Saturday, February 04, 2012

Hands off Red House!

***Save Red House Petition***

The Spenborough Guardian campaigns for Red House:  Hands Off Red House:
That is the emphatic message being hammered home to Kirklees Council by protesters, angry at the historic building’s proposed closure.
As Kirklees looks to shave off £64m from its budget by 2014, the Gomersal museum could be closed and sold.
But the plans have caused a storm of protest since they were revealed last week.
The Spenborough Guardian has launched its Hands Off Red House campaign which has already been inundated with support. And protesters lobbied Tuesday’s meeting of the Spen Valley Area Committee demanding a re-think.
Gordon North, vice-chairman of the Spen Valley Civic Society, criticised the lack of consultation.
“Most people did not find out about it until last week,” he said.
“Kirklees should be seeking to make it a world heritage site and not looking to close it down.
“I ask the area committee to make every effort to prevent the closure of Red House and join the campaign to keep it open.”
Imelda Marsden, a member of the Brontë Society, slammed the potential closure.
She said: “It is the 200th anniversary of the Luddite rebellion this year. We are campaigning like the Luddites – not with guns and weapons – but with our voices, letters and emails,” she said.
Little Gomersal Community Association chairman Peter Jackson said: “This is a critical decision. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
“Why is this in the budget proposals? Is it a case of kite-flying to see what the response would be?”
Deputy council leader David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said the council was facing unprecedented cuts in its budget.
He added: “These are cuts, not savings. Let’s not be mealy mouthed about this. Officers have put forward their recommendations and at the cabinet meeting, the Labour group will make its amendments.
“It is possible that by the time it goes to full council, no-one will be putting forward the closure.”
Former Brontë Society president Richard Wilcocks said the group had begun a petition on its website.
He told the Guardian he was heartened by the strength of feeling of those at the meeting: “It seems that opposition to this appalling plan is gathering momentum in spite of the fact that it seems to have been sprung on people.”
The cabinet meets on Tuesday at Huddersfield Town Hall from 4pm to discuss its budget proposals.
And a new letter published in the same newspaper:
May I add my comments to those opposing the proposed closure of Red House.
I am appalled that this is even being considered by Kirklees. The museum is the jewel in the crown of North Kirklees.
It has to be, as there are so few true cultural places of interest in this area. Having said that, it is one of which we have been truly and quite rightly proud for many years.
Barbara and I take our granddaughter there most times when she is staying with us. At Easter, during the school summer holidays and around Christmas. The events there are always changing and very thoughtfully match the season.
Every time it is different, and every time there is something new to explore. The thought and care of the curators and volunteers is obvious.
We are also involved with scouting in Spen Valley and have been for many years. We have visitors from many parts of the country to our campsite in Gomersal. When we get the opportunity to meet with Cub or Brownie leaders, particularly, we recommend a visit to Red House as a must. Lots for them to do and lots to learn without any pain whatsoever. It can just seep in by osmosis.
This is just the children. Adults always love the place as well, and are always impressed by the variety of things to see.
All this before we even start to look at the cultural importance of the Brontë connections and the Taylor family. How can we as a society possibly even consider sacrificing that. This is a facility of international importance, once it is lost it can never be recovered.
I do hope the council will see sense before it is too late. (Tony Bannister)
The author John Matteson selects five 'portraits of pioneering women' for the Wall Street Journal and among them there is a non usual one:
A Chainless Soul by Katherine Frank (1990) 
At about age 21, Emily Brontë was bitten by a dog that appeared to be rabid. Without a word to anyone, she calmly went indoors, picked up a red-hot iron and cauterized the wound herself. Brave, brilliant and unsettlingly wild, the author of "Wuthering Heights" left much less of a personal record than her sister Charlotte, but the fragmentary evidence shows that Emily Brontë was very much what she said she hoped to be: "Through life and death, a chainless soul / With courage to endure." I don't quite buy the central premise of Katherine Frank's biography: that Brontë suffered from anorexia nervosa. This too-eager diagnosis, though, is redeemed by the book's otherwise discerning treatment of Brontë's life and strivings, from the horror of her early education to the savage triumph of "Wuthering Heights," published only a year before Brontë's death from tuberculosis at 30. Almost at odds with its own thesis, "A Chainless Soul" conveys Brontë's tremendous appetite for life, a passion that found its highest expression in the tortured romance of Heathcliff and Catherine.  
The Telegraph makes a list of fun things to do with kids in Yorkshire and North East:
Brontë Parsonage Museum. Misunderstood teens and romantic souls reading the Brontës get a fascinating insight into one of the world’s most literary families who lived here in Haworth amidst the brooding moors. Don’t take small ones, though – Charlie played havoc running into roped off areas. We took solace in Branwell Brontë’s local pub The Black Bull, where we pretended to Phoebe that we hadn’t heard the barman mention the pub was haunted. (Ben and Dinah Hatch)
We tend to disagree. Small ones only play havoc if you don't control them. 

