Saturday, June 15, 2013

What a woman is made of

The Vancouver Courier reviews the local performances of Blake Morrison's The Three Sisters:

Nevertheless, We Are Three Sisters is an entertaining exploration of the lives of Anne, Charlotte and Emily Brontë and their brother Branwell. It's far from gloomy and suggests that, for their time, they were strong-willed, strong-minded and talented women in a period when to be a woman writer was, as their patronizing father (Sean Allan) declared, never to be published. "Books cannot be the business of a woman's life," he pontificated. (...)
Carolyn Rapanos' set is simply stated elegance, beautifully lit by Graham Ockley. Neil Griffiths' sound design is an unobtrusive and lovely score for piano.
On opening night, United Players artistic director Andree Karas made a point of reminding us that everyone involved in the production is a volunteer and all but the director, Sandra Ferens, and two of the actors, Douglas Abel and Allan, are non-professionals. The quality of many of performances is far from amateur, however.
Like Chekhov's Three Sisters, it's an ensemble piece but, as with the brilliant Russian play, one sister stands out. Here it is Charlotte who is effectively foregrounded by Olesia Shewchuk who conveys all of Charlotte's wit and fire. Mari-aLuisa Alvarez is Emily, the most withdrawn and secretive of the sisters while Victoria Lyons is a shy, blushing Anne, relentlessly pursued by the old doctor (Abel) as well as the flirtatious young curate (Nick Preston).
Helen Martin, in a green, off-the-shoulder gown (by costumer Elliott Squires), is the nasty Mrs. Robinson. Jordon Navara-til, as heavy-drinking Branwell, comes on strong in Act 2.
The frequent echoes of Chekhov are weird but I was otherwise drawn in and the production is excellent. (Jo Ledingham)
The Tehran Times (Iran) announces the republication of The Professor in Iran:
The Persian translation of Charlotte Bronte’s first novel “The Professor” has been republished after 23 years in Iran.
The first edition translated by Esmaeil Kayvani was published by the Hessam Company, but the new edition has been published by Jami.
The unveiling of a new blue plaque in Brighton with a remote connection to the Brontës is mentioned in The Argus:
A blue plaque will be unveiled this weekend to commemorate the 1836 founders of a former school in Kemp town.
The unveiling will take place tomorrow at St Mary’s Hall, Eastern Road, in memory of Henry Venn-Elliot and his sister, Charlotte Elliot.
Henry was vicar of St Mary’s Church in Upper Rock Gardens and St James’s Street. The school was built on land donated by the Marquis of Bristol. It was modelled on a similar school in Lancashire that was attended by the Bronte sisters and which was the model for Lowood School in Jane Eyre.
All About Jazz reviews the Susanne Abbuehl's album The Gift:
The Gift does, however, represent a significant change for Abbuehl, whose past approach has been to split her repertoire between sourced poetry from, in addition to her own words, writers including e.e. cummings, James Joyce and William Carlos Williams, set to music from artists who, in addition to her own writing, ranged from pianists Carla Bley, Chick Corea and Sun Ra, to saxophonist Ornette Coleman, all of The Gift's sixteen songs feature Abbuehl's music, with words from two famous 19th century Emilys—Dickinson and Brontë—as well as two 20th century poets, Sara Teasdale and Wallace Stevens. (John Kelman)
The Globe and Mail reviews the novel The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls:
Nineteenth-century novelists from Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Charlotte Brontë to our own Lucy Maud Montgomery well knew the narrative power of a child protagonist adrift. Contemporary fiction, perhaps as a result, has almost too many examples to count. (Leah McLaren)
The Independent interviews the author Lisa O'Donnell:
Which fictional character most resembles you?
The madwoman in Jane Eyre, locked up in an attic. That's where I should be [writing].
Financial Times discusses the recent scholar turn on digital humanities:
“It can be dismaying to see Kafka or Conrad or Brontë read not for pleasure but as cultural artefacts,” [Jonathan Franzen] continues. “To use new technology to look at literature as a whole, which has never really been done before, rather than focusing on complex and singular works, is a good direction for cultural criticism to move in. Paradoxically, it may even liberate the canonical works to be read more in the spirit in which they were written.” (John Sunyer)
Helen Chandler discusses her personal reading history in The Huffington Post:
By my mid teens I was obsessed with the great Victorian novelists; with my long black skirts and long blonde hair I floated around, a novel by Charlotte Brontë or George Eliot never far away, waiting for Mr Rochester to come and take me away from my happy but humdrum life in a Liverpool suburb.
Saturday Monitor (Uganda) interviews the writer Emmeline Bisiikwa:
Do you have a favourite literary character?
This is a tough one, but I will have to go with Jane Eyre from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. She is the contemporary unlucky young woman who has to make do with average looks, no fortune and no family.
This does not keep her down since she is enterprising and hardworking. They say every girl dreams of her wedding and she is no exception. She falls in love with her seemingly heartless employer, Mr Rochester and their wedding is foiled by news that he is already married.
She shows strength and courage by leaving him for her unknown cousins and almost marries John out of duty but instead returns to Rochester after an epiphany. He is disfigured and depressed, but she decides to stay. Now that is what a woman is made of.
Ruth Ostrow in The Australian talks about The Great Gatsby:
I remember studying Wuthering Heights at school. Heathcliff did everything - desperately and compulsively - to earn the love of Catherine. At 15, we were taught about Gatsby's love of Daisy. I yearned for such passion as that.
JUF News reviews the film Fill the Void:
When Charlotte Brontë wrote Jane Eyre way back in the middle of the 19th Century, she gave her novel a triumphant but hard-earned ending. Brontë equalized Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester by providing her with a large inheritance from her uncle (John Eyre) and a marriage proposal from an impressive suitor (St. John Rivers). And oh yes, she blinded Mr. Rochester in the fire that destroyed his mansion (Thornfield Hall). In other words, Brontë gave her heroine genuine options. So if Jane still chooses to marry Mr. Rochester anyway, purging her mind of the now-dead madwoman in the attic, that is her choice. But I challenge you to watch Fill The Void and walk out believing Shira's "choice" is even half as free. (Jan Lisa Huttner (Tzivi))
The Derbyshire Times on a recent local walk:
After crossing a golf course they stopped at Thorpe Farm for an unexpected but very welcome treat of locally made ice creams. An easy descent with views of North Lees Hall of Brontë fame took the group back to Hathersage.
Ann Arbor.com talks about storms and literature:
Literary inspirations abound as in Virgil’s “in the midnight of the storm clouds, he wields his bolts with a flashing hand" or in Heathcliff’s departure as “the storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury” from Emily Brontë's classic novel. (Ruth Ethman)
The Times Court & Social section has a Wuthering Heights reference in the cliché category:
Tom proposed in December 2011 on a weekend break in Norfolk. It was windy and raining on Holkham beach and according to Erika, "very romantic in a Wuthering Heights sort of way". (Morag Preston and Anna Temkin)
The Independent Florida Alligator recommends a light summer read:
Don’t get me wrong; I love delving into Brontë (Charlotte, not Emily) and Austen. But sometimes, especially over summer when you’re fighting to stay awake as you read a book on the beach or by the pool, you just want something you can follow somewhat mindlessly like a TV show. (Abbie Dorwart)
Slashfilm defines Jane Eyre 2011 as a "beautiful, effective drama" (Russ Fischer) and Le Devoir (Québec) Wuthering Heights 2011 as  "âpre et poétique" (François Lévesque).

