Saturday, September 08, 2012

"Fainting at the sight of light drizzle"

At last the article on Rebecca Chesney's Brontë Weather Project is published in the Yorkshire Post:

When the Brontës set out to reveal the secrets of the human heart, they wanted their readers to experience passions that no one would have dared to mention in polite 19th century society.
In what could become cliché in the hands of lesser writers, it was often left to the forces of nature to allow us to read between lines that described the ever-changing Yorkshire weather.
“One evening, however, in the last week of the vacation, he arrived – unexpectedly; for a heavy and protracted thundershower during the afternoon had almost destroyed my hopes of seeing him that day; but now the storm was over, and the sun was shining brightly.” So wrote Anne Brontë in Agnes Grey, under the pseu donym Acton Bell, as her debut novel was rushed out in 1847 following the unexpected success of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre.The Brontë canon might have been in its infancy, but it was already clear that their work was in major part influenced by the gritty landscape around the parsonage at Haworth and the volatile elements.
No Brontë novel was ever complete without vivid descriptions of the wild winds “wuthering” across the moors, thunder and lightning, freezing rain pelting down and other foul weather making the prospect of a walk unlikely.
The turbulent English weather shaking the screen would become a standard device in Hollywood when the new-fangled film industry started to get to grips with the sisters’ classic works.
But new research in the Brontës’ birthplace has revealed there was just as much sunshine as rain in their work – if not more.
Artist Rebecca Chesney began casting a close eye over spidery daily weather observations, jotted down more than a century ago, for a project at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
To Brontë followers, the painstaking meteorological descriptions in the novels are familiar as a clever literary device employed by all three of them to hint at suppressed but raging passions. But Cheseny was more interested in the hard data lurking in the text than the heart-stopping power of prose. Indeed, when she began her research she says she had never picked up a single Brontë novel – although during the course of her studies she has come to revel in what she had been missing.
“At first my passion was for landscape and nature and I had never read any of the books before. Now I have read most of them – and many of the hundreds of letters and poems. I think their writing is absolutely wonderful. But what is so magical is that, having studied the dates, I can see they were observing all types of weather – and not just the snow and storms...” (Read More) (Mark Branagan)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner gives more details about what the visitors of the Red House Museum will be able to see this weekend as part of the Heritage Open Days initiative:
Charlotte Brontë enthusiasts have the chance to look inside a house featured in one of her novels, free of charge this weekend.
Admission to the Red House Museum, on Oxford Road, Gomersal, is free today and Sunday as part of Heritage Open Days 2012.
Charlotte frequently visited her schoolfriend Mary Taylor, who lived in the Red House in the 19th Century.
Red House features as Briarmains in the author’s novel Shirley. Objects described in the book, including stained glass windows and a painting of Vesuvius, are still present today.
A new exhibition of embroidery, lacework and jewellery will also be on display at the council-owned property at the weekend.
Members of the Red House Craft Bee will be at the venue to demonstrate their skills.
Glass jewellery artist Anne Humpleby will also displaying her work at the Red House as part of the HOST Artists Open Studios Trail, which is taking place this weekend.
The museum will be open from noon – 5pm today and Sunday. (Barry Gibson)
The same newspaper presents the ALRA performances of Jane Eyre in Huddersfield:
The dramatic story of Jane Eyre is retold in performances in the Colne Valley tonight and tomorrow.
Post-graduate acting students from the Academy of Live and Recording Arts have been working on Willis Hall’s stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel.
The students visited the Brontë Music (sic!!) in Haworth earlier in the summer to soak up the atmosphere. (...)
Jane Eyre will plays at Slaithwaite Civic Hall tonight (September 7) at 7.30pm.
The show then moves up the valley to Marsden where it plays two performances at the Mechanics tomorrow. There’s a matinee at 2.30pm followed by an evening show at 7.30pm. (Val Javin)
We wonder what induces some journalists/authors to blatantly show off their ignorance when they want to make a pun. Grace Dent tops the stupidity list with this comment reviewing the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End for The Independent:
Sylvia Tietjens, incidentally, is one of the greatest roles ever written for women. The fact it took a man to do this while Austen or Brontë's heroines are blithering irritants in bonnets fainting at the sight of light drizzle, I shall sulkily draw a veil over.
Also in The Independent Laurence Phelan seems more interested in irritant heroines fainting at the sight of light drizzles commenting the upcoming airing of Jane Eyre 2011 in Sky Movies Premiere (next Friday):
For a story with a 20-year sweep, this version of Charlotte Brontë’s romance seems strangely like an intimate chamber piece, and has a fresh, almost modern tone. It uses only natural available light, the Yorkshire moors’ rugged looks aren’t gilded, and its overtly gothic elements are de-emphasised. Mia Wasikowska is a touch passionless as Jane but Michael Fassbender’s Rochester is appealing, even playful.
We don't know if Rick Groen in The Globe and Mail would agree as he thinks that Charlotte Brontë is usually flawed on screen:
Poor Charlotte Brontë, who tiptoed around her weakness with dialogue by playing to her strengths – Gothic imagery and Byronesque brooding – isn’t so lucky. The camera tends to over-literalize her prose, until all that brooding morphs into just-too-damn-heavy. 
