Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday, March 08, 2013 9:15 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
We somehow guessed that yesterday wouldn't be the last time we would hear about the News Corp's school tablet with its Tom Sawyer vs the Brontës game. From The Telegraph:
 It will know if a child isn’t paying attention, warning users to keep their eyes on the teacher (how scary is that?) More worrying is that children will be able to use it to play games – such as one in which “Tom Sawyer battles the Brontë sisters.”
AVPT is sorry, but it fails to understand how that can be in the least bit educationally useful, since a) Tom Sawyer is a fictional character, and b) the Brontë sisters are real and, er, from a slightly different time period? It would be like having a mash-up game in which Sherlock Holmes fought Jeanette Winterson. But hey, that doesn’t matter, does it, if you’re a technology person. It doesn’t matter if children grow up without any sense of context or chronology – because they’re using your tablet. (A Very Private Tutor)
The MIT Technology Review is not so sure about it either:
My second and perhaps more sweeping qualm came from this sentence in the Times report: “Outside the classroom, children can use it to play games, like one in which Tom Sawyer battles the Brontë sisters.” While that demonstration video shows that Amplify offers an almost Godlike control over what apps students can and can’t use at any moment, it’s hard to see the educational value of some sort of Street Fighter rebranded with literary figures. Not to say that this has happened yet, but I worry that in the constant quest to make education fun, we might lose some of what makes education educational. (David Zax)
To be honest, and without having seen anything else about the game itself, we would say it's just a game. Children are playing games full of fictional characters such as SuperMario or whatever - is it really so bad to get acquainted with a couple of literary names even if they're out of context, etc.? Adults are reading mash-ups of classics and zombies and eroticised retellings of the classics and they didn't even play Tom Sawyer vs the Brontës when children.

Coincidentally, The Telegraph also has an article on getting teenagers to read.
Reading isn’t a race, and the child who is forced to read above their age, or to tick off titles on a list, is likely to become one of those who prefers to stick to simple texts. If you ask a child where they are in a book and they answer “Page 101”, then they have got the wrong idea. But continuing to read to your child at bedtime long after he or she has learnt to read is ideal. Too many parents seem to feel that once a child can read, they should be abandoned. Would you expect them to run a marathon as soon as they learn to walk? Go on reading together until your child asks you not to (usually aged 11). Children’s literature, including picture books, contains some of the greatest works ever written. Find what you both enjoy, give them a choice, and you’ll treasure the time together.
This also has the advantage of being able to introduce children to more challenging classics, many of which start slowly. If you can get them into, say, King Solomon’s Mines, A Study in Scarlet or Jane Eyre, and then stop at a crucial moment, you will have them desperate to carry on reading. (Amanda Craig)
It's International Women's Day today and there are articles such as '10 books every woman must read' in the Times of India:
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
A stunning novel that acts as a prequel to Jane Eyre and re-imagines Charlotte Brontë's devilish madwoman in the attic (Prema Naraynen)
Onlymyhealth discusses 'Women Empowerment through Popular Culture'. We are sorry to say this as it was clearly not intended but overall it's a very funny piece of writing, full of blunders and weird-sounding statements.
The most famous of all the women authors who has captured public imagination are the Brontë sisters. It has been documented in history that the Brontë sisters have had tragic lives, and all three of them had died young. Charlotte, Emily and Anne have created major literature works in their short life time with women as the lead characters in them. Charlotte Brontë’s most famous work is Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë’s most famous is Wuthering Heights that has even been made into a film, and the youngest Anne Eyre had written a largely autobiographical novel entitled Agnes Grey. The Brontë sisters brought women’s literature to the limelight, and through their protagonists had given voice to the issues of women. (Arka Roy Chowdhury)
Area Press (Italy) shares the results of a survey carried out in order to find the best-loved literary female character.
Elizabeth Bennet, protagonista di “Orgoglio e pregiudizio” e creata dalla penna di Jane Austen, e’ risultata il personaggio letterario femminile piu’ votato dalla community di oltre 11mila booklovers di Libreriamo (, il social book magazine diretto da Saro Trovato. Seguono in questo speciale podio dedicato alle grandi protagoniste della letteratura la celebre Rossella O’Hara (12%) e la tenace Jane Eyre (9%). [...]
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.
Le altre eroine della letteratura scelte dai nostri booklovers sono donne altrettanto famose e affascinanti, come Jo March di “Piccole Donne”, Catherine Earnshaw di “Cime tempestose”, Anna Karenina, Elsa Morante, Madame Bovary, Penelope de l’ “Odissea”, Bertha Tompson, Eva Luna, Sao di “Controvento”, Emerenc di “La Porta”, Clorinda dalla celebre “Gerusalemme Liberata” e Lady Machbeth. (Translation)
Old Gold & Black suggests books for spring break.
For those of you looking for richness and complexity, you might try dusting off that old classic you’ve always wanted to read, but never had the time. Some of my favorites include Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice or Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
However, the works of Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen might not satisfy your craving for a mindless beach read. (Elizabeth Dalrymple)
Wait - weren't they the grandmothers of chicklit and the mothers of Mills&Boon?

