Saturday, January 21, 2017

Building the Brontës with Grant Montgomery

On Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments
Today, January 21, a Brontë Society event in Haworth:
Building the Brontës with Grant Montgomery
West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
14.00 h

To celebrate the recent screening of Sally Wainwright's much-heralded biopic of the Brontës, To Walk Invisible, join award-winning production designer Grant Montgomery for this fascinating insight into how he designed and developed the nineteenth-century world of the Brontës.
From the huge undertaking of building a life-size replica of the Parsonage on the moors above Haworth, to the tiniest detail behind the placing of a teacup or manuscript, Grant oversaw the visual 'look' of To Walk Invisible, and carried out a huge amount of research to recreate the Brontës' world. Grant will discuss the development of his work, from early research with the Museum's curatorial team, to building sets and sourcing props, through to recreating a historically accurate Main Street.
Grant has nearly thirty years' experience in production design for film and television and received the 2011 RTS Award for Best Production Design for his work on The Crimson Petal and the White. His credits also include Peaky Blinders, Birdsong and Death Comes to Pemberley

Friday, January 20, 2017

Although we have been unable to find out for sure, we do believe that the new exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York featuring Emily Dickinson is to be found where Charlotte Brontë's used to be, in the Engelhard Gallery. The New York Times, reviewing the exhibition, I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson, which opens today. reminds us of the fact that Emily Dickinson was quite a Brontëite.
She was an outsider, and as such a disrupter. Was she a feminist? Not in the modern sense, though an idea of female power as a protean force was central to her thinking, as it was to the writers she loved: Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot. Central, too, was her disdain for the false power of churches, fathers, governments, God, ego. (Holland Cotter)
The Economist's Prospero reviews Woolf Works, a ballet choreography inspired by some of the works by Virginia Woolf. Impossible as that may sound, we are reminded of the fact that,
Choreographers have always looked to the literary canon for stories. Greek myths, Shakespeare, the great Russian novelists, the Brontës: all have been plundered to supply plots for ballets. Certain kinds of writing, though, have been left on the shelf, the works of Virginia Woolf among them. 
The readers' corner of the Sheffield Telegraph features To Walk invisible and the Brontës.
Laurie in Wadsley says: I watched To Walk Invisible, the Brontë sisters’ drama, over Christmas and was inspired by the story of Charlotte, Emily and Anne and the dynamic with their alcoholic brother Branwell. It was a brilliant programme, but I felt chastened that I knew so little about their work beyond Wuthering Heights. As I am raising two small Yorkshire people I know the Brontës’ brilliance will be practically drilled into them as soon as they’ve grasped phonics. But I’m a silly old southerner and don’t know which sister, and which book, I should read to them first. And are there any I should avoid? Any help gratefully received.
Anna says: I think this is the most difficult Reyt As Rain Reads I’ve had so far! I grew up in West Yorkshire not far from Haworth. The writing of these three sisters means so much to me that I struggle to make careful, considered recommendations to anyone else when it comes to their books. So just to warn you, there will be a lot of hyperbole in these recommendations. But I mean every word.
As you’ve already read Wuthering Heights, we’ll go for two others.
It has to be Jane Eyre first. I’m not going to try and be clever and recommend a more obscure one. This is the most dramatic and gothic of Charlotte’s novels, so is therefore my favourite.
People often think of Charlotte as a more civilised writer than Emily, and in some ways she is. But don’t expect anything too civilised here. This is a genuinely terrifying read. Ostensibly the story of an intelligent, spirited woman struggling to make her way in the world as a governess, it has some of the most powerful symbolism and imagery of all time. And for pure, knock-your- socks-off, plot, it is probably top of the Bronte pile.
My favourite Anne Brontë novel is her second, and last, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall. If you enjoyed the depiction of Branwell’s descent into alcoholism and depravity in To Walk Invisible, you should enjoy these literary fruits of that real experience. We will never know for certain quite how these three sisters came to write some of the most spectacular fiction in the history of the English language, but it’s safe to assume that as well as the rich fantasy life they concocted and inhabited, they also wrung every last drop of inspiration out of their surroundings. And, as ably demonstrated in Sally Wainwright’s impressive programme, Branwell is likely to have provided a template for the difficulties of life with an alcoholic portrayed in this book.
This is an extraordinary book that tells the story of a woman going it alone for the sake of her son and her sanity, at a time when women almost always relied on the patronage and protection of a man.
I hope you enjoy your foray into the wonderful world of the Brontës, and that these two classics whet your appetite to read further. (Anna Caig)
Study Breaks reviews TV series This Is Us:
 I learned in my English class that sometimes good TV can be just as stimulating as reading a book, because it requires us to make cognitive connections between plot lines. I don’t think I’m too far off in saying “This is Us” is the “Wuthering Heights” of TV. (Mattie Winowitch)
Daily Herald Tribune interviews country singer Tenille:
11. Last book you couldn’t put down? Rising Strong - Brene Brown. Oh and I also just finished Jane Eyre.
Swindon Advertiser features comedian Tiff Stevenson, who tells this anecdote:
"I did a show a couple of years ago and I decided to do this Wuthering Heights dance to Kate Bush with a member of the audience. That was quite memorable," she deadpans. "I was bouncing and flicking my head around and we both got concussion. That's one of the dangers of comedy." (Marion Sauvebois)
Life on Stage (Germany) reviews the music album Only In My Mind by Norma Jean Martine. Apparently,
Der Titelsong „Only In My Mind“ ist von dem Roman „Wuthering Heights“ inspiriert und handelt von verbotener Liebe, (Translation)
Cultora (Italy) describes poet Giacomo Leopardi's sister as follows:
Ebbe i connotati della tipica eroina romantica, una specie di Emily Brontë (di cui lesse, invaghendosene, Cime tempestose) e Mary Shelley. (Marco Testa) (Translation)
Abc (Spain) reviews the Spanish translation of Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests.
Waters es una gran narradora de espacios claustrofóbicos donde la presión, que allí se experimenta casi al vacío absoluto, acaba estallando en raptos de convulsionado sexo (por lo general lésbico) y en desenfrenados actos en los que lo carnal suele derivar hacia lo criminal en tramas que parecen urdidas por un Wilkie Collins o unas hermanas Brontë, sin temor a que se los califique con la letra escarlata X y sometiendo la novela histórica y el folletín a las mismas radiaciones que aplicaron gente como John Fowles, A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Kim Newman y Joyce Carol Oates en sus novelones góticos y, más recientemente, la Eleanor Catton de «Las luminarias». (Rodrigo Fresán) (Translation)
This post from The Book Trail is highly recommended and talks about all things Brontë: the Parsonage, To Walk Invisible, Anne and her new biography by Samantha Ellis. Talking Humanities discusses reality and imagination in Wide Sargasso Sea. 'Never-ending' dusting and another sneak peak at Branwell's exhibition on the Brontë Parsonage Twitter account.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
The UK tour of Publick Transport's We Are Brontë begins today, January 20:
We Are Brontë
Created and performed by Angus Barr and Sarah Corbett.
Directed by Ed Rapley.
Dramaturgy by Susie Donkin
Additional performance and movement direction by Brenda Waite
Set by Dan Addyman
Props by Tomasin Cuthbert.
We Are Brontë is a piece of comic visual theatre inspired by the real and imaginary worlds of Yorkshire's literary siblings, presented in Publick Transport’s playful and irreverent style. Physical theatre collides with stand-up, clowning and improvisation as two performers deconstruct not only gothic themes of love, madness, repression and revenge, but also themselves. Part play, part enquiry into the act of putting on a play, this promises to be no ordinary Brontë adaptation.

