‘Take courage, Charlotte, take courage’. - Anne Brontë’s final words to her sister Charlotte were ‘Take courage, Charlotte, take courage’, and they have proved to be inspirational not only to her ...
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“The Lost Child” does indeed delve into the story of Brontë’s mysterious outsider Heathcliff before he was brought to Wuthering Heights (the isolated home of the Earnshaw family in the wilds of Yorkshire). But those chapters occupy only 30 pages in Phillips’ 260-page novel.NPR interviews the author:
One short additional chapter envisages Brontë on her deathbed, and the rest of the book is devoted to the mid-20th-century story of Monica Johnson, a drab, abrupt, depression-prone young Yorkshire woman who, after a brief marriage to an aspiring Caribbean revolutionary-politician, returns with her two sons to Yorkshire and ekes out a living as a librarian.
Monica’s story unfolds in urban settings — dreary flats in London and Leeds — rather than the ravishing, windswept moorlands that play a central role in Brontë’s novel. And where Brontë’s prose and characters are served up with an almost macabre glee, Phillips’ smoothly written account of Monica’s troubles is unfailingly downbeat and dispirited.
Appalling things happen to Monica and her children, who are just as lost, in their way, as Heathcliff. But the perverse gothic gusto of “Wuthering Heights” finds no counterpart or echo here. Indeed, it’s difficult to see what Phillips is responding to in Brontë’s novel, since it’s not its setting, its atmosphere or, in any significant way, its headstrong, larger-than-life characters.
There’s not even a similarity in narrative strategies. “The Lost Child” is fragmented and collagelike in its storytelling, though never much varied in its tone. “Wuthering Heights,” by contrast, is a fluid marvel of intricately layered flashbacks, with outrageous incidents filtered through the eyes of oddly stoic, sardonic or accepting witnesses, allowing Brontë to strike droll and savage notes simultaneously. (...)
Still, all the characters in Monica’s story seem to abdicate their relationships rather than engage in open confrontation, and their actions are recounted with a staid, chilled detachment that, in contrast to Brontë’s approach, fails to pull you viscerally into their world. (Michael Upchurch)
Phillips was born on St. Kitts, an island in the West Indies. But he grew up in England, just few miles away from where the literary Brontë family lived. He says that his proximity to the Brontës influenced his latest novel,The Lost Child — which brings Emily Brontë's 19th-century Wuthering Heights into modern times. The Lost Child follows a young woman as she drops out of Oxford to marry a Caribbean man. She winds up as a single mother with two young boys.The Times reviews the novel:
"The question of parentage, the question of belonging, is very central to Wuthering Heights," Phillips says. "And some of those echoes in that novel obviously began to resonate with me when I was thinking about the more contemporary story."
What do the following have in common: Cliff Richard, Laurence Olivier, a famous cartoon cat and Caryl Phillips’s tenth novel?Check also The Guardian for an article about Kazuo Ishiguro and Caryl Phillips long friendship.
Cliff and Larry played the brute hero in stage and film versions of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff the cat was the beloved comic-strip creation of George Gately. And The Lost Child has, at its core, a range of familiar Heathcliff mysteries.
How did a parson's daughter in remote Yorksire create Heathcliff? Emily Brontë wrote just the one novel before the family disease, TB, carried her off to a premature grave. She'd seen virtually nothing of the world beyond the parsonage. She died, we can be sure, a virgin. (...) (John Sutherland)
Q: If you had to do a similar book about a different novel, which one would it be? Let’s just imagine you’re not the world’s biggest “Gatsby” fan. What other book deserves this kind of treatment? (Joel Achenbach)The Public Reviews posts about the Sheffield performances of the Wuthering Heights ballet revival by the Northern Ballet:
Corrigan: Oh, that’s a tough question. I think “Moby Dick” deserves the kind of intense — some might say obsessive — attention I’ve given to “Gatsby”; also “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” (although Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar in their classic critical work, “The Madwoman in the Attic” did a pretty fantastic job of close reading for those novels). Willa Cather’s “My Antonia” is a gorgeous American classic that deserves more attention.
