Christmas Lunch and Entertainment 2016 - The annual Brontë Group Christmas Lunch took place last Saturday, 3 December. Around 40 members turned up to enjoy a three-course meal, drinks and entertai...
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Claire Harman: Charlotte Brontë
Saturday 24th October, 4pm
Chester Town Hall
On the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth, acclaimed literary biographer Claire Harman brings one of our most enduring writers to life. Going beyond the novels, Harman draws on little-known material to explore the relationship between Bronte and her schoolmaster in Belgium, her unrequited love for him formed the basis for her early novels, and drove her determination to get her own and her sisters’ work published.
Claire Harman is an award-winning writer and critic, author of four major literary biographies, exploring Jane Austen and Robert Louis Stevenson among others.She writes short stories for radio and publication and was runner-up for the V.S.Pritchett prize for short fiction in 2008 and the Tom-Gallon Award in 2014.
Claire will be interviewed by novelist and broadcaster Penny Feeny. (via Chester Chronicle)
Charlotte, though, emerges here as a complicated figure, reticent yet capable of devoted friendships, embedded in a nexus of correspondence, confiding and concealing by turns. If nothing wildly revelatory comes to light in this new account, it is, nonetheless, full of pleasing and piquant detail, scraps of passing recollection assembled from the various lives and letters in which the Brontës featured and from which we might reconstruct their world: details like that of Tabby the cook, affectionately mocked by Emily for her characteristic “O Dear, O Dear, O Dear” and remembered by Charlotte for boiling potatoes into “a sort of vegetable glue”.The Times also reviews it:
It can’t be denied: Charlotte Brontë was no beauty. Her novel Jane Eyre, subtitled “an autobiography”, depicted a consciously ugly heroine, a “little toad”; she is “poor, obscure, plain and little”. Brontë declared that in her 1847 book she would “show you a heroine as plain and as small as myself”. (...) (Paula Byrne)Claire Harman herself writes in The Guardian about the fascinanting Heger letters affair:
In 1913, a Belgian doctor and scientist called Paul Heger and his sister Louise donated to the British Library four letters that the novelist Charlotte Brontë had written to their late father, Constantin, in 1844 and 1845, when Constantin was a well-known figure in Brussels and a teacher at the girls’ school owned and run by his wife Zoe. Charlotte and Emily Brontë had been pupils at the Pensionnat Hegerin 1842, and Charlotte returned there as a pupil-teacher the following year.The Telegraph & Argus announces something that we really want to see. A sand sculpture of Emily Brontë will appear next week in Bradford, courtesy of the Sand in your Eye people:
Her deep admiration for her former master was no secret – Elizabeth Gaskell had written about it and Heger’s influence over Charlotte’s development as a writer in her bestselling Life of Charlotte Brontë in 1857 – but what Gaskell suppressed and what the Heger family’s letters made painfully clear was that Brontë’s feelings had gone far beyond ordinary admiration or gratitude. They expressed an intimacy that Brontë expected would deepen and grow after she returned home to Yorkshire, then a rising irritation as Heger fobbed her off with cooling, formal replies, and finally an angry despair at his strategic silence: “when day after day I await a letter”, she wrote to him in November 1845, “and day after day disappointment flings me down again into overwhelming misery, when the sweet delight of seeing your writing and reading your counsel flees from me like an empty vision – then I am in a fever – I lose my appetite and my sleep – I pine away.” (Read more)
The Cottingley Fairies, Emily Brontë and Bradford's legendary wild boar are just some of the well-known local figures being carved out of sand as part of the week-long event, called Discovering Bradford.The Chicagoist publishes the story Creeps by Barry Gifford which includes a Jane Eyre reference:
The art trail, by Bradford-based Sand In Your Eye, will be on display in the opening week of the Broadway shopping centre to encourage people to explore the rest of the city.
The five-strong team has already started carving some of the sculptures.
A flock of sheep can now been seen grazing inside the Kirkgate Shopping Centre, while Bradford Interchange now has a giant four-ton sculpture of Bradford's legendary wild boar, the creature immortalised on the city's crest.
Throughout next week, the figure of Emily Brontë will start to appear at the Waterstones bookshop in the Wool Exchange. (Claire Wilde)
The school had been built in 1902 and resembled an asylum or prison out of Victorian England. When Roy saw the movie of Jane Eyre on TV he thought the similarity between Lowood Institute and Devil’s Island was unmistakable. (Kymberly Janisch)Lizzy Fry has rediscovered Wuthering Heights in the Burton Mail:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. There are several novels which I hated when I was younger, for the simple reason that we were forced to read and study them at school.The Evening Standard talks about the new season of The Affair:
Thankfully, many of these books I have rediscovered as an adult, and Wuthering Heights is certainly one of those classics that everyone should read at least once. (...)
