Saturday, April 06, 2013

The American Scholar talks about the upcoming auction of a Charlotte Brontë manuscript poem at Bonham's:
The narrator of the poem’s four short stanzas describes a mournful walk through the woods. A nightingale sings plaintively; the flowers the narrator sees and gathers (primrose, asphodel) represent youth and death. The poem echoes the loss of Charlotte’s elder sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, four years prior. When I read it, I can detect the seriousness of young Charlotte’s mind, her love of the outdoors, her appreciation of language, and her ear for rhythm.
She wrote the poem when she was only a little younger than I was when I first fell in love with Jane Eyre. Much of my life as a reader and writer stems from the moment my father gave me that book. I return to it, and the rest of the Brontë canon, whenever I need guidance or inspiration. They have never let me down. (...)
I’m not fond of the Brontë sisters’ poetry. It contains few hints of the passion that made their fiction so radical and satisfying. Charlotte didn’t include “I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods” in the volume of poetry she and her sisters published, but I would spend my last dime on this precious scrap if I could. Why? Because Charlotte Brontë made it. She tore off a bit of paper and wrote on it. A messy writer myself, I’m charmed by the way she wrote “From enameled ground,” and then inserted “the fair” before “enameled” so the line is crowded with the addition. Her handwriting is so small it needs a magnifying glass to be deciphered.
Eventually the poem got tucked away somewhere and stayed there while she grew up, while she traveled to Brussels and fell in love with her teacher, while she wrote about Jane Eyre meeting Mr. Rochester on the Millcote road, while she visited London and saw her hero Lord Wellington in the flesh, while she nursed her ailing sisters, and while she decided whether to marry her father’s curate after rejecting him multiple times. (Miranda K.Pennington)
Stephen Phelan talks about literary pilgrimages to the houses of famous writers including the Brontës in The Age:
The house Haworth Parsonage, West Yorkshire, England - a lovingly restored 19th-century parochial house, where the prodigious Brontë sisters lived and died young, right beside the parish graveyard.
To learn everything there is to know about the Brontë sisters, their curate father, Patrick, and their equally doomed older brother, Branwell. The house is now a museum and rich repository of information, operated by dedicated members of the Brontë Society.
Personally, I've always been a Charlotte fan and I'm pleased to find that most of the personal items on display belonged to her - the only sister who survived long enough to achieve a measure of fame in her lifetime. But the museum does provide plenty of context on the miasma of illness, ambition, frustration and sexual and spiritual tension that floated through this house in the mid-19th century, and fuelled the desperate creative urgency of Emily in particular.
Erudite and approachable staff are also on hand to clarify and demystify the sisters' reputation as the original bodice rippers. In-house librarian Ann Dinsdale tells me that the "passion" of their fiction is often played up at the expense of the social and political aspects. Our conversation devolves into good-natured debate on the best movie adaptation of Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre. Dinsdale thinks the 1983 TV mini-series, with Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton, comes closest to presenting "the lack of choices available to women of the period".
I prefer the old one with Orson Welles as Mr Rochester. A group of visiting schoolgirls join in, to tell us they like the most recent version, with Michael Fassbender. "He's sexy," says one.
Sheila Hancock's Perspectives programme on the Brontës is still in the news. From Keighley News:
Actress Sheila Hancock travelled to Haworth – home of the Brontës – to make the programme, which was screened last Sunday evening.
And bosses at the Parsonage Museum, where Miss Hancock spent a week filming last October, said they were pleased with the final result.
“She obviously empathised with the Brontës – particularly over their bereavements – and was very passionate about the subject,” said Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the museum. “It was quite moving.
“There weren’t any startling new revelations, but the programme did bring out aspects of the Brontës’ lives which perhaps general viewers were not as familiar with.”
The documentary, entitled Perspectives: Sheila Hancock – The Brilliant Brontë Sisters, investigated what inspired the siblings.
Miss Hancock said: “I have been a fan of the Brontës since I was a child. I think all three sisters are brilliant and I don’t have a favourite.
“All reading their work does is put me off writing my own novel. Their work is wonderful and one couldn’t hope to aspire to be as good as that.” (Alistair Shand)
The Week thinks we are on the verge of a Hollywood revival of Agatha Christie's works:
But the success of Christie's work hasn't inspired the same sustained media interest as that of fellow British authors Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, for example. Brontë's Jane Eyre has seen numerous big-screen adaptations (the most recent was released in 2011)[.] (Monika Bartyzel)
The Independent visits Bingley's St Ives Golf Club:
This is Brontë country, a landscape of arresting beauty in high summer, but in winter, as Heathcliffe’s lot in Wuthering Heights tells us, no place for broken souls to heal. (Kevin Garside)
The Hindu explores if being lonely and isolated comes with being a writer:
It’s a chicken-and-egg question, but in any case it reveals that loneliness and writing are linked. Among the most famously isolated writers were the Brontë family at Haworth Parsonage. What they wrote as children has been scrutinised almost as much as the novels they wrote as adults. They formed teams of two to create fantasy worlds. Maybe each of these Brontës was brilliant, or maybe they just always had a conversation going in their heads, but when you have no friends and can’t go anywhere, and your siblings are dropping like flies, you have nothing to do but work it all out on paper. (Latha Anantharaman)
The Australian reviews Alison Croggon's Black Water among other recent books:
The outsider or outcast also features in Alison Croggon's Black Spring (Walker Books, 288pp, $22.95), although in a completely different genre and tone from the other novels reviewed here. The style seems to be traditional, but Melbourne-based Croggon, an author, poet and critic, flawlessly mashes the supernatural with a doomed love story in homage to Wuthering Heights.Told by different characters in distinct voices, the story is introduced and concluded by Hammel, a peripheral character whose foray into the ominous Black Mountains of the Northern Plateau frames the main narrative. He first secures precautionary charms from a wizard; preparing us for the element of magic we will soon also encounter.
