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1. Charlotte Brontë, Jane EyreYesterday was also St George's Day, patron saint of England. The Irish Times had an article in praise of the English.
Originally published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847, it is hard to believe that Charlotte was only 31 when she finished her feminist masterpiece. Transforming personal experience into spellbinding art, Jane Eyre soars from the first sentence to her last. As Brontë writes, the novel's objective is clear: 'Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.' Her words have lost none of their bite: Jane Eyre is a passionate rejection of patriarchal repression. Jane Eyre sings and she's still unforgettable. [...]
6. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it at the time as 'a fiend of a book – an incredible monster'. He wasn't the only one who thought so – the overriding response to Emily Brontë's first-and-only novel was one of outrage. Even now, Emily's portrayal of masochistic 'first love' on the wild and untamed moors still shocks and provokes. As ugly as it is beautiful, it is hard to believe this violent tale of sexual obsession was written in 1847. 'I wish I were out of doors. I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free.' Emily's Cathy speaks and we are immediately by her side among the heather 'on those hills'. When Emily writes we still feel her frustrations and they become ours too. (Kat Lister)
On this St George’s Day, while England goes about its business, too busy to demand a pubic [sic!] holiday, it would be a short-sighted individual indeed who would dismiss the English imagination. Look to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, or to Auden or Larkin. JRR Tolkien celebrates the English imagination on an epic scale and draws on the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. The novels of Thomas Hardy or better still his poetry such as his three-volume epic, The Dynasts (1904-1908). In many ways, perhaps through his use of the colloquial, folktale and ballads as well as his love of the Wessex landscape, Hardy is a bastion of melancholic and ultimately doomed Englishness. He is a defining English romantic. (Eileen Battersby)Saint George is Sant Jordi in Catalonia (Spain), a day for giving books and roses, and the local edition of El País sums up the day as follows:
Però la festa és una festa d'amor, d'amor als llibres, i es dóna per bo tot sacrifici –les cues, l'estretor, la despesa, la dificultat de trobar el títol que es busca o de recordar-lo (“Teniu llibres de Jane Eyre?”)–. És també una festa d'amor a seques. (Jacinto Antón) (Translation)The National Student reviews Northern Ballet's take on Wuthering Heights giving it 4 stars out of 5.
As the narrative driven piece moves on, we find ourselves watching the now grown up Cathy and Heathcliff (Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley) dancing on the Yorkshire moors. Leebolt and Batley alike should be praised for their virtuosic ability to tell stories through pointed toes. It seems to serve as a trend with Northern Ballet recently, having also showcased 1984 and The Great Gatsby, both literature greats, in their repertoire. NB blur the boundaries between story and dance.On the Scene Magazine adds:
Though moments of the first half seemed a little slow, they were made up for in an impeccable second half, with the wedding scene stealing the show and documenting just how well Northern Ballet do it. The few slips were forgiven for such a well-choreographed and emotive piece. We see Heathcliff overthrown with power, temptation, intimacy and the ability to seduce and, well, the rest is dance. Hannah Bateman (playing Isabella Linton) is a true centrepiece for the NB, having proved her capabilities as her casted character.
Hironao Takahashi completes the set of soloists in his role of Edgar Linton. Though in the novel, we see a wash away, pathetic version of the character, Takahashi plays on the insecurities and forms a well-rounded and slightly comic character consistently, aided with the trembling hands of his Maids. (Dean Eastmond)
At the end when all the dancers were taking their bows the room was electric. I clapped solidly for five minutes. My hands were left sore for ages afterward but it was such a stunning performance – I could not help it. (Lily Anderson)The Southern Daily Echo concludes
From the start of the show’s two acts, we were captivated as sombre music and brooding scenery set the tone of Heathcliff’s anguish as he danced frenetically on the heath, recalling his youth when he and Cathy were once united in joy. By the time the ballet reached its conclusion it was difficult to imagine a more moving production.An 18-year-old describes the novel as 'heavy' in The Huffington Post and The New York Post would seem to agree with her:
At 29, Emily Brontë published “Wuthering Heights,” which gave her immortality in the form of torturing high schoolers to this day. (Gregory E. Miller)According to Fucsia (Colombia), Jane Eyre is one of five great heroines of women's literature.
4. Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brönte [sic].Jane Eyre is also mentioned in an anecdote in The New Yorker:
"Querido lector, espero que nunca padezcas lo que yo padecí entonces. Que nunca broten de tus ojos unas lágrimas tan tempestuosas, abrasadoras y dolorosas como las que brotaron de los míos. Que nunca clames al cielo con ruegos tan angustiosos y desesperanzados como los que salieron de mis labios. Que nunca temas ser la causa de la desgracia del que más amas"
La huérfana Jane Eyre es la materialización del personaje destinado a romper con un destino incierto y miserable gracias a su entereza, fortaleza e inteligencia, cualidades que generalmente se asociaban a los roles masculinos. Una mujer hecha a sí misma, se vale de su educación y coraje para romper con los estereotipos y limitaciones que arrastra la realidad de la pobreza. (Translation)
Kenji Yoshino, a professor of constitutional law at N.Y.U., writes in his new book, “Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial,” that when he and his husband, Ron Stoneham, were getting ready for their wedding, in 2009, they learned that, these days, most couples leave out “that tremulous moment where the officiant states, ‘If any of you can show just cause why these two may not be married, speak now, or else forever hold your peace.’ ” The phrase in its traditional form, from the Book of Common Prayer, is actually “why these two may not be lawfully married,” and it is meant to allow for the discovery of, say, a wife in another town, and not, outside of a romantic comedy, for the groom’s brother to announce that he thinks the groom really loves someone else—or, God forbid, for a filibuster by Ted Cruz. But Yoshino and Stoneham asked Judge Guido Calebresi, who officiated at their very lawful New York wedding, to keep the line in, as “a subtle reminder to ourselves and our guests that many of our fellow citizens felt they had just cause to object to our marriage.” Yoshino adds that he was quite sure no one would jump up, “though I did think wildly of that scene in Jane Eyre, when a stranger declares: ‘The marriage cannot go on.’ ” (Amy Davidson)The Journal Gazette reveals that soon we will see another stage adaptation of the novel.
To end the season next year, Nichols says she will premiere her original adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.”The Pennine Way is 50 years old today and BMC celebrates it by sharing '50 things you (probably) didn't know about the Pennine Way' such as
“I was definitely motivated to get it finished once I knew we were going to be moving,” she says. “It gives us the opportunity to do some things like working with two-story sets and the ability to put the aisles where we want them. All of those things were important to me.” (Keiara Carr)
35. Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse visited by the Pennine Way, is said to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. (Hanna Lindon)The Times Literary Supplement interviews Caryll Phillips:
The version of Brontë’s novel that the reader is impelled to recover is no great and doomed tale of love (has romantic love ever really offered an adequate way of accounting for Wuthering Heights?) but one of inheritance and generation, of origins and renewals, of family abuses and misunderstandings played out from father to daughter and mother to son. It is, as Monica Johnson’s miserably curtailed existence suggests, about the problems of growing up and entering an adult life.William Atkins has also written an article about it in The Guardian.
Where Brontë deliberately leaves Heathcliff’s racial origins uncertain (picked up from the streets of Liverpool, he is variously described as “a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect”, “a little Lascar [an East Indian sailor], or an American or Spanish castaway”), the legacy of a mixed white and Afro-Caribbean descent is central to Phillips’s reimagining. (...)
In Wuthering Heights the reader is coaxed from the beginning into reading signs and gathering details into patterns that might prove adequate to explain the mystery at the book’s heart. It is a novel about storytelling, about learning to read, about reading well, and reading as both diversion and salvation. Phillips has found a way to enlist the strange energy of Emily Brontë’s work and redirect it to powerful and surprising effect. (Katryn Sutherland)
My own memories of the Pennine Way, it must be said, are not exactly green: I think of the denuded black nightmare of Kinder Scout, eroded to a terrain that seems newly released from a flood; the ankle-turning, ash-toned plateau of Cross Fell, a sudden fog contracting visibility to a metre’s ambit; the bog flats of Brontë Land, tinged blood-red by the stalks of dying cotton grass.Librópatas (Spain) recommends a Wuthering Heights postcard among other literary ones. The Vivacious Reader posts about Emily Brontë's novel.