20 Jan '17 - Memorial Hall Theatre, Barry
24 Jan '17 - Sundial Theatre, Cirencester
1-5 Feb '17 - Vault Festival, London
24 Feb '17 - The Spring, Havant
27-28 Feb '17 - Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival, Exeter
10 March '17 - Langton Matravers Village Hall, Dorset, BH19 3HA. Box office: 01929 423834 (Artsreach)
11 March '17 - The Portman Hall, Shillingstone, Dorset, DT11 0SF. Box office: 01258 860319 (Artsreach)
18 March '17 - Connaught Studio, Worthing Theatres
23 March '17 - Belper Music and Arts, Derbyshire
24 March '17 - Pailton Village Hall, Warwickshire
25 March '17 - Worcestershire (TBC)
20 April '17 - The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
21 April '17 - Dorchester Arts Centre
22 April '17 - The Lighthouse, Poole
19-20 May '17 - Omnibus, Clapham
8 June '17 - The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury
5 Oct '17 - The Atkinson, Southport
6 Oct '17 - CAST, Doncaster
7 Oct '17 - Square Chapel, Halifax
8 Oct '17 - The Hub, Slung Low, Leeds

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sophia Tobin, whose novel The Vanishing has been said by reviewers to be reminiscent of the Brontës, writes about Branwell for the Waterstones blog.
If there is a central tragedy in Branwell’s life it is that he was unable to control his passions. His sisters’ works are full of passion, but in their lives they behaved with propriety and restraint. Branwell’s passions were lived out rather than written. Whilst working as a tutor he embarked on an affair with his employer’s wife, causing not only his dismissal but the humiliation of his sister Anne, who was also working for the family. On his return to Haworth, his alcoholism and drug addiction blighted the lives of his relatives and his violent rages terrified them. A small measure of peace came only in the days before his death, on 24 September 1848.
But the impact of this missing Brontë is not entirely lost. It could be argued that the three sisters became great because they were forced to: they knew they could not rely on Branwell for financial support, and focused their efforts on writing professionally. Additionally, Branwell was one of the only men they lived with – and this shaped how they depicted men in their fiction. Thus Anne wrote of the corroding effect of alcoholism in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Emily depicted, from first-hand experience, the rage and brutality of men such as Heathcliff and Hindley Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights. And how much of Jane Eyre’s virtue and self-possession in the face of Rochester’s passion is derived from Charlotte’s observation of what happens when you give in to your desires? Perhaps, after all, Branwell is not really missing. In the portrait, we may find him in the space between the sisters; and in their work, we may find him in the spaces between what is said and unsaid. He is always there, if we look for him.
This Is Lancashire reports that Octagon Theatre in Bolton is looking for a dog to play Sancho and two boys to play little Arthur in their upcoming production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Do you have a performing pooch who is begging for his dream stage role?
Well there’s no longer a need to put that dream on ‘paws’, as the Octagon Theatre is on the hunt for canine companions to audition for its forthcoming production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Director Elizabeth Newman said: “In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Sancho the dog is the loyal and loving companion of Gilbert Markham.
“The dog we are looking to cast as Sancho will be a working farm dog, preferably a border collie.
“As Sancho will spend a lot of time with and near the character of Arthur, who will be played by a small boy, the dog we are looking for needs to be very calm and relaxed around young people.”
The dog being sought will be on stage often with a number of cast members as well as the young boy playing Arthur.
Applicants must be prepared to commit their dog to every performance during the run of the show, including all matinee and evening shows and commit to being available to bring and stay with your dog for every show.
The stage hound must also have a calm and friendly disposition, with the capacity to be comfortable in the presence of audiences of up to 400 people.
On-stage lighting will be used throughout the show and so they will also need to be comfortable with lighting changes that will be taking place.
A loyal pal is also being sought for the doggy star as the theatre is hunting two young boys to take on the part of Arthur in the show.
The performances will be split equally between the two chosen boys, who must have the maximum playing age of seven-years-old, and be able to work alongside the dog on stage. (...)
Deadline for all applications is 3pm on February 3.
The show will run from March 20 to April 22, with rehearsals on various dates from February 25 to March 30.
To apply visit or call 01204 556501 for more information. (Rosalind Saul)
The Culture Trip reviews Samantha Ellis's biography of Anne Brontë, Take Courage.
Much has been made of two of their novels in particular—Emily’s Wuthering Heights, widely hailed as the great love story of its age (though it would be unfair not to add that it’s a lot more than that), and Charlotte’s proto-feminist, proto-modernist classic Jane Eyre. While we can confidently claim not to require further reassurance of their worth, it may be, as Samantha Ellis convincingly argues in her new book, about the third sister’s output that our attentions deserve redress. Anne Brontë published two novels of her own in the last three years of her life: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall—and both ought to be taken with the same awe and seriousness as her sisters’. Far more than just companion pieces to the Brontë canon, they are witty, controversial, dark insights into Victorian life.
Traveling from Brontë vista to Brontë vista—that is, from the family’s Yorkshire home to the native Ireland of their father Patrick, with brief stints by the North Sea and in London—Ellis intersperses snippets of her own life within her biography of Anne. While this makes her book very much in the vein of modern nonfiction (see Olivia Laing, or Ece Temelkuran), Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life‘s author has the tact to keep her presence subdued, appearing solely as if to move the book onward; the focus is on Anne’s life and work, and rightly so. (Simon Leser)
The Spectator, Seattle University's student newspaper, looks into how the campus community is facing Donald Trump's inauguration tomorrow.
Some professors are instead using their educational authority to advance the conversation. Among them is English Professor Molly Clark Hillard, who is helping to combat fake news by partnering up with the campus library. Hillard’s course, “Crisis of Information,” focuses on information literacy and being able to recognize what constitutes fake news. Hillard’s commitment is to tying her position as an educator to the lives and feelings of her students.
“The day after the election, I had to teach ‘Jane Eyre,” she said. “We turned to ‘Jane Eyre’ and found it as a manifesto. My own practice is to say to my students this is how we move forward; literature is how we move forward.” (Paolo Violante)
On Anne's birthday, James Neal wrote about 'Facing the World As It Is - A Lesson in Virtue with Anne Brontë'. Bust has an article on miniature portraits in classic books. It's All About Books posts about Wuthering Heights. Sonia Gensler has Tea with Jane Eyre.

On the Brontë Parsonage Twitter account, there is a sneak peak into Branwell's exhibition Mansions in the Sky as well as a look into how Mr Brontë's bedroom is being 're-displayed'.

Finally, also on Twitter, Ponden Hall shares this gorgeous video by Dorset Cereals, whose award for friendliest host they won recently.
12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments
Kim Breitburg's Jane Eyre musical will be performed today, January 19, in Tallinn (Estonia):
Moskva Operett presents
Джейн Эйр (Jane Eyre)
Nordea Kontserdimaja, Tallinn
19.1.2017 19:00

Tallinna publik saab nautida värvikat, dünaamilist ja kaasaegset etendust, mis jätkab imelist muusikateatri traditsiooni.
Teater “Moskva Operett” on Venemaa üks juhtivaid muusikaližanris töötavaid teatreid. Suurepärane orkester, mis koosneb 37 muusikust, laulukoor ja ballett. Lisaks Victoria ajastu kostüümid, luksuslikud dekoratsioonid ning unikaalse tehnoloogia abil saavutatud valguse- ja heliefektid.
Muusikal on vene keeles!

Muusika: Kim Breitburg
Libretto ja luule: Karen Kavalerjan
Lavastaja: Alina Chevik
Balletti lavastaja: Irina Kornejeva
Kunstnik: Vjatcheslav Okunev
Muusika juhataja: Konstantin Hvatynets
Valguskunstnik: Aleksander Sivajev
Laulukoori juhataja: Stanislav Maiski
Dirigent: Konstantin Hvatynets, Arif Dadashev
Vokaali juhataja: Valerija Breitburg

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Jewish Chronicle reviews Samantha Ellis's biography of Anne Brontë, Take Courage.
Ellis’s book doesn’t uncover much that is new but that isn’t really her objective.
Instead, she walks the streets Anne walked, and seeks to understand the youngest Brontë sister: What motivated her? What were her dreams and desires? How did her relationship with her sisters — the troubled Emily and (in Ellis’s view) the condescending Charlotte — shape her writing? How much of her experience as a governess did she bring to Agnes Grey; how much of herself did she see in Helen, who becomes the mistress of her own life?
It’s a fascinating exploration, even if you’re not a Brontë obsessive (if you are, this may not be the in-depth study for you). Ellis frames her chapters with the different influences in Anne’s life, from brother Branwell to aunt Elizabeth; her professional life; and her sisters and their childhood games. She traces how Anne grew as a writer and poet, how she committed her hopes and dreams into fiction but never lost herself to it, in the way that Ellis suggests Emily and Charlotte could. Most of all, this is an enthusiastic celebration of a forgotten powerhouse of Victorian literature; a woman who should be remembered for her own work, and not just as the sibling of two more famous writers. [...]
She only occasionally strays into the personal with Take Courage, which is a shame as the book would have been richer for it; after all, she makes a virtue of how Anne poured out her soul on the page. Nonetheless, Take Courage is a refreshing, accessible piece of literary scholarship. (Jennifer Lipman)
Vagabomb celebrated Anne's birthday yesterday by listing '10 Anne Brontë Quotes That Might Just Place Her above Her Sisters' while Books Tell You Why tried to guess how Anne spoke. On Facebook, The Brontë Society shared a picture of flowers on the Parsonage doorstep with this caption:
Flowers for Anne's birthday. Thank you very much to the person who sends them every year - they are much loved.
It is a lovely detail.

