Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Heather in Danger

The Yorkshire Post alerts to yet another (unexpected and particularly stupid) threat to the Brontë country we know and love:
The moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights has remained untouched by time since the Brontë sisters visited its wild beauty in search of inspiration.
But now the glorious carpet of heather is in danger of being usurped by invading flora planted by mourners who have scattered the ashes of loved ones on the moors.
Penistone Hill, which features in Wuthering Heights as Penistone Crag, has become a focal point for those brooding on the loss of family and friends.
As a high point above the former Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, it has long been a favourite spot for memorial benches.
But it seems many are no longer content just to sit and reflect, or lay the odd wreath. They now turn up with trees, shrubs and flowers to plant on the moors.
Problems have emerged as few are indigenous to Howarth - or moorland in general – and have been spreading through the landscape like wildfire.
The Brontë Society is concerned that - if left unchecked - the traditional flora such as heather and harebells so beloved by the sisters will be lost forever. The spread of foreign plants is also endangering the fragile habitats of moorland birds that the Brontës wrote about, such as lapwings, curlews, and skylarks.
Penistone Hill has a special place in the hearts of Brontë fans since it inspired the great romantic scene between Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in the 1939 film.
Members of the Brontë Society are so concerned for its future that they have teamed up with Bradford Council to create a memorial garden.
The aim is to draw the problem away from the moorland wilderness to the tidiness of Haworth Park - where council gardeners can contain the threat of alien spores.
The heritage and conservation officer for the society, Christine Went, insisted the threat to the literary landscape and its sites of special scientific interest was very real.
She said: “As far as we can tell from the Brontës correspondence the moors have changed very little since they walked upon them.
“Much of the poems and writing on moorland themes and mentions include heather, harebells, lapwings, curlews and skylarks.
“They are all still there - along with a lot of other species. So the last thing we want is non-indigenous species coming in and putting pressure on natural habitats.
“These include a great variety of mosses which are very delicate habitats. It would be so easy to upset the balance and wipe out whole species.”
Keighley News talks about the Hands-On History activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Young visitors to the Brontë Parsonage stepped back in time during holiday activities at the Haworth museum.
A Hands-On History Day gave children the chance to try 19th century skills such as sewing a sampler, spinning a top and coaxing a spark from a tinderbox. And youngsters were able to look the part by dressing up in top hats, bonnets, cloaks or shawls from the museum’s dressing-up box.
Julie Akhurst, for the parsonage, said: “Half-term has been very busy with lots of younger visitors having fun learning about the Brontës and finding out about local history – and we have many more activities coming up over the summer.”
La Opinión de Málaga (Spain) talks about first times and revelations:
La segunda revelación de la semana vino con la lectura de Orgullo y prejuicio, de la enorme Jane Austen, obra que cumple estos días doscientos años desde su publicación. Esta lectura me llevó a Jane Eyre, de Charlotte Brontë. Novelas inmensas, sólo aptas para ánimos agrietados, de idas y vueltas. Tras vivir unos días con las heroínas que soportan estas obras, Jane Eyre y Elisabeth Bennet, me tragué las adaptaciones cinematográficas más recientes. La de Orgullo y prejuicio lleva la firma de Joe Wright, ese tipo que le tiene pillada la medida a la traducción del lenguaje literario al audiovisual, prueba de ello es Expiación o Anna Karenina; mientras que la de Jane Eyre ha sido realizada por Fukunaga. (Cristina Consuegra) (Translation
The Herald (Ireland) talks papers and exams:
I enjoyed my three texts (Sive, Casablanca and Wuthering Heights) and tried to sneak as many Kate Bush references into paper two as possible.
Howard Jacobson discusses in The Independent the words of the new UK Children's laureate, Malorie Blackman:
There’s another way of putting this. If I didn’t feel invisible, it was because I wasn’t. Madame Bovary c’est moi, Flaubert declared, invoking the writer’s creed. The reader’s creed is similar. Jane Eyre c’est moi, I felt when I read Charlotte Brontë’s great novel at school, and she was no less moi because she was a girl. If we should resist the principle of ethnic identity when reading, we should resist the gender principle no less. I was not invisible when I read Jane Eyre a) because the best writers make general what’s particular, and b) because I, who had not been taught to go looking for myself missing, honoured the writer/reader compact and found me in characters who weren’t me.
