Saturday, November 16, 2013

Todmorden News publishes an obituary of writer, artist and Brontëite Ian M. Emberson:
He took to painting and writing in early childhood, and pursued those activities all his life, drawing creatively on his life’s experiences in whichever form his work took. The results were always of high quality.
Following National Service (Royal Signals, Cyprus, 1955-57), he went on to earn a living in both horticulture and librarianship in different parts of the country, settling in Huddersfield in 1971 on becoming Music Librarian. He retired in 1986 to concentrate on painting and writing.
His work as an artist is best known through postcards and book illustrations. His publications include eight books of poetry and prose-poems, as well as many journal and magazine articles. In 1996 Bradford Playhouse produced his one-actor play Cockerel Crowing Dawn, based on the life of the Russian composer Mussorgsky. Ian also wrote the libretto for Daniel Bath’s opera The Forest, performed at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival in 2003. Four other composers have set his poetry to music.
Ian met Catherine through the Brontë Society in 1988, and despite his love for his home village of Thurstonland, and the many musical interests of Huddersfield, he moved to Todmorden to be with her. Ian initially found it difficult to adjust, but soon came to love the town, its wonderful walking country and its swimming pool. He became well known at literary, artistic and musical events. He was a patron of Todmorden Orchestra and an enthusiastic member of Todmorden Antiquarian Society. His talk ‘A Comer-In’s View of Yorkshire’ - based on his semi-autobiographical book Yorkshire Lives and Landscapes - was due to be given to that organisation shortly.
Ian and Catherine worked together on various pieces of Brontë research. One of these led to the discovery of George Sowden’s Recollections of the Brontës – which had lain virtually forgotten for over one hundred years. The Brontë Society have published Ian’s book Pilgrims from Loneliness: an interpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” and “Villette” .
Ian had two children by his first marriage – Beth, who lives in France, and the late Robert, who died in 2012.
His funeral will be at 1.30pm on Monday, November 18, at St Mary’s Church, Todmorden, and from 3pm to 5pm friends are invited to gather at the Bear Cafe to chat about Ian and hear some of his works. (John Greenwood)
Steve Wood and other members of the Top Withins board
Grough informs that a new information panel has been placed at Top Withens:
A ruined farmhouse with literary connections high on the Pennine Way has a new information panel offering walkers a glimpse into its history. (...)
The building, which is owned by Yorkshire Water, also has a small, rudimentary bothy attached.
Local historian Steve Wood researched the background to the building which has no direct links with the Victorian author or her works, but has been held by many to match the location of the Earnshaw dwelling in the Bronte novel.
The panel tells the story of farming high above Haworth, going back at least 400 years with the first written record of a William Bentley dividing his estate amongst his three sons.
Their tough livelihood had to be supplemented by income from other activities including quarrying and weaving.
The panel has been placed in the ruins at Top Withins, also sometimes known as Top Withens, as part of the Watershed Landscape Project, managed by Pennine Prospects and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and South Pennine Leader.
Alastair Harvey, countryside and recreation manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “As the owner we have carried out restoration works to the building to ensure it is able to withstand the erosive nature of the sometimes vicious upland weather.
“We are grateful for funding from Pennine Prospects and Heritage Lottery Fund that enabled us to protect the ruin for years to come.”
Robin Gray, Watershed Landscape project manager, said: “So many visitors come up to this romantic ruin but until now there has been little information.
“We hope that visitors will now feel better informed not just about the ruin but about the significance of this unique landscape.
“We have even provided a translation into Japanese for those visitors who come from across the globe to visit this iconic site.” (Liz Roberts)
The Philippines Daily Enquirer interviews the composer John Williams. He choose Jane Eyre 1970 as one the compositions he would like to be remembered for:
When we asked him for at least three film scores that he’d like to be remembered for, one of John’s picks was a surprise.
“I always remember certain passages in ‘Close Encounters…’ that I particularly enjoy playing with orchestras, away from film, so that may be indicative of something.”
He added, “And several movements of ‘Star Wars’ I also continue to have interest in as a performer. I did a television version of ‘Jane Eyre’ years ago (1970), directed by Delbert Mann. I wrote that new score in London many years ago. I have continued to enjoy revisiting that. So, in my case, that’s been a good measure of what I like that I have done in the past. If I don’t pick it out of the library and don’t want to perform it, it means that I don’t particularly want to return to it.” (Ruben V. Nepales)
USA Today imagines what the Brontës (and other writers) could tweet today:
10. The Brontë sisters: Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë were as close as sisters can be. They would've been each other's biggest Twitter fans, favoriting/retweeting each other every five minutes, spamming the hell out of their followers. Sweet? We guess. Annoying? Yeah, kinda.
Anne Brontë would tweet: "RT @JaneEyre 'You know full well as I do the value of sisters' affections: There is nothing like it in this world.' CC @wutheringgirl" (Daniel Lefferts and Kristen Mascia)
The Telegraph reviews All Change, by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Clary, the Duchy’s granddaughter, born in 1925, the same generation as Howard herself, is a talented novelist, struggling to bring up children and help support her husband, an impecunious artist. Before the children, she wrote two novels that were well received, but since then she has sobbed into the kitchen sink and taken on proofreading to pay the rent. There are fleeting references to Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen: both childless. (Ruth Scurr)
The Wall Street Journal reviews several retellings of classical novels, including Minae Mizumura's A True Novel:
Minae Mizumura's "A True Novel" (Other Press, 854 pages, $29.95) is a fascinating example of a cross-cultural adaptation. In one of the sizable passages of meta-commentary that frame the narrative, the author explains that the rewriting of Western novels has been "a central project in the modern literary history of Japan." Here she tells a story that is a mix of "Wuthering Heights" and "The Great Gatsby."
It centers on the magnetic Taro Azuma, recounting his bumpy rise in postwar Japan. In the highlands of Karuizawa (since converted to a popular resort town), the orphan Taro is taken in by a family of servants and supported by the aristocratic Saegusa clan. A perpetual outsider because of his low rank and half-Manchurian bloodline, he has no friends except Yoko, the sickly daughter of his employers. But though the two are in love, Yoko rejects Taro for a husband with better prospects. The spurned youth moves to Long Island and works his way up from chauffeur to "the most successful Japanese businessman in America." Despite his wealth, he moves back to the decaying cottage of his childhood, intent on reclaiming Yoko.
Ms. Mizumura's writing, smoothly translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, doesn't have anything close to the pitched intensity of Emily Brontë's, though her depiction of Taro contains elements of Heathcliff's consuming resentment: "His youth was no longer fresh and vigorous," she writes of Taro when Yoko throws him over, "but had settled like a thick sediment, with a stale smell to it." When, years later, Taro tries to lure a married Yoko to live with him in a mansion on Long Island's north shore built early in the 20th century by an "American nouveau riche," he summons the restless apparition of Jay Gatsby. (Sam Sacks)
Zoë Triska chooses 'the biggest heartbreakers' in literature for The Huffington Post:
Edward Fairfax Rochester Rochester from "Jane Eyre"
Where to even begin with Rochester? We know some people like to think of "Jane Eyre" as a romantic story, but it certainly doesn't begin that way. I have always thought that Rochester KNOWS from the beginning that Jane has feelings for him, but that he toys with her intentionally. It honestly does appear that Rochester was courting Blanche Ingram, and not Jane. Who could blame Jane for thinking so? Also, when he proposes to Jane, he forgets to mention that he has his wife locked up in the attic. Yikes. (...)
Catherine Earnshaw from Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights"
Despite Catherine's love and adoration for her childhood best friend, Heathcliff, she decides that he's too low class for her and goes off and marries another. Heathcliff pines away for her, going so far as to leave in order to become a "gentleman." Catherine dies prematurely. Even after she DIES, she haunts him! How cruel is that?!
Of course Rochester toys with Jane intentionally and... well, Heathcliff asks Catherine to be haunted by her.

