Thursday, March 13, 2008

Show your stockings

The Spectator reviews a recently-published book on governesses: Other People's Daughters. The Life And Times Of The Governess by Ruth Brandon. The book cover is, in our opinion, beautiful and the inside references to Jane Eyre are evident.

Actually, as Ruth Brandon’s study declares, it was very rare indeed for a governess to marry her employer. Becky Sharp and Jane Eyre tell us much more about the 19th century’s fantasies and fears than about its realities. (Philip Hensher)
What we have been unable to find is the table of contents, so we don't know whether the more realistic versions of governesses' marriages in Agnes Grey and Shirley (whose governesses actually share the same maiden name) are featured in the book or not.

A few days ago we posted about the exhibition Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The New Statesman has an article on it as well.
The title of Polwhele's bilious production - "The Unsex'd Females" - helped to create a climate in which generations of women lived in fear of the label "bluestocking", which became an insult. In the 19th century, the Brontë sisters and Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) felt it necessary to hide their genius under male pseudonyms; in the 20th century the word conjured up images of desiccated female dons. The original "blues" were much more various than this stereotype suggests, and their dilemmas about intellect, fashion and femininity are still with us today. "Brilliant Women" restores them to their rightful place as our foremothers, the missing link in an unbroken chain of female creativity. The struggle for the right to be clever, sexy and feminine is still going on. (Joan Smith)
Incidentally and unrelated to the Brontës save for this exhibition we were reading a book the other day where this quotation by Sydney Smith appeared: If the stocking be blue, the petticoat must be long. It made us smile in a very sad way.

The Evanston Review briefly writes about Patrick Clear, who is about to go on stage (in exactly a week) with Remy Bumppo's Brontë.
'Bronte' boy: Evanston actor Patrick Clear has multiple roles in the new Remy Bumppo Theatre production of "Bronte," previewing March 20 and opening March 24(through May 4). He plays Patrick Bronte, Mr. Rochester and others in this play that explores the Victorian literary family of Charlotte Bronte. Clear also has a small role in the upcoming Batman film, "Dark Knight," as well as in a made-for-TV movie called "In the Best Interest of the Children." For more on "Bronte," visit http://www.remybumppo.org/. (Dorothy Andries and Michael Bonesteel)
Don't forget that BrontëBlog readers have a special offer to get 2x1 tickets for the play.

The Kalamazoo Gazette openly admits the dangers of dancing Jane Eyre-based ballets.
For nearly two decades, Kalamazoo Ballet Company founder Therese Bullard dreamed of staging a "Jane Eyre''-based ballet, and finally last June, hers debuted on the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre stage. But as she breathed a sigh of relief, so did her body.
She had to be hospitalized for exhaustion, Bullard said Wednesday in a candid yet light-hearted interview in which she focused on the positive side of being forced to get much-needed rest.
"After being incapacitated for a month, I liked the look of myself in the mirror,'' she said, with a hearty laugh.
"I had lost some weight."
Bullard, who has taught ballet in Kalamazoo since 1963, has had to close her ballet company periodically in recent months because of the events of last summer and later, a boiler problem in the building that houses her dance studio. The boiler has since been replaced.
Now Bullard's company is back in full swing and holding performances, which serve as fund-raisers for operational costs. (Roberto Acosta)
A couple of blogs today sing praises of Jane Eyre: Kylie's Book Nook and Fresh Ideas For You. Not Quite Write draws inspiration form the Brontës. And SixSisters posts two gorgeous ACEOs on Jane Eyre.

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