Saturday, March 14, 2015

We are quite worried by these news coming from France. Financial Times talks about the accusations against Gérard Lhéritier, head of investment company Aristofil and the Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits:
is accused of “deceptive marketing practices”, money laundering, falsifying accounts, breach of trust and “gang fraud”. Aristofil’s accountant, two book specialists and Lhéritier’s daughter were also indicted. Gérard Lhéritier has been released after paying €2m bail, and his accountant after paying €1m bail. The allegations are contested.
For a decade Lhéritier had been a major and very public buyer, through Aristofil, of manuscripts and books, notably paying $9.6m for the original draft of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom and €437,500 for Napoleon’s wedding certificate. These and other items in the 130,000-strong collection — ranging from a Charlotte Brontë letter to Einstein’s notes for his Theory of Relativity — were sold in the form of shares to investors, who could sell them back after five years to Aristofil for an 8 per cent return. According to AFP, some 18,000 clients signed contracts worth €850m. The story started to unravel last year when Aristofil and the museum were raided by France’s anti-fraud brigade. The company was put into administration last month, and the museum is closed. (Georgina Adam)
Let's remember that a few years ago the Musée bought at Sotheby's a little book by Charlotte Brontë, part of the Young Men's Magazines series. We wonder about the future of all the treasures at the Museum and particularly Charlotte Brontë's manuscript.

Darlington & Stockton Times interviews the writer and biographer Juliet Barker:
It was her love of research that started her own writing career. Her first and only “proper” job after leaving Oxford where she studied History, was as librarian and curator at The Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. “I would see writers coming in and researching for their books, but most of them them just looked at what other people had written. They ignored all that mass of original material we had there just waiting to be looked at.”
In the end, she was driven to write her own – much acclaimed – biography of the Brontës, which turned previous accounts pretty much on their head. “We’ve all bought Mrs Gaskell’s version of this isolated family living miles from nowhere, but Haworth is just four miles from Keighley. By the time the Brontës were there, it was a busy industrial area with 15 mills.”
As part of her decade of research - as if it wasn’t enough that the Brontë family left a terrific amount of written material, much of it in tiny writing, very testing for the eyesight - Juliet spent read two years reading local newspapers of the time. “Addled my brain, but gave me so much information about the Brontës in the community that no one had ever bothered with before,” she says.
The Brontës ended up as a stonking great book, winning awards and establishing her as a writer who really knew her stuff. Despite its scholarship, it’s wonderfully readable. (...)
She has, she says, no great plans for another book ticking away at the back of her brain. “But there are a lot of anniversaries coming up in the next few years… Agincourt, various Brontës…”
In The Telegraph's weekly recap:
You cannot be a great novelist if you are under the age of 35
Or, so says, author Joanna Trollope. She seems to have forgotten that Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights before she died at the age of 30. Or Sylvia Plath wrote The Bell Jar at age 29. Or DH Lawrence wrote Sons and Lovers at age 27.
Trollope said: " I think in order to write good fiction, I think you need to have got a lot o living under your belt."
The Argus Leader asks some of their readers about their favourite book:
Jane Thaden Lawson, planning editor
My favorite book: "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë
Why I like it: This classic novel contains many of the elements I relish in fiction: mystery, love, anguish, redemption, a happy — if bittersweet — ending. And as a teen who always felt like a plain Jane, I found myself inspired by this other plain Jane who was, nevertheless, an interesting, intelligent person. I've read the book multiple times — always the same 1960s paperback with yellowed pages and waterstained back cover that belonged to my mom when she was a teen and has her maiden name inscribed inside. 
The Daily Star (Bangladesh) asks local (and non local) writers about their influences by women writers:
Joe Treasure
I came to Jane Eyre as an adult, too late for my reading to be distorted by a teenage crush. Instead I got the full force of Charlotte Brontë's brilliance.
Jane understands, as well as any character in nineteenth century fiction, that she has to earn a living or face destitution and beggary. She also recognises that life is a struggle for moral survival and that physical comfort can be bought at too great a cost.
More subtle than either of these, she must fight to assert her identity, to claim her right to exist as her own person in the face of indifference, hostility and abuse.
The Huffington Post lists several writers who were not fans of Jane Austen:
"I got the book and studied it. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face."
- Charlotte Brontë, in response to literary critic George Henry Lewes, who had drawn comparisons between the women novelists' work. She apparently took issue with Austen's treatment of romantic love, which, despite Austen's reputation as a realist, wasn't portrayed as honestly as the Brontë sisters preferred. (Sara Boboltz)
Kate Beaton's comics have been translated into German and Der Tagesspiegel is quite enthusiastic:
Immer wieder wirft Beaton dabei erfrischende Blicke auf viele historische und literarische Schicksale von Frauen (zum Beispiel der Mathematikerin Ada Lovelace, der Chemikerin Rosalind Franklin oder der Brontë-Schwestern) und rückt den Fokus auf von der Geschichte vergessene Persönlichkeiten (zum Beispiel den schwarzen Polarforscher Matthew Henson oder den kanadischen Politiker Lester Pearson). (Erik Wenk) (Translation)
El País (Uruguay) interviews the philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek:
Pero me gustan mucho sus películas mexicanas. ¿Cuál es el título que hizo Buñuel en México? Una versión excelente de Cumbres borrascosas de Emily Brontë, y le puso algo así como Torrente de pasiones.
— Se titula Abismos de pasión, de 1953.
—Es una excelente versión. Me gusta mucho el Buñuel mexicano, no todas sus películas pero sí la mayoría. (Juan Pablo Rendón González) (Translation)
24 Heures (Switzerland) talks with the writer Anna Todd:
Anna Todd vénère l’audace, celle qu’elle percevait déjà chez la Jane Austen d’Orgueil et préjugé, ou les sœurs Brontë des Hauts de Hurlevent, des souvenirs d’école. (Cécile Lecoultre) (Translation)
Keighley News recommends the book Haworth History Tour by Steven Wood & Ian Palmer;  Yahoo! Lifestyle Germany recommends visiting Yorkshire; the DCH Blog reviews the Blue Orange Theatre production of Jane Eyre now touring UK.

Finally, the Facebook wall of the Brontë Parsonage Museum has very good news:
A new item for the collection arrived at the Museum this week: Charlotte's sketch, 'Fisherman Sheltering Against a Tree', inspired by an illustration by Thomas Bewick. Charlotte produced the drawing in 1829, when she was just 13 years old. It will go on display next year as part of the exhibition to celebrate Charlotte's bicentenary. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview...

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