Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Barbie-Charlotte Brontë connection

We are glad to hear the people of Doncaster are not holding their breath waiting to see their Brodsworth Hall on the big screen. From the Doncaster Free Press:

Brodsworth Hall, meanwhile, could be in line to play host to a movie about The Brontë sisters - if film bosses can secure sufficient funding. (Paul Goodwin)
No news from that front, though.

Luckily, other things do move on in Brontëland. The Visitor has an article on young actress Prudence Edwards.
A versatile Lancaster actress has become the voice of Barbie on a DVD release – just days before she plays Charlotte Bronte in Lancaster.
Prudence Edwards does the voiceover for the popular children's doll in Mattel's 'Barbie in a Christmas Carol' – then a Lancaster audience will see Prudence in a totally different role when she plays legendary author Charlotte Bronte in her one-woman show at the Gregson Centre.
'Watch Her Now, An Evening with Charlotte Bronte', gives the audience a glimpse into the genius mind of Charlotte, through her personal letters, haunting poems and descriptive passages of Jane Eyre.
Performances are on Tuesday, November 25 and Wednesday, November 26 at 8pm.
The show will then go on to play at the Salford Arts Theatre in Manchester.
All tickets cost £6 and are available from The Gregson Bar. For more information call 07971136509.
It's been a while since we came across a new review of Dame Darcy's illustrated edition of Jane Eyre. This one comes from Noise:
Long winter hours steeped in darkness scream for a thick, stately novel read under cover of thick fluffy blankets. May I recommend the classic "Jane Eyre," accompanied and enlivened by the intricate, off-kilter artwork of illustrator - also cartoonist, writer, animator, filmmaker and musician - Dame Darcy. Darcy's illustrations draw heavily on Victorian-inspired artists like Edward Gorey, casting a somber, haunting spell that matches the tone of one of the most popular books of the Victorian era.
"Jane Eyre" is billed as a "sweeping romance," which it is, but its real emotional power lies in the way it breaks with romance standards: Jane is not beautiful; love interest Rochester is neither handsome nor overly charming. But they each see beyond initial appearances and previous mistakes toward a possibility of ultimate redemption, if they can overcome the mysterious residue of the past. (Whitney Spotts)
BellaOnline reviews Nobody's Daughter by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
The book does end on a happy note, but it is no fairy tale. Think of Jane Eyre's orphanage experience in the book of the same name. Younger tweens may find Susan Beth Pfeffer’s story disturbing. Therefore, children under thirteen-years-old may be too young to read Nobody's Daughter. (Taisha Turner)
As an aside, we are happy to hear that Elizabeth Gaskell's Manchester home will receive a '£2.5 million upgrade', as reported by 24dash:
The house where novels including Cranford and Wives and Daughters were penned has been given the go ahead to receive a £2.5 million upgrade.
Mrs Gaskell's House in Plymouth Grove, Ardwick, was recently granted planning permission by Manchester City Council for the restoration to begin.
The famous author Elizabeth Gaskell lived there between 1850-65 and the house remained in her family until 1913.
The house has important literary associations not only because of her work, but also because of visits from other authors of the era including Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte.
The Grade II* listed Regency style Villa was built in the 1830s and the permission will allow a range of work to be carried out. It is one of the few Regency style villas left in Manchester and still has many of its original features.
Work carried out will include repairing dry rot, a new roof, new drains and lime plaster on the exterior walls. The original features will also be restored as well as the house being given disabled access, and a lift to all the floors.
Once the work is completed, the house will be used for a wide range of community events, exhibitions and meetings.
Councillor Richard Cowell, Executive Member for Planning and the Environment for Manchester City Council, said: "Elizabeth Gaskell was one of Manchester's great daughters and her former home has historic interest to the city.
"The planning permission will allow the vital work that is needed to be carried out - so we can all continue to enjoy it for many years to come."
Janet Allan, Chairman of the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust which owns the house, said: "This is excellent news, having this permission will allow us to bring the building back to its former glory so that everyone can enjoy it.
"We have enough money to fund some of the first phrase and are in the process of raising the rest of the £2.5 million that is required. We are working closely with Manchester City Council, English Heritage and many other bodies.
"Any donations to help bring this fabulous building up-to-date are most welcome." (Jon Land)
Incidentally, Elizabeth Gaskell passed away on a day like today in 1865.

On the blogosphere, Óscar Rodríguez describes on the Brussels Brontë Blog how he discovered the Brontë sisters. And The Little Professor looks at Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca from a Jane Eyre point of view.

Finally, YouTube user ksotikoula has uploaded (in 4 parts) the Readers' review of Villette from The Diane Rehm Show (originally broadcast on June 19, 2007).

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