Saturday, May 28, 2016

Postcards and Beach Reads

On Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 11:52 am by M. in , , , , ,    No comments
The Telegraph & Argus talks about a new curious exhibition taking place in Saltaire:
Postcards designed by people of all ages will make up a unique exhibition at this weekend’s Saltaire Arts Trail.
Two students from the centre of excellence for business at Shipley College, Fahema Ali and Sabrina Hussain, are leading a project to support the trail by encouraging people to create their own mini masterpieces.
They will eventually be put on sale for a good cause.
The students are working with Saltaire Inspired, the group behind the bank holiday arts event, to manage the postcard exhibition being held at Saltaire United Reform Church from today until Monday.
The theme for this year’s trail is ‘be part of the art’, and this exhibition aims to encourage people of all ages to design a 6” x 4” postcard on any theme and gives everyone the chance to be creative.
Postcards that have already been submitted include tributes to the Brontë sisters and depictions of Saltaire. (Chris Young)
A local campaign with Brontë echoes in Keighley News:
A campaign is gathering momentum to save from demolition the oldest part of Keighley College’s former North Street building.
As previously reported by the Keighley News, local historian Jan Perkins has gathered more than 50 supporters and is planning meetings to combat Bradford Council’s demolition plans.
To support the campaign, David Kirkley, her colleague on Keighley Heritage Group, has written about a renowned building originally on part of the college site – Keighley Mechanics Institute – which was destroyed by fire in 1962.
He writes:
There had been a Mechanics Institute in Keighley for many years, being founded by four local worthies: John Farish, John Haigh, John Bradley and William Dixon, who set about forming “A society for mutual instruction and establishing a library for the same”.
Meetings were held in various places, including the Free Grammar School in Cooke Lane, but then in 1835 it was decided to erect the first institute building in North Street – one of the first to be built in the north of England.
Many events were held at the new building, including a lecture by the Rev Patrick Brontë. His daughters were said to have used the ever-expanding library on many occasions. (David Knights)
NDTV Food has a Brontë reference in an article about world women's health day.
A Victorian woman was supposed to be fair with a tiny waist, educated only to add to her merits and not to become equal with a man. So, she learnt a bit of French, music, art and was refused to pen down her deep thoughts. Most of this would aptly explain why some of the most celebrated women novelists wrote under a pseudonym including the Brontë sisters and Louisa May Alcott.  (Sparshita Saxena)
The Stage traces the story of Bristol's Old Vic and lists its top five productions, including Jane Eyre:
This ingenious re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë’s gothic romance, by Bristol’s rapidly rising star director Sally Cookson, opened in two parts, but the following year was pared down to one for the company’s first co-production with the National Theatre. Played as a constantly moving diorama on a multi-level scaffolding set, with the cast at times standing in for the scenery, Cookson’s view of Jane as a model for early feminism became the Bristol Old Vic’s first cinema live presentation. It was screened in 914 cinemas worldwide, and in February of this year played at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. (Jeremy Brien)
The Wichita Eagle has suggestions for a rainy day:
Read. You hear a lot about “beach reads” this time of year, but a gloomy day can be even more perfect for bibliophiles. Grab a recent best-seller or a classic – perhaps something set in the Yorkshire moors, like Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.” Then curl up on the couch and read for hours. (Mike Hutmacher)
The Guardian reviews Philip Norman's biography of Paul McCartney:
[The author] has a tendency to write about music in a register rather redolent of the op-ed pages of the Daily Mail. The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” is definitely not “a shrieking parody of the national anthem”, any more than Kate Bush’s “unearthly wail”, “Wuthering Heights”, ever made Yoko Ono’s ear-shredding shrieks “seem positively normal”. (John Harris)
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) is travelling around in Yorkshire following in the footsteps of literary detectives like Elly Griffiths, Sharon J Bolton or  Peter Robinson:
Hathersage är en litterär ort, eftersom Charlotte Brontë var på besök 1845 hos en kompis. Miljön använde hon till ”Jane Eyre”, och baserade mr Rochesters Thornfield Hall på huset North Lees Hall.
Det måste vi ju se, särskilt som Charlotte Brontë skulle ha fyllt 200 år bara en vecka innan vår ankomst. Då var North Lees Hall öppet för besökare en helg, till och med.
Nu är ju ”Jane Eyre” inte alls en deckare, men i Jasper Ffordes första metalitterära och väldigt roliga science fictiondeckare finns den med. Den heter på svenska ”Var är Jane Eyre?”, och det undrar vi också. Maken till hus att gömma sig!
Ingen har hört talas om det heller, och det finns inga litterära skyltar över huvud taget. Vi tar ut kursen via gps, vi åker kors och tvärs och upp och ned och på varenda väg vi hittar. Vi försöker uppifrån åsarna och nedifrån byn, och utsikten är så vacker att man nästan trillar omkull. Men var är Jane Eyre? Inte här, i alla fall. (Read more) (Lotta Olsson) (Translation)
Taraf (Turkey) interviews the singer and songwriter Şirin Soysal:
Edebiyat dünyasına biraz geç girdim sayılır. Küçükken abim Gence çok okurdu, yemek esnasında dahi okurdu, bu beni soğutmuştu kitaplardan. Sonra ortaokulda bir öğretmenim bana Charlotte Brontë’nin “Jane Eyre”ini hediye etti. O romandır benim edebiyata girişim, klasiklerle olan ilişkim. Hâlâ klasikleri okurum, çağımızın yazarlarına tercih ederim. (Translation)
CinemaItaliano (Italy) reviews the film Marguerite e Julien by Valérie Donzelli:
È la cornice che quasi addolcisce il dramma di questo amore contrastato perché sbagliato, diverso dai capricci politici di Montecchi e Capuleti, o dalla voglia di affermazione di Heathcliff e Catherine. Qui è tradita la legge dell’uomo…che pure è nato libero di amare ed essere amato. (Chiara De Berardino) (Translation)

The Daily News lists Jane Steele in a selection of recent mystery novels. The novel is also mentioned in a summer reading list in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the same newspaper we read this funny comment by Carole E. Barrowman:
Like many teachers, I spend my summer catching up on reading in my field (do we need another book on the Brontës?), spending more time with my family (your birthday was when?) and writing (who moved my favorite wineglass?). 
Mortgage Solutions quotes Jane Eyre in an article about directly authorised brokers. De Standaard (Belgium) recommends Jane Eyre 2011 (NPO 2 at 22.35h).
12:28 am by M. in , , ,    No comments
Several Brontë alerts for today, May 28:

At the Bradford Literature Festival, a whole weekend full of Brontë events:
Christa Ackroyd
Rough Introduction to The Brontës
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 10:00 am - 10:30 am
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Juliet Barker
Fact or Fiction? Mrs Gaskell and Her Life of Charlotte Brontë
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Dinah Birch, Rebecca Fraser, Donna Lee, Jodie Matthews
Jane Eyre – A Feminist Manifesto
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Judith Adams, Mick Jackson, Ayisha Malik, Helen Meller
The Brontës – Inspired By
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Ann Dinsdale, Nick Holland, Yvette Huddleston
In Search of Anne Brontë
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Minae Mizumura, Juliet Winters Carpenter, Judith Adams
A True Novel: Wuthering Heights Reimagined
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Christa Ackroyd

Patrick Brontë – Educator: The Man Behind the Girls
Heart iconAdd to wishlist
Saturday, 28th May 2016 | 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
The Midland Hotel - French Ballroom

Christa Ackroyd
Brontë Heritage Tour
Sunday, 29th May 2016 | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
National Media Museum
More information in The Telegraph & Argus.

