Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is Jane Eyre well made?

John Mullan selects the best teachers in literature for The Guardian. Lucy Snowe makes it into the list:

The heroine of Charlotte Brontë's last novel, Villette, finds employment teaching in a private girls' boarding school in Belgium. Plain and brainy, she's scornful of the silly, rich girls she has to teach. The school hums with sexual tension, and Lucy falls for first the school doctor, then a teacher.
Also in The Guardian there is an interesting article by Zadie Smith about the differences and connections between essays and conventional novels:
But even the most conventional account of our literary "canon" reveals the history of the novel to be simultaneously a history of nonconformity. For as readers we have loved and celebrated not some hazy general idea of the novel but rather the peculiar works of individual imaginations. Even in those familiar lists of "great novels", classics of the genre, and so on, it's hard to find a single "well-made" novel among them, if by well-made we mean something like "evenly shaped, regular, predictable and elegantly designed". Is War and Peace, with its huge tracts of undigested essay, absurd plotting and obscene length, a well-made novel? Is The Trial? And those neat Victorian novels we're now expected casually to revile – is it not only from a distance, and in the memory, that they look as neat as they do? Which of them is truly "well made"? Jane Eyre seemed hysterical and lopsided to its earliest readers; we now think of Middlemarch as the ultimate "proper" novel, forgetting how eccentric and strange it looked on publication, with its unwieldy and unfeminine scientific preoccupations and moral structure borrowed from Spinoza.
The California Chronicle reviews the film An Education and mentions its Jane Eyre connection:
David seems to offer an irresistible shortcut to the world of jazz clubs and art appreciation, although Sarsgaard's trademark slit-lidded eyes and Jenny's English literature assignment ("Jane Eyre") foreshadow trouble. (John Beifuss)
The Boston Globe talks about Oprah Winfrey's tremendous influence in book sales (now that it seems that her show will end to make way for her own cable channel):
Testament to Oprah’s power, some books were unlikely hits. Alice Hoffman’s book, “Here on Earth,’’ a modern reworking of the Emily Bronte classic, “Wuthering Heights,’’ sailed to No. 1 when Oprah gave it the nod. (Johnny Diaz and Megan Woolhouse)
And now for the Twilight section of our daily newsround. Another review of The Twilight Saga: New Moon film in the New York Press:
Hardwicke gave Meyer’s fairy/gothic tale an idealized representation of universal adolescent tension. Bella’s attraction to teen vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) normalized today’s sexual permissiveness—the cultural pressure teens feel to be sexually active—with a concept both shrewd and authentically Bronte-esque. (Armond White)
In The Times:
Marketers are taking full advantage. Play.com, an internet retailer, is advertising the Twilight duvet cover (£27.99 for a double) as “fangtastic”. The blurb accompanying the New Moon board game (£22.99) reads: “When you can live forever, what do you live for? Board games!” Even Wuthering Heights has been reprinted with the words “Edward and Bella’s favourite book” on the cover, helping to make the Brontë novel Britain’s bestselling children’s classic. (Alexis Mostrous and Ruth Lewy)
Liverpool Echo:
Berni Turner, a Liberal cabinet member for the environment, chose Stephanie Meyer’s four Twilight novels as her specialist subject, last night.
She said the “paranormal romance” stories about a teenage girl and her vampire lover reminded her of Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, and Wuthering Heights. (Gary Stewart)
Movie Mom (A blog from Beliefnet):
The wildly popular Twilight Saga has the core elements of girl-friendly romances from "Wuthering Heights" to "Titanic:" a boyfriend who is not approved by parents who is utterly undone by the appeal of the female lead, and something to make sure that their relationship is about longing, not satisfaction.
The National (United Arab Emirates):
As Edward Cullen, the vampire hunk of the Twilight films, Robert Pattinson’s smouldering gaze, pale sculpted features and windswept hair arouse comparisons with grand figures of literature and film. He’s like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, many admirers say. Others suggest Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, or James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. (Peter Howell)
El Espectador (Colombia):
“No, lo importante es que lean”, dice, y luego me cuenta que una de sus pupilas, cuando supo que Crepúsculo se basaba en novelas clásicas del siglo 19, se puso a leer Cumbres borrascosas, de Emily Brontë. (Esteban Carlos Mejía) (Google translation)
Diario de Cádiz (Spain):
Héroes byronianos son -para entendernos- el Heathcliff de Cumbres Borrascosas, el Rochester de Jane Eyre o el Lestat de Crónicas Vampíricas. Lobezno es un héroe byroniano. Y Jim Morrison, por ejemplo, y James Dean. Y, por supuesto, lo es el Edward Cullen de Crepúsculo. (Pilar Vera) (Google translation)
La Nueva España (Spain):
Meyer actualiza el romanticismo decimonónico (la referencia, «Cumbres borrascosas»); lo mezcla con dos o tres arquetipos (el vampiro, el príncipe azul y el metrosexual), y le da una pátina religiosa (de semejante pasión, ¿no debería salir un ratillo de sexo, amigos?). (Eduardo Galán) (Google translation)
Le Devoir (Canada):
Le second, à l'affiche ce week-end au terme d'une campagne publicitaire monstre, reconnaît sa dette envers Émilie Brontë et ses Hauts de Hurlevent. À preuve: son héroïne romantique et exaltée, en proie à des cauchemars à la suite du départ de son amoureux sacrifié, parti dans le but de ne pas la faire souffrir mais qui, sans le vouloir, la dépouille de tout instinct de survie. (Martin Bilodeau) (Google translation)
Var-Matin (France):
« Je n'ai pas lu les romans parce qu'ils n'entrent pas dans mes priorités. Mais j'ai vu le premier film, reprend Christelle [libraire à la Fnac du centre Mayol]. Twilight séduit les jeunes filles parce que ça traite des angoisses des adolescents, de la peur de la mort. C'est gothique et il y a des vampires, mais c'est surtout une histoire d'amour. » Qui renvoie aux Hauts de Hurlevent d'Emily Brontë, ce qui n'est pas pour déplaire aux amateurs de littérature. (S.M.) (Google translation)
Dagbladet (Norway):
Stephenie Meyer hadde utdannelse fra mormonerskolen Brigham Young University, hun elsket Charlotte Brontë og Jane Austen, men hadde overhodet ingen litterære ambisjoner selv. (Mira Mack Omdahl) (Google translation)
And El Telégrafo (Ecuador):
Según la autora, la saga “Twilight” representa a Orgullo y Prejuicio (Crepúsculo), Romeo y Julieta (Luna Nueva), Cumbres borrascosas (Eclipse) y El sueño de una noche de verano (Amanecer). (Walter Franco) (Google translation)
The Yorkshire Post announces the opening of a photography exhibition at the Dales Country Museum in Hawes to mark the signing of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act:
Throughout the generations the Yorkshire Dales have inspired writers and artists from the Brontës to JMW Turner.
Whether it is the windswept moors portrayed in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights or the paintings captured during Turner's famous tours of the Dales, there is no denying the impression left by the stunning scenery on some of the country's most celebrated arts figures. (Paul Jeeves)
Qué Leer (Spain) interviews Lorrie Moore, who says about her latest novel A Gate to the Stairs:
Me inspiré bastante en Jane Eyre, aunque prácticamente nadie ha captado el referente. (Antonio Lozano) (Google translation)
Not quite so. BrontëBlog's archives tell the opposite.

