Friday, May 29, 2015

Jane Eyre is Kitty Pryde

Keighley News reports on the recent Museums at Night event.

Meanwhile a host of Brontë fans took the opportunity to visit the Parsonage Museum in Haworth after-hours as part of the annual national festival. [...]
Literature fans were able to experience the Brontë Parsonage as the famous siblings did, when the building was lit by candlelight.
The Brontë Society’s museum opened for separate events on two evenings as this year’s contribution to Museums at Night.
On the first night visitors were treated to a glass of wine as they arrived, then they viewed some of the museum’s treasures by candlelight.
Collections manager Ann Dinsdale invited visitors into the library, where she talked about some of the interesting items and artefacts belonging to the Brontë family.
On the following night visitors were able to have a chat with Charlotte Brontë’s friend Ellen Nussey, played by a costumed actress, while looking around the museum.
Among the visitors were the Routh family, Francesca, James, Angela and Michael, from Pudsey, who had travelled to Haworth specifically for the event.
James said: “It’s the first time I’ve visited for many years, but it’s been a fantastic evening.
“Seeing the museum like this is a unique and atmospheric experience, and the live interpretation brought it all the more to life.”
Rebecca Yorke, marketing and communications officer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, was delighted with the response to the evening openings.
She said: “It felt very special being in the museum as darkness fell and the candlelight definitely added to the atmosphere.
“Our visitors agreed it was a very intimate event and we look forward to offering more opportunities to experience the museum after hours.”(David Knights)
Scotland's The National lists Wuthering Heights 2009 among the things to watch on TV this week.
Surely every period novel has been made into several costume dramas and Hollywood films, and we all know what the essential ingredients are: bonnets, blushes and gentlemen. Wuthering Heights contains none of those, being a harsh and brutal story. It’s set in the eighteenth century, and so it’s officially a “period drama” but that’s where the similarities end; there is no mistaking this for soppy Jane Austen nonsense.
Emily Bronte’s novel contains violence, rape and domestic abuse, and no-one is pretty or polite. In fact, thosewho may display genteel behaviours are soon shown to be weak and ridiculous, because you need harshness in your blood to survive on the moors.
This 2009 TV dramatisation stars Tom Hardy as the vengeful Heathcliff and Charlotte Riley as impetuous Cathy, and the two lovers bring havoc, misery and death to all and sundry unfortunate enough to be around them. Andrew Lincoln plays Edgar, Cathy’s soft husband, who has no idea what he is getting involved in when he asks her to marry him.
I say that it’s the greatest novel ever written and this version is a good attempt at capturing it on camera. (Julie McDowall)
This adaptation is also mentioned on's list of 'The Fourteen Sexiest Ghosts Ever'.
We'll Wuther Your Heights Any Day... Whatever That Means
Charlotte Riley stunned as Catherine in the 2009 version of Wuthering Heights. Although Catherine haunts her former lover, Heathcliff, in his dreams, all we could really pay attention to is just how gorgeous Riley is in the modern Emily Bronte adaption. (Cori Rosen)
NewsOK mentions the 2011 adaptation:
Although I didn't initially fall in love with it, Arnold's 2011 version of “Wuthering Heights” has haunted me in the past few years, so I'm eager to see what she has in mind for her partially Oklahoma-made film. (Brandy McDonnell)
And this is how The Fresno Bee describes the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd:
The formula: Begin a slow walk through “Wuthering Heights.” Takes some hasty steps through “The Great Gatsby.” Finish your trek with a bit of “Sense and Sensibility.” 
The London Evening Standard features singer Florence Welch:
A couple of times she breaks into song — once to demonstrate Etta James’ ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’, her voice swooping sweetly, which she belted out to hook her manager Mairead Nash in the ladies loo at a gig. Another time, we sing Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ — ‘So coh — oh-oh-ld, let me into your window...’ together. Yes, she did get to see the singer to whom she is often compared and describes the performance as ‘very out there. Very performance art and amazing.’ (Ginny Dougary)
Bustle reveals who 10 literary characters would become if they were superheroes. Apparently, Jane Eyre would be Kitty Pryde.
Jane Eyre is so subtly strong. Her strength isn’t like the brashness of a Jo March, but it’s definitely there. She manages to tough it out through an abusive childhood home, an equally miserable orphanage , and finally through the heartbreak with Mr. Rochester. In each situation, she breaks through the circumstance and emerges in a better and better situation… all without breaking much of anything actually. So, who’s a better comparison than Kitty Pryde who can phase through walls and barriers? Also, you can’t tell me that the brutish powers of Kitty’s romantic interest Colossus isn’t a kind of perfect match for Mr. Rochester’s brazen manner. (Crystal Paul)
Fashion label Suno finds its inspiration in literature, according to San Francisco Gate.
Their culturally literate collections (spring 2015 was inspired by artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Louise Bourgeois; fall by Bertha Mason, the imprisoned first wife of Mr. Rochester in “Jane Eyre”) are less interested in insta-trends and more focused on creating seasonless, occasionless options for its fans, including first lady Michelle Obama. (Tony Bravo)
The walk of the week suggested by the Craven Herald and Pioneer has Brontë connections:
Good views, gritstone outcrops, Brontë moorland, patchwork fields, wooded valleys and a hidden waterfall feature on this energetic circular walk.
This week's walk starts at the Wycoller Country Park Haworth Road car park at Height Laithe, which is approached from Laneshaw Bridge, on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border not far from the historic market town of Colne. [...]
The ruined Wycoller Hall is believed to have been the inspiration for Ferndean Manor, in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre.
Wycoller is on the Brontë Way, which stretches from Lancashire into Yorkshire. (Lindsey Moore)
The Telegraph shows some classic novels being tweeted with hashtags. The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shows experts from the Quilters' Guild exaining a quilt made by the Brontë sisters.

