Saturday, September 07, 2013

Saturday, September 07, 2013 4:17 pm by M. in , , , , , ,    No comments
Keighley News publishes about the new designs in merchandise for the Brontë Parsonage Museum Shop:
Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage Museum – one-time home to the famous family – launched a range of merchandise on Monday based on three botanical watercolours painted by a young Charlotte between 1830 and 1832.
“Studies show she was a young girl with great talent,” said a Parsonage spokesman.
“She exhibited some watercolours in Leeds and had early ambitions to be an artist.
“Almost 200 drawings, watercolours and miniatures survive, and the botanical works are amongst her most popular.
“Despite her skill in capturing the beautiful flowers, Charlotte was not a keen gardener. The Parsonage garden was reportedly ‘nearly all grass and possessing only a few stunted thorns and shrubs’.
“Instead, Charlotte would have taken inspiration, as always, from books.”
The merchandise designs include wild roses, painted when Charlotte was just 14, and a study of heartsease and blue convolvulus, painted two years later when she was away from home at Roe Head School.
To mark the launch of the new range, a botanicals workshop is being staged at the museum on October 5, from 11am to 4pm.
Adult education tutor and botanical illustrator, Imogen Collins-Thomas, will lead the session, which will use Charlotte’s drawing and painting techniques to create images. (Alistair Shand)
The Telegraph & Argus also reports the results of the recent auction in Edinburgh.

The Ilkley Gazette describes a Brontë Falls Walk:
There are footpaths galore around Haworth. Just when you think you might have walked them all, you can chance upon one you never knew was there. Or you can find yourself trekking along another that’s obviously well trodden – but not, previously, by you.
There were some surprises on this outing, which began in the heart of Haworth, at the council-run car park tucked away off the main road near the Parsonage. (...)
In a dip in the track just before this cluster of buildings a sign to the Brontë Falls and Top Withens pointed left, down the hill to a rickety footbridge. At the other side we again had a choice. We took the Brontë Falls path that more or less followed the stream until it began to fall steeply, shuttering down to meet the beck in the valley bottom.
We proceeded down the eroded path with great caution, anxious not to join in the shuttering.
The Brontë Falls always seem a little disappointing to me. When I’ve visited there’s never been much water passing down them and anyway the view of the biggest drop is obscured by a large silver birch tree.
Far more romantic is the Brontë Bridge, on which a young couple were sitting, side by side and with their heads together, eating lunch and perhaps dreaming of Cathy and Heathcliff.
Los Angeles Times reviews Alison Croggon's Black Spring:
"Black Spring" is structured almost exactly like the original "Wuthering Heights": A traveler stops at a decrepit mansion ruled by a cruel tyrant abusing a much younger woman he claims to be his wife. That night, he sees a disheveled, seemingly mad woman who looks like an older version of the first. A female servant agrees to tell him the whole sorry tale as she witnessed it: A noblewoman and her foster brother fall in love as children; she marries another; he returns; vengeance, death and ruin ensue.
Croggon diverges from Brontë by giving her characters vaguely Slavic names and swapping out the English moors for a supernatural land ruled by a wizard named Ezra. Unlike Brontë's Catherine with her fair skin and "flaxen ringlets," Croggon's noblewoman, Lina, is black-haired with "large and luminous" eyes in the "vivid violet of the witchborn." Her Heathcliff, the foundling who becomes her foster brother, is Damek, a "handsome and strongly built" fellow with "thick black eyebrows, dark eyes and a sensuous mouth" and the "swarthy hue of a shepherd," which leads some to believe that he may be — the horror! — of "mixed blood."
Goths of every era have found romance in darkness, and Croggon is no exception: Her characters are whipped with belts, flogged until they faint, get fingers snapped, faces covered with a lover's bloody kisses, and because there are wizards around, occasionally killed by fiery supernatural spectacle. The fantasy elements, Croggon's major innovations on Brontë's plot, are not particularly original, but they do amplify themes both in the original and in contemporary feminist readings of Brontë. She invents a ritual called vendetta, a complicated series of honor killings, described as "a fatal malady of the blood that slowly, inevitably destroys whole clans, whole families, whole villages," which seems consistent with Brontë's idea that pride and vengeance can destroy generations' worth of families. (Amy Benfer)
The Age reviews Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide:
The first story, The Sleepers in that Quiet Earth (the allusion to Brontë's Wuthering Heights is dilated upon) is a triumph, and bears comparison with Katherine Mansfield. Like The Household Guide to Dying, this story is deftly and convincingly structured, alternating as it does between its subject-character and her character in a fiction that she is developing. It is a story about the uncertainties of writing a story. (Don Anderson)
The Telegraph reports the results of a survey commissioned to mark the launch of American geek sitcom The Big Bang Theory season 6 on DVD this week. Apparently
In a bid to appear more intelligent, more than 60 per cent of people have lied about reading classic novels. A leading research team polled 2,000 members of the British public to find out the tactics people employ to appear more intelligent, with some enlightening results.
The most popular ruse is pretending to have read classic novels, with 42 per cent of people relying on film and TV adaptations, or summaries found online, to feign knowledge of the novels.  (Phoebe Parke)
Jane Eyre appears in the top ten with a 5 %. Wuthering Heights has a 2 %.

