Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Telegraph reminds readers that 'next week marks 50 years since the Beeching Report' and features the 'four scenic lines that earned a last-minute reprieve'.
The Hope Valley Line
The train pulls out of Sheffield, speeds past parks and retail parks, reaches the city’s outer suburbs, and plunges into the Totley tunnel. Three-and-a-half miles later, it emerges into another world.
Opening out on either side is a panorama of the Derbyshire Peak District, some of Britain’s most exhilarating walking country. On the left are high, bald moors; on the right the handsome village of Hathersage, full of associations with Charlotte Brontë and Robin Hood’s Little John, reputedly buried in the churchyard up on the hill. The landscape is spectacular at any time of year, but in winter, covered with an eiderdown of snow, it takes on a Brueghelesque character.
The line, which Beeching originally planned to close between Dore (Sheffield) and Stockport, carries on to Manchester, the other city that has always regarded the Peak District as its weekend escape from the factories (in the days when there were still factories to escape from).
This is traditionally a walkers’ line. You can join the start of the Pennine Way from Edale station and try your luck with Kinder Scout, the Peak District’s highest point and the start of the famous 1932 Mass Trespass (avoid this route in bad weather).
Fast through-trains run on the Hope Valley Line, covering Sheffield-Manchester in less than an hour. But the slower “stopping trains” are the key to it. Cheerful with rucksack-laden ramblers equipped with home-made cheese sandwiches, they have a holiday atmosphere.
Change at Stockport and you can join another scenic line that survived Beeching: to Buxton, the highest market town in England. (Stephen McClarence)
Nothing is said about which trains to take, but Handbag suggests the following for those struggling with writer's block:
North Yorkshire
For a slightly wilder getaway, take a trip to North Yorkshire and the Dales that inspired the Brontë sisters. There's plenty of gothic local folk law and history to inspire your own scary story, while the coastal town of Whitby - famous for its links with Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' - will help you write the next Twilight. (Sarah Jordan)
The moors that inspired the Brontë sisters are actually in West Yorkshire, but never mind.

The Times reviews Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon:
Charlotte Brontë knew what that felt like: her heroine Jane Eyre was continually bullied: "Every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh of my bones shrank when he came near." Some of us, reading this, will instantly be transported to the heart-pounding terror of being a child-mouse cowering before evil-cat schoolmate bullies. It's the unique powerleness that makes it scarier than anything like it in adulthood.
But Brontë wrote more than 150 years ago and most of our childhoods were from the era long before 1999, when the Government made an anti-bullying policiy a legal requierement in every school; before millions of pounds had been spent on anti-bullying campaigns, DVds, earnest assemblies, training and schemes. (Helen Rumbelow)
CineVue reviews the Blu-ray release of Roman Polanski's Tess and proves that you can never do right by everyone:
Where Polanski's Tess really stumbles, however, is in its devout dedication to adapting Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles almost word for word. What we get with this approach is an all-too safe commemoration of the British writer's most cherished work, rather than a harder-edged expose of Victorian class mobility and/or religious hypocrisy. You only have to look at Andrea Arnold's revisionist 2011 take on Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights to see a literary adaptation risk everything, yet come out the other side all the better for its artfulness and daring. On this occasion at least, Polanski appears to have skirted around the controversial. (Daniel Green)
One more mention of the Bates Motel Jane Eyre reference in The Huffington Post.
Something about murdering criminals really brings out the existential humility in these two. "People suck!" exclaims Norma. Norman agrees. "You know Mom, we're like two peas in a pod. There's a cord between our hearts. We share the same blood. Literally. And skin. Mmmm, skin! That's a direct quote by Jane Eyre!" And then they sing "Row Your Boat" in a two-person round as they hurl the swollen, blood-soaked body overboard. (Hannah VanderPoel)
The Atlantic has writer Steven Barthelme how he came to appreciate Chekhov's Lady With Lapdog. He is introduced as follows:
With brothers Frederick and the late Donald, Steven Barthelme is one-third of the most influential literary sibling trio since the Brontë sisters. (Joe Fassler)
The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shows a picture of a lovely teacup and saucer to remind readers that the new exhibition, Heaven is a Home, opens in three days:
We're getting excited, now, about the opening of our new exhibition, 'Heaven is a Home', in three days' time. The private view is Thursday evening, and our Collections Manager Ann Dinsdale and her assistant Sarah Laycock have been selecting the items to exhibit, preparing labels and information boards for printing, and measuring what will fit in cases, and where, for the last few months. The next couple of days are when it all gets very busy indeed. Items are taken out of storage, cleaned and arranged, and the whole exhibition is pulled together ready for our first viewers at 7pm Thursday night when the private view opens.
'Heaven is a Home' is about all the people who've lived at the Parsonage apart from the Brontës, and also about little-known details of the Brontës' domestic life. This sweet, tiny tea-cup (pictured) belonged to Charlotte, and was part of a tea-set she owned as a child. It's small enough for a child - or a doll - to drink from, and gives a wonderful insight into the Brontë children's world.
Ann Dinsdale has also written a book, which is linked with the exhibition, 'At Home With the Brontës: The History of Haworth Parsonage and Its Occupants'. Signed copies are available in our real shop, or in our virtual one! - at
We do hope you can make it to the exhibition at some point, which will continue for the next year.
Booklover writes in German about Wuthering Heights.


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