Thursday, January 09, 2014

Thursday, January 09, 2014 10:17 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Claire Harman reviews Samantha Ellis's book How to Be a Heroine in The Guardian.
What exactly are we expected to make, for instance, of her feelings about Wuthering Heights, a book that Ellis reads every year around the time of her birthday in homage to its centrality in her life, a book "I think about, one way or another, every day"? "Wuthering Heights is, for me, so synonymous with love that reading it is almost as satisfying as having a romance," she says. What a jolt, then, to reread it after a conversation with her best friend (on a trip to Haworth no less) during which she was persuaded that Jane Eyre might just be a better role model than Cathy Earnshaw, that there is no excuse for Cathy "betraying her own heart" and that Heathcliff is an obsessive and a sadist.
Ellis knows all this about Cathy and Heathcliff of course, but discounted it in the version of the book she told herself. Bibliophilia is blind, perhaps. Meanwhile, in response to the doubts that her friend has sown, she decides that Wuthering Heights isn't about heroes and heroines anyway, but about "transcendent love, operatic love, excessive, abandoned love" that, moreover, "could only be written by someone who had never been in love". This marvellous insight made the book for me, although it seems to have caused the author further problems –the sudden discovery that her favourite novel was "a terrible template for actually conducting a love affair". I should say so.
The Guardian also gives 2 stars out of 5 to the stage production The Brontës of Dunwich Heath … and Cliff.
Jane Brontë of Dunwich wants to be a writer and greatly admires her scribbling Yorkshire cousins. Alas poor plain Jane can't find anything to write about except what she ate for breakfast. With money short, she is doomed to become a governess to Mr Rochester, the coconut magnate of Thornhill Hall, Colchester.
Then there's Jane's wuthering sister, Cathy, and a ghost who keeps knocking on the parsonage window and warbling Kate Bush songs. Add to that Sir Fred the banker, wannabe pop star Cliff Richard, George III, and a woman in the Thornhill attic with aspirations to enter the cosmetics business, and you have some of the ingredients for a plot. Not for a 19th-century novel, but one of Eastern Angles' seasonal literary spoofs.
Alas, something is rotten not just in the borough of Dunwich, but in the theatre, too. It turns out that Charlotte and Emily nicked their plots from the lives of their Dunwich cousins, but you start to wish that writers Ivan Cutting and Eileen Ryan had also committed literary theft, so lame and shapeless is their script. This feels like a first draft in desperate need of dramaturgy and ruthless pruning, despite the fact that on examining the Thornhill topiary the wide-eyed Jane exclaims: "I've never understood the modern fad for trimming one's bush." There's plenty more innuendo like that in show that is big on fireman's hoses, toilet humour and Mr Rochester asking Jane: "Would you hand-pollinate my zucchini?"
If the show had genuine content and the style and wit to compensate, the mild smut would be less tiresome, but it doesn't. Cutting the director constantly indulges Cutting the writer. A game, hard-working cast try hard to rise above their material, but it's an uphill struggle because in this instance Eastern Angles have lost the plot. (Lyn Gardner)
The Huffington Post wants students to keep their New Year resolutions real by admitting they won't read Wuthering Heights:
Read, something, anything, just read. So maybe staying caught up on Wuthering Heights hasn't exactly panned out. And while, of course, it's always best to read what your English teacher assigns, for some people this is never, ever, going to happen as long as Shmoop and Spark Notes exist. So make a resolution to just read something, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, Anna and the French Kiss, the sports page, a silly blog about mid-January resolutions. Even if Brontë never becomes your beach read, I think your English teachers will thank Lord Byron just to know you are reading at all. (Kiley Roache)
While The Times wants students to study in silence:
If you want to understand Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, it might be best to switch off Kate Bush’s version. If you want to make progress with The Pilgrim’s Progress , you’ll find no assistance from Judas Priest.
Contrary to the insistence of every teenager, it seems that listening to music does not improve concentration. (Tom Whipple)
The Telegraph comments on the Brontë references on BBC1's The 7.39.
The result is as unconvincing as it is bland, a sub-middle-brow atrocity in the context of which allusions to Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina look even more ludicrous. David Morrissey’s Carl may be an old codger, but no Rochester he; (Christopher Middleton, and Hannah Betts)
Michael Fassbender was Rochester and his role in Jane Eyre 2011 is considered one of his top 6 by Female First.
Jane Eyre (2011)
Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels of all time, and the story has been adapted for the big screen many times.
In 2011, Fassbender joined forces with Mia Wasikowska in Cary Fukunaga take on the Charlotte Bronte novel.
Fassbender took on the role of Rochester; an intense and flawed man that you just cannot help but like.
There is just something about Fassbender in this role, as he brings a passion that we perhaps have not seen in this character before.
Fassbender and Wasikowska banter well together and the growth of their relationship really does feel incredibly fresh.
Jane Eyre is a beautifully crafted film with two fantastic central performances - this is one of my favourite adaptations of this wonderful novel. (Helen Earnshaw)
More movies, as MNews (Italy) reports that Wuthering Heights 1992 will be broadcast on RaiMovie tonight at 9 pm.

Agoravox (France) finds a metaphor in the use Charlotte Brontës makes of 'castles' (?)
Nos châteaux sont d’admirables anachronismes, comme maints de leurs propriétaires. Charlotte Brontë, Duhamel, Bernanos, d’autres encore, nous invitent à voir en eux les symboles de la résistance à l’emprise tyrannique de l’absurde monde dit moderne. (Claudius) (Translation)
The York Press visits Holy Trinity church at Little Ouseburn:
The church itself is no less interesting. Set on a bend in the road, near a Georgian bridge, over Ouse Gill Beck, it has Anglo-Saxon origins, with St Bega and was once attended by Anne Brontë, who referred to it in her novel Agnes Grey.
While The Craven Herald reports that the Dales Society has organised a free walk around Skipton,
including an extended visit to the forgotten burial ground which gives an insight into the town’s Victorian community.
Graves include those of Rudyard Kipling’s grandparents and the Rev William Cartman, who officiated at the funeral of Charlotte Brontë.
Mademoiselle Snow reviews Jane Eyre 2011.

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