Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontës - It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Anne Brontë’s writings, and those of her sisters Emily and Charlotte Brontë as well. There are other writers who I lo...
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October is now upon us and we are busy preparing for Linger, the next offering from our contemporary arts programme.And The Telegraph and Argus reports that both Keighley and Haworth are mentioned in the new edition of Rough Guide to England.
Linger is a new music installation by contemporary classical composer Ailís Ní Ríain written for and performed on the Brontë family piano.
It comprises six new pieces, each of which reflects the essence of a different room in the parsonage, and is sure to enrich any visitor’s experience of the museum. Linger opens on Saturday October 10 and is free with admission to the museum.
Later in the month, we will be delighted to welcome Sophie Hannah, the queen of psychological fiction, to Haworth.
Sophie will be talking about her latest book, A Game For All The Family, at West Lane Baptist Centre on Thursday 29 October at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6. Sophie is a captivating speaker, so make sure you book soon via bronte.org.uk/whats-on or by calling 01535 640188.
The following evening, Friday October 30, the museum will be participating in Museums At Night. We are holding a candlelit event with composer Ailís Ní Ríain, who will perform excerpts from Linger on the Brontë family piano.
The piano is usually associated with Emily Brontë and is a much-loved item in the museum’s collection, so this event will be really special. Tickets are limited to 30 and cost £15 including a glass of wine. You can book at bronte.org.uk/whats-on or by calling 01535 640188.
And on Saturday October 31– Halloween – we are holding a Museums At Night event for all the family. Join us from 6.30pm and meet Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontës’ housekeeper, in the candlelit parsonage.
Tabby will be sharing ghost stories, macabre happenings and village superstitions – you might not want to step back outside! Admission is free for residents of postcode areas BD20, BD21, BD22 and residents of Thornton (Brontë birthplace).
Even though it seems like term has only just started, half-term is just around the corner. The museum will be running a programme of art-based activities from October 26 to 30 as part of The Big Draw. Details are still being finalised, so keep an eye on bronte.org.uk for more information.
Haworth and Keighley earn a mention in the latest Rough Guide to England.Coincidentally, The Spectrum tells about a trip there.
With its Brontë connections, the Worth Valley village is given prominence.
The guide states "of the English literary shrines, probably only Stratford sees more visitors than the quarter of a million who swarm annually into the village".
One-time home of the literary sisters, the Parsonage Museum, is highlighted together with the Brontë waterfall and bridge.
The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is also listed, but mainly as a possible means of transport to Haworth.
There is no mention of its fame as the location for filming of the classic 1970 movie version of The Railway Children. (Alistair Shand)
In West Yorkshire there is a quaint little village by the name of Haworth, and while the name may not turn on any lights of recognition in your brain, you may just recognize some of the rather famous past residents.The Spectator reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.
The Brontë sisters lived and wrote in the village of Haworth, which is evidenced by the proliferation of shops bearing names like “The Jane Eyre Café.”
You could spend your day wandering through the incredibly steep streets of Haworth, perusing the wares of every shop dedicated to the Brontë sisters (which is to say most of them) and visiting the Brontë Parsonage Museum. [...]
Besides the Moors themselves, there are two main sites that you will arrive at during your hike, the first being the Brontë Waterfall.
It isn’t what you would call grandiose, but it is picturesque, with its crumbled stones and a few windswept trees included in the background.
After crossing the falls, you can continue across the moors to reach Top Withens, which is said to be the inspiration for the setting of Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.” While Top Withens was inhabited during the time of the Brontës, it is now simply the ruin of a farmhouse, thought to be built sometime in the latter half of the 16th century. [...]
he entire place seems to encourage contemplation, with the crumbling stonewalls of Top Withens bringing to mind the effort required to erect them in the first place. The walk takes you along a multitude of dry stone fences, built from uncounted years’ worth of work. Some of them still stand, but others have fallen into ruin — even our stonewalls display a distinct lack of permanence.
The walk back to Haworth seemed easier after the ascent to Top Withens, and soon we found ourselves back on the cobbled streets among the shops looking for a bus to take us to a train to take us back home.
