Friday, May 06, 2016

Haworth’s most famous residents

Nouse has an article on Charlotte Brontë's life and the bicentenary celebrations in her honour.
The Brontës are also of great significance to us in the county of Yorkshire. The landscape features heavily in all of the sisters’ novels and is famous the world over as a result. ‘Brontë Country’ is used to describe the area in which they lived, in the West Yorkshire Pennines.
Famous for its rolling hills through to the dark moors, the Yorkshire landscape is immortalised in the work of the Brontë sisters. The University of York has a Literary Yorkshires project, which largely features the Brontë sisters, and Dr. Trev Broughton of the University’s department of English and Related Literature explains that the department is “very conscious of Charlotte, Emily and Anne as part of our local heritage”.
In celebrating the bicentenaries of the Brontës, tourists are flocking to the places which inspired these literary women. A visit to Haworth is a must, to visit both their home town and the world-renowned Parsonage museum. Top Withens is often thought to be Emily’s inspiration for the landscape of Wuthering Heights, while the ruins of Wycoller Hall are said to have inspired Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre.
Cowan Bridge is said to be the inspiration for Lowood School which Jane attends in her youth, and Roe Head is the school in which Charlotte Brontë took up her first teaching post. Norton Conyers in Wensleydale fits the description of Mr Rochester’s Thornfield Hall, particularly after the discovery in 2004 of a blocked staircase from the ground floor to the attic, similar to that which is described in the novel. Charlotte visited the house herself and it is said she was given the idea for the mad Mrs Rochester from a story by the owner of another ‘mad woman in the attic’. Finally, ‘Brontë Walk’ is a two-and-a-half mile walk from Haworth to Brontë Falls, a waterfall mentioned in Charlotte’s letters. This walk was frequented by the Brontës and there can be no better way to commemorate them and their legacy – apart from curling up with a copy of Jane Eyre. (Becca Challis)
Diane Fare from the Brontë Parsonage Museum writes in The Telegraph and Argus about the celebrations to come.
All the preparations and efforts of the museum staff culminated in a wonderful day of celebration that brought visitors from as far afield as South Korea.
Visitors were queuing to get in the museum at 10am in order to take a close look at some of Charlotte’s possessions in the sanctuary of the library, whilst dozens of others queued for tea and cake in the Old School Room.
The wait was worth it, as visitors were treated to a dramatic interpretation of scenes from Jane Eyre by Haworth Primary School children, and performances from our resident opera singer/museum assistant Charissa and the Bard of Saltaire, who performed a unique Bronte rap!
Incredible floral displays were dotted around the museum, and graced every table in the Old School Room, which looked like it was hosting a gorgeous vintage wedding thanks to the very creative Lynne, our group bookings officer.
The Old School Room proved to be the perfect meeting place for visitors and locals alike – stories were shared and new friends made over a cup of tea and cake – all of which were donated by local residents, businesses and museum staff.
As day turned to evening, and many visitors made their journeys home, we were joined in the museum by a number of local businesses, who helped us toast Charlotte with a glass of prosecco.
We finally got to sample the impressive-looking birthday cake baked by 2015 British Bake Off contestant Sandy Docherty - it was definitely worth the wait!
I’m now looking forward to my first experience of the Museums at Night events that we host every year.
The event on Thursday May 12 with Serena Partridge – a textile artist whose beautiful work is part of our Charlotte Great and Small exhibition – has already sold out, but the following night, Friday May 13 (the eve of Haworth’s spectacular 1940s weekend), we are hosting another Museums at Night event, entitled Sharing Stories From Wartime.
If you fancy coming along and hearing tales of childhood courage and wartime adventure, then do join us. And the good news is that this event is free to all visitors providing evidence of living in the BD22, BD21 or BD20 postcode areas.
There’ll be a chance to meet author Nick Holland at our late night Thursday on May 19 and we’ve also managed to programme one more special event before the month is out, on May 27.
Many visitors ask questions about the architecture of the parsonage, and would like to know more, so if that’s you, then come along to our Parsonage Unwrapped event, intriguingly called ‘Playing house detectives’!
Visit the website or call 01535 640188 for more information.
When next I write, hopefully the April snow showers will have ceased, and the weather will have warmed in time for Haworth’s 1940s weekend.
The museum will be exhibiting memorabilia from 1940s Hollywood Bronte adaptations, so do pop in if you’re planning a visit to Haworth that weekend.
It remains to say, on behalf of the museum, a great big thank you to all the people of Haworth who helped make Charlotte’s birthday such a special day. I think we all did Haworth’s most famous resident proud!
The Washington Times reviews Claire Harman's biography of Charlotte Brontë and based on it concludes that,
There surely was no question that Charlotte had a “fiery heart” as her biographer asserts. Yet the questions raised by the book relate to her humanity. Like her creation, Jane Eyre, Charlotte was angry much of her life. She deeply loved her sisters, but they all existed in their own world of wild winds and storms and Emily especially was unreachable. Which is what makes her characterizations in “Wuthering Heights” so poignant. As her sisters realized, in the ruined romance of Heathcliff and Cathy, Emily was writing about herself. (Muriel Dobbin)
Perhaps it will never make it into any biography of Charlotte Brontë, but Halifax Courier features a local historian who thinks he has found a couple of Halifax connections to the Brontë story.
A Halifax historian has unearthed intriguing evidence of author Charlotte Bronte’s links to Calderdale.
David Glover has researched the Jane Eyre writer’s connections to the area ahead of a planned talk on the subject at the Square Chapel, and believes Charlotte bought her wedding dress in the town and may even have written her most famous novel on Halifax-bought paper.
Charlotte apparently visited Halifax in June 1854 to purchase fabric for her bridal gown from a local draper. The author had been determined not to wear white to marry Arthur Bell Nicholls, but when shop staff told her that white muslin would suit her, she changed her mind.
“It is recorded that a young Halifax man was involved in the transaction over the wedding dress, for afterwards he was fond of relating to local residents how he had served the author of Jane Eyre. It would be fascinating to know for which local establishment he worked, but even the Bronte Society has no idea,” said Mr Glover.
A letter to Charlotte’s schoolfriend Ellen Nussey revealed that the soon-to-be bride was ‘too busy’ to unpack the dress for several days after it was delivered from Halifax to Haworth.
Another link to Calderdale was established at the wedding when the ceremony was conducted by the vicar of St James’s Church in Hebden Bridge, the Rev Sutcliffe Sowden, a close friend of the groom who was originally from Hipperholme. [...]
When Charlotte tragically died during pregnancy just ten months after her wedding, it was Sowden who was called upon to deliver her funeral, and he also conducted the burial of the sisters’ father Patrick in Haworth five years later, travelling from Hebden Bridge.
Mr Glover even believes that Charlotte’s original drafts and manuscript copy of Jane Eyre, her most famous work, could have been written on Halifax paper. She used supplies from the Haworth village stationer, John Greenwood, who would walk the ten miles to Halifax to purchase extra writing paper to satisfy Charlotte and her sisters’ insatiable demands.
“They used to buy a great deal of writing paper, and I used to wonder whatever they did with so much. When I was out of stock I was always afraid of their coming; they seemed so distressed about it if I had none. I have walked to Halifax many a time for half a ream of paper, for fear of being without it when they came,” he wrote.
An old newspaper which once served the area, the Halifax Guardian, was also dragged into a controversy involving the Bronte sisters when they published a series of letters between Charlotte’s widower and a woman named Sarah Baldwin, a vicar’s wife from Mytholmroyd. [...]
“There are plenty of Bronte connections with Calderdale which should be far better known as the borough could capitalise on them much more,” added Mr Glover, of Baker Fold.
The historian’s presentation about Charlotte Bronte will take place in the autumn and further details will be confirmed by the venue.
Nouse also has an article on Jane Eyre.
Like many book-lovers I am sure, I find that I can look back on my life and recognise certain books which helped to shape the person I am now, and certain characters who remained with me long after reading the final page. Among these, it would be impossible not to include Jane Eyre. What stood out to me at 12 years old, when I first encountered the character Jane, was a certain quality which I shared, but which I had never seen in any great literary figure before.
She was strong, good, witty, intelligent and brave, and yet she was repeatedly overlooked by the majority of the other characters in Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Why? She was an introvert.
From the reader’s perspective, we bear witness to Jane’s innermost thoughts and are carried by the depth of her passions. But these are emotions which she rarely shows to those around her and as a result, she is a constant victim of prejudice and is brushed aside by all but a select few.
I loved, and still love, that Brontë chose to put a character like Jane at the centre of her novel. All of our emotions, as readers, are pinned onto her – an introvert whose personality we love and get to know so closely. When I first read Jane Eyre, I was not only introverted, but painfully shy in addition, and very much accustomed to the general presumption made by those who didn’t know me well, that I simply lacked personality. (Liz Foster) (Read more)
Financial Times also mentions the novel in an article about literary gardens.
 Katrina Dodson, a literary translator, suggests that: “Characters often seem to get a bit restless in gardens, despite the peace they are supposed to inspire”.
This is certainly true of Mr Rochester’s orchard garden in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Though Jane turns to the garden for respite, it is never fully obtained. During the “sweetest hour” of an “Eden-like” midsummer’s eve, she cannot prevent the scent of Rochester’s cigar smoke polluting the “sweet-briar and southern-wood, jasmine, pink and rose” perfuming the air.
Brontë also uses the orchard to develop her characters. It is “sweet and pure”; a reflection of Jane’s character in the eyes of Rochester and the reader. Rochester’s tainted character is shown when he describes his grand home, in which his maddened wife is imprisoned, as an artifice “where the gilding is slime and the silk draperies cobwebs”.
When romance threatens as the pair converse in an arbour, it is a “half-blown” rose Jane is presented with; ivy “whispers” against her hair — a symbol of her fidelity. Like the ivy, gardens in literature are bound to endure; excellent news for those who prefer to admire horticulture from their armchair. (Caroline Thorpe)
Keighley News has an update on the new Wuthering Heights film.
Production company Three Hedgehogs Films has begun filming for this latest adaptation of the renowned tale of wild, passionate and demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, set in sweeping and desolate countryside.
Director Elisaveta Abrahall said further filming is due to take place on the moors outside Haworth later this year, though scenes have already been shot in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Powys.
Wuthering Heights the film has a £100,000 budget and stars Sha'ori Morris as Catherine Earnshaw and Paul Eryk Atlas as Heathcliff.
The production is expected to hit the film festival circuit in spring next year, ready for a wider release in late 2017 or early 2018, in time for the bi-centenary of Emily Bronte's birth.
Miss Abrahall, who is based in Hereford, said: "I'm a Bronte fan myself and I've longed for a definitive version of Wuthering Heights. I've been a fan of the novel since I was a small child.
"Although a lot of the [previous Wuthering Heights] films are extremely good none of them stick closely to Emily's story, and also none of them really investigate the deeper subtext of the novel, so that's what we really hope to do.
"I first read Wuthering Heights when I was about six-years-old and I've read it probably upwards of 20 or 30 times since.
"But even when I was very young I could sense that there was a dramatic subtext going on that wasn't just the story between Cathy and Heathcliff.
"Wuthering Heights goes off on so many different levels and that's virtually never explored.
"When Emily wrote it this was such a socially shocking novel she was actually concerned it would lead to her social expulsion.
"I would like to re-introduce some of that shock factor which we've lost with our 21st century eyes.
"We simply don't understand how shocking the notion was that a lady of reasonably high social standing could fall in love with a gypsy – someone not from her own race, not from her own social class – and abandon all convention to be with him at least on a soul level.
"I want to explore all those things and I want to put the social pertinence back into the film that's never really been explored. I also want to stick very closely to what Emily intended."
Miss Abrahall added that the Bronte Society has been "tremendously" supportive of the project, but said a fundraising appeal was still ongoing to ensure the film can be completed.
People willing to contribute can visit the crowd funding site to support the film.
Recently, Bocas Festival at Trinidad and Tobago included a Jean Rhys-related event as The Guardian reports.
The ebullience of such diasporan writers masked a darker local undercurrent, which surfaced in a session celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. Like Antoinette, her recreation of the first Mrs Rochester from Jane Eyre, Rhys was regarded with suspicion as a white Creole who had made a life outside her home island of Dominica. The hostility dramatised by Rhys in her portrayal of Antoinette’s childhood was still an issue, said Trinidadian writer Sharon Millar – a runner-up in the fiction section of the prize with her debut collection, The Whale House and Other Stories – “but it’s an issue we don’t talk about”. (Claire Armitstead)
In the Yorkshire Evening Post a local mentions that his 'five times great uncle was the church warden to Patrick Brontë'. The Times looks at real estate in 'the land of Charlotte and Emily'. The Brontë Parsoange Facebook page features a generous lady who has donated her father's 1950 pictures of Haworth and the moors. And The Brontë Society Facebook page reminds us of the fact that Maria Brontë died on a day like today in 1825.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
The latest issue of The Brontë Society Gazette is now out (Issue 69. April 2016. ISSN 1344-5940).

