not be transported by their torturous romance. No wonder Kate Bush thought it ballad worthy. (Joyce Lamb)
The Daily Princetonian interviews a sophomore tennis player:
DP: What’s been the best class you’ve taken at Princeton?
EH: ENG 345, with Jeff Nunokawa. 19th Century Fiction. I liked his lectures a lot. He was always very interesting.
DP: From that class or any other, what’s been your favorite book that you’ve read here?
EH: Probably Jane Eyre, in 19th Century Fiction. I had never actually read it. So I got a chance to and then write a paper about it. It was one of my favorite books. (Andrew Steele)
I Am Writer... Hear Me Roar! posts about Jane Eyre while A Liberated Life discusses 'Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë and Free Will'. Effusions of Wit and Humour reviews the 1983 adaptation of the novel. The Brussels Brontë Blog recommends the local exhibition Vivre au Quartier Royal 1800-2000 Du Coudenberg au Mont des Arts at the BELvue museum, where there are images of the Quartier Royal Charlotte and Emily knew. The Brontë Parsonage Blog has a review of Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës. The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shares a picture of the sampler Emily Brontë finished when she was 9 and also the news of the installation of ' two new interactive kiosks in our exhibition room' as well as a museum app in the making.

Jane Eyre in Erie

Tomorrow, April 24, a world premiere high school musical will take place in Erie, PA:
Jane EyreComposer: Michael Malthaner
Lyricist: Charles Corritore
Playwright: David Matthews

Starring: Payton Tevis, Luke Weyand, Hannah McLaughlin, Eli Kerr, Emily Holmberg, Leah Sulecki.

McDowell Center for the Performing Arts, Erie, PA
April 24, 25,26 7.30 PM
April 27 2.00 PM
We read on Your Erie:
It's a story about the first female hero in literature, and the students at McDowell Intermediate School are bringing it to the stage.
The play is based on the Charlotte Brontë novel but is localized for the play.
Michael Malthaner wrote the music and orchestration, Charlie Corritore from the Erie Playhouse wrote the lyrics and David Matthews wrote the book for the play.
Malthaner, who is the director of The Center Of Performing Arts at the school says this will be his last production and added “I hope to do more in the community theater and still be involved in arts education and bring on new challenges."
Jayne Eyre (sic)will take to the stage this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2pm.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In praise of Villette

Yesterday, on Charlotte Brontë's birthday, her novel Villette got a vindication. From The Huffington Post:

This year, on Charlotte Brontë’s 198th birthday, it’s time for me to finally admit a secret that’s been haunting me for some time. I think Jane Eyre, Brontë’s masterpiece, is kinda overrated. I know what I’m saying sounds radical. It's one of the great Victorian classics -- and trust me, I would never advocate for totally dismissing this beloved novel. When I first read Jane Eyre as a teenager, I fell passionately in book love with it, and I was inspired to make the rounds of the Brontës, inhaling Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Emily’s Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, over and over again.
Jane Eyre spoke to my very soul, summing up all the adolescent angst that had plagued my uneasy transition into young adulthood. The Brontës and Jane Austen initiated me into the world of classic literature, but Jane Eyre was the book that felt most viscerally true and resonant. So it was with surprise that I realized, upon rereading it some years later for a college course, that I no longer found the novel virtuosic in its verisimilitude. It seemed maudlin, overwrought, almost absurd at points, and the triumphant finale of Jane’s marriage to the deeply flawed Mr. Rochester troubled me. Reading A Room of One’s Own, I agreed with Virginia Woolf’s assessment that Brontë’s anger at the restrictions she faced as a woman weakened her control as a writer, leading to unevenness and bizarre shifts in tone throughout Jane Eyre. Studying the racist, colonialist and anti-feminist implications of Rochester’s imprisonment of his “mad” Creole wife Bertha Mason caused me to further question my formerly high regard for the book. For the same course, I read Villette for the first time, and I found myself wondering why Brontë’s fourth novel hadn’t achieved greater fame than the second novel I now found so patchy and weak. [...]
Villette, of course, is not itself free of mixed messages about female empowerment. But it offers an alternate and equally valuable narrative, one with equally compelling lessons that hold true for women today. Villette bears a certain Brontëan resemblance to Jane Eyre -- gothic mysticism, spiritual intensity, bursts of passionate lyricism, a plain heroine making her way in an unfriendly world -- but is in many other ways its inverse. Jane Eyre works in sharp black and white, while Villette works in psychological and even factual grey areas. Where Jane’s specialness is stipulated, despite her poverty and plain looks, the heroine of Villette, Lucy Snowe, is an unassuming figure who spends the majority of the novel as a quiet observer. Jane insists on her own agency, while Lucy is reactive at best. Yet it is Lucy who truly breaks free of the expected domestic fate.
A more psychological and subdued novel, Villette features a young woman struggling with the internal conflicts most of us grapple with here in the real world. With the high melodrama turned down, the nuance is turned up. [...]
Despite my troubled history with Jane Eyre, my love for the novel will always endure. Villette, however, contains subtle, poignant pleasures that deserve acclaim at least on par with its more attention-seeking counterpart. To celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s birthday, let’s all give Villette a little more respect. (Claire Fallon)
The Telegraph has a report of the celebration at the Brontë Parsonage Museum together with an appeal from the museum curators:
Curators at the Brontë Parsonage Museum are appealing to local people to search their attics for hidden scraps of manuscripts, letters and belongings that might shed new light on the Brontë sisters.
The museum, in Haworth, Yorkshire, is marking Charlotte Brontë’s 198th birthday by giving visitors a rare chance to examine the author’s possessions, letters and manuscripts up close in the museum’s research library, instead of viewing them behind glass.
But staff believe there are still undiscovered treasures hidden in attics that may have been given away to villagers by her family.
Millions of book lovers have made a pilgrimage to the Parsonage Museum, known around the world as the home of the Brontë sisters.
Museum spokeswoman Susan Newby said: “We are appealing for people to rummage in their lofts and attics for anything that may have belonged to the Brontës that might reveal even more about them.
“They were a generous family and gave away a lot of possessions to their servants. It would be wonderful if there was a real gem of a poem or letter lurking out there that we don’t know about.”
Ann Dinsdale, the museum's Collections manager added: "We know there are a lot of letters and manuscripts still waiting to be discovered. We don't know where they are. They are more likely to be books they wrote as children. We don't believe there are any undiscovered novels still out there, although you never know.
"There are poetry manuscripts by Emily Brontë that are missing. We did a campaign a few years ago to persuade people to come forward with items they might like to donate. Recently we were given a collar that belonged to one of the Brontë's dogs complete with a dog hair, and we also had a child's bodice worn by one of the sisters.
"A few years before that we were given a big collection from Canada from a descendant of Arthur Bell Nicholls, Charlotte's husband and that included a miniature manuscript which was incredibly exciting." (Keith Perry)
The Washington Post's ComPost also celebrated Charlotte Brontë's birthday:
The question of “What Would Jane Do” — you would never dream of asking this question of her sister Emily’s Heathcliff or Cathy — remains relevant today, and the advice that comes from asking it remains remarkably sound. (Alexandra Petri)
As a way to celebrate, New Republic shares 'an appraisal of Charlotte and Emily's unique brilliance from 1918'.