Sheila Kohler writes about telling the truth for Psychology Today.
As a fiction writer I have often been asked the question: how much of this is true? People seem drawn to know what lies behind the stories I have told, how much of my life lies in them. I think this is a legitimate question and one that interests me with other writers. In a way what is being asked is: how do you do it? How do you take the raw matter of life and transform it into fiction? How much truth is here?
It is a question I have asked in some of my historical fiction. In "Becoming Jane Eyre" the question I asked was how did Charlotte Brontë go from writing unsuccessful fiction to her great novel "Jane Eyre," almost overnight.
Dawn finds a Wuthering Heights enthusiast in poet and playwright Irshadullah Khan.
Q: What books are you reading currently? A: I do not get to read much because I am concentrating on my writing. I have written 27 volumes of poetry and four plays and my new book just came out. My work has been performed in 35 countries and translated in many languages. That said, I went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and my subject was English Literature, so over the years, I have read quite a lot, all kinds of literature. My favourite book is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. I identify with the main character, Heathcliff. He is almost like me, particularly his total love for the woman he loved. This was the most important aspect. And then the way he faced various problems that came his way and were [created for him], which can be taken as a symbol for the problems which society sometimes creates for you.
These are people whom you expect to be on your side and you find that they are not. In Pakistan you are oppressed for many reasons, for example the poor and middle class are being neglected and our society is being totally destroyed, which affects you as a poet. Heathcliff represents a character that stood against his oppressors. (Syeda Shehrbano Kazim)
The Guardian welcomes Penguin's new Book of Dutch Short Stories. There is a problem with Dutch literature:
The reason we don’t know Dutch literature over here, according to Zwagerman, is because they barely know it themselves. The Dutch language has been in such constant flux over the past few centuries, he writes, that “many great works of 17th- and 18th- and 19th-century Dutch literature have to be translated into modern Dutch to make them accessible to the average reader”. Laurence Sterne? Jane Austen? Charlotte Brontë ? Imagine them all lost to us! (Jonathan Gibbs)
The Guardian also features newly-appointed BBC chair David Clementi, who
described himself as an avid TV watcher, saying his “specialist subject is BBC1 and BBC2 between 8pm and 11pm”.
He cited Sherlock, the Agatha Christie adaptation The Witness for the Prosecution and Brontë sisters drama To Walk Invisible as examples of distinctive programming produced over Christmas, and added that the “sheer quality” of other BBC dramas made them distinctive. (Jane Martinson and Jasper Jackson)
The New York Times reviews the New York City Ballet revival of La Sonnambula (choreographed by George Balanchine, with music from Bellini, of course) and wonders,
Is she the Baron’s wife, kept out of sight because she is no longer in her right mind? (Sleepwalking and lunacy have long been linked, as Arlene Croce observed in a 1987 New Yorker essay.) Is she like the first Mrs. Rochester in “Jane Eyre”? No answers are known. (Alastair Macaulay)
The Upcoming reviews Flo Morrissey and Matthew E White's music album Gentlewoman, Ruby Man.
When they’re not covering Rob Ayers’s Everybody Loves the Sunshine, the duo take on Frank Ocean’s Thinking Bout You, from his critically acclaimed album Channel Orange. What Ocean is able to achieve and convey all on his own, the pair share in equal measure, with White’s gravelly voice being the perfect soundboard for the English songwriter’s folksy tone, which at its top end is akin to Kate Bush on Wuthering Heights. (Yusuf Tamanna)
Balivernes posts in French about Wuthering Heights and Greene County Public Library is in the second week of their Online Book Club read of Wuthering Heights.

Finally, here's day 11 of Behind the Scenes at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Intriguing!
12:30 am by M. in    No comments
A new Brontë-related course begins today, January 18, at the University of Oxford Department of Continuing Education:
Brontës (Online)
Wed 18 Jan 2017 to Fri 31 Mar 2017
Dr Sandie Byrne


How did three sisters living an apparently secluded and eventless life write some of the most original, passionate and dramatic novels and poetry in the English language? Who were the Brontës, what fed their imaginations, and what makes their writing so haunting, intense, and important?
The website of the Brontë Parsonage Museum states: ‘To find two writers of genius in one family would be rare, but to find several writers in one household is unique in the history of literature. Charlotte and Emily are ranked among the world’s greatest novelists; Anne is a powerful underrated author, and both their father, the Revd. Patrick Brontë, and brother Branwell also saw their own works in print’.
We will explore those works of genius and place them in their literary, cultural, and historical (including family) contexts. You will come to understand and to be able to analyse what makes the Brontës' writings so haunting, intense, and original. Whether you've read or would like to read the work of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë – or if you're interested in nineteenth-century literature or women’s writing – this course is for you.
Programme details

1. Brontë lives and myths
2. Reading the Brontës
3. Charlotte Brontë: structure and themes of Jane Eyre
4. Charlotte Brontë: contexts of Jane Eyre
5. Anne Brontë: contexts of Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
6. Anne Brontë: representations of women
7. Emily Brontë: themes and motifs
8. Brontë manuscripts and editions
9. Emily Brontë: structure and language of Wuthering Heights
10. The endings of the Brontës’ novels, rewritings, prequels and sequels, and opportunities for further exploration.
 More information here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 11:07 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
Today is, first and foremost, Anne Brontë's birthday. She was born 197 years ago and there's no better way of celebrating than by reading her novels and poems. But also remember that there are two recent biographies of her: In Search of Anne Brontë by Nick Holland and just-out-of-the-oven Take Courage by Samantha Ellis. And the classic biography by Winifred Gérin is worth a read too.

Minster FM features the Yorkshire Water campaign in which the Brontë sisters are 'seen' bathing in it. But the campaign now has a promotional video which uses the same image.
The firm’s new campaign includes a video, declaring Yorkshire as the ‘best place on earth’ and that its famous water was bathed in by the Brontë sisters in the nineteenth century and makes the world’s best rhubarb and gravy. It is expected to be viewed by thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter this week.
Tom Hardy himself speaks about his Taboo character on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Where did Taboo begin for you? Was it the character of Delaney, the idea of building this family empire or just wanting to do something in the historical period? Tom Hardy: A bit of everything really. I came home to my dad, and I’d just finished playing Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist, and I said, “Do you know what would be really good, Dad? To take Bill Sikes and play him as a hero.” He’s a villain, but if he had a noble cause, what a great hero he could be, because he’s just got loads going wrong with him.
How would you mix Bill Sikes and blend him with a Sherlock Holmes type, or someone Ralph Fiennes might play like [Chekov’s] Ivanov, a character which had more gentlemanly or higher class? The amalgamation of the two and then maybe perhaps Marlow from The Heart of Darkness and a bit of Heathcliff [from Wuthering Heights]. We could throw lots of different classical characters in there, a bit of Odysseus.
My father said, “Tom, that’s too many characters to put in one thing.” Then he went away and he wrote a treatment for it, which he set in 1860. That was when the world came of the drama and the characters and the history.
Producer David S. Simon writes about his childhood for The Huffington Post.
We got sick, our local pediatrician/smiling mortician house called on by to both simultaneously diagnose and terrify us (while smoking a long-ashed Lucky Strike), we took our medicine, we sailor-puked some more and then we went to school, sometimes still spotted like someone just did a spit take on our face and we lived our lives fully until we got sick all over again, which frankly, we did so often, that our house could easily have been mistaken for a Charlotte Brontë orphanage bursting with consumption.
Librópatas (Spain) lists the 16 books read by Matilda in Roald Dahl's book, among which is Jane Eyre, of course. The Reader's Room has a Love It or Hate It 'competition' with Jane Eyre. Metro lists the '12 of the best University Challenge contestants of all time' including the memorable one involving Mr Rochester/Inspector Clouseau (number 11). On Twitter, Graham Watson has improvised a Lego version of the Pillar Portrait sans pillar/Branwell while Mandy Powell has also created a Lego version of the dining room at the Parsonage.

Kotiopettajattaren romaani (Jane Eyre)
Charlotte Brontë
April 2016
ISBN: 9789510416273

Charlotte Brontën (1816-1855) kuuluisa romaani on vaatimattoman, älykkään ja sisäisesti voimakkaan nuoren naisen ja hänen suuren rakkautensa tarina. Sen ylle luo romanttista välkettä taustan värikäs tapahtumasarja. Mutta kirjan tenho on muussakin kuin juonen jännittävissä yksityiskohdissa - vanhan linnan arvoituksessa, odottamattomassa Intian-perinnössä, miehisen päähenkilön merkillisessä ja traagisessa elämänkohtalossa. Puolentoista vuosisadan takaa Charlotte Brontën kertojaääni kiehtoo meitä lämmöllään, aitoudellaan ja hämmästyttävällä tuoreudellaan.
Brontën sisarusten Charlotten, Emilyn ja Annen koti oli Yorkshiren nummilla sijaitseva syrjäinen Haworthin pappila. Täällä he kirjoittivat seitsemän romaania ja lähes 400 runoa. Samaan aikaan Kotiopettajattaren romaanin kanssa, vuonna 1847, tuli julkisuuteen Emily-sisaren kirjoittama Humiseva harju, joka ei kuitenkaan vielä kirjailijan elinaikana saanut ansaitsemaansa tunnustusta. Charlotte Brontë, sisaruksista vanhin ja kirjailijana tuotteliain, eli heistä myös kauimmin, 39-vuotiaaksi.

