Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Brontës had a desk each!

The retrospective on Cornelia Parker - Never Endings - which can be seen at the IKON Gallery, Birmingham until 18 November is in the news again. The New Statesman publishes an article that also comments on the Brontëan Abstracts works on display:

Parker takes her excavations a step further in the Ikon's upstairs gallery, where she attempts to unpick the mythology of the Brontë sisters and the modern pilgrimage site of their home at Haworth, West Yorkshire. Using electron microscope photography, she presents a series of images that show in molecular detail the quotidian objects of the sisters' existence: their well-worn quill nibs; the mottled surfaces of their blotting paper; a pinhole made by Charlotte which, under the magnifying eye, becomes a bottomless cavern on the surface of a scarred moon. The photographs, together with a film and an audio piece that follows Parker as she tours the family homestead under the guidance of two psychics, are the product of her residency at Haworth last year. The prints hold a superficial fascination, but the project as a whole lacks the potency of her installations. (Jacky Klein)
The Washington Post reviews Liz Workman's Dr. Johnson's Doorknob: And Other Significant Parts of Great Men's Houses. The author of the preface of the book is Germaine Greer, who justifies the absence of women on the list of houses arguing, somehow unaccurately, the following:
"most of the houses in this book were inhabited and run by women, whose influence has been obliterated by history." Greer goes on to explain that even in the "modest dwellings" that would become house museums of accomplished members of her own sex, "there is nothing designated Jane Austen's chair or Charlotte Bronte's desk because these women did not have property or a space of their own." (Annie Groer)
What? There's such a space as Charlotte's room or Emily's desk and there most certainly is a Charlotte's writing desk! (usually on display at the Bonnell Room). A most puzzling statement coming from the Honorary Patron of the Contemporary Arts Program at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune
devotes an article to a couple of very young actors working in professional companies. One of them, Malick Ceesay, is now at the Guthrie's performances of Jane Eyre as Broughton Brocklehurst:
His character, Broughton Brocklehurst, merits only a mention in the book, but producers decided to bring the character to life. It's a nonspeaking role, but once onstage, Mac is required to exude bully. He prepares by making faces backstage and doing vocal exercises ("Toy-boat-toy-boat-toy-boat-toy-boat") to prime the right mean face. (Maria Elena Baca)
On this video from WCCO Minneapolis you can see a mini-interview with Stacia Rice, Jane Eyre in the production.

A new Brontëite joins our ranks. Alicya Lane, anchor of CBS 3's Eyewitness News at 6 and 11 p.m chooses as:
Favorite author: All three Bronte' sisters
Another Brontëite is author Steph Swainston, interviewed by Eos Books, where she proves she knows her Brontës quite well.

On the blogosphere, two classic adaptations of Brontë novels are discussed. Indie Quills reviews Wuthering Heights 1939 at length while Olsson's examines the recently-published DVD edition of Jane Eyre 1944. Still on the matter of adaptations, Broadway Blog picks the best 'romantic musicals' and number 1 is no other than Caird's and Gordon's Jane Eyre. The Musical. And finally, Books to the Ceiling posts - with pictures - about Robert Barnard's talk at the Brontë Parsonage Museum a few days ago.

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Comments :

3 comments to “ The Brontës had a desk each! ”
Michael said...
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The fact that Germaine Greer wrote the preface should be a red flag about even bothering to read this book. She makes Henry James's Oilve Chancellor appear to be a moderate feminist.

Amy said...
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I saw the Guthrie Theater's production of Jane Eyre and liked it. Most of it.

Cristina said...
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Michael - I'm really surprised to hear her saying that about the desk now that she's involved at the BPM. Oh well.

Amy - glad to hear that!

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