Saturday, April 05, 2014

The 2016 Brontë biopic project directed by David Anthony Thomas has a new addition to its cast. After Rachel Teate who will play Emily Brontë we have a new Branwell: Matthew Lewis.
An actor who starred in the Harry Potter films has been chosen for a major role in a multi-million pound film exploring the lives of the Brontë sisters.
Matthew Lewis, who played the part of Neville Longbottom in the eight Harry Potter films, was selected for a new biopic called The Brontës. He will portray the sisters’ troubled brother, Branwell.
In October of last year, Yorkshire-based Clothworkers Films revealed an estimated budget of £10 million for the production about the famous literary siblings – Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
The company has said the film will be the world’s first English-language project of its kind. The two-hour feature is due to be released on April 21, 2016 – exactly 200 years since Charlotte Bronte was born.
Mr Lewis’s involvement was announced on Monday by the film’s director, David Anthony Thomas. Mr Thomas said: “I’m really excited to be working with Matthew Lewis on The Brontës film. Matthew will be playing the role of Branwell Brontë.
“Matthew has been my first choice to play Branwell since we first started working on the production, and I’m delighted he’s agreed to play the role.” (...)
His role as Branwell will see him getting to grips with a character who struggled to find a niche in life, despite being a capable scholar and a published poet. (...)
Mr Thomas, who is himself a lifelong Brontë fan, said despite the many bleaker elements of the family’s story, his film will also celebrate their resilience and success.
He added he wants the film to be faithful to history, while being accessible to audiences unfamiliar with the Brontës’ work. (Keighley News)
©Ben Lack Photography Ltd
The Daily Mail publishes an article about the restoration and transformation of the Brontë Birthplace by the new owners who want to convert it in a popular tourist attraction:
The cottage was shut up for years following the failure of a birthplace museum on the tourist trail.
It was let as private rented accommodation until it came back on the market last year.
The historical home had been rented as bedsits to tenants in search of cheap accommodation but the plaques commemorating the births of the four gifted children outside the faded front door were barely noticed.
After the last tenants packed their bags the absentee landlord put the property on the market last year.
The Brontë birthplace trust was formed by local villagers to save the property and turn it back into a museum again.
But this scheme failed after Bradford Council decided it could not afford to buy the property.
Amid fears it would be turned back into flats, businessman Mark de Luca and his wife Michelle spotted the near-derelict property believing it to be an unpolished tourism gem.
He renovated the home which was suffering from damp and flooding and has turned it into a deli where visitors can look round the Brontë’s private quarters.
The cafe is due to open up in May following an extensive renovation.
Among other features, visitors will be able to inspect the very hearth where all three sisters were born.
It also boasts the writing desk built into the structure where Patrick Haworth wrote his first sermon - about the Battle of Waterloo. (...)
The couple are sleeping in Patrick and Maria’s room complete with the writing desk where he wrote his first sermon – on Wellington’s victory at Waterloo.
The second bedroom where the younger Brontës slept has become the drawing room, though it still has the built-in wardrobe used by the children.
The third bedroom used by the Brontë children’s nurse serves as a study while the downstairs scullery has become their private kitchen.
The rest of the downstairs rooms, including the drawing room with the famous fireplace, have been laid out as a delicatessen and coffee shop with room for 35 people due to open next month.
A counter and open kitchen serving cakes, sandwiches, and pastries has been created in one of the front extensions built in the 1900s as a butcher’s shop.
The couple hope the trendy décor will attract of a new generation of Brontë fans who previously may have regarded the sisters’ writings as a touch highbrow.
Mr de Luca added: ‘We want to make the Brontës cool and trendy. The Brontë Society meetings and events at Haworth seem to attract mainly older people.
‘The original idea of a museum is great - but you do not really get to sit there and enjoy reading a Brontë book or a newspaper.’
Birthplace Trust Chairman Steve Stanworth said: ‘I am delighted. It will  once again be somewhere that Brontë fans can see the actual place the literary giants were brought into the world. (...)
Bronte Society Chairman Sally McDonald said: ‘The birthplace in Thornton is hugely important in the Bronte story.
‘In the bicentenary year of 2016 the world’s attention will turn to all places linked with Charlotte Brontë.
‘Some years ago former Brontë Society member, Barbara Whitehead, bought and tried to restore the house but sadly it proved just too big a project.
‘It is a pity the Birthplace Trust’s hopes of turning the house into a museum were pipped at the post but it wasn’t to be and it is heartening to hear the new owners are keen to sympathetically retain the history.’
There's some confusion about what the actual place where the Brontës were born is (if it can be known at all). Chadwick's In the Footsteps of the Brontës says that the most probable place was the drawing room (as it was the warmer) which is at the right of the entrance. Nevertheless the Haworth Village website says that the room to the right is the dining room (!).  You can compare the room as it was in Barbara Whitehead's time here with the new look here. Also you can compare the children's bedroom then and now.

