Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012 7:07 pm by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
The Bookseller announces a new biographical Charlotte brontë project. A new biography by Claire Harman, to be published in 2016.
Viking has acquired a new biography of Jane Eyre author, Charlotte Bronte, to be published in 2016 to coincide with the bicentenary of Bronte's birth.
Publishing director Venetia Butterfield bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the new work by Claire Harman through Hannah Westland of Rogers, Coleridge and White.
According to the publisher, the biography will draw on little-known material and examine in greater depth the relationship between Bronte and Monsieur Heger, her schoolmaster in Belgium. Her unrequited love for him sparked her early work as well as her determination to get her own and her sisters' work published.
Bronte's most well-known novel is Jane Eyre, with works also including Shirley, Villette and The Professor. She was born in April 1816, and died in March 1855, living the majority of her life with her family, including sisters Anne and Emily, in the parsonage at Haworth, Yorkshire. A year before her death, she married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate. The first posthumous biography of her was written by Victorian novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell.
Harman is a winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her biography of Sylvia Townsend Warner.
More of Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma HardyThe Daily Beast finds some things work better than in Jane Eyre.
While Jane Eyre derives its power from Brontë’s complete identification with her protagonist, a visceral connection that generations of readers have shared, Livesey trades some of that feverish intensity for a wider perspective. Gemma’s first-person narration is as tartly engaging as Jane’s, but underneath it we sense the presence of an author who understands more than she does, and who gently guides her toward a quality in short supply in Jane Eyre: empathy. Gemma can be angry and unforgiving, but she becomes capable of seeing other people’s point of view. One of the novel’s great pleasures is watching her generous spirit slowly unfold amid difficult circumstances. [...]
Renaming and relocating Brontë’s indomitable heroine, Livesey transforms the drama of a passionate rebel against Victorian constraints into an odyssey of self-discovery in a changing world. (Wendy Smith)
And GateHouse News Service shares a short summary of the novel and The Andover Townsman reports that
Margot Livesey will read from The Flight of Gemma Hardy at the Andover Bookstore (Andover, MA) next Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.
National Post adds:
The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. This is not a secret, but a selling point. Two of the blurbs that grace the back of an advance copy of the book mention Brontë’s classic, and Livesey isn’t shy about acknowledging her debt. (...)
“Even though it began as an experiment,” Livesey says, “at a certain point I looked up from the page and I thought, ‘My goodness, why am I doing this when there’s this wonderful novel that hasn’t been out of print since it was published in 1847? What on Earth do I think I’m doing?’ ”
Livesey says she fell in love with Jane Eyre the first time she read it, and has returned to the book many times since. “But I had always, I suppose, naively associated my passionate response, in part, with my own circumstances, which were living in a house in the Scottish highlands where I could see the moors from my window, having an extremely cold and difficult stepmother, going to a really appalling girl’s school — there were a lot of elements of Jane’s early life that chimed with my own. And then a number of years ago. I was leading a book club discussion about Jane Eyre. The room was filled with women, and they were all American, and I realized that they too had all passionately identified with Jane. I’d made the typical reader’s mistake of thinking this novel was written just for me and I understood it particularly because of my circumstances. But Brontë’s novel is in fact much more universal than that. You don’t need to have seen a moor, or a gothic house, to appreciate it.”
Then why write a retelling of the novel in the first place?
“I wanted to tell a story about a young woman coming into herself, and the possibilities open to her in her life as she does this, and the conflicts and difficulties she faces. And I decided to follow in Jane Eyre’s footsteps for at least some of that journey.” Livesey has borrowed the frame of Brontë’s novel but added her own walls, decorated the rooms with different furniture. “I was not trying to rewrite the novel,” she maintains. “I was more trying to think what would it be like if Jane Eyre was born nearly a century later?” (...)
A number of years ago I did teach a class on literary homages and borrowings,” she says. “I talked in that class about Jane Eyre and (Jean Rhys’) Wide Sargasso Sea, and about King Lear and (Jane Smiley’s) A Thousand Acres, and a number of poems — Dover Beach and Dover Bitch — and looked at this idea of borrowing. I think that it’s a very, very long tradition. I mean, Shakespeare’s King Lear is actually borrowed from another play with exactly the same title, King Lear. He did not conceal his borrowing. So it’s always been part of our literary tradition, that we come back to certain stories.” (...)
And it’s not just Livesey who will be compared to Brontë. What happens if someone reads Livesey’s novel without having read Jane Eyre? “Then, if I go back and read Jane Eyre,” [Linda] Hutcheon [professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Toronto] says, “I will read Jane Eyre as, in effect, the adaptation of Margot’s book.”
Says Livesey: “I’m hoping that people who love Brontë’s novel will take mine under their wing, as it were. But I can also imagine people being irritated and thinking that I hadn’t been faithful enough. And, of course, those are the two great dangers: either you’re too faithful, or you’re faithless.” (Mark Medley)
The Hunffington Post looks at heroines. Gemma Hardy is not quite there yet but apparently
But literature's influence on young women isn't always a positive one, or so The Observer's Samantha Ellis claims. Ellis has written that she spent most of her life aspiring to be more of a daring Cathy Earnshaw/"Wuthering Heights" type over the more staid heroine of "Jane Eyre," but with age, found her loyalties shifting (I mean, look at how poor Cathy turned out). (Jessica Pearce Rotondi)
Coincidentally, BoldSky focuses on Byronic heroes:
Women Writers And Byronic Heroes:
Although Byron started the tradition he did not give it a name. It is the women writers of that century that made it reach the heights with modern classics. The funny part is that they all used male pen names to get published. The cruelty of Heathcliff created by Emily Brontë is unforgettable, he['s] almost half human half animal. Yet he is the hero of the most controversial modern classic Wuthering Heights, not the docile and gentle Edgar Linton. Again the ill-behaved monster of man, Mr Rochester who has caged his mad wife for years in an attic is both the hero and villain of Jane Eyre.
