Saturday, December 14, 2013

"How much greater can you get if you have written Jane Eyre and Villette?"

Janet Malcolm publishes a reply to Francine Prose's review of Being Nora Ephron in The New York Review of Books that we mentioned a few days ago:
In her review of The Most of Nora Ephron [NYR, November 21], Francine Prose cites “a beautiful essay in which Rebecca West speculates about how much greater an artist Charlotte Brontë might have been had she not been hobbled by the pressure of supporting her siblings.” Greater artist? How much greater can you get if you have written Jane Eyre and Villette? Prose’s condescending words about Nora Ephron’s brilliant elliptical essays are similarly puzzling.
The original reviewer replies:
Janet Malcolm appears to assume that I was expressing my own view of Charlotte Brontë’s great novels, when in fact I was referring to Rebecca West’s consideration of the ways in which a writer’s circumstances and character can influence her work. One need not agree with West’s critical opinion to admire the beauty of her essay, which derives from the force and depth of her generous sympathy for the harsh exigencies of Charlotte Brontë’s existence.
And The Awl wonders if there is something else to this quarrel:
A reader writes: "what is the long game here????" He refers to this letter, in the New York Review of Books, from Janet Malcolm, to Francine Prose, regarding Rebecca West's views on Charlotte Brontë. (You got that? ARE YOU SURE.) Malcolm criticizes Rebecca West's views on Brontë, but finishes: "Prose’s condescending words about Nora Ephron’s brilliant elliptical essays are similarly puzzling."
How did this come to pass? To what end was this written? Was this an impulsive blog comment of a letter? I too would be moved to defend Nora Ephron, but perhaps not to the extent of dashing off a letter. Or was this a tip of an iceberg of some seething hate or feud? Or are they right now at some tea shop laughing uproariously? (Choire Sicha)
We should add that the original Rebecca West essay can be read here.

Good news from Scarborough in The Yorkshire Post:
When plans were revealed to install new multi-million pound sea defences around Scarborough’s historic Spa they prompted a storm of protest.
Objectors were galvanised into action and hundreds of people signed a petition against the proposals to put boulders on the beach to fend off the waves.
Their action has finally paid off as it emerged that the £16m scheme has been shelved. Council bosses have agreed instead to repair the Victorian sea wall and prop up the crumbling cliffs above the Grade II-listed building. (...)
“This has gone on for two years and we are grateful the council has listened. But the scheme would have caused massive economic damage and loss of heritage. The Brontës, who so admired this stretch of the bay, would not just have been turning in their graves, they would have been climbing out and jumping up and down in fury.”
The New York Times reviews Minae Mizumura's A True Novel:
A True Novel” is a riveting tale of doomed lovers set against the backdrop of postwar Japan, with characters familiar to a Western audience: a rags-to-riches antihero, a tempestuous heroine who dies too young, a loyal housekeeper who tells their story. So how does the Gothic excess of “Wuthering Heights” translate to a culture better known for emotional restraint, even repression?
That is the larger concern of the novel, by the Japanese writer Minae Mizumura, who in adapting Emily Brontë’s classic has composed a fascinating meditation on cultural borrowing and the dislocation of modernity. (...)
The novel opens on Long Island, where one of the narrators — a stand-in for Mizumura, the daughter of a corporate executive sent to New York — introduces Taro Azuma, the story’s Heathcliff. (...)
The final character, as one would expect in a novel based on “Wuthering Heights,” is nature itself. The drama progresses, rather than on Emily Brontë’s moors, primarily in the woods of the mountain resort of Karuizawa. (Susan Chira)
The Australian talks about Nicole Kidman. When she was young:
She responded to the tragic love tales of the Brontë sisters as a child and by the time she was 19 she had been working for five years and on a different trajectory from other girls, Brontë or otherwise. (Michael Bodey)
The London Evening Standard reviews the film Fill the Void:
By the end, thanks to all the nourishing male attention, virtually all the young females have found a soulmate. And true love — of the Jane-Eyre-and-Mr-Rochester type — abounds. What is this, an advert? (Charlotte O'Sullivan)
RadioTimes talks about what's on British TV next week. Monday, December 23:
Jane Eyre – 8:30pm, BBC2
Mia Wasilkowska’s pale Jane is well matched against Michael Fassbender’s full-blooded Mr Rochester. Inclement weather, flickering firesides and screams in the night combine to create a worthy incarnation to rival previous adaptations.
The Wenatchee World recommends some classics for students:
I have some suggestions for some great books for your middle school and high school students. The list is by no means complete; but it is a start. Anything from Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner, Twain, Dickens, Orwell, Poe, London, Harte, Swift, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austin (sic). (Nancy Coolidge)
El Cultural (Spain) reviews the film Lore:
El estilo poético y matérico de Shortland, muy atento al mundo de las emociones, los sonidos y los movimientos de la naturaleza, recuerda al de otras directoras de primera fila como Jane Campion, muy especialmente aquella brillante y ultrasensitiva Bright Star (2009), la belleza plástica y casi expresionista de la versión de Cumbres borrascosas de Antonia Bird (sic, obviously meaning Andrea Arnold) o la fuerza emocional y volcánica de otro despertar sexual, Tomboy, de Céline Sciamma. (Juan Sardá) (Translation)
BlogTaormina (in Italian) posts about Wuthering Heights; Libreriamo (also in Italian) recommends Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affaire;

Today and tomorrow at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Decorations and Stories Weekend
14 – 15 December, Brontë Parsonage Museum
With Christmas almost upon us, there’s still time for those last minute preparations. Come to our wreath making workshop, where you can tuck into some mince pies and mulled wine, or make some Christmas decorations at our drop-in session. Come and listen to atmospheric Christmas readings from your favourite festive stories.
Saturday 14 – open 10am to 6pm
10:30am & 1pm Wreath making workshop (to book contact louisa.briggs@bronte.org.uk or tel: 01535 640188)
1pm-4pm Christmas readings with the Ilkley Players
(FREE with admission to museum)
Sunday 15 – open 10am to 5pm
11am-4pm Drop-in craft sessions: Christmas decoration making
(FREE with admission to museum)
2pm Short Talk: History of the Victorian Christmas Tree

Comments :

0 comments to “ "How much greater can you get if you have written Jane Eyre and Villette?" ”
Post a Comment