Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Once again, Thornton is in the news for overlooking/neglecting its Brontë connections. As reported in The Telegraph and Argus (including a video):
Bradford Council has come under fire for leaving the grass to grow out of control to knee-deep level at a historic cemetery with Brontë links.
Church warden Steven Stanworth said the Council had neglected its duties in relation to the Old Bell Chapel, also known as the Brontë Bell Chapel, opposite St James’s Church on Thornton Road, Thornton, by leaving the grass to grow so long.
Mr Stanworth, also the chairman of The Brontë Birthplace Trust, said that cutbacks were being blamed, but said the problem had left him having to help people trace their ancestors headstones by trekking through extra-long grass and showing people around was becoming embarrassing.
It is a further blow to the church after thieves desecrated it by uprooting and stealing three ancient headstones which have been there for the last 200 years last October.
Mr Stanworth said: “They have cut it twice this year and I have been told that it will be cut on a three week cycle at best because resources have been cut.
“It is just not good enough. The Council said if it is raining on that day, it could be six weeks before it is cut.
“Last year they cut it every two weeks and I cut my own grass twice a week.
“It is ridiculous, the cemetery looks unkempt. It affects the work we are doing trying to keep the graves tidy so people can visit.
“People are wading in knee deep grass and it looks unsafe and untidy.
“We are trying to make it a tourist destination as the Brontë birthplace which we want to promote.
“I had someone from London visiting on Sunday and they had to walk through the long grass and it is just not on. [...]
“I am appalled and disgusted because it is supposed to be part of Thornton in Bloom.”
On the Old Bell Chapel issue, Phil Barker, Bradford Council’s assistant director for sport and leisure, said: “We have explained the situation fully to the Bell Chapel volunteers that for the past three years the frequency of cuts is ten times per year across the majority of our cemeteries and parks, which is approximately every three weeks, subject to weather.
“We are due to cut the grass in the cemetery again at the Bell Chapel this week.” (Dolores Cowburn)
Someone should try and explain to the councillors how tourism works, its consequences, etc. It looks like they don't really understand the concept.

