Saturday, February 06, 2010

The novel that Emily Brontë should have written

The new production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the English National Opera is reviewed with Brontë mentions by the Telegraph:

David Alden's production makes Lucia di Lammermoor seem like a novel that Emily Brontë or the young Charles Dickens should have written but didn't: it's set in some haunted, dream-like early Victorian limbo, poetically realised in Charles Edwards and Brigitte Reiffensteul's designs, where walls are crumbling, fortunes have decayed, cupboards are full of dusty legal papers and suppressed desires are matched by explosive hatreds. (Rupert Christiansen)
Beth Powning's The Sea Captain's Wife gets another review with a Brontë mention in The London Free Press (Canada):
Although there are elements of romantic fiction in The Sea Captain's Wife, Powning's impressive prose, her skill at setting a scene, her rare descriptive power override the odd formulaic turn. Nathaniel, for instance, is the masterful hero personified; handsome, brooding, bearded, a Mr. Rochester of the high seas with his own Jane Eyre-like Azuba to save him from himself. (Nancy Schiefer)
Another review by Outlook India talks about the book Kaifi And I: A Memoir by Shaukat Azmi (Translated By Nasreen Rehman):
Charlotte and Emily Bronte represented women in novels which are more emotionally mature than any written by contemporary men. When it comes to acting in theatre and films, one can say the same about Shaukat. Highly versatile, she had the ability to weld instruction and entertainment and the skill required for the production of a first-rate play. (Mushirul Hasan)
Today (Singapore) talks about the official cultural exchange with Yorkshire county which we mentioned previously:
In a book swop that marked the first of many bridging events to come, Singapore author Suchen Christine Lim presented her novel Fistful of Colours to the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity. Before that, Singapore had been given a 1877 edition of Wuthering Heights, written by Yorkshire native Emily Bronte.
Lim's work was published in 1993, Bronte's before the ballpoint pen was invented. The latter also inspired Kate Bush's unforgettable wailing in a song of the same name, and was adapted into film at least three times and read by students of English literature the world over.
Bronte and her equally famous sisters, Charlotte and Anne, are not the only notable figures to hail from this part of north-west England. Yorkshire can also name drop Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath's ex-husband, renowned poet W H Auden, and rockers Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys.
With a history that dates back 2,000 years, the county has had time to build up an impressive resume. Its size helps, too. Being the largest region in England means a bigger catchment area.
Still, there's no denying Yorkshire's natural beauty. Dubbed God's Own Country, England's greenest county is home to some spectacular scenery - from the striking coastline in the east to the lush landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.
Add to this, medieval villages and grand, historic buildings and it's not hard to see why so many productions find film locations in this area. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves and Brideshead Revisited are but a few.
Yorkshire also has the distinction in being the home of five Michelin-starred restaurants, the most of any region in England aside from London. That's due to the land's bounty, said Verity. Singapore is in for a fruitful exchange. (Jennifer Chen)
Today spoke to Yorkshire tourism chief Gary Verity onboard the Hull & Humber when the ship arrived in Singapore last week as the British contender in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Tell us about Wuthering Heights.
The book was published in 1877. We don't give it out to just anybody. Singapore is the only place in the world to have such a copy.
It's quite an honour for us then ...
Singapore has excellent facilities to take of it. At least, we don't think we will see it on Ebay next week! (Chuckles)
Mark Piggott writes in The Times about his youth in Hebden Bridge trying to find the answer to why it's one of the towns with the highest suicide rate in England:
When I was 11, Mum remarried and we moved to a small terraced house in the middle of Hebden. Its dark, satanic hills and the uniquely built houses stacked up like giant steps inspired the Brontë sisters (Haworth is six miles over the moors) and local lad Ted Hughes, but the valley floor can be claustrophobic; one nickname for the town is “the Brig”. Locals speak of “valley bottom fever”, and claim poor areas of town are untouched by sunlight during the winter; a combination of geography and climate induces a sense of victimhood.
Tiffany Murray chooses the The Gap of Dunloe as her most memorable drive for The Guardian:
There was a storm and it was getting dark. Larry ignored the new European signs to the main road and Dingle, and followed the old Irish signs. I, the Brit, had no idea what the Gap of Dunloe was. A valley? I put faith in my (Irish) husband because you're meant to do that, right? We passed Lord Brandon's Cottage; the pub looked warm. Our single road was tiny, dark, battered by wind and rain. I thought about wild ponies and Heathcliff. We drove each sharp bend, up. Then we teetered, pivoting. "Is it still the road?" Larry whispered. The headlights shone into blackness. The car dipped, we rumbled down the other side of the hill. "Lake, lake!" Larry yelled. (Simon Majumdar)
The Gap of Dunloe, of course, has an actual Brontë connection: Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Bell Nicholls were there during their honeymoon and Charlotte fell off her horse and narrowly escaped death.