All this is stunningly and evocatively realised by Northern Ballet in a production that does not fail to move and stir the emotions. Premier dancers Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley as Cathy and Heathcliff bring everything you would expect to their roles – and more. Their many pas de deux are so passionate and intense, that even the hardest of hearts would be moved. From his first entrance as the tormented and raging Heathcliff out on the moors on a stormy night, haunted by thoughts of Cathy, Batley sets the tone as an animalistic and agile figure dominating the stage with long black flowing locks and brooding menace. This is contrasted with his final scene back on the moors again, now an old man desperate to embrace death and be reunited with Cathy. He falls to his knees with his head to the heavens as snow begins to fall – a wonderful and still image. Leebolt has to portray all the conflicts within Cathy as her love for Heathcliff competes with her attraction to the lifestyle offered by the Lintons and this she does with consummate skill. Extremely agile and expressive throughout, she is a joy to watch.Lara Rutherford-Morrison lists 8 Things You'll Only Realize When You Read 'Jane Eyre' A Second Time in Bustle:
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will…” So asserts the titular heroine of Jane Eyre. Has there ever been a better declaration of female independence? When Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre in 1847, it was an instant, though controversial, bestseller. Some critics praised the work for its intensity and vigor, “a book to make the pulses gallop and the heart beat, and to fill the eyes with tears.” But even as the novel garnered huge popularity, it evoked controversy by bucking Victorian ideals of domesticity and delicacy; one critic described it as “one of the coarsest books which we ever perused,” while another dubbed it a wholly “anti-Christian composition.” People had a lot of feelings about this book, is the point.The Globe and Mail interviews the writer Beth Powning:
More than 150 years later, Jane Eyre is still the object of intense readerly devotion (though few complain now about its “coarseness”). It is a work that deserves to be read a second time (and a third and a fourth…), and as you reread it, your perceptions of it will change: At times, you’ll read it as a romance novel, and then, as a coming-of-age story, and later still, as a gothic thriller—It is all of these things. It speaks to the power of Brontë’s writing that, to this day, the story remains immediate and addictive (and it certainly brings the drama—who needs soaps when you’ve got Jane Eyre?) Below, I’ve listed eight things you might notice as you delve into the novel again. (Read more)
What’s the best romance in literature, and why?The Blackburn Citizen gives a few more details of the upcoming Pennine Way BBC documentary:
Of course one of fiction’s great romances (and I love it) is that of Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights. Recently, I found the relationship of Theo and Pippa in The Goldfinch [by Donna Tartt] to be a moving iteration of the same story – the power and purity of first love, and its tragic, perhaps inevitable, foundering. Both romances are based on the lovely child-companionship that occasionally precedes love, and (sometimes) survives it.
In the first episode Paul [Rose] will travel from Edale to Calderdale. He will tell 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.Kent Online talks about the actress Charlie Brooks:
Paul will also meet author and director Barrie Rutter who recalls some of the literary greats who have lived near the route including Ted Hughes and the Brontës. (...)
The series starts on April 10. (Jessica Cree)
Best known as EastEnders’ scheming Janine Butcher, bringing drama to Albert Square with a medley of cocaine addition, murder and prostitution, in reality Charlie Brooks likes nothing more than curling up with a good book by one of the Brontë sisters. (Jo Roberts)The Scotsman talks about pseudonyms as a backstory of the Grant Shapps/Michael Green affair:
A few authors want to conceal their gender, in fear of putting off prospective readers. While in the 1800s, female authors were forced to do this to have their work taken seriously – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë published as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell – the tide has now turned, with some male authors writing about women worried that their gender would deter female readers. They may use initials instead of a forename, while author biographies would probably be quite vague and without a photograph. Of course, a quick google would probably reveal the truth, but can the average reader be bothered? And should they know who is writing their books? Does it matter? (Jane Bradley)Tiffany Murray is reading Jean Rhys and tells it to The Daily Star:
I'm reading Jean Rhys.The Marion Star ends an article about spring and allergies with
I discovered her thin blue-spined Penguin editions here in the labyrinth of stacks.
