Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to tell if you are on a Brontë blog

The Spectator has an article on Samantha Ellis's How To Be a Heroine:

This book arose from an argument. Lifelong bookworm Samantha Ellis and her best friend had gone to Brontë country and were tramping about on the Yorkshire moors when they began bickering: would it be better to be Cathy Earnshaw, or Jane Eyre? Ellis had always been fervently in the Cathy camp, re-reading Wuthering Heights every year (often in the bath) and swooning. But now, in her thirties, came an epiphany. She’d chosen the wrong heroine. This was understandable, given the ‘high drama’ of her family background, in the small community of north London Jews exiled from Baghdad. As she puts it:
An Iraqi Jewish endearment, fudwa, means ‘I would die for you’. In a five-minute phone call about yoghurt my grandma can offer to die for me ten or fifteen times.  So the Sturm und Drang of Heathcliff and Cathy’s love made sense to me.
Realising she should have backed Jane, it occurred to Ellis to revisit all her literary heroines and investigate their effect on her, for good and ill. (Cressida Connolly)
The Charlebois Post-Canada reviews the Manitoba Jane Eyre production:
Most of the narration provided in this production at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre comes across as redundant, fundamentally missing the point of why a novel would be adapted for the stage in the first place. It is unnecessary to have a character like Mr Brocklehurst (Gordon Tanner) proclaim that he "slowly turned his head" as we see him doing so, nor for Mrs Fairfax (Miriam Smith) to describe bringing in coffee as she does just that in front of us, and while this might technically achieve the goals of Chamber Theatre in a formal sense, it completely fails to engage the audience at an emotional level. There is a place for this kind of narrative description when it comes to Jane's internal monologue, since the story is told from her perspective and depends so much on her inner thoughts and feelings, and the play succeeds most in those moments when it restricts itself to telling us what it hasn't already shown.
Tracey Flye's direction also seems unable to decide on a tone for the play, with various members of the cast often feeling like they are in two different versions of Jane Eyre. (...)
Using the most famous phrase from the novel ("Reader, I married him") without alteration or context in the play's final scene is a microcosm of its problems. There is no effort in this production to build any conceit that Jane is writing about the events in her life (even though the novel was first published as "An Autobiography"), so addressing a "Reader" comes across as jarring instead of an homage to a classic line, serving only to remind me that I could just be reading the book instead. (Edgar Governo)
The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy wonders whether a site devoted to literature should have a 'women's fiction' section.
Getting rid of the category hadn’t been a political move. It was a practical consequence of paring down our library; we were going back to our roots, focusing on great literature, and the only content we had to start with were classics. I didn’t see a need for a “women’s fiction” tab to help readers sort between Jane Austen and Herman Melville. Others, apparently, did.
The feedback we heard from a number of female readers was that they no longer felt welcomed by the site. As one reader put it, the absence of the category made her “feel there was nothing for me here.” Some members of our team felt we ought to restore the category. We could populate it with Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, maybe toss in some George Eliot. What was the big deal? (Yael Goldstein Love)
The Daily Beast interviews writer Diane Johnson:
What is guaranteed to make you cry? The death of Anne Bronte, from Mrs. Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte. I used to read it to my classes, and never could get through it dry-eyed. (Noah Charney)
La nación (Argentina) features the book Libro de huéspedes - 100 años del Viejo Hotel Ostende in which the current hotel owner
cuenta que cuando era niña y sus padres compraron el viejo hotel, ella estaba convencida de que en el altillo había una mujer encerrada, una especie de Jane Eyre que alimentaba sus fantasías infantiles. (Silvia Hopenhayn) (Translation)
The Helsingborgs Dagblad look back at the Swedish-writing women of 1879-1889 and thinks part of their style is owed to Jane Eyre, which was first translated into Swedish in 1850.

The Akron Beacon Journal Online features several British roses newly introduced to the North American market. One of which is
‘Heathcliff’ (Old Rose Hybrid), a deep crimson rose with double flowers, is named for the character in the novel Wuthering Heights. The plant has deep green leaves and an upright growth habit, reaching 3-1/2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. (Mary Beth Breckenridge)
Now that Haworth has got its church clock back, it faces the possibility of its post office closing. The Telegraph and Argus has a couple of articles on the matter: Don’t let it be our last post in Haworth and Worry as Haworth post office set to close.

The Toast enlightens readers readers about 'How To Tell If You Are In A Brontë Novel' but while sort of funny, many of those points aren't all that Brontë-like. The Sojourners argues that Jane Eyre is better than Pride and Prejudice. Diario de Historias (in Spanish) organises a Jane Eyre read-a-long.  Lorilyn Roberts reviews Wuthering Heights. Cinjoella posts about Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre. Whispering Pretty Stories writes about Wide Sargasso Sea.

Finally, an alert for later today if you are near York. From the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page:
Join Ann Sumner and the Yorkshire Group of the Brontë Society in York at the National Railway Museum Café at 12pm for a talk on the Brontës and the Railways!!!

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