Letter from the Editor by Belinda Hakes
Letter from the Chairman by John Thirlwell, Chairman of the Brontë Society
Charlotte Great and Small: a private viewing for members on 5 February 2016
Being Vice-President by Patsy Stoneman
Asa Briggs
Available June 2016. Celebrating Charlotte Brontë: Transforming Life into Literature in Jane Eyre
The Brontës, Haworth... and me! (or, rather, you!) by Belinda Hakes
Lost Houses of the South Pennines: an exhibition of paintings and stories by Kate Lycett
Miss Brontë, why dont you... by Christine Went
Membership News: 
   Brontë Studies / Literary Lunch / New online update details page / AGM Summer Festival / Dates for your diary by Linda Ling, Membership Officer
Charlotte Brontë mourns her brother and sisters. Three sonnets by Paul Edmondson
Alice Fairfax by Jane Stubbs.
Wuthering Heights at The National Youth Theatre by Naomi Randall-James
Fog-bred pestilence: a brief history of typhus by Christine Went
In Charlotte Brontë's footsteps by Anna Stephenson

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Thursday, May 05, 2016 11:12 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Let's start with the now almost-daily dose of To Walk Invisible: if you're curious about the progress of the replicas of the Brontë Parsonage and surroundings on the Haworth moors, do visit this Facebook album by Haworth village, which is regularly updated.

