Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Wuthering Heights in Brisbane

A new Wuthering Heights production opens today, October 1, in Brisbane (Australia):
shake & stir theatre co and QPAC present
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
created & adapted by shake & stir theatre co
Cremorne Theatre, Queensland Performing Centre
1 to 18 Oct 2014

Adaptor & Director Nick Skubij
Costume Designer Leigh Buchanan
Set Designer Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer Guy Webster
Projection Designers optikal bloc

Cast Includes Ross Balbuziente, Julian Curtis, Nelle Lee, Anthony Standish, Melanie Zanetti and Gerry Connolly

Love is a dirty word.

Brontë's gothic masterpiece storms into QPAC in a new adaptation from the company behind the critically acclaimed productions of George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984.
When Heathcliff, a mysterious boy is rescued from the street and brought to Wuthering Heights, he develops a passionate bond with Cathy Earnshaw and a repulsive distrust of her brother Hindley. As time passes, Heathcliff and Cathy's relationship deepens to the point of dangerous obsession, until one day, Cathy marries another man. Overcome with jealousy, Heathcliff flees the Heights only to return, years later, ready to exact revenge on those he believed ruined his one chance at happiness.
Featuring a breathtaking design and a stellar cast including Australian star of stage and screen Gerry Connolly, shake & stir invites you to drop by the Heights and settle in for this classic story, retold.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Secret Life of Jane Eyre

The Guardian highlights the broadcast tonight (BBC4) of the The Secret Life of Books episode devoted to Jane Eyre:
The Secret Life Of Books
8.30pm, BBC4
This engaging series of personal critiques of canonical British literature gets around to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Bidisha, who presents this episode, says that as a teenager she regarded Brontë’s heroine with admiration: Eyre comes from nothing and gets the life (and the man) she wanted. Now, the journalist finds the novel “more disturbing”. Bidisha delves back into Jane Eyre via the archive of Brontë manuscripts and letters and finds a more ambiguous protagonist, still capable of starting illuminating arguments. (Andrew Mueller)
Radio Times adds:
When broadcaster and novelist Bidisha first read Jane Eyre as a teenager, she was taken in by the romance between the novel’s forthright heroine and the brooding Mr Rochester. However, on returning to the book as an adult, her reaction was one of frustration. Why was Jane so happy to submit to Rochester’s every whim? And is author Charlotte Brontë’s attitude to race, explored through the “dark-skinned” character of Bertha, problematic for a modern reader?
Bidisha’s search for answers takes her to the British Library, where she pores over Brontë’s original manuscript and learns of the real-life heartbreak that may have inspired her most famous work. Bidisha’s thoughtful and eloquent conclusion will leave even the most ardent Jane Eyre fan reconsidering the literary classic. (Ellie Austin)
The Mary Sue follows the Peter Nunn harassment on Twitter and casts the following curse:
May your days be full of the Brontë sisters moaning about the moors, Mister. May Shelley interrupt your amorous passions for all of eternity. (Carolyn Cox)
The Star-Observer presents a new production of Wuthering Heights that will be premiered tomorrow, October 1, in Brisbane, Australia:
Shake and Stir Theatre Company are raucous on stage: loud, bright and visceral. This year’s earlier production of George Orwell’s 1984 showed how far society might go to control its citizens. This time they’ve slipped back a few hundred years to retell Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Nothing is safe on this moor.
It doesn’t matter where you are starting from — Kate Bush incanting the title as a chorus, one of the myriad television or film adaptations, or even its origins as a novel — the story of Wuthering Heights has a point of entry for every generation.
Yet the love story between Heathcliffe and Cathy isn’t the only thing driving this story along.
So what makes Shake and Stir’s version different?
“Their courageous choice to cast a man. I just relished the idea, the offer of investigating a Georgian housekeeper,” Gerry Connolly says.
“The staff of these big houses were uneducated and superstitious, and they influenced the children of the estate with their stories of ghosts. Heathcliffe believes in ghosts, and there is a sense that this is a ghost story.” (...)
“This production has a narrative style with a masculine frame and a feminine centre. I play her completely asexually,” Connolly says.
“She is, as a housekeeper, a completely neutral figure. I have played many female roles before: housekeeper, nursemaid, mother. But I suppose I haven’t played many feminine women. Having played the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, I haven’t had to use any female sexuality.
“Yet the femininity is present in Nelly as it is in any gender: a caring, nurturing side.” (Andrew Blythe)
Transformation gives tips to make your Internet experience more empathic:
According to a recent study, people who read fiction tend to have a greater ability to empathize. This may have to do with readers’ skill at understanding characters’ thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s Twilight or Jane Eyre, works of fiction require this ability—granted, some more deeply than others. (Liz Pleasant and Jim McGowan)
David Clarke reviews in Broadway World the OCR of Tess of D'Urbervilles (Stephen Edwards):
Songs like "Birds of the North Star" and "River of Regret" will dance in my head from time to time much like "Sirens" and "Farewell Good Angel" from Jane Eyre once did. Then, after seeing Tess on stage, I'll find this album much more satisfying and that will perfectly mirror my experiences with Jane Eyre.
The Buffalo News presents a local performance of the Béla Bartók opera A kékszakállú herceg vára (Bluebeard's Castle):
The naive young woman and the man with secrets are a couple who have haunted artists through the ages. “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Phantom of the Opera” give the pair a supernatural edge. “Rebecca” and “Jane Eyre” were both about young women in love with men with forbidding mansions and closed doors.
Bluebeard’s bride, in Bartók’s opera, longs to be his sunshine, to light his castle and his life. It’s easy to think of “Wuthering Heights,” and Isabella Linton’s desperate plea: “Heathcliff, let me love you. I can make you happy.” (Mary Kunz Goldman)
Isabella never said such a thing in the book, by the way.