Charlotte Brontë
Translator: Inkeri Koskinen
October 2016
ISBN: 9789513191481

Eletään 1800-luvun alkupuolta, teollistumisen ja romantiikan aikakautta. Etonista valmistunut William Crimsworth matkustaa Brysseliin toimiakseen siellä opettajana, eli professorina, kuten Belgiassa sanotaan. Tyttökoulu tarjoaa periaatteelliselle nuorukaiselle haasteita ja houkutuksia. Aikansa kahleista pyristelevälle Williamille tärkeintä on kuitenkin kulkea omaa tietään kohti tosi rakkautta muiden juonitteluista huolimatta.
Professori on Charlotte Brontën epäsovinnainen esikoisteos. Elinaikanaan hän yritti turhaan löytää sille kustantajaa. Harvinainen teos on julkaistu ensi kertaa suomeksi 2009.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017 11:15 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Yorkshire Post tells about poet Simon Armitage's busy year:
I’m there to meet poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage who has just taken up a 12-month residency for the park’s 40th anniversary. Armitage will be helping the YSP celebrate its unique appeal throughout 2017, visiting in different seasons and producing new work in response to the park as well as curating a programme of readings and events, and launching a new publication in the autumn. [...]
Since 2011 Armitage has been Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield, where he teaches the MA poetry course, and in 2015 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, a four-year appointment which requires him to deliver one public lecture a term. He is working on a couple of drama projects – “I’ve always been interested in writing dialogue, and there is nothing like theatre for getting an immediate response” – and has also been announced as the creative partner for the Brontë Parsonage Museum this year to commemorate Branwell Brontë’s bicentenary as part of the Brontë200 programme.
So he is keeping pretty busy – but he says it has a plus side. “One of the things that’s good for me about these residencies is that I have tried to stop writing for a while. I wanted to impose a kind of moratorium on my own writing and see what happens next.” (Yvette Huddleston)
Women of China features Luo Yufeng, described as
A young woman from China's hinterland, with few qualities believed necessary for success, claws her way to online respectability by following loads of chutzpah with growing sophistication. [...]
Maybe Luo had a split personality from the get-go. When she was still playing the dating game, some of her poems surfaced, revealing a sensitive soul and the writing proficiency up to the par of professionals. But they were lost in the crazy whirlwind she had helped whip up around her.
Jane Eyre would not take this route to fame or fortune, but Luo, a product of reform-era China, has even less to fall back on than the character in the Charlotte Brontë novel. She may not have clawed into middle-class respectability yet, but nobody can deny her effort. (Raymond Zhou)
The Brussels Brontë Blog discusses new translations of Villette and The Professor while Nick Holland posts about Anne's 'land of make believe' on AnneBrontë.org,
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We have posted so many reviews already of Samantha Ellis's Take Courage that it seems redundant to present the book. But here it is:
Take Courage
Anne Brontë and the Art of Life
Samantha Ellis
Chatto & Windus
Published 12th January 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1784740214

Anne Brontë is the forgotten Brontë sister, overshadowed by her older siblings -- virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Brontë, the other Brontë.

Or that's what Samantha Ellis, a life-long Emily and Wuthering Heights devotee, had always thought. Until, that is, she started questioning that devotion and, in looking more closely at Emily and Charlotte, found herself confronted by Anne instead.

Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time -- and her more celebrated siblings -- and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Two new reviews of Samantha Ellis's biography of Anne Brontë, Take Courage. The Irish Independent:
Ellis admits right at the start of Take Courage (the title comes from Anne's last words before her death) that she feels a connection with her subject. She herself is just turning 40 as she begins the project, not in the best of health, feeling she's achieved little so far, that everything she's done has been "heartbreakingly ephemeral".
Understanding Anne is as much a voyage of self-discovery as it is biography or literary analysis. That's both this book's strength and weakness. Identifying so strongly with Anne makes her a passionate advocate. At the same time, the book frequently tips over into self-indulgence as a result. She dreams about her subject, "but they don't feel like dreams". Anne sits on the edge of her bed with "a piercing look in her eyes", asking: "Why aren't you writing my book?" (...)
Here, though, the first doubts about Ellis's technique start to form. Talking of Maria, she writes: "I wish she'd told Patrick about the neglect and cruelties of Cowan Bridge. I wish she'd made him bring her sisters home. I wish she'd made him expose the school in the press."
This leads on to some fanciful leaps of supposition. Pondering the reasons for the absence of much of Anne's and Emily's juvenilia, Ellis quickly comes to the conclusion that the sisters probably burned it themselves.
That's simply impossible to know, so it's a worthless observation, something akin to that earlier wishing. Later, she even tries to pinpoint the exact date when Anne might have destroyed her own work.
Take Courage is filled with similarly liberal uses of the words "perhaps" and "maybe", as well as numerous sentences beginning, "Anne must have felt", "Anne must have wondered", and so on. Such speculative biography has become increasingly common, going hand in hand with the rise of what have been dubbed "shelf-help", rather than self-help, books - that is, books which wring fiction for its usefulness as therapy and consolation. (...)
"So what?" exasperated readers might well ask, having come to read a book about a neglected literary figure and finding themselves in a group hug instead. (Eilis O'Hanlon)
The Daily Express says
Much of the book is speculative, but this makes for a lovely and imaginative investigation into a serious and searching woman whose last words were “take courage”. It’s inspiring stuff. (Eithne Farry)
The News on Sunday (Pakistan) publishes not really a review but a vindication of Anne:
Anne Brontë is an interesting and largely overlooked writer, but the tv biopic of the Brontës along with Samantha Ellis’s book on her have now refocused attention on her and her work. As her two novels are read or re-read, it is likely that there will also be some reassessment of the literary importance of this largely forgotten Brontë sister. (Umber Khairi)
The Manchester Evening News announces that the Bolton Octagon Theatre is holding a dog audition for its new production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:
Has your hound got what it takes to be in a Brontë play?
That's exactly what the Octagon Theatre in Bolton is asking as it looks for canines who can cut it on the stage in their latest adaptation of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The perfect pooch would have to be very disciplined and able to take instructions while surrounded by cast, children, lights, loud noises, and an audience of 400 people.
Dogs will be auditioning for the role of Sancho, the loyal companion of the story's narrator Gilbert Markham.
The show opens this spring and runs from March 30 to April 22, with rehearsals starting on March 2. The dog and their owner must be available for all rehearsal dates and performances. (...)
The theatre is also auditioning for two children to share the role of Arthur - the son of Markham's love interest and the tenant in the story's title, Helen Graham. (Sarah Walters)
Bookriot selects some poetry compilations:
Sylvia Plath- Selected Poems edited by Ted Hughes
I don’t think you can discuss poetry and not talk about Plath. Mired in a historical void of depression, angst and suicide, I think people have a tendency to shy away from Plath when they should be getting ever closer. This collection features, among others, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Lady Lazarus’ and contains works from all four of Plath’s poetry collections. (Aisling Twomey)
Lucasta Miller reviews Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature by Shelley DeWees in The Sunday Times:
Shelley DeWees studied ethnomusicology before teaching English in Korea. But her private passion was classic English novels. She became as “addicted” to Jane Austen as Austen’s own Catherine Morland is to reading Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. After a detour into the Brontës, DeWees began to wonder about other female writers of English literary history. The result is this series of seven vivacious sketches of lesser-known “ambitious women with inky thumbs”.
Also in The Sunday Times how it is to be a shepherdess and mother of nine in the country:
I strap my five-month-old to my front in my waterproof papoose and head out to the hills. I’m looking forward to getting her into my backpack as that will free me up to use my arms more easily. You can get lost in the monotonous daily grind, but when you look around you, you feel like a character in Wuthering Heights. (Moya Sarner)
The Times of India praises the Indin nineteenth century writer Toru Dutt
British scholar Edward J. Thompson, who was an associate of Tagore, had described Toru as “one of the most astonishing women that ever lived, a woman whose place is with Sappho and Emily Brontë, fiery and unconquerable of soul”. (Priyanka Dasgupta)
MSN has a list of fifty romantic movies, including Jane Eyre 2011:
The film, based on the classic novel by Charlotte Brontë, is directed by Cary Fukunaga and stars Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. The story revolves around a young girl who falls in love with her employer, but with time she realizes that he has some grave secrets.
The Daily Beast tells the inspiring story of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, recently deceased:
Steven’s sister, Delores, imagined that Steven was now with their mother, running though the moors like in the last scene of Wuthering Heights. (Michael Daly)
Pink Smarties posts about Wuthering Heights. Diminishing Thoughts and Molly's dreams post about Jane Eyre and Shirley respectively.
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And some more Brontë-related recent theses:
Finding freedom for Jane: A reading of subjugation, shame, and sympathy in Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre"
by Shaver, Rebecca, M.A.
Clemson University, 2016