In Oakwell Hall, an exhibition opens today:
Inspiring the Brontës 

Saturday 28 May to Sunday 25 September
An exhibition of work by members of the Dewsbury Photographic Group that showcases the buildings and landscapes that inspired and feature in the classic works of the Brontë sisters, as well as their legacy in our built environment today.
And in Wycoller Hall:
Saturday May 18, 11.00AM
Follow in Jane Eyre’s footsteps 

From the Atom panoptican sculpture to Wycoller Hall, Charlotte Brontë’s inspiration for Ferndean Manor. Circular 4 – 5 mile walk led by Norman Mitchell with fascinating Brontë history. Wear good walking shoes or boots & waterproof clothing & bring a drink. Refreshments available in the Wycoller Tea Rooms.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Wall Street Journal interviews Tracy Chevalier about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other Brontë-related things.
Wildfell Hall” was a scandalous bestseller. Why isn’t it as well-known today as “Wuthering Heights” or “Jane Eyre”? It is a great novel in many ways – especially in bringing to light the social issue of wife abuse and the place of women in society – but it is also flawed. The outer frame (Gilbert’s narration) isn’t a patch on Helen’s diary section, which is a magnificent portrait of a marriage gone sour. “Jane Eyre” is more solidly put together – though it has its oddities too (madwoman in attic, Rochester dressing up as gypsy, the whole St John Rivers section). [...]
We never meet the friend to whom half the book is written: Gilbert’s brother-in-law, Jack Halford. Did this disappoint you? I forgot about Jack Halford after a while. His name got mentioned rather like a pesky fly buzzing around, but it didn’t bother me much. I do think that an editor today would have said to Anne Brontë, “Look, drop the framing device, you don’t need it.” Back then there was little real editing. Charlotte Brontë turned in “Jane Eyre” and it was published something like six weeks later. That rarely happens now.
In “Wildfell Hall,” servants play a crucial role, even though some aren’t named. Our heroine, in extremis, seems to depend on her servant, Rachel, more than family or friends. Are such close ties at odds with the Brontë sisters’ experience?  No, it chimes well with how the Brontës were with their servants, especially Martha and Tabitha, who both served them for many years and became almost family members. It’s not a big house, and the sisters all helped with housework when they were home, so their lives would have been entwined with the servants’. [...]
Thank you so much for selecting this fascinating book. Although she tells a very different story, I wondered if Ms. Brontë’s writing reminds you of either of her sisters’? I thought there might be certain resemblances to “Wuthering Heights” in the layered way the story is told, for example, and in the portrayal of nature. I definitely noticed the layered structure of “Wildfell Hall” being similar to the complicated layering of “Wuthering Heights.” And yes, nature – though Anne’s is less obviously moors-based. “Wildfell Hall” is apparently set close to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, but it didn’t feel like that to me. [...]
Were you involved in celebrations marking this year’s bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë? This past year I have been a creative partner with the Brontë Parsonage to celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s bicentennial. Having spent a lot of time there with Brontë aficionados, I’ve discovered that people tend to divide into Team Charlotte and Team Emily – both in terms of loving “Jane Eyre” or “Wuthering Heights,” and also in temperament. (Charlotte = serious; Emily = wild and difficult). But there has also emerged the Third Way: Team Anne. Anne = the Quiet One Who Surprises Everyone. Which is you? [...]
Before heading off to cook dinner – ratatouille – Ms. Chevalier bid farewell to the Book Club: Thanks everyone for taking a leap of faith and reading “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Anne Brontë’s bicentennial will be in 2020, and you can be smug in knowing that you know who she is! (Brenda Cronin)
Bookishemma reviews the book.

Jane Eyre 2011 is recommended by The Wall Street Journal too.
‘Jane Eyre’ (2011)
Michael Fassbender is Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s transfixing version of the Charlotte Brontë romance. I recommended this film as recently as last October, but I’m doing so again because Jane is played to luminous perfection by Mia Wasikowska, who stars in another film opening this week, “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Mr. Fassbender’s lord of the cursed manor is a pulsar pumping out pain that’s relieved, at least occasionally, by an openness to Jane’s beauty. (Joe Morgenstern)
And one more article from The Wall Street Journal today. Writer Yaa Gyasi and her early first reads:
She was a precocious reader, devouring Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë and racing through the young-adult medical dramas of Lurlene McDaniel. (Jennifer Maloney)
A member of The New York Times' staff  is planning on reading a couple of Brontë novels this summer.
Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. There’s a blurry place in my memory where books I was never assigned overlap with books I was assigned but neglected to read. I’m already 200 pages in, so this is a seasonal aspiration very likely to be fulfilled. I might follow it up with Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.” Opinions seem to vary, and in interesting ways, about which book is superior. I’d like to join the jury. (John Williams)
Hopefully, the Wuthering Heights edition he picks up won't be the infamous one 'inspired' by Twilight, which by the way has made it onto Bustle's top '16 Most Misleading Book Covers Of All Time'.
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Occasionally, you can tell what the publishers are trying to communicate, even with a bad book cover. In this case, the message is "I am a Twilight book." Which would be a fine message for a Twilight book, but it just doesn't quite work for Wuthering Heights. And yes, the cover does advertise itself as "Bella & Edward's Favourite Book." Just in case the color scheme didn't clue you in to their marketing strategy. (Charlotte Ahlin)
The Irish Times warns readers of the perils of dating their 'favourite novel’s romantic hero'.
From Pride and Prejudice to Wuthering Heights, the love matches of our favourite characters can help ease some of the anguish our real-life lovers can cause.
But are we really better off jumping into Jane Eyre and snogging the face of Mr Rochester? If you’re seriously thinking of running off into the sunset with a literary love god, there are a few things you really need to know.
You’re probably going to fall ill and/or die
Poor Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights didn’t even get to snog Heathcliff before she turned up toes. All she had to do was be the focus of Heathcliff’s unrequited love – well, kind of, she did love him back in a way – and she was soon heading feet-first into the local chapel sporting a fetching wooden ballgown. His actual wife Isabella didn’t fare much better either, did she? No sooner had she eloped with our favourite violent psychopath than she was back at the Heights getting assaulted left, right and centre, before finally making her escape. Sure, she manages to live somewhere near London and outwit death for another 12 years or so, but you can’t argue with a plot device – before long she’s croaked and her pride and joy is wrenched from her rapidly cooling bosom to live with his bastard of a father. [...]
He’s likely to have a dark past
Ooh, Mr Rochester, eh? Passionate, brooding, mysterious. Hmmm, you know why he’s acting all evasive? Yeah, it might be something to do with that new loft conversion he’s had done – and you won’t believe what he’s got up there. By the time you get your hands on any leading man, he’s usually lived some sordid life that he’s desperate to escape from, right into your hands. Great, except who wants to start a relationship with someone who needs fixing? You’ll spend half of your relationship helping him confront his demons and the other pretending it’s totally fine that he’s ruined your honour. Jane Eyre should’ve been getting straight on to that local cab firm the minute she found out it wasn’t just old clothes and Christmas decorations he had shoved up in that attic. (The Guyliner)
Express jokes about the drop in the usage of the diaeresis in names such as Zoë and Chloë.
Lady Naïveté Diphthong, head of the Brontë School of Advanced Punctuation at Dunwutherin-on-the-Moors, told us that they had only last week had an application addressed to “the Bronte School” from a “young lady who called herself Zoe.” “We rejected it at once,” she said, “but poor Charlotte, Emily and Anne must be turning in their mausoleä.”
Finally, an interesting reply on the Brontë Society's Facebook page to an inquiry on whether the gate said to have connected the Parsonage front garden and the churchyard really existed:
... the Parsonage's curator Ann Dinsdale tells us that in the Brontës’ time the side gate was further south than it is today and led directly to the backyard, meaning that visitors would walk along the side of the house (where the Wade extension now stands) to get to the front door. There is disagreement about the so-called ‘gate of the dead’ at the bottom of the garden. It’s been suggested that the Brontë coffins were carried through this gate on the way to be buried, but some biographers, including Juliet Barker, dispute this. The gate doesn’t appear in the 1853 Board of Health plan for Haworth, but it is referred to in at least one obituary for Patrick Brontë.
The Lionheart Reads reviews Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye;  Cult Movie Reviews posts about I Walked with a Zombie 1943.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
Today, May 27, at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Parsonage Unwrapped: Playing House Detectives!
A new series of evening events
May 27th, 2016

