Saturday, December 07, 2013

My Wuthering Heights, by Alice Munro

The Guardian interviews the most recent Nobel prize of literature, Alice Munro, who talks about her teenage Brontë obsession:
After rewriting "The Little Mermaid" to give it a happier ending, she progressed to a Wuthering Heights "offspring" ("There must be an awful lot of them around"). She loved the way the landscape was part of the story, and knew this was the kind of book she wanted to write. "My Wuthering Heights was a very recognisable Canada, and I grafted on Yorkshire." Despite not having looked at Emily Brontë's novel for more than 40 years, she can still quote whole passages, and in a telling clue to the angle from which she approaches a story, she muses: "Everybody thinks they would be Cathy, the woman Heathcliff loved, not Isabella, the woman he married, don't they?" (...)
In [Èdna]O'Brien she recognised "the pain of the love" with her mother, and a similarly stultifying community in Catholic Ireland, "something about that life on the outskirts of the British Empire, speaking the language, but not being quite part of that world." Being inspired by O'Brien, she says, "is much more comfortable than being inspired by Wuthering Heights – it's the real world". (Lisa Allardice)
The book in question was Charlotte Muir. In 1972 she told John Metcalf in an interview (Journal of Canadian Fiction, 4):
The novel that I had all planned in my teens I still think about. I can see how clearly it relates...I can now see
some significance in it. It's very dark, its very imitative and very gothic. (...) I can see what was going on. I can see that those were the twin choices of my life, which were marriage and motherhood, or the black life of the artist.
Apparently (Thomas E. Tausky, 1986)
much was imagined but only the death scenes were written down,
We are very confused by this article on the Isle of Wight County Press:
In 1873, the painter and sculptor George Frederick Watts completed The Briary on Moons Hill for his friends, the Prinseps.
It included three large studios for Watts to work in. Val Prinsep was a significant painter.
Guests included Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, the poet Robert Browning and the designer William Morris. (John Medland)
Needless to say Emily Brontë never visited the Isle of Wight... nor any of her sisters, brother or father. But maybe the article tries to suggest that she did it not physically but spiritually as she had been 25 years dead when the aforementioned house was built.

We are not quite sure that the listing of Charlotte Brontë on this "famous creative minds that didn't quit their day jobs" list by Fast Company Magazine is quite accurate, but we understand the point:
Sometimes, a day job can inform a creative passion. In Charlotte Brontë’s case, generations of readers have been drawn into the harsh worlds of Jane Eyre and Villette thanks to her work as a poorly paid governess that had to pay her employers out of her own pocket for using their facilities to wash her clothes. (Lydia Dishman)
Charlotte Cory, whose exhibition Capturing the Brontës is now at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, talks about her approach to the Brontës and other things on BBC Radio 3's The Surreal Verb (available online for a week):
Ian McMillan presents Radio 3's 'Cabaret of the word'. This week, The Verb is looking at 'The Surreal' with poet Ira Lightman, artist and writer Charlotte Cory and Michel Remy, editor of 'On The Thirteenth Stroke of Midnight: Surrealist Poetry in Britain'. (December 6, 22.00)
The Mirror (and The Times) reports the death of the romance writer Ida Pollock:
Yesterday Rosemary described her mother as a national treasure and said: “She led an extraordinary life .
“She loved romance and she felt Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë were both romantic novelists, so it was nothing to be ashamed of. (Adam Aspinall)
Victoria Advocate thinks about a world without artists:
There would be no beautiful photos to hang on our walls or songs to hold memories in our hearts. There would be no theater, no fashion, no music, dance or film.
There would be no Disney, Gatsby, "Harry Potter" or "Jane Eyre."
There would be no color. (Jennifer Preyss)
The Stoke Sentinel discusses a local restaurant:
Hanley's restaurants rely heavily on the pre-theatre trade. It adds to the treat to savour a good meal before settling down to Wuthering Heights – On Ice.
A Heathcliff on ice is really something we would pay to see.

Wuz (Italy) recommends Villette for Christmas:
Villette di Charlotte Brontë. E' il suo ultimo romanzo, dai toni autobiografici, considerato da Virginia Woolf il suo libro più bello. In Italia manca da anni e ci è stato chiesto a gran voce dai lettori (e dalle lettrici soprattutto). (Translation)
And Hamburger Abendblatt recommends Wuthering Heights:
Es ist in diesem Jahr wieder neu erschienen. Das gewaltige Panorama über Land und Leidenschaften wäre mein ganz heißer Tipp für ein Weihnachtsgeschenk. Ein Klassiker und in diesem Jahr ebenfalls neu erschienen ist Emily Brontës "Sturmhöhe", eine schmachtende Liebes- und Hassgeschichte. (Armgard Seegers) (Translation)
An alert for tonight, December 7 in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London:
Women Laughing

Conway Hall, 19.00 h
As a follow-on to the Secularism and Feminism Conference, Terry Sanderson selects side-splitting performances on film from some of the funniest women ever to entertain an audience, either in stand-up, in sketches or as scene-stealing comedy actresses.
Giggles and guffaws guaranteed from mistresses of laughter from both sides of the Atlantic and from all eras: Lucille Ball, Victoria Wood, Phyllis Diller, Caroline Aherne, Joyce Grenfell and many, many more.
And you haven't lived until you've seen the Brontë Sisters at their psychiatrist for family therapy!
We suppose that the Brontë sketch is the one featured on Psychobitches earlier this year.

Keighley News talks about last Sunday's Scroggling the Holly parade in Haworth; an article in the Diário da Manhã (Brazil) has a Wuthering Heights passing reference; La Bottega di Hamlin (Italy) features Jane Eyre; Celebrations of a Writer reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Homo Literatus (in Portuguese) has a complete article about Wuthering Heights.

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