Review - Villette at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - *Review by Richard Wilcocks* Charlotte Brontë’s *Villette*, which was recognised by knowledgeable readers in nineteenth century Brussels as a close parallel...
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Charlotte Brontë left several tantalising fragments when she died during pregnancy in 1855. The Story of Willie Ellin (1853) is partly narrated by a non-human entity that cryptically describes itself as an outgrowth of an ancient burial ground. The victimised child, William Ellin, shares his name with an adult character in a fragment by Brontë called Emma, set in a girls’ boarding school, which WM Thackeray printed in the Cornhill magazine in 1860.Day after Day Bustle makes new lists which usually include the Brontës somehow. Even when the list is about New York books:
Brontë is at her most astringently witty in Emma, describing her mercenary schoolmistresses as “not much less shallow than the china saucer which held their teacups”. The mystery surrounding a new girl who arrives at the school with trunkloads of luxurious clothes, and whose father subsequently vanishes, may have inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess (1905). The elegant idler Ellin, meanwhile, emerges as a sort of proto-Peter Wimsey as he undertakes to investigate the disappearance – having perhaps, the narrator muses, “something of the amateur detective in him”.
Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1848) inspired a notable 20th-century novel that never was – Adela: A Romance, in which Angela Carter planned further adventures for Rochester’s ward, Adèle. In a 1991 note written the year before she died from cancer aged 51, and described in a memoir by her friend Susannah Clapp, Carter suggested that her renamed Adela would grow up to seduce Rochester (later revealed to be her father), and be reunited in Paris with her mother, a dancer turned Communard revolutionary. (Jenny McAuley)
Re Jane by Patricia ParkThe New York Times interviews the writer (and living SF/Fantasy legend) Ursula K. Le Guin:
In this modern adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, Jane’s trying to escape her strict Korean upbringing in Queens, and salvation (her Thornfield Hall, if you will) is a Brooklyn family seeking an au pair. The "madwoman in the attic" is her boss — a women’s studies professor stressing over securing tenure. Jane's search for independence and belonging is set against a background of a city in flux that is taking in 9/11 and its aftermath, and the gradual creep of gentrification. (Lauren Hossack)
What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?The Bay Area Reporter explores the figure, mainly his gay side, of Charles Ludlam, author of The Mystery of Irma Vep:
Let’s arbitrarily limit it to poetry, which we have so far ignored. Housman, Shelley, Yeats, Hardy, Brontë, Rilke — for starters.
In the case of The Mystery of Irma Vep, by far the biggest commercial success of his career, Ludlam looked to B movies about mummies, vampires, and werewolves, as well as to more upper-crust fare such as Rebecca and Wuthering Heights for this deconstruction-celebration. But while many of Ludlam's plays were shoestring epics, Irma Vep made do with just two actors – albeit playing eight (or more) characters of alternating genders involving 35 quick costume changes. (Richard Dodds)Lília Azevedo in Diário da Manhã (Brazil) is thrilled with Wuthering Heights:
(...) Emily nos faz sentir com seus personagens como as circunstâncias nos transformar ou fazem aflorar o que temos de melhor ou pior, Catherine fará escolhas egoístas mediante esta situação, a mágoa recíproca entre eles só é superada pelo amor desesperado que sentem um pelo outro e pela compreensão de como se pertencem, para o bem ou para o mal.The writer Carlos Zanón admits to his anglophilia in El Periódico (Spain):
Nào estamos falando de uma história melosa (com o perdão do termo), em que os personagens fazem tudo para ficarem juntos e as circunstâncias e os outros só atrapalham. Ao longo da trama outras figuram que compartilham desta história, são arrastadas no turbilhão de sentimentos de Heathcliff e Catherine, da tenacidade egoísta dela, da obstinação dele. Há vingança, ódio, sofrimento em uma história crua e ao mesmo tempo poética. É impossível ler este livro sem parar para pensar na verdadeira natureza dos sentimentos humanos. (Translation)
La literatura me ganó no por esos libros odiosos de Los Hollister sino por tropezarme con Lord Byron y su Childe-Harold, los poetas niñatos suicidas, Wilde, Oxford y Cambridge, los educados asesinatos en casas de reposo de Agatha Christie y el revolcarse sobre la colina mojada de lluvia del salvaje Heathcliff y Catherine. (Translation)Hufvudstadsbladet (Finland) reviews an Uppsala production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya:
Uppsala stadsteaters föreställning blir min fjärde Morbror Vanja-uppsättning det här året. Efter två finska varianter som lämnat originaltexten orörd och mig tämligen oberörd är det uppfriskande att se en föreställning som faktiskt vågar föra dialog med samtiden. Bearbetningen leker friskt med Tjechovs språk och teman och talar med författare som Emily Brontë – allt sker i en levande svensk översättning av Staffan Skott. (Isabella Rothberg) (Translation)lifeboxset (Spain) makes a list of books you should read before finishing college:
Jane Eyre.Fox Home reviews The Brontë Cabinet by Deborah Lutz. Is Show Time has a post on Wuthering Heights and its adaptations. The July update of the Parsonage Garden news is online.
El libro perfecto para definir lo que significa crecer. Sigue a Jane en sus cambios de la infancia a la adolescencia y es ideal para esos momentos de fin de la universidad. (Translation)