Thursday, March 27, 2008

A new review of Justine Picardie's Daphne appears in The Times Literary Supplement. Regrettably it doesn't seem to be online, but we quote here some interesting points:
Daphne is a literary mystery which borrows from and sheds light on the attested manipulation and dishonest treatment of the Brontë manuscripts by their curators and editors, Wise and Symington. It is also a study of loneliness, obsession and delusion that stretches from Haworth Parsoange in the 1830s to Hampstead in the present day, by way of the private madness and professional dealings of du Maurier and Symington in the late 1950s. (...)
Justine Picardie has written an absorbing book, a hybrid work of truth, conjecture, fact and fiction, and a story of insight and intelligence. The complexity and lightness of its allusive range, extending to the book's typeface, are impressive, even as the cumulative effect of this patterning induces in the reader that sense of submersion that Daphne du Maurier, like Emily Brontë, most feared. (Kathryn Sutherland)
Feminist Review posts a review of Laura Joh Rowland's The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Brontë:
The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte is a wonderful piece of historical fiction that places English author Charlotte Bronte in the middle of a murder mystery. (...)
Well written and fast-paced, it is nearly impossible to put down this story about three of the most famous female authors and sisters in English history! (Kent Page McGroarty)
Another article in the TLS, this one available online, has a slight Brontë reference. The article explores Benjamin Disraeli's Venetia (1837):
Had Disraeli really wished to explore Shelley’s character he would have presented him in his prime and not as a fading radical. Cadurcis is a much better-realized figure, almost certainly closer to Byron than Herbert is to Shelley. The tranquil and affectionate scenes at Cherbury, where the young Venetia and Cadurcis become childhood friends, contrast, with an almost Brontëan pointedness, with the grim domestic situation at Cadurcis Abbey. (Charles C. Nickerson)
The Telegraph has an article about Dewsbury on the aftermath of Shannon Matthew's disappearance and safe return. A brief mention of Charlotte's stay as teacher in Dewsbury Moor is mentioned in a rather misleading way:
Moorside, one of several estates dotting Dewsbury Moor, isn't as bleak as the South Pole but it has its moments, especially when a biting wind scours the hilltop on which it stands. When, for a brief period in the early 19th century, the Brontë family lived in the area it was open country. (Neil Tweedie)
Quoting Robert and Louise Barnards A Brontë Encyclopedia:
Dewsbury Moor: Margaret Wooler moved her school in early 1838 to Heald's House at Dewsbury Moor, just above the town of Dewsbury itself. Charlotte was intensely depressed at this point in her life ("I could have been no better company for you than a stalking ghost", she later wrote to Miss Wooler, letter, Nov/Dec 1846?), but after a period of recuperation over the summer she returned to teach at the school until Christmas of that year. The house still stands.
More information can be found on Healds.org.uk, like this comment by Mick Armitage, list-owner of the Brontë List and webmaster of the essential Anne Brontë website The Scarborough Connection:
While I was in the area, I decided to make my first visit to Healds House - the building which became 'Dewsbury Moor School' when Charlotte and Roe Head School moved there in 1838. It took a great deal of finding, and when I eventually did, it hardly seemed it had been worth the effort - it is a very bland house on a very bland urban back-street: none of the pleasant rural atmosphere, and beautiful 'across-the-valley' views which adorn the Roe Head building - no wonder Charlotte got so depressed there and didn't stay long. BTW, Healds House is up for sale - if anyone wants to buy it!
(Mick Armitage, Yahoo Brontë group Wed Jul 4, 2001)
The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star compares singer Joshua Radin to Heathcliff:
Then there was Joshua Radin. He stepped onstage with a demeanor that could be compared to Emily Brontë's Heathcliff. Awkwardly funny--and admittedly more depressing than his colleagues--Radin's voice was, surprisingly, just as ethereal live as it is recorded. (Bassey Etim-Edet)
A question and answer from the TV Guide of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Question: I saw part of a movie on a pay channel and would like to see the rest, but I can't remember the title. It was set in the 1800s and was about a man from England who marries a girl whose mother died in a fire; he later learns that the mother was actually crazy.
Also, they move to the girl's native country – I'm not sure, but I think it was St. Dominique or some place like that. I would really be happy if you could supply the title. Thanks -- Cris
FlickChick: You're describing Wide Sargasso Sea, though I don't know whether you saw the 1993 theatrical feature or the 2006 made-for-UK television version. Both are based on the 1966 novel by English writer Jean Rhys, who grew up on the Caribbean island of Dominica.
Wide Sargasso Sea is a prequel to Jane Eyre, and in the '60s it was a very unusual undertaking to wrote prequels and sequels to literary novels – it's more common now. The Englishman is unnamed, but he's clearly Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester as a young man, and his Jamaican-born bride is the madwoman in the attic – the first Mrs. Rochester.
The novel tells her story, from troubled youth to sad end, touching on potent issues of race, class and colonialism without feeling the least bit agenda-driven: It's a terrific book in its own right and a fascinating companion piece to Jane Eyre. I think the 1993 movie is flawed but interesting, and I've read great things about the 2006 version, but I haven't seen it. (Maitland McDonagh)

On the blogosphere: An alert from the Brussels Brontë Group:
Brontë weekend in Brussels 18-20 April 2008
Following the success of our weekend of events in April 2007 timed to coincide with Charlotte Brontë's birthday on 21 April, for which we were joined by our members from the Netherlands and also by members from the UK, this April we are organising another Brontë weekend.
This year's programme is much more ambitious since it will include a Brontë conference being organised by the Brussels public library Bibliothèque des Riches Claires with our assistance. This conference is an initiative of the chief librarian, who had the idea of organising an event to honour the Brontës' stay in Brussels after reading our member Eric Ruijssenaars' books on this subject and agreed to hold the conference during our Brontë weekend. (Helen MacEwan)
Check all the details, here.

Nunzy Conti posts in Italian about Wuthering Heights. Single Titles interviews Fenella Jane Miller, another Brontëite:
Q: You’ve written eight wonderful Regency romances which have enchanted critics and readers alike. What drew you to writing historical romances set in Regency England, as opposed to any other period in history
A: I write about Regency England because it’s the period I’ve always enjoyed reading about most; Georgette Heyer was my favourite author when I was growing up, and then Jane Austen, the Brontes, and now Bernard Cornwall’s Sharpe series. That’s why I have chosen this particular period as my own.
Regency Romance Novels reviews Jane Eyre 2006. Some brief comments about Villette (on Winter Light), Wuthering Heights (etsirnikas and Great Book Reviews), Wide Sargasso Sea (Il Paradiso di Beatrice)

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