Brontë Society Gazette. Issue 66

The latest issue of The Brontë Society Gazette is now out (Issue 66. April 2015. ISSN 1344-5940).


Letter from the Editor by Belinda Hakes
Letter from the Chairman by Alexandra Leslie, Chairman, The Brontë Society Council
Brontë Society Summer Festival incorporating the Brontë Society AGM. Friday 5 June - Monday 8 June 2015
The Parsonage welcomes home one of the most significant literary artefacts of the 19th century
Bicentenary Conference
An interview with artist Amanda White by Nick Holland, freelance copy editor and author
The Brontë Society presents new exhibition to mark the Battle of Waterloo
My missing link: a visit to Patrick Brontë's homeland in Co. Down, Northern Ireland - tracing the Brontë family roots! by Marina Saegerman, 15 August 2014
John Martin: A Brontë Inspiration? by Margaret Mills, Adult Education Lecutrer in History, Art History and English Literature
Laudanum by Christine Went
Membership News: A new welcome to Linda Ling, our new Membership Officer; New online facilities; Website; Dates for your diary
Dyddgu Pritchard Owens. Died 12 August 2014 aged 84 by Margaret McCarthy and Beth Cunningham
Why I love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Hannah Hobson, student at Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Windswept locations

Today marks, of course, the anniversary of the death of Anne Brontë in 1849. Scotsman remembers it among other anniversaries.

The Guardian has an interesting article on Virginia Woolf's long-lasting influence. One of the remarks made is that,