Sarah Foley talks about the new stage adaptations of novels in The Guardian:
The old literal adaptations of Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë novels are giving ground to much more innovation, whether it's Daniel Buckroyd's physical theatre version of The Butterfly Lion or Jack Thorne's take on Stuart: A Life Backwards, which attempts to play with narrative form in the same way the book did.
Jane Sullivan was present at the Melbourne Writers Festival and highglights in The Sydney Morning Herald how
Inspiration and writerly ambition can also come from surprising sources. [Jay] Griffiths loved Jane Eyre as a child and read it 20 times, but it was Enid Blyton who made her a writer.
Finally, The Islington Tribune echoes the following initiative:
The latest flash mob to take place in Archway doesn’t require twinkle toes. Archway Market manager Stephanie Smith is calling for music lovers and book lovers to unite at 7.45pm on Wednesday September 25 with “the most famous song about a book” and sing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights in the open space by Archway’s post office. (Amy Smith)
According to Houston Press the latest album cover by Chelsea Wolfe is sort of Brontë-esque:
Severe, ominous and spectral aptly describe Chelsea Wolfe, whose electronica-flecked new album Pain Is Beauty (Sargent House) has a foreboding sound that matches its Brontë-esque cover art. (Chris Gray)
May-December romances on Flavorwire:
Jane Eyre - Not like our good friend Jane needs another film adaptation, but we could do with one that grapples with seriously with Jane being only about 18, Rochester pushing 35 at least (she says twice her age), and that Madwoman up in the attic, instead of Hollywoodizing all of that as just another obstacle to True Love. (Michelle Dean)
And Chicago Tribune's The Biblioracle is concerned about why there are so many boarding school novels:
I think it's possible that just about anyone who can read has read a boarding school novel: "A Separate Peace," "The Catcher in the Rye," "Prep," "Jane Eyre." (John Warner)
Blkosiner's Book Blog interviews the writer Kay Kenyon:
What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I couldn't live without reading books. Some of my favorites are: Jane Eyre, George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, Naomi Novik's Temeraire series and Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter.
The Evanston Review talks about a recent local production of The Mystery of Irma Vep;  Anglotopia reviews Ann Dinsdale's The Brontës at Haworth; The Reading Frenzy is reading The Flight of Gemma Hardy and interviews its author Margot Livesey. Each time someone unearths this picture of Ellen Nussey (as the Facebook Parsonage Wall has done) there is discussion... it is really Ellen Nussey?; the Treasure Trove featueres Gradfather's Clock today.

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