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Charlotte Brontë wrote not one but two masterpieces. Most readers know Jane Eyre. Even non-readers feel they know it, because they have seen a film version, or just because it is a part of our common culture. But Villette, Brontë’s last and – to my mind – greatest novel, is less popular, perhaps because it is so uncompromising and so original. It is high time it was recognised as the blazing work it is. Reading it you enter an area of experience – of passion and disappointment and the violent return of the repressed – that has seldom been so lucidly articulated.The novel is reviewed today on the blogosphere by Ciza Czas i ja (in Polish).
It is also an astonishing piece of writing, a book in which phantasmagorical set pieces alternate with passages of minute psychological exploration, and in which Brontë’s marvellously flexible prose veers between sardonic wit and stream-of-consciousness, in which the syntax bends and flows and threatens to dissolve completely in the heat of madness, drug-induced hallucination and desperate desire. (...)
As Virginia Woolf wrote, Brontë was one of those writers whose “overpowering personality” means “they have only to open the door to make themselves felt. There is in them some untamed ferocity perpetually at war with the accepted order of things.” The Brontë myth would have us see Charlotte and her sisters as spinsters, timidly hiding behind male pseudonyms. Anyone who has read Villette knows that Woolf comes much closer to the truth. It is a fierce book, and an irresistibly compelling one. (Read More)
This ‘Jane Eyre,’ energetically directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (‘Sin Nombre’) from a smart, trim script by Moira Buffini (‘Tamara Drewe’), is a splendid example of how to tackle the daunting duty of turning a beloved work of classic literature into a movie,” A. O. Scott wrote in The Times. “Neither a radical updating nor a stiff exercise in middlebrow cultural respectability, Mr. Fukunaga’s film tells its venerable tale with lively vigor and an astute sense of emotional detail.” (Kathryn Shattuck)The film was also on Rai 3 yesterday as Il Sussidiario (Italy) reports. Ross McG (Metro) saw the film on TV last week:
Super book, pretty decent film. This version, with a moody Michael Fassbender and a haunted looking Mia Wasikowska, may be the 831st adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s acclaimed novel, but it still manages to mine something new from its material, particularly in the cold harshness of the characters’ surroundings. Brrrrr.Augusta Magazine tells us what we need know about TB:
When we think of tuberculosis, we think of Old West outlaws, novels set in 19th-century Europe and afflicted geniuses. We think of Doc Holliday, the Georgia-born dentist and gunfighter who went to the Southwest in hopes of extending his life. We think of Marguerite Gautier, the heroine of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Lady of the Camellias. We think of Emily Brontë and George Orwell. (Lucy Adams)We rather think that Charlotte Brontë must be revolving in her grave reading how MillionaireMatch uses her Jane Eyre to publicise themselves:
We can obviously observe that Jane stressed the spiritual equality between her and Edward Rochester when they fell in love. But why she said that? She is neither rich nor pretty, while Edward Rochester is a single millionaire who is perfect for dating in modern words. The disparity of wealth is the main cause of the psychological distance between them. Mr. Rochester never thought Jane was ugly and poor, but Jane herself and other people did. This psychological distance is more like a barrier that the non-millionaire part feels humble and unequal.We read on Chorley Citizen how
Countryside campaigners have pledged to maintain conservation efforts for the South Pennine moors - after the end of a three-year campaign.The London Evening Standard reviews What I Have Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis:
The £3 million Watershed Landscape initiative has reaped a number of rewards for East Lancashire since its inception in 2010. (...)
The three-year heritage drive aimed to give practical support to a diverse area which had inspired the Brontës, Ted Hughes and Henry Moore.
Samantha Ellis has spent her life reading in the way that English students are taught not to but most do anyway. She has always seen literary characters not only as actors in their own stories but in her story too. When she first read Wuthering Heights, she wanted to be swept off her feet by an “avalanche of love”, like Cathy Earnshaw. After Pride and Prejudice, “I’m ashamed to admit, I started reading not only for the heroines I wanted to be but the heroes I wanted to be with,” she writes. She underlined certain passages so hard that her pen went through the page. (Johanna Thomas-Corr)The Stage reviews the BBC adaptation of The Thirteenth Tale:
Heavy on the gothic, with a definite nod in the direction of Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale proceeded to add madness, murder, incest, ghosts and arson into its mix, to compelling and disturbing effect. It was elegantly made, clinically effective and darkly enjoyable. (Harry Venning)GPB is thrilled to watch the fourth season of Downton Abbey:
We hope that Downton’s most unluckiest at love resident finally gets her happy ending. Maybe Mr. Gregson’s crazy wife will die in a fire set off by a mad rage just like in the book "Jane Eyre." Hey that will work! Are you listening Mr. Fellowes. (Rosemary Jean-Louis)Smitten by Britain posts about Wuthering Heights and the Brontës in general; Whispering Pretty Stories reviews Jane Eyre; FilmMedia Bradford uploads a video of Haworth on Christmas Eve.