Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014 9:59 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The Independent (Ireland) reviews the Gate Theatre production of Wuthering Heights.
Anne-Marie Casey’s adaptation, necessarily compressed, loses most of the fine tissue connecting the bones of one of English literature’s greatest love stories.
Much of it, particularly in the first act, jerks along, made jerkier by Michael Barker-Caven’s over-busy production. Within minutes Cathy has returned home outwardly transformed from her recuperation at the Lintons, a surly young Heathcliff has been scrubbed up by Nelly (the excellent Fiona Bell) to impress her, while vowing undying revenge on Cathy’s tyrannical brother Hindley and Hindley’s wife has gone upstairs pregnant and come down in a coffin. Unless you know the story it all seems rather haphazard.
Wuthering Heights is in a constant spin, and though the ingenuity of Paul O’Mahoney’s set design often pays off, sliding rocks, sliding curtains, beds coming out of walls, and some decidedly naff film projections do more to shred the atmosphere than thicken it.
A key element of the novel’s brooding menace is Hindley, consumed with hatred for Heathcliff from childhood. A sneery wimpish Ronan Leahy is miscast as the vengeful brute, while Joseph is just an ephemeral servant rather then the cursing Biblical moralizer he should be.
Thankfully Tom Canton is a superb Heathcliff, physically and vocally, his hoarse northern accent hollow and dry when making threats that never fail to materialize, and impassioned when articulating his tormented love for Cathy. Kate Brennan is a constantly compelling Cathy, in possession of an untameable love the well-bred Lintons can’t even imagine, but, as a woman, still concerned to better her position.
Brennan embodies perfectly this conflict between her love and her appetite for betterment, spelled out when she tries to justify her intention of marrying Linton. She loves Linton because he’s rich and he loves her, but Heathcliff is a different matter. “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
With Brennan and Canton, the unvarnished simplicity of Cathy and Heathcliff’s avowals have a visceral power and truth that make love the most desirable but the most terrible of involvements. (John McKeown)
Daily Express has an article on Sheila Hancock's love life and reminds us of the fact that she herself has
previously compared their romance [her marriage to John Thaw] to that of Cathy’s and Heathcliff’s in Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights.’
Emily writes extraordinarily about the depth of Cathy and Heathcliff’s desperation, with him actually grabbing her body as she’s dying to try to stop her going, as it were," Hancock explained during an interview with Radio Times in 2013.
"Well, anyone who’s watched somebody die, that’s just what you want to do. I did. ‘Don’t go, don’t you dare go!’ She puts into words something I totally understand."
Hancock has gradually learned to live without the late actor over the past decade, but believes that she was meant to be with him.
"If you have ever known that obsessive love, which sometimes makes it difficult to be together but impossible to be apart, you can identify with the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff," she said. (Annie Price)
Well, here's something we had never thought Wuthering Heights would help with--business! Linkedin interviews Matt Gross, Boston-based entrepreneur and founder of Mobile First Software. According to him,
reading Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights,” with its fictionalization of the character Heathcliff, helped me understand that in a hostile business interaction there’s a human being on the other side, and any negative interactions are likely a result of that person's internal state of mind, not necessarily about what I’m doing or saying. (Chuck Leddy)
The Church Times quotes rather more predictably from Shirley:
We sing Isaac Watts's "O God, our help in ages past". Charlotte Brontë has a girl, "her voice sweet and silver clear", sing it in Shirley. (Ronald Blythe)
The Daily Mail reviews the novel Sanctuary by Robert Edric.
In this fictionalised story of Branwell Brontë, the acclaimed author Edric focuses not on his subject’s youthful collaborations with his sisters, but on the would-be author and artist’s troubled later years.
It’s a brave decision, and lends many of the episodes in this book an autumnal cast: ‘My hopes these days are all dead leaves in a rising wind,’ Brontë confides at one point, and the image recurs as he ponders the debts that swirl around him.
His famous siblings, meanwhile, keep their distance (particularly cold, critical Charlotte) — their success and the secrecy it’s wrapped in forming an exclusive bond. Unable to find his place within the family, Brontë is also adrift in the world, disgraced as a tutor, sacked from his position on the railways for ‘an accounting discrepancy’, and unacknowledged as the father of a long-dead child.
Not everything about this novel works: the dialogue doesn’t always convince and, in the final, distressed stages of Brontë’s life (which ended when he was just 31), his narration is a little too lucid. On the whole, however, it’s a restrained and sensitive portrait. (Stephanie Cross)
We didn't think it possible for anyone to romanticise Lowood, but this columnist from The Collegian does:
I dream of Kenyon having a serious snowstorm or a blackout, literally or figuratively. Then it might turn into an English boarding school like Charlotte Brontë’s Lowood Institution and professors might tell us pilgrims’ tales by the fire, taking us back to the days where the reader was more important than the book, bringing us close to that plane where we grasp the fundamentals. (Kelly Reed)
The novelist Ayelet Waldman writes about travelling to London with a family of fans of Doctor Who on Condé Nast Traveler.
Outvoted but mollified by promises of proper English teas—though not a committed Whovian like my children and husband, I am a devoted re-reader of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters and know well the attractions of cucumber sandwiches and clotted cream—I set about planning the trip. 
Dos Manzanas (Spain) finds Peter Cameron's novel Coral Glynn somewhat reminiscent of Jane Eyre.


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