According to this columnist from La Nación (Argentina), once you read Little Women and Jane Eyre you can't help but go on to read Mills & Boon sort of books.
Las niñas se abismaban en Mujercitas de Luisa May Alcott, que luego se prolongaría en Jane Eyre de Charlotte Bronté [sic], y en los inevitables libritos de Corín Tellado. (Rolando Hanglin) (Translation)
A couple of reviews of the new TV adaptation of Jamaica Inn mention the Brontës:
Deepest, darkest Cornwall, brought back to me tales of  school trips, not enticing but could be exciting? After all we’ve had other great adaptations on moors; Jane Eyre, Hound of the Baskervilles; but in Jamaica Inn even the moor isn’t that interesting. (Kate Bellamy in Metro)
There were beautiful moments of picturesque Wuthering Heights-reminiscent moors, with Mary standing, Cathy-esque, amidst the sound of the wind blowing in the grass. (Alex Hoskins in the Cheddar Valley Gazette)
Effusions of Wit and Humour reviews Jane Eyre 1998. Reading, Writing, Working, Playing recommends Jude Morgan's The Taste of Sorrow. YA Book Shelf posts about Michaela MacColl's Always Emily.

Twenty-First Century Perspectives on the Brontës

A new scholar book with Brontë connections:

Twenty-First Century Perspectives on Victorian Literature
Edited by Laurence W. Mazzeno
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
978-1-4422-3233-4 • Hardback
March 2014

Victorian literature’s fascination with the past, its examination of social injustice, and its struggle to deal with the dichotomy between scientific discoveries and religious faith continue to fascinate scholars and contemporary readers. During the past hundred years, traditional formalist and humanist criticism has been augmented by new critical approaches, including feminism and gender studies, psychological criticism, cultural studies, and others.
In Twenty-First Century Perspectives on Victorian Literature, twelve scholars offer new assessments of Victorian poetry, novels, and nonfiction. Their essays examine several major authors and works, and introduce discussions of many others that have received less scholarly attention in the past. General reviews of the current status of Victorian literature in the academic world are followed by essays on such writers as Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, and the Brontë sisters. These are balanced by essays that focus on writing by women, the development of the social problem novel, and the continuity of Victorian writers with their Romantic forebears.
Most importantly, the contributors to this volume approach Victorian literature from a decidedly contemporary scholarly angle and write for a wide audience of specialists and non-specialists alike. Their essays offer readers an idea of how critical commentary in recent years has influenced—and in some cases changed radically—our understanding of and approach to literary study in general and the Victorian period in particular. Hence, scholars, teachers, and students will find the volume a useful survey of contemporary commentary not just on Victorian literature, but also on the period as a whole.
Includes "Victorian Romanticism: The Brontë Sisters, Thomas Carlyle, and the persistence of Memory by Laura Dabundo and Over", "Covert Narrative Structure: A Reconsideration of Jane Eyre" by Katherine Saunders Nash and "Matrimony, Property, and the "Woman Question" in "Anne Brontë and Mary Elizabeth Braddon" by Amy J. Robinson.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beyond Charlotte's Doodle

The Independent talks about the new Jamaica Inn BBC adaptation:

“It’s a perfect fusion of gothic romance and a young woman’s rite of passage in the vein of Twilight and Wuthering Heights”, says Emma Frost, who has adapted Du Maurier’s 1936 novel. (Gerard Gilbert)
The Sussex Express talks about the opening of the Arlington Bluebell Walk:
Hailsham town crier Geoff Rowe formally opened the Arlington Bluebell Walk last week.
At the opening on Thursday (April 10) he read Emily Brontë’s bluebell poem and led a toast to spring 2014.
The Arlington Bluebell Walk, which takes in three working farms, has raised thousands of pounds for Sussex charities since it first opened in 1972.
Business Telegram talks about the WattPad website:
You and your Uncle Max can publish their fiction and nonfiction on WattPad, an online site. It also has hundreds of free classics such as "Jane Eyre," "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and Sun Tzu's "The Art of War." The website,, draws 15 million readers a month. And posts more than 1.5 million new stories.
Dr. Tony Shaw talks about the Manchester blue plaque devoted to the place where Charlotte Brontë began the writing of Jane Eyre. Finally, an alert from Madrid (Spain):
Escritores en imágenes: Las hermanas Brontë
Lunes 21 de abril.
Fundación GSR- Casa del Lector
19:00h. - Auditorio.
Entrada libre hasta completar aforo.