American Songwriter interviews Richard Thompson:
Does living in sunny L.A. affect what you write?
I don’t think so. I kind of think you carry a culture in your head. For me, Los Angeles is a blank canvas. It’s not as if someone has already painted the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean up there that you have to pay attention to. To me, it’s culturally blank. You can be who you want in this town. And creatively—internally—it’s a bleak Bronte-esque landscape. I could be lying on a beach in the Caribbean but still write grim and Dickensian. (Paul Zollo)
Catahispania Travel (Spain) lists the top 5 springtime/romantic tourist escapades:
Condado de Yorkshire, las verdes campiñas inglesas nos esperan
Tierra de cumbres, valles y campiñas, el Condado de Yorkshire ha ido adquiriendo fama gracias a que cada día más, los admiradores de Emily Brontë, se acercan a conocer los paisajes que inspiraron su pasional novela “Cumbres Borrascosas”, precisamente uno de los lugares ideales para empezar una ruta que propone Catahispania es Haworth, el pueblecito idílico en el que vivieron las hermanas Brontë. La casa que habitó la familia se ha convertido en un interesante museo que conserva piezas únicas de la vida diaria de las escritoras. Otro de los puntos clave de la visita al condado de Yorkshire es la inspiradora mansión de Castle Howard. La mansión inspiró novelas como “Retorno a Brideshead”, que luego fue llevada a la televisión en formato serie y en película. Catahispania Travel propone como base de operaciones la medieval ciudad de York como lugar desde donde pueden visitarse los idílicos parajes de Yorkshire que en primavera recobran toda su fuerza y colorido. (Google translation)
Milenio quotes Albert Camus's introduction to his 1951 book L'Homme révolté:
Heathcliff, dans Les Hauts de Hurlevent, tuerait la terre entière pour posséder Cathie, mais il n’aurait pas l’idée de dire que ce meurtre est raisonnable ou justifié pas un système. Il l’accomplirait, là s’arrête toute sa croyance. Cela suppose la force de l’amour, et le caractère. (Google translation)
El Mundo (Spain) chats with Emily Blunt who is presenting her new film Wolf Man:
¿Qué investigación realizó para elabarorar su personaje en la película? (Robert Arapé)
Para preparar el personaje estuve leyendo mucho sobre la época, de literatura y de historia, por ejemplo Cumbres borrascosas, y tabién antes de empezar el rodaje volví a ver la película original. (Google translation)
MovieSushi (Italy) brings up the Jane Eyre references in the Oscar-nominated film An Education:
Ma Hornby ci parla anche della letteratura, che è il suo campo: nel film si citano Jane Eyre, C. S. Lewis (quello de Le cronache di Narnia). An Education così diventa anche meta-letterario. (Maurizio Ermisino) (Google translation)
Il Recensore (Italy) reviews the Italian translation of Elizabeth Taylor's At Mrs. Lippincote's:
L’eterogeneo gruppo familiare costretto suo malgrado a dividere lo stesso tetto cerca di trovare una scappatoia, un modus vivendi per sopravvivere: Julia trascurata dal marito aviatore, si barcamena tra la curiosità di scoprire i segreti, le foto della famiglia Lippincote e l’insofferenza di questa nuova situazione accentuando la sua tagliente ironia, Eleonor “quarantenne e nubile… aveva qualche soldo investito nell’Imperial Tobacco, un abito da sera blu e una passione per suo cugino, per il quale, avrebbe volentieri dato la vita”, segretamente disprezza la cognata desiderosa di prenderne il posto, tutto questo mentre Oliver al piano di sopra rinchiuso nella sua camera divora libri, li inspira nei polmoni, li odora innamorandosi dei vari personaggi che incontra come Alice, le romantiche sorelle Bronte, Jane Eyre, Fatima e molte altre. (Alessandra Stoppini) (Google translation)
The Upsala Nya Tidning (Sweden) compares Jane Austen and the Brontës:
En hädisk tanke bortom de 33 lovtalen må tillåtas: Austens värld kan te sig en smula inskränkt och blodfattig, i synner­het om man jämför henne med nästa generations engelska kvinnliga romanförfattare, systrarna Brontë. Deras hjältar kan vara demoniska i överkant, men vid sidan av Jane Eyre och Cathe­rine Earnshaw i Svindlande höjder framstår fröknarna Dashwood och deras gelikar ibland som små nippertippor. (Staffan Bergsten) (Google translation)
The Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) reviews the current production of Château en Suède by Françoise Sagan at the Royal Dramatic Theatre:
Precis som i Jane Eyre finns här en före detta hustru, inlåst på vinden. Hon är både dödförklarad och begravd, men icke desto mindre på hugget i Hulda Lind Jóhannsdóttirs gestalt. Hennes Ofelia rymmer alltsomoftast, fuskar grovt i kort och lyckas dessutom bli med barn med David Mjönes Sebastian, en man utan sexuell identitet men mångskiftande praktik. (Sara Granath) (Google translation)
Book-buying and bookclubs (with some Brontës) in the Khaleej Times and the Correo Braziliense, Cable.co.uk informs that Virgin Media offers
Love Stories – a range of classic period dramas based on famed novels, including Emma and Jane Eyre, will be available on Virgin's TV Choice feature.
The New York Times Learning Network blog features Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as some of the favourite titles chosen by students, The Salon blog Mothership quotes Anne Brontë among others who wrote about crying, a Brontë mention in Ursula Mommens's Times obituary. Stiletto Storytime reviews The Foundling by Charlotte Brontë, Shelf It or Sell It posts about Jane Eyre, Literary Readings uploads to YouTube two poems by Charlotte Brontë: Evening Solace and Parting.

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