The Dallas Morning News reviews The Flight of Gemma Hardy:
On its own, Gemma Hardy would be a strong, satisfyingly diverting piece of literature. As a companion to Jane Eyre, it’s that, and also a fascinating statement on how far women had advanced in society and status (or hadn’t, as the case may be) in the 100 years between the novels’ time periods. You probably won’t fall in love with Mr. Sinclair, as generations of female readers have done with Mr. Rochester, but you’ll definitely feel emotionally connected to the novel’s spirited and determined heroine. (Joy Tipping)
A Buckeye Girl Reads also reviews the novel.

The Times (republished in The Calcutta Telegraph) publishes a curious story about Charles Dickens and the letter of a prostitute published on the same newspaper in 1858. Apparently the unidentified writer of the letter impressed the Victorian writer (but no so much to read it fully):
[John Thadeus] Delane [editor of The Times] said he would ask the writer if she was prepared to reveal her identity. “What an admirable letter it was!” he wrote to Dickens. “Except Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte’s pseudonym) or Mrs Gaskell (novelist Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell), I know of no woman who could have sustained such a tone through nearly two columns.” (Ben MacIntyre and Rose Wild)
The Wall Street Journal reviews Simon Goldhill's Freud's Couch, Scott's Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, who failed to be moved by Haworth and the Parsonage. His loss:
From there the little group went on to Yorkshire and Haworth Parsonage, amid the bleak moors immortalized in Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights." Haworth is a place disinfected of its ghosts. It is not only the cozy commercialism of the place but its scoured and antiseptic sheen that Mr. Goldhill finds most dispiriting. The Victorians adored cleanliness, as he notes. "This is not the cleanliness of moral approbation, though, just the health and safety of institutional preservation."
It is barely possible to imagine this as the home of those three sisters of genius—Emily, Charlotte and Anne—or to imagine their doomed and tormented brother, Bramwell (sic), a laudanum addict and drunkard, "staring out of the window, quietly passionate." Only a display of some of Charlotte Brontë's clothes, including "a rather faded cream stocking with a hole near the top of the thigh," suggests that a real person once lived and suffered and created here. (Eric Ormsby)
Harriet Walker makes an interesting point in The Independent:
The crime genre was born of civil unrest, and revolution, let's not forget. The parallels between the Arab Spring and 1848 are well explored, but why shouldn't our literary tastes reflect them, too? That year saw people swap Northanger Abbey for Wuthering Heights and take to the mysteries, scandals and murderous plot twists of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens. Now we have Sarah Lund, but our first British fictional 'tec, Inspector Bucket of Bleak House, was born of a similar public curiosity and anxiety.
The Sydney Morning Herald talks about Mia Wasikowska and says about her Jane Eyre role:
Her peers say she was overlooked in this year's Oscar nominations for her tour de force in Jane Eyre, yet it was the furthest thing from Wasikowska's thoughts as she rather shyly took to the red carpet at the inaugural AACTAs in Sydney this week. (Andrew Hornery)
We are convinced that this overlook was mainly due to the deplorable, short-sighted marketing campaign of Focus Entertainment.