It was a similar story in Katie Mitchell’s 2006 innovative stage adaptation, Waves, which lost the definitive article and introduced the author as an on-stage character. There was much to love in Waves, but having “Virginia” narrating maudlin passages from her diaries as well as from the source novel presented the two as interchangeable. Once again, Woolf was brought back to life only to focus on her death.
This is a rare and curious phenomenon. While novels re-animating dead authors are a staple of modern publishing (this year alone, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot and Dorothy Parker have had the treatment), placing the author within adaptations of their fiction is unusual. You don’t see Charles Dickens wandering through television versions of Bleak House. (Holly Williams)
Patricia Park speaks about her novel Re Jane on Radio Alice. PopCrush selects the best songs of the year so far and one of them is Can't Deny My Love by Brandon Flowers which apparently
listens like a recitation of Jane Eyre over the latest voice-modulation software: It’s a classic love story told across a modern synth-pop landscape, and with a beat tailor-made by drummer Darren Beckett, you’d be hard-pressed to lose your page. "You can run to the hillside / And you can close your eyes / But you're not gonna, not gonna deny / No you're not gonna, not gonna deny my love," Flowers pleads as intensity mounts. Who are we to disagree? (Matthew Donnelly)
The Cornish Guardian features Cloudbusting, a Kate Bush tribute band.
Mandy added: "I've always been a fan, ever since I saw Wuthering Heights on television. I used to be in my bedroom with a hairbrush singing along to The Man With The Child In His Eyes. I still can't believe I've got the opportunity to do this." (Lee Trewhela)
Derry Now tells the story of Prehen House:
Wuthering Heights’ fans will feel at home in Prehen House, one of the North West’s most historic buildings, with stories both steeped in romantic tragedy set in windswept hilltop locations.
Strong parallels have been drawn between the legend of Prehen House and Emily Brontë’s classic English novel having similar core themes, the destructive effect of jealousy and vengefulness.
The Telegraph and Argus alerts us to today's activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Brontës for Beginners gives a short introduction to the literary sisters and three of their classic novels – Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The 2pm talk will take place within Haworth's Parsonage Museum if wet or in the adjoining churchyard if fine.
And at 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm, there will be storytelling with Christine McMahon.
All activities are free with admission to the museum. (Alistair Shand)

Jane Eyre. Repackaged for a new generation

Or so they say the people of Simon & Schuster about their new Jane Eyre paperback:

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
ISBN: 9781471142505
Format: Paperback (April 2015)
Publisher:Simon & Schuster Ltd

Jane Eyre is a young governess who takes up a position at Thornfield Hall. Before long, she and her employer, Edward Rochester, fall in love. But everything is not as it seems when strange events occur: a mysterious fire, a random attack and eerie noises sound from the top-floor of the country manor. Charlotte Bronte's extraordinary novel is a coming-of-age story about one of the most enduring female characters of all time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Many moons away from the future Charlotte Brontë imagined

The New York Times has writers Zoë Heller and Dana Stevens 'debate the merit of literary prizes for which only women compete'. Dana Sevens recalls Charlotte Brontë's words.

