Thursday, June 05, 2014

Thursday, June 05, 2014 11:28 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Nouse reviews Weathering Lows, a play written by students which is 'a bizarre parody of the Brontë novel'. The play only gets 2 stars out of 5.
Student writing is very hit-or-miss and sadly, the latest piece from the lovely Tess Humphrey was quite a miss. The play follows the story of Cath (Lixie Stott), a young woman suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), as she handles—or rather, doesn’t handle — her recent break up with Edd (Andrew Foster).  The whole thing, somewhat unsurprisingly, uses the plot of Wuthering Heights to tell Cath’s story as she suffers from her condition, the problem here being that the play is far too obvious to be an allusion and far too uneventful to be an homage. Accompanying Cath is a David Bowie-themed Pierrot (Anthony Rickman), a fictitious character from her latest play. The two had good chemistry on stage, though sadly underused, providing some of the highlights of the piece.
There appeared to be an attempted metatheatre to the play, in which Cath, like Tess, was attempting to use the play (and more specifically Cath’s relationship with Pierrot) to explore and explain the false perceptions surrounding mental illness, specifically conditions such as BPD. Trouble is, the play tries so hard to force this message upon the audience that it is actively rejected by them. The protagonist, Cath, is particularly difficult to empathise with; despite moments of compassion, her arrogance and self-indulgence are ultimately too much for the audience to overlook, and the message of the play falls flat because of this. In the First Act, there was an attempted realism, but in the Second, this realism was sacrificed for a bizarre parody of the Brontë novel, ending abruptly in a confusing example of deus ex machina.
Overall, Weathering Lows gives the impression that it is very much a work in progress. Some work on the script and the story, perhaps developing the dialogue with the actors involved, would benefit the piece greatly, as one of the play’s redeeming features was the acting. The wonderful Lixie Stott, whose portrayal of Cath was particularly impressive, dealt well with a huge volume of—what tended to be—unnatural or pseudo-intellectal dialogue, and kept the audience captivated through what otherwise could have made for difficult watching. Anthony Rickman, too, should be commended on a very watchable performance, showing good knowledge of physical comedy and his role in the drama. The two of them managed to carry a show which is still in need of some development. (Declan Dillane)
William Atkins, author of the book The Moor, picks his 'top 10 books of the moor' for The Guardian.
5. Brontë Moors and Villages by Elizabeth Southwart
Of the throng of early 20-century guides to "Brontë Country", Southwart's 1923 book is the only one that really gets its feet wet. She writes of the moors above the Brontës' home village of Haworth with an earned lyricism, understanding that the moors' "dreariness" was not a straightforward thing. Among her human subjects is a soldier returned from war, Ernest Roddy (though she doesn't name him), who went to live, with his chickens, at Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse said to be the model for Wuthering Heights. "The loneliness of the moor," Southwart maintained, "is not the lack of kind, but the hunger for something unattainable." [...]
9. The Black Dwarf by Walter Scott
"Haunted by a consciousness of his own deformity", the antihero of Scott's 1816 novel of misanthropy and revenge makes his home on "Mucklestane Moor", above Liddesdale. The Black Dwarf is based partly on a real-life recluse known to the author, and partly on a spiteful supernatural being of Border lore, the "Brown Man of the Muirs". Scott was aware of his novel's own deformity, and regretted its 'bungled' ending, but it's likely that it was absorbed by one acolyte of his, Emily Brontë: it's not hard to see its influence upon her own novel of moorland misanthropy and revenge.
A columnist from the Evening Times is currently reading Jane Eyre.
I went off on holiday and got lost in the 19th Century.
You know that time when the height of sophistication was speaking French and playing a little piano? Well, I'm there.
It started when I got stuck into the 1847 novel Jane Eyre.
My dad was ready to ship a tonne of books to the charity shop when I spotted the tatty cover of Charlotte Brontë's classic and couldn't resist unpacking the box to see what other gems I could find. [...]
Anyway, since I'd forgotten my current book I started reading the tale of the orphaned wee girl and now I'm enthralled. [...]
It does make me think, though, that our Jane got a better education in her charity orphan school than I did. Sure, there was poverty, sickness and death, but the principles of learning seemed solid.
At least Jane is a master of practical chores, like sewing and scrubbing floors. I'm afraid I can't even fix a hem without Wundaweb. And she was encouraged to be creative, with painting, reading and poetry.
Yes, she may have had to put up with an awful aunt, truly terrible cousins, cold baths, teachers that bullied her senseless and running around after posh twits, but the romantic heroine was content.
