Saturday, November 08, 2014

Museums  Journal publishes an unofficial account (based in an alleged full transcript  filtered by an anonymous Brontë Society member) of the Brontë Society EGM held on 18 October. Deeply disturbing and sad:
“I’m worried that this will all just be swept under the carpet again,” said the member, who asked to remain anonymous.
According to the transcript, the EGM was told that employees at the Brontë Parsonage Museum were unhappy with their treatment by trustees and had asked to join a union.
One speaker described an “atmosphere of bullying and criticism” at the museum and another said staff felt undermined and were “afraid to put their heads above the parapet”. The meeting heard that there was a “depressingly cyclical nature” to the departure of the museum's directors.
The EGM also heard complaints that trustees had not made enough effort to investigate whistleblowing emails sent by three museum employees about the “disturbing” treatment of one former member of staff.
A Brontë Society spokeswoman told Museums Journal that the society was not in a position to comment on the allegations because the transcript was not an official record, but she confirmed that the society had met with a union.
She said: “Staff have been informed that the society has met with and welcomes the approach of Prospect Union and a draft agreement is being put together by the union.”
The EGM also saw the defeat of a resolution to consult with members, partner organisations and the local community over its bicentenary plans, and to apply to the arts council for Designation.
According to the source, a number of members were concerned that the council had urged them to vote against the resolution, telling them it was unnecessary because its recommendations were already in place.
The source said: “People are aghast because in effect it is sending out the message that we don’t want to consult with anyone.”
Before the vote took place, the society had been criticised by one speaker during the EGM for a lack of communication and engagement with local community groups and traders.
The society’s spokeswoman told Museums Journal: “Bicentenary planning and consultation has been underway since June 2014 involving staff, trustees, outside advisers, the president and vice president and a former president of the society.”
She added: “We are also currently in the process of recruiting a project manager to co-ordinate the bicentenary plans, with a focus on working closely with local people, businesses and community groups.”
The society was this week awarded a grant of nearly £100,000 from the arts council for a contemporary arts programme to coincide with its bicentenary plans.
Concerns were also raised during the EGM about the society’s governance structure. The meeting heard from an independent museum advisor that the society was in the midst of a “crisis situation” and should seek help from an outside consultant to ensure its governance was “fit for purpose in the 21st century”.
The society’s spokeswoman told Museums Journal that a governance review has been underway since 2013 and that the society plans invite members and non-members to join a focus group to assist with the review.
The Brontë Society is also inviting nominations for a new chairman and vice chairman, she said, and will elect those roles at the next council meeting.
The group of members who called the EGM will also be coming together shortly to discuss what course of action they will take following the meeting. According to the source, the group will continue to call for the resignation of the society’s trustees and the election of a new council. (Geraldine Kendall)
Jeanette Winterson writes in The Telegraph about the stories/novels that shaped her. The censored (but imaginative) way in which she was introduced to Jane Eyre (which is a fundamental part of her Oranges is Not the Only Fruit) is mentioned:
Mrs Winterson was adept at making her own version of a text. She read Jane Eyre to me, suitable because it has a minister in it, St John Rivers, who is keen on missionary work. There is the terrible fire at Thornfield Hall and Mr Rochester goes blind. In our version Jane doesn’t bother about her sightless paramour; she marries St John Rivers. Years later I discovered what my mother had done. And she did it so well, turning the pages and inventing the text extempore in the style of Charlotte Brontë.
Bloomberg lists buildings that have inspired great books:
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre recalls her first impression of Thornfield Hall: “I looked up and surveyed the front of the mansion. It was three storeys high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat.” According to the U.K.’s Historic Houses Association, her description is largely based on Norton Conyers, a North Yorkshire home that Brontë visited in 1839. Like Thornfield Hall, the late-medieval building features a grand oak staircase, looming latticed windows, and a square hall decorated with family portraits. Perhaps most tellingly, though, the home’s owners often related the long-standing family legend of a madwoman trapped in the attic—the inspiration for the first Mrs. Rochester. (Hadley Keller)
