Sunday, June 15, 2008

Relationship status: It's complicated

Keighley News interviews Alan Bentley who recently left his post as the Brontë Parsonage Museum's director:

The director of Haworth's Brontë Parsonage Museum has stepped down from his post after more than seven years in the job.
Alan Bentley, who lives in Cross Roads, has left the Brontë Society to pursue a career in freelance heritage work and management consultancy.
He said: "I have enjoyed my time as museum director. It's been frustrating in some ways but really good in others.
"Attracting visitors is always a struggle - there was the foot and mouth outbreak when I first started.
"Being head of an internationally renowned attraction is quite a tough, complex job and involves a lot of demands on one's time.
"But I've enjoyed working with the staff here and liked the experience of being associated with the Brontës.
"There have been a lot of improvements to the museum - particularly to the education service. We've expanded our collection quite considerably and raised a good deal of funds.
"We're also redeveloping our exhibition room, which will be opening in February of next year."
He added 2009 should be a big year in terms of publicity for the parsonage.
It is due to include the screening of two or three films based on the life and work of the Brontë sisters, along with an ITV serialisation of the novel Wuthering Heights.

The Weekly Standard (Volume 013, Issue 39) carries an article about the parallels between American abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Somali Islamic dissident remembers her Brontë readings when she was a child:
For Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it was not one book, but rather a kind of book--Western fiction, both high and low--that stirred her aspirations beyond the horizons of a typical Somali woman. At school, she read 1984, Huckleberry Finn, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Wuthering Heights, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Cry, the Beloved Country. She read Jane Austen and Charlotte Brönte and "Russian novels with their strange patronymics and snowy vistas." (Claudia Anderson)
More reviews of the Washington performances of Robert Ludlum's The Mystery of Irma Vep:
Not everyone could happily lead audiences down a path heavily strewn with pop culture and literary references ranging from the Bronte sisters and Shakespeare to Alfred Hitchcock and Hammer film studio creature features. Yet fearless comic duo Brad Oscar and J. Fred Shiffman prove equal to the task. (Jayne Blanchard in The Washington Times)
The World Is Your Oyster recommends Jane Eyre 2006. Accio posts briefly about the novel (in Italian). Agnes Mary Francis Robinson's pioneering biography of Emily Brontë (1883) that was available from the Internet Archive (see sidebar) now can also be downloades from the Gutenberg project website. A Girl Walks into a Bookstore... reviews Agnes Grey.

The blunder of the day comes from 26 Noticias (Argentina) which says that Jane Austen wrote Wuthering Heights (!). And the bizarre reference comes from the Austrian newspaper Kritische Ausgabe linking the UEFA Euro 2008 and Emily Brontë.

Finally, thanks to vegelate we have discovered this article in the New York Times from a couple of months ago which proposes some 'questions for discussion' that appear on the back of many paperbacks:
Did you see the movie based on this book? Didn’t you think Laurence Olivier was too old to play the part? Boy, I did. I never thought he was all that good-looking, did you?
If Heathcliff had fallen in love with Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennet instead of Cathy, do you think his house would have burned down?
If Heathcliff were alive today, would he mention Cathy’s death on his Facebook page and change his relationship status to “It’s complicated”? (Joe Queenan)
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