Join a member of our collections team and discover a different side to the Parsonage! This guided tour will help you uncover the clues hidden in the historic parts of the house and reveal what it would have been like in the Brontës' time. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016 7:44 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent has visited Haworth and the Brontë Parsonage Museum and he writes about it.
I am in Haworth, about 30 kilometres west of Leeds. Ahead of me a cobbled street climbs past a windswept old village, beyond a stone pub that serves beef nihari, and an apothecary that sells soy candles. Atop the hill, the tower of St Michael and All Angels rises from the church where Patrick Brontë, father of three beloved authors, was reverend for 41 years. [...]
It was death, in a sense, that made the Brontë sisters. Their mother Maria died of ovarian cancer less than two years after Anne was born. Their two oldest siblings then fatally contracted typhoid and tuberculosis at school. Desperate not to see his brood dwindle further, Patrick began to teach Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell at home. It was in the front study with the dark fireplace and the upright piano that the sisters dreamt up the stories that would one day bleed into their novels. In daytime rambles on the sloping moors, formed the worlds of their books: the spindly tussock, the forbidding bogs, the wind howling through thorns.
Upstairs there are more intimate glimpses into the Brontës' lives. On one side of what was Charlotte's room are the cloth boots she wore as a baby. On the other, the veil she wore at her wedding, less than a year before her death. There are letters written in stylish hands to friends, and that kept their quills in working order.
Towards the back of the museum a display explains the Brontë's influence on literature, and outside on the parking lot, there are even modern-day Brontë villains in operation. Wardens from a private company gleefully clamp cars and issue fines to any visitors even 30 seconds over their allowance, like modern-day Josephs from Wuthering Heights, clutching parking codes like King James Bibles.
It was cloudy when I arrived at Haworth but, while I was in the parsonage, the wind had whipped up around the hills. That icy rain that lovesick 18th century characters loved to take long, sobbing walks in, was coming down on the moors. I thought about taking a stroll in the damp countryside myself, just to get the full Bronte experience. But as I was unlikely to be rescued by a handsome, moneyed gentleman, then nursed slowly to health at his mansion while he wormed his way into my tender heart, I just walked down the hill and took the bus back to Keighley, then the train back to Leeds. (Andrew Fidel Fernando)
Townsville Bulletin (Australia) interviews the actor who plays Heathcliff in Shake & Stir Theatre's production of Wuthering Heights.
Wuthering Heights is a story that's been told many times especilly on screen. Why did you decide to bring it to the stage?
It has been done a lot in film but on stage it hasn’t been done a great deal. I guess that has a lot to do with its theatrical challenges, which shake & stir theatre company never shies away from. The company is renowned for bringing classics to the stage. It’s the same company that’s brought George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the stage and reinvigorated those amazing fictitious stories to a new theatrical audience. So I guess Wuthering Heights was in that canon of classics that the company was just dying to produce on stage.
What was it about the story that appealed to you?
A few things. Those really juicy themes that we all deal with at various stages in our lives: love, hate, revenge, and that burning uncontrollable desire to get what you want at all costs. It’s the stuff that Shakespeare’s made of, and it’s the stuff the Emily Brontë’s written so eloquently and so disturbingly. We relished the opportunity to bring those words alive on stage. Also the climate in which the whole story takes place within the moors and the tumultuous weather and unrelenting wetness and dampness – that was also a theatrical challenge that we were really excited by. I can say that thanks to our brilliant director and our beautiful design team, they’ve managed to really capture that essence of the book as well and brought that to the stage. (Read more)
Fraser Coast Online recommends the production too.

Los Angeles Times' Jacket Copy features 'one of Kickstarter's most successful books', Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
The concept behind "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" is a relatively simple one — the book will contain 100 stories about real women, written in fairy-tale style, with illustrated portraits of each. Subjects include Queen Elizabeth I, Serena Williams, Frida Kahlo, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. (Michael Schaub)
Blog Critics has some advice of writing a debut novel.
I needed to make some decisions and answer some basic questions: Will the novel to be a supernatural story? Is it a romance, with this meeting setting up a Charlotte Brontë-esque scenario a la Jane Eyre? Or will the plot unfold something darker? The elevator pitch needs to tell potential readers (and agents and editors) what’s happening between these two characters. (Barbara Barnett)
Curbed discusses the suburbs and why 'midcentury Americans believed they were making them sick'.
The health problems of the suburban man, according to these books, are caused by his incessant motion across the landscape. He is always in a hurry, commuting to the city and back every day, going on business trips. Women’s disturbances have the opposite etiology: They are the result of spatial confinement. Because suburban women spent so much more time at home and in the neighborhood, writers of the era tied women’s problems more closely to their environment, especially the house. This was nothing new: the archetype of the trapped woman goes back from Charlotte Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Charlotte Brontë’s madwoman in the attic to Danaë in Greek myth. But for the woman stuck in the new suburbia, the monotony of her surroundings—with only new gadgets for diversion—was thought to deepen her despair. (Amanda Kolson Hurley)
Listverse shares '10 Fascinating Facts About Gypsies'.
We encounter many of these stereotypical suppositions of Romani magic in our daily lives. Literature is rife with references to the Romani and their magical arts. For example, in Jane Eyre, the Romani visit Thornfield as fortune-tellers. (Angela Hamm)
Not really, though.

Tampa Bay Times has some recommendations for those missing Downton Abbey.
Jane Eyre
Plain Jane Eyre was falling in love with her employer Mr. Rochester long before Tom Branson was falling for Lady Sybil. You've seen one Jane Eyre you've seen them all, right? Wrong. But I probably have seen them all or close to it, including a 1983 version with Timothy Dalton (♥) and the weird 2011 version starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender (double ♥, except in this) and Judi Dench. The 2006 miniseries is one I'll watch over and over, starring Ruth Wilson (The Affair) as Jane. Netflix has the 2011 movie and the 1996 miniseries; Amazon Prime has the 1970 TV movie with George Scott and Susannah York. Find all the rest at the library. (Caitlin E. O'Conner)
For the Love of Words reviews the Texts from Jane Eyre audiobook by Mallory Ortberg.  Serendipia (in Spanish) posts about Jane Eyre. La Huella de los Libros (in Spanish) reviews Herbarium. Las flores de Gideon by Anna Casanovas.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments

An alert for today, May 26, in the Charleston Festival:
Jane Austen v Charlotte Brontë
Claire Harman and John Mullan with Virginia Nicholson
May 26 2016

In the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë and 200 years since the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma, her most revolutionary novel, the debate still rages as to who is the most illustrious representative of English literature.  Austen advocates claim that no one matches her sensitive ear for hypocrisy and irony.  Brontë champions assert that her imaginative passion reigns supreme. Who better to try to resolve the contest than Claire Harman, current biographer of Charlotte Brontë and John Mullan, Professor of English Literature and author of What Matters in Jane Austen? The audience will have the final say. Moderator Virginia Nicholson, social historian, is entirely impartial.
Supported by Lancing College

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 11:17 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
Financial Times reviews Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre and gives the production 4 out of 5 stars.
Cathy Marston’s streamlined narrative, which premiered in Doncaster last week, places the emphasis squarely on Jane’s transformation from downtrodden orphan (Antoinette Brooks-Daw) to independent woman (the excellent Dreda Blow).
The commissioned score by Philip Feeney is an inspired blend of original writing and Mendelssohn (Felix and Fanny) played with relish by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Patrick Kinmonth’s spare, monochrome designs — a patchwork of wintry fields, a rough sketch of cornices and fireplaces — conjure the book’s brooding atmosphere without breaking the bank. [...]
Duets dominate but Marston is careful to vary their tone and tempi. Rochester, vividly danced by the darkly handsome Javier Torres, is all things to all women. His pas de deux with Blanche Ingram (Abigail Prudames) reduces him to a conventional porteur, while his tussles with the wife in the attic (a wildcat Victoria Sibson) are a lusty danse apache . The exchanges with Jane herself build from wary handshakes to the loved-up lifts of the proposal scene. In the ballet’s final moments the lovers’ roles are reversed, the blinded hero tripping and falling into his wife’s cradling arms. (Louise Levene)
Broadway World recommends the production and shows several pictures.