A Bustle columnist has compiled a list of '7 Books I've Never Read (But Pretend I Have) That Make Me Feel Like a Terrible English Major' such as
6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Yeah, yeah, Catherine and Heathcliff and their wild love. I get it, people really like this book. For whatever reason I've neglected to read Wuthering Heights, despite having read a lot of other Victorian novels (including novels by the other Brontë sisters). Am I really missing out on the greatest love story of all time? Honestly, a lot of Victorian love stories all kind of blend together for me. (Shaun Fitzpatrick)
Perhaps that's because he hasn't heard of this reason why you should read Wuthering Heights, courtesy of Lifehacker (India).
Reading makes you Smart
Yeah! That's quite a reason for many, not for the ardent readers though. All classy men and women are fond of reading. You visit a coffee shop and your date finds you with a copy of 'Wuthering Heights', she is bound to come back for another date. Reading makes you street smart and enriches your knowledge on history, cultures, food and travel. (Suchayan Mandal)
Qué Leer (Spain) also mentions Emily's novel in an article about doomed love stories.
Puede suceder a la manera trágica de Heathcliff y Cathy en Cumbres Borrascosas o a la de Edward y Bella en Crepúsculo, dejándonos seducir por la Lolita nabokoviana, por la Lesbia de Catulo o por la Ligeia de Poe. A vuelta de página la posmodernidad no puede sino reconocer que hemos pasado del Ars Amandi a un campo de batalla sitiado por la traición, los celos y hasta la pura biología, donde la fiebre por la posesión que lleva a la violencia de género es compatible con la banalización del sexo, la permisividad aparente y la promiscuidad ambiente. ¿A qué, entonces, la condena de Don Juan? (Álvaro Bermejo) (Translation)
NPR begins a review of Adam Haslett's Imagine Me Gone as follows:
Mental illness has long been a mainstay of literature, from Don Quixote and Jane Eyre to Mrs. Dalloway and Madame Bovary. And why not? It's interesting. Novels like Crime and Punishment and The Catcher in the Rye find cultural insights in the tumult of nonconforming, besieged minds. Others, like Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot and Walker Percy's The Second Coming explore the devastating toll of mental illness on loved ones. (Heller McAlpin)
Ultima Voce (Italy) mentions Rebecca Traister's book All the Single Ladies.
I numeri, del resto, lo attestano sia oltreoceano che da noi, in Italia. C’è un libro, “All the Single Ladies – Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation”, scritto dalla giornalista del New York Times Rebecca Traister che spiega come la fascia di donne adulte single negli Stati Uniti sia sempre più ampia, al punto da superare la percentuale di americane adulte e con marito e da acquisire un certo peso politico in termini di elettorato. Cita Charlotte Brontë l’autrice, per comparare le condizioni di “zitellaggine”. Ai tempi della Brontë, il non avere marito comportava l’esclusione da qualsiasi opportunità economica e sociale. La cosa – secondo la Traister – è iniziata a migliorare man mano che le donne hanno iniziato a ritardare il fatidico sì ai 30 e poi ai 40 anni. (Alessandra Maria) (Translation)
Dread Central asks television writer Kerry Ehrin about the Brontë influences on Bates Motel.
Q: Throughout the series there’s been this overreaching kind of Brontë-esque vibe to the show. The whole series has a bit of a Gothic setting to it. Beyond the Hitchcock mythology and the subject of mental illness, would you say that a large theme within the show kind of reflects on the Brontës’ novels and the idea of loving someone whom you know it isn’t right to love in the way that you love them? Kerry Ehrin: There’s a huge influence… from the very, very beginning… everyone knows it’s Psycho, right, and everyone knows that it’s Hitchcock. And I think because that movie is two hours, you can live with Norman and you can feel for him in those two hours. But… we’re talking about doing 50 hours of these characters. And it is very intensely about these two characters. I don’t know if any two characters have ever done so much screen time on any show, honestly. It’s kind of amazing. So you need people to kind of buy into this love story so that they’re on the ride with them. And nobody does that better than the Brontës. And I actually studied Victorian Lit in college so it was a huge influence on me, and it was I think probably a personal thing to me to really try to pull out that Gothic romantic doomed lovers [theme], but at the same time you desperately want things to work out for them. It’s a larger than life love… and no one does it better than the Brontës. (Debi Moore) 
We have posted before about Bates Motel's Brontë references.

Liz Foster on Nouse discusses Jane Eyre:
Like many book-lovers I am sure, I find that I can look back on my life and recognise certain books which helped to shape the person I am now, and certain characters who remained with me long after reading the final page. Among these, it would be impossible not to include Jane Eyre. What stood out to me at 12 years old, when I first encountered the character Jane, was a certain quality which I shared, but which I had never seen in any great literary figure before.
She was strong, good, witty, intelligent and brave, and yet she was repeatedly overlooked by the majority of the other characters in Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Why? She was an introvert. (Read more)
There's a new article on Jane Eyre on Slate +Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb interviews Tracy Chevalier and Culture and Anarchy reviews Reader, I Married Him. Bookwitty talks about Jane Eyre retellings.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments

A Jane Eyre production is currently being performed in Fort Wayne, IN:
all for One productions presents
Jane Eyre
adapted by Lauren Nichols

April 29 – May 1 & May 6 – 8, 2016
Friday/Saturday Curtain 7:30 pm
Sunday Matinee Curtain 2:30 pm
Performances at the PPG ArtsLab, 300 E Main Street, Fort Wayne

Jane Eyre is Artistic Director Lauren Nichols’ own original adaptation of one of British literature’s most beloved and enduring novels. A unique non-linear style of storytelling, employing flashbacks and theatrical effects, brings Charlotte Brontë’s classic to fresh life. Jane Eyre is a “small, plain” young governess whose passionate and independent spirit attracts the attention of her employer, Mr. Rochester. But he has a dark secret which threatens their happiness.
This world premiere is not to be missed!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 11:14 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
The pre-production for To Walk Invisible goes ahead and Keighley News now reports that a BBC crew has visited the Parsonage. The article also includes a short account of the Westminster Abbey tribute for Charlotte's bicentenary.
The entire production crew for the BBC’s new Brontë film have visited the family’s historic home.
Writer and director Sally Wainwright and her crew toured the Brontë Parsonage Museum while on a scouting trip around locations.
The crew, along with the cast, will return this summer to film outdoor scenes both in Haworth Main Street and at a specially-built replica of the parsonage on nearby Penistone Hill.
Specialists creating props, costumes and sets for the film have previously made individual visits to the parsonage to quiz the Brontë Society’s experts and examine artefacts.
They have even measured and photographed rooms in the parsonage so they can accurately build and furnish the interior sets at a studio in Manchester.
Museum spokesman Rebecca Yorke said staff had been working closely with the BBC production team for the past few months.
She said: “They’ve have been viewing items in our collections that they want to recreate as props. We’ve had particular crew members with responsibility for producing sets and costumes.
“The latest visit was the whole production team of about 30 people while they were doing a recce of all the locations. They were also visiting the set being built on Penistone Hill. There was the writer-director Sally Wainwright and the producer.” [...]
Brontë Society members and officials were among those who attended a special event at Westminster Abbey last month to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë.
About 80 invited guests, including the deputy left tenant of West Yorkshire, David Pearson, attended a service at Poet’s Corner in the abbey.
There were readings of poems by the Brontë sister’s siblings, including Confidence by Anne, No Coward Soul Is Mine by Emily, and Life by Charlotte.
The guests then retired to the Churchill Rooms at the House Of Commons for light refreshments.
Rebecca Yorke said: “There was a similar service for the centenary in Haworth Church in 1916.”
Although none of the Brontë family are buried at Poet’s Corner, there is a memorial plaque to the sisters. (David Knights)
Keighley News also reviews the Keighley Playhouse production of Jane Eyre.
I was a little apprehensive to go see this production as I like farces and comedies, so a costume drama -- corsets and polite conversation -- what was I going to make of it?
Actually I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. The set, the costumes, the special effects between Act 2 and Act 3, and all the characters.
Beth Welch and Dale Chadwick played the two lead characters of Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester and worked well together.
Beth Welch with the kindness but determined character of a young women who was not going to be put down by society, and Dale Chadwick, the weary middle-aged man with a dark secret, afraid to love. The pair were extremely watchable from start to finish.
Deborah Mouat was excellent as the house keeper Mrs Fairfax who greeted Jane and kept the other characters grounded in the story. She was the constant throughout the play ready with either a sarcastic comment or a kind word.
The other smaller parts were played equal well by the rest of the cast, and together made an excellent unit.
A special mention for Martha Edwards, who played Rochester’s ward Adele. Having to speak not only in French, but also with an accent for her part, top marks.
Finally the director, Mike Boothroyd, to direct a very wordy play, with little 'action', and still make it watchable and not boring is an art. Brilliant.
Yes, I actually liked it that much. Well done everyone. (Philip Smith)
Jasper Fforde's live webchat on The Guardian took place yesterday and both The Eyre Affair and Jane Eyre came up several times.
bookfiend73 asks:
Do you think there is any significant value in modern readers assessing a work like Jane Eyre by contemporary values? eg: today’s reader assessing Jane Eyre’s feminist values by today’s values?
Good question. Always a problem, I think, and not least in JE the regrettable 'Mad woman in the attic' episode which does cast a few problems with Ed and Jane's romance, especially as Jane seems to forgive him this one small indiscretion once Bertha is well, burnt. It doesn't read too well right now, really, but as a narrative twist of ages past, I guess it must have been a zinger. By rights, we should be shouting: WATCH OUT JANE!I think the best thing to do is to read, consider, build, think and then do the best one can for oneself and one's immediate sphere. Feminism and Jane Eyre. I'm sure much has been written about this, and by better writers than I.
The Guardian discusses dialects and slang and recalls the fact that,
Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens and Vladimir Nabokov used non-literal literally. (Stan Carey)
Prima Pagina (Italy) recommends Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier.
Proseguo poi segnalandovi una testo molto interessante che ci racconta la storia di una delle scrittrici più amate della letteratura: Charlotte Brontë e il suo romanzo immortale Jane Eyre. Perché il verso più famoso della scrittrice è “L’ho sposato lettore mio” ? (titolo anche del romanzo). Quale forza trasgressiva nascondono queste poche parola. Tracy Chevalier ci accompagna alla scoperta di una donna simbolo dell’emancipazione e dell’indipendenza. (Eleonora Tassoni) (Translation)
Bonne Bouche Books reviews Patricia Park's Re Jane;  Slate Plus has a summary of the Jane Eyre's Year of Great Books series, including a podcast of the Strand event a few days ago.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new Charlotte Brontë book published a few days ago:
Charlotte Brontë Revisited: A View from the Twenty-First Century
by Sophie Franklin
Saraband Publishers  (21 April 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1910192382

A thoroughly 21st-century view of the Jane Eyre author.
Twenty-something Sophie Franklin offers an entertaining and original take on Charlotte Brontë – an indispensable guide for students and lovers of literature.

