Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jane, Minimalist Chic

The Brisbane Times has a lukewarm review of Wuthering Heights 2011:
The camera picks up innumerable details, from the shadows thrown up by flickering candles to the bugs that flit briefly around the characters; with its numerous close-ups, the film does for insects what Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line did for lizards. But Arnold's quest for realism reduces the tale to a recognisable but skeletal form - it's difficult to discern just where Heathcliff and Cathy's thwarted love begins.
Like most screen versions, including William Wyler's 1939 adaptation with Laurence Olivier, this Wuthering Heights sticks to the first half of the book, but perhaps the opening quarter would have been better. The reunited adult Cathy and Heathcliff have nothing to exhibit but despairing loss, and the successive tragic endings suggest Arnold doesn't quite know how to conclude her initially arresting but ultimately flawed interpretation of romantic compulsion. (Craig Mathieson)
Another review on Dr Mathochist.

The Daily Mail echoes the voices that demand that Trollope should be more present in the English curriculum:
Trollope is already on a list of preferred ‘heritage’ writers circulated to schools. But critics say teachers overlook his novels, including Barchester Towers and the Palliser series, in favour of ‘more familiar’ but ‘less relevant’ writers such as Charles Dickens. (...)
Official guidance for schools states that teachers should choose from a list of 45 heritage authors, including Trollope, Dickens and Austen as well as Thomas Hardy, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis  Stevenson, Charlotte Brontë,  H. G. Wells and William Blake.
The Department for Education said: ‘We think it is best left to teachers to decide which authors they choose. We expect schools to offer their students a wide range of books. That is the best way to introduce young people to the best writers, like Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters or Trollope.’ (Chris Hastings)
Kate Willis in The Independent tries to find classic book inspiration for new fashion collections:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Say goodbye to neon brights and colour-blocking, as next season you’ll be seeing your wardrobe in black and white. And maybe grey. Quakerish governess Jane “Plain” Eyre would certainly approve  of this obsession with minimalist chic. When Mr Rochester tries to dress her up in satin and lace party frocks she insists on keeping her dour grey-and-black uniform. A way of asserting her independence as well as her sense of identity, in case “I shall not be your  Jane Eyre any longer, but an ape in  a harlequin’s jacket – a jay in borrowed plumes”. Roland Mouret, Céline and Stella McCartney obviously agree. Their pared-down, monochrome looks for spring/summer 2013 are severe, simple and devastatingly cool. Better stick last summer’s lime-green lace dress in the attic and hope there’s an accidental fire.
Eithne Shortall discusses mental illness and the arts in The Times:
Charlotte Brontë famously invoked mental instability in Jane Eyre; Mr Rochester is pitied for having to tend to his insane wife locked away in the attic. This can be accepted with the benefit benefit of evolved social discernment.
The Door County Advocate announces that
The Ephraim Library summer book group is done for the year. They’ll be switching to Wednesdays next summer, studying the Brontë sisters’ writings. (Diane Kirkland)
La Nueva España (Spain) talks about prolific and non prolific writers:
La autora inglesa Emily Brontë sólo publicó una recopilación de poemas y una única novela, «Cumbres borrascosas», y esa escasa producción le valió el reconocimiento como una de las escritoras fundamentales de la novela victoriana. Cierto es que este mencionado reconocimiento le llegó tarde, ya que durante su corta vida tuvo que hacer frente a la crítica que tachaba de cruel en extremo a su novela por haber salido de la pluma de una mujer. (Natalia Menéndez) (Translation)
All Roads Lead to Austen interviews Nina Benneton:
If you had to pick a novel by a famous writer other than Austen to modernize, what would it be? And why?
Jane Eyre. Not because of — speaking of byronic, brooding heroes, you couldn’t get any more byronic than Bronte’s hero, me think — Edward Rochester, but because of the eponymous heroine. I’ve always had a thing for orphans and foundlings and bastardized children in literature — as a reader or a writer (probably because as a child, I was brainwashed by the nuns to, at one point, want to grow up and be Mother Teresa).
I prefer Jane Austen’s witticism and sly humor to the Brontë sisters’ more sombre writings in general, but a modern retelling of Jane Eyre would be a fun challenge, especially for my irreverent writer’s voice. Jane Eyre’s refusal to compromise her principles and moving to the south of France with Mr. Rochester (For goodness sake’s, the south of France! Hello? What was the girl thinking?) That stealing away in the middle of the night from Rochester — how much more heroically gothic could a heroine be?
I see a modern, sensible English lit teacher Jane Eyre falling for, despite herself, Edward Rochester, the reluctant leader of a polygamous, beards-down-to-their-navel-sect, what do you think?
A quote by Charlotte Brontë on an Albert Lea Tribune article; The Briarfield Chronicles tries to answer why all Charlotte Brontë heroines are only children; Under the Texan Sun and The Amazing Adventures of Pipsqueak, the Ferocious post about Jane Eyre; Owl Read It and The Happy Booker review Ironskin.

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