Las hermanas Brontë, de André Téchiné (1979). VOSE. Digital. 115’

Patrick Brontë, pastor de la iglesia anglicana desde 1806, se casó en 1812 con Mary Branwell. El matrimonio se instaló en Yorkshire, donde nacieron Charlotte, Emily y Anne: las hermanas Brontë. La película traza una semblanza de la reprimida educación victoriana que sufrieron las escritoras, víctimas las tres de una difícil existencia. Sus obras literarias, tan apasionadas y sensibles, contrastan con la realidad de sus vidas, dominadas por las discusiones con su padre y el cuidado de su hermano menor.

Charlotte Google Easter Doodle Birthday

Exactly what the title says. Google shows this Doodle on April 21st 2014 for honoring Charlotte Brontë on her 198th Birthday:

Happy Doodle Birthday, Charlotte.

EDIT: The Doodle has reached the newspapers with brief surveys on Charlotte Brontë's life and/or Jane Eyre synopsis: The Guardian, The Independent ("Reader, they doodled her"), The Irish Independent (Al Arabiya, The Tarboro TimesActuaLitté (France), România TV (Romania), Timlo (Indonesia), NotizieIN (Italy) ...

Nevertheless we don't know exactly which doodle The Mirror is commenting on:
The illustration shows a mum and her young son and daughter, all three of whom are putting the pedal to the metal. (Chris Richards)
And we have other websites who also celebrate her birthday: The Scotsman,  Mysaskصحيفة الاقتصادي (Yemen), 24СМИ (Russia), RTVSlo (Slovenia), Trollheims Porten (Norway).

Sunday, April 20, 2014

One Hundred Years in the Heights

The Telegraph & Argus talks about one of the activities that will take place at the Brontë Parsonage Museum next month:

Keighley people are being invited to decorate Yorkshire-themed bikes with wool.
Artist Cassandra Kilbride will run a workshop in Haworth next month as part of her Woolly Bike Trail.
Participants will be inspired by Yorkshire literary greats as they decorate one of the ten bikes involved in the project.
They will draw on everything from the Brontë sisters’ work to Yorkshire-set novels like The Secret Garden and Dracula.
The Woolly Bike Trail is part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, the arts festival that precedes the Grand Depart.
The bikes will be exhibited through the summer in Huddersfield and Sheffield, then will return to the places they were created for display for further 12 months.
The workshop runs at the Brontë Parsonage Museum on May 27 and 28 from 10.30am to 1pm, and 1pm to 3.30pm. 
The Austin Chronicle reviews the latest film version of Flowers in the Attic:
 It's undeniably Gothic, but in the same way that Twilight is – as a very fetish/masturbatory excursion. This is PG incest fap material, and it has such an anti-pay off (bar a phenomenal Bursytn shrieking melt down on a stair case) that it could be seen as a disaster. Instead, it's enthralling, because it's an insight into the thinking that says Jane Eyre is a great romance, or has made a disease vector like Count Dracula into a swoon-worthy leading man. (Richard Whittaker)
The Yorkshire Post interviews the Hebden Bridge Trades Club promoter Mal Campbell and how he attracted Patti Smith to play there:
 In his email to her agent, Mal recounted the history of the Trades Club and cannily mentioned the area’s literary heritage. “I knew she likes a good pilgrimage, so I mentioned the Brontës and Sylvia Plath. A couple of hours later her agent said, ‘I think this might work’. It was a proper drop your sandwich moment.” (Duncan Seaman)
The Economist pays tribute to the figure of Gabriel García Márquez and compares Wuthering Heights to Cien años de soledad:
The “magic” in his novels, especially his most celebrated one, really consists of highly imaginative tricks. His narrative structures and chronological drive actually resemble those to be found in “Wuthering Heights”—not a bad book to model yourself on, whatever tradition you are writing from. Emily Brontë's extraordinary mid-19th-century saga is partly about what humans cannot escape from, their family and biological “code”. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is also a drama of genealogy, relishing the successive patterns of desire and frailty passing through a single family. (J.W.)
Not everybody, nevertheless, is pro-García Márquez. Check this article by Kevin Myers in The Sunday Times, Brontë mention included.

Bianca Bosker in The Huffington Post is prepared for the imminent future:
 Yet another sci-fi scenario seemed more probable: Half of us are prepared for the dawn of artworks by computer Picassos, Brontës and perhaps even Baryshnikovs that can pass for human creations.
Diario XXI (Spain) interviews the writer Lena Valenti:
¿Has escogido el inicio del siglo XIX para ubicar la acción por un motivo especial?
Seguramente podría haber escrito otra historia distinta en otro escenario, pero me interesaba mucho ubicarla en ese momento histórico por toda la carga que acarreaban las mujeres de entonces. Además, estaba Jane Austin (sic) en vida, escribiendo ‘Orgullo y prejuicio’, las hermanas Brontë y es el momento en que surgen las primeras sufragistas y yo quería que esta novela fuese una oda al feminismo. (Herme Cerezo)(Translation)
Lise Huret on Tendances de mode (France) loved Jane Eyre:
Quel livre vous a le plus marqué ?
Jane Eyre. Découvert au tout début de mon adolescence, ce roman de Charlotte Bronté m'a totalement chavirée. Au fil de ses pages, j'ai appris ce que le mot "passion" signifiait réellement. Des années plus tard, ce livre fait toujours intrinsèquement partie de moi. Il me suffit de fermer les yeux pour me retrouver à Thornfield Hall en train de guetter le retour de Mr Rochester...  (Translation)
Avvenire (Italy) portrays the Italian edition of Jane, the fox, and me:
 Le Figaro l’ha definito “una piccola perla grafica tutta da scoprire”, il New York Times lo colloca “tra i dieci migliori libri illustrati del 2013”. In effetti con Jane, la volpe & io  - approdato nella collana Contemporaea di Mondadori (16 euro) – Fanny Britt per i testi e Isabelle Arsenault per le illustrazioni realizzano un romanzo grafico di grande leggerezza e poesia, nonostante il tema sia di quelli drammatici e urticanti come il bullismo. Helene, la protagoniosta, è una ragazzina timida e sensibile caduta del tutto senza motivo, gratuitamente come spesso avviene, nelle grinfie di una banda di bulle spietate.  Compagne di scuola che la sbeffeggiano pubblicamente dandole della grassona e della puzzona: le ingiurie più crudeli e dolorose che possano esistere. Invece di reagire Helene si rintana in se stessa, trovando sollievo nella lettura del suo romanzo preferito, Jane Eyre, con la cui protagonista sente di condividere il dolore di vivere. E non è poco in una quotidianità fatta di solitudine e mortificazioni. Cosa c’entra la volpe nel racconto - anche lei, come le pagine dedicate Jane Eyre unica nota di colore in una storia in bianco e nero tendente al seppia – lo si deve scoprire nella lettura, accompagnando la ragazzina nella fatica di affrontare una gita immaginata come un’ulteriore fonte di umiliazioni. Invece… Dagli 11 anni. (Rosanna Sisti) (Translation)
Unsocializedt is not very convinced by the Irish Brontë legacy tourist investments;  Books Tell You Why posts about Charlotte Brontë.