Everybody knows Charlotte Brontë. World-famous for her novel Jane Eyre, she’s a giant of literature and has been written about in reverential tones in scores of textbooks over the years. But what do we really know about Charlotte?
In this bicentennial year, Charlotte Brontë Revisited looks at Charlotte through 21st-century eyes. Discover her private world of convention, rebellion and imagination, and how they shaped her life, writing and obsessions – including the paranormal, nature, feminism and politics.
It’s a celebration of all things Charlotte Brontë, and emphatically shows why she’s as relevant today as she ever was. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Deseret News reviews the production of Jane Eyre the Musical at Hale Center Theater Orem.
Fans of Charlotte Brontë’s novel by the same name may notice some plot points have been severely altered or removed entirely, but the key elements are there. However, the addition of songs and music to the story change some of its inherent qualities: the overall mood, for one, but also the sense of Jane’s introspectiveness, as she boldly addresses the audience and frequently sings about her feelings.
Regardless of how one feels about the differences from the source material, the performances and staging of this production are simply wonderful.
Elizabeth Dabczynski-Bean, who brings Jane to life in alternating performances (this review features actors of the Monday/Wednesday/Friday cast), delivered a strong performance with a powerful stage presence, nuanced facial expressions and a beautiful voice.
Playing opposite her as Edward Fairfax Rochester is Dallyn Vail Bayles, a member of the Actors’ Equity Association (he performs in the role each night except Tuesdays). Bayles skillfully depicted the many attitudes of his character — commanding yet loving, brooding then playful — his delivery of the Gypsy scene is a highlight — and his voice perfectly complemented that of Dabczynski-Bean.
Emily McKell as Young Jane demonstrated poise as she showed the early formation of Jane’s character, learning at the hands of Ali Fisher’s sweet and ill-fated Helen Burns, whose rendition of “Forgiveness/Willing to Be Brave” was stirring.
Though some of her rapid-fire lines came out a little muddled, Melany M. Wilkins provided dollops of comedy relief in her turn as Mrs. Fairfax, and also adding to the humor was Alicia Pann as a surprisingly silly Blanche Ingram — Jane’s rival in love, who seems much less formidable following her fluting performance of “Finer Things.” [...]
HCTO’s small stage makes a cozy home for the production with audience members sitting on three sides. Gorgeous background images projected onto the remaining wall work wonders to set the scenes as well as the mood. Lighting and a smoke machine are likewise used effectively to create different locales, including a church and a room in flames.
Whether one is a fan of Brontë’s work or not, HCTO’s thoughtful and haunting production of “Jane Eyre,” with its breathtaking music and memorable performances, is eminently worthwhile. (Rachel Brutsch)
And The Guardian looks forward to some of the forthcoming dance shows in the UK.
Northern Ballet: Jane Eyre
Cathy Marston’s new ballet promises to extract the radical and romantic heart from the Charlotte Brontë classic. With a nicely feminist twist, Philip Feeney has also incorporated music by the 19th-century composer Fanny Mendelssohn into his own newly commissioned score.
•19 to 21 May, Cast, Doncaster. Then touring. (Judith Mackrell)
Fine Books Magazine recommends Deborah Lutz's The Brontë Cabinet.
Whole libraries could easily be filled with the books devoted to studying the lives and legacy of the Brontës, and Deborah Lutz makes a compelling addition to the canon of literary criticism. In The Brontë Cabinet, the Long Island University professor examines nine artifacts from the Haworth home where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne lived and wrote. “Even ordinary objects can carry us to other times and places,” Lutz declares, describing the deep spiritual meaning Victorians imbued into everyday objects, which they believed to recall the essence and physical presence of their owners. Studying the materiality of authors has become something of a trend in literary criticism, and Lutz does not disappoint, examining household objects to trace the Brontë sisters’ lives and their literary inspirations. By unearthing playthings, books and momentos, Lutz creates a vivid portrait of the Brontë sisters and 19th century England. (Barbara Basbanes Richter)
Page Six mentions the fact that you can see Brontë-related articles at New York's Public Library.
Where else can you see Charlotte Brontë’s desk and read George Washington’s handwritten recipe for homemade beer? (Cindy Adams)
La Nota Latina features Rita Maria Martinez.
–¿Cuál es tu historia personal con respecto a la obra de Charlotte Brontë? –Me enamoré de la novela clásica de Brontë, Jane Eyre, cuando era una adolescente. Fue parte de las lecturas asignadas en una clase de literatura británica. La maestra, una educadora comprometida con su profesión, sentía una gran pasión por aquella obra. No pude parar de leer el libro y desde entonces, he sido una fanática de la escritura de Brontë. [...]
–¿Qué te motivó a crear una obra inspirada en la novela de Brontë, Jane Eyre?–Este año celebramos el bicentenario del nacimiento de Charlotte Brontë, una autora cuyo trabajo ha influido varias generaciones de escritoras. Jane Eyre nos habla aun hoy en día, porque su protagonista es un personaje que lleva las de perder, una mujer para quien la moral y la pasión son igual de importantes; alguien con agallas. El libro también trata otros temas importantes, tal como el de las enfermedades mentales.
–¿Cómo se pueden relacionar los lectores hispanos con tu colección de poemas The Jane and Bertha in Me?– El poema que da inicio a la obra, tiene como escenario el jardín de la casa de mi padre en Miami. Ahí es donde yo leía, debajo de los árboles de plátano que mi padre cultivaba con cariño; un Jardín del Edén personal, creado para mitigar las pérdidas asociadas con el exilio. Mis poemas hablan tanto de la pérdida como de la creación; ambas forman parte de nuestras vidas.
–¿Piensas que los lectores hispanos pueden verse reflejados en la obra de Charlotte Brontë?– En un momento de la historia, Jane se encuentra sin techo y sin dinero. Muchos latinos en los Estados Unidos, provienen de familias inmigrantes que enfrentan problemas económicos. Hay otros que son indocumentados y deben lidiar con problemas aún más graves. La determinación de Jane por salir adelante, toca un punto sensible en este aspecto.
–Cuéntanos cómo se puede adquirir tu libro y conocer más sobre tu trabajo.– Copias autografiadas y personalizadas de The Jane and Bertha in Me se encuentran disponibles en mi página web ¡Sería un buen regalo para el Día de la Madre! Allí pueden leer extractos de mis poemas y artículos sobre Charlotte Brontë.  The Jane and Bertha in Me también se puede adquirir en Amazon. Los lectores me pueden encontrar en Facebook y Goodreads. (Melanie Márquez Adams) (Translation)
The Huffington Post interviews writer Lynn Rosen.
The writing style of A Man of Genius is reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier and Emily Bronte, with its evocative literary quality. Talk about your writing style and literary influences. My writing style is simply the voice in my head. I write down what that voice tells me. I’m very interested in Gothic literature for its sublime elements and psychology. For me, the creative and performing arts involve transcendence beyond the moment. Gothic literature pushes you toward that state. I’m engrossed by the question of how we access art and process our feelings about it, and that informs my writing. I admire Du Maurier, but I don’t write the way I do in a purposeful way. It’s simply a result of how I think.
As for my literary influences, I’m an enormous admirer of Laurence Stern and Tristram Shandy. The plot manipulations in that novel are mind-blowing. (Mark Rubinstein)
Marie Claire has a Q & A with Chelsea Handler, who doesn't seem to be much of a Brontëite.
17. Book that left a lasting impression on me: Wuthering Heights. It just went on and on and on and on and reminded me to wrap it up.
Bustle discusses why female friendships are so important in contemporary literature.
Friends are the first people we love outside our families or family networks – the first we find and choose for ourselves and as such exceptionally important, especially to those like the orphan Jane Eyre whose families have failed them. How cruel is the death from typhus of pious, brilliant Helen Burns, Jane’s one friend? When I first read it, it cast a shadow over me for days. (Lucie Whitehouse)
While The Christian Science Monitor looks at mothers in literature.
In classic literature, good mothers are few and far between. Early novels centered on young women in search of marriage whose mothers were absent or inadequate, like the orphaned Jane Eyre or hysterical Mrs. Bennet of "Pride and Prejudice." (Elizabeth Toohey)
Examiner comments on JMW Turner's appearance on 20 pound bank notes and thinks that,
Yet there’s Turner on the bank note the picture of an English gentleman, the chivalrous sort you see in Victorian literature like Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre(Joan Altabe)
The Brontë Sisters shows pictures of the state of Anne Brontë's gravestone. It truly saddens us to see the crumbling lettering and, despite the plaque on the ground, we do believe that sooner or later the decision to let the gravestone crumble away will be regretted.