In August 1849, Charlotte Brontë wrote a letter to her publisher, W. S. Williams, in response to a review of her wildly successful novel, “Jane Eyre.” Like her sisters, Emily and Anne — both of whom, along with their alcoholic brother, Branwell, Charlotte had just lost to tuberculosis over the course of one terrible year — the eldest Brontë sister published her work under a gender-­ambiguous pseudonym. The runaway success of “Jane Eyre” — published the same year as Emily’s and Anne’s novels “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey” — had sparked a broad debate about the identities of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Were they one individual writing under several names — a rumor that was, at one point, deliberately circulated by Emily and Anne’s publisher in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of their sister’s best seller? Most of all, speculation raged about the Bells’ gender. One smitten woman wrote Brontë’s publisher wishing to know if Currer Bell was a man — if so, she confessed, she must surely be in love with him.
“Much of the article is clever,” Brontë writes of an essay on “Jane Eyre” in the North British Review, “and yet there are remarks which — for me — rob it of importance. . . . He says, ‘if “Jane Eyre” be the production of a woman — she must be a woman unsexed.’ ” This conditional objection to the novel’s bewitching narrative power — if a woman wrote this, then either she, the book or both must be somehow unnatural — stands as an invaluable example of Victorian-era mansplaining. But in their presupposition that male writing and female writing occupy two separate and circumscribable domains, Brontë’s indignant critics also betray an essentialist logic that’s arguably still present today (if reversed) in the rationale for gender-specific prizes like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
I don’t mean to sound flippant about either women writers or gynocentric literary prizes — I am one of the former, and would have a hard time saying no to one of the latter, especially if cash and Baileys were involved. But if I were to be lucky enough to receive such an honor (and doesn’t the power of prizes persist in part because of the appeal of such ­acceptance-speech fantasies?), a tiny part of me would want to take the podium and say something like Charlotte Brontë’s reply to her critics in that righteous yet humble letter: “To you I am neither Man nor Woman — I come before you as an Author only — it is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me — the sole ground on which I accept your judgment.”
We are still many moors away from the egalitarian future of literary judgment that Brontë imagined 166 years ago, where authors might make their debut behind a gender-neutral curtain and be evaluated on their writing alone. Maybe for a century or more to come, we’ll continue to need cultural spaces in which “women’s writing” is protected and encouraged to flourish as something separate from “men’s.” But that same small part of me fears that the gated-off arena can too easily become a prison. There’s something ironic, and a little depressing, in the fact that the digital archive of a major American university now displays the poems of the boldly gender-­ambiguous, literary-drag-­wearing Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell under the festively decorated but irredeemably patronizing heading “A Celebration of Women Writers.”
The Albany Democrat-Herald reports that
A committee organized to review the use of a dystopian novel in a West Albany High School English class has recommended the book stay in the classroom.
Jason Hay, the director of curriculum for secondary schools and the representative of the committee, forwarded his recommendation about Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" to the Democrat-Herald on Tuesday.
The novel depicts a grim future controlled by a misogynistic religious sect that sets aside select women as "handmaids;" breeders for the powerful men who control the society.
Katrina Montgomery, whose son is a senior in the AP English class using the novel, said her son reviewed the notes on the book and said he felt it would be too disturbing to read. Montgomery researched the title and spoke with friends who are educators and librarians and said she agreed. She filed her complaint earlier this month. [...]
Montgomery said she wouldn't restrict the book from general use but doesn't feel it should be assigned reading. She acknowledged that teacher Blain Willard had provided "Jane Eyre" as an alternative but said she didn't feel Willard weighted the two books fairly when presenting them as a choice.
Nine students chose "Jane Eyre" and 71 chose "The Handmaid's Tale." (Jennifer Moody)
Onto more interesting students now, as My San Antonio features the district's seniors who are going to be Gates Millennium Scholars. One of them is
 Jessica Redmon, 18, from Sam Houston High School [...], who’s set on UT-Austin and wants to become a poet or screenwriter, said she found a safe haven in literature as a kid.
“My mother’s drug addiction affected me. I had to live with my grandmother in Galveston as a kid,” she said. “My grandmother raised me, gave me strength…and every week she would go to Goodwill, buy any books that looked interesting.
“I was reading Jane Eyre, ‘The Secret Garden,’ not knowing these were classics. That reading turned into short stories, poetry, (the Japanese comic book genre) manga, and eventually my writing.” (Jeremy T Gerlach)
A bad boys fangirl in the Democrat and Chronicle:
I have a confession. I'm in love with an amazingly hot guy who isn't my husband. Actually, a bunch of hot guys. Their names are Heathcliff. And Rhett. And even Dracula (for my bad-boy moods).
Of course, they're not real men. They're better, because they live forever and unchanged in some of my favorite books ever. (Pam Sherman)
Finally, the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page invites people in the area to today's half-term activities:
Join our drop-in art workshop between 11am and 3.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) and create a Brontë Bird with artist Julia Ogden. We've also got a short 'Brontës for Beginners' talk at 2pm.
 Absolutely Gothic posts about Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights in the West Midlands

Solihull Society of Arts Drama presents

Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Lucy Gough
At The Edge, Alderbrook School
From Wednesday 27th May, 7:30pm
Until Saturday 30th May, 9:30pm

“They may bury me twelve foot deep and throw the church down over me, but I won’t rest till you are with me. I dare you now, Heathcliff, will you come?”

Growing up together on the Yorkshire Moors, Catherine Earnshaw and the gypsy Heathcliff are inseparable after he is adopted into her family. But when Catherine agrees to marry the refined Edgar Linton, Heathcliff sets his mind to revenge.

The passionate but doomed relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff – and its destructive impact on those surrounding them – is one of the most famous and enduring love stories in the English language. In Lucy Gough’s ‘darkly gripping’ adaptation for the stage, the spirit of Emily Brontë’s haunting novel is brought to exhilarating life.

