Saturday, September 21, 2013

Judith Mackrell talks about coming-of-age novels in The Telegraph:
While I was writing my book Flappers, about six women coming of age in the Twenties, I often found myself thinking back to the state of romantic muddled optimism that was me, at the age of 21. But also in my mind were a cluster of fictional heroines whose rebellion, experiment and self-assertion reflected aspects of the real life women in my book.
For sheer tenacity I’d hold up Lucy Snowe, in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853), as a true if poignant heroine, rigorously testing her beliefs against the people she encounters.
The Independent features Bret McKenzie, a Brontëite in Austenland:
“I 'm not a crazy Jane Austen fan,” shrugs Kiwi comic actor Bret McKenzie, determined not to lose his credibility despite co-starring with Jane Seymour in the Jane Austen-themed regency romp that is Austenland.
“I was more of a Brontë fan. There weren't enough moors in the Austen books. I thought Wuthering Heights was miles better than Jane Austen, certainly a lot less repressed.” (Gill Pringle)
Wetherby News reviews the current Charlotte Cory exhibition at the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate:
The Brontës with a twist - leading surrealist photographer Charlotte Cory’s new exhibition at Mercer Art Gallery is a little odd but utterly brilliant.
Inspired by her love of the writings of the Brontës and their Haworth Parsonage home, the multi-talented Cory has created a truly memorable piece of installation art- an entire museum within a museum.
Packed full of impressively handcrafted detail, Capturing The Brontës utilises all of Cory’s literary knowledge, artistic talents and great wit to create a slightly bizarre but utterly charming 19th century world all of her own.
The Mercer Art Gallery exhibition features complex photographic collages fashioned from Victorian calling cards (cartes-de-visite) and her own portraits of stuffed animals. Not to forget an actual stuffed giraffe.
Organized in partnership with the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth and the Long and Ryle Gallery in London, the result is a fantastic and fantasical alternative history.
So impressive is the creation of each item in this ‘fake’ museum, it is possible to believe many artifacts and memorabilia of the people and events surrounding the famous Brontës visitors are seeing are, in fact, real.
Cory’s alternative history shows Branwell Brontë studying at the Royal Academy, and includes treasures that never arrived at the Brontë Parsonage such as their mother Maria Branwell’s shipwrecked trunk which looks authentically weather-beaten and age-battered. (...)
As part of the new exhibition, Mercer Art Gallery and the Brontë Parsonage Museum are organising a joint programme of talks and events to be held at both venues.
These include Charlotte Cory in Conversation on October 23 at 2pm in West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth and on November 7 at Mercer Art Gallery with Jane Sellars, Curator of Art at The Mercer Gallery.
Capturing the Brontës runs until January 12, 2014. (Graham Chalmers)
Also in The Telegraph SinclairMcKay discusses the pros and cons of reviving literary characters:
And literary continuation is nothing new either. Perhaps the finest example – a novel arguably as good as, if not in some ways better than, the original – is Jean Rhys’s 1966 Wide Sargasso Sea. Inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, this was the story of the first Mrs Rochester, set in the Caribbean; an extraordinarily powerful work of alienation, delirium and insanity.
The Australian Magazine recalls 1989 as the year in which Nicole Kidman said:
"I did everything very young; I really wanted to get married, I really wanted to have children and most of my craft was about that because I'm very, deeply romantic," she says, recalling growing up in thrall to the Brontë sisters and the "great tragic love stories". "I'm a jump-offthecliff kind of girl." (Michael Bodey)
Female First interviews the writer Willa Okati:
Which authors do you feel have had an influence on your work?
I was hugely influenced by certain classics that I read and reread when I was younger, often until the bindings were falling apart—J.R.R. Tolkien, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Grimm Fairy Tales, Alcott, Dickinson—the list goes on. When I discovered erotic fiction, I devoured absolutely everything I could get my hands on. Some things don't change!
The revival of slavery narratives is discussed in MSNBC's The Grio:
First, Hannah, the lead character, is enslaved, and details her life during slavery, as well as how she learned to read and, most importantly, how she escaped, all typical to slave narratives, including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, published in 1845, just a few years prior to The Bondwoman’s Narrative. While many mainstream literary critics have been enamored by [Hannah] Bond’s (or [Hannah] Crafts’, rather) obvious knowledge of Charles Dickens’s novel Bleak House and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which appeared just a few years before her own work, it’s hard to ignore that the most compelling aspects of the book are firmly rooted in the slave narrative. (Ronda Racha Penrice)
The Times talks about the same thing:
According to Gregg Hecimovich, the chairman of the English department at Winthrop University, the actual author [of The Bondwoman's Narrative] was Hannah Bond, a house slave who worked on a North Carolina plantation. Mr Hecimovich's research has shed light on how Hannah Bond was influenced by the great books of the dy - includng Bleak House and Jane Eyre. (Rhys Blakely)
Oliver Kamm's The Pedant in The Times discusses the use of  'unique' . According to some grammarians (amateur grammarians in Mr Kamm's words talking about N.M. Gwynne), 'unique' cannot be used in the comparative, superlative or with any intensifier as it is an absolute adjective. Mr Kamm's disagrees and quotes, among others, Charlotte Brontë herself:
Here is Charlotte Brontë, from her novel Villette: "'A very unique child,' thought I, as I viewed her sleeping countenance by the fitful moonlight, and cautiously and soflty wiped her glittering eyelids and her wet cheeks with my handkerchief."
A Most Dangerous Woman, a play about George Elliot is going go be performed in New Jersey. The New Jersey Star-Ledger talks about it:
Although many contemporary readers know the biographies and novels of Jane Austin (sic) and the Brontë sisters well, the lack of appreciation for Evans’ work and life accomplishments irked playwright Cathy Tempelsman and prompted her to write this play. (Ted Otten)
The Ilkley Gazette publishes the details of a local walk where
And up on the hillside, viewed from the track as it snakes away from the gill and climbs back towards Yarnbury, are a house which was disguised as a chapel for a film version of Wuthering Heights, a tall chimney, and a strange, concrete-looking construction dating from just after the Second World War when the spoil heaps were re-worked for a while. (Mike Priestley)
El Correo (Spain) reviews Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron:
La novela tiene un cierto perfume a Jane Austen y las hermanas Brontë, aunque aquí las pasiones no son nada borrascosas. Todo lo contrario, están atemperadas por la compostura y el fingimiento que dominan la vida de los personajes. (Antonio Paniagua) (Translation)
bloglive (Italy) mentions once again the Brontës in connection with pseudonyms; Brien's Brain posts about Wuthering Heights; l'angolino di Ale (in Italian) reviews Charlotte by Antonella Iuliano; Reading a Little Bit of Eveything reviews Wuthering Nights and interviews its author I.J. Miller:
What made you interested in doing a modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights?
I had actually done a proposal to do an erotic mashup of a Dicken’s novel. The publisher liked it but asked if I could do Wuthering Heights instead. What a marvelous choice! Heathcliff is surely the original tragic, alpha male hero and his love story with Catherine is truly intense. It lent itself perfectly to an erotic interpretation.
Joanna Campbell Slan is touring with the first book of her Jane Eyre Chronicles: Death of a Schoolgirl with Great Escapes Book Tours (check the link for reviews, giveaways and guest posts by the author); Nonmodern posts about Jane Eyre 2011 and today at the Parsonage's Treasure Trove Emily's Paintbox and the ten minutes talk is The Brontës and Music.

