Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brontë cookies, a manor for sale and a couple of strange descriptions

The Telegraph and Argus has the story of a manor house in Thornton - the Brontës' birthplace - with supposed Brontë links:

An historic manor house in a village with links to the Brontes has gone on the market for more than £1.3 million.
Thornton Hall is located next to St James’s Church in Thornton, Bradford, where Patrick Bronte, father of the three literary sisters, was perpetual curate between 1815 and 1820.
Charlotte, Emily and Anne, along with their brother Branwell, were born in the village, before the family moved to the parsonage at Haworth.
Barry Whitaker, who has owned the Grade II-listed property since 1980, said: “The Lord of the Manor would have had access to the church from the grounds and would have known Patrick Bronte.
“There’s a presumption that the young Bronte sisters played in the garden at the manor before the family moved to Haworth.
“There’s also a school of thought that the description of Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre bears architectural resemblance to Thornton Hall.”
Thornton Hall dates back to the 11th century, when the original wooden structure of the property, owned by Gemill of Thornton, was named in the Doomsday Book of 1086.
The property was rebuilt in 1598 and was renovated extensively in the late 19th century, by John Foster, owner Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury.
Mr Whitaker said: “The mills can be seen from the master bedroom of the manor so Mr Foster would have been able to look out and see the smoke from the chimneys and make sure everyone was working hard.
“He would have been taken across the valley by his coachman to the mills. All our children have grown up now and are living in America and France so we are going to downsize and spend time visiting them.
“We are giving someone else the chance to be Lord of the Manor in Thornton.” (Hannah Baker)
The young Brontës might or might not have played in the garden, but there are several houses contending for the title of the original of Thornfield Hall and this is not among the most usual candidates. It is not known that any Brontë family member ever returned to Thornton after moving to Haworth in 1820, and by then Charlotte was only four years old, hardly able to remember in such detail a house, even if she had played in the garden there.

Cinematical is quite hopeful about Andrea Arnold's initial approach to Wuthering Heights:
Once upon a time, Emily Bronte's book Wuthering Heights was my favorite book. Now it's everyone's favorite book. For someone who always said "Go back and read the classics because they're sexier!," it's both gratifying and mortifying to see it become embedded in Robert Pattinson and Twilight pop culture. Oh well. The dusty old readers probably said the same thing when Laurence Olivier cultified it, too.
I've never been able to watch a film adaptation -- not even Olivier's -- because none of them were dark, brutal, and Gothic enough for my taste. More specifically, none of them ever cast Heathcliff as anything other than a well-spoken and pale-skinned Englishman or Welshman. Bronte takes great pains to emphasize that Heathcliff is something foreign, with "swarthy" skin and dark hair, and his origin is just one of the reasons everyone (save Cathy) disdains him. No one knows exactly what he is, and their best guess is that he's a gypsy foundling. Naturally, there's a lot of racist hinting that his dubious ethnic background is the reason for his cruelty and madness. A sad sign of the times -- and any time, really.
Well, at least one filmmaker is going to try and buck that old trend. The London Times reports that Andrea Arnold is reaching out to Britain's Romany community in the hopes of casting an unknown actor to play Heathcliff. This has been a bit politically fraught, as would be expected, and they haven't yet found a young man to take the role. But they're trying, and that thrills me to no end. If they cast Heathcliff properly, and steer clear of the posh RADA types (who I certainly love for all other English Lit roles), this might be the first Wuthering Heights I will actually sit down and watch. (Elisabeth Rappe)
The Age finds a strange way to describe the comedian Lou Sanz:
FROM somewhere within the dark chasm that separates Carrie Bradshaw from Emily Bronte comes a voice that deserves our attention. (Helen Razer)
The Star also uses a Brontë reference for a description, this time of the TV series Glee:
Glee is our anthem show. It’s for those of us who had nowhere to go during the lunch hours throughout high school, so ate ham sandwiches in the library study carrells while reading Madame Bovary or Jane Eyre (cue guffaws of sneering now). (Vivian Song)
As for blogs today, Come What May. And Love It and Le Terrier de Chiffonnette (in French) post about Jane Eyre. We Read Bad Books writes about Wuthering Heights (!) and cha no ma-ri has made delicious-looking cookies inspired by Jane Eyre as part of the Brontë-Along.

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