I am only half way through the book and we're just getting to the Mr Rochester stages, which could release her discontentment.
Still, her self discipline remains intact and that's something we could all learn from.
Jane never had inappropriate flings or ate junk food - she didn't have the chance right enough. She learned to keep her loud mouth under control, although I did enjoy her outbursts of cheek in her childhood.
In those times respect was valued and people really thought about how they spoke to others. We can't say the same today.
As we approach the school prom season I've been hearing about parents shelling out thousands of pounds for outfits and pink limos.
We should make it compulsory for pupils to read 19th Century literature to make us less bratty. It might have worked for me. (Rachel Loxton)
In fact, writer Victoria Connelly, interviewed by Female First, thinks that reading the classics helped shape her writing.
How much has your background in English literature helped you to write novels?     I am often asked if you need to study English in order to be a writer and the answer is no. You just need to love reading and writing. Studying for my degree in literature was a pure joy for me - three whole years of reading some of the best novels and plays ever written from Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Brontës and Thomas Hardy to E M Forster and John Fowles. What heaven! It helped me learn how the very best writers create compelling characters and riveting stories, and writing my 10,000 word dissertation on an old manual typewriter gave me the confidence to write my very first novel. (Lucy Walton)
The Mountain View Voice is reminded of Wide Sargasso Sea when reviewing Maleficient.
Disney's Maleficent subverts the earlier animated Sleeping Beauty by taking the perspective of the evil fairy and giving her a backstory. Manichean good versus evil—prominent in so many stories until late in the last century—has given way to today's viewpoint that villains are not born evil, but made so —by trauma, by institutional forces, by faulty brain chemistry. And so we get Jane Eyre from the perspective of the madwoman in the attic (Wide Sargasso Sea), the Wicked Witch of the West from the perspective of Elpheba [sic] (Geoffrey Maguire), Frozen from the Snow Queen's perspective and so forth. You'll notice that many of these retellings are feminist revisions of female villains. (Anita Felicelli)
El Mundo (Spain) comments on John Banville receiving a Prince of Asturias Award.
No hace falta señalar lo profundamente irlandesa que es esta descripción y lo mucho que debe, a su vez, a la tradición romántica y naturalista inglesa (particularmente, "Cumbres borrascosas", de Emily Brönte (sic)). Como en "Los muertos", de Joyce, y como en la pasión de Catalina y Heathcliff, los meteoros y las formas que abarca la naturaleza no son sino un correlato de las tormentas del alma. Pero un correlato no es un reflejo, ni una ilustración, ni un recurso estilístico: un correlato es un relato independiente, que funciona con una dinámica autónoma y que si ilumina el otro relato, el de las conciencias, es porque añade algo, es porque viene de otro sitio, no porque sea un espejo. (Alejandro Gándara) (Translation)
The Craven Herald features Jane Sellars.
Yorkshire-born Sellars, in addition to her connection with Harewood House, was director of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, is now curator of art at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, for which the publication of her book was timed to coincide with an exhibition of many of the works of art included in the book. [...]
She developed an interest in the work of women artists, and on her move to the Brontë Parsonage Museum intended to develop her career as a feminist historian.
But she found that her new job required her to be keeper of so much more, including pencil drawings made by Charlotte Brontë of Bolton Abbey. (Lesley Tate)
Médiapart (France) mentions how ignorant King George V seems to have been:
Son inculture était légendaire. Il ne connaissait pas les soeurs Brontë et leurs célébrissimes romans Jane Eyre et Les Hauts de Hurlevent. (Bernard Gensane) (Translation)
Västerbottens-Kuriren (Sweden) has compiled a playlist of spooky songs including
3. Kate Bush: Wuthering heights. En klassiker baserad på Emily Brontës odödliga roman. I låten gestaltar Kate Bush karaktären Catherines ”Cathy” Earnshaw vålnad. Kate lade tonarten extra högt för att hennes röst skulle få en gäll och spöklik karaktär. (Elin Boman and Marcus Österström) (Translation)
Here's a scan of a recent review by El País (Spain) of Villette in Catalan. Helping Writers Become Authors draws a lesson from Jane Eyre on '5 Ways to Bring Minor Characters to Life'. The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page reminds us of the fact that,
On this day in 1826, Patrick Brontë returned from a visit to Leeds with a box of twelve wooden soldiers for Branwell. Each child picked a soldier for their own, and named it, and they began to record the games they played and the battles they fought with their toys. The world of Angria (and, later, Gondal) was born from these soldiers. 


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