In an investigation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre, Jane clearly desires liberty in the form of social belonging or freedom, and makes the active choice to pursue it, but finds that liberty is ultimately best won not by an antagonistic battle, but instead through subjugation by those of a higher class than herself. As a social inferior, the mere association with a higher-class family name (whether that is through employment, marriage, etc.) is enough to set Jane’s eye on the ultimate goal of total autonomous freedom through social climbing. Jane actively participates in subjugation as a means to elevate her state in society, evident through choices of language. This language ranges from inhuman equations to magical creatures to derogatory social labels, but functions in the same way throughout the novel. I assert that Jane is fully active in her pursuit of a place in society. It is paradoxically through assimilating to the language and culture of the higher classes and referring to herself as an inferior that Jane takes back her power. By acknowledging her inferiority through her language, either to herself or by participating in conversations with (or active silence toward) social superiors, Jane actively wrests conversation to her advantage.
The figure of the female traveller in Victorian fiction
by McNeely, Sarah, Ph.D.
Texas Christian University, 2016

This dissertation examines the figure of the female traveller in Victorian fiction. Using examples of travelling women from canonical novels of the Victorian era, including Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this study identifies the gender implications of mobility in Victorian fiction.
This study defines the female traveller as a female protagonist or secondary character who undertakes a significant journey that holds importance in the overall narrative and where she steps out of her element in class, geography, or culture. The figure of the travelling woman in Victorian fiction is a signal that the text is doing important ideological work with regard to gender and mobility. The travelling woman disrupts two conventional tropes, masculine mobility and female stasis, and calls for a re-evaluation of the way we see and privilege mobility in the Victorian novel.
Humankindness: Illness, Animality, and the Limits of the Human in Victorian Fiction
by Cooper, Isabella Lucy, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, College Park, 2016

This project posits a link between representations of animals or animality and representations of illness in the Victorian novel, and examines the narrative uses and ideological consequences of such representations. Figurations of animality and illness in Victorian fiction have been examined extensively as distinct phenomena, but examining their connection allows for a more complex view of the role of sympathy in the Victorian novel. The commonplace in novel criticism is that Victorian authors, whether effectively or not, constructed their novels with a view to the expansion of sympathy. This dissertation intervenes in the discussion of the Victorian novel as a vehicle for sympathy by positing that texts and scenes in which representations of illness and animality are conjoined reveal where the novel draws the boundaries of the human, and the often surprising limits it sets on sympathetic feeling. In such moments, textual cues train or direct readerly sympathies in ways that suggest a particular definition of the human, but that direction of sympathy is not always towards an enlarged sympathy, or an enlarged definition of the human. There is an equally (and increasingly) powerful antipathetic impulse in many of these texts, which estranges readerly sympathy from putatively deviant, degenerate, or dangerous groups.
These two opposing impulses—the sympathetic and the antipathetic—often coexist in the same novel or even the same scene, creating an ideological and affective friction, and both draw on the same tropes of illness and animality. Examining the intersection of these different discourses—sympathy, illness, and animality-- in these novels reveals the way that major Victorian debates about human nature, evolution and degeneration, and moral responsibility shaped the novels of the era as vehicles for both antipathy and sympathy. Focusing on the novels of the Brontës and Thomas Hardy, this dissertation examines in depth the interconnected ways that representations of animals and animality and representations of illness function in the Victorian novel, as they allow authors to explore or redefine the boundary between the human and the non-human, the boundary between sympathy and antipathy, and the limits of sympathy itself.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keighley News reports some of the upcoming activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
The Brontë Parsonage Museum looks deserted during January, the only month of the year when it is closed to the public.
But behind closed doors at the Haworth attraction the staff, from shop workers to specialist curators, have rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.
There are general repairs, decorating and maintenance tasks, as well as checking every item in the museum and refreshing displays in readiness for reopening on February 1.
Principal curator Ann Dinsdale said there was a huge amount of work going on at the house where the Brontë sisters wrote their famous novels.
She said: “I think people imagine the winter is a quiet time for us, but it’s probably the busiest time as it’s the only time of year when we can do any conservation and maintenance work.
“Everything is cleaned and we check the entire collection for any signs of change in condition, including the furniture.”
Much of this month’s efforts are focused on preparing two major exhibitions that will run throughout 2017.
Mansions In The Sky will tie in with the major event of the year for Brontë enthusiasts: the 200th anniversary of the birth of Branwell Brontë.
The exhibition has been curated by poet Simon Armitage, the Brontë Society’s creative partner for ‘Branwell’s year’.
Simon will be in Haworth on May 13 at 2.30pm to talk about the exhibition.
The other 2017, exhibition, From Parsonage To Production, will include costumes, props and behind-the-scenes photographs from To Walk Invisible, the BBC drama about the Brontë family that was screened over the Christmas period. (David Knights)
You can check the rest of the activities on the Brontë Parsonage Museum website or on our Brontë calendar.