The Times talks about Scarlett Johansson's suing a French publisher for using her in a novel:
Johansson's actions comes amid a global debate over real-person fiction, highlighted when Sonia Gandhi tried to ba a novel in India about her dynasty. Defenders of free speech argue that there is a tradition of works about real people in Western literature dating back to Charlotte Brontë's musings about the Duke of Wellington. (Adam Sage)
The Guardian analyses the gender balancing of UK literary culture:
It's less than 100 years since women got the vote in the UK. It's just 170 years since the Brontës were writing with men's names. Changing laws is one thing, changing attitudes is quite another. (Alex Clark)
Examiner reviews Wuthering Heights 2011:
There is much more to the story but Heathcliff has been called the ultimate Byronic hero. Dark and full of anger but with wells of deep emotion. This film gets that essence but focuses on long takes of their struggling relationship as the wind blows by them on the hills.
I love the story so much that I would love any version but if I had never seen the earlier versions, I would not have a good idea of the actual story from this version. Still when something has been done repeatedly, it is probably best to provide something different. This is different. (Paul O'Callaghan)
Página 12 (Argentina) interviews the writer Ernesto Camilli and makes a reference to a popular Argentinian 1941 radio adaptation of Wuthering Heights:
Yo me recibí de maestro en el Santa Catalina de Brasil y Piedras, donde los curas eran todos tránsfugas, mentirosos y bloqueados. Y me jodió el alma un padre Olivieri que nos mandó a un amigo y a mí al cura Laburu que decía (pone voz tonante de Pedro López Lagar haciendo de Heathcliff, en Cumbres borrascosas): “¡Hijo cierra, cierra, cierra! ¡Piensa en tu futuro casamiento! ¡Cierra que Cristo ya va a iluminarte!”.  (María Moreno) (Translation)
And Las Provincias (Spain) makes a reference to the Luis Buñuel adapation of Emily Brontë's novel:
El cine nos ha ofrecido turbadoras secuencias sobre 'lo inconsolable'. Viene a mi memoria el sublime final de 'Cumbres borrascosas' (Buñuel, 1954), con el valenciano Jorge Mistral desenterrando a Catherine (Catalina en la película, rodada en México) para abrazarla de nuevo. (Translation)
Clarín's Ñ (Argentina) reviews Indias Blancas by Florencia Bonelli:
Hay un aire a la novela romántica del siglo XIX, definida por el top tres del amor novelesco: Jane Eyre ,Cumbres Borrascosas , Orgullo y prejuicio. (Flavio Lo Presti) (Translation)
The actress and singer Leonor Watling interviews Tom Waits in El Periódico (Spain). The legendary songwriter says:
¿Comparte música con Anton Corbijn cuando salen en coche para hacer fotos? Su música está llena de imágenes ¿Qué música tiene este libro?
¿Una banda sonora del libro? No. Con Anton a veces sí... En general vamos conduciendo buscando lugares que se parezcan a Cumbres borrascosas o Larga es la noche, un callejón donde parezca que te puedes encontrar a Jack El Destripador. (Translation)
MediaSet (Italy) presents the Spanish soap-opera El Secreto as follows:
Ambientata nella Spagna rurale dell'inizio del XX secolo "Il segreto" ripercorre i modelli della letteratura classica romantica: amori impossibili, vendette, tradimenti e segreti inconfessabili, echeggiando capolavori come 'Cime tempestose' e 'Jane Eyre', e descrivendo una società in rapida trasformazione che, come nel resto d'Europa, stava passando dal mondo rurale all'era industriale. (Translation)
Books We Love interviews the writer Joan Hall Hovey:
Choose one person, living or dead, you'd like to share a meal with.
JHH: Charlotte Brontë. She was a passionate woman, intelligent, and driven to succeed. She accomplished so much in her short life, with few of the tools we writers have today. She dealt with so much sickness in her family, including her own, and cared for her father until her own death at 39. A tragic life in many ways, yet a triump of the human spirit.
The Guardian's Teen Books site includes some Brontëites; this journalist of De Morgen (Belgium) doesn't feel like reading Wuthering Heights again; Girl Goes Adventuring and Caitiewriters have visited Haworth; Une lyre à la main (in French) reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Your Bibliomaniac posts about Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre; remittance girl talks about the sexed up classics frenzy, in particular the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights ones; jessicaminiermabe is publishing a Reader's Guide to Jane Eyre; Poems & Perceptions posts a poem about Blanche Ingram; the Brontë Parsonage website publishes some pictures of the Victoria Brookland exhibition private view.

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