Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday, March 09, 2013 1:50 pm by M. in , , , , , ,    No comments
The Guardian's Think of England section is devoted to Brontë Country today:
Framed by industrial landmarks, including Bradford and Halifax, the area affectionately known as "Brontë Country" is steeped in history. It is here that the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their great novels, most famously Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre. From welcoming inns and warm local residents to dramatic moors and breathtaking walks, a break in this unspoiled area is a breath of fresh air.
Haworth, home of the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Society, is an ideal place to base yourself. Pretty as a postcard, the village has a vibrant social, dining and shopping scene. The steep, cobbled main street has shops such as Mrs Beighton's Sweet Shop (Yorkshire Mixture is a must) and Oh La La Vintage, which is a treasure trove of secondhand clothes and collectibles.
From your Haworth base, you can make the most of the history and tradition of the region. Retrace the steps of Emily Brontë's Cathy and Heathcliff on a guided Brontë Walk to Ponden Kirk and Penistone Hill, or climb aboard a steam train on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, star of the 1970 film The Railway Children. Recreate a wartime spirit with residents during Haworth's 1940s Weekend in May. Or, try your hand at the annual Oxenhope Straw Race, a two-and-a-half-mile run where participants carry a bale of straw between five local pubs (stopping for a pint in each, of course), which provides a quirky summer day out and raises thousands of pounds for charity. (...)
No Brontë break would be complete without a bracing walk. Fair-weather ramblers could picnic at the pretty Brontë Waterfall, or discover the inspiration for Wuthering Heights by trekking to Top Withens farmhouse. More experienced hikers could try the 43-mile Brontë Way, or a section of the Pennine Way. And to get even the most committed townie into the Brontë spirit, a Haworth graveyard tour, by the lights of lanterns, is bound to blow their cobwebs off.
The Dewsbury Reporter carries an article about the North Kirklees Literary Festival:
The festival, the first of its kind in North Kirklees, is being organised by the Kirklees Brontë Group - though it is not just a celebration of the Brontë sisters.
It runs from September 20-22 and will be preceded by a quiz at the Shears in Hightown, which was featured in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley as the meeting point for the Luddites when they plotted their attacks on local mills 200 years ago.
The festival opens on the Friday with a dinner at the Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge. The following two days will see readings, talks, re-enactors and appearances by local authors at Red House Museum in Gomersal, which is the event’s focal point.
Imelda Marsden from the Kirklees Bronte Group said: “What began as just an idea is really begining to snowball, and we’re delighted that Malcolm Haigh has agreed to do a guided walk for us.
“It starts at Gomersal Public Hall taking in places of interest in Gomersal, ending at St Mary’s Church for refreshments and readings by Trees Fewster who, last year, published Wilfred Book’s Poems of a Man of Gomersal.
International Women's Day still generates some news with Brontë references. ComputerWeekly makes a list of "extremely interesting females who have done a great deal to pave the way for 21st century women in their industries." Including the Brontës:
The Brontë sisters are wonderful examples of women who achieved great literary success in a time when writing was not considered a profession suitable for women. In fact, during the Victorian era the family grew up in, there were three options for women: either to marry, become a Governess or a School Mistress, of which Charlotte and Anne experienced both. So how did these three girls become published writers in the 1800s? They wrote under masculine pseudonyms. Poet laureate Robert Southey advised Charlotte, after she had sent him some of her poetry, that writing was a man's business. Therefore, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, like many female authors at the time, decided to cloak themselves under alternative names, publishing their collective book of poetry under Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Retaining their initials, they significantly increased their chances of being taken seriously. (...)
Many would consider the Brontë sisters as paving the way for female writers, but in actual fact the practice of women using pen names to disguise their gender did not end in the 1800s. J.K Rowling, author of the beyond famous series of Harry Potter books, was advised to use her initials as the stories were expected to appeal mostly to young boys, who may be put off reading a book by a female writer. It seems to this writer that there is still much, at least perceived, prejudice. (Kayleigh Bateman)
The Exponent:
Finally, I have always looked up to the fictional character of Jane Eyre. She personifies independence as the female protagonist in Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Jane Eyre is a story about a girl who started out with nothing but didn’t let it stop her from achieving her goals in life. Many times she wanted to rely on no one other than herself to achieve her goals, but also came to realize that sometimes it is okay to ask for help. Balancing independence and co-dependence is my daily struggle and Jane is right there to help me figure it out. (Taylor Carlier)
Romford Recorder talking about Edna Clarke Hall:
Having learned her trade at the prestigious Slade School of Art in London, she moved to Upminster at the turn of the 20th century. The house reminded Edna of Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, and from this she produced her most famed works, illustrations of scenes from the novel. (James Schofield)
Il Nord (Italy) comments on a poll made libreriamo.it:
Sul gradino piu’ basso di questo speciale podio dedicato alla Festa della Donna, troviamo Jane Eyre (9%), protagonista dell’omonimo romanzo di Charlotte Brontë. Jane, bambina orfana e sottoposta fin da piccola a umiliazioni e ai rigori di una disciplina troppo severa, decide pero’ di continuare a studiare, di coltivare i propri talenti, fino a diventare l’educatrice privata di una bambina all’interno della tenuta di Mr. Rochester. Molti gli ostacoli che renderanno davvero arduo il conseguimento della serenita’ da parte della giovane Jane, ma la ragazza riuscira’ ad affrontare anche i momenti piu’ difficili con rettitudine e determinazione. (Translation)
El Periódico (Spain) reviews Leer y escribir en femenino by María Ángeles Cabré:
En su libro, Cabré recuerda el caso de Cumbres borrascosas. Aparecida bajo seudónimo masculino, el descubrimiento de su autora femenina, Emily Brontë, destacó la condición de historia de amor por encima del tema del mal. No es una anécdota. Es un ejemplo. La manipulación responde a la sistemática acción de descrédito que se ventila sin disimulo en todos los rincones de la sociedad. Como en otras profesiones, las mujeres de la cultura llevan décadas intentado hacer su propio canon, paralelo.  (Eva Peruga) (Translation)
The Scotsman is preparing for Mother's Day. The novelist Sara Sheridan says:
“I was a mystery to Mum. Mum is dyslexic and from a young age my whole world revolved around words. I was a kid who couldn’t sleep for three nights straight after she read Wuthering Heights and whose teenage years were blighted by the fact no Scottish boy in his right mind was ever going to behave like Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel. It wasn’t until years after I started writing, when Mum heard me speak at the National Library and I talked about imaginative engagement, that she got it. I was on stage and I could see the lights come on in her eyes. “Ah,” she said afterwards, “that’s what all the fuss was about.”