A Brontë reference on a boxing website (The Cruelest  Sport)? We have it:
Certainly Chavez, Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, elicits some strange emotions. Sergio Martinez, for example, has been pining over Chavez like an obsessed lover from a Victorian novel, Wuthering Heights, say, and this brand of Chavez hysteria is only slightly less ghastly than the Fantasy League crew who have yet to figure out that most “world championships” are fugazi, most fights are predetermined through cynical matchmaking, and most of what happens in boxing happens because of economic considerations. (Carlos Acevedo)
Heckler Spray recommends Queens of British Pop (Sunday, BBC2, 7:00pm):
Join us here again next week, as we’ll still be probably singing ‘Wuthering Heights’ and backcombing what hair we have left, and will need someone to put us to bed and pop a bucket next to us. Just in case. (Robin Darke)
The Western Morning News publishes a story with several references to Wuthering Heights filtered through Kate Bush's song. Regrettably the novel is attributed to Charlotte Brontë... sigh:
"Alice, the world is in constant flux. However it is the weather and Wuthering Heights that will have enhanced your feelings of apprehension. Take it from me, the bleak Yorkshire Moors, the brooding sexuality of the passionate Heathcliff combined with a distinct change in climate will be the culprit for your disposition."
"I wasn't aware that you'd read Wuthering Heights," I said, somewhat surprised by his knowledge of 18th century heartthrobs.
"I haven't, but I've always had a thing for Kate Bush and all I needed to know about the antics of Cathy and Heathcliff, Kate told me in her lyrics." And then he started to sing:
"Bad dreams in the night / They told me I was going to lose the fight… My God, I've just realised how prophetic Kate Bush was."
I elbowed him in the ribs. (Read more)
The Philippine Star reviews Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher version):
He, meanwhile, is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Harriet Vanger, 40 years ago in a far-north estate swirling with bad weather and bad memories — it makes the moors of Wuthering Heights seem like Amanpulo. Here, the Vanger clan live in separate houses presided over by retired patriarch Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). (Scott R. Garceau)
Michael Fassbender has been awarded with the Best International Actor award in the Sant Jordi Awards (RNE-Catalunya) for Jane Eyre, A Dangerous Method and X-Men. GQ (Italy) selects Mia Wasikowska as one of the best actress of the year.

Now a couple of odd landscape pairings:
El Diario Vasco (Spain) compares the Burgos landscape with the Yorkshire moors:
Bajar ahora a las comarcas de Alfoz y Páramos que comprende los ayuntamientos de Merindad de Río Ubierna, Los Altos, Valle del Sedano y Tubilla del Agua es adentrarse en un territorio que recuerda las grandes extensiones hermosamente muertas, solitarias, agrestes, ariscas, gélidas, inhóspitas, apasionadamente románticas y tenebrosas en las que suceden historias más grandes que la vida y la muerte tal que 'Cumbres borrascosas' o 'Jane Eyre'. Pero no estamos ni en las ralas y levantiscas superficies de Yorkshire ni en las de Devonshire y tampoco vagamos por la estepa rusa. (Begoña Del Teso) (Translation)
And ABC (Paraguay) compares the Falklands to Wuthering Heights:
No es casualidad que su clima, similar al de las Islas Shetland, evoque la melancolía de “Cumbres Borrascosas”. (Gina Montaner) (Translation)
Adelante (Cuba) talks about the Semana de la Cultura Camagüeyana and, in particular, about the essay event where Beatriz Goneaga presented “Discurso autobiográfico femenino y colonial en Juan (sic) Eyre de Charlotte Brontë” which in a way is quite a funny thing to think about.

