Friday, June 28, 2013

Crafty and crafted

The Telegraph and Argus looks at three of the forthcoming Brontë releases we have been mentioning of late:

The timeless appeal of Haworth’s Brontë sisters has once again been highlighted after the announcement of three new adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
Archaia Publishing will soon release a graphic novel called Rochester, which has been billed as a modern re-telling of the 1847 novel about an orphaned girl who becomes a governess.
Although yet to be published, the book has already been picked up as a film adaptation by Fox 2000 for a seven-figure sum, with Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna hired to adapt it.
The novel will also get a unique retelling when it becomes a “Cozy Classic.” The series of books re-imagines classic works of literature as 12 word books for toddlers, illustrated by photos of knitted characters acting out scenes from the book.
Having already released versions of Moby Dick and War and Peace, the series adds Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist this autumn.
The Guardian reports that, 'Jeanette Winterson and Anne Tyler are to 'reimagine' two of the Bard's plays by turning them into prose' and the discussions of this leads to Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea.
But writers also seem driven to confront, reinterpret and emend the canon. Sometimes, as in Jean Rhys's Jane Eyre prequel Wide Sargasso Sea, it works triumphantly; sometimes, as with the official Peter Pan sequel Peter Pan in Scarlet, by Geraldine McCaughrean, it doesn't quite fly. Despite the witty sacrileges of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ("It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains"), Bridget Jones's Diary (whose plot mirrored P&P) and Lost in Austen, sometimes contemporary writers deliver a just karmic kick: in Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James, Wickham finally gets what he deserves. (Bidisha)
Speaking of Wide Sargasso Sea, actress Sian Phillips picks it  for Express as one her 'six best books'.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Penguin, £8.99
I reread this recently and it's so crafty and crafted. I'm surprised every time by how she goes back and forward in time. And the way you realise that you're half in another book, Jane Eyre, is startling.
Also in the Guardian, Sarah Waters has selected 40 extracts from Virago books to celebrate the publishing house's 40th birthday. Can you spot a Brontë one? (If not, here are the answers).

Informazione (Italy) reviews a recent Italian edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.
Tra le atmosfere tenui e meravigliose di Jane Austen, le scritture di passioni offerte negli stessi anni dalle sorelle Brontë, le riflessioni terribili, geniali e stupende che di lì a poco realizzeranno le esplorazioni della psiche di Virginia Woolf, il realismo delicato e netto di Elizabeth Gaskell si ritaglia uno spazio unico e originale nella letteratura inglese del suo tempo. (Translation)
Flavorwire has compiled a literary calendar with 'a bookish event for every day of the year', including several Brontë ones. World Magazine reviews Susanne Abbuehl's On the Gift album, which includes two sung poems by Emily Brontë. The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shares several pictures of Princess Michael of Kent presenting the artist Diane Lawrenson with her award.

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