Directed by Charlie Smith.
Produced by Chris Cooper
Technical Director: Marc Peatey
Stage Manager: Georgie Yarham-Baker

Catherine Earnshaw: Aimee Ferguson
Cathy Linton: Alice Davies
Heathcliff: Matt Barnard/Simon King
Hindley Earnshaw: Chris Cooper
Hareton Earnshaw: Liam Thorley
Isabella Linton: Kim Bradshaw
Linton Heathcliff: Harvey Grant
Edgar Earnshaw: Elliot Sayers
Nelly: Angela Ingram

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Burning with intensity

The Telegraph has writer Dennis Lehane share his '10 rules for making it as a writer'. One of which is

Ignore the critics because what do they know? [On Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Shutter Island] I thought he really captured the spirit of it. The book is my least realistic book. It’s a book about books – the Brontë sisters, Mary Shelley, the great neo-Gothicist Patrick McGrath – and 1950s B-movies. And Scorsese got that. He went all the way down the gonzo path on that movie. I knew immediately when I saw it: ‘This is going to p--- a lot of people off.’ I thought the New York Times film critic was going to have a heart attack on the page, he was so ballistic about it. But if you know why you do something, then I think you can feel okay with people’s reactions. (Anita Singh)
Bustle wonders what Cary Fukunaga leaving the new film adaptation of Stephen King's It means for the project and calls
Sin Nombre and the adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, two movies that burn with intensity. (Kaitlin Reilly)
Télérama (France) has an article on French critic (etc.) Roland Barthes:
Le réalisateur André Téchiné l'embrigade dans son film sur les sœurs Brontë (où, un rien coincé, il incarne un écrivain, William Thackeray) (Gilles Macassar) (Translation)
The Guardian's Children's Books section reviews The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, a book which
was especially clever in showing the inspiration of Wuthering Heights. A book I admit, with shame, I haven't read. (LNicole)
The City Paper (Colombia) looks at the valley of Une's landscape.
Yet by the look of things, the valley of Une, is hardly prosperous. Times are hard and have been so for decades. One could refer to this patchwork of cracked cottages and slanting chimneys as Colombia’s equivalent of a Victorian landscape; and one immortalized by writers Thomas Hardy, Antony Trollope and the Brontë sisters. (Richard Emblin)
Radio Times announces that today's You've Been Framed (ITV) will include 'a feline performance of Wuthering Heights'.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jane Discussed in Dunn County

A bookclub in Menomoni, Dunn County  (WI):
Mabel’s Book Club 2015:
May 26, 7 p.m. in the Reading Room at Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts (205 Main St., Menomonie). Focus is books from the era of Mabel Tainter, discussion facilitated by Dr. Maura Dunst of UW-Stout’s English and Philosophy Dept.

This month’s book: Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte. For info, email; visit, call 715-235-0001, ext. 105, or check out Mabel’s Book club on Facebook.

Charlotte's letter

The Telegraph reports on the Letters Live event at Hay Festival where

Sherlock actress Louise Brearley, whose auburn hair glowed orange on a giant screen behind her, read with shaky grief a letter from Charlotte Brontë about her recently dead sister (Gaby Wood)
Similarly, you can watch the actress read the same letter on BBC Newsnight about a month ago.

A high school senior writes 'in defence of literature' for the Albany Democrat-Herald.
While I personally would make Atwood's book mandatory for our class, it was presented to us with an alternative: "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Brontë. Comparably tame in its descriptions, yet still a valuable piece of literature, this should have warded off any concerns. (Sydney Roberts)
Los Angeles Times looks into 'traditional gender roles':
In the 19th century, fastidiousness was not only considered normal for men, it was expected.
"Victorian fiction is abundant with examples of fastidious bachelors," the Victorian expert Maeve Adams told me, citing Roger Hamley of "Wives and Daughters," Edward Rochester of "Jane Eyre" and Sherlock Holmes. (Amanda Marcotte)
A Life Among Pages reviews...erm Jurassic Jane Eyre;  Allergic to the Sun is reading Jane Eyre.

May half-term activities at the Parsonage

May half-term activities at the Museum
Fun for all the family
Come and join us during the half-term holiday and enhance your visit by participating in one of our activities.

Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 May: 2pm Talk:
Brontës for Beginners: a short introduction to the Brontë sisters and three of their great novels, 'Wuthering Heights', 'Jane Eyre' and 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'.  The talks will take place in the churchyard (or inside the Museum if the weather is a bit wet and wuthering.)

