Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014 9:40 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Keighley News allows us to peek inside the Brontë Parsonage Museum during the busy time that is the closed period.
Brontë Parsonage Museum is closed to the public throughout January – but it is the busiest time of the year for staff.
Workers have only a few weeks to check every item in the Haworth museum and prepare new displays.
They are not only creating a major temporary exhibition, but will also refresh exhibits in the permanent galleries.
The museum’s closed season, at the beginning of January each year, will last longer than usual this time, until at least February 20.
Collections manager, Ann Dinsdale, said the extra time was required due to the amount of work needed to be carried out.
She added: “We’re updating the foyer and shopping area to improve our service to visitors.
“People can only come in through the front door of the Parsonage, so they’re exposed to the elements if they have to queue.
“In future, they will be able to buy a ticket at the desk in the foyer then make their way round to the front, so they can still get the experience of going through the front door.”
Museum staff were this week taking down the 2013 special exhibition, which featured Bronte household items, in readiness to install the 2013 exhibition, which explores the Brontë family’s links with animals.
Ann said: “We also have our exhibition upstairs, which tells the stories of the Brontës’ lives and how they came to write their works. We change some of the items on display each year.
“There’s a huge amount of work that goes on. I think people imagine the winter is a quiet time for us, but it’s probably the busiest time.
“It’s the only time of year when we can do work, such as decorating or maintenance. Everything is cleaned. We check the entire collection for any deterioration, including the furniture. We have to be very watchful for the woodwork, cracks, veneers.”
During the closed season, expert conservators examine items acquired by the Brontë Society during the previous 12 months, before they go on public display. (David Knights)
The Winnipeg Free Press has an article on the Jane Eyre production currently on stage at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. You can also watch a video.
Any list of the most powerful female characters in literature will always include a 19th-century orphan -- with no family, no money and no beauty -- near the top.
That maiden of low station, of course, is Jane Eyre, the title character of Charlotte Brontë's revolutionary 1847 novel, applauded ever since for shattering female stereotypes and empowering women to challenge their straightjacketed lives. A woman writing about the interior life of a woman has been a coming-of-age must-read for generations of teenage girls.
When a savvy artistic director is assembling a season of plays, a title that appeals to a large segment of a theatre's audience -- women make up at least 65 per cent -- has enormous box-office potential. Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's Steven Schipper was searching for a grand romance in the vein of recent top ticket-sellers like Pride and Prejudice and last January's Gone With the Wind. Jane Eyre is the mother of the romance genre.
"Years ago, I saw a great adaptation by Polly Teale in London, and was smitten," says Schipper.
He hadn't read Jane Eyre and didn't realize that the adaptation was a radical departure from Brontë's second novel (first to be published) and worried it might alienate those that worshipped the original.
"So we set out on a quest to find an equally excellent version that was true to Brontë's text, and none of the scripts we looked at came closer than Julie Beckman's," he says. "Its charms are the same as its heroine's: it is diminutive, intelligent, good-hearted and filled with romantic longing."
Beckman's adaptation of Jane Eyre, featuring Ontario-based actors Jennifer Dzialoszynski as the Gothic role model and Tim Campbell as her soulmate, Edward Rochester, opens Jan. 9.
"It's been a favourite story of mine for many years," says the dark-haired Dzialoszynski, last seen here playing numerous supporting roles in Gone With the Wind. "I have a beautiful copy that I love and have had for a few years. It's a red, hardcover, velvet-bound copy. Oftentimes I'd be reading it on the subway or at work and people would think I was reading the Bible."
It is a bible for some young women, who counsel themselves to be "more like Jane." She's someone who stands up for herself and believes that she's worthy of a good life and being treated well at a time when sexism against women was a way of life.
"Charlotte Brontë was a feminist before they coined the word feminist," says the production's director, Tracey Flye, who helmed The Penelopiad at the RMTC Warehouse last February. "I wouldn't say she is a bra-burning feminist in the sense we know. She was dealing with these concepts long before anyone else did."
It should not be forgotten that Jane was looking for love, not women's rights. The heartwarming love-conquers-all storyline continues to be its enduring attraction.
"There is nothing better than a love story and watching someone finally triumphing," says Flye, who was the choreographer for Gone With the Wind. "People question their decisions all the time -- 'Should I or shouldn't I, what does my gut say?'"
The title role requires an actress who can play Jane from the age of 10 to about 30. That Dzialoszynski is five feet tall and has portrayed kids many times before, including a newspaper boy in Gone With the Wind, helped her stand out in the auditioning process. The biggest role of her career requires a performer who could access the tempestuousness of an irate child and the staid comportment of a governess.
One of the other key requirements facing the 28-year-old Dzialoszynski is to become a mirror into the rich interior world of Jane.
"There is a certain introvertedness that she has that makes it a challenge, especially on a big stage, to be the quiet, guarded, cautious young woman but makes sure everyone in the back row of the balcony can see it," says Dzialoszynski, who leaves the stage only a few times during the two-hour plus drama. (...)