Also in The Scotsman, Susan Morrison talks about cosmetic ads:
Regain the skin you had when you where a teenager! Not a good idea in my case. I produced so much oil I could have joined OPEC. Spotty? You bet. Had you been visually- challenged and run your hands over my face to get to know me, depending on the season, you might have mistaken my lumpy fizzog for a Braille version of either the first page of Wuthering Heights or the introduction to Mathematics for Beginners.
The Atlantic is making a group reading of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:
Is that the voice of liberation or one of the long-standing compartmentalizations characteristic of the mistress mentality? Hard to say. But again, Rand makes her female protagonist an outlier -- an adulterer -- and paints Rearden's marriage as a sham. They may have a shared a problem with stringent divorce laws, but we're a long way from Jane Eyre here. (Garance Franke-Ruta)
Times of Oman makes a list of notable women (fictional or not):
Strong in moral convictions:Jane Eyre
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, plain Jane nonetheless emerges as a passionate young woman, yearning to find love in Charlotte Brontë's novel. Despite her difficulties Jane shows an unbroken spirit and a caring nature. (...) [T]here is Jane from Jane Eyre who was full of passion, commitment and principle. She possessed a sense of self- worth and dignity. Despite facing alienation from all sides she was committed to find a true sense of being. (Mrudu Naik)
NPR interviews Amy Boesky who wrote many Sweet Valley High novels under the pseudonym Kate William:
"I've been getting these wonderful letters from readers, who are women now — who are lawyers, who are doctors, who grew up reading these books, sort of, under the covers with their flashlights. And their parents wanted them to be reading Jane Eyre or something more serious."
Press Association talks with the actress Michelle Hardwick about recent events in the soap opera Emmerdale:
And poor Dan (Spencer, played by Liam Fox). She went to his Brontë night and he thought he had a little bit of a chance with her, and never, ever in a million years was she going to go there.
It seems that Wuthering Heights 2011 was not a big success in New Zealand, according to The Dominion Post:
I thought Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights was a terrific example, although the bloke who runs the cinema tells me that the reviewers were about the only people in Wellington who bothered to go see it. (Graeme Tuckett)
The Cavalier has an article on the poet Lisa Russ Spaar:
Spaar’s passion for poetry, literature and reading was sparked at a young age. From third grade onward, Spaar started to keep diaries and journals. Throughout high school, Spaar dedicated herself to the works of the Brontës, Dickens, Dickinson and Bachelard. (Rebecca Kim)
Polycimic describes Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia and adds:
Before The Master there was Magnolia. Director Paul Thomas Anderson's critically acclaimed follow up to the surprise 1998 hit Boogie Nights, featured a large ensemble, and more drama than Emily Brontë herself could have created. This rather abstruse film worked in ways that it simply should not have. (Evan Almeida)
The Australian begins a review of a couple of new novels with this statement on love stories:
In most love stories the interest is less who the couple eventually will be - be it Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester or Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, we know early on who the love match is - but the path to their romantic entwinement. (Bethanie Blanchard)
The New York Times describes Joanna Newsom's first album like this:
Ms. Newsom’s 2007 landmark, “Ys,” benefited greatly from wuthering-heights orchestration that imbued her songs with tension and sorrow. (David Browne)
Ever wondered what a Heathcliff-style landscape looks like? The Sydney Morning Herald points you to Mangatoa Road:
It might be the road that no one goes down, but it's a road to wonderful nowheres. It's a New Zealand of Heathcliff-style brooding romance; a drive into the unknown for those who want their own special piece of the country to themselves. (David Whitley)
A Brontë reference in an article in Le Mauricien (Mauritius) is something to notice:
In 1966 the novel ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys became a concrete example of intertextual dialogue for the minor persona in Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (1847), the mad creole woman, becomes a flesh and blood human being and a fully developed character and through her patriarchy, machoism and colonialism are denounced. ( Dev Virahsawmy Ma)
The Barnsley Chronicle promotes a local production of A Turn of the Screw like this:
 A haunting tale combining the terrifying darkness of “The Woman in Black” with the intrigue of “Jane Eyre”. 
On YouTube you can listen to the rehearsals of Nolwenn Leroy's performance of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights (a song that Liverpool Echo looks back today) on yesterday's French TV programme Taratata; the Brontë Sisters transcribes the letters of Anne Brontë to Ellen Nussey; Anne is also the subject of this post on Muddy Musings; Reading, Writing, Raisin' Boys posts a poem-parody of Jane Eyre; incendiodenievevlogs reviews the novel in Spanish.

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