Stixs has suggestions for Halloween:
You and your partner may be fond of books and like a couple from one of them. For example, Harry Potter; the series includes a lot of couples to choose from. They are witches and wizards, so you can go for a traditional Halloween makeup. If you want to go something more serious, then choose classic characters such as Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. (Catherine Streams)
Christian Book Review Blog interviews the author Brenda Anderson:
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Jane is such an unusual heroine. She isn’t attractive, wealthy, or athletic, attributes that seem to draw the reader, yet she is a true hero. She’s gutsy, intelligent, wise, and passionate. The story is dark, yet it offers hope.
The New Dork Review of Books posts about Jane EyreIn the Forest Clearing... reviews Wuthering Heights.

Peripheral Child

A new scholar book with Brontë-related content:

The Peripheral Child in Nineteenth Century Literature and its Criticism
Neil Cocks
ISBN 9781137452443
Publication Date September 2014
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Established accounts of the child in nineteenth century literature tend to focus on those who occupy a central position within narratives. The first part of this book is concerned with children who are not as easily recognised or remembered as Alice, Kim or Oliver Twist; the peripheral or neglected children featured in works by Dickens, Brontë, Austen and Rossetti. The return of the overlooked child to these texts acts like 'a return of the repressed', overturning accepted narratives concerning their structure and meaning. In the second part of the book, some of the more sceptical accounts of the nineteenth century literary child are challenged. 'Ethical' and 'historicist' approaches are shown to be resistant to the text-focused analysis offered in the first part of the book, resulting in an investment in a child that is knowable, 'real' and non-discursive.


Includes: The Child and the Letter: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Charles Bronson, Closeted Egghead

The Yorkshire Evening Post talks about the new edition BBC Two quiz show Eggheads:

Eggheads is on BBC Two on weeknights at 6pm. To apply to be a contestant on the show email eggheads@12yard.com
Test yourself against the questions Lisa faced on ‘Revenge of the Egghead’. How would you have fared? (...)
8. Who was the eldest of the three literary Brontë sisters?
Now, a puzzle from WSPU (Penn State):
Last week's challenge: Name a famous actor best known for tough-guy roles. The first five letters of his first name and the first four letters of his last name are the first five and four letters, respectively, in the first and last names of a famous author. Who is the actor, and who is the author?
Answer: Charles Bronson / Charlotte Brontë (Will Shortz)
TV.com reviews the midseason finale of Outlander:
This moment was very different in the book; Claire only headed in the direction of the rocks. The screen version heightened the drama by having Frank be amongst the Standing Stones in 1945 as Claire raced toward them in 1743, both of them yelling each other’s names in a very Jane Eyre fashion. (Lily Sparks)
La Stampa (Italy) reviews  the Italian TV series Un'altra vita:
Strano che non si sia identificata con Vanessa Incontrada. «Con lei è scattato subito feeling sul set, con la sua naturalezza ci ha aiutato a rendere una donna sfaccettata presa da mille dubbi e sentimenti: la coppia, il lavoro, la famiglia, gli uomini e un mistero che come in Jane Eyre fa da tirante all’intera vicenda. (Simonetta Robiony) (Translation)
Le Magazine Littéraire (France) publishes the obituary of the publisher Jean-Jacques Pauvert:
Jean-Jacques Pauvert est une figure faussement marginale de l'édition littéraire française du XXe siècle. Identifié à la maison qui porte son nom, il sera non seulement l'éditeur mais aussi souvent l'ami de ses auteurs, de Bataille à Pierre Klossowski en passant par Guy Debord. Découvreur de génie, féru d'indépendance, il publiera André Breton, René Crevel, Topor, Raymond Roussel, Tristan Tzara, Boris Vian, Albert Camus, Albertine Sarrazin, Jean Genet, mais aussi Emily Brontë et le Dictionnaire de Littré, Françoise Sagan et l'Histoire de l'art d'Élie Faure.  (Alexandre Gefen) (Translation)
Economy (Serbia) talks about literary tourism:
Ništa manje nije slavan ni Havort, mesto u Zapadnom Jorkširu gde je dom sestara Brontë pretvoren u istoimeni muzej koji svake godine pohodi ogroman broj turista, onih „literarnih“. (Translation)
The Bi-College News informs that the Jane Eyre is the favorite book of the new President of the Bryn Mawr College, Kimberly Wright Cassidy.