Also in The Huffington Post, Sarah Barness has been seduced by Mark Grist's 'I want a girl who reads' poem:
Mark, you can totally call us. We'll just be over here tearing through our copy of Jane Eyre.
Financial Times talks about the evolution of the Oxford English Dictionary:
He talks also of the potential to embed OED content in ereaders so the meaning of a word such as “plisky” (a trick or an awkward situation) in Wuthering Heights (1847), not found in most dictionaries of current usage, could be revealed to the reader as he or she went along. (Lorien Kite)
Kpopstarz mentions the including of a Wuthering Heights-inspired song in the soundtrack of the Korean TV series, Secret:
The highly successful melodrama Secret came to an end, this week, with actor Ji Sung providing vocals for the final soundtrack. Heights of Windstorms or Wuthering Heights draws inspiration on the prevailing theme of betrayal, secrets, and love lost that dominate both Secret and the novel,Wuthering Heights. Secret concluded with a strong ratings lead and with Ji Sung proving that his acting talent transcends into singing.
Haaretz quotes from Eva Illouz's Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation:
From the Introduction:  The Misery of Love
"Wuthering Heights” (1847)‏ belongs to a long literary tradition portraying love as an agonizingly painful emotion. The novel’s notorious protagonists, Heathcliff and Catherine, develop a strong love for each other while growing up together, yet Catherine decides to marry Edgar Linton, a socially more appropriate match. Humiliated when he accidentally overhears Catherine claim that she would degrade herself in marrying him, Heathcliff runs away. Catherine looks for him in the fields, and when she does not find him, she falls ill to the point of near-death.
France Info (France) reviews  Lady Hunt by Hélène Frappat:
Un roman qui marche sur les pas de chefs-d'oeuvre anglais comme Les Hauts de Hurlevent ou Rebecca, avec beaucoup de talent mais aussi de distance et d'humour. (Philippe Vallet) (Translation)
YA? Yeah, Yeah! interviews the author Laura Summers:
Who was your first fictional crush?
When I was a teenager I don’t really remember there being many books written particularly for my age group so when I ran out of books at the library (the Narnia series, Swallows and Amazons, Just William and masses of legends and fables were some of my childhood favourites), I jumped straight into books by Agatha Christie and classics like Jane Eyre. I definitely didn’t fancy Hercule Poirot so I think my first fictional crush has got to be Mr Rochester.
El Correo (Spain) lists films about love and passion including Wuthering Heights; St Margaret's Community Website has an interesting post on James Chesterton Bradley, the curate that inspired Charlotte Brontë's Mr Sweeting in Shirley quoting from original sources; Gedankengerüste, Gedankengelüste (in German) has not loved Wuthering Heights; Salmagundi recommends re-reading Jane Eyre; Practically Marzipan reviews one of its retellings, Tina Connolly's Ironskin; ARD (Germany) announces the airing the documentary Yorkshire - Land der Geister und Legenden (directed by Peter M. Kruchten) (3sat, November 16, 16.15 h) which includes mentions to the Brontës.


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