Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perchance to Dream

This year marks the bicentenary of the marriage of the Rev Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell, and to mark the event, as well as Christmas, the Friends of Red House held a special event complete with costumed characters.
On hand to welcome guests was Carol Fox, a direct descendant of the vicar, who made his first marital home in the Spen Valley. Santa was also there, and the Kirklees Brontë group members dressed as Mr Brontë, a mill owner at the time of the Luddite uprisings and men and women of the time.
One of the organisers, Imelda Marsden, said it went so well it was hoped it would become an annual event. Money raised will help publish a book about past residents and visitors to Red House. In turn, the book will raise funds for Holly Bank School and Friends of Red House.
Paul Routledge defends Yorkshire's honour in The Mirror after Eric Pickles wrote about preferring Essex to Yorkshire:
Stunning vistas where the White Rose flag is proudly flown on August 1, Yorkshire Day. Do they even have an Essex Day?
But that panoramic variety has nothing on the people, going back to Wakefield native Robin Hood.
Writer JB Priestley personified patriotic Britain in the Second World War.
Winifred Holtby, radical author of televised South Riding, brought Holderness to life.
Sixties writers John Braine and Stan Barlow gave us novels of the working class.
They are simply the heirs of a great tradition best known in the works of the Brontë sisters, who revolutionised English literature and whose home in Haworth is today a place of pilgrimage.
Financial Times' Quiz of the Year includes a rather sophisticated question:
38 Can you match the following writers – Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Brontë, James Joyce – to the opening lines of the following pieces of writing, all posthumously discovered or published for the first time this year?
(i) “In many ways, Haley, this is the nicest room in the house, even though it is little and has only one window,” said Annie Cooley, a woman in her middle twenties.
(ii) Alas! I cannot send you a Copenhagen cat because there are no cats in Copenhagen.
(iii) A rat, weary of the life of cities, and of courts (for he had played his part in the palaces of kings and in the salons of great lords), a rat whom experience had made wise, in short, a rat who from a courtier had become a philosopher, had withdrawn to his country house (a hole in the trunk of a large young elm), where he lived as a hermit devoting all his time and care to the education of his only son.
If you are a faithful reader of Brontëblog and remember the discovery in Brussels of a previously unknown French devoir by Charlotte Brontë earlier this year, you will know part of the answer.

Today on BBC Radio 3:
Words and Music  - Perchance to Dream 6:30pm - 7:45pm
Dreams can be both expressive and repressive, and one man’s dream is another’s man’s nightmare.
In this particularly ethereal and unsettling edition of the jewel in Radio 3’s crown, the actors Sophie Thompson (EastEnders) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) read disturbing dream-linked extracts from George Orwell’s 1984, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. 
These prose pieces are interspersed with chimerical works by Berlioz and Stravinsky. Expect the unexpected when you settle down tonight . . . (Jane Alexander in Radio Times)
Chiwetel Ejiofor will read the fragment "where Mr Lockwood dreams of a ghostly child called Catherine trying to get in through his window".

Digital Spy publishes a picture of what the 'Brontë night' (check yesterday's post) means on Emmerdale 
Bob starts to see Brenda (Lesley Dunlop) in a new light when his friend Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) shares a kiss with her next month.
The unexpected moment between Dan and Brenda takes place at a Brontë literature night that Bob has organised in an effort to meet new women. (Daniel Kilkelly)
Film School Rejects proposes a list of entirely deserving but very unlikely Oscar nominations:
Best Cinematography – Ginger and Rosa or Wuthering Heights
Robbie Ryan is one of the best cinematographers working today. His collaborations with Andrea Arnold are bold, dramatic revelations that bring an elemental magic to the worlds they build. Wuthering Heights is unlike anything else that came out this year, a unique take on literary adaptation that used its brutal, rural images to turn a classic love story into a haunting. Yet I don’t expect the Academy to each out to Arnold’s difficult, minimalist screenplay. I would be impressed if many of them even watched the entire film. (Daniel Walber)
The Montclair Times selects Wuthering Heights 2011 on its top ten film list (it also almost made it onto MovieMaker's list):
As a culture, we're bombarded by generic stories of young love, and usually prompted to find idealized surrogates of ourselves on the screen. Not so here, with Wes Anderson and Andrea Arnold making their tales of "forbidden love" fully character-specific and thus revitalizing the form. (Peter Gutiérrez)
The Telegraph reviews the BBC sitcom Miranda:
In Miranda, no one comes to any harm. There’s physical embarrassment, but no psychological humiliation. There’s teasing from mother and friends, but no real cruelty. Our heroine has an on-off relationship with the male friend she fancies, but as heartbreak goes it’s hardly Wuthering Heights. (Michael Deacon)
The Age reviews By the Book by Ramona Koval:
The central image in By the Book is that of Sara, lying on a couch, always reading, and from time to time passing books to her daughter, always in silence. At 15, Ramona was given Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Was this a signal that Sara's life as wife and mother had lacked fulfilment, or that her daughter should plot a different course? Simone de Beauvoir soon followed; and Mary McCarthy's The Group (banned in Australia in 1963) was left casually available on a shelf. Koval recounts the feminist lessons she failed to learn. With ''Reader, I married him'', she sums up an early, doomed relationship. The words are those of triumphant Jane Eyre, but the tone is wry. (Brenda Niall)
NPR talks about the biographic genre:
Novelists can create unique and unforgettable characters — there's never been anyone quite like Jane Eyre or Ignatius J. Reilly — but there's no shortage of fascinating literary protagonists who just happened to exist in real life. (Michael Schaub)
The Wall Street Journal reviews Shakespeare's Tremor and Orwell's Cough:
The usual suspects, syphilis (Shakespeare), gonorrhea (Joyce) and tuberculosis (the Brontës, Orwell), are joined by more exotic transmissible misfortunes such as yaws, a tropical disease that causes dreadful ulcers (London), and relapsing fever, or Brucellosis (Yeats). (Raymond Tallis)
Financial Times publishes an article about JM Coetzee:
How canny of him to rewrite Robinson Crusoe like that, with a tongueless Man Friday and a female narrator. Wasn’t a book like Foe (1986) just made to slot into a thousand postcolonial/feminist course outlines on “Rewriting the Canon”, alongside Wide Sargasso Sea and Things Fall Apart? How methodical he had been in his assault on the Nobel – the novels, the serious essays about Kafka, Robert Musil and the Russians, the measured not-quite memoirs – how strategic. Bravo JM! (Hedley Twidle)
Las Provincias (Spain) explains Christmas reading habits:
La semana pasada hablaba de la importancia de volver al pueblo en estas fechas. Yo añadiría que es el momento ideal para volver a los clásicos favoritos. Alguien, no recuerdo quién, me dijo que releía 'Cumbres Borrascosas' todas las Pascuas. Yo lo hice el año pasado envuelto en una manta frente a la chimenea, seguido por 'Jane Eyre'. Pero en esta ocasión he abandonado a las hermanas Brontë por Charles Dickens y 'Oliver Twist'. (Carlos García-Calvo) (Translation)
Amy's Classic Movie Blog - Now With Jessica Added! posts about Jane Eyre 1944; Sam Still Reading reviews Wide Sargasso Sea; a group reading of Wuthering Heights is taking place here; Summer Day announces that her book Wuthering Nights is today available for free on Kindle;

And finally, our congratulations to Dame Kate Bush, a frequent name in our daily posts, who has been appointed Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

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