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You can listen to Colin Paterson's interview aired today on BBC Radio 4's Today programme here.The US artist was in Howarth (SIC!), Yorkshire, to play a fundraising concert for the Brontë society, which runs a museum dedicated to Charlotte and Emily's books.She has been dubbed the 'godmother of US punk' but on Friday night Patti Smith was paying tribute to English literary heritage.
The BBC's Colin Paterson went to meet her.
Haworth’s Brontë Schoolroom was packed for a unique concert by New York punk legend Patti Smith last night.The Facebook wall of the Brontë Parsonage talks about the concert too:
All 125 tickets for the tiny gig sold out in just two days, and the lucky few who got tickets weren’t disappointed, as Smith played an acoustic set that included shout outs to Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff and Cathy, who she dedicated Dancing Barefoot to, and the Brontë sisters tragic brother Branwell. (...)
She is also a published poet, and the concert mixed music with poetry readings. She is also a huge fan of the Brontë sisters, and after visiting Haworth last year offered to play a fundraising gig for the Brontë Parsonage and schoolhouse. The money will go towards the upkeep of the building where Charlotte Brontë taught.
Backed by guitarist Tony Shanahan, Smith enthralled the crowd with a mix of classics and newer songs, and spoke of her love for the sisters in between tracks.
She dedicated first song, Wing, to her sister Linda who first introduced her to the books. She said: “She gave me the great gift of appreciation of Charlotte Brontë.”
At one point she brought a young musician Kizzy Brown to the stage to play flute while she read one of her poems, Night Wind. She had only met the young musician the day before on a visit to Ponden Hall.
She referred to the often overlooked Brontë sibling, Branwell, who died young after bouts of alcoholism and drug abuse. Smith said: “When you come here you think of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, but Branwell gifted the sisters with the gift of the dark romance, it was a world they created together.” (...)
As concerts go, you would go a long way to get more unique than seeing the 66-year-old godmother of New York punk playing the former classroom of Charlotte Bronte.
But that is exactly what the lucky few who nabbed tickets to Patti Smith’s gig last night got to see.
Before she started with opening song Wing it was obvious the night would be peppered with talk of the Brontë sisters, and Smith engaged with the crowd about how they inspired her. (Chris Young)
Just pinch me. It's hard to believe in the cold light of day that it all really happened, but Patti Smith was playing the Old Schoolroom in Haworth last night, and it was an amazing gig. (Julie Akhurst)and posts pictures of the event.
Museum director Ann Sumner said: “As far as we know this is the first time a rock star has ever held a concert to benefit a museum in the UK. We are honoured and grateful Patti Smith has chosen to support us in this way, and very excited to hear her play.”Ann Sumner also tells Keighley News that although the Brontë Society was not able to obtain the Charlotte Brontë manuscript poem recently auctioned at Bonhams they have other goals:
But the Brontë Society now has its sights set on a previously unpublished manuscript by one of the acclaimed literary sisters.Hopefully it will be a successful appeal as it is a very exciting Brontëana item indeed.
Professor Ann Sumner, who took over as the Brontë Society’s executive director just two months ago, told us: “The society was present at the auction but had to drop out at an early stage.
“While it was very interesting, we are currently concentrating on fundraising for a previously unpublished manuscript, and will be announcing this appeal shortly.”
She declined to comment further on the new target of the literary society, which is one of the oldest organisations of its kind in the world and is responsible for administering Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage Museum – once the family home of the sisters.
