Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011 7:52 pm by M. in , , , , , ,    No comments
History repeats itself. When Patrick Brontë opposed the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act little could he imagine that more than 170 years later his words would be so adequate for the current economical situation of his native Ireland. He wrote in 1837 to the Leeds Intelligencer:
Liberty or Bondage
To the Labourers, Mechanics, and Paupers or Slaves of England

(...) A law has lately been passed called the Poor Law Amendment Bill - a great misnomer I never read nor heard. It is a monster if iniquity, a horrid and cruel deformity, even in regard to what before was no very shapely or symmetrical representation. I know a comittee is sitting to amend the bill - but let me tell you, my dear friends, that it cannot be amended; it must be repealed altogether. (...)
We are told in the five books of Moses that the poor shall never cease from the land, and are exhorted to open our hands wide to relieve them. And the eternal God says multiply and replenish the earth. The blessed Saviour, also, follows up these injunctions with still more forcible admonitions. But a set of unfeeling, antiscriptural men, have lately arisen, who, being themselves only paupers on a larger scale, (as they are, in mnay instances supported by the country, and in a great measure, by the very men whom they wish to oppress) - who, nevertheless, teach doctrines in direct opposition to the law and to the gospel. What, then, my friends, are we to do under these circumstances? Why, verily, I see no plan better for us than that adopted by the Apostles, namely, to obey God, rather than man. (...) Then let me request you to do your duty - petition, remonstrate, and resist powerfully but legally, and God, the father and friend of the poor, will crown all your efforts with success.  (Patrick Brontë to the Editor of the Leeds Intelligencer, 22 April 1837)
Yesterday, David Quinn wrote in The Independent advocating for a reform of the Welfare State in a way that sounds strangely familiar:
Welfare state robs poor of incentive to work (...)
But the welfare state has also created huge pockets of morale-sapping dependency, chiefly in the form of deep poverty traps that have robbed many people of both the incentive and the ability to work.
In today's version of the Shacks, a great many people would be on welfare rather than in jobs, no matter how well or how badly the economy in general was doing.(...)
I will be voting for Fine Gael today because I believe it has the best policies to help the economy.
But I also believe it has the best policies to help the poor -- contrary to what the Left would have us believe.
For one thing, if you boost the economy you help poor people into jobs, but another reason is because Fine Gael has in it individuals like Leo Varadkar who would have the steel to reform the welfare state so that it will help its recipients far better than the present version.
A reader of the newspaper noted also that tune sounds familiar but he associated it with yet another Brontë character:
David Quinn’s article ‘Welfare state robs poor of incentive to work’ (Irish Independent, February 25) could have been written by Mr Brocklehurst in ‘Jane Eyre’ and was, for a man who seems to pride himself on his religious beliefs, as unchristian a piece as I have ever encountered.
He depicts the poor as lazy, feckless scroungers, continually on the make, whose only ambition in life is to get something for nothing. (...)
Fixing inequality takes money and time, sometimes several generations and requires a genuine commitment. Instead of citing ‘South Riding’ as an example, perhaps Mr Quinn should read Dickens, The Brontës or Victor Hugo. Better still, for such a religious man, maybe he should refer himse lf to the Bible. (G Harrison)
The Week asks actor Brian Cox (who some years ago was attached to Angela Workman's Brontë biopic project as Patrick Brontë) about his favourite books:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Bantam, $5). One of the great stories. The quintessential obsessive love story. Truly amazing.
And the Financial Times interviews the writer Joseph O'Connor: 
Who are your literary influences?
James Joyce, Peter Carey, Dickens, the Brontës, Toni Morrison, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, the Irish and English ballad tradition, the Blues. (Anna Metcalfe)
The Ilkey Gazette talks about Sanjida O’Connell latest novel Sugar Island and once again, the author mentions Wuthering Heights:
 O’Connell, who also presents wildlife films on TV, says she does her best thinking while walking on the moors and lists her favourite book as Wuthering Heights.(Suzy Poole)
The Ottawa Citizen has a very loose way of marking time periods in history:
The cards tell us that bluebells are charged with superstition (or at least, they were in the days of Boleyn and Brontë). Some believed that if you wore a wreath made of the flowers, you'd be compelled to speak the truth. Others thought that the bells rang out to summon fairies to their gatherings. (Reb Stevenson)
Michael Goldfarb calls Wuthering Heights the ultimate Victorian novel (?) in BBC News:
Not that passion disappeared from British life. It was just that a passionate nature was seen as a breeding flaw. Read the ultimate Victorian novel, Wuthering Heights - or rent the movie with Laurence Olivier. The hero, Heathcliff, is passionate all right, but he is a foundling, a street-urchin not from proper society.
The Cumberland News & Star reviews the BBC South Riding:
[David] Morrissey plays Robert Carne. He’s gentry – or as near as they got to gentry in Yorkshire backwaters between the wars. He’s broody, bad tempered and clearly bottling up a passionate inner-self – kind of like Heathcliff. (Anne Pickles)