Open Letters Monthly reviews Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier. Books as food posts about Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë biography.
An alert for today, May 3, at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
To Be Forever Known
A free Tuesday talk
May 03rd 2016 02:00pm - 02:30pm

A talk centred on Charlotte Brontë and her sometimes contradictory attitude to fame.
Free with admission to the Museum.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Monday, May 02, 2016 10:20 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
Get West London seems happy to be welcoming Northern Ballet's take on Jane Eyre at the end of this month.
Literature's most iconic heroine will be given a dance make-over as Northern Ballet bring their world premiere tour of Jane Eyre to Richmond Theatre. [...]
Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë and performed during the 200th anniversary of her birth, the dark love story will be at Richmond Theatre from Tuesday May 31 to Wednesday June 1 .
Cathy Marston, the show's choreographer, said: "Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was a novel far ahead of its time and when I think of Jane I feel inspired by images of her passionate but 'impossible' relationship with Mr Rochester, the fire and emotional destruction symbolised by Bertha Mason - the infamous 'woman in the attic', the contrasting icy moorland through which she seems to run from one chapter of her life to another, and of course her final reunion with Rochester.
"But these images only touch the surface of a character and a book that continue to provoke and move - generation after generation, re-read after re-read."
Hannah Bateman, who will be playing Jane, said: "So often in ballets you, as a female, play the 'damsel in distress', and then a man comes along and saves you, but there's a real female strength in this role.
"All of her choices are made by herself, she's not influenced by the people around her, she's very headstrong from the beginning... She's a very strong character.
"It's interesting how powerful ballet can be, when you think about the fact that it's based on a novel, it's chock-a-block with words, it's a really long novel, how interesting it is to take those words away and literally just tell the story through movement and body language, and the relationships that physically develop on stage between the characters.
"It feels very powerful when you're performing it and I hope that will come across to the audience." (Emily Chudy)
Writer Guillaume Musso tells how he came to read Wuthering Heights in Le dauphine (France)
J’étais un lecteur de BD et un téléphage. Et un jour, chez mon grand-père à Antibes, à l’âge de 11 ans, il y a eu une panne d’électricité, alors j’ai pris un livre, et c’était Les Hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë. Ça a été un point de départ : grâce à ma mère qui était bibliothécaire, j’ai autant lu les classiques que les romans populaires… Ensuite, j’ai commencé à penser à des sujets de roman. J’ai publié un premier livre qui n’a pas vraiment marché. Puis j’ai eu un grave accident de voiture, qui m’a donné le point de départ du suivant, et après, qui a vraiment fonctionné au-delà de mes espérances. (Thierry Meissirel) (Translation)
KSCJ has a podcast featuring Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele and The Sacramento Bee recommends Cathering Loweel's The Madwoman Upstairs. Maria Brontë is discussed on AnneBrontë.org. Piqd (in German) briefly discusses Charlotte Brontë's bicentenary. Przy kawie z książka reviews a Polish edition of Charlotte Brontë's unfinished novels. Elodie Books (in French) posts about Jane Eyre.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new Jane Eyre amateur production opens today, May 2, in Keighley:
Keighley Playhouse presents
Jane Eyre
A Romantic Drama by Charlotte Brontë
Adapted by Constance Cox
Directed by Mike Boothroyd
Monday 2nd May 2016 to Saturday 7th May 2016