Finally, an alert from Wilton, CT. At the Wilton Library:
The Victorian Novel: Approaching 200 Years Old But Still Relevant with Mark Schenker
Saturday, Sept. 21, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
In two unique lectures on the relevance of the great Victorian novels to today’s readers, Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs in Yale College, will examine the social and psychological issues that confronted the Victorians and that continue to engage us in the 21st century. These include class and gender, social responsibility and personal freedom, and the religious sensibility in an increasingly secular age. Each session is a one hour talk, followed by a Q&A. Wine and cheese will be served until 5:30pm following the talks for those who wish to stay for refreshment and discussion with each other. This original lecture series has been generously sponsored by an anonymous donor. Registration highly recommended.
The Wilton Bulletin has more details about it:
Two novels Mr. Schenker will explore, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, are examples of excellent early Victorian novels, he said. He added that Wuthering Heights is one of the few Victorian novels that can compete on the scale of world classics such as the works of Fyodor Dostoyevski.
In both of these pieces, Mr. Schenker said, there is a strong theme of redemption, or receiving a second chance. This, he said, was a common tone of many early Victorian period novels.
“One thing they do is talk about how people get a second chance. In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge realizes he has a chance to “change his life story,” he said. “When Jane Eyre is on the brink of marrying Rochester, he’s already married to another woman locked in the attic … but she gets a second chance to become the mistress of the manor.”
Even in Wuthering Heights, the Yale dean said, Heathcliff is able to achieve his ultimate goal, even after being prevented from doing so in a positive manner.
“Heathcliff is not allowed to marry Catherine, and is not allowed to become a civilized man,” he said. “He wreaks his revenge by controlling the second generation. It’s not a happy ending, but even then — given enough time and hatred he is able to negatively achieve that which he was not allowed to do positively.” (Chris Burns)

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