Saturday, February 02, 2013

Rattling Good Yarn

The Stage reviews the current performances of Jane Eyre by Hull Truck Theater:

Adapting Jane Eyre is difficult. Too melodramatic and it becomes ridiculous, too tricksy and the heart of the narrative is lost.
Laura Turner opts for a pretty straight telling, bound up in the eternal ‘head versus heart’ dilemma. There are long tracts of “and months passed” narration interspersed with action from key scenes such as the falling from the horse. But most curiously, she almost entirely passes over Eyre’s early years of oppression - where arguably her force of will is developed. Only a few minutes in, we’re at Thornfield Hall, where Jane will teach Adele, the young French girl.
All of which means we’re never quite sure of Eyre’s motivations. Rebecca Hutchinson plays her as fretful, at times rather needy of love - which she does well, but lessens the impact of her protestations of independence. Rochester isn’t meant to be particularly likeable, of course, but Andrew Dowbiggin gives him a conniving edge which dampens the spark of romantic love the audience needs to believe in.
A shame, because there is a lot to like here. Viktoria Kay takes on the multiple roles of Mrs Fairfax, Bertha, Blanche and so on with great enthusiasm, only tripping up with a French accent straight out of ‘Allo ‘Allo! for Adele. The set has to be packed up every night and taken somewhere else, so Graham Kirk works wonders in terms of literary atmosphere, although the lighting was a problem in Sale. The spooky folk music is perfectly judged.
In the programme notes, Nick Lane calls Jane Eyre a “rattling good yarn”. True enough, but therein lies the problem - in concentrating on narrative, the emotional depth of this adaptation suffers. (Ben East)
If you want to see the play for free in Swindon, by the way, you can take a look at this article in the Swindon Advertiser:
The national celebration of libraries will be held on Saturday, February 9, and will see a number of Swindon Council’s libraries highlight their services to the public.
On the day, all new library members will be entered into a prize draw to win a family ticket to see Jane Eyre at the Arts Centre on Monday, February 18.
The Guardian recovers an interview with Iris Murdoch from 1960:
She says there are so many nineteenth-century authors she wants to read. She admires Henry James, and especially "The Golden Bowl" ; when she mentions this book her face lights up with pleasure. She likes "Middlemarch" too, and "Wuthering Heights," and says she would be happy if she could acknowledge the influence of Tolstoy in her work. (Dylis Rowe)
And Mother Jones publishes an interview with Jamaica Kincaid:
So what moved you to become a writer?
JK: Everyone who knew me as a child, they say they're not surprised that I became a writer because I wrote all the time. I don't remember writing, because I wouldn't have had the tools, but I think what they are saying is that I would pretend I was a writer. I loved to read, and I would pretend I wrote the books I was reading. I went through a period of pretending I was Charlotte Brontë after I read Jane Eyre, when I was 10. (Hannah Levintova)
CNN lists ten fierce fictional heroines:
"Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
Why we love her: After a rotten childhood in 19th century England, Jane Eyre becomes a governess and falls in love with her employer, Mr Rochester. She's a strong and complex character who manages to get back on her feet after countless setbacks.
The spin-offs: The most famous of its many film adaptations are a 1943 version starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine and a 2011 version with Mia Wasikowska in the title role. (Catriona Davies and Lauren Said-Moorhouse)
And the Washington Post lists romantic hotels and B&Bs. Including the Inn BoonsBoro in Maryland:
Who’s your favorite happily-ever-after fictional couple? You can choose from seven at romance novelist Nora Roberts’s literary-themed inn in western Maryland, including Jane and Rochester from “Jane Eyre,” Nick and Nora from “The Thin Man” and Elizabeth and Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice.
Source
A.V. Club reviews the latest issue (#16) of the All-Star Western comic series (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Moritat) which contains a curious Brontë reference:
All-Star Western #16 picks up a month after Hex’s last encounter with Hyde, and he’s not taking his recovery too well. Holed up in Arkham’s home and having just finished the last bit of booze, Hex has become an irritable mess, but he finds the smallest measure of comfort in Arkham’s crazy mother, who confuses him for Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester when he comes to her room to murder her for screaming all the time. (Oliver Sava)
The Guardian talks about literary cooks:
[Virginia] Woolf's loaf, previously cited by Elizabeth David and seemingly involving regular dashes into the kitchen for kneading, is a rare exception to the near-absence of any evidence of British authors doing any cooking themselves in the 150 years between Emily Brontë ("Emily does the baking", wrote Charlotte) and Joanne Harris's post-Chocolat cookbook, The French Kitchen.  (John Dugdale)
The Financial announces that Joanne Wilkes has been promoted from associated professor to professor at The University of Auckland:
Her most recent critical study, Women Reviewing Women in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Ashgate, 2010) examined how women literary critics responded to novelists such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot.
