Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day! And therefore, a happy birthday to Patrick Brontë, born on this day in 1777.

The Telegraph features Caryl Phillips and his novel The Lost Child.
We are here to talk about his 11th novel, The Lost Child, a richly allusive, elliptical book which, like its author, is difficult to label. It is presented as a recasting of Wuthering Heights focused on the young Heathcliff, in the tradition of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and J M Coetzee’s Foe, intertwined with a modern story about a single mother living on a Yorkshire estate. But the Heathcliff story is only a short framing device for the main narrative: the book's blurb can be seen as yet another attempt to categorise Phillips, as he acknowledges with a smile. “I think it’s a bit easier if you can say the book is in conversation with a book you’ve heard of. Even if you’ve never read Wuthering Heights, you sort of know who Heathcliff is, you sort of know who Kate Bush is.” In reality, Phillips’s literary dialogue with Wuthering Heights began with the rugged Yorkshire landscape.
“I grew up with the Yorkshire moors around the corner,” he says. “And the thing about the Yorkshire moors when I was growing up [in the Sixties] was that you associated them with the Moors murders, with Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. There was some understanding that it was a really sinister place. And another childhood in the North of England that was very much traumatised by the moors was Heathcliff’s. So I began in the more contemporary story; then I just kept thinking about that landscape and what it has meant historically. And when you’re there, it probably looks exactly, without the motorway, as it did 200 years ago. It’s bleak, it’s beautiful. So, in my mind, visually there’s a perfect connection across a couple of centuries. If you were to plonk those characters from the beginning of the 19th century in that landscape [now], they would recognise it.”
Aside from the Heathcliff sections, there’s a chapter in the middle intriguingly narrated by Emily Brontë, who is being cared for on her deathbed by Charlotte, both yearning for another lost child, their alcoholic brother Branwell. (Francesca Wade)
The Atlantic discusses Kenneth Branagh's take on Cinderella and considers it
akin to Wicked (Oz’s witch, backstoried!) and Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty’s “Mistress of Evil,” backstoried!) and Snow White and the Huntsman (the Evil Queen, backstoried!), and even Shrek (the terrifying ogre, backstoried!)—and also, in their way, to Wide Sargasso Sea and Orange Is the New Black and Breaking Bad and every other work that offers depth and story to characters we’d normally dismiss as emptily evil. These movies and shows, in emphasizing the perspective of the villains, don’t celebrate wickedness; they insist, instead, on something vaguely hopeful: that evil can be explainable. And that it can thus, just maybe, be preventable. As Branagh explained of the stepmother’s trailing justification of her own cruelty: “What you do feel is a great passionate woman who seems to have made a different choice when faced with these kinds of challenges, these moments of heartbreak which we saw Ella face. She makes a different choice in the face of those things."
He added: "It’s a great mirror.” (Megan Garber)
While The Mary Sue looks back on another retelling of Cinderella: Ever After and thinks it is 'better than the new one'.
And despite Ever After feeling like a cult film, at the time it was a moderately lucrative film and got excellent reviews. In fact, while the recent box-office hit Cinderella (with an over $70M opening weekend) has an 83% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, Ever After (which earned just $90M total) sits pretty at 90%. Critics praised the film for taking a realistic historical perspective, adding depth to the characters, and being unapologetic as a feminist work. Six years after Rebecca Walker coined the term “3rd Wave feminism,” ’90s pop-culture was a rich period of new creative voices reframing old stories. We had a reassessment of Jane Austin [sic], the Brontë Sisters, Shakespearean heroines, Little Women, and of course, Fairy Tales. This alternative look at such a familiar tale was a considerably more positive way of addressing the previous sexist takes on the stories. (Lesley Coffin)
This Huffington Post reviewer had high hopes for Taylor Lautner in the film Tracers.
I'm one of those "glass half-full "critics when it comes to Taylor Lautner. Film after film I hope he'll pull a Sally Field, who went from The Flying Nun and Gidget to Sybil and Norma Rae. Would Abduction or Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 reveal the young man's inner Laurence Olivier? No, sadly. The lumbering hunk remains just a lumbering hunk in those two. Prize-winning pecs and abs plus a cute smile were what the glamor boy's fans had to settle for.
