Thursday, February 14, 2013

Brontë V-Day

V-Day today, which obviously entails a lot of Brontë mentions in the press. The Guardian wonders about the best books for Valentine's Day and looks back on its 2010 Battle of the Brontës.

Romantic tastes differ, as Alison Flood and Imogen Russell Williams discovered in "the Battle of the Brontës".
The battle lines were drawn when Alison confessed to being bored by Jane Eyre, but recalled that as a schoolgirl: "I was so caught up in the melodramas of Cathy and Heathcliff ("Do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you! Oh God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!") that I'd be pages ahead when it came to my turn to read and would get in trouble for not concentrating."
To which Imogen responded that Brontë lovers divided into two factions - "those drawn to demure, bookish Miss Eyre and those for whom the pyrotechnical hanky-panky between Cathy Earnshaw and black-browed Heathcliff is paramount" – and called them Librarians and Rock Stars. "Alison is undoubtedly a Rock Star. I, on the other hand, am a Librarian."
The Philadelphia Inquirer looks into 'apps to lend Cupid a hand':
If you can't string sweet nothings together on your own, Love & Romance Collection, listed from Mobyi Apps on Google Play and from Creative Glance Entertainment on the App Store, is a free package of poems, song lyrics, and "romantic ideas" that you can send along in e-mails or to Facebook.
Though some of the poetry is erotic, and some of the ideas - "Bake homemade cookies together" - are lame, the app has its unintended charms. For example Charlotte Brontë's fictional story of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester is summarized among the app's offerings of "True Love Stories." (Reid Kanaley)
And actually La información (Spain) suggests borrowing a literary quote if you forgot a Valentine's Day gift.

A so-called romantic novel is also one of the suggestions for 'singles' made by The New Age (South Africa):
Pick a romantic novel
If reading is what moves you more than anything else, then treat yourself to some romantic read by picking some acclaimed novels like Wuthering Heights, Memoirs of a Geisha, Pride and Prejudice et al.
A reduced, just romantic view of the classics also appears in an article on Tablet.
[Yael] Levy wound up selling Brooklyn Love to Crimson Romance, a new imprint that launched last June and publishes five titles a week (first as e-books, then as print-on-demand) in the five main categories of romance novels: contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, and “spicy.” Within the contemporary category, Levy’s books are classified as “Behind Closed Doors,” which is publisher-speak for “without explicit hot-and-heavy action”—think Austen, Brontë, Georgette Heyer. “There are a lot of people who don’t want Fifty Shades of Grey,” Levy explained. “They want love and yearning without the ‘grey.’ ” (Marjorie Ingall)
So the Brontës and Jane Austen are Fifty Shades of Grey without the sex? Hear that? It's decades of scholarship going down the drain.

Te interesa (Spain), in the meantime, also mocks Jane Austen and the Brontës as go-to romantic stuff.
Por increíble que parezca, es probable que no todos los maridos del mundo escriban poemas de amor. Ni que suspiren por ver la última película inspirada en Jane Austen & the Brontë Sisters Factory Dreams (¡rápido, rápido, un pañuelo!). (Juan Meseguer) (Translation)
El informador (Mexico) also refers to them:
Un pedestal aparte merecen novelistas británicas como Jane Austen o las hermanas Brontë, quienes tomaron elementos del romanticismo y la narrativa costumbrista para dar forma a clásicos como Sensatez y sentimientos (obra maestra de la primera), Jane Eyre o Cumbres borrascosas, historias pletóricas de huérfanos, herencias, despojos, matrimonios forzados y pasiones acalladas que combinaban la intriga familiar con una agudeza psicológica que las hizo justamente famosas y sentó las bases de todo un género. (Translation)
A columnist from the Leavenworth Times mentions his favourite love poem:
I would like to start with my favorite line from what could very well be my favorite poem, "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allen Poe. "But we loved with a love that was more than love - I and my Annabel Lee…" It appears a bit contrary at first that a man so renowned for his horror stories should have written possibly the greatest love poem to date. One would expect such an achievement to come from a Browning or a Brontë or perhaps the Bard. (Clarke Peterson)
The Huffington Post wonders whether love at first sight is 'real'.
However, there are movies that tend to copy most aspects of specific fairy tales and these movies are also incredibly successful. Examples include "Pretty Woman" ("Cinderella"), "Jane Eyre" ("Beauty and the Beast"), and "My Fair Lady" (also "Cinderella"). The concepts placed into our minds from a very early age follow us throughout our lives and affect how we perceive happiness and true love. 
A movie, eh?

