Friday, January 17, 2014

Anne Brontë's 194th birthday

It's Anne Brontë's 194th birthday today and The Guardian celebrates it by vindicating her work:

She's part of a literary dynasty that has dominated English literature for nearly 200 years, her sisters' books are on the national curriculum and hardly a Christmas goes by without a Brontë adaption. So why has Anne Brontë been forgotten? I know, I know, you haven't forgotten her, you read her all the time, you've got Agnes Grey in your hand right now. But in comparison to her sisters, Anne is not read. Her books aren't on the curriculum, she only shows up in must-read lists in combination with her famous siblings and most people would struggle to name her other book (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall).
The problem with Anne was that she refused to glamorise violent, oppressive men. While Charlotte and Emily were embracing the concept of the brooding, abusive byronic hero, Anne preferred quiet, supportive men. Her heroes are curates and farmers, men who look after their mothers and resist the temptation to imprison or exile unwanted wives. (Beulah Maud Devaney) (Read more)
The picture that goes with the article, however, shows Tara Fitzgerald and Rupert Graves in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1996 BBC miniseries, not Toby Stephens as the caption says, though he was also in the production. EDIT: The Guardian has corrected the mistake now.

The Keighley News has an article on last Thursday's episode of Great British Railway Journeys which showed Haworth and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
Presenter Michael Portillo began with a visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
He interviewed Prof Ann Sumner, executive director of the Brontë Society, who described how Charlotte and her siblings had invested in the railway and received a good income from it.
She said the trains were important to the sisters and their brother Branwell, who once worked as a railway clerk at Sowerby Bridge. [...]
K&WVR spokesman Jim Shipley said the programme, filmed last May, was well received.
“The railway came across well and it’s good publicity not just for us but for Haworth and the area generally,” he added.
“A few people mentioned to me the following morning that they’d seen it and the feedback was positive.
“The filming was carried out during our Railway Children Weekend.”
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Brontë parsonage, said many people were unaware of the siblings’ connections with the railways.
The Keighley News also comments on last year's figures in the main tourist attractions in the area.
Keighley-district tourist attractions have reported a mixed year in 2013.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth welcomed nearly 75,000 visitors, up slightly on the previous year.
General admissions totalled 69,142, while education groups accounted for 5,743.
Museum bosses said they were happy with the figures.
Collections manager Ann Dinsdale said: “When you consider the adverse weather we experienced in the early part of the year, the numbers are quite good.
“The figure for school visitors is almost identical to that for the previous year.”
At East Riddlesden Hall, the overall number of admissions fell – from 36,568 in 2012 to 34,279. (Alistair Shand)
East Riddlesden Hall is of course connected to the Brontës by way of the ITV 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights, which may have contributed to higher figures in previous years.

Still locally, the Yorkshire Evening Post reviews The Travellers Rest pub in Harrogate:
It sounds the perfect country inn from Dickens or one of the Brontës; a rural retreat where coaches disgorge weary travellers for a hearty meal while the horses take a well-earned rest. (Simon Jenkins)
News Plus (China) discusses dubbing and this interesting tidbit emerges:
The 1971 movie "Jane Eyre," starring George Scott and Susannah York, is more well-known in China than in many other countries. Its success is partly owed to the voiceover work of Qiu Yuefeng and Li Zi, who were the dubbed voices of Edward Rochester and Jane Eyre respectively.
During a TV interview several years ago, Li Zi recalled her cooperation with Qiu Yuefeng.
"I remember there was a scene when Rochester came back home and looked for Jane. He shouted Jane's name five times. I was deeply touched by his emotions; it was like he took my heart away. He made it easier for me to devote myself to my lines."
Zhang Jian grows up watching foreign movies. The forty something year old says when he first watched the movie "Jane Eyre", he was just a primary school student. From that time on, Zhang fell in love with foreign movies, or to put it more precisely, the voiceovers.
"Qiu Yuefeng, who voiced Edward Rochester in the Chinese mainland version of the movie, convincingly expressed the character's heartbreak to the viewers. It was true art, the charm and magic of the voice! It seemed that the dubbing and the character of Rochester were not performed by two different people, as the emotion that could be both seen and heard were perfectly integrated."
The passion expressed by the voiceover actors and actresses are what resonated with fans like Zhang. While it's hard for him to recall the plot, the lines and emotion evident in the voice acting among his favorite movies have left a lasting impression in his mind. 
While Il Sussi Diario (Italy) looks at film bloopers, including one from Jane Eyre 1996.