Nevertheless, a reader from Darlington & Stockton Times remembers that Norton Conyers is not the only Thornfield Hall inspiration contender:
I quote from the book The Brontës at Haworth by Ann Dinsdale which is available from the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth, Yorkshire.
"Although there are no references to Norton Conyers in Charlotte Brontës' surviving letters, Charlotte's friend Ellen Nussey remembered receiving from her a verbal description of the place, but other contenders for the original Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre are North Lees Hall at Hathersage or Rydings at Birstall which Charlotte also visited." (Margaret Scott)
Entertainment Weekly is also promoting Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg:
In Texts from Jane Eyre, Mallory Ortberg imagines conversations between a host of different literary characters, authors, and innocent bystanders. (The one through-line? Most of them are terrible jerks.) Because the humorist and Toast cofounder is also a practiced Twitter whiz, we decided to give her another challenge: Sum up nine great works of fiction—yes, Sweet Valley High counts—without going over the site’s notoriously slim character limit. Here’s what she came up with. (P.S. High schoolers: You’re still gonna have to read the actual books.) (Hillary Busis)
A young woman discovers that she is related to everyone. #JaneEyre
The Independent interviews the writer Andrea Levy:
Which fictional character most resembles you?
At the moment I feel a little like Bertha in Jane Eyre.
And Chicago Tribune interviews Arsalan Iftikhar, international human rights lawyer and writer:
I liked
"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, and "Notes From the Underground" by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Sandra Ballentine writes in W Magazine about her visit to Yeotown, a spa retreat in the UK:
Thanks to my tweenage obsession with books like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I knew early on that English moors were wild, windswept places where lovesick heroines flirted with (or fled from) their suitors amid gnarly trees, craggy rocks, and carpets of heather and bracken, often catching their death from cold in the process. What I didn’t know was that I would one day find myself being herded across just such a moor by a super-buff (and annoyingly fast) former Royal Navy officer named Davey, as I struggled to free my snazzy (but woefully unwaterproof) exercise tights from a clump of prickly gorse, under the quizzical gaze of a flock of sheep. “Don’t stop!” cried Davey, pointing to a roiling mass of storm clouds so dark and violent-looking that I would have broken into a run were I not already out of breath. Where was Heathcliff when I needed him?
Alison Hammond talks about her Strictly Come Dancing experience in the Birmingham Mail:
“My favourite dance is whichever one I’m doing that week, but I do have a soft spot for the Wuthering Heights American Smooth.
“Just for the fact I floated down in that wonderful white dress. All that wafting was the best.” (Roz Laws)
The Beckley Register-Herald talks about a local production of Charles Ludlum's The Mystery of Irma Vep:
The rapid-fire exchanges between Medsker and Sawyer are laced with allusions to literature and classic gothic horror films. The two dominating influences are Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” and Charlotte Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.” The dynamic between the housekeeper Jane and Lady Enid mimics the relationship between Mrs. Danvers and the new Mrs. De Winters in “Rebecca.”
Meloleggo (Italy) reviews Charlotte by Antonella Iuliano:
Charlotte è un romanzo fresco e passionale, scritto in maniera impeccabile da Antonella Iuliano. La storia è ambientata negli anni ’50 e narra di una ragazzina sedicenne che porta il nome del romanzo, Charlotte, che per caso, nella camera della madre, viene a conoscenza di uno dei classici della letteratura. Ha inizio così la sua passione per la lettura, che la porta in breve tempo a ‘divorare’ Cime tempestose. (Marzia Giosa) (Translation)
Bodythongs has uploaded Brontë country pictures on Flickr. The Brontë Bell Chapel Facebook wall posts  picture of the Brontë font and remembers that
You can view our Brontë Artefacts on any saturday morningn 10-12am.

1 comment:

  1. Seems the TBS is already working on each of the "concerns" this group have raised, including inviting a union in! Once the bicentenaries are done, I'm thinking so will be this power grab. They didn't get anywhere in the emergency meeting ...and so have gone to the press. Just my guess.

    I spent 5 days in Haworth recently and was every day at the Parsonage. I was impressed with the staff and their positive attitude. They did not seemed oppressed to me. They seemed very proud and excited to work there. Not a exhaustive study by any means , but that was my impression

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