Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Charlotte's research and illness

News outlets still have a lot to say about the Duchess of Cambridge and hyperemesis gravidarum. The Telegraph and Argus is the most relevant to Brontëites as it has asked Ann Dinsdale about Charlotte's final illness.

The Duchess of Cambridge is suffering the same pregnancy-related illness that most likely claimed the life of Haworth author Charlotte Brontë.
But vastly improved medical techniques mean Kate Middleton’s condition is unlikely to end in the same tragic circumstances as the writer of Jane Eyre, who died in 1855 aged 38. [...]
Ann Dinsdale, of Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “It was generally accepted Charlotte died of Hyperemesis Gravidarum in the early stages of her pregnancy.
“There was nothing that could be done for her then. Today people get good care, but back then there just wasn’t that care. Treatment wasn’t possible.
“There are a few really expressive pencilled notes she wrote in that period that make it clear she suffered terribly.
“People who suffer today have drips attached and get through it fine, but what happened to Charlotte Brontë really highlights the fact that this can be a very serious condition without the right care.”
The Sydney Morning Herald also pauses to look at Charlotte's case:
The English novelist Charlotte Brontë died an awful death in 1855. Faint, exhausted and a slave to incessant nausea and vomiting for months, the fragile writer was unable to stomach food and water despite wearily trying to summon strength.
Dehydrated and delirious, with no medicine to save her, Bronte died while four months' pregnant from the effects of an illness now suffered by Kate Middleton and still inflicting misery on pregnant women - hyperemesis gravidarum, excessive, persistent vomiting and nausea that can linger for an entire pregnancy.
''A wren would have starved on what she ate during those last six weeks,'' a friend of Brontë's is reported to have said. (Linda McSweeny)
Many more news outlets continue just mentioning Charlotte such as Businessweek, Daily Kos, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, the Sunderland Echo...

And also prominent in the news is the release of Wuthering Heights 2011 in France. From Le Monde:
Autour de Hurlevent, la lande. Une vague immense verte un instant, et bleue l'instant suivant. Comme le ciel d'avant la neige, ou comme cette chambre crépie, dans la toute première scène, où Heathcliff heurte contre les murs encore et encore une immense douleur dont nous ignorons la cause.
Le bleu est la couleur Brontë par excellence. Dans l'adaptation de Jane Eyre sortie il y a quelques mois, Cary Fukunaga le grisait, glissant à sa palette la poussière d'un vieux manoir au crépuscule, et les pierres immenses du pensionnat. Pour Andrea Arnold, le bleu Brontë est vif comme celui de l'océan, tranchant comme la glace, sauvage, intensément, comme les jeunes héros à l'image desquels, plan après plan, son film se modèle. Il donne à tous les verts de la lande des brillances d'émeraude, aux cheveux de Catherine celles de l'ébène. Il met une fièvre à tous les yeux.
Adaptant le célèbre roman d'Emily Brontë avec une fidélité et une intelligence du texte rares, cette version des Hauts de Hurlevent est aussi éblouissante par sa beauté plastique que glaçante par ses silences et ce qu'ils suggèrent.
A l'oeil, c'est un tissage merveilleux de gros plans et de grands ensembles, la lande avec les enfants qui l'arpentent, la main avec le cheval qu'elle caresse, toute chose devenue fragment d'une même matière hybride, difficile à saisir, rétive à toute fixité. A l'oreille, rien d'aussi spectaculaire. Pas une note de musique jusqu'à la dernière scène : quelques phrases emportées dans le sillage du vent, le bruit des coups, l'écho de mille brutalités dont les mots ne sauraient que faire.
Dans cette conjonction risquée d'une image luxuriante avec la plus grande âpreté sonore, Andrea Arnold trouve un équilibre aussi fragile que fascinant, et des grâces hypnotisantes. Tout travaillé qu'il soit, son film ne semble l'être que pour recréer à rebours une rudesse de coeur que bien peu ont su lire entre les lignes tourmentées d'Emily Brontë. Comme les deux sauvageons de la lande, son film ne s'apprivoise pas : il se donne immédiatement, farouche, tout marbré de vertiges. Un travail d'exception pour une réussite incontestable, et une grande leçon de lecture. (Noémie Luciani) (Translation)
From Libération:
Le point de vue de Heathcliff domine le film et Heathcliff est dominé par le flot de sensations exacerbées qui s’imposent à lui. Battu, rejeté par les uns, dévoré d’amour par les autres, constamment tiraillé entre son intégration au groupe (au nom des valeurs de charité chrétienne) et sa solitude fondamentale de bête curieuse, on le voit errer aux limites de la folie, disparaître puis revenir, transformé, dégrossi, affûté par une passion qui ne fait plus la part entre son amour pour Cathy et son obsession vengeresse contre tous ceux qui lui ont fait du mal. (Didier Péron) (Translation)
Le Figaro comments on t it from the point of view of adapting a good classic and looks at Anna Karenina as well and Ça dépend des jours reviews it too.