Unfinished Novels in Poland

A collection of unfinished Charlotte Brontë novels (we suppose the same ones that appeared in the 1993 collection published by Alan Sutton Publishing)  has been published in Poland:
Niedokończone opowieści
Charlotte Brontë
Translator:  Maja Lavergne
MG
ISBN: 978-83-7779-216-2 Paperback
ISBN: ​978-83-7779-219-3 Ebook

Charlotte Brontë jest bez wątpienia autorką trzech niezwykłych książek: Jane Eyre, Shirley i Villette. Do dziś nie wyjaśniono, czy pozostałe powieści sygnowane nazwiskiem Brontë (Wichrowe Wzgórza, Agnes Grey oraz Lokatorka Wildfell Hall) wyszły spod jej pióra czy też rzeczywiście całe rodzeństwo było na równi utalentowane i mamy do czynienia z twórczością trzech sióstr.
Niewątpliwe jest również to, że Charlotte zostawiła w swoich papierach cztery Niedokończone opowieści. Jest to równie niezwykła proza, jak wszystko co wyszło spod jej pióra. Dlatego też dziś proponujemy czytelnikom i miłośnikom geniuszu Brontë te cztery niedokończone utwory, wierząc, że dalsze ich wątki rozwinie Wasza wyobraźnia.
Sekretu osobowości autorki Charlotte Brontë nie sposób do końca wytłumaczyć, można jedynie snuć przypuszczenia. Obserwując jej życie, decyzje i drogę twórczą, trudno nie zauważyć, że Brontë kapitulowała przed samą sobą. Rozwój jej talentu wyznacza właściwie dążenie do samopoznania. Jego eskalację odzwierciedla zaledwie rozpoczęta powieść, Emma, urywająca się po dwóch rozdziałach. Tu można postawić pytanie: dlaczego Charlotte odłożyła tę pracę, skoro nie zadecydowały o tym żadne gwałtowne okoliczności? Może dlatego właśnie, że przeczuwała, iż dojdzie w niej do samookreślenia?
                                                                                        Eryk Ostrowski
With Mr Ostrowski, we are always on the verge of conspiranoia.

A review of this edition can be read on Z pasją o dobrych książkach i nie tylko...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Assuming Brontë

The Independent announces the re-opening of the house of Elizabeth Gaskell in Manchester next October 5:

Thanks to a £2.5m renovation, visitors will be able to experience for the first time the suburban villa and its re-established Victorian gardens as they might have appeared during Gaskell’s lifetime. (...)
The restored drawing room houses a piano similar to that on which Charles Hallé, the conductor and founder of Manchester’s Hallé orchestra, gave music lessons to Gaskell’s daughters. It is in the same room that a shy Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains to avoid seeing guests. Other esteemed visitors over the years included Harriet Beecher Stowe, the American abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the art critic John Ruskin, not to mention Gaskell’s editor, a certain Charles Dickens. (...)
She lived in Plymouth Grove between 1850 and her death in 1865, a period during which she wrote the popular novels Cranford, Ruth and North and South, the lesser-known Sylvia’s Lovers, and the unfinished Wives and Daughters. She and her husband, William, a Unitarian minister at the city’s Cross Street Chapel, wanted space and fresh air for their four daughters and, when they moved in, the house lay near open fields. Brontë remarked in a letter, in 1951, to her publisher, George Smith, that it was “a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke”. (...)
As soon as she had finished writing the biography of her friend, Brontë, in 1857, for instance, she escaped to Rome and so it was William who had to pick up the pieces and deal with the ensuing libel case. (Kate Youde)
Leftlion interviews the writer Joanna Walsh who probably takes too much for granted:
Recommend five female authors to our readers...
I'm assuming everyone's at least tried Austen, Eliot, the Brontës... 
This journalist of El Mundo (Spain) seems under the spell of a Brontë novel when describing  the actress Ana Escribano:
Su mirada profunda y melancólica nos remonta a la literatura de las hermanas Brontë. (José Aguilar) (Translation)
We wonder where on Earth the journalist of this piece in El Periódico (Spain)  read that Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights always petting a cat:
Como los que enamoraron a Julio Cortázar, Hemingway (llegó a tener 57 en su casa de La Habana) o Emily Brontë que escribió Cumbres borrascosas con uno enroscado en sus piernas.  (Ana Hevia) (Translation)
El Diario (México) talks about marriage, family...
El noviazgo tiene una razón de ser: que un hombre y una mujer se traten y se conozcan con la intención de formar una familia, de ser esposos y padres. Usted ya avizoró el problema. Tal vez tenga usted hijos e hijas de doce y trece años que ya viven tórridos romances que, ríase usted, de Cumbres Borrascosas. (Presbítero Hesiquio Trevizo Bencomo) (Translation)
As Chelsea Clinton's newborn will be named Charlotte, several news outlets list famous Charlottes, including our very own Charlotte Brontë, of course.  Isabell Serafin posts about Wuthering  Heights 2011.  The True Lystria reviews the original novel. Books Buyer talks about Jane Eyre and its meaning for the author.

Finally, Jorie Loves  a Story posts the first entry of her Septemb-Eyre project.