Daily Express concludes that in literary love nothing is meant to be simple:
In all great love stories you need a proper cast-iron obstacle that stops everyone living happily ever after - at least for a while.
You need class differences, family secrets, a lack of dowry for her or a lack of prospects for him.
You need a mad wife in the attic which prevents you from loving another (Jane Eyre), or a father who says if you don't marry the man he's picked out then off to the nunnery, missie (Midsummer Night's Dream). (Jennifer Salway)
Adrian Mourby in The Guardian tells the story of her wife's doll, Annsie, who has been passing from generation to generation since 1840:
With her Charlotte Brontë centre-parting, Annsie is not much to look at. Having seen too many scary films that make hay with malignant Victoriana, I'm wary whenever my wife removes Annsie from her cardboard coffin and shroud of spare clothes; a brown and blue coat, a brown and white winter dress, a blue and white summer dress and an apron. With her brown eyes (rare in dolls of the time), porcelain-pink cheeks and white kid-leather limbs, she radiates a disturbing inscrutability.
The Herald reviews the new edition of The Golden Fleece by Muriel Spark:
She also had a special affinity with writers such as the ill-fated, short-lived Bronte sisters and she was especially proud - as well she might be - of her own biographical study of Emily Bronte. The modern writers she most admired were those with transcendent style. Proust's roman fleuve was a book she knew intimately. Here she recalls his interest in hats, one she shared. (Alan Taylor)
This columnist from The Strait Times (Malaysia) describes his love for literature:
I spend many lonely hours reading some of the most impenetrable classics known to man. No, I am not a literary scholar. I am forever a student of literature. I devoured Ulysses, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, Madame Bovary, War and Peace and Don Quixote with the obnoxious intent to please myself.
The Telegraph & Argus lists several of the upcoming activites at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
On Wednesday, April 23, at 7pm, the Parsonage stages a reading from playwright Samantha Ellis’s new novel, How To Be A Heroine: Or What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much, as she reflects on the books that shaped her, and meets her literary heroines.
Easter workshops include Eggs! Eggs! Eggs!, transforming boiled eggs using dyeing and painting techniques, and Words To Pictures, where participants can be inspired by the museum’s pictures and objects to write their own story or poem.
The Churchyard Challenge gives visitors chance to explore mini beasts and unusual plants lurking beneath the stones, and complete our graveyard trail to find out about people who once lived in Haworth.
Keighley News reports the results of the top 75 Yorkshire icons poll:
Haworth’s legendary Brontë sisters have taken fourth spot in a poll to find Yorkshire’s top 75 icons.
The literary siblings were beaten only by Yorkshire Pudding – which took top spot – York Minster and the Yorkshire Dales.
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the one-time home to sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, said she was pleased with the result.
“Fourth out of 75 seems pretty good to me!” she said.
“I think for a lot of people the Brontës have coloured the Yorkshire landscape and will be forever associated with the county.
The Irish Times recommends literary breaks in England:
Haworth, Yorkshire
A cottage industry of afternoon teas and literary mementos has overwhelmed the village of Haworth, once home to the Brontë sisters.
To get there, take the Metro Rail Network from Leeds to Keighley, then do the last six kilometres aboard the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway steam train ( which featured in The Railway Children.
St Thomas Times journal reviews Local Customs by Audrey Thomas:
Nothing is conclusive and in well-described scenes reminiscent of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, in which Edward Rochester’s attic-bound wife made eerie midnight forays into other parts of the house, the mystery deepens. All of this is pondered by Letty, but from an after-death perspective.
The Sydney Morning Herald echoes the words of the American poet John Ashbery saying that "the great themes of poetry are death, love and the weather":
In Middlemarch, Dorothea and Will Ladislaw stand hand in hand looking out at a storm where the lightning is ''the terror of a hopeless love''. And where would Wuthering Heights be without the wuthering? (Jane Sullivan)
The Swarthmore College Daily Gazette presents yet another local performances of The Mystery of Irma Vep:
Inspired by Rebecca and Wuthering Heights, The Mystery of Irma Vep tells the story of Lord Edgar Hillcrest (Patrick Ross ‘15) and his new wife, Enid (Sasha Rojavin ‘15). Edgar’s first wife, the titular Irma, died tragically and he has yet to put her behind him. After a series of mysterious incidents on the estate – including an attack on Enid – Edgar goes to Egypt in search of answers. (Allison Hrabar)
Hartford Books Examiner interviews the writer Emma Donoghue:
What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
Fairy tales above all, plus nineteenth-century novels; I remember making a family tree to help me sort out the plot of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
Página 12 (Argentina) talks about the Brazilian patron of the arts Laurinda Santos Lobo:
No tuvo padre, la crió Murtinho, el hermano millonario de su madre, y fue gracias a esas monedas de oro que las hectáreas de yerba mate le dieron a su tío homeópata que Laurinda no fue sólo la huérfana heredera –sin destino de hospicio como el que le tocó en suerte a Jane Eyre– sino la mecenas avant-garde de la belle époque carioca. (Marisa Avigliano) (Translation)
This was an April Fool's prank published on Les Histoires Sans Fin but it's still very disturbing:
Les lecteurs d'aujourd'hui ne sont plus forcément les mêmes que ceux d'il y a une trentaine d'années. En effet, plusieurs maisons d'édition américaine se sont rendu compte d'une perte à fois des repères en culture générale, mais également de la dégradation du niveau de lecture des jeunes lecteurs. Pour ce faire, un vaste programme intitulé Re(ad)make© pour redonner envie de lire les livres classiques se met en place doucement dans les plusieurs écoles test. (...)
L'une des grosses surprises de ce projet est le travail que devrait effectuer Stephenie Meyer, l'auteure de Twilight, sur le roman dont elle a aidé à relancer les ventes, Les Hauts de Hurlevent d'Emily Brontë.
L'auteure mormone confie « Je suis ravie de participer à Re(ad)make ! Même si ils ont adoré l'histoire d'Emily Brontë, mes lecteurs m'ont parfois avoué n'avoir pas tout compris de cette histoire d'amour, de vengeance et de famille... J'ai été honoré que l'État du Wisconsin me l'ait demandé et j'ai accepté immédiatement. » (Fred Ricou) (Translation)
Psychologies (Romania) lists Jane and Rochester and Catherine and Heathcliff among other literary love stories; an app designer and Brontëite on La Repubblica (Italy); Flavorwire celebrates the National Poetry Month with a poem by Emily Brontë: A Death-scene.


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