Jane Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to act as governess to Mr Rochester's ward Adele. The mysterious Rochester is often absent on his business affairs but, overtime, he and Jane fall in love and plan to marry. However, on their wedding day Jane discovers that a Mrs Rochester already exists. Heartbroken, she leaves Thornfield but returns years later to claim her lost love.
Keighley News gives some more information:
A spokesman said: “Jane Eyre tells the personal struggle of a young woman, who maintains a separate identity and independence in the suffocating pressures of her culture.
“Each setting and situation that she encounters, denotes a phase in her personal progress, teaching her and preparing her for the next experience.” (...)
Mike Boothroyd, director of Jane Eyre, said: “It’s a journey of a woman's independence, strength and of the clash between morals and passion.
“Through adversity, harsh conditions and determination Jane’s life becomes a battle in a man’s world.
“Mysterious secrets and a brooding haunted man with a dark past wrapped in a misty atmosphere combines mystery, romance, drama and tragedy.”
The Keighley Playhouse presentation of Jane Eyre is described as a story so powerful, the audience’s weary hearts may faint for rest.
Mike added: “Jane Eyre is undoubtedly, one of the greatest works of English fiction that centres on a love story aflame with passion and yet, madness. It's difficult to imagine a better gothic romantic story.
“Something nasty is lurking in the attic, which must be overcome, before the lovers can enjoy a happy ending.
“If ever it was meant to be, then this tale of true love is on fire. It could burn the house down!
The cast includes Dale Chadwick, Deborah Mouat, Beth Welch, Lynne Howell, Harry Rundle, Danielle Stephenson, Stephanie Laycock, Martha Edwards and Johnny Socha. (David Knights)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sunday, May 01, 2016 11:18 am by M. in , , , , ,    No comments
The Craven Herald & Pioneer announces a programme of free events celebrating the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë in Lancashire:
Events will bring to life the places just over the border that inspired her writing, including the atmospheric village of Wycoller with its ruined hall – the real Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre.
Pendle neighbours the Brontë moors, and so Pendle Council is launching a programme of 21 events from today until October 30 to mark the anniversary.
Pendle Council’s Brontë enthusiast, Sarah Lee, co-ordinated the programme, working with Pendle’s tourism officer, walk leaders, artists, photographers and storytellers to bring the area’s Brontë connections to life.
She said: “It’s often forgotten that Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne often walked across the border over the moors into Lancashire.
“Charlotte knew this area well, drawing inspiration from the landscape, turbulent histories, local news and Lancashire folklore.”
Tourism officer Mike Williams agreed, saying: “Pendle in Lancashire is little-known for its Brontë connections, but they are compelling.” (Daryl Ames)
The list of events can be found on the Visit Pendle website. The first one is today, May 1:
Sun 1 May 11am – 1pm
Walk in the footsteps of Charlotte Brontë
4 mile walk exploring Wycoller’s Brontë associations.
Meet leader John Crow at the Aisled Barn
Wycoller, BB8 8SU grid ref SD 933391
No need to book. Tel. 01282 870253.
The Daily Mail in the footsteps of literary giants:
They say it's grim up north - and this walk across the Yorkshire Moors does nothing to disprove the theory. The landscape might be uplifting, but the poets and novelists it has inspired were almost all gloom-mongers. Don’t say you weren’t warned...
We start at Haworth Parsonage – two centuries ago the home of the Brontës.
It was here Charlotte wrote the gloomily romantic Jane Eyre, Anne wrote the fierily feminist Agnes Grey, and the depressive Emily wrote the gothic nightmare that is Wuthering Heights.
Is it already time to do what Branwell, brother of the three sisters, did every night and slope off to the Black Bull for a gallon or two?
 Not if you want to make it across the moors, it isn’t. So instead, make your way across to the church, next door to the Parsonage, and take the footpath that skirts the graveyard and leads on to the Brontë Way.
This takes you across Penistone Hill and on to Haworth Moor – the terrifyingly beautiful landscape that inspired Emily’s novel.
An hour or so in, just after joining the Pennine Way, you come to the ruins of Top Withens Farm – thought by many to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
When the wind blows the trees (as it usually does here) you feel ‘the intense horror of nightmare’ as Cathy knocks at the window: ‘Let me in – let me in.’ And let me out of here! (Christopher Bray)
The Times is concerned about how much Jane Eyre should have paid in taxes today for her inheritance:
Reader, I married him, but Osborne clobbered me for £600,000
Our great literary heroines and heroes are forever inheriting fortunes, but how much tax would they have to pay on them today?
“‘Twenty thousand pounds?’ Here was a new stunner — I had been calculating on four or five thousand. This news actually took my breath for a moment.”
So says Jane Eyre, the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s debut novel, on learning she has inherited a fortune from her Uncle John. She is shocked that she alone will receive the full £20,000 but soon realises it will be a “grand boon”.
An inheritance of £20,000 would still be a boon, but when Jane Eyre was published in 1847 it was a vast sum — equivalent to about £1.9m today. (Ruth Emery)
BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please latest programme includes a poem by Charlotte Brontë: Parting.
Roger McGough marks a series of poetic anniversaries with a programme on the theme of time, memory and remembrance. Shakespeare, of course, makes an appearance, as does Charlotte Brontë. It's also a century since the Easter Rising in Dublin inspired WB Yeats and others to put pen to paper. More reflections on time and memory come from poets including TS Eliot and Thomas Hardy. Producer Sally Heaven.
DNA (India) has an article on the Elena Ferrante mystery:
Women writers, especially, have tended to take on masculine-sounding names because they perceive a male bias among publishers and readers. Think of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), or the Brontë sisters who wrote first as Currer (Charlotte), Acton (Anne) and Ellis (Emily) Bell. But a famous and recent example of this is E.L. James, Erika Leonard in real life, who took on the gender neutral initials because she felt that Fifty Shades of Grey's sexual content would be better accepted coming from a male writer. (Gargi Gupta)
Página 12 (Argentina) explores the life and works of Cynthia Ozick:
Desplazamiento, soledad y pertenencia: tres sensaciones que experimentó cuando comenzó a leer esos cuentos mágicos, y volvió a experimentar más tarde al meterse en la retorcida Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brontë, y más tarde cuando los poetas románticos la hicieron llorar en el baño de su casa. (Fernando Krapp) (Translation)
Electric Lit is re-reading Jane Eyre; Confesiunile unei iubitoare de cărţi (in Romanian) blogs and Jen Campbell and Emily Hornburg vlog about Jane Eyre;  Create with Joy reviews Rita Maria Martinez's The Jane and Bertha in Me; Blissful Blog reviews Patricia Park's Re Jane; Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) has a new imagined Brontë portrait using paintings by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans; Mind the Gap (in French) reviews the French translation of Jolien Janzing's De MeesterWritergurlny reviews Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy; Multicatable posts about Wide Sargasso Sea.
A new retelling of Jane Eyre and a German audiobook of Charlotte Brontë's novel:
Rochester: A memoir
by Cara Holmes
Publisher: Legend Books; 1st edition (2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0997274103

Since 1947 when Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre first appeared on bookstore shelves, fans have read and reread this beloved story of a penniless governess and her brooding mysterious master. They have listened to the demonic laughter and waited anxiously beside Miss Eyre in her master's burned bedroom while he disappeared into hidden third floor rooms without explanation. They have borne his moods, basked in his rare smiles, puzzled at his mercurial personality changes, and despite themselves, fell in love with Edward Fairfax Rochester right along with Jane. In this journal, adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel, Jane Eyre, Rochester tells his story with unflinching honesty. From his barren childhood of privilege to his tragic first marriage he allows readers into his innermost soul, where they fall in love with him all over again.

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
Read by Sylvester Groth, Sascha Maria Icks, Christian Redl
Hörbuch CD
Random House
ISBN: 978-3-8445-2067-5

Zum 200. Geburtstag von Charlotte Brontë am 21. April 2016: Der romantische Klassiker als Hörspiel