Popcorn TV (Italy) recommends Jane Eyre 2011 as one of the 5 must-watch films featuring Mia Wasikowska.
Anno 2011: la bella Mia è Jane, nel film “Jane Eyre” di Cary Fukunaga. Adattamento cinematografico dell’omonimo romanzo di Charlotte Brontë (1847), Jane è un’eroina silenziosa dal travagliato e triste passato, che si innamora del padrone della tenuta presso la quale lavora come istitutrice. Perfettamente all’altezza del suo ruolo, Mia sa trasportarci all’interno di una storia d’amore complicata e necessaria, capace di regalarci emozioni autentiche. E adesso, arrivati alla conclusione di questo breve viaggio, non ci resta che aspettare il suo prossimo film. (Translation)
Gazette & Herald looks into the rise in Chinese visitors to stately homes 8andeven some weddings). Here's one of the possible reasons:
 Today, many Chinese people learn English. And classic English literature - the work of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, for example - remains hugely popular in China.
From that, Chinese people have developed an idealised image of the typical English lady and gentleman, Dr Chen says. They represent an ideal of manners, courteousness and elegance that Chinese people often look up to. So much so that in Chinese there is a term, "Yinguo fanr", which means something like 'English style'. (Stephen Lewis)
The Telegraph and Argus features Megan Parkinson, who plays Martha Brown  in To Walk Invisible,
A woman who worked for a Haworth-based company and is now part of a major new BBC production about the Brontës dropped in to visit former colleagues.
Megan Parkinson, who is playing the part of Martha Brown in the BBC production To Walk Invisible, visited Airedale Springs.
To Walk Invisible, written and directed by Sally Wainwright, is a drama about the Brontë family and is being filmed in Haworth over the next few weeks, including on Penistone Hill and in Main Street.
Megan, 19, a former South Craven School pupil, is originally from Silsden and worked for Airedale Springs in 2014 to 2015 before moving to London last year.
Megan [...] said: “Now living in London I don’t get home as much as I would like, but to see old friends before filming starts in Haworth was an opportunity I could not miss." (Miran Rahman)
On his Facebook page, photographer Mark Davis shows pictures of today's Haworth as it gets ready to travel back in time in the next few days when filming will be taking place. Haworth Village also shared a few pictures connected to the shooting of To Walk Invisible on Facebook.

Actualitté (France) reports that La Bibliothèque des voix is now available in streaming. There's an excerpt of Jane Eyre read by Fanny Ardant.

ABC's The Book Club (Australia) has reviewed Wuthering Heights in the programme. Check the video here (with the presence of Jeannette Winterson).

Patheos's Sic et Non writes about Jane Eyre. Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) is rereading Villette. The Brontë Parsonage welcomed actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West yesterday. Potterwars shows how Bella from Twilight discusses Wuthering Heights. Linnet Moss continues with the Jane Eyre series of posts: Jane's Disappointment.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
The Rachel Joyce BBC Jane Eyre adaptation is now available as an audiobook:
Jane Eyre: A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatization 
Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
by Rachel Joyce (Author), Charlotte Bronte (Author)
Publisher: BBC Physical Audio  (5 May 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1785292934

Amanda Hale and Tom Burke star in a brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Charlotte Brontë's most beloved novel, adapted by Rachel Joyce.
Orphan Jane learns at an early age that self-control is the surest means of retaining self-respect in adversity. It is a lesson that serves her well in the years ahead as she endures the misery of life with her cruel, uncaring aunt, followed by the harsh regime at Lowood Institution, a charity school for poor children.
After taking the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, she meets the master of the house, the brooding, enigmatic Edward Rochester, and finds herself falling in love with him. It seems as if happiness may finally be within her grasp – but a series of strange events leads her to believe that Rochester is concealing a dark secret. When the truth is revealed, the heartbroken Jane will need all her inner strength and resilience to face up to it...
Dramatised for radio by bestselling novelist Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry), this iconic love story stars Amanda Hale as Jane and Tom Burke as Rochester. Suffused with romance, passion, mystery and danger, it is a spellbinding tale that is as real and relevant today as when it was first published in 1847.

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins approx.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Times gives 4 out of 5 stars to Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre describing it as 'beautifully crafted and moving'. And The Star is enthusiastic about the production too:
Picture: Emma Kauldhar
Northern Ballet, Europe's best dance company of 2014 and renowned for their special artistic magic, have done it again. In a sell-out world premiere, the audience were treated to 90 minutes of entrancing dance, 90 minutes of compelling drama and, into the bargain, 90 minutes of exciting music. A great present for Charlotte Brontë's 200th birthday!
The characters spring convincingly to life on stage, thanks to expressive acting and dance skills and a superbly integrated score, which all combine to sweep the flow of narrative along with unflagging momentum.
Lighting and set, all moody, broody browns and gritty greys, evoke a lonely vastness of moorland, while backdrops in the same subdued hues, are repositioned to represent dark interiors with the addition of just the odd chair.
Costumes echo the mood with greys, browns and blacks, lifted to brightness by little Adele's rose pink dress and the fiery red of mad Bertha's. Flames and white mists just wait their chance, of course, to fill the stage.
The young orphaned Jane is danced sensitively by Antoinette Brooks-Daw. Badly treated by her cold-hearted aunt, she's packed off to the cruel, dark confines of Lowood, where Cathy Marston's synchronised, regimented choreography of school life (with echoes of 1984?) contrast with the tender dance of Jane and the dying Helen Burns.
As the older Jane, Dreda Blow has a lot more dancing to do, much of it with Javier Torres as a mighty fine, brooding, world-weary Rochester. They dance their various pas de deux beautifully together. As their romantic reluctance eventually changes from choreographed conflict, struggle and torment and blossoms into tender love, their expressive interaction is thoroughly absorbing and engaging.
A little light-footed humour is injected into the intense, dark narrative by the accomplished Pippa Moore as a scuttling, slightly comic Mrs Fairfax, while lively childhood exuberance comes from Rachael Gillespie as playful Adele. (Julia Armstrong) (Read more)
Bustle has selected '12 Book Characters We Love to Hate' such as
9. Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights
Yeah, both of them. Their romance is passionate, sure, but they're really terrible people. They "love" each other, but instead of being kind and affectionate towards each other they're actively mean and try to ruin each other's lives? What? You've got to hate them, but you've also got to admit that you're completely swept up in their intense, hateful romance. (Charlotte Ahlin)
Bustle also includes a couple of Brontë-related modern retellings on their top 13:
7. Catherine by April Lindner, a retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Catherine is the daughter of a club owner, and Hence is a passionate musician. Chelsea is a girl trying to find out why her mother disappeared years ago. Their stories are entwined in this modern-day mystery based on Wuthering Heights.
8. The Flight Of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey, a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
If you like modern adaptations of classics, but you're still hoping for a bit of a time period setting, this is the perfect retelling for you. Set in the 1950s and 1960s in Iceland and Scotland, The Flight of Gemma Hardy follows protagonist Gemma as she becomes an au pair on Orkney Islands and becomes fascinated with the mysterious Mr. Sinclair. (Julia Seales)
MIT News finds a Brontëite in biology researcher Maiko Kitaoka:
Kitaoka is also a keen reader — lately, she’s found that her 15-minute walks to the lab are a great time to turn a few pages. She loves classics such as “Pride and Prejudice,” “Jane Eyre,” and the Sherlock Holmes novels: “They tell a story, but they also tell you something about human nature, and how people perceive things, or why things happen,” she says. (Jessica Fujimori)
Eric Ruijssenaars has found that Villette has been translated into 27 languages and comments on some of them on the Brussels Brontë BlogGlosswatch posts about rereading Wide Sargasso Sea. La mano que escribe con pluma (in Spanish) talks about the recent conference in Madrid by Rodrigo Fresán about Wuthering Heights.

On the To Walk Invisible front today: a few pictures on the Haworth Village Facebook page: the Black Bull getting ready for filming, the information sheet provided by the BBC for the locals and the first day of filming at the set on the moors. Photographer Mark Davis shared pictures of the first day of filming on Facebook too.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A couple of alerts for today, May 24:

In New York:
A John Williams Celebration
New York Philarmonic
Conducted by David Newman

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NY
May 24, 7.30 PM

The programme includes: Selections from Jane Eyre (1970)
In Madrid, Spain:
Biblioteca Nacional de España
May 24, 7:00 pm
Ciclo Contar un Libro
Cumbres Borrascosas - Rodrigo Fresán