What does being more Charlotte Brontë than Dolly Parton mean exactly? That's how AftonBladet describes a song by Cookies N Beans:
 ”Burning flags
Frida Öhrn, Linda Ström och Charlotte ­Centerwall har tryckt på ”paus” för sin country. ”Burning flags” är mer kontemporär och Spotify-anpassad. Eller mer vindpiskad ­gråbrittisk hed än Nashville. Eller mer Charlotte Brontë än Dolly Parton. Bra sak att säga vid taco­buffén: ”Hmm, det här låter som en mindre excentrisk version av Kate Bush. Pampigt värre. Skicka guaca­molen, tack”. (Markus Larsson) (Translation)
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner gives some more details about the Aspects of Literature event:
The Aspects of Literature, organised by Kirklees Bronte Group, begins with a literary dinner at Healds Hall Hotel, Liversedge, on September 20, which will raise cash for the Hollybank Trust, Mirfield.
The majority of events for the festival, which continues until September 20, take place at The Red House Museum, Gomersal.
They include talks from journalist John Brooke about his book Cruel Lives and Mirfield Town Councillor David Pinder about the Romans as well as entertainment from London jazz singer Val Wiseman. (Henryk Zientek
Janice Turner remembers her own local comp in The Times:
At primary school, a wonderful teacher recognised my hunger and lent me Lark Rise to Candleford from her own shelves. But at Ridgewood there was no encouragement, no Jane Eyre being thrust into your hand with a conspiratorial, "Read this".
The Epoch Times reviews the film Stoker:
It would be spoilery to explain why, but it is safe to say that audiences have never seen Mia Wasikowska like this before. Yet, in a way, India Stoker is something of a psychologically troubled cousin to Jane Eyre. (Joe Bendel)
Cool Age talks about the Logos Festival in Delhi (India):
Everything from Narnia to Middle Earth to the moors in Wuthering Heights sprang up from the audience. Each entry as diverse as the vibrant stickynotes on which they were written were collected and stuck on the wall – a kaleidoscopic treat to all facing the speaker. The occasion was LOGOS 2012-13, the annual festival of the English Literary Society of St. Stephen's College, Delhi held on the 29th and 30th of January 2013. (Salini Johnson)
The Hindu talks also about a different literary festival, the Jaipur Literary Fest:
That is one big reason, if you ask me, why I ended up spending my evenings with dead writers under the orange and white awning of the Penguin store at the fest: Brontë, Dickens, Kafka, Tolstoy, Greene. They can’t come back from the dead to claim their share of the limelight under that neem tree close to the book stall. Far from the infuriating crowds, buried deep into the earth, they are comfy with their solitude and do not suffer from nervous breakdowns if denied the regular supply of the thrills of the mass media. (Nidhi Dugar Kundalia)
Daily Dischord interviews the singer/songwriter Vinnie Caruana:
My favorite song is ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush. It’s perfectly arranged and brings me to tears almost every time I hear it. (Liam Spencer)
Moustique (Belgium) interviews the singer Nolwenn Leroy:
En attendant Nolwenn Leroy, nous relisons une interview qu'elle nous avait accordée en 2005 et dans laquelle elle évoquait son roman préféré, Les Hauts de Hurlevent d'Emily Brontë. Et quand elle apparaît, tout juste sortie d'un Thalys arrivé avec trente minutes de retard, c'est à la Isabelle Adjani des Sœurs Brontë, le film d'André Téchiné réalisé en 1979, qu'elle nous fait immanquablement penser. (Luc Lorfèvre) (Translation)
Il Foglio (Italy) reviews the novel  Le donne perdonano tutto tranne il silenzio by Rosa Matteucci,
Chissà come hanno fatto ai tempi di “Cime tempestose”, chissà  oggi Cathy e Heathcliff che farebbero, ci si chiede vedendoli comparire tra le pagine del libro come numi tutelari e folletti impertinenti nell’attimo in cui l’annullamento per un amore impossibile cede il passo alla lenta ma inesorabile reazione per troppo “silenzio”. (Translation)
Lea Rhyne interviews the author Meredith Short:
 As a kid, who was your favorite literary crush?
MS: You mean author? I am a Mark Twain lover from way back. But I also fell pretty hard for Stephen (the) King after he kept me up all night with Pet Cemetery. Or did you mean characters? Funnily enough, I loved Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights I know he was a total douchebag in the book but I saw the movie first and Lawrence Olivier was so hot that when I finally read the book (alas, after the exam), I was so brainwashed by his delicious 3D character that I’d convinced myself he was just as sweet and lovable in the book.
Mdz+ (Argentina) lists romantic novels (no capital r) and the Brontës are there with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights;  Il Giornale de Vicenza (Italy) once again mentions Charlotte Brontë's dislike of Austen; Blogcritics mentions Jane Eyre in a list of known orphans; women24 and Red Dream Relax review Wuthering Heights; Kate Shrewsday posts about Charlotte (and Anne) first visit to London; fictionfinders and AnGee's Livroscope post about Jane Eyre (a book JustaGoodRead is reading on YouTube); The Life and Random Thoughts of Indigo Montoya reviews Agnes Grey; JustAudio2008 uploads to YouTube a reading of Emily Brontë's Come, Walk with Me; StripeyAnne posts on Flickr a bleak recent picture of the way to Top Withens.

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