Postcolonial and Androgynous Sewing

New scholar Brontë-related papers:
Equal Partnerships: Ideal Androgynous Marriages in Jane Eyre and The Woman in White
Brianna Kuhn
The Victorian, Vol 2, No 1 (2014)

I stretch the denotation of androgyny and frame the characters from Jane Eyre (1847) and The Woman in White (1859) around a new connotation. Not only can androgyny be analyzed in terms of the individual, but I extend the term to the forms of marriage. I argue that the most optimal marriage in Victorian literature (and arguably today) is one in which both partners are androgynous, but also that the relationship is founded on friendship and equality, which I term an androgynous marriage. Unsuccessful marriages in the novel can be viewed as masculine when they rely solely on sexual intercourse for intimacy. Further, in the feminine marriage, the wife must be beautiful, obedient, passive, and perhaps obligated to marry her husband. Therefore, both Jane and Rochester, and Laura, (Marian) and Walter have a successful marriage, whereas Laura and Sir Percival and the Count and Madame Fosco have unsuccessful ones. Lastly, I argue that the character that dies in the unsuccessful marriages represents a gender polarity or abnormality, as well as serves in a male-dominant dutiful or sensual partnership.
Stitching a Life, Telling a Story: Sewing in Jane Eyre
Tracy Brain
Women's Writing. Published online: 28 Feb 2014

This essay begins by situating Jane Eyre (1847) within contemporary representations of sewing in canonical novels by the Brontë sisters and George Eliot. These texts depict the complex and contradictory nature of needlework. The essay reveals how sewing takes Jane from her girlhood at Lowood School to her deliberate auditioning for the role of Rochester's “lady wife” at Thornfield Hall. It is a journey that is aided and punctuated by Bertha Mason's destructive acts upon fabrics, each of them a coded and crucial message to Jane. The essay's argument is founded upon three linked points: that the pivotal moments in Jane's life and social journey are woven into the story of her stitching; that this story draws upon fairy-tale archetypes; and that Jane's increased skill in manipulating her needle is bound up with her control over her narrative and her theatrical self-presentation.
Postcolonial Life and Death: A Process-Based Comparison of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Ayu Utami's Saman
Tiffany Tsao
Comparative Literature 2014 Volume 66, Number 1: 95-112

This comparative study of Wuthering Heights (a mid-nineteenth-century British novel by Emily Brontë) and Saman (a late-twentieth-century Indonesian novel by Ayu Utami) examines the two novels' respective treatments of internal colonization — a shared thematic concern that only becomes apparent with critical attention to the similarities between scenes found in each work. Read together, the two texts expose the limitations that a unilinear model of the colonization process may impose on life for the colonized subject. Whereas Wuthering Heights figures pre-colonial and colonial modes of life as existing on a single chronological continuum, casting the former as an irretrievable thing of the past, Saman conceives of the two co-existing parallel to each other, the former continuing to exist despite the introduction of colonial culture. By proposing and deploying a process-based model of literary comparison that alternately analyzes the similarities and differences between texts rather than attempting to maintain a balanced view of both at once, this essay also hopes to contribute to recent discussions within the field of comparative literature on how to treat textual convergences and divergences.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Forbidding Landscapes

Rallye-Info and many other rallye-related news outlets talk about the Brontë homeland leg of the Ireland Rally:

