Friday, February 03, 2012

It Will Never Be Sold

Libcom reviews Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights:

Rejecting the voluminous bourgeois baggage associated with the source material, Arnold sidesteps the sense and sensibility of period drama and literature and focuses directly on the scandalous pitch of Emily Brontë’s pioneering 1847 novel. But the book’s gothic Romanticism merely orchestrated the tragic repercussions of a passionate but socially impossible relationship, conveniently deflecting the authorial voice onto the commentary of servants as purportedly neutral observers who, nevertheless, fully conform to local norms. Whereas the film goes straight for the imaginative jugular, with no narration and scant dialogue interrupting the majestic ambient soundscape and scenery of rugged moorland. Thus the explicit and implicit menace of social hierarchy dressed in coercive legitimisation, polite conversation, hypocrisy and self-deception gives way to a primal vision of unthinking childhood exuberance, fear, cruelty and enchantment inexorably ground down, tainted and twisted by supposedly civilised society. (read more) (Tom Jennings)
The Independent looks at James Howson's (Heathcliff in this adaptation) work prospects:
James Howson was another figure in the unemployment statistics when casting agents came to Leeds seeking new talent to reignite the fire and passion of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
He responded to an ad at the job centre and auditioned for the role of Heathcliff in the new film. Estranged from his family, he had been expelled from school at 14, served time for robbery and drug-dealing, and by 16 was living in a hostel with addicts and ex-convicts.
He was lucky. At 24, he suddenly became the first black man to portray the frustrated outsider on the big screen.
But having achieved critical acclaim for Wuthering Heights, joining the cast and crew at the Venice Film Festival where it was among the award-winners, he is now back living on the dole in his council flat in Burmantofts in Leeds. He was reportedly paid less than £8,000 for the role, though the film's budget was as high as £5m. (Liam O'Brien)
Also in The Independent, a review of the latest book by Helen Dunmore: The Greatcoat:
The creepiness builds when she hears a knock at the window and sees an RAF officer waving to be let in. The scene is vaguely reminiscent of Cathy's ghostly knocks on Lockwood's window in Wuthering Heights, and it carries a similar back-story of illegitimate love and morbid desire. (Arifa Akbar)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reviews The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey:
Indeed, "The Flight of Gemma Hardy" is Livesey's echo of "Jane Eyre." As Livesey writes in a note to readers, she fell in love with Jane's story when she was just 9, living on the moors, before she herself attended a private girls school in Scotland where she was one of the poor kids. This novel became a way to write back to Charlotte Bronte and to recast "Jane's journey to fit my own courageous heroine and the possibilities of her own time and place."
Livesey takes on a fascinating challenge in bumping Brontë's Gothic romance out of its era and into the next century. From our perch in 2012, the 1950s seem fairly recent, and the harsh treatment Gemma endures more shocking than the harsh treatment of Jane -- almost unbelievable until you realize that, sadly, it isn't.
Likewise, we anticipate the romance with Mr. Sinclair -- Gemma's own Mr. Rochester -- with more than a little cynicism about love and class. Really, will Sinclair abandon his gilded lilies for Gemma, as Rochester did for Jane? Is the class gap greater in the 20th century or smaller? Can smart, stubborn Gemma hold her own the way Jane did?
Part of the great pleasure in reading this novel is the tension between the ways the two stories match and diverge. I'll leave that enjoyment to you. (Kristin Ohlson)
Quill & Quire advances what's to come as part of this year's Books on Film series of the Toronto International Film Festival:
When the Toronto International Film Festival and Random House of Canada host a book club, the guest speakers are bound to be impressive.
The second season of TIFF’s Books on Film series, which screens cinematic adaptations of literary texts followed by discussion, is drawing big names from both the publishing and film industries. [...]
Other guests include [...] feminist film critic and author Molly Haskell on Cary Fukunaga’s version of Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre (March 26) (Sue Carter Flinn)
Screen Junkies lists '5 movies like Pride and Prejudice' and apparently Jane Eyre 2011 is one of them:
"Jane Eyre". The novel by Charlotte Brontë was most recently adapted for the screen starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. The plot is more gothic and mysterious than that of "Pride and Prejudice"  but much of the emotional content and period detail seems familiar. Also, they're both books that you may have had to read in high school. (Joseph Gibson)
The Maneater has an article about two manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë (Lily Hart and The Secret) that are part of the Ellis Library Special Collections and Rare Books Department at the University of Missouri:
Among the books stored in a back room on the third floor is a tiny, original manuscript by Charlotte Brontë, who is most famous for her book "Jane Eyre." The 179-year-old manuscript, which contains two short stories, has been miraculously preserved through diligent care.
“It’s kept in a room called the vault,” Print Collections librarian Kelli Hansen said. “It basically has its own climate control system that is kept at the right temperature for optimal preservation for paper, which is about 68 degrees and 50 to 55 percent humidity. Higher temperatures causes paper to age faster.”
In addition to remaining in the vault, each page is encased in Mylar so people may come see, touch and read the stories, "The Secret" and "Lily Hart."But the manuscript was not always kept in such favorable conditions. When MU received the manuscript in 1975 from former Missouri Congressman James W. Symington and his father, former Senator Stuart Symington, the book was loosely stitched into a red leather tri-fold kept in a brown leather slipcase.