It wasn’t until I was settled into my train seat that I was struck with a thought. Throughout my entire time spent walking on the moors of Haworth, maybe, just maybe, I placed my foot in the exact same place as one of the ancient footprints of a past literary great. (Rio Bergh)
The Lyttelton has mounted a version of Jane Eyre in cahoots with Bristol Old Vic. It’s a weird blend of the postmodern and the traditional. Costumes and hair-dos belong to the right era but the set looks like a chimp enclosure designed by Richard Rogers. White lights glare down on a junkyard full of timber ramps, tree-house platforms and landscaped joists held together with DIY ladders. As a visual archive of Victorian Gothic this is less than a total triumph. Among the clutter looms a drum kit and a double bass which two jazzmen abuse with sadistic atonality.Juliet Barker reviews Melvyn Bragg's book Now Is the Time for The Guardian and makes a very interesting point:
Presumably this is an act of homage to Charlotte Brontë’s lost decade hanging out on the Left Bank with Sartre and Picasso. The company are effective enough but they indulge in too many rehearsal-room experiments. Mr Rochester’s dog, Pilot, is represented by an actor doing his Scooby-Doo party piece. Madeleine Worrall, in the title role, gives a solidly competent account of the 19th century’s Freddie Mercury (‘I want to break free-eee!’). Velvet-voiced Felix Hayes brings warmth and eccentricity to Mr Rochester and his oddball comic turn is the highlight of the evening. The show is utterly determined to follow every spit and cough of the original and I fear that it rather drags towards curtain-down. Revising students will find it an excellent resource. For a fun night out I’d look elsewhere. (Lloyd Evans)
Where should history end and historical fiction begin? Some historians despise historical fiction as an aberration from the truth, but I’ve always been an admirer, not least because the novelist can go forward fearlessly and explore the gaps in our knowledge where professional historians have to stop and admit that we don’t know all the answers. Fiction writers can do this either by immersing themselves so deeply in their subject that the transitions are seamless, as Jude Morgan does in his novel about the Brontës The Taste of Sorrow, or, like CJ Sansom and Philippa Gregory, by using peripheral characters, real or imagined, to interpret what is happening on the greater stage. If they really know and understand their subjects, the best historical novelists can – and should – be both insightful and utterly convincing.Another - albeit different - interesting point is made by children's literature author Jacqueline Wilson in The Northern Echo:
"They ask why many of my children don't have mums and dads. Some come from reasonably well-balanced families but I must admit I do go for the waifs and strays. This has always been my taste in literature. My two favourite classics are Jane Eyre and David Copperfield. I liked the childhood parts and lost interest when they grew up. When children read about another child going through rough times they sympathise with them and start imagining, 'How would I cope?' Children have told me that playing Hetty is their favourite game in the playground and working out how to defeat the nasty matron. I think it's quite cathartic for children," Wilson says. (Viv Hardwick)Another Jane Eyre fan on My New Orleans: Susan Larson, host of WWNO’s programme The Reading Life.
Favorite book: “All time? Jane Eyre! Right now? Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels!” (Lauren Laborde)SF Gate reviews Patti Smith's memoir M Train.
This loose relationship to time allows Smith to appreciate aspects of the contemporary world through an anachronistic lens; she writes of her beloved Detective Linden of “The Killing,” “What do we do with these people that can be accessed and dismissed by a channel changer? That we love no less than a 19th-century poet or an admired stranger or a character from the pen of Emily Brontë?” It’s as if Smith is enamored with the present moment insomuch as it allows her access to the past. (Sara Jaffe)And so does Los Angeles Times.
The coffee house moment comes in the midst of a riff on the nature of masterpieces: "There are two kinds of masterpieces," Smith offers. "There are the classic works monstrous and divine like 'Moby-Dick' or 'Wuthering Heights' or 'Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus.' And then there is the type wherein the writer seems to infuse living energy into words as the reader is spun, wrung, and hung out to dry." It's not hard to determine the side Smith occupies. (David L. Ulin)Financial Chronicle lists 'little known [literary] gems' and Villette is one of them:
Vilette [sic] by Charlotte Brontë: Say Brontë and everyone will respond with Jane Eyre. Such was the popularity of Bronte’s book that Mr Rochester, the Byronian hero is still one of the most leading men in literature. And yet, few know about this other book of hers, also among her finest. Vilette (sic) is the little French village where Lucy Snow, the heroine, arrives (after a family tragedy) to teach at a boarding school, and subsequently falls into a tumultuous love. The book follows a deep psychological angle, dealing with not just Lucy’s love but also issues of her identity and autonomy. (Zehra Naqvi)'10 Inspiring Women of Literature' in The Daily Star:
3) Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre- Jane Eyre is probably one of the earliest representations of an individualistic, passionate and complex female character. Though she suffers greatly, she always relies on herself to get back on her feet, never playing the damsel in distress. Jane Eyre taught us one of the first lessons of womanhood- we don't need men to survive. Full stop. (Naziba Basher)The Irish Times has compiled 'a top 10 of literary ventriloquism' which includes
Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), Jean RhysGuillermo del Toro speaks about his film Crimson Peak in El País (Spain).
Wide Sargasso Sea acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, told from the perspective of the madwoman in the attic. An extension of a story as opposed to a continuation of a novel, Rhys nevertheless reimagines the voice of the beautiful and fragile Antoinette Cosway, years before she is shipped to England to start her new life as Bertha Rochester. Perhaps the best example of an author taking a classic work of literature and turning her response to it into another classic. (Sarah Gilmartin)
Así se embarcaron en un filme que, por mucho que al director le gusten los fantasmas, por mucho que haya sentido un par de presencias paranormales, por mucho que el arranque de La cumbre escarlata esté inspirado en ese día en el que a su madre se le apareció su abuela fallecida, él considera como una historia de amor. "Hablo de un romanticismo gótico, como en la era dorada de Hollywood, cuando horror y melodrama se daban la mano en títulos como Luz que agoniza, Rebeca, Jane Eyre o Cumbres borrascosas. Un mundo complejo en el que se acepta lo mágico y lo extraño. Yo persigo la belleza, hago arte en un género donde Hollywood solo busca dinero". (Rocío Ayuso) (Translation)Central Western Daily makes a list of 'things you SHOULD have in your home after 30'.
#10: A copy of the following books: Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Love in a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love, The Line of Beauty, The Dud Avocado, The Group and Infinite Jest (this final one you will never read, but best keep it there with the thought that you might one day). This is mostly because these are my favourite books and I think everybody should read them. But really, you just need to have books – because not having any is unforgivable. *Though best steer clear of, say, Ayn Rand, a biography of Mark Latham, Fifty Shades of Grey and any book that’s a riff on The Secret. (Annie Stevens)You can now read about September in the Brontë Parsonage garden. Northern Ballet posts a video with the rehearsals of its current Wuthering Heights revival.