I've worked my way through the Paris novels (though my favourite is and always will be the more “London After Leaving Mr Mackenzie”).
Because it's not all 'Wide Saragasso Sea' with Jean. It's not all about her declaiming Charlotte Brontë's 'paper tiger lunatic' (Bertha Rochester). It's even more than the myth (or truth?) of Jean.
Let me leave you with this quotation by Charlotte Brontë: “Spring drew on..and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” (Brenda Donegan)According to the Belfast Telegraph, Colin Firth's wet shirt Pride and Prejudice moment has a successor:
Last Sunday night, when viewers caught a glimpse of Poldark's pert posterior as he skinny-dipped in the sea, Twitter almost exploded. The scene eclipsed that famous Darcy moment when Colin Firth emerged from the water in a wet shirt in a television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.The daughter of this columnist of The Grand Island Independent is a British fan:
And that's why women love Aidan Turner as Poldark. He's a ravishing mix of every Byronic hero in literature - Darcy, Heathcliff, Rochester. Even his flaws, like the scar on his face, are attractive.
It’s no surprise that Brenna is a fan of all things British. To describe her surroundings, she uses romantic terms such as “heather.”This other columnist in The Age has a problem with calm and small things:
Brenna discusses authors such as Thomas Hardy, George Eliot and Emily Brontë. She’s not, though, a huge fan of Jane Austen. (Jeff Bahr)
But now, things are going to be different. I am going to be like Jane Bennett (not Elizabeth); like Edgar Linton (not Heathcliff) (even though I quite hate Edgar). I'm going to be methodical and deliberate, and I am going to keep track of my keys. Specifically, I am going to put them inside my bag each night. I'm even going to put them in the same section of my bag, so that they are easy to see. (Amanda Hooton)Médéa Azouri's column in L'Orient Le Jour contains a Brontë mention:
Parce que nos épaules sont trop frêles, notre cœur pas assez solide, et la chair trop vulnérable.Il Quotidiano (Italy) has a curious story bringing together Justice and romanticism:
Alors on a décidé d'avorter cette histoire embryonnaire avant de faire une fausse couche. On a fui. Nous ne sommes pas des héros ni des héroïnes de Pouchkine, d'Emily Brontë, de Stendhal ou de Walter Scott. Nous ne sommes pas enclins à se laisser aller, à braver les circonstances, nos statements, nos craintes. (Translation)
Di fatto, è stata presa di petto un’urgenza mondiale: tutti hanno problemi d’amore, tutti hanno un romanzo dentro al telefonino e la tentazione di leggerlo potrebbe portare alla guerra fra bande. Ma la cosa veramente sorprendente che ci regalano i giudici è la lettura romantica dell’articolo 2 della Costituzione: il principio più bello e profondo sul primato dell’individuo e il diritto a sviluppare la propria personalità viene spinto fino alle vette delle sorelle Brontë. (Viviana Ponchia) (Translation)Le Devoir (France) is not a fan of Anna Todd:
Il semble un peu vain, en réalité, de discuter des mérites littéraires d’After. Sa seule qualité « littéraire » est peut-être indirecte : nourrir la probabilité que de jeunes lectrices ouvrent un jour Les hauts de Hurlevent (Livre de poche). Une question s’impose surtout, adressée aux lecteurs séduits ou excités par la hauteur des piles : pourquoi ? POURQUOI ? ! (Christian Desmeules) (Translation)The Staffordshire Newsletter confirms that an extra performance has been added due to demand to see the Blue Orange Theatre Jane Eyre production in Lichfield.