Bradford Brontë Heritage (and more)

An alert for today, September 28, from the Bradford Literature Festival:
Christa Ackroyd
Historical Bradford Tour: Brontë Heritage
Sunday 28 September10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Meeting Point – National Media Museum

There is so much more to the story of the Brontë sisters than simply being the literary daughters of a clergyman. Like their father, they were social pioneers, recording the difficult times they lived in and writing under masculine pseudonyms because the subjects they wished to embrace would never be, in Charlotte’s words, considered positively feminine.

If their books continue to fascinate generations, then the story of these three incredible women is surely as exciting and passionate as anything which flowed from their pens. Tragic yet invigorating, their lives and passions continue to inspire today and their spirits live on through the subjects they wrote about; fairness, equality of class, race, gender – each as relevant now as it was then.

Join Brontë enthusiast Christa Ackroyd on our classic vintage bus for this unique tour, taking in the most important Brontë heritage sites in the district, to discover the untold story of the country’s most famous literary family:

• Learn about their visionary father, sent to the West Riding by William Wilberforce and the Clapham set, to help the poor amidst the Luddite uprisings.
• Travel to Thornton village where Patrick Brontë preached and where his famous daughters were born.
• Take in breathtaking views of the moors now immortalised in Wuthering Heights and stop for lunch in Luddenden at the Lord Nelson Inn, one of Branwell’s favourite drinking spots.
• Spend the afternoon at the Parsonage in Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their classic novels. Enjoy a personalised tour of the museum, including an exclusive private visit to the museum library to view close up some of the treasures of the collection.
This is an unrivalled opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Emily, Anne and Charlotte. The tour includes expert guide, pick-up and return from Bradford city centre in a classic vintage tour bus, lunch at the Lord Nelson in Luddenden, readings from the famous works of the Brontë sisters, as well as entry to Brontë Parsonage Museum.
And a very different one in Voorheesville, NY:
Old Songs: 37 S. Main St., Voorheesville. 469-0202 Sunday Four Poetry Open Mic, hosted by Dennis Sullivan, Edie Abrams and Mike Burke, featuring Barbara Ungar reading from “Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life” 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28. (Via Troy Record)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Emily Wuthering Bell

The Guardian follows The Pennine Way:

From here head north on Hebden Bridge Road to Haworth and leave the car in the village for the walk up to Top Withens, the lonely ruined farmhouse said to have been the inspiration behind local lass Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. It’s a short drive to Skipton, gateway to the Dales, from here.
The Elm (Washington College) is concerned about the disappearance of a program who takes students to North Yorkshire:
For 17 years the Kiplin Hall Program successfully took a group of Washington College students on a hiking adventure to discover the landmarks of literature. Unfortunately the program, led by Dr. Richard Gillin, director of the course and the Ernest A. Howard professor of English literature and Barbara Gillin, lecturer of English, may not continue for its 18th year.
Deep in the countryside of Northern England lies the historical house built by the forefather of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, and then restored by the University of Maryland. Kiplin Hall is centrally located around the national parks of England and points of interest of some of the most established poets and novelists.
Poets like Emily Brontë & Charlotte Brontë, William Wordsworth, and Seamus Heaney have close ties to the area. Dr. Gillin took advantage of the rich literary history of Northern England and decided in 1998 to take the classroom outdoors and stay in Kiplin Hall, upon the suggestion of then Board of Governors Chair and present Interim President Jay Griswold. (Emma Way)
To describe Emily Brontë as a poet is unexpected but not untrue. But Charlotte Brontë is clearly a novelist, although she wrote and loved poetry.

Vocativ looks for George Clooney's successor as Hollywodd's golden bachelor:
But the closest the Irish-German actor has come to a knee-weakening Clooney role is Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, perhaps literature’s only romantic hero who boasts both a horrible temper and a mentally ill wife hidden away in the attic (not that we don’t love Mr. Rochester, because of course we do). (Molly Fitzpatrick)
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune interviews the writer Maureen Corrigan:
Q: Are there other books that have captivated you in this way? Other books you reread?
A: Oh, I reread a lot of books. Many of the novels I love to reread are the 19th-century British classics: “Jane Eyre,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “David Copperfield,” “Great Expectations,” “Bleak House.” I’ve never read any other novel, though, anywhere close to the number of times I’ve read “The Great Gatsby.” (Laurie Hertzel)
The Belfast Telegraph discusses the novel The House Where It Happened by Martina Devlin:
The House Where It Happened is told from the perspective of the maid from said haunted house (Wuthering Heights springs to mind) and asks why the pious and pretty 18-year-old newcomer Mary Dunbar almost immediately started complaining about being tormented by eight local women she claimed were witches.
Wall Street Journal talks about the philosopher and psychologist (and brother of Henry James):
William James was, of course, the 15-months-older brother of the novelist Henry James, and the eldest of the five children—four sons and a daughter—of Henry James Sr. and his wife, Alice. The Brontës produced three sisters who all wrote remarkable novels, but no family that I know of, other than that of William and Henry James, produced two brothers who were geniuses in their own right yet vastly different from one another in the nature and style of their thinking. Which of the two brothers one admires more may tell a great deal about the cast of one's own mind. (Joseph Epstein)
Deseret News explores the modern concept of family on TV:
"If you're worried about what kids are going to take away, you need to talk about media literacy," [Philip] Sewell [ TV historian] said. "If you're reading 'Wuthering Heights,' you're hoping they don't come away just thinking that Heathcliff is all brooding and cool." (Chandra Johnson)
Sun-Sentinel South Florida gives voice to a high school student who has loved reading Jane Eyre:
A coming-of-age novel, “Jane Eyre” is not one to Spark Notes (coming from a girl who loves them), but a book to spend time with. Full of complexities and details that the overviews skip, “Jane Eyre” has rich scenic depictions, character development and a wonderful ending.
There are few school books that are actually enjoyable, most being mandatory reads, but “Jane Eyre” is one of them.
So when your school teacher tells you to pick up that heavy 500-plus-page book, grab a copy, start annotating and enjoy a great read.  (Maya Lubarsky)
(Which is the opposite view of thisrAchmass, by the way).

