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Modern retellings of classic novels are a very special reading experience, but what makes the experience even better is if the update works as a standalone novel, regardless of its source text. Enter Re Jane, which loosely interprets Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In this version, Jane Eyre is Jane Re, a young Korean American woman from Queens who’s recently graduated university with nary a “real” job on the horizon. Enter the Mazer-Farleys, a Clinton Hill-dwelling couple firmly rooted in neo-intelligentsia culture (they’re both women’s lit professors), who take Jane on as the au pair to their adopted Chinese daughter. I live in New York, so I’m a sucker for a culturally accurate representation of the city’s many cliques and cliches — which Re Jane, written by a Queens native, offers in spades — but everyone can appreciate this colorful and endearing story about a young woman navigating the early 2000s. (Caroline Goldstein)It also discusses books to re-read with you mom:
A year later, I was allowed to write an essay on any book given to us on a very extensive list. Without knowing it, I chose one of the most complicated novels on it — Wuthering Heights. Anticipating that it’d be a literary feat for me, my mom decided to reread it with me, and I definitely appreciated having someone available to unload my feelings on Heathcliff and Catherine’s complicated relationship (not to mention to explain some of the Victorian language). (Becky Schultz)
The set is on a turntable and is used more effectively than I have ever seen. It helped to keep the many scene changes, which are actually choreographed beautifully into the show, moving swiftly. Between the movement of the set, the lovely props and the pieces flown over the set, the stage is constantly changing and shifting. It is quite spectacular.We agree with some of the comments made by Rosemary Goring in The Herald:
Many times during the musical I had to remind myself that this is not a professional company. Between the outstanding cast, gorgeous set and a real 18 piece orchestra in a real orchestra pit, it is hard not to think of these college students as pros. (Marietta Lunceford)
It's a universal problem. Adaptations of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre or Vanity Fair generally give the impression that road-sweepers worked night and day. The chocolate-box townscapes in Poldark, or Barchester Towers, or Mill On The Floss represent nostalgia for a past that never existed, a Hovis-view of our forebears' lives that for some reason we like to imagine was simpler, and more wholesome and perhaps even a little more enviable than our own.The discussion was, of course, triggered by the new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. Elle interviews main actress Carey Mulligan:
Of course, novels of the period rarely linger on the squalor, misery or stench of their backdrop. This is understandable since, unless the story was about social justice, those issues were not their focus. But it is also because to Hardy or Eliot or the Brontës there was nothing noteworthy about their environment, which to them was as unremarkable as noxious traffic fumes and the flotsam of polystyrene and tin cans in the gutters are to us. Just because a novelist did not fill in a scene with slop buckets, middens and the disfigured or deformed, however, does not excuse filmmakers for failing to hint at the wider, truer, less attractive picture.
Is there a book you're still hoping to do an adaptation of in the future?Beliefnet reviews the film:
It's funny because so many of the ones I love have been done so successfully. Jane Eyre was one of my favorite books. But I remember seeing Charlotte Gainsbourg's version and loving that, and then Mia [Wasikowska]'s version, which is brilliant with Michael Fassbender. So that's sort of untouchable now in a way. There's been great performances already immortalized. So there's no kind of great novel out there that I'm looking to be involved in. (Emily Zemler)
It begins in 1870, when Everdene is at first a poor relative living on her aunt’s small farm. She had intended to take on the favorite profession of literary heroines: governess. But “she was far too wild,” nothing like the meek Jane Eyre. She rides straddling her horse, no sidesaddle. (Nell Minow)The Telegraph & Argus interviews Gary Peacock, General Manager of the Midland Hotel in Bradford, host to some events of the Bradford Literary Festival:
For the festival, this has translated into the Midland becoming the festival hotel which acts not only as the hub for all our writers and artists but also as one of the venues. We are delighted to be holding quite a few events at the Midland this year, everything ranging from Will Self and Professor Akram Khan talking about particle physics to a series of Bronte-themed events culminating in a dinner and quiz hosted by Christa Ackroyd."For the festival, this has translated into the Midland becoming the festival hotel which acts not only as the hub for all our writers and artists but also as one of the venues. We are delighted to be holding quite a few events at the Midland this year, everything ranging from Will Self and Professor Akram Khan talking about particle physics to a series of Brontë-themed events culminating in a dinner and quiz hosted by Christa Ackroyd. (Emma Clayton)A story of wild dogs in The New York Times' Rites of Passage:
Beth and I met at Hollins College, when she was a 19-year-old junior and I was a 24-year-old creative-writing grad student. We immediately fell in love, sorrowfully parting when she left for a semester abroad, but writing each other letters during our separation (this was 1991) with the avidity of Brontë characters. (Adam Ross)Also in the New York Times we find this article about the actor Tom Hardy:
His lush-lipped bad-boy looks didn’t hurt him either: A smoldering performance as Heathcliff in ITV’s 2009 “Wuthering Heights” (opposite his future wife, Charlotte Riley, as Cathy) prompted one reviewer to write “The man is sex on fire.” (Cara Buckley)The Bournemouth Daily Echo presents a new poetry trail at Kingston Lacy:
A POETRY trail has been launched in the gardens of the National Trust's Kingston Lacy mansion.The Philadelphia Enquirer discusses the recent Baltimore incidents:
The trail features some well-known and loved verse, as well as some less well-known, but all on the theme of spring.
Kingston Lacy visitor experience officer Rob Greenhalgh said: "Kingston Lacy is at its best in the spring, starting with the spectacular snowdrop displays in February right through to the daffodils and now the bluebells which are just starting to come out.
"We also have cherry blossoms and displays of rhododendrons and camellias. Since, for centuries, we know that people have been inspired by spring to take up a pen and write, we thought we would bring the two together and maybe inspire another Wordsworth, Hardy or Bronte to create their own tribute to spring."
Who knew the quaint-sounding phrase - it sounds pulled from a Brontë novel - was an actual legal term? But Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby used it yesterday to describe the second-degree murder charge brought against one of the officers in the death of Freddie Gray.The Globe and Mail interviews the author Lynn Crosbie who makes a bizarre observation:
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. allegedly acted with a "depraved heart" when he recklessly drove the van that transported Gray, who was not secured with a seatbelt, to the police station after a bogus arrest. As the world now knows, Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury somewhere along the way. (Ronnie Polaneczky)
Celine Black/Kurt Cobain is both elevated and trapped by his fatal glamour. Is beauty liberation, or tyranny?Lindsay Choi of The Daily Californian cannot stand Holden Caulfield:
Celine (whose name is a genuine homage – I am singing, so to speak, Lead Belly’s song the way that Celine Dion sings [of] Wuthering Heights) is fairly oblivious, as is Evelyn, to their preternatural beauty.
In fact, Holden Caulfield is so hated among casual readers that, in some ways, it’s kind of hard to understand how the hell “The Catcher in the Rye” became an American classic. After all, most canonized books are fairly well-liked by nonacademic readers, even “Moby Dick” and “Jane Eyre.”Anna Todd's After in Die Welt (Germany):
Tessa, die, no kiddin', den Nachnamen Young trägt, lernt am ersten Tag im College Hardin Scott kennen, ein Mustermannsbild des Typs tätowierte Schale, weicher Kern. Was zunächst Ecken und Kanten sind, werden bald Lesezeichen, denn der schroffe und unverschämte Frauen- und Maulheld besitzt unwahrscheinlicherweise eine Bibliothek. Der Eingeborene kann lesen. Und dann liest er auch noch Frauenromane, vor allem Jane Austen und die Brontë-Schwestern. (Richard Kämmerlings) (Translation)Deborah Wynne from the University of Chester posts about her visits to the Brontë Parsonage Museum on Placing the Author; Phonebox Magazine reviews the Northern Ballet's Wuthering Heights performances.