Wednesday 27 May 11am - 3.30pm: Art workshop
Create a Brontë bird with artist Julia Ogden. A drop-in art workshop based on the birds that inhabit Haworth and the moors, using mono-printing with textured materials. A great opportunity to explore colour and texture and create a beautiful piece of art to take home with you.

Thursday 28 May 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm:
Storytelling with Christine McMahonListen to Christine's tales of folk and fairies.  Who knows, you might be inspired to go and write your own - just like the Brontës did!

All activities are free with admission to the Museum. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It is time I read it again

The writer Jane Caro chooses Jane Eyre as one of the 'books that changed me' in The Sydney Morning Herald:

I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book. The last time was aloud to my (then) teenage daughters. The first time I read it I was quite young and I was captivated by the fact that Jane was inwardly vehement, passionate and rebellious, yet outwardly small and plain. I identified with that contradiction strongly. I love the grand guignol of Thornfield and the mad Bertha Rochester. I love that Rochester must be tamed and Jane made independent before Bronte allows them to marry. It is time I read it again. As a girl, Jane Eyre gave me hope.

A local Nigerian writer, Tola Adeniyi, remembers how his youth in The Sun News:
I had earlier started off as an Akewi on Radio Nigeria at 16, published Teen Agers Must Repent at 17 and published Aye Ode Oni (Yoruba poetry) at 18. It is gratifying that literary giant Chinua Achebe gave me permission to be the first playwright to adapt his all time best Things Fall Apart into TV and stage play in 1965. The play was taken round the country in early 1966. This rare opportunity encouraged me to adapt Cyprian Ekwensi’s Iska, James Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre for the stage.
According to Los Angeles Times:
In the 19th century, fastidiousness was not only considered normal for men, it was expected. “Victorian fiction is abundant with examples of fastidious bachelors,” the Victorian expert Maeve Adams told me, citing Roger Hamley of “Wives and Daughters,” Edward Rochester of “Jane Eyre” and Sherlock Holmes. “By counter-example, those who fail at being (or remaining) fastidious, in appearance or morals, are justly punished in very satisfying ways with death, dereliction or the greatest tragedy of all, permanent bachelorhood.” (Amanda Marcotte)
 The Ellsworth American reviews the DVD edition of Fifty Shades of Grey:
Shades” is basically a retelling of a Brontë gothic. The brooding, Byronic Mr. Rochester is channeled by the emotionally imprisoned Christian. The determined, romantic Jane Eyre character is embodied by the plucky Anastasia. She’ll learn what’s locked inside him and they shall know true love. (Stephen Fay)
The Oregonian publishes the obituary of Stefan Minde and remembers that,
In 1982, he conducted Portland Opera's world premiere staging of Bernard Herrmann's "Wuthering Heights." (Mark Mandel)
TawdraK interviews the author Ruth Cardello:
Q:A mysterious benefactor offers to gift you the first edition of any book you choose. Which will be taking the place of honor on your shelf?
A:Jane Eyre. It’s one of my old favorites.
Maria G. Francke in Sydsvenskan (Sweden) is excited by the news of the upcoming BBC Brontë biopic. Cine, Libros y Jane Austen (in Spanish) reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 

Bradford Literature Festival (II)

And today at the Bradford Literature Festival:
Christa Ackroyd
Brontë Heritage Tour
Sunday 24 May, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Meeting Point – National Media Museum

There is so much more to the story of the Brontë sisters than simply being the literary daughters of a clergyman. Like their father, they were social pioneers, recording the difficult times they lived in and writing under masculine pseudonyms because the subjects they wished to embrace would never be, in Charlotte’s words, considered positively feminine. If their books continue to fascinate generations, then the story of these three incredible women is surely as exciting and passionate as anything which flowed from their pens. Tragic yet invigorating, their lives and passions continue to inspire today and their spirits live on through the subjects they wrote about; fairness, equality of class, race, gender – each as relevant now as it was then.
Join Brontë enthusiast Christa Ackroyd on our classic vintage bus for this unique tour, taking in the most important Brontë heritage sites in the district, to discover the untold story of the country’s most famous literary family:

Learn about their visionary father, sent to the West Riding by William Wilberforce and the Clapham set, to help the poor amidst the Luddite uprisings.
Travel to Thornton village where Patrick Brontë preached and where his famous daughters were born.
Taking in breathtaking views of the moors now immortalised in Wuthering Heights and stop for lunch in Luddenden at the Lord Nelson Inn, one of Branwell’s favourite drinking spots.
Spend the afternoon at the Parsonage in Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their classic novels. Enjoy a personalised tour of the museum, including an exclusive private visit to the museum library to view close up some of the treasures of the collection.
More information in Keighley News.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Issues with Therapists

The restoration of Norton Conyers and its links with Jane Eyre are discussed in The Telegraph:
The amazing story behind attic that inspired Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë based Thornfield Hall on Norton Conyers - and the recent history of the house deserves a novel of its own. (...)
Norton Conyers is no ordinary home. Charlotte Brontë visited the country house in 1839, when she was a governess to a family called the Sidgwicks. She was so taken by the property that it is believed she described it in great detail as Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre.
Charlotte heard about the legend of a mad woman hidden in the attic, from the house’s history. And it is believed that this inspired her to create the insane Mrs Rochester character in her classic novel.
Wood panelling on the first floor conceals a hidden door, which leads up to the attic space above. Snaking through a warren of corridors lies the “Mad Woman’s room”. It sits almost empty and forgotten. In fact, the original staircase was only uncovered in 2004, having been panelled in during the 1880s. The similarities between the actual secret staircase and the fictional one in Jane Eyre are striking. (...)
Norton Conyers will be open to view work in progress from July 19-26 from 2pm-5pm (bookings only; (Stuart Penney)
Still on local news, The Telegraph & Argus suggests things to do this bank holiday week:
"There are also many great exhibitions at museums including Cartwright Hall, Cliffe Castle, the Industrial Museum, National Media Museum and Bronte Parsonage Museum," a Bradford spokesman said. (Mark Stanford)
The Wall Street Jounal asks Sheila Hancock about her five favourite books. Nor surprisingly  she chooses a Brontë:
The Tenant of Wildfell HallBy Anne Brontë (1848)
3. Anyone who thinks that Anne is the meek, less talented Brontë sibling cannot have read this novel about a mysterious woman who arrives at a gloomy mansion and who has, in defiance of the laws and customs of the time, left her husband. She will live with her son and, she hopes, make her own living as an artist. Of that brutal husband the woman, Helen Graham, writes in her diary: “It is not enough to say that I no longer love my husband—I HATE him! The word stares me in the face like a guilty confession but it is true, I hate him—I hate him!” After Anne’s death, her sister Charlotte would publish a rebuke in which she declared that Anne’s choice of subject matter, involving marital and child abuse and of the degradation of alcoholism, was “an entire mistake.” But Anne’s had been a searingly accurate depiction of these things. Her rage against the treatment of the women of her time has established her as an early feminist writer. The wonderfully vitriolic attack on her male critics in the preface to the second edition alone justifies that label.
The Japan News interviews the diplomat Koichiro Matsuura:
To improve my English ability, my father allowed me to take after-school English lessons from a Japanese tutor who had worked as an interpreter at a U.S. military base. When I was a student at Hibiya High School and then the University of Tokyo, I read a number of paperback novels in English, such as Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights,” and reading developed my vocabulary. I struggled with speaking and aural comprehension in English, so I attended an English conversation school when I was at university. (Interview by Minako Sasako)
The Australian talks about Orson Welles and echoes one of those 'urban film' legends  which is repeated too often:
Welles in an unforgettable presence in the old Joan Fontaine Jane Eyre and there is the suggestion that he took over the direction in that startling first apparition of the charismatic and irresistible Rochester. (Peter Craven)
We don't deny Welles's influence on the overall style of the film but we think that Robert Stevenson was something more than a puppet director.