Such an intense tale is set in the intense world of the Yorkshire Moors, and it is all utterly irresistible.
Many of these conflicts have antecedents in 19th-century novels such as Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina and Jane Eyre — the ultimate husband-with-a-dark-secret story. The dangers of making the wrong match were acute in an age when women barely knew their husbands upon betrothal and overnight became their property. (Johannah Thomas Corr)Fashion Beans reviews the perfume Blasted Heath by Penhaligon:
If tasked with crafting a fragrance for Heathcliff, Emily Brontë’s foremost wanderer of blasted heaths, we’d reach for a fair few ingredients before sage. Leather, yes. Tobacco would probably get a look in. Perhaps the essence of a murdered springer spaniel, to offer a certain minerality when dabbed behind the ears. (...)The Guardian explores properties in Shropshire:
Though the brand doesn’t tilt its latest fragrance overtly towards Wuthering Heights, there’s more than a sniff of Heathcliff in both the moniker and the scent. (...)
Blasted Heath may lack the impact and longevity of Brontë’s novel, but it is also rather less challenging. Because for all the appeal of a tortured hero, really we all want something – and someone – we can enjoy everyday. (Tom Banham)
The Long Mynd won’t exactly give the Matterhorn an insecurity complex, but there is a touch of the incongruously wild and gothic about the Shropshire Hills, as if Heathcliff had got lost and wandered a bit far south. (Tom Dyckhoff)The Sydney Morning Herald reviews Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter:
Creative Loafing reviews the film Jem and the Holograms:
The film is an adaptation of the successful animated series from the 1980s, and let's pause to note that the word "adaptation" is used here in the absolutely loosest sense. In the end, the movie is an adaptation of the cartoon about as much as Steven Spielberg's Jaws was an adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. (Matt Brunson)Nelson Mail reviews the humour show Calypso Nights, part of Nelson Arts Festival (in Nelson, New Zealand)
Yet we can all get behind a fantastic visual scene toward the end. A sporting crowd member (Steve) is transformed into Heathcliff, thanks to the transformative qualities of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights and a number of cleverly placed LP covers. This scene is joyous and works on all levels. (Daniel Allan)Men's Journal discusses horror books:
A few Crimson Peak references:
Having a "real" mansion around them probably enhanced the actors' performances, too. Wasikowska is endearingly innocent, yet with a sharp wit and a deep intelligence. She is attempting to be an author of gothic romance in the vein of Mary Shelley, even though she is being told to write more like the Brontë sisters. (Damond Fudge in KCCI8)
A ribaltare tutto ciò vi è una trama che, per quanto coerente e compatta, non si mostra poi particolarmente originale, configurandosi alla perfezione con quel tipo di storie gotiche vittoriane dal retrogusto dei romanzi delle sorelle Brontë, quali Cime Tempestose o il più noto Jane Eyre. (Claudio Fidele in UniInfo News) (Translation)
Gondolja azt, hogy a Jane Eyre rémálomszerű verziójára váltott jegyet, és hagyja, hogy a túláradó érzelmek által keltett gyilkos örvény, illetve és a hihetetlen látványvilág elragadja. (Varga Dénes in Origo) (Translation)
Imagine that Jane Eyre, the legend of Bluebeard, Paranormal Activity and all of Jane Austen’s novels had a baby. That is exactly what Guillermo del Toro’s newest film “Crimson Peak” is. The film continues the director’s trek through the dark fantasy genre, and though it does not quite reach the greatness that Pan’s Labyrinth achieved, it is still a pretty damn good film. (Sarah Tipton in The Trinitonian)
Many writers and filmmakers have plumbed the inky depths of the gothic genre, from the Brontë Sisters to old Alfred J. Hitchcock. And the del Toro seems to reference almost every single one of these earlier works, from Jane Eyre to Rebecca -- even elements of Kubrick's The Shining pop in for a quick hello. (Dorothy Woodend in The Tyee)
The gothic trend of symbolic objects continues in his office as he and Edith look at latent images of ghostly background figures in portraits. “Maybe we only notice things when the time comes for us to see them,” Edith remarks. In the most explicit homage to “Jane Eyre,” Thomas tells Edith of a link he senses between their hearts and tests her feelings by saying she would forget him. Reminiscent of Wasikowska’s own performance as Jane in the 2011 film, she stands as his equal and proclaims her feelings. Like Jane, Edith allows herself to become overwhelmed. ( Brooke Corso in The Monitor)