Têtu (France) describes the film Bandaged by Maria Beatty like this:
Imaginez le romantisme des Hauts de Hurlevent d'Emily Brontë, le côté oppressant de Psychose d'Hitchcock et le fétichisme de Fassbinder, et vous aurez une idée de ce que va provoquer en vous Bandaged... (Google translation)
Fluctuat (France) interviews author and Brontëite Hannah Tinti:
Votre roman regorge de descriptions fabuleuses du XIXe siècle, de ses paysages et de ses habitants.... Auriez-vous aimé vivre à cette époque ?
Bonne question... J'aurais aimé, oui, mais je suis quand même très contente de profiter de la médecine moderne, d'avoir l'eau courante, des toilettes à l'intérieur, une salle de bains... Je pense que ce que j'aurais aimé à cette époque c'est le mystère que l'on prêtait à la vie, la nature - sans pollution - et le fait de vivre plus en phase avec la nature. Et puis à l'époque, les gens n'avaient pas de télé, pas de radio pour se divertir... Il n'avaient rien d'autres que les livres. Et comme les livres sont toute ma vie, je pense que j'aurais été dans mon élément. A l'époque j'aurais pu rencontrer les écrivains que j'aime tant : Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson. Ils auraient été mes contemporains. (Céline Ngi) (Google translation)
The Dutch press covers the tour of De Brontë Sisters (Toneelgroep Dorst): Helders Weekblad and Vlaardingen De Echo and Wooste Hoogten (Artemis Theater): Parool and The Agenda.nl.

A Brontëite in the Watseka Times Republic, an article in the Colorado Springs Christian Espirituality Examiner links together the H1N1 Swine Flu and the Brontës and even better, Музыка KM.RU (Russia) is able to join Jane Eyre and Marilyn Manson in the same paragraph. Let the good times roll posts about Wuthering Heights and Book Review - The Club does the same about Jane Eyre. Finally, Be Literature begins a series of posts (in Spanish) about the Brontës (umlaut misplaced though).

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