2014 was a year of transition in many aspects, also as all-things-Brontë are concerned. And everything seems to point out that 2015 will also be a relatively uneventful year, just holding the reins for the big events that are being prepared for the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth in 2016. Except, of course, if we are talking about the Brontë Society which in the verge of the big celebrations of next year has nothing better to do than exhibit to the world intestine/internecine (cross out what does not apply) wars and absurd rivalries that nobody outside the stale air of the closed rooms of the Brontë Society (both the ruling board and the so-called dissenters) understands. Let's hope this new year will bring some common sense and less misused stamina based on pride (and prejudice) dressed as intelligentsia.
Nevertheless, we know of a few interesting things that the new year will bring and some hints of several others that it might bring:
The world of fiction will bring us a YA historical novel centered on Emily Brontë, The World Within by Jane Eagland. This won't be the only YA novel about the Brontës this year because possibly Lena Oakley's Worlds of Ink and Shadow(where the Brontës were be able to actually visit their Glass Town/Verdopolis fantasy world) will also be published. One of the more interesting releases of the year could be The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips, where the multiply-awarded author re-imagines Wuthering Heights in the 1960s Leeds introducing migration, racism and social exclusion with a narrative that echoes the double narrators of the Emily Brontë novel. One of those narrators, Nelly Dean is the main character in a Wuthering Heights retelling under her perspective: the first novel by Alison Case, Nelly Dean, will be published by Harper Collins. And maybe, we will know something (a release date?) about the Jane Eyre comic adaptation that is being pepared by Ramon Perez and Aline Brosh Mckenna for Archaia.
The Brontë scholar publications can be divided into two categories. The Brontëana group and the hardcore ones. Among the first ones we found a most awaited book by one of the usual suspects of the Brontë biography world, Edward Chitham:Western Winds: The Brontë Irish Heritage. On the other hand, Deborah Lutz publishes an intriguing book: The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objectsthat promises to negotiate the story of the Brontës through the things they wore, stitched, wrote on, and inscribed at the parsonage in Haworth. The Claire Horman Charlotte Brontë biography is announced for October (with a promise of new material! In the second group, we will find The Art of Adapting Victorian Literature, 1848-1920. Dramatizing Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, and The Woman in White by Karen E. Laird will discuss the Jane Eyre US theatrical debut and the silent screen Jane Eyre adaptations. Jody Gentian Bower will presentJane Eyre's Sisters. How Women Live and Write the Heroine’s Storywhere she explores novels by women—and some men—as well as biographies of women that tell the story of the aletis, the wandering heroine. And finally, we have the books that might appear in 2015 (but we think will be finally published in 2016): Blackwell is publishing its own A Companion to the Brontës, edited by Diane L. Hoeveler and Deborah Morse; Ashgate Press is preparing both Commemorating Charlotte Brontë: Time, Space, Place (co-edited also by Hoeveler and Morse) and Charlotte Brontë from the Beginnings: New Essays from Juvenilia to the Major Works (co-edited by Judith Pike and Lucy Morrison) and Cambridge Scholar Press might publish the proceedings of the 2013 Ankara 21st META British Novelists Conference: The Brontë Sisters and Their Work.
Not much is known, for the moment, about the 2016 Brontë biopic, we will have to wait for the two documentaries that are in the works. Both of them focusing in aspects far from the beaten track: A Humble Station? by Simon Zonenblick about the time Branwell Brontë spent as railway clerk in Luddendenfoot and Ask the Locals: Brontë where Ian Howard and Josh Chapman look for the 'true' locations of the Brontë novels.
And on the stage, the most important thing, by far, will be the first ever complete recording of Carlisle Floyd's 1958 Wuthering Heights opera. The Milwaukee Florentine Opera Company will perform the opera in concert in January. We don't know if the recording will be released this year though. More operatic first times: the European premiere of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights(in a staged form, it was performed in concert in 2010 in Montpellier) in Braunschweig, Germany.
New and old adaptations of the Brontë novels or life will be staged across the planet as usual. A new German adaptation, by Tamina Tisza, will open in Oberhausen in January. Regrettably Kirsten Brandt's new adaptation of Wuthering Heights will not be premiered at the San Jose Repertory Theatre this season as the theatre filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy (but there will be a staged reading in January). The Gordon & Caird Jane Eyre musical will be performed in Utah, New Jersey, Springfield (IL)... In the Off Off Broadway, You on the Moors Nowwill feature Catherine, Jane, Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March. The Aquila Theatre Company will continue touring the US with Wuthering Heights.
The Lip Service Theatre Company brings back its successful Withering Looks show and will tour the UK. Another UK tour will be made by the Blue Orange Theatre company with a Jane Eyre production. But the tour of the year will be arguably the revival of the David Nixon and Claude-Michel SchönbergWuthering Heights ballet by the Northern Ballet Company. We are intrigued by this little piece about the last years of Branwell Brontë, The Dissolution of Percy that will be performed in Salford, later this month.
We also know that this year's exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum will spin around the Waterloo Battle bicentenary. However, we are sure there will be many surprises that, as usual, will pop up as the year unfolds. We are eager to know and share them with you. Happy new Brontë year.