Day two consists of a further eight stages over a distance of 117.14 kilometres. The itinerary includes the 29.02-kilometre Brontë Homeland test, which runs through the area where Patrick Brontë, the father of celebrated novelists Emily, Charlotte and Anne, grew up. Another highlight will be the purpose-built stage through the streets of Lisburn, which is used twice in quick succession. (ERC Media)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner lists reasons why Yorkshisre is better than Lancashire:
16) Known worldwide for Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre (sic) and Shirley, the Brontë literary family are one of Yorkshire's most famous literary exports, with fans travelling from all over the world to pay pilgrimage to their birthplace in Haworth - Lancashire has its famous authors, sure, but can it offer an entire family of them?   (Samantha Robinson)
Matt Stroh, chairman of the KWVR, writes in Keighley News about their partnership witth the Brontë Parsonage:
We are also looking forward to cementing our partnership with the Brontë Parsonage as we extend our very popular vintage bus service from weekdays during the main school holidays to a number of summer Sundays starting in June.
This will provide a much-requested heritage link between the station at Haworth and the Parsonage, which we hope will encourage visitors to enjoy both attractions as well as the shops and eateries on Main Street.
The New York Times discusses the history of the World's Fairs:
The greatest world’s fair of all, the one that became a model for most that followed, was the London Exhibition of 1851, which featured the famous Crystal Palace, an immense iron and steel pavilion, and drew some seven million visitors, or roughly one-third the population of Britain at the time. Dickens, Tennyson, George Eliot and Karl Marx all went. Charlotte Brontë visited twice and wrote that the multitudes were so staggered by what they saw — steam engines and locomotives, factory machines, carriages and harness work, chests full of diamonds and pearls — that they were subdued into near-silence. (Charles McGrath)
More NYT and the Vera Wang new fashion collection:
 “I don’t want to use the word goth, but certainly there was a sisterhood,” the designer said of the video, in which several female models stare into the foggy distance, entwine hands and twirl wanly, Lorde-like, in an abandoned manse. She intended to evoke not Dickens, but the Brontës. “I didn’t think we had to be literal with a groom and a tuxedo and all that.” (Alexandra Jacobs)
Fashion & Style interviews the actress Jessica Brown Findlay:
First is “Jamaica Inn,” a BBC adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel.
“The gothic side of Jamaica Inn excited me. I’ve always loved things like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre where you see the darkness of how people react in really forbidding landscapes,” Brown Findlay said.
The Sydney Morning Herald publishes a biographical article about the actress Patricia Routledge:
Both her parents loved language and music, but it was her mother, Catherine, who gave Patricia her first piece of serious fiction - Jane Eyre - and took her to see opera for the first time, La Bohème - and the theatre. (Stephanie Bunbury)
The American Prospect mourns the passing of Gabriel García Márquez:
 For young writers who thought literature fell off the edge of the world east of Moscow or south of Mississippi, it was a portal to Borges and Cortázar. Like anyone—be it Emily Brontë or Pablo Picasso or Orson Welles or Miles Davis—who makes something new out of bits of the old, García Márquez didn’t think he was inventing fabulism or “magical realism” and would have resisted the suggestion of it, as genius resists any categorization so reductive. (Steve Erickson)
The Telegraph inaugurates a new kind of Brontë reference: the place that almost was a location and the person that almost featured on a Brontë film adaptation:
 Out to the south is the disused farmhouse that nearly featured in the 2011 film version of Wuthering Heights. To his delight, Clive was offered a role in this film, but he had to turn it down when the filming schedule coincided with a local tup sale. (Olivia Parker)
Jane Eyre in Georgia, US? According to the Orlando Magazine you can find some places reminiscent of Charlotte Brontë's novel:
  After the tour, if time allows, hike to Dungeness. Another Carnegie creation, the eerie ruins evoke Jane Eyre, after Mrs. Rochester kindled a catastrophe. (Nancy Moreland)
Coronation Street Blog reviews one of the latest episodes of the soap opera and makes this Brontë reference:
 Sporting her new sporty do, Mary can forget the pains of “sweaty follicles” and throw herself into a workout at the gym, striding beside Gail, who apparently has the waist of a Brontë sister. (Emma Hynes)
Regió 7 (in Catalan) mentions the recent Spanish translation of The Professor:
 El profesor de Brontë tracta la història de Williams Crimsworth, un home que deixa enrere l'ambient opressiu de la família i s'obre camí a Brussel·les, on obté plaça de professor en un internat. Allí trobarà l'admiració i les atencions de dues dones, l'astuta directora i una òrfena que, com ell, vol sortir de la pobresa. (Toni Mata i Riu) (Translation)
The Westmoreland Gazette descibes a little mystery concerning a letter found inside an old copy of Charlotte Brontë's Villette;  Sunlit Pages Jane Eyre; kansassire posts a couple of pictures of Jane Eyre 1944; YA Book Shelf gives away a copy of Michaela MacColl's Always Emily; Poeira Literária (in Portuguese) reviews Wuthering Heights.

A Spanish Professor

A new Spanish translation of Charlotte Brontë's The Professor:

El profesor
Brontë, Charlotte
Alba Editorial. Collection: Minus
Translation: Gema Moral Bartolomé
ISBN: 9788484289739

William Crimsworth, en su voluntad de independencia, desprecia la tiránica protección de sus parientes y se embarca hacia Bruselas, donde consigue un puesto de profesor de inglés en un internado y debe elegir entre las atenciones de la brillante y astuta directora y la tímida admiración de una joven huérfana que, como él, lucha por superarse y salir de la pobreza.
La ética del trabajo articula el ideario de la novela, pero en ella destaca asimismo el solitario y doloroso empeño por conservar la fidelidad a los propios principios en un mundo opresivo y prejuicioso, regido por el disimulo, la vigilancia y la afectación.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jane comes out on top