The Little Rock Books Examiner chooses Jane Eyre as one of the most lovable characters in literature.
6. Charlotte Brontë's plain, modest, virtuous heroine Jane Eyre, from the classic novel by the same name, had a spirit that may have been repressed but was never broken. Her candor, along with her unwavering faith and ideals, have won the hearts of many readers over the years. These traits, together with her love for humanity, despite the mistreatment she endured, make her one of literature's most admired characters. (Jennifer Lafferty)
The Penguin Blog reveals the results of a recent survey:
To celebrate Valentine's Day, this week we held a poll to find the nation's favourite Penguin love story, asking our Facebook fans and Twitter followers to vote for their favourite from a shortlist of ten of our most enduring romantic classics.
After much discussion and in-fighting among the Austen aficionados, Brontë-botherers and Hardy die-hards, the results are in:
1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: 24% - 70 votes
2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: 18% - 51 votes
3=) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: 15% - 44 votes
3=) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: 15% - 44 votes
Romance writers Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins 'offer advice for the lovelorn' in USA Today and refer to Wuthering Heights 2009.
KH: As romance writers who've been married for a combined total of 489 years, Jill and I decided we were extremely well suited to doling out romantic advice. After all, we've made every mistake there is. Like the time when McIrish and I were watching Wuthering Heights (the Tom Hardy version, thank you very much), and I accidentally said out loud: "Honey, I'd totally leave you for him." (In case you're reading, Tom Hardy, that remains completely true, so …) (Joyce Lamb)
Speaking of film adaptation of the novel, The Music mentions Wuthering Heights 2011 in a review of Anna Karenina.
Though describing him as a ‘visionary’ filmmaker may be stretching it, Wright is definitely a filmmaker capable of keeping to a singular vision; and, here, his adaptation takes the complete opposite tack to, say, Andrea Arnold’s ferocious Wuthering Heights, which threw away the fancy words of its classic-lit source and the frock-filled trappings of the period-piece, and revelled, rather, in rural, realist miserablism. (Anthony Carew)
The Edmonton Journal reviews the play Murielle, written by Ellen Chorley, who's
also a founder, along with her friend Delia Barnett, of a sassy nouveau burlesque troupe called Send in the Girls, which teasingly discards princess partywear to discover the corsetry beneath, say, the laced-up wives of Henry VIII or the buttoned-up Brontës. [...]
As for her fascination with burlesque, Chorley says blithely that it all started “with my pole-dancing lessons, for fitness.” Her friend Barnett was doing “strippercize” and they concocted a political satire striptease about arts funding, for one of Nextfest’s “performance parties.” The idea, says Chorley, was to take off a piece of clothing for every government cut. With Tudor Queens and A Brontë Burlesque, Chorley, who performs in them as well, brings “a character-driven story arc” to a form that normally doesn’t aspire to such complications as character. In a funny way, it’s the same cheeky, subversive spirit that inhabits Chorley’s fairy tales. (Liz Nicholls)
Commander Bond compares Timothy Dalton's roles as James Bond and Mr Rochester:
Oh, that’s right Timothy, just throw it away, it’s just a line, played not for applause in each wheezing pause but just a man telling a woman his name. One wonders about the Act-Ting journey, from acorn to tree, that brought him to such a delivery choice. Interesting motivation for the character, a man what just parachuted twice and killed another bloke and had hot shrapnel thrown at his head and then performed a petty theft (it’s a complex role: Mr Rochester has nothing on this. Where are the headbutts in Jane Eyre, then? Reader, I chinned him? Nah). Alternatively the rich subtext is “I am Act-Tor; you are not. I am Act-Ting. Lick my Act-Ting. Do not bother me, woman. Give the Art-Tist room”. (Jacques Stewart)
And more on popular culture, as The Huffington Post wonders,
How can anyone not recognise the voice of Kate Bush? Kate Bush who sang about one of the most iconic books of all time, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights?
Maybe it's a time thing. (Hilary Robinson)
Wonderful news from the Guardian: Elizabeth Gaskell's Manchester home to get £2.5m restoration. Charlotte Brontë's stays in the house are recalled as usual. The Frankfurter Rundschau (Germay) mentions Jolien Janzing's novel at the Berlinale. A moving story about a voracious reader who died while reading Wuthering Heights (yeah, you people who dislike the novel can now joke about that) in The Oregonian.

Local news from Haworth, as reported by The Telegraph and Argus:
Time is standing still in Haworth – but only as far as one historic clock is concerned, and only temporarily!
The Haworth Parish Church clock, which is more than 140 years old, stopped about two weeks ago.
The clock has to be wound manually by volunteers, but this cannot be done until work is carried out to ensure access to its mechanism is made safe.
The priest in charge at the church, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, said he did not expect the clock to be out of action for more than a month.
“People can still get into the bell tower,” he said. “But to get to the clock mechanism they have to get up onto a landing via a steep, narrow step ladder.”
And The Brontë Sisters tells about a request to the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page:
I wrote to the facebook page of the Bronte Parsonage museum and asked about photographes of the new decorated Museum. The answer is: ""We're having some new pix shot shortly, then they'll be going up"". I really am surprised that there is not a big marketing campaign, with beautiful photo- and video material of the new situation. The re-opening was such a good moment to show ""the world"" what is going on.  
We do think this is good marketing as we are sure that many local people will be going to see for themselves instead of browsing through the pictures at home.

Also, speaking of refurbishments, the revamped Brontë Society website now includes a page on Mary Taylor (via @BronteParsonage).

Lisa Sheppy writes about the Re-Visioning the Brontës Conference. Catty Batty is rereading Jane Eyre while Thierry Attard writes in French about the 2006 adaptation.

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