Wuthering Heights 2011 new (and excellent) US trailer (which can be seen on Vulture)  is mentioned all over the net: /Film, NextMovie, ScreenCrave, Hollywood.com, Film School Rejects, Jezebel, Indiewire's The Playlist, Firstshowing, Collider, Wildflowered, Planet Etheria, The Tracking Board, Pink is the New Blog, IWatchStuff, The Lowdownunder, Cinemavine, PunchDrunkCritics, Sound on Sight, Feel Guide, Critical Failure, CinemaTeaser (in French), CriterionCast, Myspace's What's Hot and many more:
When adapting a classic novel for the screen, it's one thing to preserve the winning words that were on the page, but it's another crucial thing to find a way to tell that story visually, too. That's not a problem that bedevils Wuthering Heights, the new adaptation of Emily Brontë's novel from director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank); her film is an utterly gorgeous take, distinctly shot, with those famous moors presented like never before. (Kyle Buchanan)
And more websites talking about Andrea Arnold's film: ArtInfo,  The Atlantic Wire, readMedia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews The Engagement by Chloe Cooper:
Premonitions and memories - folkloric and literary - flood through the reader as Alexander's old Merc traverses the world's third-largest volcanic plain. We might think of Bluebeard in his castle, the decaying mansions in Jane Eyre and Great Expectations, or the interior architecture of gothic horror tales (rather than the minimalist apartments Liese has designed). (Peter Pierce)
In the same newspaper we read a piece about the future of literature:
But a committee of 100 voices could only write a novel by 100 concessions, each member giving up a piece of their own vision in democratic deference to the others. And every concession moves the novel, brick-by-brick, towards a more central, normal vision. Good for politics. Not so good for art. Great art usually reeks of idiosyncrasy. What committee could have written Ulysses? Fear and Loathing in Las VegasWuthering Heights? The Man Who Loved Children? Labyrinths? Infinite Jest? (Anson Cameron)
Rose Tremain talks about her hero: Joyce Carol Oates in The Guardian:
As a young child, Joyce Carol Oates was given a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by her grandmother, Blanche, and it became "the most profound literary influence" of her life. At the age of 14, this same attentive Blanche gave her a typewriter, and her reading moved on from Alice to Faulkner, Dostoevsky, the Brontës and Hemingway. Driven by these distinctive and passionate voices, Oates began to train herself to become a writer, "writing novel after novel and always throwing them out when I completed them", thus demonstrating early a mind burning with ideas and a fine critical severity towards her own work.
Nashville Scene reviews the piece Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris:
A favorite fictional subgenre is a familiar work retold or embellished from a supporting player’s viewpoint, whether it’s Hamlet as the tragicomedy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Wizard of Oz as the literal witch hunt of Wicked, or Jane Eyre as the bitter fate of its “madwoman in the attic” in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. (Jim Ridley)
Simon Kuper in Financial Times is probably right but his views are also quite depressing:
The fantasy of yourself as an artist works best as a fantasy. It provides a pleasing back-story to tell yourself and others. On paper you might be an accountant, but your authentic self is Emily Brontë. That’s fine until you try to live the fantasy.
The Independent presents a new production of Chekhov's Three Sisters in London and remembers that
Last year Blake Morrison drew out the links with the Brontës – three refined women stuck in the wilderness with a terminally disappointing brother – in his new play, We Are Three Sisters.
The Irish actor Tom Canton is interviewed in The Irish Times:
You’d have been a decent Milky Bar kid once, but that ship has probably sailed. 
No, I’ll tell you. I’m wrong for it, I know. I’m completely wrong for it, but I’d love to play Heathcliff. Or maybe Fagan when I’m a little bit older. Heathcliff or Fagan, either of those two would be great.
The Guardian selects some new British B&Bs and mentions one in Brontë country: Field House in Halifax; Premiere publishes the France ratings and the ones from Jane Eyre 2006 as seen in Arte are not bad:
Arte proposait à 20h50 Jane Eyre qui a réuni 1 061 000 amateurs pour une part d'audience de 4.5%. Une adaptation télévisée du célèbre roman de Charlotte Brontë. (Translation )
Visible Soul interviews the playwright Thomas Bradshaw:
What kind of writing inspires you?
My earliest influences were Emily Brontë and Ernest Hemingway. I love the fact that Emily Brontë didn't place any boundaries on her writing. She didn't conform to the conventions of her day, and instead delved as far as she could into the lives of her characters. She wasn't afraid to explore the darkness that pervaded the world of her characters.
Bookaholic interviews the author Rita Gerlach:
You obviously love writing historical fiction. Where did you get your passion for this genre?I think it was borne in me as a child. Old black and white movies would come on television that I was riveted to. I know this because anything else did not hold my attention. Some of those films that influenced me were Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Frenchman’s Creek, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Jamaica Inn.
On the blogosphere. Posts about Jane Eyre: The Word Den, I totally Paused!Stories of an Unschooling Family, Emi Dreams Up (in French) and 24 Fotogrammi al secondo (in Italian) discuss Jane Eyre 2011; Journal Cinéphile Lyonnais (in French) talks about Jane Eyre 1944 and Arbre Creux and Guilty Pleasures (both in French) about Jane Eyre 2006. Posts about Wuthering Heights: A Bookish Way of LifeEl alma de los árboles (in Spanish). Sophie Writes reviews Villette; Posts about sequels or retellings: A Reader of Fictions reviews Marta Acosta's Dark Companion.

And our tweets of the week:
@cschleichsrunAm I really going to tweet about which Oogielove is which Brontë sister? Ugh, fine. Goobie is Anne. All I know is that Goobie is Anne.
@RHelmsBooksMy sis & her friend have planned their H'ween costumes: one's going as Jane Eyre & the other as Bertha, the mad woman in the attic. snort

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