"Well, maybe Tracers will be his Wuthering Heights," I was murmuring as I scooted onto the subway last night, heading for a midtown screening room. I should have known better. (Brandon Judell)
The New York Times features several 'museums of their' own, such as the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
In Haworth, a picturesque village in Yorkshire, England, the Brontë Parsonage Museum is tightly intertwined with its locale. The museum is the former home of the sisters Charlotte and Emily Brontë, whose 19th-century novels, among them “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights,” are “very much rooted in Haworth,” said Susan Newby, the education officer.
The museum leads a walking tour around Haworth, whose main street and surrounding moors have a distinctly Victorian-era look and feel. “We are lucky that as far as the built environment is concerned, the area has changed very little since the Brontës’ day,” Ms. Newby said. The challenge of the tour, she said, “is to bring to life how very different it would have been in other ways.”
Though Haworth is “a lively tourist destination full of nice tea shops and cafes,” it was, in the mid-1800s, an overcrowded working village with severe poverty and myriad health hazards, Ms. Newby said. The average life span was 25 years, and all the Brontë siblings who survived childhood — Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell — died before the age of 40.
“The Brontës saw conflict and social change at their doorstep, and that environment provided context for their novels,” Ms. Newby said. “Though the sisters were extremely well read and had diverse literary influences, there is a directness and lack of overrefinement about their writing. I think that has a lot to do with where they grew up.”
Ford W. Bell, the president of the American Alliance of Museums, observed: “Visitors are fascinated by authenticity. It is one thing to see the Brontë house and the museum collection and how they lived, but then to walk the same sidewalks and get a feel for what life was like then creates a totality of experience beyond the physical museum.” (Karen Jones)
Cheshire Today announces that the BBC is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way with a four-part documentary and
In the first episode [Paul Rose] travels from Edale to Calderdale. He tells the story of Tom Stephenson, the man who fought landowners and governments to win public access to the full length of the route. Stephenson’s friend Sylvia Franks talks about his battle.
Paul also meets author and director Barrie Rutter who recalls some of the literary greats who have lived near the route including Ted Hughes and the Brontës. And Paul visits Heptonstall to ask why the South Pennines have never had the full recognition they deserve.
Still locally, Out and About Live warns owners of motorhomes travelling to Haworth:
If you fancy a trip to Brontë country this Easter then be extra careful when parking. As you enter the West Yorkshire village of Haworth, home of the Brontë Parsonage, there are numerous signs directing traffic to the official Parsonage car park. This is on three levels, with the lower level particularly suitable for coaches and motorhomes. Unfortunately it is also a crime hot-spot with a Community Officer Farooq Hussain of West Yorkshire Police, revealing that there are currently three to four vehicle break-ins every week in the local car parks.
A parked motorhome is a particularly attractive target, so either remove all valuable possessions and keys before leaving it, or ensure that you have an alarm that works in the habitation area. Many large motorhome windows are made from plastic, which are easy to bend without breaking, and have caravan-style fasteners holding them shut. These are easy to break by forcing the window, allowing entrance to the motorhome without the sound of breaking glass. The Brontë Parsonage car park is not visible from the road and has numerous footpath exits.
Bradford City Council, which operates the car parks, has not installed CCTV so both this and the other car park, in Haworth, are completely unprotected. If you arrive back at your motorhome and a crime is in progress call 999. If it has already been broken into and the thieves have vacated the scene, call 101.
The Guardian reports that the works of artist Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery have attracted 'record crowds'.
About 250,000 visitors saw the Perry portraits. The gallery estimates 850,000 people saw at least one work by the artist. The 19th-century galleries, home to paintings of John Stuart Mill, Benjamin Disraeli and Emily Brontë, have never been so busy. (Mark Brown)
El Comercio (Peru) features the writer Julie de Trazegnies whose style
está más cerca del de Virginia Woolf o de las hermanas Brontë  que el de edulcoradas escritoras actuales, de gran éxito comercial pero de nulo aporte humano. (Fernando de Trazegnies) (Translation)
The Reno Gazette-Journal writes about a local finalist of the annual Poetry Out Loud competition who recited Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning. Librópatas informs Spanish (and Portuguese)
Brontëites of the fact that the supermarket chain Dia is selling biscuit tins with illustrations of Jane Eyre.


Post a Comment