On the Cape Breton Post the wonders of e-reading are discovered:
Speaking of Janes, I decided to start with “Jane Eyre” and once I got past her dark, depressing early days I could hardly put the thing down. Now I want to see how many more classics I can finish. (Jen Gouthro)
Flavorwire recommends an entertaining and addictive online game:
So, you love the Brontës and can’t resist a good 19th-century costume drama. But do you have the manners to survive in the Victorian era? Now you can find out, in a delightful video game from the McCord Museum in Montreal, which sends you on four different period-appropriate adventures and tests whether you dress and behave appropriately for your sex. (Judy Berman via Novaya Zemlya)
Bookreporter reviews Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchan and makes a Wuthering reference:
The eventful plot, alternating among the principal characters' points of view, finds Tom sunk in depression from the loss of his beloved career; Jake fighting for custody of his child; and Emily, whining all the while, looking for a job instead of writing a Wuthering Heights for the 21st century. (Kathy Weissman)
The San Francisco Chronicle asked for a top ten of  poets. Dean Rader lists several of the selections made:
Spicy Reads of Allegan, MI offered a list that is heavily contemporary and female: Emily Dickinson, Audre Lorde, HD, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marianne Moore, Phillis Wheatley, Edna St Vincent Millay, Emily Brontë, Denise Levertov.
Persinsala (Italy) publishes an article about Merle Oberon. Concerning her Catherine in Wuthering Heights 1939:
Il film era tratto dallo straordinario romanzo-poema di notevole forza fantastica, scritto dalla grande scrittrice inglese Emily Brontë e caratterizzato da un’immaginazione tesa al sovrannaturale. Libro e film narrano l’amore romantico e tragico tra Catherine e Heathcliff (si tratta, in effetti, di un triangolo perché Catherine nutre anche affetto, seppur di natura molto diversa, per il marito Edgard Linton). Il film seppe rendere a meraviglia quest’amore cupo e allucinato, fatale e distruttivo, che spezza i cuori di tutti non lasciando spazio a nessuno, tutto distruggendo e calpestando intorno a sé con ferocia e disperazione, compresi gli stessi protagonisti. Merle Oberon interpretò alla grande una sensibile giovane donna in crisi con l’ordine stabilito, devastata da un amore violento, e armonizzò in modo intenso con la natura selvaggia e la brughiera solitaria (battuta dal vento, verdeggiante di muschio e fiorita di erica) che furono filmate in modo superbo, creando uno scenario e un’atmosfera dal fascino irrepetibile.
(Translation)
Come4News (France) has a long article about Emily Brontë's original novel:
Wuthering Heights, en français "Les hauts de Hurlevent", est une histoire d'amour tragique, et a été même appelé " le grand roman de haine d'Emily Bronte." Et d'une certaine manière, c'est vrai. Presque tous les personnages expérimentent des relations amour/haine et ne sont pas effrayés d'afficher cette haine. Une haine qui n'est pas normale chez une personne. Heathcliff est brisé après la mort de son amour, et la haine qu'il montre envers certaines personnes dans le livre n'est pas normale, et dérange plutôt qu'autre chose. (Read more) (sheli) (Translation)
Nachrichten (Austria) interviews Andrea Arnold now that Fish Tank is premiered in Austria. Talking about her next project she says:
OÖN: Ihre Pläne?
Arnold: Die Verfilmung des Romans „Wuthering Heights“ von Emily Brontë.
OÖN: Welches Bild hatten Sie dabei vor den Augen?
Arnold: Ein riesiges, kletterndes Ungeheuer. Wenn man näher kommt, stellt man fest, dass es ein Mann ist.
OÖN: Die Hauptfigur?
Arnold: Wieder ein Laie. Ein 22-jähriger Bursche aus Leeds. (Translation)
Noticias de Gipuzkoa (Spain) talks about the Spanish edition of Fabrice Gaignault's Dictionnaire de littérature à l'usage des snobs : Et (surtout) de ceux qui ne le sont pas (published in 2007):
Para entender el espíritu del libro, es revelador saber que de los hermanos Brontë, ignora a Charlotte y Emily, y recupera a Patrick Branwell, modelo para el Heathcliff de Cumbres borrascosas. (Ruth Pérez de Anucita) (Translation)
In La Opinión de Málaga (Spain) a mention to the Hermanas Brontë Street (google maps calls it Hermanos Bronte though):
Las calles hay que dedicarlas al homenajeado en vida, a no ser que se trate de creaciones de la mente humana como La Flauta Mágica o Robinson Crusoe, sin olvidar a personas de carne y hueso como las Hermanas Brontë, que difícilmente habrían podido asistir al evento.(Alfonso Vázquez) (Translation)
Chelsea's Blog'o Fun! discusses Wuthering Heights and quotes several critical classical approaches; Scribblemaniac visits Whitby and thinks it must still look like Scarborough must have looked back when the Brontës visited; Fervent Reader reviews Juliet Gael's Romancing Miss Brontë; Papeles Perdidos (El País) describes Wuthering Heights 1939 as an average movie inspired by a good book; Les Soeurs Brontë posts the third part of her analysis of the so-called new Brontë portrait, relaying James Gorin von Grozni's arguments. In her opinion, the sitters are the Brontë sisters (about which we remain sceptical) but the portrait is not by Edwin Landseer.

Finally, Syrie James's The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë audiobook has been nominated for an Audie 2011 in the Romance category:
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, by Syrie James, Narrated by Bianca Amato, Recorded Books
Winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 24, 2011, at The TimesCenter in New York City.

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