Sofeminine lists recent films that every women should watch. Including Jane Eyre 2011:
A period drama that doesn't have the female lead as some damsel in distress. In fact, Jane Eyre is more concerned for her own soul than any man *high five*. If you want to see a heroine with a little more gusto than the Austen girls (we love them, but they do just stand around and wait to be proposed to a LOT), this one is for you. (Emmy Griffiths)
My Bookish Ways interviews the horror writer John Langan:
What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?
(...)Some of the books that have been important to me would be Jane Eyre, My Antonia, Dark Gods, Ironweed, To the Lighthouse, and Sophie’s Choice. These are the writers and books I’m aware of, anyway.
Another writer, Julie Reece, is interviewed on Glitter:
GLITTER: How did you come up with the plot for The Artisans?
JULIE: I grew up reading the classics. Nerd alert? Fine. Books like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker’s Dracula were some of my favorites, as well Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to write a contemporary story with that same sort of vibe—thrilling, sexy, and mysterious. Also, I secretly want to be a Brontë sister, but that’s an issue for my therapist.
Putting Life into words posts about a visit to the Parsonage and Haworth;  mirabile dictu is rereading the Brontës; Columbiantony uploads to flickr pictures of  East Riddlesden Hall.

Brontës at the Bradford Literature Festival (I)

The Bradford Literature Festival has several Brontë events today, May 23:
Susan Newby
Brontës for Beginners
Saturday 23 May, 10:30 am – 11:00 am
The Midland Hotel, Princes BallroomPrice

The Brontës are the world’s most famous literary family and authors of some of the best-loved books in the English language. Even though Emily, Charlotte and Anne Brontë’s novels are now more than 150 years old, their power still moves readers today.
This whistle-stop guide by Susan Newby, education officer at Brontë Parsonage Museum, offers a useful introduction to the life and work of this exceptional family.
Juliet Barker, John Bowen, Rebecca Fraser and Bonnie Greer, with Boyd Tonkin
Race and Gender in the Novels of the Brontës
Saturday 23 May, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
The Midland Hotel, Princes BallroomPrice

Women feel as men feel
So says Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a novel which, given its honesty about female desire and views on independence, is viewed as a feminist manifesto. The Bronte’s views on race were equally free from the prevailing notions of their times and there is much critical debate about the origins of Heathcliff, the ‘dark-skinned gipsy’ found on the streets of Liverpool, in Wuthering Heights.
Join Bronte experts Juliet Barker, John Bowen, Rebecca Fraser and Bonnie Greer with Boyd Tonkin, for a critical exploration of the ground breaking views on race and gender within the novels of the Brontë sisters, not only in the context of the age in which they lived, but also in highlighting the relevance of their work today.
Afternoon Tea with Ann Dinsdale, hosted by Mary Dawson
Brontë Relics
Saturday 23 May, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The Midland Hotel, French Ballroom

The Brontës are the world’s most famous literary family. Their Haworth home has become a destination for pilgrimage and the family’s letters, manuscripts and personal possessions – many of which have now returned to the Brontë Parsonage Museum – are revered and sought after as relics.
Join Ann Dinsdale from the Brontë Parsonage Museum for a delicious traditional afternoon tea at the historic Midland Hotel, as she discusses key objects and tells the fascinating story of the development of the Brontë Society’s collection.

Friday, May 22, 2015

30 years later

Style features Meghan Farrell of MF Jewelry whose collection

is a fusion of the medical sciences and love stories—and for a reason. Blame it on my parents. Both professionals in medicine, they also highly valued my interest in the creative arts. So while I naturally excelled in math and science, I also became a hopeless romantic. The idea of the epic romance in literature and history always left a huge impression on me: the stories of Cupid and Psyche, Daphne and Apollo, Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Catherine, Elizabeth and Darcy, Daisy and Gatsby. Epic love. Romance. And then, the study of medicine was always around. So it is no wonder my jewelry started to take on this form.
My tagline “Romance Never Dies” fuses the idea of love and the lifeline.
The New York Times says the following about Mia Wasikowska:
Ms. Wasikowska, having already been Jane Eyre and Alice in Wonderland, is now something of a specialist in literary heroines and does a lot of acting here just with her eyes. “I think she could be in silent films,” Ms. Barthes said. (Charles McGrath)
The blunder of the day comes supposedly from a Brontëite, The National interviews writer Shahd Thani:
What’s your favourite book? Wuthering Heights. In an age when Jane Austen was writing very demure things, Emily Brontë came out with something so wild that people wondered how a woman could be writing it. (Mitya Underwood)
Actually, Emily Brontë hadn't even been born when Jane Austen died in 1817 (she would be born the following year). And Wuthering Heights was published in 1847, so 30 years after Jane Austen's death.