We might be biased here, but isn't it a bit too much to describe Mr Rochester as an 'ill-behaved monster of man'?

Another book with a Brontë reference is Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman. This Newsday review says,
As if she were growing up in a shtetl centuries earlier, Feldman's Williamsburg childhood is devoid of serious education and filled with indoctrination about the sinfulness of the female body, secular life and even the English language. "Zeidy says the English language acts like slow poison to the soul," she writes. "If I speak and read it too much, my soul will become tarnished." Unbowed, she sneaks to the Jewish bookstore and to the public library, where she devours "The Chosen," "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "Matilda," "Harry Potter" and "Jane Eyre." These books nourish her spirit and put in her hands the liberatory power of storytelling. As she becomes a reader and then a writer, Feldman reinvents herself as a human being. (Marion Winik)
We wholeheartedly disagree with the following statement from The Huffington Post:
Sorry, girlfriends, but here's what [Jonathan] Franzen and his brothers are doing differently and better than me and most of you: [...]
They're writing authentic novels
Love or hate these writers or books, Freedom and The Marriage Plot and The Leftovers are all actual novels with throughlines and shifting points of view and character arcs. Point to a recent book by a female writer that's achieved some measure of the literary respect and commercial success of Franzen or Eugenides - Jennifer Egan's Visit from the Goon Squad, for instance, or Olive Kittredge or The Emperor's Children - and it's often really linked stories and not a true novelistic equal to the guy books the way that Wuthering Heights, say, or Middlemarch is to David Copperfield.
Of course, there are women who write big fat real novels, too, that are the literary peers of the guys' work: I'm thinking of Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders or Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible or Zadie Smith's On Beauty. But for the most part, these novels are set in a different time or place or culture; to be taken seriously, most women novelists can't and don't write about contemporary American suburban characters wrestling with love, marriage, work, parenthood. (Pamela Redmond Satran)
The Mercury discusses horror films and women:
"What would happen if 50 per cent of horror films were directed by women?"
[Filmmaker Briony Kidd] says some of the more complex archetypes would emerge.
One of them is "the woman in the attic", representing the female fear of what she might do if she let herself go, or let herself be driven by instinct, as seen in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and Briony Kidd's own The Room at the Top of the Stairs. (Rebecca Fitzgibbon)
This columnist from Haaretz saw Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights at Israel's British Film Festival:
The film that opened the British Film Festival, a new version of “Wuthering Heights,” combines all the boredom of a nature film that missed the mark with black nighttime shots. It was actually perfectly suited to the building in which it was presented. Plenty of folks fled halfway through. But not me. Because that would have been awkward. But mostly because I am a strong woman. (Neri Livneh)
The Independent imagines an alternative ending for the novel:
Wuthering Heights
Yes, Heathcliff thought. I have been a bit of a nuisance, what with locking Cathy in a room for five days and forcing her into a loveless marriage. On this sudden and unpredictable realisation, the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw inexplicably appeared before him, saying they would be together in the afterlife. (Dalya Alberge)
The Sentinel Source reviews The Brontës of Haworth DVD:
Unlike the Hollywood 1940s “biographies” of famous people, in which accuracy always gave way to melodrama, British dramatizations made for television tend to respect their subjects. For example, each day the sisters “exercised” by circumambulations around the parlor table. And if their father really didn’t end each day by announcing he was going to bed and requesting that they do not stay up too late, one feels his doing so in this series is true to his character. (Frank Behrens)
More on Dan Aykroyd's Brontë past, as according to The Telegraph and Argus
Hollywood actor Dan Aykroyd has been invited to visit Haworth by the Brontë Society after he revealed his ancestral links to the famous literary sisters. [...]
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Brontë Society, said yesterday: “Dan Aykroyd’s claim is quite intriguing. It just goes to show the reach of the Brontë’s ancestry really.
“We’re intending to contact him and invite him to the museum. I was aware he’d researched his genealogy in some depth so I’m surprised he hasn’t been to Haworth before.
“We’ve had many people come forward and reveal they’re related to the Brontë family, but this is quite a first in terms of famous people making a claim.”
Mr McCarthy also said he would not rule out the possibility of Mr Aykroyd, 59, becoming a patron for the society and museum.
“Advocates and supporters are always welcome, so we’ll leave our options open,” he said.
Liverpool Confidential has a curious way to describe the film Brief Encounter:
In a café at a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey. Although she is already married, they gradually fall in love. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible.
Yes, everyone knows it's an absolute total bastard, this sort of stuff. But, then again, Celia Johnstone and clever Trevor Howard's missed opportunity - all ciggies, tea and train timetables - had the sort of luxuries Emily Brontë could only have dreamed of when she had Heathcliffe and Cathy prancing up on the moors in the bollock-freezing cold.  (Katja Driver)
Whois Charlie? and Piccolo Sogno Antico (both in Italian) posts about Juliet Gael's Romancing Miss Brontëellenőrzőpont (in Hungarian) reviews Wuthering Heights 2011; Sojourn Lessons has visited Haworth; Bubblan i bibblan posts in Swedish about Jane Eyre; Typo of the day for Librarians is reading Villette; A Few More Pages reviews Wuthering Heights. Finally, via Leituras Brontëanas we have found this exhaustive and complete post on não gosto de plágio listing all the Charlotte Brontë translations published in Brazil.

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