Página 12 publishes a short story by Mariana Enríquez, El desentierro de la angelita. Quoting from the author:
Supongo que “El desentierro de la angelita” es un cuento sobre los fantasmas familiares y los muertos sin tumba y los restos humanos sin nombre. Pero también es un homenaje a los niños fantasma que alguna vez me asustaron: Catherine Earnshaw y su mano helada en Cumbres borrascosas, Toshio con su boca abierta en la película Ju-On, los niños que se esconden bajo la capa del Fantasma de las Navidades Presentes de Dickens (Ignorancia y Necesidad creo que se llaman, “Ignorance” y “Want”), Tomás, el niño de la máscara que oculta un rostro deforme en El orfanato de J. A. Bayona y el terrible Gage de Cementerio de animales, de Stephen King, rey de los niños muertos. (Translation)
Il Corriere della Sera compares Elsa Morante and Emily Brontë:
Menzogna e sortilegio segnò un esordio strepitoso non tanto per la giovane età dell'autrice (trentasei anni alla pubblicazione delle settecento pagine fittissime), dal momento che precedenti illustri della letteratura inglese, quali Jane Austen o Emily Brontë, svelano come non sia insolito che il genio della scrittura fiorisca così precocemente e in tale profondità nell'animo femminile, quanto per il felicissimo incontro fra una scrittrice dotata di tutti i talenti possibili e il romanzo tradizionale di stampo ottocentesco. (Giorgio Montefoschi) (Translation)
ActuaLitté (France) mentions once again the Twilight effect in the sales of Wuthering Heights in France:
Quelque temps après la sortie de Twilight, les lecteurs avaient eu une semblable réaction, en se précipitant vers les oeuvres des soeurs Brontë. Outre que Twilight a donné lieu à une nouvelle littérature, le paranormal romantique, dont Harlequin, entre autres, s'est emparé. Et alors que Bella compare son amour pour Edward à celui de Cathy pour Heathcliff, tout le monde aura perçu l'influence de l'oeuvre d'Emily sur celle de Stephenie.
En 2005, année de sortie du premier volume de Twilight, il s'est vendu 8551 tomes des Hauts de Hurlevent. Et par la suite, l'éditeur HarperCollins a décidé de rééditer l'oeuvre avec une couverture très inspirée de celle de Twilight, et surtout un sceau portant la mention « Le livre préféré de Bella et Edward ».  (Nathalie Gentaz) (Translation)
Rolling Stone (Germany) interviews Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers who once again shows its Brontëiteness:
Ich habe gehört, du sammelst Bücher. Was für eine Sorte?
Seitdem ich sieben war, habe ich immer gleich nachdem ich ein Buch fertig hatte nach dem nächsten gegriffen – Buch um Buch, ohne Pause. Ich habe eine Menge Bücher. Abgesehen von meinen Erstausgaben sind meine Lieblinge William Burroughs "Junky", Brontës "Jane Eyre" und Salingers "The Catcher In The Rye". (Austin Scaggs) (Translation)

Postmedia News discovers that Queen Elizabeth II shares her birthday with Charlotte Brontë (21st April);  CNet tells us that the T-Mobile My Touch contains a book app with Wuthering Heights preloaded; Sandy Springs Patch mentions Wuthering Heights 1939 among the classic love story flicks; Wuthering Heights 2011 will be present in the Sedona Film Festival (closing night: February 26th) and Jane Eyre 2011 will be screened at the Heemskerkse Filmdagen (Netherlands, February 6) ; Kat's Blog and Movieplayer (in Italian) reviews Jane Eyre 2011; el inglesito posts a funny entry with some Brontës in it; namraf shares on Flickr pictures of the Brontë Waterfalls and Top Withens and nickcoates74 uploads a Wycoller Hall picture; the work of Marci Washington and her Brontë connections are discussed in 20 Minutos (Spain).

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