Red is one of the worst colors to use to preserve a book because it will most likely bleed or transfer onto the pages.
“The main danger of transferring dye is if the manuscript got wet,” Hansen said. “As far as we know, it never got wet.”
Hansen said the pages were also kept intact because of little use of the manuscipt. Although the pages are a little worn, they are in surprisingly good condition for 19th century English paper.
“Paper quality has a lot to do with preservation, and English paper was the worst for it,” said Alla Barabtarlo, head of Rare Books and Special Collections. “It just crumbles when it’s touched.”
Aside from being one of Brontë’s only surviving manuscripts, its minuscule size makes it unique. The paper Brontë printed on, which is the hue of today’s brown paper grocery bags, was folded into 16 pages measuring 4 1/2 inches long by 3 5/8 inches.
The author managed to fit 19,000 words on the pages in almost microscopic print. Most people cannot read the manuscript without a magnifying glass.
“There are all sorts of theories as to why Charlotte and (her brother) Branwell wrote so small,” Hansen said. “Some believe it was to hide it, and some think it has something to do with her and her brother’s games. The size of ours is much bigger than others.”
Hansen added that the bigger size could indicate Brontë was maturing in her writing and fictional perspective. She was 17 years old at the time she wrote this manuscript, whereas her younger manuscripts were much smaller.
Another Brontë manuscript, small enough to fit in the palm of someone’s hand even when opened, sold for over $1 million during a Sotheby auction in December.
“We consider the manuscript priceless,” Barabtarlo said. “If sold it, it could probably fetch a price of over a million, but it will never be done, because it belongs not to the library, but to the people of Missouri.” (Megan Hager)
Time Out Chicago interviews the feminist and activist Gloria Steinem:
How old were you when your parents divorced?
I think I was ten when they separated, maybe 11 when they divorced.
So you were quite young to be caring for a mother in need of care.
Yeah, although you’re pretty grown up at ten in some ways.
Really? I don’t think most ten-year-olds are.
But if you think about novelists, think about Jane Eyre and think about The Bluest Eye—I noticed that especially women tend to use nine- and ten-year-old little girls as narrators because I think you’re as smart as you’re ever gonna get and you haven’t yet been messed up by adolescence. [Laughs] (Novid Parsi)
Film School Rejects regrets the absence in the Oscar Nominations of Dario Marianelli's soundtrack for Jane Eyre 2011; Gamasutra has a biased perception of Jane Eyre:
A Little Princess and Jane Eyre -- and buckets of other classic and semi-classic literature for young women -- revolve around the idea of patient, perennial self-sacrifice and obedience as a way of life, with the hope that one day, through good luck, the sacrifice will be recognized and the sufferer freed.  (Emily Short)
Variety lists the five nominees to the Best Costume Design Oscar:
Jane Eyre (Michael O'Connor)
Brit designer O'Connor, who's also nommed by the Costume Designers Guild, had read "Jane Eyre" before he was hired to work on Cary Fukunaga's version, and reread the Bronte novel once he had signed on, making notes as he went along. His research consisted of examining paintings and photos of the 1840s. His team made outfits for all the principals: Jane, young Jane, Rochester, Mrs. Reed and her son and daughter. Some of the clothing items, like the men's waistcoats, were rented, O'Connor says. With two months' prep time, "we were ready with everything," he adds.
Getting the fabric was a bit of a problem since the prints of that period were not easily available, but in the end they found them in the U.S. from vendors for quilters. But he was particular about certain materials, such as the lace. "You can get nylon lace, but it doesn't fall in the same way," O'Connor says.
"The budget was impossibly tight, and (although it was increased) it was (still) very tight," he says.
Even though the one-time Oscar winner ("The Duchess") had not worked previously with Fukunaga he says they got along well. "He was great, a very stylish man." The two exchanged images via email and Fukunaga visited the workshop where he'd give his input, says O'Connor. (Shalini Dore)
The Guardian talks about Watchmen prequels and other prequels come to mind:
In literature, Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is a work of art in its own right, over and above its intertextual links to Jane Eyre. It also assuages the reader – the idea of another writer imaginatively recreating a story seems slightly less desperate than an author revisiting their own past glories or pawning their laurels.  (Stuart Kelly)
Valentine's Day season in Corsham People:
Madison's in Corsham is great for jewellery, as is Coppins, but if your Valentine is more of a book worm, pop into the Corsham Book Shop and pick up a classic novel. Just a hint: Pride and Prejudice is always a winner, but Wuthering Heights might not send across the right message.  (R_Ferrier)
A reference to Jane Eyre in an article about the author Charles Murray in Business Insider:
Consider that in the 19th century novelists popularized the idea that cultural constraints or expectations were often arbitrary and led to seemingly needless shame and psychological problems (eg, The Scarlet Letter, The Brother's Karamazov, Jane Eyre). (Eric Falkenstein)
Mendota Heights Patch recommends Jane Eyre; Droversford posts about Charlotte Brontë's letters to M. Heger; Carolicious (in German) reviews Wuthering Heights. Amakuni's Blog (in Italian) reviews Jane Eyre 2011; cTrent29 uploads a whole set of Wuthering Heights 1939 caps; Moonlight Reader posts about April Lindner's Jane; Rebecca Chesney from the Brontë Weather Project has just read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; jeana1001 uploaded to YouTube a reading of Emily Brontë's Mild The Mist Upon The Hill.

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