Cultura Poing (France) reviews Jane Campion's The Piano:
Si Jane Campion avoue adorer les Sœurs Brontë et en particulier les Hauts de Hurlevent, c’est plus pour son atmosphère visuelle tourmentée, poussée par la fureur du climat et des éléments, que dans son traitement des personnages. Car, en réalité, The Piano est beaucoup plus érotique que romantique, relisant la littérature à l’orée de l’évolution des mentalités, faisant passer le romantisme et ses héroïnes par le prisme d’une réflexion contemporaine, s’interrogeant sur les pensées entre les lignes, tout ce que dissimule la littérature du 19eme siècle. (Olivier Rossignot) (Translation)
Deutschlandfunk (Germany) interviews Hannah Garner, vocalist from Miss 600:
Ich hatte am College englische Literatur belegt. Und eines meiner Lieblingsbücher damals war "Jane Eyre". Es ist immer noch mein Favorit. Weil es gut geschrieben ist. Vor allem aber, weil ich mich sehr gut mit der Hauptfigur identifizieren konnte. Mit ihrer Unsicherheit und wie sie sie überwindet, wie sie immer selbstsicherer wird. Ich mag's nun mal, wenn jemand alle Hindernisse in seinem Leben aus dem Weg räumt und es ein Happy End gibt. Das bringt mich zum Heulen. (Interview by Christiane Rebmann) (Translation
Play3-Live (France) reviews Wuthering Heights 2009:
Sinon, il s’agit là d’une bonne adaptation qui prend soin de traiter correctement ses personnages, même les seconds rôles et que les amateurs apprécieront probablement.  (David) (Translation)
Mystical Labyrinth posts about Wide Sargasso Sea 2006;  Arvelle Magazin (in German) reviews Wuthering Heights; HinkyPunk talks about the Brontë novels and its adaptations; Leona's Reviews posts about Aviva Orr's The Mist on Brontë Moor;

Finally the Brontë Parsonage Blog publishes a chronicle of the June AGM excursion to Levens Hall and Silverdale.

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