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...
12 hours ago
It’s all too colorful, fervid swirls of red and blue, which badly offset the wintry mood of Jane Eyre-esque solitude the script seems to be aiming for. (Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair)
Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic romance, out this Friday, doesn’t just wear its influences on its sleeve. (A “foreword” from the director handed out at the press screening cites Dragonwyck, as well as classic-era Hollywood adaptations of Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations, and there are whiffs of an entire English major’s worth of literary classics throughout, from Wuthering Heights to “The Fall of the House of Usher.”) It splices them all together and serves them up to the viewer in a smooth, Vitamixed blend. And while Crimson Peak may not add up to more than the sum of its parts, it’s hard to go wrong with parts as tried and true as these, particularly when they’re assembled with del Toro’s signature panache. (Alison Herman on Flavorwire)
Eventually del Toro surrenders to contemporary horror tastes, tossing aside nostalgic restraint in favor of a hefty meat cleaver, with spurts and gurgles galore. Crimson Peak ends with a torrent of high-toned violence, as if the Brontë sisters had a threesome with Eli Roth. The horror, as Lucille hisses, is for love. (Steve Persall in The Tampa Bay Times)
Mia Wasikowska ("Jane Eyre") has her moments as the feisty Edith, who overcomes Victorian notions of propriety first to write a novel and then to fight for her life. But this "Wuthering Heights" is spiked with so many gruesome decomposing corpses and gratuitous jump-scares that the film soon squanders its atmospheric riches. (Karen D'Souza in Contra Costa Times)
Tom Hiddleston's character, Thomas Sharpe, feels like he could be cut from the same cloth as Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is a character who has experienced poverty, and managed to find his way into the upperclass. He is a man who is difficult to interpret: A sadistic, scheming villain or a romantic hero? (Aaron Sagers on Blastr)
While the Brontë sisters were dying of fever in their dismal swamp, “Crimson Peak” might have been the über-Gothic yarn that flickered through their overheated brains – if they’d also had sexual congress with Satan and consumed a bunch of ‘shrooms. It’s part Mary Shelley and part Arthur Conan Doyle (both authors are specifically mentioned), but it’s also “Jane Eyre” and H.P. Lovecraft and Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” and Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” and a little 19th-century American realism by way of Edith Wharton or William Dean Howells.Not a hypothesis but a fact.
Indeed, the film’s title refers to a crumbling ancestral manse more dreadful than the Thornfield Hall of “Jane Eyre,” and perhaps even more toxic than Haworth Parsonage, where the Brontë daughters nurtured their literary genius and then died. (One gruesome hypothesis is that Haworth’s water supply was contaminated by the rotting human remains in the adjacent cemetery.) (Andrew O'Hehir on Salon)
You ran an article about the importance and impact of dramaturgy. The next page had an article about modern adaptations of books including the acclaimed production of Jane Eyre. Ironically, you failed to mention that Sally Cookson, the director, was very ably aided and abetted in bringing this wonderful production from page to stage by a dramaturg, namely the talented Mike Akers.Among the (UK) TV recommendations for tonight in The Guardian is
Many adaptations of books for theatre are only possible because of the skills of a good dramaturg and you missed a real oppor-tunity, particularly in light of the previous article, to give Akers his due.
Vice chair, board of trustees, Travelling Light Theatre
A Very British Romance With Lucy WorsleyAlso in The Guardian, Geoffrey Rush writes about fellow actor - well, actress - Magda Szubanski and her book Reckoning.
The ever-enthusiastic historian continues her romantic history of the nation with a peek into the Victorian era. While floral arrangements, love songs and Valentine’s cards might sound like the stuff of 20th-century consumerism, she explores their roots, as well as delving into the tradition of courtly love that underpinned romance in the period. Reaching for novels such as Jane Eyre as well as donning her usual period garb, Worsley makes the olden days feel that little bit less olden. (Hannah J Davies)
I’ve got lost in Joyce’s Dublin, Woolf’s Bloomsbury, the Brontë Sisters’ Yorkshire moors. Now I’m enthralled with Magda Szubanski’s Croydon, Australia’s own collective sub-conscious suburb, the architecture of which she deftly anoints as Bauhaus’s “bastard child”.A columnist on Black Mountain News discusses writing:
But once again I was faced with the challenge of writing a full-length novel based on a flimsy idea. And then I had a brainstorm — I would write a trilogy of Great American Novellas, and I was two-thirds of the way there. Okay, so I only had the titles.Starts at 60 Book Club (Australia) reviews the novel Salt Creek by Fiona Treloar:
But then with two down and one to go I was stuck, and it was about 10 years before the third leg of the trilogy came to me. One day, as I was driving to the store with Emily Brontë on my mind, it hit me: “Withering Heights.” (sic)
But by this time I realized I was probably too old to write even one-third of a trilogy of novellas, let alone all three-thirds, and then get it published, which is an agonizing process. But having had a father who’d learned the meaning of “frugal” during the Great Depression, I couldn’t let these three fine titles go to waste, just as I couldn’t let the crusts of my bread go to waste in 1946. Hence this column. (Robert Rufa)
Salt Creek is a property along the Coorong in South Australia, being developed by the Finch family in the 1850s. The family have fallen on hard times, through a series of unwise business decisions and are struggling to make a success of dairy farming. The story is narrated by Hester, one of the daughters. She has been well educated, able to discuss Darwin’s theories and the novels of the Brontës. She now finds herself a farm labourer, isolated from polite society. Her father will no longer accept help from his in-laws. The mother of the family has become withdrawn after this change and the deaths of two young children. (Vivienne Beddoe)According to Freedom Newspaper,
No city in America reminds one of England as much as the Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. The houses and streets are reminders of the British/European in America. The women still look like the English women in the Brontë sisters’ novels. The air in Virginia and just about everything else make one feel they are walking in the streets of Leeds or Portsmouth. (Fatou Jaw Manneh)The New Yorker publishes an obituary for Lindsley Cameron Miyoshi. who seems to have had a fascinating life by the sound of it.
While in graduate school, she struck up a friendship with Masao Miyoshi, a professor emeritus of literature at the University of California at San Diego. They visited back and forth, and he proposed to her. She hated California, but loved that Masao wanted to take care of her. She hadn’t had a lot of that. She’d been studying Japanese for years, and what better way to learn than by having a Japanese husband? Sounding like a character out of Jane Austen or one of the Brontës, she announced to her friends one night at dinner, “Ladies, I may marry him.” They married, in 2006. (Mary Norris)The Huffington Post features singer-songwriter Catherine Howe who
beat Kate Bush by two years in being the first singer-songwriter release to feature a track ('Lucy Snowe') prompted by a Brontë novel, a feat Catherine brushes aside with characteristic modesty: "Kate Bush stands quite alone and I can't see any logic behind a comparison". Nevertheless, in a recent reappraisal of her work, The Guardian called Catherine a "Kate Bush before her time". (Charles Donovan)Marina Saegerman writes about Arthur Bell Nicholls's Ireland on the Brussels Brontë Blog. The Corporate Slacker reviews Wuthering Heights.