Friday, August 29, 2014

Is Errol Flynn available for the Brontë Society?

The Yorkshire Post gives more details about the turmoil at the centre of the Brontë Society. It seems that at the heart of the problem lies the rather sudden (and not well explained) departure of Ann Sumner last June:

About 40 members of the literary society, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, have expressed concerns and how its governance is having an impact on the world-famous Brontë Parsonage Museum, which it owns.
Critics are close to getting 50 signatures to force an extraordinary general meeting in a bid to oust the ruling 
council.
In a letter, members John Thirlwell and Janice Lee claimed there was an urgent need to “modernise” the society. (...)
Mrs Lee told The Yorkshire Post that, in her opinion, the current council appeared to be “enthusiastic amateurs”.
Mr Thirlwell claimed the running of the Parsonage Museum should be left in the hands of museum staff, putting an end to what he called the “micro-managing” by the society’s council.
He added: “The big picture is that the Brontë Society has lost its way. The museum should be run by a Trust and in a more professional way.”
Mr Thirlwell claimed a 
recent consultants’ report concluded the Brontë Society was not best placed to be a fund-raiser because it was members’ club.
Members including Mr Thirlwell and Mrs Lee are still angry at the sudden departure in June of Ann Sumner, the society’s executive director, after just 16 months in the role.
Questions have been asked about the circumstances of her leaving, but details have not been disclosed.
Mr Thirlwell, a TV producer, said: “I, for one, would want Ann Sumner to come back.
“She had improved the relations between the village of Haworth and the Brontë Society, which has not always seen eye to eye with the village. She was very well respected in the museums field.”
Mrs Lee, who is a volunteer at the museum, added: “Ann Sumner came with a remarkable CV – she was amazing and had already started making inroads into taking the Parsonage forward.” (...)
The Brontë Society Council confirmed it was aware a letter had been sent “expressing concerns” over the way it was governed. (...)
“The council is working hard with an experienced and accomplished leadership team to ensure that the business planning of the Brontë Parsonage Museum is on a secure footing.”
The List reviews the Peter McMaster adaptation of Wuthering Heights recently seen at the Edinburgh Fringe:
This is not a faithful theatre adaption of Emily Brontë’s classic: from the beginning the all-male cast announce they will be playing various characters from the novel as well as themselves, taking Heathcliff’s temperamental disposition as the driving force behind a rollercoaster of a play exploring the male psyche.
Directed by Peter McMaster, who also plays Nelly and himself, Wuthering Heights is an undoubtedly brave piece of theatre. Taking on the nineteenth century classic and injecting synchronised dancing to Kate Bush, Catherine and Heathcliff’s love from the perspective of a horse and a man in drag (who derobes and wrestles naked) make this an oblique look at a familiar tale.
At times cracks in the whirlwind performance surface – audible count-ins to dance moves, a genuine concern that the horse may collapse – and it becomes hard not to want of a little more of Brontë’s story as a reference point. (Maud Sampson)
The Guardian reviews The Novel: a Biography by Michael Schmidt:
Schmidt does the tiny notes beautifully, and an alert, specific comment often brings the flavour of a page of Faulkner or Charlotte Brontë before us. The book took me a good while to read, as I kept breaking off to rediscover this novel or that. To that extent it is a great success. (Philip Hensher)
Los Angeles Times reviews the Errol Flynn biopic, The Last of Robin Hood:
The real-life drama “The Last of Robin Hood” starts three years later, when Flynn suffers from increasing heart trouble, back problems and substance abuse, and is so desperate for work that he agrees to play Edward Rochester in a stage version of “Jane Eyre.” (Michael Sragow)
Errol Flynn as Rochester? Well, as a matter of fact it was a very short lived performance as  we read in Errol Flynn: The Life and Career by Thomas McNulty:
[In 1958] Flynn made the ill-advised decision to appear in his first American stage production. He had not worked on stage since his brief stint with the Northampton Repertory Players. Perhaps his interest in the play, written by Huntington Hartford and based on Jane Eyre, stemmed from his continuous need for money. (...)  Re-titled The Master of ThornfieId, the play was another disaster. Flynn's heavy drinking contributed to his inability to remember his lines. He reportedly loaded the set with supplies of vodka and upon forgetting his lines would saunter to a bookcase or desk and pour himself a quick shot. Sometimes he broke character and addressed the audience, digressing into anecdotes about John Barrymore. The play folded after only a few performances. Flynn, perhaps embarrassed by the turn of events, said, "I can't do much with this the way it's written" In response to that Hartford said, "In my own defense, I'd like to say that I have yet to hear my play (from Flynn) as it was written." (Errol Flynn: The Life and Career by Thomas McNulty, McFarland & Company (2004), pp 283)
Emily Brontë was a 'healer type' (INFP- Introvertive, Intuitive, Feeling-Perceptive) in the  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) according to Medical Daily:
 INFP, “the healer,” makes up two percent of the general population and his ideal career would be in medicine, teaching, or litigation. In romantic relationships, he is supportive and loving along with his good sense of integrity. He craves harmony and emotional engagement, and respects and values his partner deeply. Famous people of this personality type include Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Brontë, and Jimmy Carter. (Samantha Olson)
Arts.mic lists several 'exceptional' webseries:
This remake of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre does a great job of adapting a Gothic setting to the present day. Run by a small crew of actors and writers, its low budget makes the series feel authentically like a vlog from a new YouTuber. While the ending is a little disappointing, the series as a whole does a great job of bringing even the smallest characters to life. (Rachel Grate)
The Daily Express interviews TV presenter Alex Jones:
At the moment I am re-reading some of my favourite classics such as Jane Eyre and The Bell Jar but I love contemporary fiction too. I recently read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and it completely blew me away. (Lucy Benyon)
The Star Phoenix reviews The Immigrant by James Gray:
The frames have the brownish, ominous tint of old blood. The sets conjure the smell of mould and cloying perfume. And the story itself feels like something left behind in Charlotte Brontë's bottom drawer. (Katherine Monk)
The Conversation on reading pleasures:
Those novels, with their racy covers and dry English wit, lent me a sense of much needed sophistication. This was money in the bank for a plump British Asian 14 year-old who wore glasses, and had a reputation for starting conversations with the line, “Have you read Jane Eyre?” (Preti Taneja)
The Plymouth Herald reminds us of the fact that, for a time, James Taylor was compared to a modern Heathcliff:
Taylor is known as probably the greatest sensitive-male singer-songwriter of all time – but Time magazine in 1971 noted his appeal to female fans and compared his strong-but-brooding presence to Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff.
Writings Corner posts about Contemporary Patriarchal Society in Wuthering Heights; the Parsonage Twitter shares a 1828 Anne Brontë drawing; The Halifax Reader posts about Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell; Ripassamo Insieme (in Italy) reviews Jane Eyre.

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