Susan Hill in The Times talks about the importance (or not) of gender in literature:
When it comes to classics and to literary fiction, gender is even more irrelevant. I read English at King's College London in the early 1960s, and as  far as i can recall no mention was made of the gender of the author. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, there were three Brontë novelists, George Eliot was a woman writing under a man's name, but no reference was made to any of this. We read book as books. 
Jornal Dia Dia (Brazil) talks (with a priceless blunder) about the II International Grand Dourados Neuroscience Symposium, where the inaugural conference was no other that O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes, a Neurobiologia do Amor e a  Metafísica Da Paixão (Wuthering Heights, a Neurobiology of Love and a Metaphysics of Passion) by Dra. Elisabete Castelon Konkiewitz.
Ao longo da palestra, a professora ainda analisou a obra literária "O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes", de Wuthering Heights, pseudônimo de Emily Brontë (!!!!!!!!). Para Elizabete, o romance lançou um questionamento às convenções da sociedade vitoriana. Emily Brontë coloca o amor como um imperativo urgente e pungente da natureza – e o desfecho trágico da obra aponta para a ideia de que quando a racionalidade trai a natureza selvagem do amor, há um preço a se pagar. (Translation)
The Huffington Post reviews The Fame Lunches by Daphne Merkin.

Echoes of nature

A musical alert from Moers, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany:

!SING - DAY OF SONG
September 1719.30 h
Moers Kulturzentrum Rheinkamp
!SING spezial
Premiere of Echoes of nature (Composer Dr. R. Thöne).

Der diesjährige Konzerthöhepunkt rückt näher. Beim diesjährigen dritten !SING - Day of song 2014" am 27.09.2014 treten wir zunächst ab 12:00 Uhr im Rahmen des ruhrgebietsweiten Mitsingens in der Moerser Innenstadt auf.
Am Abend führen wir dann das eigens für uns komponierte Werk Echoes of naturevon DR. Raphael D. Thöne auf.
In sieben Bil¡dern befasst sich das Werk mit dem Thema Natur und Klimawandel. Mit uns musizieren die Moe
rser Blechbläser und das Niederrheinische Kammerorchester. Zitat unseres Chorleiters: "Wir sind stolz, ein so schönes Stück einzustudieren und aufzuführen, es ist eine neue chorische und musikalische Erfahrung - und eine dicke Herausforderung."
More information on the following press release.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Celtics of Brontë

The Herald publishes the obituary of the Scottish footballer (and also teacher) John Divers (1940-2014). He played for Celtic and Partick Thistle and has another passion:

He played football for 12 years, nine with Celtic, before a career in education beckoned and he went to Strathclyde University. He'd been a teacher for more than 30 years, much of that time at Our Lady and St Patrick's High in Dumbarton, formerly St Patrick's High and Notre Dame High, where he was principal teacher of guidance and economics - "And nobody ever wants to talk about that time." He was also a member of the Brontë Society, along with Elizabeth, and a regular visitor to Yorkshire. Life was sweet and the crises were small.  (Michael Tierney)
The Bookseller publishes the results of a survey questioning more than 900 young people in the UK about their book habits.
[Luke] Mitchell [director of Voxburner] also asked the respondents to name their favourite book. Big name children’s and YA writers came up several times, including Roald Dahl, Cassandra Clare, JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz and Malorie Blackman. However, adult novelists such as Nicholas Sparks and Cecilia Ahern were listed several times, as were classic writers Charlotte Brontë, George Orwell, Jane Austen and F Scott Fitzgerald.
Mitchell revealed the results of the survey at The Bookseller Children’s Conference taking today (25th September) at the Southbank Centre in London. (Charlotte Eyre)
The Weekly Standard remembers that Charlotte Brontë was not a Jane Austen fan:
But for all the fanfare and elation, and the intense reactions—E. M. Forster said that he read Austen with “the mouth open and the mind closed. Shut up in measureless content”—there have been those who don’t comprehend what the fuss is about. Charlotte Brontë’s criticism is scathing:
"I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I had read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses." (Judith Ayers)
The Las Vegas Review-Journal follows the singer-songwriter Lorde tour and compares her single Royals with Charlotte Brontë:
Lorde’s ubiquitous No. 1 single “Royals” overruled any concerns about a spring break throwdown centered around a teen with a spare sound and a mysteriously elegant air, a modern goth girl fused with a Charlotte Brontë O.G. (original Goth). (Mike Weatherford)
The Times talks about the dead of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, the last of the Mitford sisters:
In literature, only the Brontës have formed a similarly intense and creative family atmosphere. (Ben Macintyre)
Also in The Times, Kevin Maher criticises those stupid pseudoscientific approaches based only on the power of statistics like the ones discussed in his column:
Well, like the the child who didn't do vocabulary lessons with his parents when he was an infant (I didn't), I am almost lost for words here. In fact, while we're on the subject, I had no interest whatsoever in words, vocabulary, reading, books or literature until I was lucky enough to have a passionate teacher who managed to transform Hardy, Brontë and Keats into living, breathing things. But, hey, the professional-childcare-industrial complex says that it all happened when I was an infant. So who am I to argue?
The Tufts Daily is delighted with the new season of Sleepy Hollow:
While enjoyable on many counts, the second season has a continuing weak link: Ichabod’s wife, Katrina (Katia Winter), who is trapped in purgatory. The first season of the show hardly took any steps to establish Katrina as her own character beyond Ichabod’s wife. While she is described as being a very powerful witch, all evidence points to the contrary; Katrina can often be seen crying out for her lost husband while wearing a dramatically cut black dress with her hair blowing in the wind, looking like a lost extra from a bad adaptation of a Brontë novel. (Grace Segers)
Around the Town Chicago reviews the LifeLine Theatre production of Jane Eyre:
Highly Recommended **** (...)
Given all this, TimeLine Theatre’s production of Christine Calvit’s play is a remarkably successful and faithful production of Brontë’s classic. Ms. Calvit captures all the dialogue and dramatic tension, and really draws out the gothic. (Lawrence Riordan)
The Guardian interviews the actor Andrew Lincoln:
I read books like Wuthering Heights out loud to my mum’s mother in her flat while she smoked a cigarette. I remember her being very enthusiastic about me going into acting. (Roz Lewis) (Translation)
Web.de (Germany) remembers the dangers of hyperemesis gravidarum:
Bis zu neun Monate lang Übelkeit und häufiges Erbrechen: Hyperemesis gravidarum ist die Extremform der Schwangerschaftsübelkeit. Englands Herzogin Kate litt bereits während ihrer Schwangerschaft mit Baby George darunter, Schriftstellerin Charlotte Brontë soll sogar an der Krankheit gestorben sein. (Petra Lichtenberger) (Translation)
vozpópuli (Spain) lists Emily Brontë as a one-hit-only writer:
Publicada en 1847 con el pseudónimo Ellis Bell, la novela de Brontë se considera actualmente como un clásico de la literatura. En el comienzo btuvo duras reacciones de los lectores y los críticos, que vieron en sus páginas una historia deprimente. El tiempo sin embargo hizo justicia. (Karina Sainz Borgo) (Translation)
Librópatas (Spain) chooses Jane Eyre as the book of the week;  D.N. Aloysius posts about Wuthering Heights. The Brontë Parsonage tweets a picture of the Haworth graveyard.

Adapting the Brontës and Reviews

Some new Brontë-related papers:
Auteurs and Authenticity: Adapting the Brontës in the Twenty-First Century
Shelley Anne Galpin
Journal of British Cinema and Television. Volume 11, Issue 1, Page 86-100

This article examines two recent adaptations of Brontë novels and how they relate to discussions surrounding the adaptation of literary texts into film. The position of Cary Joji Fukunaga and Andrea Arnold as auteurs is considered, as is the way in which this was used in the marketing of the films prior to release. Fukunaga's Jane Eyre (2011) and Arnold's Wuthering Heights (2011) are evaluated as examples of British film-making in terms of heritage/anti-heritage discourses, concluding that while they both reject aspects of the traditional ‘heritage film’, overtly in Arnold's film but more subtly in Fukunaga's, neither can escape the notion of authenticity which is central to discussions surrounding adaptation of classic literature. Although apparently more ‘faithful’, Fukunaga's film stops short of the adherence to source material that was emphasised in the pre-release publicity, ironically suppressing Fukunaga's auteurist vision, while Arnold's more overtly auteurist vision is shown to present difficulties over the issue of authorship when adapting a ‘literary great’. Finally, the article considers the commercial and critical success of both films, noting that the status of both directors as auteurs is a selling point prior to release, but that when tackling period material it can be something of a hindrance in terms of both the commerciality and the artistic style of the piece.
A couple of reviews:
Romanticism. Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 88-91, April 2014
Rebecca White, University of Durham, UK
Christine Alexander (ed.), The Brontës: Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal. Selected Writings (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Victoriographies. Volume 4, Issue 1, Page 93-95, May 2014
Helen Goodman, Royal Holloway, University of London
Eithne Henson, Landscape and Gender in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy: The Body of Nature (Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2011)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spoiler Moor