Easter activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in The Telegraph & Argus:
Easter activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth include a celebration of the 198th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth on Bank Holiday Monday.
Visitors can find out more about her life with talks from members of staff throughout the Parsonage – including a talk from Executive Director Ann Sumner on the Brontë connection to the railways, which highlights the new display in Branwell’s Studio and follows on from our appearance on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys.
There is also a rare opportunity to view some of Charlotte’s possessions, letters and manuscripts up close, as Collections Manager Ann Dinsdale takes visitors behind the scenes in the research library at 11am, 12pm and 1pm (free to museum visitors, though numbers are restricted so booking essential – contact or call (01535) 640185.
Also in The Telegraph & Argus, Steven Wood presents his new book Haworth, Oxenhope & Stanbury from old maps:
Haworth historian Steven Wood has turned from photographs to maps for his latest book.
He has gathered almost 100 old maps revealing various aspects of the Haworth, Oxenhope and Stanbury areas.
The paperback follows Steven’s two previous books for the same publisher, Amberley, containing 600 historic photographs of the villages.
Haworth, Oxenhope and Stanbury From Old Maps features informative maps dating from 1610 to 1937.
They range from Ordnance Survey and County maps to Board of Health plans, the Haworth tithe map and church, waterworks, railway and road plans.
The Haworth Village House Repopulation Plan is republished over several pages, showing the names of every family in every household in the village in 1856, including the Reverend Patrick Brontë.
A spokesman for Amberley Publishing said the repopulation plan provided the most detailed view ever of the Haworth that the Brontës knew.
She added: “Between them, the maps and the accompanying text reveal many details of the history of Haworth and its neighbouring villages.
“They can also serve as a guide to the use of maps in local history studies.” 
The Telegraph publishes a travel guide to Yorkshire:
There is a hugely impressive arts scene, with the Hepworth Wakefield (01924 247360; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (01924 832631; enjoying fabulous reputations, not to mention the annual film festivals in Sheffield and Leeds. Poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath stalked the moors of the Calder Valley while this, don’t forget, is Brontë country too. (Joe Shute)
The Mirror lists several interesting facts about the Peak District National Park:
Castleton, Baslow, Eyam and Hathersage are all worth a visit too, with the latter playing a large part in Charlotte Brontë's iconic novel Jane Eyre - North Lees Hall, which is on the outskirts, was used as the model for Mr Rochester's home Thornfield Hall. (Ben Burrows)
The New York Times reviews a NY performance of The Mystery of Irma Vep:
If Charlotte Brontë were to spend an afternoon bingeing on Hammer horror flicks, medicinal sherry and Jiffy Pop, perhaps she could dream up a tale as delirious as that of “Irma Vep.” Most likely not. This 1984 script, which originally starred Ludlam and his partner Everett Quinton, plays out on Mandacrest, a sinister and remote English estate. (Alexis Soloski)
TheaterMania adds:
With its joyful embrace of melodramatic theater and cinema, it's easy to see why. Irma Vep borrows freely from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Shakespeare, Victorian penny dreadfuls, and the entire canon of American vampire, mummy, and werewolf movies. (Zachary Scott)
Vulture discusses Val Lewton's horror films:
In Cat People, a woman is convinced that she has a curse on her that will turn her into a deadly panther whenever she has any strong emotions; I Walked With a Zombie is as much influenced by Jane Eyre as it is by anything to do with zombies. (Bilge Ebiri)
Philip Galanes recommends Jane Eyre against bullying in The New York Times:
Ignore your step-cousin when she’s mean (she may move on to another mark) and make a beeline for someone you trust. It helps to talk. And pack a copy of “Jane Eyre” for your trip. Jane was bullied as a girl, too. But, boy, does she come out on top.
The Burnley Citizen celebrates the repairs plan to save Spenser House in Hurstwood:
The house and hall were also used in 1996 by the BBC for the film version of Anne Brontë’s ‘Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, when the stair balustrades were replaced with painted plywood to resemble barley twist spindles. (Peter Magill)
Première (France) talks about ruins and books. And Top Withins is featured:
Le photographe Pete Barnes est l’un des rares professionnels à avoir photographié cette ruine pas sexy pour deux sous et qui pourrait être le bâtiment ayant inspiré le célèbre manoir des Hauts de Hurlevent, le roman star d’Emily Brönte (sic). Pour les fétichistes du roman, le lieu se situe en haut d’une colline baptisée Top Withens, à l’écart du petit village de Haworth, à proximité de Bradford. L’association du lieu au personnage d’Heathcliff a fait de Wuthering Heights (l’endroit) un lieu symbolique des passions romantiques et de l’aveuglement amoureux.
La maison est sombre, immense, délabrée, rendue sinistre par les ravages de la passion dévorante et de la haine meurtrière. (Benjamin Berton) (Translation)
A.V. Club interviews the musician Dan Wilson:
Do you have a favorite song of all time? (...)
Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush is amazing. I like songs that have operatic emotions. (Marah Eakin)
BuzzFeed interviews the actress Erika Christensen about her role as Cathy in Wuthering Heights 2003:
You were in a musical version of Wuthering Heights that was on MTV.
EC: You’re right. These are so random.
I know! With Katherine Heigl and Mike Vogel, who’s on Under the Dome.
EC: One of the things that I really liked about that is I got to sing, which I always hoped would come into play, because that’s how I grew up. (Kate Aurthur)
The Good Men Project has a Brontë mention:
 A third date was in the planning stage when I received an email, one I felt Charlotte Brontë might  have sent if computers were available in the 19th century. “My deceit has caught up to me, and I can never see you again.” (Al Deluise)
Motorsport (Germany) follows the Ireland rally that tomorrow, April 19, will pass through Patrick Brontë country:
The second leg on Saturday consists of eight tests. The highlight is the 29 km long "Brontë Homeland" route.
This test is named after Patrick Brontë, father of the famous novel writers Emily, Charlotte and Anne. (Gerald Dirnbeck) (Translation)
 Debiutext Magazyn (Poland) posts about Wuthering Heights; Aspirin and Boku-Maru reviews Jane Eyre; Litreactor thinks, poor fellow, that Jane Eyre sucks.

A Brontë Walk for Good Friday

A Brontë walk for Good Friday:

Part of the Boroughbridge Festival of Walks:

Brontë Walk
3m / 5km
Good Friday 18th April
Start 10.00 am at Village Hall  Great Ouseburn

From 1840 to 1845, Anne Brontë was employed as a governess to the Robinson family at Thorpe Green Hall. Her brother Branwell was also employed there for some of that time.  The people and surroundings inspired literary work by both of them. Follow in their footsteps today, as you take the Brontë Trail.
Great Ouseburn is mentioned in the Domesday Book and it’s near here the Ouse Gill Beck rises and, where it joins the Ure nearby, forms the River Ouse. In 1840 around 30 retail establishments traded in the village supplying the day-to-day needs of Anne and Branwell.
Walk Information
The full walk is five miles (8km) long and should take around two-and-a- half hours at a steady pace. Start at the walk interpretation panel on Great Ouseburn Village Hall.There is ample parking.  Follow the route shown by the green waymarkers.Thorpe Green Lane can be busy at the start and end of the school day.
OS Map Explorer 299 covers the area.
More details here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bessie aka Elsie the Cow