At Haworth in Yorkshire, where the parsonage looks over the seeping gloom of the graveyard, conditions were similarly testing for the Brontë sisters. “I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their genteel but confined houses,” Charlotte wrote of Austen’s rarefied circles. Certainly, theirs was a more rugged terrain, both literally and metaphorically – “moorish and wild” as Charlotte described the setting of Wuthering Heights in her preface to the 1850 edition of her sister’s novel.The Guardian reviews Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters: The Hidden Lives of Piffy, Bird and Bing: The Hidden Lives of Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters by Jane Dunn:
At Haworth, subject to their own brand of isolation, the motherless children retreated to the dark sequestered mansions of the mind where their imagination found a freedom that was not afforded them in their daily lives as daughters of a 19th-century Yorkshire parson. (Deborah Alun-Jones)
Her book belongs to the growing genre of what might be called Sisterly Feelings; Paula Byrne's excellent recent The Real Jane Austen and Dunn's own A Very Close Conspiracy: Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf are notable examples, though perhaps one of the greatest is Daphne du Maurier's own The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë, in which the brother's tortured life vividly illuminates those of his three remarkable sisters. Unlike the Rev Brontë's girls, Gerald du Maurier's three daughters were not equally touched by genius, which sets a problem for biographer, compounded by the refusal of the surviving partner of the youngest, Jeanne, to allow the author access to her archive. (Simon Callow)Andrew Motion discusses literary sequels in The Scotsman:
A similar kind of ingenuity – although less flashily done – appears in Wide Sargasso Sea, in which Jean Rhys imagines the life of the first Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre. In the novel’s luscious yet brilliantly well-organized prose, the “mad woman in the attic” is given a background, a life, a love and a tragedy that make it impossible for anyone who’s read it to think in the same way again about her husband in his subsequent Brontë-life. That’s quite an achievement. Rhys actually manages to enrich a book commonly agreed to be a masterpiece before she went anywhere near it.Daisy Fried discusses Anne Carson in The New York Times:
Many readers (including me) first knew her through “The Glass Essay,” a 38-page multipart lyric narrative in 1995’s “Glass, Irony and God.” The poem is an inspired mash-up: a confessional-style “I” recounts a breakup with a lover and a visit to an aged mother while considering the life and writings of Emily Brontë and reporting on her surrealist visions of nudes.Mary McNamara talks about the new generation of female characters on TV series. Although we understand her point we think she is wrong quoting Jane Eyre as example in the Los Angeles Times:
Through characters such as Claire [House of Cards] and Sylvia [Parade's End], Alicia [Good Wife] and "Homeland's" Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), we can imagine Anna Karenina if she believed she had a future, Jane Eyre with self-esteem, Elizabeth Bennet granted a real education and maybe a trip or two to London. We can see Tess of the d'Urbervilles provided legal counsel or Jo March allowed to run away and be a soldier.
For example, true to the romantic spirit of the age, when Charlotte Brontë first saw the sea she became faint and swooned, and as Charles Sprawson observes in his Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero (1992), when Shelley drowned off the coast of Viareggio, “ … it was the culmination of a love affair with water that influenced him to sink rather than swim.” (George Winter)The Toronto Star describes as follows the Toronto District School Board's Student Short Story Contest:
The teachers got as much out of the contest of their students. They read the stories in their free time, passing them back and forth for comments and editing. They watched the creative unconscious unfold before them. Talk to them today, and many will describe student stories like scenes from Jane Eyre. (Catherine Porter)The durability of gothic and Frankenstein in particular is the subject of this article in The Independent:
Like Moby-Dick and Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein is a unique, sui generis work, born of obsession. It feeds on sensational, science-fiction elements to make subtler points about our essential disconnect with nature. (Philip Hoare)The Winnipeg Free Press reviews In The Land of Birdfishes by Rebecca Silver Slayter:
In the Land of Birdfishes envelopes the reader in its heavy atmosphere of secrecy, guilt, delusion and obsession. Though much of it takes place in the endless sunshine of a northern summer, its dark, constricted feel gives it a strong resemblance to Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë's 1947 Gothic classic. (Joanne Epp)The Derby Telegraph remembers how
David James, chief executive of Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, said: "It's not unfamiliar to see the Peak District as the location for major films and TV series.The Journal Sentinel reviews the novel The Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes:
"From Jane Eyre to Harry Potter, the Peak District and its diverse range of fantastic locations has for a long time attracted film and television crews. (Kelly Tyler)
Em narrates her journey from Jane Eyre-like innocence to becoming Malcolm's eager lover as if she's talking to her dead partner. While Malcolm prepares a production of "Hamlet," Em narrates a story seeped in cuckoldry, malevolence and mystery. (Carol E. Barrowman)El Espectador (Colombia) interviews the author Carolina Andújar:
¿Cuáles son sus libros y autores de cabecera?The Budapest Times talks about the the Hungarian premiere of the new play by Andras Visky:
Siempre tengo a Lin Yutang, me fascina, amo su personalidad. Ese hombre me llena de dicha. Y de los clásicos, a Bram Stoker y a las hermanas Brontë. (Translation)
I Killed My Mother is the story of Bernadett, a modern-day Jane Eyre of Ceausescu’s Romania, an orphan, exposed to cruelty and neglect, yet possessing a strong sense of self-respect and the capacity to love and forgive.ITProPortal reviews the new Kobo Aura HD:
I was staggered to discover that classics like Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' and Jean Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea' didn't feature amongst Kobo's 3.2 million titles. (James Laird)The Huffington Post mentions The Enemy, the song written by Mumford & Sons for Wuthering Heights 2011; Der Standard (Austria) thinks that Gaslight 1943 has Jane Eyre echoes; Film de Culte (France) offers the chance to win VOD vouchers to watch online Wuthering Heights 2011; the Brontë Sisters talks about A.B. Nicholls's marriage proposal to Charlotte Brontë; Smart Bitches.Trashy Books reviews Sharon Shinn's Jenna Starborn; BDSM Book Reviews posts about Ranae Rose's Wuthering Heights Clandestine Classic.