„Ich bin kein Vogel, und kein Netz umgarnt mich, ich bin ein freier Mensch mit einem freien Willen – das werde ich zeigen, indem ich Sie verlasse“, sagt Jane Eyre zu dem Mann, den sie liebt. Christiane Ohaus hat den romantischen Klassiker in ein akustisches Universum verwandelt, mit genialer Leichtigkeit greifen Musik, Geräusche und schauspielerische Gestaltung ineinander. Mit Sascha Icks als Jane Eyre, die sich zwischen ihrer Liebe und ihrer Selbstständigkeit entscheiden muss, mit Christian Redl als mürrisch-liebenswertem Landedelmann und Sylvester Groth als seinem Konkurrenten bleibt auch der kleinste Zwischenton von Charlotte Brontës großem Roman bewahrt.
(3 CDs, Laufzeit: 3h 50)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Samantha Ellis reviews Reader, I Married Him in The Guardian:
Right from its dedication – “For Charlotte, of course” – affection and intimacy pervade this collection of 21 short stories, all by women, inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s most famous line. (All apart from Susan Hill, who contrarily reveals in her contributor’s note that she has not read Jane Eyre.) For the editor, Tracy Chevalier, Jane’s declaration is the defiant cry of the underdog, thrilling because it is so far from the more passive constructions we might expect; it is not “Reader, he married me”, or even “Reader, we married”. In Chevalier’s own story, “Dorset Gap”, Jenn spurns Ed by pointedly summarising Jane Eyre as a novel about “a governess full of inner strength who marries a completely inappropriate man”. Ed proves his inappropriateness by confusing the novel with Wuthering Heights, and loses more ground by admitting that he always thought the Kate Bush song was called “Waterproof Eyes”. But he finally breaks the ice by misquoting the crucial line as “Reader, she married me” – and she laughs so hard that we wonder if one day she will. (...)
These stories will enrich and complicate future readings of Jane Eyre, as the best fan fiction should. It’s a testament to Brontë’s novel that we still can’t stop talking about it, fighting about it and writing around it; that so many writers want to imagine their way into it. If Brontë was going to drop in on any of the celebrations for her bicentenary, I can’t help but think she would get a kick out of this collection. After all, Jane Eyre arose from just such a liberated way of thinking about storytelling, from long nights at the parsonage with the three sisters walking round and round the table, writing and rewriting each other’s stories, in the best writers’ workshop that ever was.
The Harrogate Advertiser has an article on a local Brontë trail:
Our trail begins as we walk along Main Street, heading for St Mary’s Church. Then left through the churchyard, which contains a railed obelisk in memory of Dr John Crosby, a good friend of Branwell’s.
Following country lanes and a short stretch of road we turn onto Mill Lane. In 1842, at Long Plantation, Anne Brontë wrote her three-verse poem “Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day”, which was published in 1846 under her pen-name of Acton Bell.
Kirby Hall was demolished in the 1920s but in the distance some of the service buildings can still be seen. It was still a fine Palladian-style mansion when Anne used it as an influence for Ashby Hall in her novel Agnes Grey, published in 1847. (To shorten the walk, take the bridleway from Low Farm up to Thorpe Green Lane and turn right towards Great Ouseburn.)
Beyond Low Farm we use a footpath, known in Anne’s day as Bowsers Lane which emerges at Thorp Head, close to the River Ouse. Branwell Brontë’s poem Lydia Gisborne begins “On Ouse’s grassy banks – last Whitsuntide, I sat, with fears and pleasures, in my soul commingled, as it ‘roamed without control’…”.
Moss Hill Lane was Moss Lane in Agnes Grey and at its junction with Thorpe Green Lane we can just glimpse Monks’ Lodge above a tall wall, where Branwell stayed.
A sketch he did of the building still survives. (Read more)
HistoryExtra carries an article about the Brontës and contemporary wars (the subject of last year's exhibition at the Parsonage):
The Brontës at war: how Charlotte and Branwell brought Waterloo into their drawing room
One of the most celebrated literary families of the 19th century, the Brontës were part of a post-war generation, with Charlotte Brontë, the eldest child, born in 1816, a year after the decisive battle of Waterloo. What impact, then, did the Napoleonic Wars have on the Brontës’ early literature? (...)
he defeat of Napoleon in 1815 marked the end of a seemingly relentless war and left a stunned Europe reflecting not only on the sensational elements of conflict, but also the horrors.
The Brontë family’s local Yorkshire landscape saw multitudes of soldiers return from battle overseas, suffering physical and psychological damage and confined to the economic limitations of half-pay – an allowance soldiers received when in retirement or not in service. Within its family home, Haworth parsonage, the family’s father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë, remained a military fanatic. Although trained in the church he held a lifelong obsession with the Napoleonic Wars, passing onto Charlotte his hero worship of the Duke of Wellington.
The British writers of the day thought the early 19th century to be dull and uneventful. The future prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, famously stated in his 1826 novel Vivian Grey, “if it wasn’t for the general election, we really must have a war for variety’s sake. Peace gets quite a bore”.
The newspapers and periodicals of the day were saturated with war commentary. They ignored the monotony of the present and lingered on the shadows of Britain’s military past. Wellington and Napoleon especially dominated the media. Their rivalry was sensationalised and very quickly engrained into cultural mythology: Wellington as a hero; Napoleon as a tortured, evil genius.
The Brontë family’s favourite periodical, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, especially dramatised the relationship between Wellington and Napoleon. One commentator stated that Wellington had conquered Napoleon by “simple manly heroism”; another said that “they struggled like two giants for ascendency”. In short, throughout the 1820s and 1830s the air was still abuzz with war. This buzz filtered right through the core of Britain’s social fabric and straight into the Brontës’ imaginations. (Read more) (Emma Butcher)
The Ilkley Gazette talks about the Otley Cycle Club's recent participation in the Brontë200 celebrations:
Six riders took flowers from Thornton, where the writer was born on April 21, 1816, to Haworth, where she and her gifted family lived for most of their lives.
The symbolic ride over the moors to Haworth Parsonage was part of a hectic day of celebrations to mark the anniversary last Thursday.
The club was asked to get involved by the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and was delighted to accept.
Press secretary, Jill Birch, said: "One wreath was laid at St James's Church in Thornton and we carried the other one to be laid at the Parsonage, so we travelled from where she was born to where she lived.
"It was quite a tough ride up and around the moors, but I'm so glad we took part. It was lovely and the Parsonage was so busy when we arrived – just full of people and cameras – so it was pretty exciting.
"It was a great experience. We've done so many different things in the past couple of years we'd never have got involved with if we weren't members of the cycling club."
Brontë Parsonage Museum marketing officer, Rebecca Yorke, added: "We wanted to have some way of bringing flowers from Thornton to Haworth for Charlotte's birthday, and by bicycle seemed a nice way to do it. (Jim Jack)
The Wharfedale Observer has an update on the rehearsals of the upcoming Northern Ballet Jane Eyre production:
[Cathy Marston says] “When I think of Jane I feel inspired by images of her passionate but 'impossible' relationship with Mr Rochester; the fire and emotional destruction symbolised by Bertha Mason, the infamous 'woman in the attic'; the contrasting icy moorland through which she seems to run from one chapter of her life to another; and of course her final reunion with Rochester. (David Knights)
The Books and Arts programme of Radio National ABC (Australia) interviews Claire Harman.

Sarah Dunant talks about the disappearing art of handwriting in BBC Radio4's A Point of View 
In the archive of the Brontë parsonage in Haworth I recently saw an extraordinary letter. The sisters wrote constantly, and because paper and postage was expensive, they eked out every bit of space. In 1849 Anne, just diagnosed with TB and eager to go to Scarborough for the air wrote to a friend of the family's there - a fine and precise script leaving an equal gap between every word, so that when the page was full she could turn it at right angles and insert new lines inside the space left. This "crossed letter" as it's known, is the last she wrote. She and Charlotte went to Scarborough soon after but she died a few weeks later. So much unlived life in those cramped lines. (Source)
KCUR interviews the leading actors (who are also a couple in real life: Alisha and Matt Richardson) in a current production of Jane Eyre. The Musical in Mission, Kansas:
"Our comfort level with each other has allowed the chemistry on stage and the story to really grow, I think, at a more rapid pace than it would had we been strangers," says Alisha. "You get to the kissing, and it's like, no big deal, we can just kiss and move on."
"Rochester is a little bit more of a jerk than I am, at least, maybe," jokes Matt. "But I kind of come around at the end of the show: The softer side of Rochester comes out, and he really shows his love for her. And I think that's something that I can really relate to. Being on stage with my wife, and being able to look at her, while I'm saying these things." (Laura Spencer)
Do you need reasons to visit Yorkshire. In the Daily Express they have some:
Explore Haworth, the Yorkshire village on the edge of the Pennine Moors where the Brontë sisters grew up and were inspired by the countryside around them. Charlotte Brontë is most famous for penning Jane Eyre while Emily wrote Wuthering Heights. The home where they grew up, The Parsonage, is open to the public and shows how it would have looked when they lived there. (Anne Gorringe)
Oliver Kamm quotes Villette's use of 'fulsome' in today's Pedant column in The Times.

The wonders of a school library in Education Week:
I grew up reading—at the school library, on the bookmobile, at the comic book store, at home next to the heater under the piano. As a girl, I found pieces of myself in the characters of Ramona, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, Jo March, Harriet the Spy, Jane Eyre. (Megan McDonald)
Onirik (France) presents the book Les Soeurs Brontë à 20 ans by Stéphane Labbé:
La collection A 20 ans impose un format court et concis, qui s’attarde sur la jeunesse d’un auteur. C’est donc tout naturellement que l’on retrouve, dans le premier chapitre, une toute jeune Charlotte Brontë, sur le point de rejoindre l’école où elle va prendre son premier poste d’enseignante. Elle n’a aucune envie de partir, mais n’a d’autre choix, car les finances de la famille sont très faibles. (...)
Dans cette biographie vivante, Stéphane Labbé retrace pour nous ces destinées exceptionnelles, qui restent cependant encore bien mystérieuses. Mais il lève assurément un pan du voile, grâce à ses recherches rigoureuses et son analyse fine des oeuvres des soeurs Brontë. (Claire Saim) (Translation)
It's hard for us to take the rigor of the biography seriously judging by the rigor of its cover.

