Friday, February 25, 2011

"Jane Eyre is the most wonderful character study"

The New Yorker talks about novels which

feature characters—mostly first-person narrators, telling of their childhoods—who need to understand, account for, defend, reconcile, or otherwise deal with something difficult in their past, and storytelling is their recourse. (Flora Armetta)
Jane Eyre could certainly be on that list but Flora Armetta chooses Villette:
Harder to love than “Jane Eyre,” maybe, but brilliant on many of the same points (loneliness, self-awareness, the potential costs of telling the truth), and this one has a satisfyingly ambiguous ending.
The Millions looks at gender-crossing novels, that is novels written by men/women which give voice to women/men. Again Charlotte's The Professor could fall into this category but Sonya Chung goes for Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea:
What about Jean Rhys’s Mr. Rochester in Wide Sargasso Sea? He is a decidedly revised Rochester, less victim than Charlotte Brontë’s – proud, racist, ultimately vicious; misdirecting his emasculation rage (meant for his father) at Antoinette, Rhys’s woman in the attic. Is there a sense in which Rhys is always there, behind and inside Rochester? Look how a man can drive a woman to insanity, can destroy her life. Look at what goes through his mind, how he does it, let me show you. Rochester’s point-of-view – the majority of the book – is in this sense on some level Antoinette’s point-of-view; Woman’s point-of-view.
NPR makes a list of the upcoming books-made-into-films. Including of course Jane Eyre 2011:
But as the Oscars are almost here and will soon be over, and we have a long year ahead of us, I've decided to focus on (and give you a little preview of) the bumper crop of upcoming films based on books coming out in 2011. Some of them are based on masterpieces (I never met a Brontë sister I didn't like), and some, well...some are based on Something Borrowed. (...)
The Book: You read it in seventh grade, if you'll recall. But to jog your memory: Charlotte Brontë wrote her most famous work in 1847, inventing the original plain Jane. "Poor and little" Jane works in a drafty old house for the semi-handsome (if not abjectly creepy) Mr. Rochester, who definitely keeps his crazy wife in the attic. It's a Gothic thriller with strong female characters, and if you haven't read it yet, do get on that.
The Film: It actually looks good! Director Cary Fukunaga's debut, Sin Nombre, was a gorgeous film, and his remake of Eyre has the blessing of BBC Films behind it. Mia Wasikowska is earning a name for herself in the literary movie genre (she played Alice in last year's Burton adaptation of the Lewis Carroll story), and looks as if she can hold her own against Michael Fassbender's imposing Rochester.
See It With: Your period-drama (and possibly collectible doll?) loving aunt. (Rachel Syme)
The soprano Kate Royal (which has been a regular of this blog thanks to her performance of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights aria: I have dreamt in her latest CD: Midsummer Night) is a true Brontëite as this interview on PlaybillArts reveals:
A book (or two) that is important to you (and why):
Delia Smith’s How to Cook Book 1, because I can never remember how many minutes it takes to boil an egg. Jane Eyre because it is the most wonderful character study and template for many of my operatic roles. (Albert Imperato)
The New York Times recommends the Morgan Library's exhibition The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives
You don’t get to fully read the journals and diaries of John Steinbeck, Bob Dylan, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Brontë, Albert Einstein, Tennessee Williams or any of the others on display here from the Morgan’s incredible collection. But these riches are propped open in display cases for viewing, each revealing more than a tweet’s worth of tantalizing self-revelation or self-concealment. The museum provides transcriptions for those who can’t readily decipher 18th-century script, 19th-century microscopic penmanship and 20th-century scrawls. (Edward Rothstein)
The Telegraph (India) interviews Ruskin Bond (writer) and Victor Banerjee (actor). The latter reveals the name of his house:
Ruskin: When did you buy Parsonage and come to live here?
Victor: 1982.
Telegraph: That’s the name of your cottage?
Victor: Yes, Parsonage. It was Emily Brontë’s cottage and we share our birthdays as well. (Samhita Chakraborty Lahiri)
Emily Brontë's cottage is certainly a peculiar description for the Haworth Parsonage .

Returning to the actual Brontë country, The Guardian talks about the recently-released Bradford Visitor Guide 2011 which of courses features Haworth and the Brontë legacy:
Bradford, which was ridiculed last year in a survey of hotel-users is fighting back with a showcase of everything from the Bronte moors to curry. (...)
The district's other charms, which include Ilkley Moor, the Brontes' home at Haworth, the Dales Way and Bingley five-rise locks on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, escaped the notice of last year's Travelodge poll, which ranked Bradford as the place respondents least wanted to visit. (Martin Wainwright)
BBC News talks about Cleopatra, the new ballet by choreographer David Nixon with music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, authors of the Wuthering Heights 2002 ballet:
This will be Schonberg's second ballet, after his 2002 adaptation of Wuthering Heights, also co-written with Nixon.
The composer has learnt a lot about ballet since then, not least because he married ballerina Charlotte Talbot, who was Cathy in Wuthering Heights.
The bankruptcy of the Borders Group and the liquidation process (the closing of the bookstores can be followed from the employees point of view here or here) is discussed by The Voice of San Diego:
Consumerist reports that Borders stores nationally are getting mobbed (including ones that aren't closing, due to confusion about whether they are), and some customers are going bonkers: at one location, "customers were fighting over books, literally throwing them."
I'm ready to jump into the melee. Step away from the "Jane Eyre," madam. Mine mine mine! (Randy Dotinga)
The Australian Literary Review interviews author Sophie Masson:
Who is one of your favourite fictional characters and what makes them stand out for you?
One of my favourite fictional characters is Jane Eyre. I loved her, and as a self-sufficient and quiet but defiant sort of little girl, really identified with her! I loved how spirited and strong-willed she was but never arrogant or overbearing. However unlike her I would probably have been silly enough to jump straight into that gorgeous brooding Mr Rochester’s arms before it was wise to do so–the world well lost for love was something I really responded to as a teenager, which is also why I loved Russian novels–that mix of passion and intellectual ferment, lightness and profundity, of the Russian novel I found very heady. Strangely enough though I did not at all like Wuthering Heights–I found it morbid, Cathy hysterical and Heathcliff repellent!
Bookworm - Sumy Window on America Center, Desventuras Ironicas and Bibliólatras - e outros vícios (both in Portuguese) post about Wuthering Heights; We'll Always Have Books posts about Jane Eyre's chapters 1 to 10 on her own Jane Eyre Read-along; the book has also been read by Becky's Babbles and JessMadeThis; Mandelhjärta posts about Agnes Grey in Swedish; Crashing Waves compares briefly Mr Rochester and Mr Darcy; Leoise reviews briefly April Lindner's Jane in Portuguese; The Unpotdownables Villette Read-Along has new contributions: The Sleepless Reader and Fleur Fisher in her World. Finally, Off the Shelf reviews Juliet Gael's Romancing Miss Brontë.

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