Una de las novelas más extrañas jamás escrita por una de las escritoras más extrañas jamás leída. Cumbres borrascosas, publicada en 1847 por Emily Brontë (1818-1848) con alias masculino (Ellis Bell), puede leerse como folletín gótico, como autobiografía encriptada, como encendida love story, como crónica de una venganza alucinada, como temprano manifiesto feminista, o como todas estas cosas (y muchas más) al mismo tiempo.
En su momento acusada de ser una aberración de la naturaleza o "un monstruo increíble", Cumbres borrascosas es hoy un indiscutible clásico de clásicos, mutante y atemporal, llevado varias veces al cine (una de ellas en 1958 por Luis Buñuel como Abismos de pasión y con telón de fondo mexicano), recompuesto por Kate Bush como atípico pop-hit en 1978, parodiado en un genial sketch de Monty Phyton (sic), virado a telenovelas tropicales, emitido como tv-film para adolescentes transcurriendo en un colegio secundario de luxe de Malibú, convertido en juego de rol y --por último pero no en último lugar-- profundamente admirado y envidiado por novelistas de todo el mundo, Rodrigo Fresán incluido.
More information on Iberarte.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Filming starts today at the Parsonage and surroundings built by the BBC for Sally Wainwright's To Walk Invisible. The more images we see of the work they're doing - and we can't seem to tire of seeing them - the more impressed we are with it. The Telegraph and Argus tells has the latest news about the production:
Attention to the tiniest detail of the Brontë family's famous Haworth home has amazed and delighted local experts helping with the BBC project which starts filming on location this week.
An exact copy of the Parsonage, where the literary sisters wrote their world-famous works, is now complete on nearby Penistone Hill.
The three-story timber and MDF building will provide a perfect 1840s backdrop for the BBC TV drama, To Walk Invisible, created by award-winning Yorkshire writer and playwright Sally Wainwright, said Rebecca Yorke, marketing officer of the Parsonage Museum.
"Everyone here has been absolutely staggered by the BBC's attention to detail," she said.
"We were invited to studios in Manchester where they are filming interior scenes and it really was quite unnerving for us to be in this amazing replica.
"It was just like our own building down to the very last thing - only more "lived-in" and a bit scruffy as it would have been at the time.
"Our Parsonage is much more how it was after Charlotte had enjoyed some success and spent some money on it.
"Production staff spent ages with us to produce an exact copy of the building, even measuring flagstones to get them just right and have copied all the gravestones which are in place with all the words carved into them.
"Examples of other attention to detail are that they have got the right pet dogs, Flossie, a spaniel cross and Keeper, a mastiff type.
"And they have also made copies of the dog's original named collars - which is an incredible approach."
Collection manager at the Parsonage Ann Dinsdale said she was particularly impressed by the quality of costumes.
"It's going to look absolutely stunning, the dresses and clothes have been copied perfectly.
"The BBC has done a huge amount of research, even to the extent of producing manuscripts, letters and the portable writing desks which the sisters used, full of things like pen nibs, ink wells and blotting paper.
"They have even copied poetry manuscripts and Emily's little notebooks written tiny script," she said.
Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council's new chairman, Councillor Angel Kershaw, said everyone was looking forward to seeing the finished drama.
"It's fascinating to see all the work and all looks very good and so authentic.
"The producer came to talk to the parish council and said he would be happy to have local people involved as extras during the filming.
"Another thing is that when they've finished filming they've also promised to leave the site exactly as it was."
Faith Penhale, executive producer for Lookout Point - which is making the drama with the BBC, said: "It is such a treat to be able to film our drama about the Brontë sisters in and around Yorkshire, where the Brontë sisters came from.
"Everyone has been so supportive and excited, which we all really appreciate." (Chris Tate)
The Haworth Village Facebook page has also added a few new pictures of the now-finished set, which is certainly looking stunning. And it looks as if it's a gorgeous day on the moors today too.

Matlock Mercury reviews the local production of Jane Eyre adapted to the stage by Rob Hall and played by the Hathersage Players.
In the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s death, the village players are honouring the writer whose work has attracted hundreds of tourists to the area.
An open-air production of Jane Eyre will be staged at North Lees Hall on July 2. Those lucky enough to have snapped up a ticket to the sell-out performance will be in for a treat. [...]
Louise Whiteley gives a beautifully judged performance in the title role. Her voice is gentle, her manner subservient, her expressions adding to the charm of her characterisation as she cajoles and teases Rochester, parrying his verbal blows like a champion fencer.
Rob Hall is the spark to her flame, depicting Rochester’s angry outbursts and brief moments of tenderness with consummate ease and engendering sympathy in his audience.
Little Madeleine Cooper is a scene-stealer as Rochester’s French love child Adele, Emily Upton shines in the role of housekeeper Mrs Fairfax and Jenny Armstrong gives a good characterisation as Rochester’s spoilt, jealous girlfriend Blanche Ingram.
Performed in the setting of a wood-panelled library, the technical aspect is as good as the performance with windows blowing open, manic screams ringing out, the sound of footsteps clattering up stone steps, crackling flames and swirling dry ice to symbolise smoke.
Gemma Laidler directs Jane Eyre, which has been adapted from the original by Rob Hall. (Gay Bolton)
Brighouse Echo features local author author Alan Titterington and his book St John In The Wilderness.
The eponymous St John Titterington was his great-great-grandfather, with whom Branwell Brontë, brother of the famous literary sisters, recorded a friendship in his Luddenden diaries.
As well as his sketch, which includes a self-portrait on the book’s cover, Branwell also painted oil portraits of John and his wife Mary whilst staying at their home at Higgin Chamber in Boulderclough, Sowerby, near Halifax.
In the book, Robert Titterington, a first cousin of Alan’s ancestor, was part of a notorious gang of highway robbers, of whom it was reported in the Halifax Guardian at the time: “...their outrages upon life and property were making the night hideous, where they were accustomed to perpetrate their deeds of wickedness.”
The book is a narrative of the friendship between the Titterington and Brontë families, relating John’s adventures and misdeeds from the year of 1848.
Beginning with the relocation of his family, from his mill operation in Halifax to the busy streets of York, John shares the details of the events that befell his family as well as the Brontë family. John suffers many life-changing events that challenge his success and survival.
Some good reviews of the Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre production:
Congratulations to Northern for bringing her back and extensively touring Jane Eyre too – it’s on their new mid-scale circuit (I saw it in the comfy 620 seat Cast in Doncaster), but this is a work that would be equally at home in the larger venues they cover. It’s actually the best new narrative work I’ve seen Northern Ballet do in many years. (...)
Satisfyingly sparse and clever. All up, the experience of the entire team shows, and whatever preconceptions you might have about seeing Northern Ballet, put them to one side and see Jane Eyre. Damn fine dancers in a damn fine piece. (Bruce Marriott on DanceTabs
As ever, expressive acting and dance skills, plus a superbly integrated score combine to sweep the powerful narrative along with unflagging flow and momentum as the characters spring convincingly to life on stage. Alastair West’s lighting and Patrick Kinmonth’s set, all moody, broody browns and gritty greys, evoke a lonely vastness of moorland, while moveable segments in the same subdued hues, are strategically repositioned to represent dark interiors with the addition of just the odd chair. Costumes echo the drama’s mood with greys, browns and blacks, lifted to brightness most notably by little Adele’s rose pink dress and the fiery red of mad Bertha’s. (...)
Impact, innovation, excellence. For any fan of the Jane Eyre story, this is a piece of exhilarating theatre, not to be missed. (Eileen Caiger-Gray in Mature Times)
More on theatre as The Stage mentions Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts' recent take on Polly Teale's Jane Eyre as a good example of music-acting combo.
So how do you integrate actor-musicianship into the rest of the training in an institution and, at the same time, keep it separate from musical theatre training – isn’t it the same thing? Enter Mountview, whose graduate production of Polly Teale’s admirable adaptation of Jane Eyre I saw at Jacksons Lane theatre in London earlier this month.
It was directed by Sally Ann Gritton, who is Mountview’s head of undergraduate performance – a telling title. She used to be rather clumsily dubbed ‘head of acting and undergraduate musical theatre’. I detect a shift towards a more integrated approach, which this show certainly bore out. It brought together third-year musical theatre students and actor-musos to create an impressive ensemble of 16. The result was imaginative and the standard high.
One of the things that struck me most is that this wasn’t actually a musical. It was a play to which Ben Goddard’s original ‘incidental’ music added layers of atmosphere. The whole ensemble sang and versatile instrumentalists were continuously on stage providing music to support the action and moving in and out of the minor roles.
Thus (at the performance I saw – some of the roles were rotated) Penny Dyer gave a fine performance as the ebullient French orphan Adele as well as playing the bassoon (such an evocative sound) when her character was out of the action. Elizabeth Rowe played piano when she wasn’t strutting around the stage as the appalling Blanche Ingram.
The role of Jane – clear overlap here – rotated between Tayla Buck, who is an actor-muso, and Rebecca Stanier, who has followed the musical theatre course. A show full of permeable membranes then, showcasing two courses that are developing multi-skilled and versatile performers who work well together. I think some other colleges could learn from this example. (Susan Elkin)
Daily Bulldog jokes about classic authors adapting their works for children.
Other deceased authors, such as Emily Brontë have chosen to adapt their books for younger, more modern  audiences. Brontë's new Wuthering High, features a seemingly kindly but strict Headmaster, Mr. Earnshaw, who takes in a strange sullen Romanian exchange student Heathcliff. Heathcliff unexpectedly connects with the school's queen bee, Earnshaw's own daughter Catherine. He leaves the remote private school under a cloud but when Heatchcliff returns as the school's new Headmaster things really hit the fan. According to Brontë, "it's not plagiarism when you steal from yourself." (Kenny Brechner)
Which is almost as funny as this bit from The Guardian likening football manager José Mourinho to Heathcliff.
Mourinho has simpered and sweated and haggled for this opportunity. And now Heathcliff has finally got his hands on Wuthering Heights. It is unlikely to be dull. (Barney Ronay)
AnneBrontë.org has a post on animals in the novels on Anne and Emily Brontë. The Asian Review of Books posts about Patricia Park's Re Jane. Movie and Television Blog posts about the BBC documentary The Brontë Business (1977).
12:30 am by M. in , ,    1 comment

