Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Heathcliff against the Turbines

The writer Michael Crummey chooses a top ten of literary feuds for The Guardian:

6. Wuthering Heights.
The desire to "get even" is as ancient as it is childish. Scratch the surface of an ongoing feud, and like as not you'll find a youngster with hurt feelings. Emily Brontë's densely-layered narrative is famous for the love story at its centre. But it's driven by acts of tit-for-tat retribution between Heathcliff and various members of the Earnshaw and Linton families that have their genesis in irremediable childhood grievances.
Broadway World announces the upcoming Off Broadway performances of William Luce's Brontë by the Alloy Theatre Company:
The Alloy Theater Company, a not-for-profit, performing arts organization, is staging a new production of award winning playwright William Luce’s, Brontë. The limited run engagement opens in May Off-Broadway at Theater 511. (...)
This new production of Brontë features Irish-born actress Maxine Linehan who was most recently seen in the first national tour of Bartlett Sher’s Tony award-winning revival of South Pacific. Directing this one-woman powerhouse piece is veteran theater leader Timothy Douglas, whose long list of credits includes the world premier of August Wilson’s Radio Golf. (...)
“This story of Charlotte Brontë speaks to me in a very personal way,” she says. “I read the play one night and by the time I’d reached the final page I knew I had to bring this woman to life on stage”, she adds. In researching the role, what jumped out at Maxine were the many similarities she and the famed author shared – both grew up in Irish homes with loving but stern fathers named Patrick. Both were elder daughters who lost one parent early on, and both had an overwhelming desire to pursue an unpopular and challenging dream. (...)
The limited run production of Brontë. A Portrait of Charlotte will start at Theater 511 (511 West 54th Street), a unique bastion for a new generation of artists. Previews start May 3 - 5, with opening night performances beginning on May 8 – 25. (BWW News Desk)
The Telegraph & Argus reports the current status of the plans to put up a windfarm in the Thornton moors:
Campaigners have vowed to “fight to the death” plans to put up a wind farm on the moors which inspired the Brontë sisters’ famous novels.
Bradford councillors are set to make a decision next week on whether to allow developers Banks Renewables to put up a test mast on Thornton Moor, Denholme, just yards from the Brontë Way. (...)
Campaigners from Thornton Moor Windfarm Action Group are preparing a fighting fund to pay for professional legal advice and battle the developers’ plans at any future public inquiry. (...)
Mrs Orchard, of Denholme Gate, said: “We are prepared to fight this to the death. That is how strongly I feel about it. This is a huge project on an unsuitable site, close to a site of special scientific interest and other important wildlife sites such as the reservoir with wetland birds’ sites.
“It is only 600 metres from homes in Denholme Gate and the damage of the moor during construction will be phenomenal.
“The bigger project will mean two turbines each side of Black Edge Lane, running right through the middle of the Brontë Way.”
The Brontë Parsonage Museum has also objected to Banks’s proposals for a 60-metre wind monitoring mast, which will go before the Shipley Area Planning panel at a meeting on Wednesday next week.
In a letter of objection, the Brontë Society has objected to any moves which would spoil the “international cultural and historical significance” of the area.
The Halifax Courier reviews the Halifax performance of Philip Wilby's A Brontë Mass last Sunday:
Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Black Dyke Band joined Halifax Choral Society for a concert to showcase Pontefract-born Philip Wilby’s Brontë Mass.
Conducted with great commitment by John Pryce-Jones, the work was commissioned by Leeds Philharmonic Choir as a memorial tribute to that choir’s former chairman, John Brodwell, receiving its premiere in 2007.
It unpredictably interweaves four Brontë poems with excerpts from the Latin mass. Whether this unusual combination works conceptually or musically will probably be a matter of opinion, pleasing some people, puzzling others. It certainly had its moments.
Baritone William Robert Allenby sang eloquently, particularly the last verse of Emily’s fearless No Coward Soul Is Mine. The choir, unfazed by the formidable technical difficulties, was expressive, particularly in the concluding Gloria, which John Pryce-Jones insisted on playing twice.
The band was superb, evoking every contrasting mood with its distinctive and unrivalled musicianship and artistry. (Julia Anderson)
Why so many reviews of E.L.James's Fifty Shades of Grey keep quoting Brontë? Now, Vulture:
I realize that I might be alone in my dim view of fan fiction: Jean Rhys's Jane Eyre prequel The Wide Sargasso Sea is required reading in a lot of middle schools. (Julieanne Smolinski)
And The Milllions:
Some post-colonial literature could easily be categorized as fan fiction. The most famous of these is Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which follows Jane Eyre’s “madwoman in the attic” all the way back to the Caribbean.  (Elizabeth Minkel)
ABC's Religion and Ethics (Australia) discusses the future of Anglicanism after Rowan Williams:
Indeed, it is important to remember that Methodism derived from the work of a High Churchman - John Wesley - to whom is largely traceable also the spirit behind evangelicalism. This movement - despite unfortunate Calvinistic regressions - sometimes also sustained a radical Toryism critical of industrial exploitation, and a romantic celebration of the imagination as revealing the truth of nature and participating in the creative mind of God. (One thinks here especially of the Brontë sisters.) The same tendencies were yet more evidenced by the various heirs of the Oxford Movement, several of whom migrated to the political left.  (John Milbank)
The Music Network reviews the latest album by Robyn Loau, Only Human:
When Robyn Loau first saw Kate Bush scampering on the marshes on the video for Wuthering Heights, it was 1978. She was too young to suss the song’s message about coming back from the grave to haunt her ex-lover. “I remember thinking, This is the weirdest lady I've ever seen.” A few decades later, Loau by chance happened on a Kate Bush album at a friend’s house, and listened to it throughout. “I was completely blown away by the genius and individuality of this artist. I then realised how ahead of her time Ms Bush was.” She worked Wuthering Heights into the set as the encore. The first time she played it, the audience was dead quiet. Loau panicked thinking they hated it. At the end of the song, the crowd “let out this almighty roar. I gave two bows, the first from me, the second for Kate Bush.” There are two versions of the song on her Only Human album. The first with Josh Abrahams and Davide Carbone (S:amplify) in Melbourne was a grandiose, cinematic explosion. The second, with Stu Hunter in Sydney, was stark and eerie. “I approached this vocal like an ice maiden, much breathier & closer to the mic, so the listener can almost hear my breath fogging up the glass window as I haunt Heathcliff.”
Victorian Swag, Urania Fashion & Beauty post about Jane Eyre; Vintage by Lou Lou, The Blog of Udolpho, Critica Letteraria (in Italian) and a few good things do the same with Wuthering Heights; Książkozaur na tropie... reviews in Polish The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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