Robert Colvile explores in The Telegraph the Mitford sisters new mythology, now that the last Mitford sister, Deborah Devonshire passed away yesterday:
The Mitford graves? I’d known, in a fuzzy sort of way, that the Mitfords had grown up nearby. But I wasn’t aware of their new status as the west Oxfordshire equivalent of the Brontë sisters – the people with whom our neck of the woods was implicitly identified.
Boston University talks about one local trivia night:
After the answer sheets were tallied, we were tied for second place. The tiebreaker (What is the name of Batman’s car?) was by far the easiest question of the night. We shouted, “the Batmobile” first to come in second (thus earning a free hardcover book). After careful deliberation, we chose a special edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and walked out onto Newbury Street excited by our surprise victory and satisfied with a Friday night well spent. (Samantha Pickette)
USA Today interviews the writer Sarah Brees Brennan:
Favorite gothic romance story?
Sarah: The Secret Garden.
... No, no, wait, hear me out!
Nobody loves Jane Eyre more than me: I wrote an affectionate parody of it!
When reading The Secret Garden, though, I realised how like Jane Eyre and other works of Gothic fiction it was. A shadowy ancestral manor full of shadowy ancestral secrets, marked by tragedy. A hidden place. A hidden and trapped person, who sometimes screams the place down. Moors, obviously. There are always more moors in these books. (...)
Favorite villain?
Sarah: I would say Heathcliff (of The Postman's Sexy Adventures. No, OK, of Wuthering Heights). He's so interesting because culturally we think and talk about him as the hero. Kate Bush sings about being Cathy and coming home to him. He gets romantic monologues, and initially he is very sympathetic — he's hard done by, and the world is cruel to him, which makes him cruel. But the book actually engages with that: on how far someone can lash back at being victimised before becoming a villain, and Heathcliff does. By the time he's hurting innocent people, he has clearly become a toxic person and for the last half of the book he is the major — the only — antagonist. The book poses some really great questions by showing us Heathcliff's changing position in the narrative: How far do you go before you are irredeemable? What if you do not even want to be redeemed?
Heathcliff kidnaps Catherine Linton (our heroine since her mother, Cathy Earnshaw, is dead) and he keeps her from her dying father until he can force her into marriage with his own cruel (and dying! Those moors, not healthy places!) son, in order to get her inheritance. This is classic villain stuff: depriving the innocent young girl of her liberty in more ways than one, regarding her as chattel and a means to the end of greed. More classic villain stuff — he hits his wife and he hangs a puppy. I'm just saying. PUPPIES. How can Emily Brontë make herself clearer?
The villain of the Lynburn Legacy series is based on Heathcliff, in a way that isn't made clear until the last book, so: spoiler manor. Spoiler moor. (The Gothic equivalents of "Spoiler city.") (Jessie Potts)
The Philippines Sun-Star talks about the Batan island:
Its rugged landscape and obvious isolation are often compared to the setting with which Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights was based. But if you are not a certified literati (or presume to be one), and if you haven't read the novel, you will have no sense of what this otherworldly, oft-overlooked little piece of Eden really is. (...)
Anyhow, Batanes should not be just a footnote. It deserves more than just a comparison to a literary pieces' setting. Maybe, had the British Empire laid claim to the islands before the Spanish Crown did centuries ago, it would have figured prominently in Brontë's work. Who knows.
Siobhan Thompson, from the YouTube channel Anglophenia, is interviewed on BBC America:
Q: What other British lit are you interested in?
A: I love all British literature! I don’t really like modern literary fiction. I love the Brontës. I read a lot of plays. I love George Bernard Shaw. Contemporary playwrights are great.
Keighley News remembers the artist Joe Pighills:
Haworth Parsonage produced a postcard showing one of Joe’s paintings of the access to the Brontë Parsonage. The copyright is that of local photographic artist Simon Warner, who photographed the image. (David Knights)
Wall Street Journal reviews The Fame Lunches by Daphne Merkin; Les Manuscripts Ne Brûlent Pas (in French) reviews Wuthering Heights.


Jane Quote Bracelets

Jane Eyre quote bracelets on The Author's Attic:

I didn't discover Jane Eyre until I was 44, all those wasted re-reading years! Some quotes of Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre" are captured here in sterling silver cuff bracelets with delicate filigree ends to encase them. Jane's most powerful quote "I am no bird..." encircles the shiny surface of a sterling bangle to wrap around your wrist, much like Rochester was wrapped around Jane's finger.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Civil Wars, Black Sabbath played by Emily and Jane Eyre by Victoria Lucas

The Brontë Society dissenters and the Council are not looking for common ground and understanding according to The Yorkshire Post:

A bid to oust members of the ruling council of the Brontë Society in an on-going row over the literary society’s future direction looks set to fail.
A group of the society’s members have forced an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which will be held in Haworth on Saturday October 18.
Members Janice Lee, a retired deputy headteacher, and John Thirlwell, a TV producer, gathered 53 signatures to force the meeting to take place.
Around 1,700 members are receiving details this week of the EGM.
The agenda includes a resolution “to elect a new Council, comprising, if possible, some existing members (to provide continuity) but also new members to bring further levels of professionalism and experience to the society.”
The resolution will not be voted on, according to the society letter, although it may be subject of a discussion. According to letter, the resolution is “ineffective in law since it does not comply with the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 relating to the retirement and appointment of specific directors.”
The letter goes on to say that the ruling council had previously identified “skills gaps” within its ranks which it “has taken and is taking steps to fill”.
It is understood that the group which forced the emergency general meeting is now seeking legal advice on the attempt to block voting on the resolution.
Last night Christine Went, chairman of the Brontë Society, said the EGM was requested “by a small number of members, most of whom have joined the society relatively recently.”
She added: “We welcome the interest and support of these members and the fact that they are keen to be more involved with the running of the society.” (Andrew Robinson)
Just a thought. We are not in a position to take parts here as we don't really know what's going on. But... is the Brontë Society such a powerful and mighty institution that can afford to spend resources, time and efforts in civil stupid wars?

