Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 9:59 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
WhatsOnStage discusses novels adapted for the stage. Parts of  The Guardian's review of the National Theatre Jane Eyre production are quoted too.
It was odd, then, to find Michael [Billington] criticising Sally Cookson's stage version of Jane Eyre for not doing the things you want a novel to do. "If I couldn't join in the final cheers," he wrote, "it is because this kind of hectic abridgement offers a demonstration of theatrical skill rather than the moving accumulation of detail you get in great fiction."
I don't know about you, but I don't go to the theatre to read a book. I loved Cookson's staging precisely because of its theatrical skill. Here was Jane Eyre in theatrical form: full of colour and music and feeling and mood, made with bodies not words, with atmosphere not description.
As Cookson herself puts it in the programme: "Our job has been to turn it from a book into a piece of theatre. Essentially that means creating something new – the experience of reading a book is very different to watching a play."
The key, perhaps, is in the words Cookson uses: not a play, but a piece of theatre. There's a difference: all plays are theatre, but not every piece of theatre is a play. Jane Eyre has elements of drama, but it is mostly theatre: more than the action and interaction of its characters. (Matt Trueman)
Standard Issue Magazine reviews positively the production:
Charlotte Brontë wrote Jane as a wonderfully fierce, independent feminist before we really knew what feminism was, so for that alone it’s wonderful. But for this adaptation, the true star of the show is the direction. The cast members seamlessly transfer roles, with a particular highlight being Craig Edwards’ portrayal of Rochester’s dog Pilot, which brings a welcome bit of light-hearted humour to proceedings. At times, you’re so busy watching his sleeping, twitching Pilot that you miss the main action. But we’ve all read the book, right?
The staging, cast and musicians are truly wonderful with Worrall’s Jane dominant throughout. And rightly so. I think Brontë would be proud. (Karen Campbell)
And according to Time Out, going to the theatre to see this play is one of '42 hot things to do in London this week'.

This week is also London Fashion Week and (now sort of predictably) we have a reference to the Brontës in the Denver Post.
The designer [Erdem Moralioglu] was trying to create an atmospheric Gothic landscape of swirling blue mist, relentless rain, thunder and howling winds - a perfect backdrop for his ethereal, darkly romantic dress collection. The show notes referenced Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World," though there's more than a hint of "Wuthering Heights" about it too. (Sylvia Hill)
The Huffington Post lists several authors who wrote just one novel. Emily Brontë is among them.
The middle sister of the three surviving Brontë sisters, Emily Brontë published her debut novel Wuthering Heights under the pseudonym "Ellis Bell" in 1847. At the time, the novel divided Victorian critics who were left scandalized by its brazen, passionate characters and its pervasively dark themes, but it has since come to be seen as one of the greatest of all 19th century novels -- and perhaps the greatest of all the Brontë Sisters' literary works. Tragically, however, just one year after its publication, Emily caught a terrible cold while attending the funeral of her brother Bramwell (sic) in 1848. The cold eventually gave way to tuberculosis, and Emily, aged only 30, died just weeks later on December 19.
A letter from Emily's publisher reputedly confirms that she had begun working on a second novel at the time of her death, but no notes, drafts, or record of the novel -- if one indeed existed - has ever been found; it has ultimately been suggested that whatever work Emily had completed on it was destroyed by her family after her death. As a result, she remains the only one of the three Brontë sisters to have published only one book in her lifetime. (Paul Anthony Jones)
Vice's Broadly looks at 'The History of Female Anger'. Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own is brought up and this point highlighted:
 She sees that anger as a reaction to women's plight as second-class citizens, particularly in the work of Charlotte Brontë—a writer so angry that she wrote a madwoman into an attic and burned down the house.
"We feel the influence of fear in it," Woolf writes about Brontë's Jane Eyre, "just as we constantly feel an acidity which is the result of oppression, a buried suffering smouldering beneath her passion." Woolf identifies the tension between the perception that women's anger is invasive—a corrosive force that undermines women's creative force—and a legitimate reaction to oppression. Anger haunts the work of Woolf, of Brontë, of many lady novelists that felt the fearful force of oppression. (Stassa Edwards)
Fine Books and Collections tells about the British Library's exhibition in China:
The British Library has announced that for the first time ever it is to display some of its most iconic literary treasures in China, including Shakespeare’s First Folio and Charlotte Brontë’s fair copy manuscript of Jane Eyre.
Ten items will star in pop-up exhibitions taking place across China between 2016 and 2019. They are expected to include handwritten manuscripts and early editions by some of the greatest British authors of all time, from Shakespeare and Dickens to the Brontë sisters and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The £1.6 million project will be funded by the UK Government as part of an ambitious cultural exchange programme with China. [...]
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “As a global institution for world culture and knowledge, the British Library is thrilled to be taking some of our greatest literary treasures to share with audiences in China. Writers such as Shakespeare, Dickens and the Brontës continue to resonate with people across the world, and nothing compares to the excitement of seeing original manuscripts at first-hand. These displays will allow the Chinese public to engage with Britain’s rich literary heritage as never before.”
The Times Literary Supplement tries to find the connection (if any) of Brontë in Sicily and the Brontë family.


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