Del Toro takes these tropes and runs amok with them. Crimson Peak is like Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca filtered through B-movie horror and some big-budget perfume ads. (And I mean that in the good way.) (Alison Gillmor in Winnipeg Free Press)
Hiddleston crafts Thomas Sharpe into a corrupted Byronic hero not unlike "Jane Eyre's" Edward Rochester. (Nellie Chapman in Newzye)
Desde Roger Corman a Tim Burton pasando por Mario Bava y Terence Fisher, desde los prerrafaelitas a los pintores académicos victorianos de paisajes ruinosos y desolados pasando por las ilustraciones de las novelas sensacionales, desde Matthew G. Lewis hasta Henry James pasando por el Poe de La caída de la casa Usher o el W. H. Hodgson de La casa en el confín de la tierra, desde la Charlotte Brontë de Jane Eyre hasta sus reescrituras por Daphne Du Maurier en Rebeca o por Standish en La senda de los elefantes pasando por la Emily Brontë de Cumbres borrascosas, todo el universo gótico-romántico parece estar citado, haber servido de inspiración o ser homenajeado. (Carlos Colón in Málaga Hoy) (Translation)
Côté inspiration, il y a de grands romans : Les Hauts de Hurlevent, de Jane Austen (BLUNDER ALERT), De grandes espérances, de Charles Dickens, Rebecca, de Daphné du Maurier, ou encore Dragonwyck, d’Anya Seton. Tous des livres avec une part d’horreur qu’on retrouve dans Crimson Peak . (Le Quotidien) (Translation)
Indubbiamente ricorrono numerosi dejà vu durante la visione del film perché "Crimson Peak", oltre ad echeggiare la fiaba popolare di Barbablù, nasce intriso di citazioni a un passato cui rende omaggio proprio rievocandolo: da un lato la letteratura gotica nella sua declinazione horror con riferimenti ad autori come Edgar Allan Poe e Howard P. Lovecraft e in quella romantica in stile "Cime tempestose", dall'altro il cinema classico di certe ghost story ma anche di alcuni titoli di Hitchcock e Kubrick. (Serena Nannelli in Il Giornale) (Translation)
Per carità, Crimson Peak è anche altro, magari è soprattutto altro (il Cime Tempestose del sangue e dell'argilla, toh), ma negare quanto horror ci sia dentro, nei temi, nell'atmosfera, nella tecnica cinematografica finalizzata all'inquietare e a un paio di fugaci "buh" giocherellosi, beh, mi sembra da furbetti. (Andrea Maderna in IGN Video) (Translation)
Asimismo, el film bebe de diversas influencias: narrativas (novelas como Jane Eyre y la referida Cumbres borrascosas), artísticas (los paisajes románticos de Caspar David Friedrich) y por supuesto cinematográficas. (Michael Nissnick in El Universal) (Translation)According to Strobe (Portugal) the Brontës probably didn't like pop-rock music:
Após a pesquisa, infelizmente, algo me diz que as irmãs Brontë não gostavam de pop/rock. (Patrícia Gomes) (Translation)The Post (Netherlands) reviews a local performance of Jean Cocteau's La Voix Humaine:
Over moderne media gaat de tekst van Cocteau ook. In 1932 kwam de telefonie op, na eeuwen van de brief als liefdesboodschap. Conversaties kwamen zo dichtbij over de lijn, maar de afstand nam alleen maar toe. Pas het – ook draadloos – ongestraft toe op internet en de zogenaamd sociale media. En wat zou de telefoon gedaan hebben met de romanlevens van Jane Eyre, Madame de Bovary en Eline Veere? (Halina Reijn) (Translation)Ángeles Caso presents her biographical novel Todo ese fuego in El Periódico de Aragón (Spain):
Y es que este Todo ese fuego es un ejercicio mucho más profundo, según aseguró la escritora: "Esta es una novela que habla de muchas cosas, no solo es la historia de las hermanas Brontë y un homenaje a esas mujeres del siglo XIX que vivieron apresadas por las normas morales pero que tuvieron una fuerza interior, un fuego, como dice el título de la novela, que las llevó más lejos que lo que la sociedad pretendía de ellas en contra de todo, va mucho más allá", dijo, para después continuar: "Es un libro sobre la vida y la muerte porque está también muy presente. Siempre espero que mis lectores sean personas que, además, de emocionarse, le añadan una reflexión. Creo en el equilibrio entre entre corazón y cabeza. Solo el corazón es una cosa boba pero también la cabeza sola es una cosa fría". (D.M.B.) (Translation)Love-the-jaws reviews Wuthering Heights; Tropa de Libros (in Spanish) reviews Ángeles Caso's Todo ese fuego. Slippe Disc posts about the recent musical event by Ailís Ní Ríain at the Parsonage.