Charlotte Brontë's Secret Love
By Jolien Janzing
World Editions
October 2015
ISBN: 9789462380592
Translator(s): Paul Vincent

On June 6, 1913, Constantin Heger's son, Dr Paul Heger offered to the British Museum the letters that Charlotte Brontë had sent to his father in a, with hindsight, unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the rumours and speculations about their relationship that had been spreading among critics and biographers (with authors like Frederika MacDonald referring to her 'strong and enthusiastic attachment to her master in literature'(1)). Needless to say, the publication of the letters in The Times on July 29, had exactly the opposite effect, triggering different publications which tried to discover the true nature of the Heger-Brontë relationship(2).

Central as it is to the Brontë Brussels experience, the Brontë-Heger affair is not the only remarkable thing about the Brontës' days in Brussels. The Belgian capital marked a before and after in the way Charlotte Brontë focused her ambitions both personal and professional. The influence on Emily, though, is scarcely noticeable. Even her devoirs(3) doesn't show evident signs of evolution under M. Heger's guidance who, as many biographers relate, nevertheless was able to perceive her idiosyncratic genius.

In recent years several monographies about the Brussels days have appeared(4) but fiction has just explored Brussels in passing. Jude Morgan's The Taste of Sorrow or Syrie James's The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, for example, mention the well-known Heger-Brontë relation but not as a central element of Charlotte's inner bildungsroman. Therefore, when Jolien Janzing published for the first time De Meester in 2013 in Dutch, it was more or less a virgin territory. A few years later her novel has been translated into English, French, German... and its film rights have already been sold.

Jolien Janzing's Charlotte Brontë's Secret Love (the unimaginative English title of the much more adequate The Master) covers exclusively (except for a brief chapter in Haworth serving as transition between Charlotte's two trips to Brussels and an even briefer epilogue, after returning for good to Haworth) the Brussels days: beginning with the excitement of the journey to London, crossing the Channel and the coach trip through the Belgium countryside on their way to Brussels. It is in these descriptive and evocative passages that Jolien Janzing's prose (and the use of present tense in particular) excels. The reader cannot avoid feeling immersed in the atmosphere as minutely described by the omniscient narrator addressing the reader directly (in a very Charlotte Brontë-ish way).

We found much more appealing the description of Brussels (even the not-so-wealthy quarters) in general than the description of the Pensionat Heger itself. Here, the actual biographical events are inserted here and there. There are echoes of Villette (and The Professor) and several well-known comments particularly related to Emily Brontë (you know the I-wish-to-be-as-God-made-me or The Great Navigator description) but several other well-known documented facts and people are not used or not clearly developed. We wonder why the Wheelwrights are so scarcely used when it is obvious that the relationship between Charlotte and Laetitia Wheelwright was quite consistent (let's not forget that she was one of her last correspondents, writing to her even from literally her deathbed). Louise de Bassompierre's friendship with Emily gets the lesbian (just hinted, but obvious) treatment, which is a bit arbitrary in our opinion. 

Jolien Janzing doesn't line with the vast majority of the Brontë biographers or previous fiction (as mentioned above) in the description of the nature of the Heger-Brontë relationship. Usually it is depicted as more of a Charlotte infatuation with 'her master' that basically took place in her head. Many of the biographies suggest that Madame Heger (and probably even Monsieur) suspected it and tried to avoid any conflict. Janzing goes a bit further and delineates a Monsieur Heger who flirts with many of his pupils and with Charlotte in particular. Although it is not depicted as a fully sexual relation, it is somehow embarrassing to read the many written (and spoken) tokens of Heger's 'love' for Charlotte. We are no prudes here, but in a realistic context it is quite difficult to imagine the daughter of the reverend of Haworth masturbating thinking about Heger. 

There are other parallel elements that are not bad by themselves but are not really integrated in the novel and function a bit independently. We understand the description of the fifteen-year-old Arcadie Claret becoming King Leopold's new mistress as a (rather) obvious metaphor for the master-mistress (only) future for the Constantin-Charlotte relation. There are also here and there some social comments about the Flemish culture repression (which are more fruit of a personal agenda of the author that a necessity of the story) and even a totally implausible marriage proposal by a Flemish worker. 

The novel succeeds in evoking the Brussels period and it makes a plausible case (in most of the situations) describing Charlotte's psychological challenges at the Rue d'Isabelle. Particularly compelling is the description of the Catholic confession episode. It is such a powerful and unexpected burst of desperation that it is no coincidence that both Jolien Janzing here and Claire Harman in her recent biography open their books with this same incident. 