This story by Alex Thompson published on Gapers Block's Book Club contains a Brontë reference:

It was a night of this type of dreaming. Holly Golightly leaned suavely beside Jane Austen's Emma and a tortured Brontë character. Katniss Everdeen snacked on a raspberry parfait and reminded me to have a good time and not "think of all the people dying for your entertainment." Only Patrick Bateman seemed unnecessary, populated as the night was by smiling men in suits passing out business cards.
The Telegraph interviews the actress Jessica Brown Findlay:
“The gothic side of Jamaica Inn excited me. I’ve always loved things like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre where you see the darkness of how people react in really forbidding landscapes,” she says. “There is an incestuousness to the story. Joss wants to protect her deep down, but he’s also a sexual threat. Mary has to show him she’s no pushover and he sort of respects that. Ultimately she holds up a mirror to him, makes him see who he really is.” (Ben Lawrence)
Robert McCrum discusses some preliminary and collateral effects of choosing the 100 best novels for a list in The Guardian:
Another lesson from these first two centuries is that, as a contrast to the fallow years, we occasionally find intense bursts of creativity in which, as it were, the novels of the day become engaged in a vivid dialogue. The most intense occurs in 1847 and 1848: the years of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, followed by Vanity Fair.
Charlotte Brontë, indeed, paid tribute to Thackeray in her preface to Jane Eyre. At this mid-point of the Victorian novel, there was only one duty for the writer – and that was to entertain the reader. Thackeray is explicit about this. The idea of "literary fiction", that fashionable tautology, did not exist.
This article on Benefitspro has nothing to do with the Brontës but we have truly liked the anecdote and so we  would like to quote it fully:
I remember my high school career. I was a science and math guy through and through. I hated English. It made no sense. It was completely subjective. And, so, when it came time for this Physics and Astronomy major to take his required dose of English Literature as a college freshman, I attacked it with as much sarcastic rigor as possible. My intention was to mock the tomfoolery of literary analysis by pushing the envelope as far as possible. Every written assignment only escalated this. I was asked to review a Joseph Conrad novella (The Secret Sharer) and I handed in a report comparing it to a Star Trek Episode (“The Enemy Within”).
Next I was tasked with reviewing Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and came back with an analysis based solely on the names of the characters, including a purposely placed anachronism comparing the nursemaid to a Borden Dairy Company mascot Elsie the Cow (if you can’t see the connection, think harder).
But my professor zigged when I expected her to zag. Rather than berate my disrespect, she instead read it as something creative and gave me A’s for both papers. When I admitted to her the basis of my true deviousness, (i.e., science guys don’t like English classes) she blew it off with the simple suggestion I read C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures. I did and it was a cold slap on the face. In it, Snow explains the cultural divide between the literary class and the science class and suggests neither can be considered a truly intellectual class unless and until it can comfortably understand the fundamentals of the other. (Chris Carosa)
The Northern Echo talks about yet another Tour de France-related event, the recording of the official song:
GIRLS Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh, Fame Academy contestant Alistair Griffin and a brass band immortalised by a movie have joined forces to record an anthem for Yorkshire’s Tour de France Grand Départ. (...)
“Being a Yorkshire girl myself means the event has a special resonance with me because it’s my home county and the race will go through my home city of Bradford.”
Mr Griffin said the video accompanying the song would have “a Wuthering Heights feel to it”, showcasing the dramatic countryside.
EDIT: MSN Music adds:
 While filming in the Yorkshire Moors, Kimberley is quoted as saying to Rex Features: "It's a bit different to anything I have done before and the moors give the video a Heathcliff and Catherine vibe."
USA Today talks about the upcoming new TV series, Salem:
WGN America is the latest to hop on the broomstick with Salem, premiering Sunday (10 p.m. ET/PT). Think of it as "Wuthering Heights meets The Exorcist," says co-creator Brannon Braga of the supernatural thriller, set in colonial Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials. (Patrick Ryan)
Expressen (Sweden) reviews Claire Messud's The Woman Upstairs:
Egentligen är det en vändning värdig en såpa. Just som allt har löst sig för den unga Jane Eyre, Rochester har friat, de ska gifta sig, så visar det sig att det på vinden i hans hem finns - en annan kvinna. En galen kvinna, dessutom, och inte nog med det: Rochesters fru.
Han menar att han blev lurad att gifta sig med henne och att hennes galenskap har tvingat honom att hålla henne inspärrad. Jag brukar bli misstä   nksam när jag träffar personer som talar illa om sina ex, så ni kan ana storleken på varningsklockorna inför Rochester.
Jane Eyre drar, klokt nog, därifrån. (Hanna Johansson) (Translation)
Dantri (Vietnam) discusses one-hit-wonders in literature, i.e. Emily Brontë; What a Girld Nerd Says interviews the writer Bethany Hagen:
Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? Were they inspiration for your own writing career?
Bethany: Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings were my perennial favorites, along with the works of Jane Austen and Gone with the Wind. They are absolutely inspirations for me — Austen, Brontë and Mitchell have this way of playing settings and characters off one another in a manner that I can only dream of doing (…but I try anyway). 

Bryony J. Thompson's Jane Eyre in Lewisham

The Bryony J. Thompson adaptation of Jane Eyre is now at the Jack Studio Theatre:

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
presented by the Rosemary Branch Theatre
adapted and directed by Bryony J Tho
Original Music by James Young. Lighting by Ned Lay.
With Lily Beck, Philip Honeywell, Helen Keeley, Hannah Maddison, Rob Pomfret, and Joss Wyre.

