Friday, September 21, 2012

The Brontës once had a street in Berlin

Carmela Ciuraru reviews the revised edition of Juliet Barker's The Brontës for the Los Angeles Times .

Just about everything you thought you knew about the Brontës is wrong.
That's the essential message of "The Brontës" by Juliet Barker. Eighteen years after her landmark biography was published, the author — a former curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth — has produced a revised edition with new material, including letters and juvenilia that were unavailable when the author wrote the book.
Hers is not the typical account of the famed sisters Anne, Charlotte and Emily; this is a group portrait. She redeems unfairly maligned figures (such as the children's father, Patrick Brontë) and dismantles images of sainthood, as in the case of Charlotte. In other words, Barker shows the family as flawed and human rather than as the mad, freakish clan of isolated geniuses portrayed in many biographies. She expresses astonishment that a vast trove of archival material, including local newspaper accounts of the era, has never been used by other scholars. (Read more)
Author Libba Bray lists Jane Eyre among the books she loves for Publishers Weekly.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - So much of the literature we had to read for high school English class was filled with victimized, tragic, symbolic women who spurred the plot forward with their inevitable shunning/death/shunning-followed-by-pregnancy-followed-by-death timelines. (I’m looking at you, Tess. Here’s mud in your eye, Hester.) Then along came this book with a heroine who was opinionated, prickly, kick-ass, plain, and who had absolutely zero interest in making anyone like her. Sure, she had some romantic issues. (The password is: psychoticladyintheattic.) But she wasn’t putting her head on the train tracks, either. I also loved that the story left Rochester behind for a long time and went somewhere else entirely—because, p.s., the story is called Jane Eyre, bitches.
After suffering through the insufferable Tess of the D’Ubervilles (sorry, Hardy fans), I was grateful to find kinship with a dame who was likely to tell a smug Victorian jerk exactly where s/he could get off. This also brought on my love of the gothic.
Another list: Dave Astor compiles several 'thwarted romances' for The Huffington Post.
My favorite is Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, which stars two very different people (in social strata, life experience, etc.) who are nonetheless kindred spirits. But a certain attic-related issue jeopardizes Jane and Rochester's love for the ages.
The Guardian features David McAllister, state prime minister for Lower Saxony (Germany).
Childhood consisted of growing up in what he refers to as "Little England", the British military sector in the heart of West Berlin's Charlottenburg district, where streets were named Hardy, Dickens or Brontë Weg (way). "I had a British upbringing in the middle of West Berlin. We had British buses, wore school uniform and spoke English at home. My dad would always bring the Telegraph home from the office, and we listened to BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) all day, including the football results read out by James Alexander Gordon." (Kate Connolly)
More memories as This is the West Country has an article on the fundraising book Forget-Me-Not by Angie Cox:
A number of famous names have added their contributions to the book, including: Sir Cliff Richard, who recalls a memory of his mother when she fails to recognise him dressed as Heathcliff. . . 
We would have too. On purpose.

More from the West Country, as the Western Morning News makes the following guess:
Villages don't come much higher, wilder or windier than lonely Hawkridge, perched 900ft up in the vastness of Exmoor's ancient Forest. If Heathcliffe [sic] hadn't haunted Brontë Country's Wuthering Heights, then this would have made an ideal location for his brooding shenanigans.
Stephen King is writing a sequel to The Shining and so it's prequel/sequel time. The Telegraph inevitably refers to Wide Sargasso Sea.
All these authors wrote their multiple sequels more or less in the white heat of the creative process, not by stirring up the ashes half a lifetime later. That job – the retrospective, even posthumous, follow-up – is usually left to other writers, who seek inspiration from classics for tribute works as varied as the celebrated Jane Eyre prequel, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, to Alice Randall’s parodic The Wind Done Gone. (Ceri Radford)
Another nearly compulsory mention is Emily's poem 'Fall, leaves, fall' now that autumn is upon us: The Huffington Post includes it on a list of '14 Inspirational Autumn Sayings'. The Irish Independent is 'not sure' about Jane Eyre Laid Bare. The L Magazine mentions a storm which 'was like something out of a Brontë novel'. Rustling Pages and Meoww's Musings post about Jane Eyre while Cine-autor (in Spanish) reviews the 2011 adaptation. Flickr user jacqueline.poggi has uploaded several pictures taken on the moors.

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