We are not leaving France just yet, as L'Express interviews Salman Rushdie about his Joseph Anton:
Le titre peut aussi rappeler certains romans du XIXe siècle, comme Jane Eyre, David Coperfield ou Eugénie Grandet... C'est amusant que vous me parliez d'Eugénie Grandet car c'est le roman qui m'a accompagné pendant la rédaction de Furie, il y a quelques années... Vous me comparez à Balzac ? Je n'ai décidément pas perdu ma journée ! [rires] D'autant que le pseudonyme que j'ai choisi est un clin d'oeil à deux écrivains qui me sont chers : Joseph Conrad et Anton Tchekhov. (Baptiste Liger) (Translation)
The Huffington Post lists several 'Bad Reviews Of Great Authors', including Wuthering Heights:
"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë
"There is not in the entire dramatis persona, a single character which is not utterly hateful or thoroughly contemptible."
- Atlas, 1848
Nouse mentions the novel in an article about Romanticism.
This cult of the individual was also cultivated by Lord Byron, through his controversial Byronic hero: the solitary, alluringly mysterious male figure striding through the mists, defied sense and reason in his supernatural qualities, and highlighted society’s fear of the unknown through his exoticism, sex appeal, and by bringing to light the subversive depths of the human unconscious. This exploration of the supernatural, as a rejection of the Enlightenment values of reason and empiricism, was emphasized in works such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, and in Francisco Goya’s paintings exploring the outer-regions of the imagination. (Jordan Licht)
The journalist who wrote this Press and Journal article is not quite so knowledgeable about the novel, though.
Emily Brontë has a lot to answer for. The romance of her classic gothic novel Wuthering Heights, with its secluded farmhouse and mysterious Yorkshire moorland setting, has lured many a property seeker to a lifestyle in the far-flung coastal regions of this fair isle. [...]
“The scale of the house alone makes it big enough to have everyone round for Christmas.”
A property just ready to welcome the patter of tiny feet and the regular peal of laughter from friends and family.
Not very Wuthering Heights, then, but close enough.
Close enough indeed.

That's about the same approach to Wuthering Heights as the Daily Mail to science in an article about how 'Angular jaw, square chin and prominent brow suggest man is prone to cheating'. Charlotte Brontë was ahead of her time in the reseach, you see:
Those who prefer the classics might think of Mr Rochester, the hero of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, who is described as having ‘broad and jetty’ eyebrows, a ‘square’ forehead and ‘decisive nose’.
He seemed like governess Jane Eyre’s perfect man until their wedding day - when she discovered he already had a wife hidden away in his attic. (Fiona MacRae)
Fortunately we have a couple of Brontëites to the rescue. The Independent on the Imagine: Jeanette Winterson – My Monster and Me:
A young, clever, troubled girl finds solace from an oppressive mother in the local library, where she begins to read through the fiction stock in alphabetical order. Which end of the alphabet would you suggest she started at for maximum consolation? In this (though in almost nothing else), the young Jeanette Winterson took the conventional route, beginning at A.
According to Alan Yentob in his Imagine film about her, she'd reached the letter M by the time she was 16, and was being thrown out of her home for a love affair with another girl. Which meant that she'd passed Austen and Eliot and the Brontës, and so had a perfect literary model for her vigils on a nearby hilltop, where she could stand windswept and dream of somewhere beyond Accrington. "Of course, I felt like Heathcliff," she said as she revisited the spot. What if she'd got to Virginia Woolf a little earlier though, and the seductive transgression of Orlando and of Woolf herself? (Tom Sutcliffe)
And Dave Astor interviewed by Baristanet:
You wrote about “comic strips” for many years for Editor & Publisher magazine; what are some of your favorites? And how about favorite columnists and authors? Doonesbury” and the now-retired “The Far Side” are my two favorite comics; I miss the latter a lot. As for columnists, I found Heloise (who wrote my book’s preface) and “Dear Abby” writer Abigail Van Buren to be very, very nice people. My favorite op-ed columnist might be Connie Schultz, whose writing reflects her working-class/lower-middle-class upbringing — the same family background I have (despite my misleading last name!). My favorite living authors are Margaret Atwood and Barbara Kingsolver. Among the past authors I love are Charlotte Brontë, John Steinbeck, Herman Melville, Emile Zola, and Edith Wharton – even though none of them came to this year’s ice cream social at Bradford School. (Kristin Wald)
The Keighley News reports that
Haworth Band is to feature on the popular BBC programme Countryfile.
A film crew was due to record the brass band performing at the Brontë Parsonage Museum at dusk yesterday.
They performed the Chorale Prelude Deep Harmony, composed by a former conductor of the band, Handel Parker.
The filming was for a regular segment in Countryfile that shows the influence of the landscape of a particular area on writers, composers and artists.
The crew also interviewed local composer Arthur Butterworth and filmed artist Ashley Jackson at Top Withens, the reputed setting for Wuthering Heights. The episode is planned to be broadcast on December 30.
Hathaways of Haworth looks at the clothes Cathy Earnshaw would have worn. Las lecturas de Ana writes about the novel in Spanish. Ryan's Bookcase posts about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in Hungarian. She-wolf Reads reviews Tina Connolly's Ironskin.

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