(1) "The Brontës at Brussels," in The Woman at Home (July 1894, Vol. II, No. 10) pp. 279-91, Even Clement Shorter in 1896 had come to the rescue and interview her Brussels student Laetitia Wheelright in order to clear her name (as quoted by Rebecca Fraser in Charlotte Brontë).
(2) Marion Spielman, The Inner History of the Brontë-Heger Letters, Chapman and Hall, London, 1919.
(3) Sue Lonoff (ed), The Belgian Essays: A Critical Edition, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn, 1996
(4) Eric Ruijsenaars, Charlotte Brontë's Promised Land: The Pennsionat Heger and Other Brontë Places in Brussels, Brontë Society, Haworth, 2000; Eric Ruijsenaars, The Pennsionat Revisited: More Light Shield on the Brussels of the Brontës, Dutch Archives, Leiden, 2003; Helen Mac Ewan, The Brontës in Brussels, Peter Owen Publishers, 2014.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aftenposten (Norway) has an article on Anne Brontë:
Kanskje var hun for ærlig for sitt eget beste
Hvorfor blir vi aldri ferdig med Brontë-søstrene? Det enkle svaret er vel at de står bak to av 1800-tallslitteraturens mest pasjonerte og høydramatiske kjærlighetsfortellinger, om Jane og Rochester, Catherine og Heathcliff (se sidesak).
Det litt mer kompliserte svaret handler om at romanene de skrev er formmessig avanserte og kan leses på en rekke ulike måter. Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights fra 1847 er visstnok det mest analyserte verket i engelsk litteraturforskning
Litteraturhistorien har ikke fart like pent med den yngste av de tre prestedøtrene fra Yorkshire, Anne – hun er blitt mer eller mindre avskrevet som den uten talent. Men er det bare mangel på begavelse som gjør at hun er glemt, eller er forklaringen mer sammensatt? (Translation) (Anne Merethe K. Prinos)
TheGay UK reviews Northern Ballet's new Jane Eyre production:
At times the choreography was beautifully done, leaning far more towards the contemporary rather than the traditional, with a lot of delicate lifts, floor work and precise movement, contrasting moments of tender intimacy with complex ensemble pieces. Both Dreda Blow and Javier Torres’ performances were more than noteworthy and displayed their professional competence; whilst overall, the supporting company’s movements were of their usual high quality. (...)
Overall, adapting Jaye (sic) Eyre is a huge task and one which is beautifully staged and performed, but the juxtaposition of the contemporary dance and the period setting, coupled with the rushed narrative amounts to a production which is enjoyable, but doesn’t quite come together to be more than the sum of its parts. (Paul Szabo
An auction in Bradford with Brontë echoes. In The Telegraph & Argus:
A leisure complex in Bradford city centre is up for auction with a £1 million price tag.
Glydegate Square in The Chester Street - which houses the Tequila nightclub and was formerly home to the Walkabout pub chain, was built in 2002.
Also included in the auction is Fountain House site, a grade II listed Victorian facade of the former Fountain Hall Quaker meeting house in Fountain Street in the city centre.
The lot also includes a gated 16-space car park, and is next to the site where Branwell Bronte, brother to Charlotte, Emily and Anne, took lodgings between 1838 and 1839, and earned a living as a portrait artist, before he took to drink and drugs. (Mark Stanford)
The Sunday Leader (Sri Lanka) has an article vindicating Wide Sargasso Sea:
One of my favourite books of all time, Wide Sargasso Sea, is a powerful novel by Jean Rhys’ published in 1966 as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jayne Eyre’(sic), published in 1847. Why write a prequel to such a classic book over 100 years later? Rhys noticed that the character of Bertha Mason (the infamous mad woman in the attic) had no voice, people spoke on her behalf. Rhys felt that Brontë’s treatment of the character of Bertha Mason was a little unfair. Bertha deserved to have her story told just as much as Jane did. (Read more) (Sadhana Senanayake)
The Stuff (New Zealand) reviews Caitlin Moran's Moranifesto:
The eldest of eight children, with an astonishingly impractical father whose health issues prevented him from working and a mother who kept everyone alive, Moran also drew inspiration from Miss Piggy, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and Judy Garland. Strong, awkward females who wanted more from life than anyone thought they should have – who had the gall to think they could be leading ladies too. (Eleanor Black)
Justin Chang in Los Angeles Times lists several of the films seen at the Cannes Film Festival. Including Park Chan Wook's The Handmaiden:
A sort of “Gaslight”-meets-“Jane Eyre” with a big ol' splash of “Diabolique,” “The Handmaiden” has predictably generated a lot of ink over its explicit lesbian love scenes — a touch that might well have been decried as exploitative (just as “Blue is the Warmest Color” came under attack here at Cannes three years ago), if not for the righteous narrative primacy that Park grants his leading ladies.
Still in Cannes. Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter) is not a fan of Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights 2011:
I liked Arnold's initial film work, up to a point, but her dreadfully misjudged Wuthering Heights and now this reveal the extreme limits of her talent.
The film is mentioned in a review of Sophie Barthes's Madame Bovary in El País (Spain):
Una cualidad que acaba emparentándola con otra adaptación de novela clásica adaptada recientemente con renovada fuerza por una mujer, las Cumbres borrascosas de Andrea Arnold, y que queda articulada como prolongación de la naturaleza interior del personaje ("yo solo quería emociones, no disciplina"): un junco salvaje en tiempos de ataduras sociales. (Javier Ocaña) (Translation)
And El Mundo (Spain) returns to Cannes comparing Wuthering Heights 2011 and Andrea Arnold's latest films American Honey:
En el centro, la historia de amor entre la protagonista interpretada por Sasha Lane y el personaje de Shia Labeouf trae a la memoria algunos de los instantes mejor definidos, arrebatados y profundamente libres de Cumbres borrascosas. (Luis Martínez) (Translation)
La Huella Digital (Spain) interviews the writer Nieves Abarca:
P.: ¿Cuál es tu novela favorita y de qué autor? ¿Te gusta releerte un libro si te ha gustado mucho? ( Marta Morales Regacho )
R.: Tengo muchas y muchos autores favoritos. Me fascinan Cumbres borrascosas y Jane Eyre. Y de españolas: Olvidado Rey Gudú de Ana María Matute y No llames a casa de Carlos Zanón. (Translation)
Diário de Notícias (Portugal) interviews Paula Rego who highlights the deep Portuguese substrate of her works:
Há uma nova exposição da mais famosa pintora portuguesa anunciada para esta quinta-feira. Que mesmo sendo o título da exibição em inglês, Old Meets New, é o mais portuguesa possível. Ora não confessasse a própria Paula Rego isso mesmo na entrevista que concede ao DN a propósito desta nova apresentação em Cascais de quatro séries de trabalhos, quando afirma que enquanto artista se sente assim: "Todo o trabalho que faço é de alguma maneira português. Até a Jane Eyre." (João Céu e Silva) (Translation)
Wymarzona Książka (in Polish) posts about a Polish edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë.
12:43 am by M. in ,    No comments
A couple of Brontë alerts for today, May 22:
The Rotary Club of Cleckheaton & District
Spen Way Heritage Trail: Brontë Walk
Sunday, May 22th

Start Point: Princess Mary Playing Fields from 9-10:30 am
At the Red House Museum in Gomersal:
“Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know” Yorkshire, the Brontë Family and the British Romantic Movement
 Sunday 22 May 2pm-3pm

Popular local art historian and writer Simon Poë will talk about the Romantic Movement and its role in shaping the imaginative world of Charlotte Brontë and her siblings.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016 8:13 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
Reviews are in for Northern Ballet's premiere of Jane Eyre in Doncaster. The Guardian gives it 4 stars out of 5.
Photograph by Emma Kauldhar
Early reviewers of Jane Eyre complained that Charlotte Brontë’s protagonist was impossible to like. Ironic, intractable, angry and culpably plain, Jane stood stubbornly apart from the blueprint of Victorian femininity. It’s a tribute to Cathy Marston, in her new work for Northern Ballet, that she’s choreographed a Jane who is similarly emancipated from the conventional tropes of the ballet heroine.
Dividing the role between young and adult Jane, Marston shows a novelist’s touch in building the layers of her character. Antoinette Brooks-Daw is superb in the early scenes, both frozen and furious, and Marston’s choreography vibrates with suggestive detail. As Jane battles against her bullying Aunt Reed, her jagged, sideways jump, her bullishly lowered head, her pummelling fists convey not only her volcanic temper but also her quickness of mind.
 Antoinette Brooks-Daw as Young Jane and Matthew Koon as John. Photograph: Emma Kauldhar
Those fists remain Jane’s leitmotif even when she’s grown up – clenched quietly behind her back as she resists a hostile world. Marston does nothing by rote, each detail feels specially minted, from the ritualistic gesture with which Jane encloses her face, as if protecting her independence of mind, to the slow, poignant dip into plié as she pirouettes towards Rochester and first feels the inexorable tug of sexual passion.
Dreda Blow’s performance builds steadily, a moving combination of turbulence and reserve and she has a fine partner in Javier Torres’ Rochester, who manages to convey some of the sheer sardonic force of his character’s presence. There’s a moment when Rochester, lounging in his chair, bars Jane’s exit with his outstretched foot and even in 2016 it feels like a dangerous breach of social taboo.
Marston’s ballet succeeds where it matters most: in the creation of her lovers. She gets excellent support from Philip Feeney’s score – a subtle and very danceable blend of original and 19th-century music – and also from Patrick Kinmonth’s set, with its lively delineations of domestic interiors and wild moorland. Marston’s handling of Brontë’s framing narrative is at its best when most economical: the chorus of slate-scratching pupils at Lowood school; the symbolic frieze of dancers at Rochester’s party. (Judith Mackrell) (Read more)
The Reviews Hub gives it 4 out of 5 stars too.
As opposed to traditional ballet, the works of Northern Ballet rely heavily on characterisation and narrative. In the case of Jane Eyre, there is a lot of narrative to convey and at times, this appears to be a hindrance. Although the company manages to deliver their story without too much of a check-list feel as they work their way through the long story, due to the constraints of the piece there feels to be no real climax, no contrast. The story is essentially played out in a series of pas-de-deux and the lack of corp-de-ballet is a noticeable loss. However, the piece really comes into its own during the ensemble performances; the orphans producing some effectively stylized sequences in the schoolhouse scenes.
Dreda Blow portrays Brontë’s most famous heroine to perfection. Jane’s turmoil and innermost thoughts are played out in carefully crafted and beautifully executed movements. There is a sensitivity to Blow’s portrayal, highlighting the fragility of the character who turns out to be a strong feminist, ultimately rescuing herself. The performance is enhanced by Cathy Marston’s addition of the ‘D-Men’, characters the choreographer has created to incorporate more male dancers into the piece, representing the demons in Jane’s mind and the men who have deserted her.
At times, this gives an abstract interpretation to the piece. The storytelling being less conventional with much use made of symbolism. There are some real strengths within the piece: the effective fire scene, which adds an injection of drama, where Mr. Rochester attempts to save his wife; the wedding, which highlights the contrast of Jane in her virginal white dress against the deranged wife in her devilish red dress; the morphing of young Jane into older Jane; the abstract hills in the background, a constant reminder of the wilderness associated with the Brontë’s writing. Although the dancing itself is beautiful, with a very powerful pairing between Jane and her love interest Mr. Rochester (the perfectly cast Javier Torres), which borders on contemporary dance and has a real intensity to it, there may not be enough to satisfy the hard-core traditionalists.
However, this new direction is welcomed (especially if the sell-out run is anything to go by) and Northern Ballet is very much at the forefront in securing a place for the future of ballet. If by taking on a new approach and diversifying in order to secure funding, which allows the development of original works such as this then it must be applauded and be given a chance to continue. (Beverley Haigh)
The Yorkshire Post is enthusiastic about it:
What we get here, and it is admirably done, is a series of mood shifts, at times almost forensic, but they tell the story perfectly, and (apart from Ms. Blow’s consistently watchable interpretation) if you had to pick a moment that demonstrates what a fine company Northern are, and how it encourages their dancers, then it would be Victoria Sibson’s breath-taking solo as Bertha Mason meets her tragic end. This is edge of the seat stuff and a production that deserves to be kept in repertoire for many years to come.
The Guardian's Children's Books section lists '10 songs you didn't know were inspired by literature', the first of which is
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush is inspired by Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Perhaps the most famous song with literary references, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights relays the tale of Emily Brontë’s gothic novel of the same name. Told through the point of view of Catherine during a ghostly visit to her old house, she calls to her lover, Heathcliff, to let her in through the window. Kate Bush’s operatic voice and quirky dancing conveys the eerie spirit of the scene from chapter three of Wuthering Heights when she is seen by the new tenant, Mr Lockwood.
Fun fact: Kate Bush and Emily Brontë share the same birthday. (Kuba Shand-Baptiste)
Patricia Park's Re Jane is on The New York Times' list of new paperbacks to check out. Elena Reads Books vlogs about Jane Eyre. La Gata en el Desván (in Spanish) reviews Anna Casanovas's Herbarium.
12:30 am by M. in    2 comments
The Alliance of Literary Societies annual conference is taking place in Haworth (20 to 22 May 2016).