Vapid Hammel meets Damek, the Heathcliff-inspired character, and then has the opportunity to hear about the past from his housekeeper, Anna, who grew up with Damek and Lina. Lina was the daughter of highland royalty, the Lord of Kadar. Like Brontë's Cathy, she was a wild and free spirit who roamed the plains with Damek. She also, however, seems to have been a witch. (Joy Lawn)
Bernie Quigley in The Hill has a problem with metaphors:
These two, Newt [Gingrich] and Hillary [Clinton], are symbionts, like yin and yang, moon and sun, the Brontë sisters, light and dark, and Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy.
Scientific American has a Brontë reference in an article about the art of diagramming:
While there were also women naturalists who produced illustrations of the specimens they encountered, their contribution through detailed sketches and studies of various plants and insect specimens were less well-documented in the annals of natural history because, like the Brontë sisters, they were not accustomed to having their works published, particularly in scholarly journals or monographs, under their own names. (Clarissa Ai Ling Lee)
Liz Hodgkinson tells her story (and presents the republication of her Obsessive Love book) in the Daily Mail:
In the book, I tried to get to the bottom of this agonising phenomenon that has claimed so many tragic victims, including Charlotte Brontë, who fell desperately in love with her married teacher in Brussels and poured out her passion for him in works of genius — minus the genius of course — but in the same way, recognised that this sort of unreturned love is 90 per cent agony and, at best, ten per cent ecstasy.
The Tidewater News finishes an article about spring with a Jane Eyre quote:
“Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those brown [garden] beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” (Lucy Wallace)
The Times of India lists several novels 'every woman should read':
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)
ABC (Spain) talks about the new novel by Spanish writer Manuel Vilas, El Luminoso Regalo:
Así es la vida, Vilas, uno de nuestros más rompedores y vivificantes novelistas, ha dejado su feligresía pop («Aire nuestro», «Los inmortales») y se ha entregado a los pecados (y provechos) de la carne en su nueva novela, «El luminoso regalo»(Alfaguara), que tira del hilo de varias películas como «Anticristo» y «Melancholia», de Lars Von Trier, y «2001 una odisea en el espacio», de Kubrick, de las tesis de «El erotismo», de Bataille, de los grandes novelones del XIX tal que las «Cumbres borrascosas», de Emily Brontë, y hasta del mismísimo Bob Dylan, según Vilas, «el legado cultural más expresivo y universal de la segunda mitad del siglo XX, a mi juicio, a mi irónico juicio». (Translation)
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland) explores the use of music in Luis Buñuel's films. Concerning Abismos de Pasión and its use of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde:
Buñuels Versuch, die Amour fou des Romans «Wuthering Heights» von Emily Brontë mit jener von Wagners «Tristan und Isolde» zusammenzuführen («Abismos de pasión», 1953), scheiterte am Komponisten Raúl Lavista, der nahezu den gesamten Film mit schwülstigen Tristan-Paraphrasen überflutete, so dass die Wirkung der Schlussszene, in der endlich die Original-Konzertfassung des «Liebestods» erklingt, empfindlich geschwächt wurde.Schon damals äusserte sich Luis Buñuel gesprächsweise sehr kritisch zur Verwendung von Hintergrundmusik. Er bezeichnet sie, von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, als ein falsches Element, einen Trick, ein Mittel, über die Schwächen des Regisseurs oder Schauspielers hinwegzutäuschen. (Till Fellner) (Translation)
Le Monde analyses the success of Stephenie Meyer:
Etudiante, Stephenie Meyer doutait que ses deux romans préférés, Orgueil et préjugés de Jane Austen et Les Hauts de Hurle-Vent d'Emily Brontë, trouveraient encore des lecteurs au xxie siècle. (...)
De toute évidence, elle avait tort et a su transformer en succès planétaire l'universalité du propos tenu par Jane Austen et Emily Brontë. Twilight est sa version d'Orgueil et préjugés et Les Ames vagabondes, une variation autour des Hauts de Hurle-Vent. (Samuel Blumenfeld) (Translation)
An alert for today, April 6, in Haworth. We read in The Telegraph & Argus:
Anthony Green will lead a walk around Top Withins – said to be the inspiration for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights – next Saturday.
Meet at Haworth Parish Church at 10.30am for the free eight-mile circular ramble. Packed lunch required.
Keighley News publishes some further information about the theft of stone in Brontë country; The Sheridan Press features a local student and Brontëite; Reading, Writing and Everything In Between posts about Wuthering Heights;  The Powell Blog reviews Jane Eyre 2006; Helen Rosemier Digital Film posts about Wuthering Heights 2011.


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