Monday, October 26, 2009

Our innermost gothic self

The broadcast of the first part of Wuthering Heights 2009 took place yesterday in Australia and according to the audience figures, Crikey considers it one of the losers of last night's TV programmes with an audience of 769,000. Is it really that bad?

Incidentally, the Brontë Parsonage Blog has written about Saturday's event with screenwriter Peter Bowker and director Coky Giedroyc.

“I first read Wuthering Heights when I was sixteen,” director Coky Giedroyc tells the audience in Haworth. “I think it spoke to my innermost gothic self.”
Screenwriter Peter Bowker says that he stumbled through the novel in his teenage years: “My first strong memory is of the black and white Hollywood film, but I read it at university and I adored it……..
I had to return to my brutal younger self when I was choosing what to cut and what not to cut. The book is the work, of course, and I am doing a take on it, what a musician calls a cover version………ultimately, it is a redemptive version…….. (Read more) (Richard Wilcocks)
Click here to see a couple of pictures from the event.

Another TV production of a Brontë novel - Jane Eyre 1983 - is mentioned in The Times obituary for Barry Letts, who produced that adaptation.

A stage adaptation of Jane Eyre was seen at Farmers Alley Theatre, which looks back on its first year in the Kalamazoo Gazette.
“Jane Eyre” in April was also something special, with a cast of 14 in the small space. (Mark Wedel)
And according to China Daily reading Jane Eyre in China is easier thanks to the China Mobile Foundation.
Lin Xiuhong is a primary school teacher in a small county in Anhui province that received library support from China Mobile. Her son attends the same school where she teaches Chinese.
"On the first day, my son borrowed Robinson Crusoe, Little Golden Horse and How the Steel was Tempered; I borrowed Jane Eyre, Education of Love and a set of Encyclopedia for Kids," Lin said.
"Thanks to the library, my life and the life of my son have become more colorful," she said. (Hou Qingyang)
The Brussels Brontë Blog has a post on last week's talk and readings of Villette.
The theme of our talk on Saturday 17 October in our usual venue (Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis) was Charlotte Brontë's novel Villette. People who read or re-read the novel after moving to Brussels agree that reading it here is illuminating both about Villette and Brussels. There are always some readers who find it difficult and unappealing, yet for many it is uniquely atmospheric and fascinating.
Maureen Peeck O'Toole's talk, Are you anybody, Miss Snowe?, by focusing on the narrator Lucy Snowe and her relationship with us, the reader, addressed some of the questions that arise about this novel. Many of these relate to the character of Lucy. Can we like her, or at least understand her and feel sympathetic towards her? What is her attitude to us, the reader? Why does she sometimes seem to deliberately mislead us or at least withhold things from us? The talk was intended to be useful for first-time readers of the novel while suggesting new ways of approaching it to those already acquainted with it. The discussion that followed and comments by people who attended suggest that the audience did indeed find it thought-provoking.
Maureen Peeck has lived in the Netherlands for much of her life and taught for many years at Utrecht University, but she was born Maureen O'Toole and brought up in Bradford close to the Bronte village, Haworth, which she visited as a child. Maureen is a founder member of the Brussels Bronte group and has always been one of its most active members.
Her talk was followed by readings of passages from Villette selected by her to illustrate it. We had five very competent readers, many with acting experience. Four were members of our group while the fifth had volunteered to join them in response to our appeal for a male reader to read M. Paul's part. The formula of talk plus readings worked well and several people said afterwards that the readings highlighted the points touched on by Maureen as well as being enjoyable in their own right.
We prepared for the talk by reading Villette in our reading group. There was so much interest that in addition to our meeting of regular members of the reading group, we organised an extra discussion just before Maureen's talk for all the other people eager to talk about the novel. (Helen MacEwan)
And if you are one of of those amazing people who start their Christmas shopping early, you might want to consider this Brontë cover designed by Leslie Hsu for the forthcoming nook eReader, seen via GeekSugar. We don't really see what's particularly Brontë about it, but it is nice all the same. There are two models (black and turquoise):
Display your favorite photo in the cutout window while you read with this durable cover named for the famous Brontë sisters of classical literature. Designed to open like a book, it features a PVC-coated cotton canvas outer shell and soft synthetic suede lining that helps protect your nook from scratches and handling.
There are a few reviews of Wuthering Heights 2009 on the blogosphere (a few of the above-mentioned 769,000): Cara Gabriel, Out of the Inkbottle (who makes the dislike for this production very clear) and Vanishing Point. She Reads Books reviews Jane Eyre, Golden Girls looks at some of the young actresses who have played the young Jane in Jane Eyre through the years, and Derek & Emily also discusses some of these productions. A Word to the Wise posts about the Brontës.

Let us finish by rememebering that Shirley was published 160 years ago exactly today.

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