Saturday, December 08, 2012

Saucy, raucous and witty Brontës

The Yorkshire Evening Post gives one more reason to go to the Writing Britain exhibition in Leeds. A first edition of Shirley:
A first edition of one of Charlotte Brontë’s most famous novels has taken pride of place at a new exhibition in Leeds.
The copy of Shirley will be the centrepiece of the exhibition, which looks at how the stunning Yorkshire landscape has been inspiration for some of the country’s most famous writers.
The exhibition entitled Writing Britain is now on show at the library off The Headrow and includes a collection of writing, imagery and poetical film inspired by Yorkshire.
Items from the Leeds library collections have been boosted by works on loan from the British Library, including the Brontë first edition.
The display has been brought together by Leeds City Council’s library and information service and the British Library, following on from the London exhibition Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands.
Broadway World's Sound Off interviews Josh Young who talks about what happened to the Lucy Simon & Marsha Norman musical Heathcliff:
PC: What can you tell me about the Lucy Simon material on Still Dreaming of Paradise?
JY: That song was actually written for a project called Heathcliff that Christopher Jackson and I did a workshop of - it was basically Wuthering Heights: The Musical. I think it was the last show that Lucy and Marsha Norman wrote together - but, I guess nothing came of it. There is some really great music in it in addition to that one, though - it’s really a great score. The song on my album isn’t a song my character sang in it, actually. I played the role of Heathcliff’s brother and Chris Jackson played Heathcliff - in the first workshop, my role was workshopped by Brian D’Arcy James and Adam Pascal played Heathcliff, I think, and then a couple workshops down the line it was me and Chris Jackson. It’s an interesting relationship between the two characters - there’s this flashback to them as children and that’s where the song takes place in the show.
PC: What a shame the show has yet to find a life - it seems to have a lot of promise.
JY: I know! It is a really interesting project, I think, but it’s only been workshopped as far as I know. Other people have recorded songs from it, though - I know Brian and Adam recorded some stuff live, but we didn’t get to do anything in the studio or live. I don’t know why it fell apart and never happened - I did the workshop like six years ago now. Hopefully I’ll be working with Lucy again sometime soon, though, because I really enjoy working with her. (Pat Cerasaro)
The Washington Post considers Dizzy Miss Lizzie's The Brontës one of the best theatre shows seen in 2012:
Best theater: “The Brontes”
The scrappy D.C. merrymakers of Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue unveiled “The Brontës,” their saucy, raucous and witty rock concert-as-literary satire.
The Guardian and The Australian review Havisham by Ronald Frame:
The tradition of the literary prequel or sequel has a long and chequered history. A few, like Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, have gone on to become classics in their own right. (...)
As for Bertha Mason, the "clothed hyena" in Jane Eyre, she is a shadowy figure with neither voice nor history, as hidden from view in the text as she is in the attic at Thornfield. "She seemed such a poor ghost," Rhys was later to say. "I thought I'd like to write her a life." In Antoinette Cosway, Rhys not only brings the "Vampyre" Bertha shatteringly to life, she forces a dizzying shift of balance, creating a new vantage point from which to look at Brontë's original novel. As Antoinette tells us: "There is always the other side, always." (Clare Clark) 
The impulse behind this process varies. Sometimes - as in Lev Grossman's inspired reworking of the Narnia series, The Magicians, or Jean Rhys's brilliant reimagining of the back story of Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea - it is revisionist. (James Bradley)
The Telegraph & Argus reports that
Despite a summer that many described as a washout, the number of people visiting Yorkshire and spending money here rose this year compared to previous years.
Some tourist attractions in the Bradford district say they too saw a boost in visitors, but others actually saw a fall.
Figures released yesterday by the Great British Travel Survey show that Trips to Yorkshire were up 16.3 per cent for the period between September 2011 to August 2012. They also reveal that the amount tourists spent in the area increased by 13.5 per cent, and overnight stays were up 11.5 per cent during the same period. (Chris Young)
Regrettably the Brontë Parsonage does not share in those numbers:
However, the Brontë Parsonage museum, one of Yorkshire’s biggest attractions, saw a three per cent fall in visitor numbers during the same period, with no apparent Olympic boost. (Chris Young)
SFX reviews the comic Doctor Who: The Child of Time.The Brontë mention is quite obscure:
The Child of Time”, the final story, with Martin Geraghty returning on art, is the moment that Morris really pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Every story that’s gone before is shown in a different light as the Doctor and Amy race to stop a godlike being picking apart reality. Which, let’s face it, is a good premise by itself, but as the story goes on Morris keeps adding more to it. A full-scale war with a race of aliens called the Galataeans takes centre-stage, followed in short order by Alan Turing, the Brontë sisters toting futuristic weaponry and the death and rebirth of humanity. (Alasdair Stuart)
Not the only Doctor Who-Brontë connection. According to the Wall Street Journal the Doctor Who Christmas special (The Snowmen) contains Jane Eyre references:
This year’s plays tribute to another series Moffat has his hands in, “Sherlock,” as more than one character fills the role of the Great Detective, as well as a hodge-podge of elements from “Jane Eyre,” “Mary Poppins” and “Game of Thrones.” (Amanda Harris Falls)
A Brontë mention in a Botswana website? We have it...through Stephanie Meyer's Twilight though:
She says that she has written in her quartet about life, love and free will using inspirations from Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Emily Brontë. (Sasa Majuma in Mmegi)
The Atlantic Wire talks about the upcoming book by Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl:
Her pop-culture touchstones are familiar.
She mentions Holly Hunter in Broadcast News. Claire Danes in Little Women. Jane Eyre. She knows her audience, and they're likely to respond to the characters she brings up in her talk of "love," "sex," and the "big picture." (Esther Zuckerman)
Publishers Weekly recommends Christmas Romance novels:
Snowy Night with a Stranger by Jane Feather, Sabrina Jeffries, Julia London - I enjoyed all three stories in Snowy Night with a Stranger, a Victorian-set anthology in which snowstorms and the resulting confinement lead to love. Julia London’s “Snowy Night with a Highlander” brought back pleasant memories of a semester abroad in Scotland and reminded me a little of a favorite classic, Jane Eyre. (Anne Browning Walker)
Jezebel, The Atlantic Wire and The Cut comment on the WSJ article on women writers (particularly in the S/F world) still posing as men when they publish;  SouthCoast Today recommends Wuthering Heights for a YA audience while the Rauner Library Blog looks at the first American edition of the novel; Montreal Books Examiner discusses the relationship between Emily and Charlotte Brontë; the Brussels Brontë Blog covers the recent release of Helen MacEwan's book Down the Belliard Steps; What Lolly Read Next and standyb (in Czech) post about Jane EyreJud's Creative Writing Medley posts a 2005 paper on psychonalytic literary criticism applied to Jane Eyre and Great Minds Think Alike writes in Portuguese about the musical based on the novel. WordBird interviews Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin.

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