The Sunday Herald reviews Samantha Ellis's Take Courage biography of Anne Brontë. It's a curious (and mostly negative) review in which the author Lucy Ellmann impersonates Anne herself for a bit:
A lone cur howled across the sleet-drenched moors as I, in semi-transparent skeletal form, struggled to the door of Miss Samantha Ellis’s temporary dwelling in Haworth. Having discovered she was writing a book about me, I had come to plead with her to stop forthwith, for I did not wish my life to be arbitrarily exploited, however fast the bicentenary of my birth might be approaching.
It was not my aim to argue with Miss Ellis’s inaccuracies, inelegancies, or irrelevancies when we met, nor rebuke her curious attempt to prove that my treasured pebbles were the droppings of dinosaurs. Nor would I deign to refer to those dreams she related, in which she had supposedly found me sitting at the end of her bed, begging to be written about. Everyone must deal with their unfortunate proclivities according to their own moral fibre, however malnourished it may be. (...)
But what I objected to most strongly was Miss Ellis’s incessant projection of her own subjectivity on to mine. O how passionately did I wish she would stop entwining my life story so cloyingly with her own! (...)
Would that I could avenge those subtle slights! But I knew full well by this time Miss Ellis’s unshakeable determination to turn biography into autobiography littered with soliloquies vaguely arising from whatever titbit of information came to hand. On this basis she announces that Emily favoured mutton sleeves, Branwell had a large forehead, the poet Southey forced his daughters to bind 1400 books, and Thomas Bewick was cruel (quite wrong). More bafflingly, she wishes Dorothy Wordsworth and I had met and that I got cream on my bilberry pie, and says she has seen Kate Bush live.
In her earlier book, How to Be a Heroine, Miss Ellis debated which was the best Brontë: Charlotte or Emily. Now, perhaps in contrition for leaving me out, she wants to make a fetish of me. Yet she confesses to a growing impatience with our diaeresis! If I were to gain admittance tonight, my first duty would be to suggest she redirect her energies in future to authors with unaccented surnames. (...)
Making big claims for both of Anne’s novels, Ellis says their political engagement, class critique, pleas for education, expose of governessing, and the suggestion that mad bad Byronic men may be dangerous to know, "still feel revolutionary". Her own literary aims here are somewhat less ambitious: apart from some insightful, whimsical or frivolous asides, her book just becomes a walk in Anne’s boots, which were probably as muddied as her prose. Big walker, Anne.
Ellis too stalks the moors. She reads Bronte biographies, even that wacko Angria and Gondal juvenilia. She Googles and Pinterests. She dons latex gloves to examine Anne’s last letter or a hideous hair brooch of Charlotte’s. She asks if Anne Bronte invented the romcom (no). And she takes everything, but everything, personally: "wrongfooted, slighted, dissatisfied, bored, over-worked, underpaid and out of her depth – Agnes Grey is brilliant on the peculiar horror of a first job." It’s Ellis who’s scraping at the window. 
On the Penguin blog, Samantha Ellis herself attributes Anne Brontë's obscurity to sibling rivalry with Charlotte mostly:
When Anne Brontë died in 1849, her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was a bestseller. Her debut, Agnes Grey, was selling well too, and her poems were still being published in magazines.
So what happened? How did she become “the other Brontë”, the neglected Brontë, the least read of her sisters, both underrated and suppressed? And what does this say about what women still are and aren’t allowed to say?
Perhaps the biggest reason that Anne didn’t get her due in the 1840s was that she was just too radical. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’s heroine, Helen, starts out like all the Brontë heroines - falling for a sexy, dangerous cad. But he turns out to be an abusive alcoholic, and she leaves him. In 1848, this wasn’t just unusual; it was illegal. (...)
As misogynist critics called the Brontë novels “coarse” and “unwomanly”, Charlotte reacted by presenting herself as a martyr whose work had been misunderstood. She characterised Emily as a naïve genius who hadn’t known what she was writing, and wrote that Anne was pure, innocent, not hugely talented, and a bit gloomy. This didn’t fit with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, so she decided it had been “an entire mistake”, not at all what Anne had meant to write, and she refused to allow it to be reprinted.
Because of Charlotte, Anne’s best novel was nearly impossible to get hold of for many years, and anyone who wondered why could read Charlotte’s harsh verdict. For over a century and a half, her assessment has stuck. But perhaps, at last, things are changing. Maybe now we are ready for Anne’s bold, arresting books.
Sebastian Faulks reviews The Crown in The Spectator. He mentions an anachronism in To Walk Invisible:
Watching the enjoyable Brontë drama To Walk Invisible the other day on television, I was brought up short when Charlotte told Emily that their books would be ‘rubbished’ by male critics in London. Such anachronisms crop up in all period dramas, but would be easy to fix if someone with an ear for language was asked to skim through the script before it was filmed.
The Hindu on private libraries:
When it comes to private libraries, we have more than our fair share. After all, this is the city of S.R. Ranganathan, the father of library science, whose colon classification system is followed all over the world. But one name that pops up often when talking about private book collections is that of our columnist Sriram V. “During the early part of the 20th Century, people read a lot of Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens,” says the writer and historian, before going on to share some trivia. The decision to open up some of these private reading retreats to the public is up to the family, says Sriram. “People tend to be possessive about their books; a part of any book lover’s culture. I am not flexible myself..” So, tread carefully when you visit these libraries. (Parshathy J. Nath)
Vulture recommends some Victorian TV dramas on streaming, including Jane Eyre 2006:
Jane Eyre
What’s it about? Charlotte Brontë’s beloved novel got the mini-series treatment with this 2006 four-parter, which stars Ruth Wilson in the titular role as a young, orphaned governess who gradually falls in love with her older (and broodingly complicated) master, Edwin Rochester, at the sprawling Thornfield Hall. When strange and dangerous events keep occurring at the Hall while she watches her pupil, Jane begins to question how dark Rochester’s past really is.
Where can I stream it? Hulu (Devon Ivie)
MercatorNet talks about the 60th anniversary of Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago:
Nonetheless, a classic story including history, romance and poetry may not be a “spiritual masterpiece.” For instance, I would not describe either Wuthering Heights or Middlemarch in these terms, though they are indisputably great novels. What makes Doctor Zhivago a soulful pilgrimage for the reader as well as an imaginative feast is undoubtedly its mystical dimension. (Francis Phillips)
Official Charts lists songs inspired by places in the UK:
Wuthering Heights. Based on the famous novel by Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights became the first self-penned Number 1 by a female artist in UK chart history when released in 1978 and refers to the Yorkshire Moors that are at the heart of the story. (Jack White)
The Daily Mail recaps recent events on EastEnders:
At this point, EastEnders’ storyline encouraging people to embrace education by going back to college or taking classes at night school, as Denise had, didn’t look so constructive.
Getting a GCSE in English Literature was obviously great but surely even Jane Eyre wasn’t that good.
Not so good it was worth abandoning your baby for. (Jim Shelley)
FareFilm (in Italian) discusses Jane Austen adaptations:
Jane Austen è sempre stata diversa dalle Brontë, alchimiste delle passioni folli, assurde, sregolate e spesso nonsense (ricordate Heathcliff e Cathy?). Nella Austen, scrittrice del Settecento inglese, tutto ha un senso, tutto ha una forma e una spiegazione. Anche l’amore più straziante. Anche l’incontrollabile. Ecco perché un brontiano preferirà vivere mentre l’austeniano analizzerà. Ma i consigli di Jane Austen per gli affari di cuore sono sempre attuali. (Alice Grisa) (Translation)
Movietele (in Italian) finds more Heathcliff-ish things in Tom Hardy's role in Taboo:
Taboo - stando almeno al pilot appena andato in onda - è una serie in costume che sembra voler chiamare le atmosfere e gli ambienti di storie oscure e tragiche, che passano per Cuore di Tenebra di Conrad e per Cime tempestose di Emily Brontë. Proprio a quest'ultima, infatti, la serie ideata da Steven Knight, deve tantissima della sua estetica: la figura granitica di Tom Hardy, ripresa spesso di spalle e in controluce, mentre lentamente si allontana in scenari brulli, quasi paludosi, pieni di indomabile natura selvaggia, sembra richiamare quasi come un omaggio palese il personaggio di Heathcliff. Somiglianza che non ha solo a che vedere con l'aspetto visivo della messinscena, ma che affonda le proprie radici anche nella costruzione di un personaggio quasi sempre silenzioso, che parla quasi a monosillabi, abbaiando minacce con la marmorea certezza del proprio potere e della propria superiorità intellettuale. (Erika Pornella) (Translation)
This Metro crossword contains a Brontë-related question s does this The Times' quiz; GreyZone Books reviews Jane Eyre; Gen Scribbles has created a Jane Eyre playlist.
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More Brontë-related theses published in 2016:
The Brontë attachment novels: An examination of the development of proto-attachment narratives in the nineteenth century
by McNierney, James, M.A.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2016

John Bowlby’s work on attachment theory in the 1960s altered the cultural understanding of parent-child relationships. Bowlby argued that the ability for an individual to form attachments later in life, be that familial, romantic, or friendship is affected by whether or not that individual formed a strong attachment to a primary caregiver in early childhood. My thesis uses Bowlby’s theory as a critical lens to examine three novels by the Brontës: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. I use this theory in order to demonstrate that these novels are what I have termed proto-attachment narratives, which is to say narratives about attachment before formal attachment theory existed, and, further, that they work to bridge the gap between the contemporary nineteenth-century debate on child rearing and Bowlby’s theory. In addition, I discuss how each of these novels exemplifies, complicates, and expands upon Bowlby’s theory in its own way. Wuthering Heights demonstrates the cyclical nature of damaged attachments and works to find a way to break from that cycle. Jane Eyre gives a clear understanding of an individual’s lifelong struggle with failed attachments and the importance of a balanced power dynamic to forming healthy attachments, and, finally, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall examines how even properly formed, healthy parent-child attachments can lead to development problems, if the power granted to those parental attachment figure is not used responsibly. I further theorize that we can use these novels as a starting point to discuss how we might define attachment narratives as a genre, as they hold many similarities with more clearly defined modern attachment narratives.
Monstrosity, madness, and marriage in Victorian literature: The Brontë novels---"Jane Eyre", "Wuthering Heights", and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"
by Nikravesh, Negeen Natalie, M.A.,
San Diego State University, 2016

This thesis examines the element of monstrosity in the novels of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, and the ways in which unconventional female characters pose a threat to patriarchal society. While Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights move along a monster/angel binary based on stereotypes of femininity in the Victorian era, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall manages to overcome this need for categorization and establish a more authentic female character as heroine. The two former novels depict the repercussions of marital confinement for the monstrous characters of Bertha Mason and Catherine Earnshaw in their inability to encompass the angelic ideal and ultimately function as sacrificial characters, allowing Jane Eyre and Catherine Linton to successfully navigate patriarchal society and avoid the repercussions of monstrosity. Therefore, the madwomen of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights pay the price of monstrosity but their sufferings are redeemed by the happy marriages of the younger heroines. In this way, the two eldest Brontë sisters rebel against the angelic ideal of Victorian women and pave the way for the youngest sister, Anne Brontë, to create a real female character without the need to categorize her as either an angelic or monstrous woman. Although The Tenant of Wildfell Hall also forces suffering on a female character, she is able to escape her imprisonment and find happiness in her own lifetime rather than a delayed redemption on a younger heroine. Therefore, Charlotte and Emily Brontë destroy the imposing angel and monster figures, enabling Anne Brontë to overlook this binary and bring to life Helen Huntington—neither an angel nor a monster, but a free-willed woman. Through this rebellious destruction of the monster/angel binary, the Brontë sisters broke formal boundaries and radically revised traditional novels.
Harlots, Hussies, and Merciless Mothers: An Examination of Female Foils in Anne Brontë's Novels
by Minicozzi, Julie A., M.A.,
The William Paterson University of New Jersey, 2016