The Guardian has a short piece in praise of the new children's laureate Malorie Blackman.
In her youth, Malorie Blackman devoured authors like Agatha Christie, Charlotte Brontë and Daphne du Maurier.
Writer Sofia Samatar also speaks about her reading foundations in Locus Magazine:
 I also read the Brontë sisters, and I read Dracula for the first time when I was in Sudan. 
The Millions has two authors recall their Spelling Bee years:
Jenna Le: [...] At age 9, [...] I preferred to immerse myself in the dark world of Charlotte Brontë novels, reading those heartrendingly romantic dialogues again and again until my lacrimal glands spilled over. [...]
Laura Goode: [...] Unlike you, books were my only siblings, but like you, I loved Gothic novels; Jane Eyre, that lost and lonely only child, has saved my life once or twice. For me, the bees were entirely involved with my obsession with reading — I drilled on the word lists some, but halfheartedly, and I think whatever spelling talent I had was just derived from reading and reading and collecting all the new words I could find. As a combined result of books and bees, there’s a lot of words I knew how to define and spell without having any idea how to pronounce them, and in that way, I think the bees quite literally helped me to find my voice.
Writers Veronica Roth and Leigh Bardugo broach the subject of Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason in an inteview on Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life.
Both Alina and Tris are strong, brave characters. They’re characters that girls admire. What other heroines found in literature have you admired?L: I’m so tempted to be like, “Bertha Rochester because she burns it all down!” Most of the female characters I admire come from science fiction and fantasy, maybe because there’s more permission to shake up gender roles in genre. Alanna is a favorite, definitely Hermione. And I really adore Brienne of Tarth. She’s sometimes presented as naive or almost dogmatic in her worldview, but I love her conviction.
V: Hermione! Yes! She is a wonderful character, and I love that JK Rowling made a nerdy book-loving girl into a Gryffindor. It’s funny you should mention Bertha Rochester, Leigh, because one of my other favorites is Jane Eyre. She has some pretty strong convictions, too, and is willing to leave the man she loves in order to stand by them, which I think is amazing. More recently I’ve loved some complicated, “unlikable” characters in particular — Sam from Before I Fall, Ruby from Imaginary Girls. (Stephan Lee)
Coincidentally, L'Arena (Italy) recommends Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.
Al di là della trama, il romanzo è attraversato da messaggi subliminali che ci parlano di fragilità e di autodistruzione, proprie, purtroppo, all'autrice stessa che sa mantenere, nella scrittura, un ritmo tutto suo che allude senza tutto svelare, creando il fascino di un'allucinata realtà sospesa. (Grazia Giordani) (Translation)
La ventana (Cuba) interviews poet Juan Gelman:
Como uno de los temas centrales es la muerte y las pérdidas, el dolor en sí mismo es una desmesura difícil de abordar y para expresarlo quizá sea necesaria la condensación, ¿no? ―Sí, pero creo que sobre todo es la cuestión del mal sufrido, en el sentido de que es algo que supera la capacidad de reflexión porque entrás en terrenos absolutamente desconocidos y nunca tenés la seguridad de si entraste en ellos o qué. Este es más o menos el asunto. Yo estuve recientemente en Cracovia, ahí participé de una mesa redonda sobre el Mal, experiencia y literatura. Después de analizar cómo lo había encarado Víctor Hugo en ese larguísimo poema de 5400 versos que se llama El fin de Satán ―y que se publicó después de su muerte―, y cómo lo encaró William Blake de un modo completamente distinto, me pregunté cómo era posible que Emily Brontë, a la que no se le conoce ninguna pasión, salvo la preocupación por su hermano borracho y drogadicto, una mujer absolutamente austera que murió a los 30 años en la mesa familiar, conversando, cómo ella podía describir en Cumbres borrascosas, de una manera tan profunda y aguda, el Mal en el amor.
»Luego mencioné los casos clásicos: (Alexander) Solzhenitsyn sobre el gulag y a Primo Levi sobre el campo de concentración nazi. Siempre me da la impresión de que hay algo no dicho ahí. La dimensión del Mal es de tal naturaleza que hay cosas que no se alcanzan a decir. Lo curioso es que personas que no han sufrido el Mal hayan sido capaces de escribir sobre el Mal con tanta profundidad, como Emily Brontë. (Silvina Friera) (Translation)
Nina Camp tells in The Huffington Post how
During that time of the month, a hard boiled egg smells like death to me, and I want to climb into that closed-compartment bed in Wuthering Heights and sleep for 200 hours. 
The Rhein-Zeitung (Germany) finds echoes of Wuthering Heights in the play Am Katzenmoor:
Was sie denn auch tun: Marina Carrs "Am Katzenmoor" präsentiert sich unter der Regie von Ingo Berk als ungeheuer intensives Gothic-Drama mit gefühlvollem Medea-Kern, das in seiner bedrückenden Atmosphäre an Emily Brontës "Wuthering Hights" [sic] erinnert. (Thomas Koelsch) (Translation)
The Princeton University news reveals that one of the 'Four faculty members recognized for outstanding teaching' is Deborah Nord, professor of English:
Students described Nord in many ways, including: "great," "amazing," "great lecturer, masterful seminar leader," "dedicated and impassioned educator," and "one of the most gifted teachers I've encountered at the University." An undergraduate who took her course "Austen, Brontë, Eliot" said it was "one of the most intellectually stimulating and engaging seminars I took during my time at Princeton because of Professor Nord's superb teaching. (Karin Dienst)
Side2 (Norway) features Susanne Abbuehl. The Misfortune of Knowing discusses Lucy Snowe's name.

Finally, the Brontë Society is looking for two interns and an arts officer (maternity cover). Find out more about it here.

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