Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014 1:57 pm by M. in , , , , ,    No comments
Bad news from Brontë Country. The Brontë Parsonage's Twitter informs that the proposal for the installation of two x 11kW wind turbines on 18 metre high masts at Old Oxenhope Farm has been given the go ahead by the Area Planning Panel (Keighley & Shipley) ignoring the recommendation of refusal given by Planning Officer. The solid refusal recommendation can be read here:
Objections
1. Application is a result of pressure on the farmer and local residents.
2. Previous reasons for refusal of previous applications remain valid.
3. Turbines infringe the natural beauty of the area and will be an eyesore. They will do
nothing to improve Oxenhope but most likely will blight the countryside.
4. The development will be able to be seen from numerous angles and spoil the historic
views of the valley
5. The turbines would not benefit Oxenhope but would ruin an old timeless landscape held dear to all who come from all over the world to see the Bronte's countryside. The Worth Valley is a culturally and historically unique landscape and more turbines will have an adverse effect on tourism and local economy.
6. Turbines at this location would not provide benefits to outweigh the damage caused.
7. If this application was granted it would set a precedent for other (previously refused)
applications to be resubmitted along with any number of new applications
8. Wildlife such as birds and bats are affected by wind turbines 
Regrettably the minutes of the meeting are still not available in order to understand the reasons of this shocking and very dangerous precedent.

Fortunately, there's not only bad news in Brontë country today. It seems that Bonnie Greer, president of the Brontë Society, wants to take the lead in outlining a future Society new strategy. The Yorkshire Post explains it:
The playwright and novelist is setting up an advisory group to discuss new ideas with the aim of refreshing the work of the literary society. (...)
Ms Greer has drafted in Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio and a former producer with Radio Leeds, to be on a new president’s advisory group.
The president expects to recruit other experts as well as bringing in “one or two” Haworth residents to draw the Society closer to the village, home of the Museum.
The Chicago-born writer plans to use connections in the United States to encourage more tourists and Brontë fans from across the Atlantic to visit Haworth.
She also wants a younger Society membership and to increase the 1,750 membership to 2,000 within two years.
Asked about her role as president, she said it was “ambassadorial, honorary” but that she now wanted to spend more time in Haworth and stimulate debate about new ideas.
She is keen to work with “constructive critics”.
“I think with the President’s Advisory Group, the first thing we will aim to do is work with those constructive critics - I’m very interested in them, the ones that say ‘let’s work together’. I’m not interested in the divisive ones.”
Ms Greer said the critics - who tried to force a change of leadership at a recent emergency meeting - had damaged the reputation of the Society and the Museum and leaks to the Press had upset her.
“My first concern is not me. What we have is a very fine museum, with very fine people. For critics to run amok and put them in professional jeopardy is untenable.”
Her idea for an advisory group has been given informal support by members of the ruling Brontë Society Council, which meets today in Haworth.
One of her main aims, she said, was to “bringing money into the village.”
“I want to do a writers’ festival and exchange visits. I want this village filled 365 days a year with things that emanate from us.”
On the subject of in-fighting, which led to 52 disgruntled members forcing an emergency meeting, she admitted she had not got to the bottom of it.
“Whatever has been going on, I don’t even know all of it. I’m not saying it’s a bed of roses. I don’t know who they (the critics) are.”
Recent troubles had made up her mind about the need for change.
“I feel I have permission to do it now. This crisis has given it to me...it’s a juncture for change. I’m interested in keeping the Society going and making it even greater. I’m interested in what people have to say. I’m not interested in those who undermine us.” (Andrew Robinson)
The Times reviews Sanctuary by Robert Edric:
In 1914 the second wife of the Reverend AB Nicholls — his first wife had been Charlotte Brontë — discovered an oil painting folded up on top of a cupboard in a farm in Ireland. It was one of English literature’s greatest discoveries: a group painting of beloved Victorian novelists, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.  In the middle of  the sisters is a large pillar and, for this reason, it is known as the 'pillar portrait'. Badly mixed oil paints become translucent with age, and, the artist's 'pentimenti' or alterations are often revealed with time. In 1957, John Nixon noticed the silhouette of a man in a cravat sitting in the middle of the sisters, and infrared photography revealed him to be the artist himself, Branwell Brontë, who must have painted himself out of the picture. (Paula Byrne)
Andrea Koczela on Books Tell You Why discusses the crucial effect of Elizabeth Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë on Charlotte's reputation:
Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë remains a remarkable publication. At the time, it was unique for focusing on Brontë's personal life rather than on her accomplishments. It was also unusual for being a biography about a woman written by a woman. In her book, Gaskell aggressively addressed Brontë's reputation as masculine and godless. Carefully selecting anecdotes and letters, Gaskell shaped Brontë into a heroine of towering virtue - a paragon of morality, duty, and sacrifice. Censoring less flattering aspects of her life (such as her open love for a married teacher), Gaskell portrayed Brontë as the fulfillment of womanly duty -
a devoted wife, daughter, and sister. Indeed, a woman who died during pregnancy - the ultimate sacrifice for a female of the time.
Gaskell's efforts were an overwhelming success. The Life of Charlotte Brontë sold rapidly and received enthusiastic reviews. (...)
Brontë's reputation was entirely transformed.
The Village Voice, October 1, 1970
The New York Times publishes the obituary of the dancer Mary Hinkson (1925-2014):
In the early 1970s she appeared in a revival of Graham’s “Deaths and Entrances” as Emily Brontë, a role Graham herself had danced. Ms. Hinkson stunned audiences with the sharp-angled savagery of her dance of madness in a widely hailed performance. (Anna Kisselgoff)
Financial Times lists the best in children fiction so far in 2014:
Jane, the Fox and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, Walker Books, RRP£15
Hélène is a lonely, bullied schoolgirl who draws consolation from Jane Eyre. A stay at summer camp brings a new friend in this masterly, evocative, delicately rendered graphic novel from two Québécois creators. (James Lovegrove)
Fawad Khan as Rochester? India.com is dreaming of it:
Sexy, Broody, powerful, dominating. Do these characteristics resemble Christian Grey or Mr. Rochester? These are few of the characteristics of a true Byronic hero. (...)
A hero with a grim past that makes him struggle to open up to his feelings for someone. Charlotte Brontë’s character of Mr. Rochester in her novel Jane Eyre will make you fall in love with his savage complexity. He has no loveable qualities and this flawed character makes him desirable.
These movies are waiting to be made with Fawad Khan playing these leading characters. Are the director’s listening? (Rashmi Mishra)
The Australian reviews Rachel Cusk's Outline:
Ryan [one of the characters] comments that ‘‘ellipsis’’ can be translated as ‘‘to hide behind silence’’. Watching, hidden in silence, is the basis of Outline and perhaps writing generally. Seeing a family swimming, Faye finds ‘‘a vision of what I no longer had’’, and thinks of Cathy and Heathcliff looking into the Lintons’ house from the surrounding dark in Wuthering Heights. Yet she understands the way desire shapes each scene, and is aware of the danger that a woman, especially, might become in that vision ‘‘a slave, obliterated’’ — or, as Simone de Beauvoir would have it, a parasite. (Felicity Plunkett)
Oliver Kamm's in The Pedant's column in The Times quotes Charlotte Brontë's use of 'old adage' in Jane Eyre:
Charlotte Brontë gives these words to her narrator in Jane Eyre: 'He had spoken of Mr. Rochester as an old friend. A curious friendship theirs must have been: a pointed illustration, indeed, of the old adage that "extremes meet." '(Chapter XVIII)
Alyssa Rosenberg in The Washington Post praises humorist and writer Mallory Ortberg:
Ortberg has had what feels like a breakout year. She published her book “Texts from Jane Eyre,” which reimagines literary classics in text-speak, a mode that not only makes novels such as “Wuthering Heights” sound a little silly, but reveals the pretentions of famous fictional men and menace that linger below immortal love stories.
The Yorkshire Evening Post reviews a recent performance of Frisky & Mannish in Leeds:
The problem here is that pop culture moves so fast that what was contemporary when the pair emerged on the cabaret comedy scene in 2008 risks being obscure for the largely student crowd. Their version of ‘Wuthering Heights’ may have resonance on the back of Kate Bush’s recent residency at the Hammersmith Apollo, for example, but its delivery by Kate Nash is a culturally dated curio. (Susan Darlington)
Some weird Brontë references now. First, in Australia:

The Australian describing the surfer Stephanie Gilmore:
She thrives on pressure. She detests pressure. She’s a graceful, swooping, beautiful creature on a wave. She sees the symphonious riding of a surfboard as her equivalent to Charlotte Brontë holding a pen; Janis Joplin holding a microphone. Riding a surfboard is her method of self-expression. (Will Swanton)
Now, in Málaga (Spain), El Sur describing the weather:
Claro que puede haber terral de noviembre, con vientos africanos sazonados de polvo y fuego del Rif para desesperación de los vendedores de abrigos; y pocos días después desatarse la furia de los tornados tras una noche de borrasca homérica como en la partida de Ulises, con el cielo sacudido por ese 'concierto imponente' de Charlotte Brontë, como si los dioses convocaran la partitura sinfónica de la tormenta, con Zeus a la batuta dirigiendo la ira de Hefesto, Perséfone y Apolo. (Teodoro León Gross) (Translation)
The Traunsteiner Tagblatt gives details of a meeting organized by the Freundschaftsclub Haywards Heath:
Bei der Veranstaltung des englischen Freundschaftsclubs Hay-ward-Heath in der Traunsteiner Stadtbücherei lasen Eva Wagatha und Walter Spörl in der Originalsprache aus den berühmten Romanen »Wuthering Heights« und »Jane Eyre«.
Die drei Bronte-Schwestern, Emily, Charlotte und Anne, und deren aufschlussreiche Familiengeschichte wurden vorgestellt. Ludwig Wagatha, langjähriges Mitglied des Freundschaftscluës, gab in deutscher Sprache Einblicke in die Familiengeschichte der Brontës. (Translation)
Educación 3.0 lists several novel adaptations suitable to use in the classroom:
Trágica, intensa, profunda… Así es la historia de amor de la novela ‘Cumbres Borrascosas’, en la que muchos de sus personajes se dejan llevar por las pasiones y las emociones de forma desmedida. La versión que os proponemos está protagonizada por Juliette Binoche y Ralph Fiennes. (Translation)
This blogger in L'Express (France) has discovered Wuthering Heights:
Mon amie N sait comment me faire plaisir. Pas en m’offrant des boots (ça marcherait aussi !) mais des livres. Elle m’a fait découvrir l’extraordinaire Femme changée en renard de David Garnett (que depuis j’offre régulièrement), incité à lire pour de bon Les Hauts de Hurlevent (à éviter les nuits où vous dormez seule dans un appartement qui “craque”). (Translation)
Elle (France) talks about Wuthering Heights 2011:
Si vous êtes d’une humeur romantique et accro à la littérature anglaise du XIXème, « Les Hauts de Hurlevent » vous combleront. Les images sont sublimes, soulignant avec une belle justesse les lignes du roman d’Emily Brontë dont est adaptée cette fiction. (Adèle Chaput) (Translation)
Colin MacLean in The Edmonton Sun thinks that Jane Eyre 2011 was 'excellent'.

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