Feminist criticism of literature centers on several primary aspects, including analyzing portrayals of patriarchal oppression, examining how relationships between women and men are depicted in literature written by women and literature written by men, and discussing women’s attempts to change societal norms and perceptions through literary offerings. While these aspects are clearly worthy of focus, there is an additional critical component to achieving a comprehensive analysis: evaluating how relationships between women and women are depicted. This thesis examines Anne Brontë’s novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall through a feminist theoretical approach, with specific focus on Brontë’s depictions of the female foils in the novels. The analysis centers on discovering how these depictions emulate and foster patriarchal norms within the Victorian era, while simultaneously and subconsciously exposing the inequality of the norms. The discussion includes textual references and comparisons, as well as support from recently published literary criticism. This critical focus fills a perceptible gap within recent analysis of Brontë’s oeuvre.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Inspired by Samantha Ellis's biography of Anne Brontë, Take Courage, Claire Harman writes about the youngest Brontë in The Guardian.
Separating a Brontë from the family context is hard to do, but ever since the first separate biography of Anne in 1959 by Winifred Gérin, a cult within the cult has grown of Anne as the connoisseur’s choice among the sisters. There is plenty to admire in this supposed literary wallflower. It was Anne who, in Agnes Grey, addressed issues of female self-worth and autonomy before Charlotte jazzed up the same themes in Jane Eyre, and Anne who powered on through the commercial failure of her first novel to write about the horrors of living with a man on the skids (based on her brother, Branwell), urging an important moral message on “the young and thoughtless traveller”. It was Anne, the least neurotic or peculiar inhabitant of the parsonage, who bucked the family trend and stuck at a job she hated for five years, who understood Emily best, got on with things unobtrusively, was tenacious, loyal and dutiful.
The playwright and journalist Samantha Ellis is the latest to promote Anne Brontë’s excellence, which, as a recent convert from Emily fandom, she does with neophyte fervour. As with her last book, How to Be a Heroine, Ellis weaves her thoughts on literature into a personal narrative, this time taking stock of her life and achievements aged 40 as she edges hesitantly towards emotional commitment and marriage. “If ... I can arrive at any kind of truth about Anne, what will I learn?”
Ellis mines Anne’s poems, two novels and five surviving letters for clues, and finds a woman of penetrating intelligence and courage, whose riposte to critics on the question of the sex of “Acton Bell” was superbly pithy: “I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be.” She is good on all aspects of Brontë’s bravery in her works and her relentless self-questioning in private, as in a marginal note in her bible: “What, Where, and How Shall I Be When I Have Got Through?” This echoes through Ellis’s account of her own questioning of focus and priorities, all assiduously tagged to the research for her book. Might she end up living in Haworth, like uber-Brontë biographer, Gérin? Probably not. “Anne realised that at some point you have to stop living in someone else’s stories and write your own.” [...]
Sally Wainwright’s bracing characterisation of Anne in her recent TV drama To Walk Invisible got quickly to the heart of the author’s intelligence and sympathy, but did so by eliminating the factors which, in life, prevented those qualities from being readily evident; the intense reserve, the plainness, the speech impediment, the habitual near‑silence. Non-fiction needs to be less idealistic. Publisher George Smith’s impression was of “a gentle, quiet, rather subdued person”, whose “manner was curiously expressive of a wish for protection and encouragement”; Charlotte spoke of “a sort of nun-like veil” over her sister’s feelings, rarely lifted. To ignore these testimonies is to miss the essence of Anne Brontë’s life, the huge gulf that existed between how she felt and how she behaved, how she lived and what she wrote. Her “art of life” was to conduct most of it in writing.
Samantha Ellis herself has written a piece for Foyles.
When Anne Brontë died of TB at just 29 in 1849, her bold second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was already a bestseller. The first edition had sold out in six weeks. Her debut, Agnes Grey, wasn’t doing too shabbily either, and her poems were being published in literary magazines. So why did she fall into obscurity? How did she become 'the other Brontë'? Why have neither of her novels hit the big screen, let alone inspired a hit song by Kate Bush? Why does she have a reputation for being the dull, less talented Brontë? Why does hardly anyone read her?
When I started writing my book, Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life, I had a hunch that maybe it was because Anne was just too radical. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’s heroine Helen starts out like all the Brontë heroines, falling for a sexy, dangerous cad. But he turns out to be an abusive alcoholic, and she leaves him. In 1848, this wasn’t just unusual; it was illegal. Helen spends most of the book as a fugitive, on the edge of society, casting a merciless eye on men.
This would have been shocking from a male writer, but from a woman it was unforgiveable. Although Anne and her sisters had published under androgynous pseudonyms — Anne’s was Acton Bell — the critics suspected that they were women. They found Jane Eyre revolutionary (and not in a good way), Wuthering Heights coarse, and  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall simply 'unwomanly'. One publication even warned its readers 'especially our lady-readers' to avoid the book altogether. But that didn’t stop it selling. And it might have gone on selling, if it weren’t for the fact that Anne’s older sister Charlotte didn’t like it either. (Read more)
Express reviews the book The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin and finds 'A real Eyre of Brontë about this killer plot'.
Annaleigh is a foundling, adopted by kindly portrait painter Jared Calvert whose surname she takes. Devoted to Jared’s stepson Kit, Annaleigh is heartbroken when she realises that Jared and his wife Melisende intend for Kit to marry a girl with better prospects.
She decides to flee not just from the Calverts’ house but from London, taking a position as housekeeper in remote Yorkshire house White Windows. Used to the hustle and bustle of London streets, Annaleigh hates the desolation of the Yorkshire moors and takes no comfort from the myriad colours that her painter-trained eye sees in the landscape.
And her job proves to be anything but a sinecure. She is a maid of all works rather than a housekeeper, expected to cook, scrub floors and lay fires in a house which makes Wuthering Heights look welcoming. She is disturbed by the abandoned clothes of her predecessor who left White Windows suddenly under a cloud. Her only companions are two surly servants, Christopher Sorsby and his French wife Jeanne. (Charlotte Heathcote)
Awesome Gang has interviewed writer Nikita Goel:
What authors, or books have influenced you? I am a die hard fan of Brontë Sisters. My favourite books include- Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, John Keats, Paulo Coehlo and Robin Sharma have influenced my life to a great extent through their writings.
Waiting for Godot” is another book that changed me as a person.
El Comercio (Perú) shares an excerpt from the beginning of Por breve herida, a novel by Margo Glantz.
El opio en la Inglaterra de su tiempo se vendía en las farmacias y era muy barato, se usaba universalmente por todas las clases sociales. Las damas de compañía y las nanas les daban gotas de láudano a los ancianos y a los niños para adormecerlos.
Los juegos de infancia de los Brontë fueron intelectuales desde muy temprano. Existen numerosas pruebas de su precocidad: sus obsesiones, presentes en las novelas de las tres hermanas, ya se revelaban en los cuadernillos que escribieron cuando eran niñas. En ellos destaca la figura diabólica y vampiresca de Lord Byron. Branwell, considerado como el más dotado de los hermanos, y cuyo desastroso final es típicamente romántico y literario, muere de tuberculosis. Al igual que sus famosos contemporáneos, era adicto al opio, distribuido en forma de gotas o de píldoras económicas que el joven compraba a seis peniques la caja en una farmacia que visité cuando estuve en Haworth, pueblecito inglés cuyo cementerio está situado frente a la casa donde vivieron, murieron y escribieron Ann [sic], Charlotte y Emily.
En el establecimiento donde Branwell compraba sus remesas de láudano, se venden ahora manitas de jabón color de rosa que de manera extraña simulan muñones. (Translation)
New Statesman describes Tom Hardy's character in Taboo as
Bill Sykes, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Heathcliff, Dr Faustus and Donald Duck all rolled into one. OK, not Donald Duck. But you get the picture. (Rachel Cooke)
The Hindu discusses how we relate and react to fictional characters.
The question becomes more specific when it asks whether the emotions that you experience while watching a movie or reading a book are real? How come then you can munch into caramel popcorn while watching a murder scene? Does that not mean the emotion of fear that you face in real life is quite different from a similar experience a fictional character goes through?
Kathleen Stock answers with an example, “My favourite book is ‘Jane Eyre’. In the first half of the book, it is harrowing for the reader for Jane goes through a tough time…If you find a person who responds to fear and pity in a fellow human in real life, but does not to Jane Eyre…that would something unimaginable…ordinarily, emotions with respect to people around us, not fictional characters, seem to exist with some properties…let us concentrate on fear and pity. When you fear something, characteristically you believe that thing exists and you believe that is threatening in some respect. So there is a rational basis for your emotion. Equally when you pity someone, you believe the situation exists, and you believe they are deserving of pity. So that is one characteristic that is absent in terms of fiction.” (Sudhamahi Regunathan)
According to The Telegraph and Argus, 'Visit Bradford is urging locals and visitors to see what the area has to offer'.
The destination marketing organisation for Bradford Council said the district was "a paradise" for walkers, cyclists and those simply seeking to escape everyday stresses for a few hours.
It highlighted Brontë Country, which has seen a surge in visitors following the screening at Christmas of the BBC drama To Walk Invisible, about the lives of the famous Haworth family.
Ironically its plea comes as public consultation gets underway into the future of the council's tourism service, including controversial plans to close Haworth Visitor Information Centre (VIC).
A review commissioned by the local authority is recommending that Bradford VIC should be retained, at the expense of the district's three others – Haworth, Ilkley and Saltaire.
Campaigners have vowed to fight the move. (Alistair Shand)
Actualidad literatura (Spain) looks at some of the actors who have played Rochester on the big screen.
12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments
An alert for today, January 13, in Norfolk, CT:
Norfolk Library Book Group
with Mark Scarbrough will discuss Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853), vols. 1 & 2
Friday, January 13 and 27, February 10, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

 “Villette! Villette!” wrote George Eliot. “It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power.”