Samantha Ellis shares a few thoughts from her book How To Be a Heroine in Metro.
The Little Mermaid faced obstacles in her quest to marry a prince. Anne Of Green Gables taught me that imagination might not be a terrible flaw. Scarlett O’Hara gave me courage to fight for independence. Lucy Honeychurch gave me ideas about living an artist’s life. Cathy and Heathcliff were my template for a love affair. Cold Comfort Farm’s Flora was my guide to the art of being single and happy.
WKAR reviews the book Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss.
One of the things I loved about this book is that it’s obvious that Morag Joss has a great love of literature, for you see the past’s influence on this contemporary work. A favorite example is the romanticism of the environment around this little farmhouse, since it says more than the characters ever do about foreboding doom and endings. Yes, this book shares the same attributes that you would find haunting the worlds of the Brontës or the landscapes of Hardy. (Scott D. Southard)
Actualitté (France) shares the blurb for Thomas H. Cook's The Chatham School Affair, which has won the Grand Prix 2013 Meilleur Polar in its French translation.
Août 1926. Chatham, Nouvelle-Angleterre, à quelques encablures du cap Cod : son église, son port de pêche et son école de garçons, fondée par Arthur Griswald, qui la dirige avec droiture et vertu. L'arrivée de la belle Mlle Channing, venue d'Afrique pour enseigner les arts plastiques à Chatham School, paraît anodine en soi, mais un an plus tard, dans cette petite ville paisible, il y aura eu plusieurs morts. Henry, le fils adolescent de M. Griswald, est vite fasciné par celle qui va lui enseigner le dessin et lui faire découvrir qu'il faut " vivre ses passions jusqu'au bout ". Du coup, l'idéal de vie digne et conventionnelle que prône son père lui semble être un carcan. Henry assiste, complice muet et narrateur peu fiable, à la naissance d'un amour tragique entre Mlle Channing et M. Reed, le professeur de lettres qui vit au bord du Noir-Etang avec sa femme et sa fille. Il voit en eux " deux figures romantiques, des versions modernes de Catherine et de Heathcliff ". Mais l'adultère est mal vu à l'époque, et après le drame qui entraine la chute de Chatham School, le lecteur ne peut que se demander, tout comme le procureur : " Que s'est-il réellement passé au Noir-Etang ce jour-là ? " (Translation)
Carole Rae's Random Ramblings posts about Agnes Grey.

Finally, a couple of alerts for today.

According to Radio Times, today's Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 will include
a comparison of two Charlotte Bronte novels - Villette and Jane Eyre
Most of us feel we know the story of Jane Eyre. Even if we've not read it we might well have seen the film or television series. It's considered by many to be Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece. But according to novelist Lucy Hughes-Hallett Charlotte, Bronte's final and less popular work, Villette, is her greatest novel. We'll be discussing whether it's possible to say which is the better novel.
Presenter: Sheila McClennon
Producer: Bernadette McConnell.
It starts at 10 am.
Charlotte Bronte's greatest novel: Jane Eyre or Villette?

DURATION: 12 MINUTES
Novelist Lucy Hughes Hallet and Dr Lucasta Miller, author of The Brontë Myth discuss
And London 24 reports that Jane Eyre 1943 is being screened tonight at 8:30 and on Sunday at 6:20 at BFI Southbank.

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