Chicago Theatre Review talks about the LifeLine's production of Jane Eyre:
I’ll confess, dear reader, that I like my gothic plays gloomy and ghost-filled as anybody, pitting the world worn hero or heroine against all sorts of horrors, both the unearthly and the all too human. Where I draw the line though in the cultivation of spooky atmosphere is a soundtrack that relies upon thunderous drums, electric guitars and whole flocks of “shwarp” sounds (as though something huge and winged was hopping about in the rafters). The decidedly metallic taste of Christina Calvit’s adaptation of Jane Eyre certainly brings this beloved tale of courage and conviction into the modern age, but pays for its passage with the intimacy and immidacy of the world it is supposed to exist in. One cannot push out the image of Charlotte Brontë scribbling away in the old drafty house, heavily made-up around the eyes, banging her head back and forth to the chords of Emily playing Black Sabbath on the piano forte (while Anne stuffs her ears with cotton and retires to another room). (...)
Where both Calvit and Milne are in luck, and where the production really comes into its potential, is in their Eyre. Bhatt does far more than any amount of diresome rock to show us Jane’s modern sensibility. Her voice is clear and carrying, her rejoinders. (Ben Kemper)
Another review can be read on Sheridan Road.

The Guardian reports several cases of wrong  questionable grades for students in the GCSE and A-level papers:
“One particular incident that springs to mind took place a couple of years ago. A student who had clearly not prepared at all, had an extremely poor work ethic and had actually considered not sitting the paper at all that very day, came out with an A grade.”
After requesting a copy of the paper, she found that the paper was hardly deserving of an E. “It opened with: ‘Jane Eyre, written by Bronte, under her pseudonym Victoria Lucas …’ Even a layperson would know this was not Charlotte Brontë’s pen-name, even if they were not aware that it was Plath’s. The entire essay was littered with inaccuracies, made-up content, ridiculous arguments.” (Rebecca Ratcliffe)
Bustle lists not boring books that can help you fall asleep:
Brontë’s gothic novel — with ahead of its time commentary on class, race and feminism—is mysterious and slow; paired with the inherent spookiness of early 19th century England and the romance at the center of the book, Jane Eyre is a perfect night cap when you’re cozy under the covers. (Molly Labell)
The Huffington Post talks about literary pilgrimages:
I've been to some of the biggies -- at Haworth, the Brontë's home, I wandered the moors as they did, but the signposts are in Japanese as well as English now -- young Japanese girls are cultish over the Brontës, apparently. I swooned with them over the sofa (black, appropriately) on which Emily died. (Chrysler Szarlan)
We could agree with Alexandra Petri in The Washington Post but please, do not use again this stupid story about Branwell Brontë:
True enough. The only person I know who died standing was Branwell Brontë, who died leaning on a mantelpiece because he wanted to prove that he could do it. But we can all agree that this was stupid.
Do we want to become a nation of Branwell Brontës and die standing up, like idiots, just to show we can?
No. No, we don’t.
El Universal (Venezuela) interviews the artist Edgar Sánchez:
El paisaje no se ha tratado dentro del hecho dramático. Es decir, lo vemos en el cine. Lo vemos en la literatura. Ahora mismo pienso en Cumbres borrascosas, de Emily Brontë. Pero en la pintura, salvo en algunos ejemplos holandeses, no es usual. (Simón Villamizar) (Translation)
The Dutch writer Mensje van Keulen talks about her passion for Emily Brontë in NOS; The Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Boston Globe review  The Fame Lunches by Daphne Merkin; Reading 2011 (and Beyond) posts about Wuthering Heights.

Om Illustrated Brontës

A couple of new child adaptations of Brontë novels for the Indian markets:

Om Illustrated Classics: Wuthering Heights
By Emily Brontë)
Publisher : Om Kidz
EAN : 9789383202959
Binding : Hardback
Published Date : July 2014

Popular classics like Jane Eyre, The Jungle Book, Wuthering Heights, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and The Invisible Man have captured the imagination of readers across generations from all over the world. However, the language and the complex plots of the original stories can confuse any child; hence, the classics have been abridged, adapted and illustrated in a way that children understand and enjoy them. These classics instill a love of reading in them.
The Om Illustrated Classics are ideal for the young readers to start their personal libraries..

•  The adapted edition of  well-known classics written in simple language make them accessible to young readers
•  The detailed illustrations on almost every alternate page add to the reading experience of the reader
•  Author’s biography, character sketches and questions at the end of each classic help make the reading experience more informative

Om Illustrated Classics: Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
Publisher : Om Kidz
EAN : 9789383202836
Binding : Hardback
Published Date : July 2014