Wed 16 April to Sat 19 April at 7.45pm
Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH

Orphaned into an unloving household, subjected to poor treatment at a charity school, Jane Eyre emerges to seek her fortune unbroken in spirit and integrity. She becomes a governess to the ward of the enigmatic Mr Rochester, eventually falling in love with him and he with her. This story surpasses mere melodrama and illustrates a passionate and tenacious woman’s search for a wide rich life.
Part ghost story, part Gothic romance, and part religious tract, this gripping new adaptation of a favourite classic remains faithful to the text. The book literally comes to life with imaginative staging and a cast of only six. Set in 1840s northern England, the early stirrings of feminism shine through the strict adherence to social structure giving this venerated novel its iconic status.
(Via News Shopper)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cultish Meeting

A new review of the Helen Tennison Wuthering Heights adaptation now performed at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, London::

This is not the romanticised story that Hollywood devised for Olivier and Merle Oberon but the harsh reality of Emily Brontë’s novel, though its staging is often impressionistic.
Helen Tennison’s adaptation keeps Brontë’s device of the servant Nelly Dean telling much of the story to southerner Mr Lockwood. She begins in the ill-lit kitchen at Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff is polishing his boots while Hindley Earnshaw is asleep at a table across the room. It is a room which seems to have been invaded by the moors outside: ivy clings to the fireplace and furniture, mist swirls below the ceiling.
As Benedict Davies’s music, used extensively to great effect in this production, merges into the wind and storm of Matt Eaton’s sound score we hear a cry above the gale and Heathcliff is alerted. His eyes search the empty air until the shadow of Cathy appears at a fitfully lit window. (...)
Although the script of Helen Tennison’s compact adaptation provides only a filleted version of the novel and its characters' journey, her imaginative production follows its spirit in its evocative and imaginative theatricality that captures some of the wildness of the moors and of Brontë’s novel. (Howard Loxton in British Theatre Guide)
Lincolnshire Echo interviews Jasper Fforde about his literary career. This is what the writer says about The Eyre Affair:
“The trouble is, all my series started as standalones. What happens is someone will say ‘I love this, can we have a sequel’. The Eyre Affair was a standalone and Shades of Grey was originally meant to be as well. The Nursery Crimes was another but when I discover this interesting and exciting world I automatically think ‘what else can you do with it?’. (...)
"I chopped cross genres with The Eyre AffairJane Eyre, time travel, fantasy, crime and sci fi all mixed together. For the most part people say don’t write cross genre but I didn’t know this at that time.
“The important thing about writing The Eyre Affair was I felt the classic had been perhaps adopted by teachers and academics and Jane Eyre was no longer a novel but more a study text. (...)
“I wrote The Eyre Affair for fun and was writing for nearly 11 years before I got published. The only piece of advice I got in the early days was ‘look at the bestseller list and see what is selling’. I always thought that was bad advice to an author. I just wrote what was fun, enjoyable and amusing to me. (...)
“I have no plans when I am writing. I think plans can be very stifling – as soon as you have a plan you feel you have to stick to it. I tend to just start with a ‘narrative dare’ ... what would happen if someone kidnapped Jane Eyre out of the novel?
Yorkshire Post talks about female literary friendships and the website Something Rhymed:
Intrigued, they set up a website to explore their findings. The name Something Rhymed comes from the title of a poem by Jackie Kay, in which she celebrates her friendship with the novelist Ali Smith, and each month the website profiles different pairs of female writing friendships from down the years.
Readers are encouraged to submit their own suggestions and since launching in January the site has attracted thousands of readers from across the world, along with guest posts from well-known authors like Jill Dawson and Kathryn Heyman.
Profiles so far have included Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield – often remembered as fierce rivals, but in fact close friends – and in May the focus will switch to Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell.
The Telegraph publishes a (quite bizarre) list with the 20 best British and Irish novels of all time. No Brontës on the list but Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is included.

On we read this story about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FSU's class Passion Through the Ages and Pages: Feminist Theory and the Romance Novel:
I read four sticky-sweet romance novels this spring. And I’m not a bit ashamed of myself.
I temporarily dropped my lifelong literary values and preferences to learn about a much-maligned but highly popular genre. And along the way, I read Jane Eyre—twice. (...)
Why does an extraordinarily well-read literary scholar love bodice rippers? And how do those novels compare to one of the earliest and most lauded romance novels, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre? (Fran Conaway)
The Herald reviews the new album by the singer Liz Green:
I think I first heard her singing Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights as part of a Glasgow art project, and the comparisons with the revivified Ms Bush are still there.
Bustle and StyleBlazer talk about the latest collection by fashion designer Vera Wang:
For this Spring 2015 collection, she insists that the dresses “just happened to be white,” and emphasizes that they could be worn for anything, not just a wedding ceremony. Perhaps a cultish meeting between sisters (Wang compared the models to the Brontës) in the woods?  (Tori Telfer
The mood and mystery of the film owe some inspiration to the closeness of the Brontë Sisters. (Giselle Childs)
The Bath Chronicle talks about a local production of The Three Sisters by Chekhov:
Chekhov’s masterpiece about three sisters marooned in provincial Russia whilst yearning for the promised land of Moscow was apparently inspired by the situation of the Brontë sisters living in the middle of the Yorkshire moors.
Amica (Italy) describes the recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Donna Tartt, like this:
Ma Donna Tartt ricorda anche certe miniature di Charlotte Brontë (la riga in mezzo, la fronte spaziosa). (Antonella Catena) (Translation)
Horror Magazine (Italy) interviews the author Cristina Astori:
Queste sono infatti le premesse di “Acqua e sangue”, forse la mia prima storia d'amore romantico, ma che del sentimento narra anche i lati oscuri e agghiaccianti, una sorta di Cime tempestose in chiave vampirica. (Translation)
KemzMovies reviews Jane Eyre 2011 and Expasts Post does the same with Wuthering Heights 1939;  Samantha Ellis suggests Miss Temple could have been an excellent womentor; Closed the Cover posts a negative review of the novel Solsbury Hill.