The event is organised and hosted by the Brontë Society.  A weekend of talks, tours and conversation about books and writers.  Speakers: Juliet Barker, and Ian Dewhirst.

The complete programme is the following:

Friday, May 20, 2016

The filming of Sally Wainwright's To Walk Invisible has begun! Many websites are showing (lots and lots of as well as some video footage) pictures of the first scenes being filmed at Micklegate in York disguised as Cornhill in London with Charlotte and Anne going to see George Smith. See for instance The York Press.
A York street went back in time on Thursday, as the BBC filmed a new drama from the creator of Happy Valley.
Film crews, horses and carriages, and actors in period dress filled a section of Micklegate for most of Thursday, to film a scene for To Walk Invisible, a drama about the lives of the Brontë Sisters.
Written and directed by Sally Wainwright, filming is taking place around Yorkshire, and will chronicle Charlotte, Emily and Anne's relationship with each other and their brother Branwell, who was plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction in the last three years of his life.
Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë will be played by Chloe Pirrie, Finn Atkins as her older sister Charlotte, author of Jane Eyre, and Charlie Murphy as younger sister Anne, who wrote Agnes Grey and The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall.
A new BBC drama about the Brontë sisters from the creator of Happy Valley filmed in Micklegate.
Hundreds of people gathered to watch the set develop, with fake street lights, horses and extras, before Atkins and Murphy - as Charlotte and Anne - shot their scene, walking out of Barker Lane and up the hill towards the Falcon Tap, which had been given a makeover to represent Smith, Elder & Co - the London publishing house which released Charlotte's Jane Eyre, written under the pseudonym Currer Bell, in 1847.
Chris Ceaser, who runs The Gallery next to where the film crew set up, said: "It's good for the street that these beautiful buildings we have are being used and recognised for what they are.
"I think it's nice to see Micklegate being associated with something positive, that's changing the way the public feel about it."
Shelagh Garside, who runs nearby Curtain Up, said: "Micklegate is known as one of the fanciest streets in York, it's the Queen's entrance, so it's a great way to immortalise the street."
The two-hour drama will also star Jonathan Pryce in the role of the Brontë sisters’ father, Patrick, with their brother Branwell played by Happy Valley actor Adam Nagaitis, and is expected to air later this year.
York Mix, Minster FM and the Daily Mail carry the story as well. And Wexford People (Ireland) is proud of Charlie Murphy playing Anne.

There are more Brontë things to see and do in Yorkshire this weekend as Nouse reports:
One highlight is the ‘Brontë Cobbled Classic Cycle Saturday’ (21st May) which follows a 55 mile route around Brontë country, focusing on 2 famed cobble climbs. (Becca Challis)
Vox features two modern retellings of two classic novels Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice as Jane Steele and Eligible, respectively.
You can’t do the same thing with Jane Eyre. Brontë wasn’t writing anything like a romantic comedy or a comedy of manners — she was writing a gothic romance that was also an aspirational marriage plot. And by gothic, I don’t mean something that would appeal to a Hot Topic–obsessed teen. I mean gothic as in the literary form that developed in the 18th century out of the romantic tradition, all sublimated rage and sexuality hidden in secluded country houses where men with tragic dark pasts stood broodingly on the ramparts.
Today, we love a good gothic romance — but we don’t usually love to see it paired with a marriage plot. We want the gothic love story to be tortured and tragic and doomed, and we’d rather the gothic hero be punished for his sins, not rewarded with marriage to the heroine. So we like Phantom of the Opera, as long as Christine ends up with Raul, not the Phantom. Flowers in the Attic is a trashy fave, but no one wants the Dollanganger siblings to get married. In Crimson Peak, the swoony, Rochester-quoting hero gets — spoiler alert — a knife to the face.
In a contemporary gothic romance, you understand the attraction, but the narrative must condemn and thwart it.
Jane Eyre never condemns the love story between Jane and Rochester, madwoman in the attic be damned. It never asks the reader to condemn the story, either. That’s just not how marriage plots work. Jane Eyre does not function if the book does not believe wholeheartedly in the rightness of Jane and Rochester’s marriage.
So when you try to turn Jane Eyre into a contemporary romance, you have to fight against either the gothic elements or the marriage plot. The results are uncomfortable. You end up with books like Jane, a YA novel that recasts Rochester as a 40-year-old rock star and Jane as his 19-year-old nanny. Or you end up with a web series like The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, where Jane is a nurse turned private tutor and Rochester a wealthy businessman. These adaptations hit the romantic element hard — but they they have no idea how to reconcile the romance with the gothic, and so the romance fails.
In a straightforward 21st-century romantic drama, it’s creepy for a wealthy, middle-aged man with a child to pursue his teenage employee. And it’s straight-up disturbing that he has his secret crazy wife locked in the attic in an era of humane mental hospitals and no-fault divorces. We don’t want that guy to have a happy ending. We want to see him punished.
That’s why the best modernization of Jane Eyre that I know of is the 2009 film An Education, which knows that if you're identifying your 20th-century schoolgirl heroine’s love interest as a "Mr. Rochester figure," you are identifying him as a villain. (Constance Grady) (Read more)
The Guardian has selected the 'Top 10 fictional houses with personality' and one of them is
3. Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
A dark, bleak house described as though it was a person. Mirroring Heathcliff’s dark, forbidding character, the house sits and sulks, at once exposed and yet hidden from view of Thrushcross Hall, its grander, more prepossessing neighbour. (Tom Easton)
The Jewish Chronicle features composer BB Cooper:
There, she wrote her first musical, which ended up touring through the mid-1990s before landing in the West End.
"One of my tutors saw that I had the ability to compose and we were both mad about the Brontës, especially Charlotte. So I wrote a musical about the Brontës." (Jessica Weinstein)
Pri mentions the fact that in fiction it's mostly women who suffer from mental illnesses such as in Jane Eyre. Fusion links to a podcast on fanfiction which refers to the Brontës' writing Real Person Fiction in their youth. The Toast has another Mallory Ortberg funny article on the use of French in Jane Eyre. Books and Things vlogs about Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.Books, Tea time & Sweet apple pie (in French) reviews Jolien Janzing's De Meester's French edition.