Picture source
The New York Times features the MoMA exhibition ‘Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light’.
He also explored the gritty industrial towns in the north of England, like Halifax and Jarrow, shrouded in Dickensian gloom, and he took to the open countryside to capture images of Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge and a ruined farmhouse on the edge of a windswept moor that is thought to have figured in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.(Roberta Smith)
Sky News has fun reporting David Cameron's extremely short visit to Brontë country.
"I know things are tough right now," he said at the beginning of his big speech on the economy in a smart, modern workshop at the Cinetic Landis factory, heading up hill out of Keighley towards the moors.
"Families are struggling with the bills at the end of the month. Some are just a pay cheque away from going into the red. Parents are worried about what the future holds for their children."
Spoken with Brontë-like passion.
This speech came just a few days after Mr Cameron pledged in a Sunday Telegraph article that there would be no "lurch to the Right".
And yet here he was repeating Mrs Thatcher's "There is no alternative" slogan.
But then Margaret Thatcher has always been David Cameron's heroine, in true Wuthering Heights style.
Was Maggie Catherine Earnshaw to Dave's Heathcliffe, I wonder? No, it was Gordon Brown who was likened to the brooding Heathcliffe.
Wait a minute, the PM also talked here about "tough choices", a Tony Blair phrase.
Perhaps Dave is Jane Eyre to Blair's Mr Rochester? No, Frank Field compared Gordon Brown to him too.
Many Tory MPs see the Prime Minister as a flawed hero these days, however.
No wonder he only stayed in Brontë country for about an hour and a half. (Jon Craig)
The Wall Street Journal features young actress Julia Garner:
Ms. Garner, now 19, is inarguably flesh and blood, even if her pale skin, blue eyes and corona of blonde ringlets suggest a Tim Burton fantasia or an Emily Brontë adaptation in her near future. Anyone looking to cast her, however, will have to take a number. (Steve Dollar)
If you are nearby, the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page invites you to their Lunchtime poetry reading for International Women's Day
Celebrate the Brontë genius - and International Women's Day - by dropping in to our lunchtime reading of poetry both by, and inspired by, the Brontës. Actress Geraldine Bell reads. Copies of her DVD 'Haworth Through the Lens of History' will be available to purchase. 
Dirigido Por (Spain) reviews Great Expectations 2011:
En segundo lugar, y coherente con el sencillo tono naturalista de la puesta en escena, el realizador intenta, y a veces consigue, darle cierto aire realista y bastante cotidiano a un relato que, sobre todo en las escenas que transcurren en el campo, recuerdan, por su subrepticio empleo de la cámara en mano y la iluminación verosímil de los interiores a base de claroscuros, el experimento hiperrealista (aunque, en el fondo, estilizado) llevado a cabo por Andrea Arnold en su lectura de otro gran clásico de la literatura británica del siglo XIX: Cumbres Borrascosas, según Emily Brontë. (Tomás Fernández Valentí) (Translation)
The Brontë Sisters has visited Cowan Bridge via Google Earth. The Paperback Princess chooses both Austen and the Brontës. Manga Forever reviews Hiromi Iwashita's take on Wuthering Heights. Flickr user feathers chapman has uploaded a Wuthering Heights-inspired litograph.


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