Monday, August 19, 2013

Eyre Tedium

Keighley News recommends some of the current activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:

Little-known gems from the Brontë Parsonage Museum collection are being spotlighted this month.
Staff and volunteers at the one-time home of the famous literary sisters are giving short talks focusing on items ranging from the Brontë pet dog’s collar to Emily’s diary paper. The talks are at 2pm each weekday.
Visitors can also enjoy the Heaven is a Home exhibition, which runs until the end of the year.
It includes fascinating domestic details of the Brontës’ own time at the house, and links in with the publication earlier this year of the book At Home With The Brontës: The History Of Haworth Parsonage, by museum collections manager, Ann Dinsdale
Clement Crisp from Financial Times didn't love the Jane Eyre ballet as performed by the Shanghai Ballet Company. Not really a surprise if you don't like the novel either:
A declaration of interest is the decent thing. But how to qualify a massive lack of interest in Jane Eyre, which I found of raging tedium as a novel, and – lackaday – as a danced staging with which the Shanghai Ballet chose to make its London debut? (...)
There is cleverly austere scenery by Jerome Kaplan and – sole delight of the event – exquisite ball-skirts (made, seemingly, from gossamer) that foam and hang like clouds round their wearers’ legs. And there is the copious Victorian moralising of Charlotte Brontë’s tale, with its put-upon heroine, its mad wife, Mr Rochester on the rampage, and (in de Bana’s unlikely realisation) excessively animated rocks, flames, ghosts, entrusted to the bare-chested and sub-Béjartian chaps of the corps de ballet.
We are not surprised about someone not liking Jane Eyre (pearls, swine... you know)  but  the 'Victorian moralising' bit is laughable and really self-explanatory.

The reviewer of the Sunday Express seems to have a personal quarrel with the choreographer of the piece, Patrick De Bana:
What a brave and gracious gesture made by the Shanghai Ballet last week for its London visit. It presented an English classic, apparently much loved in China, and choreographed by German-born Patrick de Bana.
It did not work.
De Bana appears keen to show the world how clever a dance maker he is and let the story take care of itself. By the end of the evening I was convinced, with all the fancy footwork pared away, that this was a one-act ballet.
Brevity would reveal Charlotte Brontë’s tale of a woman’s search for love and release the audience from De Bana’s obsession with his own cleverness. (Jeffrey Taylor)
Fortunately, the Secret Victorianist has a more objective (and not so bilious) review to offer.

Edinburgh Evening News lists several comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including Bridget Christie's A Bic For Her:
Whether it’s imagining Martin Luther King as a stand-up, the Brontë sisters struggling to finish their works or the enjoyably over-the-top reaction to misogynistic comments by Stirling Moss, it all makes for a witty, powerful polemic (Keith Smith)
Unreliable narrators on Flavorwire:
Nelly and Lockwood in Wuthering Heights. Our two narrators are deceptively unbiased and suffer from a case of knowing too much and too little. Nelly, servant to the Earnshaw and Linton families, appears to be a reliable eyewitness to events, but she’s a storyteller and frequently embellishes things. She also knows the family on an intimate level and is too close to their world in order to see things clearly. At the same time, she uses her knowledge to manipulate and intervene, despite her feigned innocence. Our other narrator, Lockwood, a gentleman renting Thrushcross Grange, learns about the complicated history of the family from Nelly, and therefore often misinterprets events. (Alison Nastasi)
New York Times TV Schedule reminds us of the MoreMax screening of Jane Eyre 2011 in the US:
Mia Wasikowska, above, portrays Charlotte Brontë’s beleaguered governess, in flight from her employer and soul mate, Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender), in this adaptation of the novel, set at Thornfield Hall on the misty moors of England. Jamie Bell is St. John Rivers, the clergyman who helps nurse Jane back to health; Judi Dench, the gossipy housekeeper; Sally Hawkins, the nasty aunt; and Imogen Poots, the rich girl who almost derails Jane’s chances at love. (Kathryn Shattuck)
Read More Fiction reviews Wide Sargasso Sea; Maddalena De Leo tells on the Brontë Parsonage Blog about her stay at The Castle Hotel in Conway where Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Bell Nichols spent their wedding night and her excitement to actually see the room and the bed where they arguably slept; The Internet Review of Books reviews Ann Dinsdale's The Brontës at Haworth; Au Wedding Academy Blog presents a Jane Eyre Wedding Inspiration Mood Board; The Briarfield Chronicles recommends the 1974 Penguin English Library Edition of Shirley with an introduction by Andrew and Judith Hook; Dark Faerie Tales reviews Ironskin by Tina Connolly; Kasiek posts about Jane Eyre in Polish; The Life & Random Thoughts of Indigo Montoya reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1996; the Parsonage Facebook publishes a couple of pictures of its treasures: Emily's sofa and Branwell's chair.

Michele Carter, author of the controversial Charlotte Brontë's Thunder and of the recently-published novel The Brontë Code, announces that the latter will be available for free until August 22th. The details are here; Fleur in her World reviews May Sinclair's The Three Sisters.

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