Infobae (Argentina) interviews the writer Mariana Enríquez:
El año pasado se cumplieron veinte años de su primera novela, Bajar es lo peor. ¿Qué sucedió en estas dos décadas en su escritura? (Matías Méndez)
—Como publiqué muy chica la primera vez, tenía veinte años, lo que ocurre es que esa primera novela era una novela realista y de realismo sucio juvenil, con drogas, noche y toda esa historia, peTranslation)
ro también tenía elementos de novela romántica tipo Cumbres borrascosas y alguna cosa de vampiros. (
Cultura e Culture (Italy) reviews the Italian translation of Lyndall Gordon's Charlotte Brontë. A Passionate Life; Bustle lists bookish baby names, including Jane; L'ivre des rêves (in French) reviews Wuthering HeightsSheferijm - Ajatuksia kirjoista! (in Finnish) posts bout Jane Eyre. ZSR's rare book of the month is
ZSR Special Collections’ copy of the first edition of Jane Eyre was part of Charles H. Babcock’s collection and is currently on view in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room (ZSR625) as part of the exhibit Books and Bibliophiles at Wake Forest.
12:20 am by M. in , ,    No comments
An alert for today, March 30:
Charlotte Brontë Birthday Bash! at Central
Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233
Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Celebrate the 200th Birthday of Charlotte Brontë! 2016 marks the bicentenary of the birth of novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë, most well known for her masterpiece Jane Eyre.  Join us for music, Victorian crafts and a presentation by UW-Milwaukee Associate Professor of English, Sukanya Banerjee on Charlotte's life, career and nineteenth century England.Event begins at 2 p.m. Presentation at 2:30 p.m.
Location: Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Economist's Prospero has an article on Charlotte Brontë's education - of all kinds - in Brussels.
To her contemporaries, Charlotte Brontë came across as a “little, plain, provincial, sickly-looking old maid”. They were misguided; a retiring disposition and thick spectacles disguised the novelist’s passionate inner life. Brontë, born 200 years ago this month, endowed her heroines, particularly Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe, with similar disguises—their simple gowns cloaking an ardour for love and sex. But while Brontë is known for writing impassioned, even angry, moral romances, what has passed by largely unnoticed is her facility to write erotica. That it was inspired by true occurrences makes the fiction all the more arresting.
In February 1842 Charlotte and Emily Brontë, seeking to improve their French and broaden their vistas, sailed for Belgium. The sisters were headed for the Pensionnat Héger, a boarding school located in a sunken, cobbled street in Brussels, run by Madame Zoe Héger and her husband Constantin. Emily was gone in less than a year. But for Charlotte, these gothic environs were life changing. She made prodigious strides as a writer and learned to temper her overwrought outpourings. It was also where her heart was broken.
The dark-haired, blue-eyed, cigar-smoking Constantin Héger was the cause. Seven years older than the 26-year-old Charlotte, he dressed in black and had a temper to match. But he was a gifted teacher who quickly recognised the extraordinary talent of his English pupils. Flinty Emily rejected his impress, but emollient Charlotte fell under his spell. As “his anger fiercely flamed,” she blossomed under his glower. Teacher and student began to exchange long pedagogic letters discussing Charlotte’s French exercises. Soon, Héger was leaving books in her desk. (N.M.) (Read more)
The Sydney Morning Herald writes 'In praise of Charlotte Bronte and the greatness of her work'.
They gave Charlotte Brontë a lovely 200th birthday party last week in the Yorkshire village of Haworth, her old stamping ground. There were church services and floral tributes delivered on a bicycle by the Otley Ladies Cycling Club. They baked cakes for her, and pupils from the primary school performed scenes from Jane Eyre.
The novelist, Tracy Chevalier, a huge fan of Charlotte, gave a talk at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, which is staging an exhibition, Charlotte Great and Small. Chevalier, a creative partner in the exhibition, says she chose to display tiny things in Charlotte's life – shoes, a scrap of dress, the miniature books made by the Brontë children – alongside quotes voicing her big desires.
It sounds charming, and I'm sure Charlotte would have enjoyed it. As fine a way to pay tribute as any. But how do you capture the essence of Charlotte and her astonishing books – in particular, Jane Eyre – in any birthday celebration? (Jane Sullivan) (Read more)
This was announced coinciding with Charlotte's birthday, but it's worth reporting it again. From Keighley News:
Historic England has relisted seven buildings that witnessed the life of Charlotte Brontë.
The organisation has updated the buildings – including the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth – to mark the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth.
They include the properties that inspired Charlotte’s most famous novel, Jane Eyre, and the house where she contracted a fatal illness.
The buildings were already on the National Heritage List for England, but now their entries fully acknowledge the important history of the novelist.
Historic England spokesman, Eric Branse-Instone, said: “We are glad to be able to celebrate and mark the history of this important novelist on the National Heritage List for England.
“These buildings help to tell the story of Charlotte Brontë’s life and the inspiration of her work."
The Haworth Parsonage, where Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne grew up and wrote her novels, is a Grade I listed building.
Stone Gappe, in Lothersdale, which is listed Grade II, is thought to be the inspiration for Gateshead Hall – the unhappy childhood home of Jane Eyre. Charlotte was a governess there for a short time in 1839.
The Rev Patrick Brontë was curate of the Chapel of St James, also known as Old Bell Chapel, in Thornton, and his three literary daughters were baptised there.
Number 74 Market Street in Thornton was the birthplace of the Brontë sisters. North Lees Hall in Derbyshire was the ancestral home of the real-life Eyre family, and boasts the real-life story of a mad woman who was kept in an upstairs room, giving her the inspiration for the novel.
The Grade II listed vicarage in the village of Hathersage was immortalised in Jane Eyre as Morton village.
Charlotte caught a chill whilst walking in the grounds of Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, and it is thought this led to her death in 1855. (David Knights)
While they are at it, something could be done about Wycoller Hall, also of importance in the Brontë story, where - remember - Lancashire County Council is planning on stopping 'the management, maintenance and ranger service'.

Among the '14 things to do in the Bradford area this May Day bank holiday weekend' listed by The Telegraph and Argus, there's this for today:
The Brontë Parsonage Museum is celebrating the life of Charlotte Brontë with a special tour as part of the 'Parsonage Unwrapped' series, at 7.30pm. Tickets £15 / £12 concessions and Brontë Society members (proof of membership required) - includes a glass of wine. (David Jagger)
Express gives the 'top 10 reasons to visit Yorkshire', which include
6. Explore Haworth, the Yorkshire village on the edge of the Pennine Moors where the Brontë sisters grew up and were inspired by the countryside around them. Charlotte Brontë is most famous for penning Jane Eyre while Emily wrote Wuthering Heights. The home where they grew up, The Parsonage, is open to the public and shows how it would have looked when they lived there.  (Anne Gorringe)
The Daily Mail asks writer Freya North about books.
. . . would you take to a desert island?
Jane Eyre is just so devastatingly romantic — they literally go through fire for love. I read that you won’t understand true love until you’ve read it.
Writer Amanda Jennings tells The Irish Times her trick for coping with bad reviews:
What weight do you give reviews? I would be lying if I said I didn’t read them. I do. The harsh ones undoubtedly hurt. But if I do get one that isn’t great – a one- or two-star – I look up a book I love, perhaps The Book Thief or The Kite Runner or Jane Eyre, and read the one- and two-stars for that. It helps put things into perspective. If the very best books in the world can attract poor reviews, then why am I worrying about mine? Reading is highly subjective and differing opinions go with the territory. If a book is going to move some readers then it is just as likely to grate with others.
Broadway World reviews the production of Jane Eyre the Musical at Hale Center Theater Orem.
Kenna Lynn Smith as Jane Eyre (double cast with Elizabeth Dabczynski-Bean) splendidly depicts the inner turmoil of her character and sings the impactful score with beauty.
Her husband, David Matthew Smith, is the understudy for Edward Rochester (played at most performances by Equity performer Dallyn Vail Bayles). He gamely attacks the role and succeeds in winning over the audience.
Rachel Bigler deserves special recognition for her delicious portrayal of Rochester's fiancé, Blanche Ingram (double cast with Alicia Pann).
Also making a wonderful impression are Lynne Bronson as Mrs. Fairfax (double cast with Melany Wilkins), Alex DeBirk as St. John Rivers (double cast with David Matthew Smith), and Malia Mackay as Grace Poole (single cast).
Some of the dialect pronunciation is spot on, but unfortunately many of the actors' accents were hit-or-miss throughout the reviewed performance.
The music direction by Justin Bills and sound design by Cody Hale keep the music and dialogue sounding their best and add a thrilling aural ambiance to the proceedings.
The costume design by MaryAnn Hill (assisted by Patti Glad), along with the hair and makeup design by Janna Larsen (assisted by Heather Jones), are striking and appropriate.
The scenic design by Bobby Swenson and Cole McClure and companion lighting design (by Swenson) and projection design (by McClure) are artistic and captivating. The visuals of the production are sometimes haunting, sometimes glowing--encapsulating the wide range and depth of emotion in the piece.
Interesting stage pictures from director Christopher Clark and choreographer Cory Stephens heighten and intensify this emotion, resulting in a very satisfying production. (Tyler Hinton)
The Orion recommends Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele and GraphoMania (Italy) recommends Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair among other books about books. Sandy Docherty on Baking Down Barriers posts about the cake she made for the Brontë200 birthday celebration at the Parsonage. Kevd'r (in Slovenian) posts about Charlotte Brontë. Rapsodia Literaria (in Spanish) reviews Wuthering Heights.