Twelve months ago we opened our traditional first post of the year with the following words that are even more fitting today as they were then:
A few years ago, the happy 2000's, each new year was received with a mixture of excitement and genuine expectation. We were excited by the wonders the year could bring and expected the best. Now 2013 is not received hoping things get better but wishing that things don't get worse. Who or what has turned us into such fearsome and grim people could be the subject of another post on another kind of blog. Right here we will try to summarise what the year is keeping for the Brontëite.
The big event of 2013 in the Brontë world will be the new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum which will open on March 23, Heaven is a Home: the Story of the Brontës’ Parsonage whose focus is on the house itself after recent and extensive research. The Parsonage will be redecorated in order to make it look as closely as possible like the place the Brontë family knew and - mostly - loved. Another exhibition not to be missed will take place in Brussels at the Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, Charlotte Brontë in Brussels (June 18-August 4) that will show the Charlotte Brontë’s letters to M. Heger, lent by the British Library. Earlier in the year another exhibition will take place at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, (January 7-February 23), Visions of Angria where rarely seen manuscript material written by Branwell Brontë from the Brotherton Library Special Collections will be exhibited and illustrated by students from Leeds College of Art's Visual Communications course. A bit later, on 29 January 2013, the University of Leeds will host 'Re-Visioning the Brontës', a conference in conjunction with the exhibitions ‘Wildness Between the Lines’ (Leeds College of Art) and the aforementioned ‘Visions of Angria’. The conference will explore the recent ‘re-visioning’ of the Brontës through critically examining artistic responses and interpretations of their work. The list of speakers includes Jane Sellars, Carl Plasa or Blake Morrison and a final round-table discussion with the likes of Adam Strickson, Sally Wainwright, Sarah Fermi, Tiffany Murray, Simon Warner and Jenna Holmes. And we are pretty sure that the Literary Juvenilia Conference in Durham (September 11-14) will see interesting studies about the Brontës, particularly because Christine Alexander is one of the key speakers. And we have of course the Brontë Society AGM, the Brussels Brontë Weekend etc...
After the frenzy of the latest Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights adaptations things will be quite quiet in 2013. We don't know yet the DVD/BluRay US release date of Wuthering Heights 2011, but it seems that at last, Wuthering Heights 1939 will have a proper DVD release by Warner Home Video. It is announced for Region 1 on January 15, but with apparently no extras. An independent/amateur film adapting Jane Eyre to a Scottish contemporary context, Celtic Jane – The Diaries of Jane McIver (written and directed by Clive Malcouronne) may be shot at the beginning of the year. Where (and if) the film would be exhibited is difficult to say. And maybe, NBC will pick Napa for development and we will see this series which is apparently a modern take on Wuthering Heights by the producers Greg Berlanti and Tom Donaghy, who is also the writer of the series.
Another frenzy (no pun intended) that seems to be receding is the fiftyshading of classics. After several Brontë erotic retellings last year we only expect Wuthering Nights: An Erotic Retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and I.J. Mille, in May. The YA adult novels which are inspired by the Brontës opus is almost a genre in itself and 2013 will bring a couple of them: The Mist on Brontë Moor by Aviva Orr and Catherine by April Lindner (after her successful Jane a few years ago). More fiction: Jolien Jonzing will publish in June her long-awaited Brussels novel, The Master and the second installment of the Jane Eyre Chronicles, The Death of a Dowager by Joanna Campbell Slan (April). A few scholar publications are scheduled: hopefully in March, Patsy Stoneman's volume on Charlotte Brontë will appear in the Writers & Their Work series and Faber and Faber plans to republish the 1966 Robert Barnard's study The Accents of Persuasion: Charlotte Brontë's Novels. And, of course, let's not forget the second BabyLit Brontë volume: Wuthering Heights: A BabyLit Weather Primer (February).
And theatre? We are sure we will see plenty of Polly Teale's performances of Brontë or Jane Eyre, the usual Robert Johanson, Willis Hall or Charles Vance's adaptations and a modern standard as it is Gordon & Caird's Jane Eyre. The Musical, but also the Hull Truck Theatre will tour the UK with a new Jane Eyre adaptation by Laura Turner; the Music Theatre West (Utah) will premiere a new musical Jane Eyre by Jay Richards in February; another new adaptation of the novel will open in May in Ohio (Available Light Theatre); a new piece about Charlotte Brontë, Miss Brontë will be performed in Adelaide (Asutralia) next February...
This is what we know...now. Keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned to BrontëBlog because we are certain than many more unexpected, exciting Brontë-inspired initiatives will appear in the next twelve months.
Let's forget what the bad omens say for a moment and let's just cross our fingers while we wish you a Happy 2013.