Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 3:02 am by M. in    No comments
After 2011 when two Brontë film adaptations were premiered followed two years (2012, 2013) dominated by the frenzy of mash-up novels, young adult revisitations and the latest erotic retellings under the shadow of the fifty shades, everything suggests that this will be a quiet year in the Brontë front.

The big screen news will probably spin around the Clothworkers Films production of a Brontë biopic initially scheduled for 2016 (to coincide with the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë's birth).We are pretty sure that this year will bring some news about the cast and crew that will be delivered through its active Twitter and Facebook accounts and its quite indefatigable communication strategy.

January will also bring a collector's limited edition set of  Wuthering Heights 1967 for Region 2 combined with a hardback illustrated book under the title The Brontës: Their Lives and Works. An edition of 1000 copies released by Front Row Books.

Although already published in the UK, the new Brontë Parsonage Museum guide will be widely available this year. It's an up-to-date, room-by-room description of the Parsonage (after the big redecoration of last year) and is signed by a dream team of Parsonage people: Ann Sumner, Ann Dinsdale and Kathryn White (the Brontë Society executive director, the Collections Manager and an ex-Curator of the museum). Amberley Publishing, on the other hand, will continue its collection of books centered on the pictorial history of Haworth with Haworth from Old Maps by Steven Wood.


Michaela MacColl will give us the Brontë fiction dose in Always Emily. A sort of YA version of the Laura Joh Rowland's Charlotte Brontë saga (or the Jane Eyre Chronicles by Joanna Campbell Slan) which promises a story about Charlotte and Emily involved in an romantic intrigue. The author knows her business as she has previously written similar historical fiction about Emily Dickinson or Princess Victoria. We have no confirmation but it is possible that another YA  fantasy novel about the Brontës will be published in 2014: Lena Coakley's The Worlds Below (provisional title) which will deliver the Brontë children to their fantasy worlds of Angria and Gondal for real.

The retellings and sequels category will be nurtured mostly by the self-published ebook world but maybe Ramon Pérez's illustrated modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre will see the light in 2014. And Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyleranother modern retelling of Wuthering Heights, will be published in April.

The scholar world will not be as exciting as in previous years. We may have been a bit spoiled by so many important/interesting recently-published research. Nevertheless, Routledge will republish The Representation of Personality in Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot by Karen Chase (1984). Muriel Spark's The Essence of the Brontës will also be republished. Palgrave will republish one of their Readers Guides to Essential Criticism devoted to Victorian Women's Poetry: Elizabeth Barrett Browning / Emily Bronte / Christina Rossetti (Mardi Stewart) and Salem Press will release a new volume of Critical Insights collection devoted to Jane Eyre. Nevertheless the highlight of Brontë scholarship this year, as usual, will be the Brontë Society Conference that will take place at Warwick University in August under the title The Brontës and the Condition of England where Juliet Barker, Rebecca Fraser,  Robert Logan or Marianne Thormählen will present contributions.

The theatre world will bring us new productions of the usual touring adaptations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights: Julie Beckman's Jane Eyre will be performed in Manitoba, Gordon & Caird's musical in Seattle, Polly Teale's Jane Eyre is being performed at the Cygnet Training Theatre in Exeter, the Send in the Girls' Brontë Burlesque is performed in Edmonton  ... but there will be also new adaptations. A new Wuthering Heights (with original music by Ben Davies) adapted and directed by Helen Tennison will premiere in April in London The piece is produced by The Rosemary Branch Theatre company that will also perform Bryony J. Thompson's adaptation of Jane Eyre in the same venue. But the pièce the resistance, in our opinion, will be the two-part Jane Eyre adaptation that the Bristol Old Vic is preparing. Mike Akers adapts and Sally Cookson directs.

And finally, the Brontë Parsonage Museum after its January closing will reopen with a new exhibition: The Brontës and the Animals. In March it will take place the fourth Brontë Festival of Women’s Writing with the presence of writers such as Jackie Kay and Susan Dunant.

Finally a word of caution, this is just a temptative list. We are certain that many more Brontë events will break out in the next twelve months. As usual.

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