"I love how strong Jane is," she says. "People attempt to control her but she won't allow anyone to tell her what she can or cannot live with." (Kevin Prokosh)
While Vanity Fair describes in passing Cary Fukunaga's screen version of the novel as 'elegantly moody'.

The Economist reviews Samantha Ellis's How To Be a Heroine.
Would you rather be Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Emily’s Cathy Earnshaw? This is the debate Samantha Ellis was having with a friend as they wandered over the wild Yorkshire moors to see the farmhouse that inspired “Wuthering Heights”. Ms Ellis, a British author and playwright, had always identified with passionate and headstrong Cathy, but perhaps independent, brave Jane was the truer heroine.
This thought prompted her to reread her favourite novels and reassess her heroines. The result is a delightful and hilarious memoir about the characters she loved as a prim girl with an overactive imagination (the hair of “The Little Mermaid” “curls like the waves she lives in”) and the ones she has come to admire as an independent thirty-something (Jane Eyre’s preternatural calm “now seems like enviable self-possession”.)
The Daily Mail reviews it too.
Self-confessed book worm Samantha Ellis and her life-long best friend Emma were up on the windy heights of a Yorkshire Moor when they had a devastating falling out.
While looking for the ruined farmhouse that inspired Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, they debated which Brontë sister heroine they’d be - Cathy Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.
For Samantha it had to be Cathy, ‘passionate and headstrong - and gorgeous’.
But for Emma it was Jane: independent and principled, not ‘weeping and wailing...and marrying the rich boy because she’s a snob’.
Samantha’s world crumbled. For years Cathy had been her role model, but now everything was in doubt.
She rushed home to revisit her favourite books to see if she’d been misled by a lifetime of literary women. [...]
Finally, she returns to her Cathy crush, and the way it made her think about relationships.
Brooding Heathcliff and star-crossed Cathy’s passion made complete sense to her. ‘I wanted a love so intense it could send me into a brain fever or cause the man who loved me to gnash his teeth and dash his head against a tree till he bled.’
Which turns out to be a not-entirely-practical approach to a happy-ever-after in the real world. (Eithne Farry)
More of Sue Monk Kidd's Brontëiteness is seen in this interview published by The New York Times:
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know? Could I assemble a dinner party? Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Charlotte Brontë, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison and Emily Dickinson. I would hope for stories about their writing, their feats, their regrets, their differences and similarities, the things women talk about.
Another Brontëite author, Marion Leigh, is found in the Birmingham Post:
“I’ve always just loved reading.
“I liked the Brontës, but wasn’t that keen on Jane Austen and I find it hard to understand why she is so popular.” (Graham Young)
And another Brontëite author is Christine Jordis, as seen in 20 Minutes (France):
9) Vous souvenez-vous de vos premiers chocs littéraires (en tant que lectrice) ?Des chocs littéraires je n'ai cessé d'en avoir et j'en ai encore. Mais les premiers ont trait à la littérature anglaise et il n'est pas étonnant que j'ai choisi d'étudier cette littérature-là.
C'était Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brontë, qui m'a littéralement enivrée, je rêvais de trouver l'équivalent du romantique M. Rochester et de vivre semblable histoire d'amour, sans me rendre compte, à l'époque, combien elle est en fait cruelle... Puis Les Hauts de Hurlevent, d'Emily Brontë, m'ont marquée, définitivement; j'ai lu et relu ce livre depuis cette première fois, quand je lui associais mes promenades sur la lande, et je crois toujours qu'il n'existe pas, au monde, de plus beau roman. (Translation)
And yet another Brontëite: Writer/journalist Naomi Abramowicz, interviewed by Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden).
Ett boktips, ett skivtips och ett filmtips, tack! En av mina favoritböcker of all time är den feministiska klassikern Jane Eyre av Charlotte Brontë. (Translation)
The San Diego Union-Tribune reviews the film Her:
Romeo and Juliet. Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Catherine and Heathcliff. The cowboys of “Brokeback Mountain.” Tony and Maria. Since time immemorial, humans have been falling love with the very creatures they shouldn’t. And that is because of a simple truth: The heart wants what it wants.
That is, beautifully, at the heart of “Her,” the new film from Spike Jonze. (Anders Wright)
This is how CulturPlaza (Spain) describes Richard Strauss's Enoch Arden:
Enoch Arden es una historia de amor. Una historia total que sigue
la senda de Cumbres borrascosas, publicada por
 Emily Brontë casi veinte años antes, en 1847. La historia, en un
 primer nivel se desarrolla alrededor de un triángulo amoroso entre Enoch, Annie y Philip, amigos desde la infancia, un triángulo donde 
se exaltan los valores victorianos de la familia y la amistad. (Translation)
The Moonlight Reader posts about Agnes Grey. Brain Pickings reviews Jane, the Fox and Me.


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