Charlotte's last completed novel is her most autobiographical and complex. Less happens on the outside, but the characters' internal lives are more intense than in any Brontë work. The story of Lucy Snowe takes place in Villette - 'little town' - a rather condescending description of Brussels, the city where Lucy Snowe and her creator, Charlotte Brontë, worked as school teachers and had deep emotional experiences. Villette is a reworking of material from Charlotte's first novel, The Professor (then still unpublished), and depicts, thinly-disguised, her passion for M Heger, her Brussels school master, and her attraction to George Smith, her young publisher. Many elements echo Jane Eyre: both have orphans as heroines, plain women who have to find their way through an alien world. Mark is sure to lead a lively discussion, fortifying participants with his delicious baked treats!
(Via Norfolk & Canaan's HamletHub

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Telegraph and Argus has further info on the suggested closure of Haworth's Visitor Information Center.
Campaigners have vowed to fight any attempt to close Haworth Visitor Information Centre (VIC).
The battle-cry was issued this week as Bradford Council launched a public consultation over the future of its tourism service.
A review commissioned by the local authority is recommending that Bradford VIC should be retained, at the expense of the district's three others – Haworth, Ilkley and Saltaire.
Among those vehemently against the move is Haworth trader, Nikki Carroll.
"It makes absolutely no sense to close the Visitor Information Centre," she said.
"It's a ludicrous proposal. I will do all I can to oppose it and would urge other people to make their views known too.
"The council was very eager in its support of the Tour de France when that came through the district and was keen to build on the legacy, plus we've seen a surge in tourists since the BBC screened the To Walk Invisible Brontë drama at Christmas.
"Bradford Council should be doing more to promote tourism and bringing people into smaller villages, rather than focussing on the city centre."
And ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen said the proposal was "nonsensical".
"The Haworth building is leased rather than owned by the council which I suspect is a factor behind this," she added.
"Haworth is where the tourists go and that's where a VIC is needed.
"It's beyond belief that the council would contemplate closing it."
According to the review, carried out by TEAM Tourism Consulting, Haworth VIC is the most expensive of all four to run – at over £101,000 a year.
Its estimated income is £19,000, second only to Ilkley – much of whose revenue is from ticket sales for the King's Hall.
The review team concedes Haworth is "the key VIC".
"It deals with the most visitor enquiries and probably adds the most value to the destination," it states.
But the recommended option is that all should be shut except Bradford VIC, which would be refocussed as a "welcome and interpretation centre".
The move would save about £244,000.
Council chiefs say they need to slash the tourism budget by £172,000 by 2017-18 and are keen to hear public opinions on the proposals. [...]
The consultation runs until March 5. (Alistair Shand)
It is clear to us, though apparently not so to Team Tourism [sic] and Bradford Council, that many people (most people, even) visiting Haworth never even set foot in Bradford city. Visitors to Haworth want to go Thornton, Scarborough, Shirley country (now without the Red House, of course), York, but, unless they go looking for Branwell's brief dwelling place in the city, they have no particular interest in visiting Bradford. So it is in Haworth where they want to inquire how to move around - it is the 'key VIC' for a reason. Close it and they will get incomplete info from the landlord at the pub, the girl at the reception desk, the man behind the counter at the shop, etc. But still they won't go to Bradford to be 'welcome and interpreted' (whatever that means).

Onto better things now. Samantha Ellis's biography of Anne Brontë continues making its way in the national press. The Spectator wonders whether '‘the other Brontë’ [was] the best of them all'.
Fans of the novels and poems written by the sibling inhabitants of Haworth Parsonage always have a Top Brontë. Fame-seeking Charlotte and mysteriously reclusive Emily usually grab the limelight. My father reread Emily’s only novel every five years, annotating his student copy of Wuthering Heights and monitoring his opinions depending on how his own love life was going. He shared his choice with the playwright and journalist Samantha Ellis, until the day she read Anne’s final letter, and was taken aback as its sudden significance ‘catches at my heart’, making her wonder about the less wowed, less known, youngest sister.
This wonderful biography begins at a disadvantage. All but five of Anne’s letters are missing. The surviving biographical facts can fit a single page. But Ellis’s first solution is to tell Anne’s story through the characters at the centre of her life. Chapters are devoted in turn to the children’s heroic mother, Maria; their selfless aunt; their bereft Reverend father; the controlling Charlotte; the uncompromisingly independent Emily; and their brother Branwell, who Charlotte says ‘thought of nothing but stunning (drugs) and drowning (drink) his distress of mind’, jointly provide a prism through which Ellis’s elusive protagonist emerges. [...]
By the time Anne arrives to die in Scarborough her hazy image has been sharp-focused, revealing a woman of astute psychological insight and gutsy resilience. If the experience of reading Anne’s poems feels for Ellis ‘like being let in on secrets’, that feeling is mirrored for the reader of Ellis’s illuminating book. (Juliet Nicolson)
Samantha Ellis herself writes about the Brontës' 'very real and raw Irish roots' in The Irish Times.
One of the oddest reactions to Sally Wainwright’s recent (brilliant) TV drama about the Brontës, To Walk Invisible, was an objection to the Yorkshire accents. Some fans had imagined the literary sisters speaking RP. I wonder what they’d have said if Wainwright had focused more on the Brontës’ childhood, when Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne still had Irish accents, inherited from their father. They lost them when they went to school. Yet they never lost a sense of being outsiders, of never quite fitting in. (Read more)
The Stanford Daily has a Brontë blunder:
 Among many famous female writers who wrote under male pseudonyms, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë adopted the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell when publishing their works, with Emily Brontë commenting that, “we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.” (Jasmine Liu)
That link there in the original article would indeed show that it wasn't Emily, but Charlotte who said that.

This columnist from She the People picks Jane Eyre as her favourite 'Feminist Read Of All Time'.
I remember the time when I picked up ‘Jane Eyre’ during my school days. A friend had gifted me the book on my birthday.
The book is an easy read which will keep you hooked throughout. It is often described as a romance novel or a gothic novel. But for me, that novel is one of the earliest feminist reads I remember.  The protagonist, Jane Eyre, unlike girls her age never had marriage on her mind. Instead, she looked to claim her identity in a male-dominated society. She never saw herself any lesser than others around her in terms of her soul and character. She demands that she be looked at as a human being with ‘as much soul as you–and full as much heart’.
Though not in a modern sense of feminism, Jane Eyre for me stood as a feminist novel for many reasons. Jane Eyre led me to read other feminist books like Color Purple, Palace of Illusions, The Handmaid’s tale, Room of One’s Own and others, but Jane Eyre will always hold a dear place in my bookshelf. (Vidhya Bharathi)
Coincidentally, Jane Eyre is also selected by inUth as one of '8 wonderful books you should instantly read to understand feminism'. However, it might be another Jane Eyre as the ending is slightly different to the one we are familiar with.
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Although every male character who comes into contact with the protagonist of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel tries to dominate her, Jane never fully succumbs to them. In a move virtually unheard of in that era, she continues to work after getting married, wanting to be financially independent from Rochester. (Aakash Chhabra)
Jane Eyre herself has also made it onto the 20 favourite fictional characters of all time according to Raconteur.

Florida Weekly reviews The Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander, who is a Brontëite.
Mr. Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. Some of his writing influences include Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier and any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. (Phil Jason)
Mashable has a podcast on which
 inspired by The Goldfinch we talk about our favorite non-YA coming of age stories including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, The Magicians by Lev Grossman and The First Bad Man by Miranda July. (MJ Franklin)
Human Events shares some 'Tips For Hate Crime Hoaxers', the first of which is
Hate Crime Hoaxer Tip No. 1: Don’t invent hate crimes that could form the opening of a Harlequin Romance.
Liberal girls always seem to be imagining strong, rough, Heathcliff-type white men demanding that they disrobe or become “sex slaves.” (Oddly, Heathcliff keeps doing this in well-trafficked areas in the middle of the day with no witnesses.) (Ann Coulter)
The Davidson County Dispatch sees the Brontë Parsonage Museum as a good example of what a writer's museum should be.