Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In an article entitled 'Reader, I tweeted him', The Guardian reports that writer Alexander McCall Smith 'refuses to include phones in his books' and goes on to discuss books and technology.
Almost every novel – with the exception of some sci-fi and magical realism – is firmly rooted in the time in which it was written. The classics survive both due to the quality of the writing and the imagination of the reader to make the conceptual leap to the book’s more timeless properties. How many people get to the end of Jane Eyre and think if only Mr Rochester had installed a smoke alarm in the attic, his mad wife wouldn’t have been able to commit suicide and he wouldn’t have become hideously disfigured while trying to save her? (John Crace)
Also in The Guardian, Kate Mosse discusses 'wild women' in fiction and also brings up Jane Eyre:
This mad/bad conundrum is not new. In 1979, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar published a seminal work, The Madwoman in the Attic. Taking their title from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (Rochester incarcerates his first wife, Antoinetta Mason, in the attic, renames her Bertha and condemns her as “insane”), they turned a spotlight on Victorian literature and women writers, asking what if all those women weren’t mad after all? What if – stripped of their rights, their inheritance, their self-determination – they were legitimately protesting against being ill-used? What if they were being vilified or declared insane because they were black, gay or disabled?
Before this, I hadn’t properly considered why Bertha might steal into Jane’s room at night and rip her wedding veil in two. Or bite and scream and kick. Or why, having been incarcerated for 10 years thousands of miles from home, she might well set Thornfield House on fire. These are the acts of a desperate woman, not a lunatic. What many of these wild women narratives have in common, classic or contemporary, is an undercurrent of suppressed rage, fury at a double standard. In literature, the idea of men seeking revenge – violent or otherwise – is seen, in part at least, as understandable. Natural. Whereas women seeking revenge or perpetrating violence is seen as wrong. Unnatural. [...]
Mad, bad or misunderstood. Bertha Mason Mr Rochester’s first, hidden wife, in Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre. She is the original “madwoman in the attic”, presented as mad, violent, dangerous and suicidal, an obstacle to the “proper” relationship of Jane and Rochester.
Antoinette Cosway The narrator heroine of Jean Rhys’s prequel to Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea. Rhys imagines what Bertha, a Creole heiress, might have been like before being brought to Thornfield Hall, declared mad and confined to the attic. Published in 1966, it’s a groundbreaking novel about colonialism, racial prejudice and the powerlessness of women’s lives.
Both Jane and Bertha are also mentioned in an article on writer Marlon James and colonialism on The Economist's Prospero,
At the time of the Eyre controversy, the most famous fictional Jamaican in England was associated with another Eyre: Bertha Mason, Rochester’s mad Creole wife in Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 bestseller, “Jane Eyre”. Bertha’s debauched sexual appetite and wolfish ways are subtly ascribed to her mulatto blood rather than her insanity. What would Dickens and Brontë make of a post-colonial Jamaican Victorian with dreadlocks writing back at Empire from its rim? (N.M.)
The Huffington Post looks forward to '5 Exciting YA Book Trends to Look for in 2016'. Amonf the 'Classic Lit Change-Ups' is
Stone Field by Christy Lenzi -- Inspired by Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Stone Field is a passionate and atmospheric story of how violence and vengeance pervert the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love. (Lisa Parkin)
San Antonio Current reviews Kate Beaton's Step Aside, Pops:
Her mix of obscure historical detail, literary obsessions, Canadiana and pop-culture noodlings attracts a surprisingly large following, most of whom will no doubt purchase Step Aside, Pops – who'd predict that a collection of riffs on sea captains, the Brontë sisters, Danton and Robespierre, Nancy Drew and Ida B. Wells would catch fire?
But it does. Like all the best jokes, it's impossible to explain why a multi-page ramble through the life of a minor character in a Janet Jackson video from 1986, or a series of "continuations" from scenes depicted in antique stock art, or even just Napoleon huffily explaining that he's not really that short, is funny – you have to see it to feel it. Sure, you can see a lot of it for free online, but for those moments when you're away from the web, Step Aside, Pops exists to keep you entertained. There's even a helpful index, so you can flip right to your favorite character, from Achilles to Zeus. (Jessica Bryce Young)
Marie Claire has partnered up with Microsoft and brings us 'the first of a series in partnership with Windows 10 on how to make it as a writer, Acting Features Director Corinne Redfern documents the highs and lows of day one on her journey to writing her first book'. One of the updates says,
I’ve created a desktop specifically for writing, and after pinning Word and Spotify in the bottom of my Start menu, I change the background to a picture of Charlotte Brontë. After all, if she can do this while disguised as a man and dying from Typhus, so can I.
Creative writing seems to have taken a hold of her already.

Libertad Digital (Spain) reviews Ángeles Caso 's novel Todo ese fuego.
El lector no debe preocuparse: realidad y especulación se unen en un verosímil equilibrio. La recreación de la casa rectorial de los Brontë, de los páramos, pero también del ansia y del carisma de tres talentos que apenas encuentran espacio para expandirse es acertada, a caballo entre la ternura y la reivindicación. Hay talento a la hora de pintar con detalles lo que debió de ser el día a día en aquel hogar -ese martilleo del vecino carpintero que fabrica ataúdes- y en los perfiles de los personajes: la tía Elizabeth parece salida de Cranford, sirva esto como elogio. Juegan en contra el empeño en incluir disquisiciones sobre el matrimonio o la soledad, que expulsan al lector de la historia, y algunas expresiones cuestionables ("trabajar en un trabajo honrado", "burbujas sonoras"). Asimismo, se echa de menos una explicación del fracaso de la escuela que las hermanas planean abrir, así como mayor profundización en el carácter de Anne.
Se agradece el escrúpulo y respeto con el que Ángeles Caso ha escrito esta obra: su admiración por estas mujeres convierte una breve colección de momentos, casi un suspiro, en una obra viva y conmovedora. Los admiradores de las Brontë disfrutarán al sentirse cerca de conocer a las autoras. Quienes no las hayan leído sentirán la necesidad de descubrir a tres grandes mujeres que solo experimentaron la felicidad escribiendo. (Jesús Blanco López) (Translation)
Crimson Peak time:
Fans are rushing to the aid of "Crimson Peak," which stalled at the box office this weekend -- perhaps hastened to its demise by Universal's marketing, which opted to pitch the film as a horror movie instead of a haunted love story "straight out of Brontë." (Tom Blunt on Word & Film)
The young protagonist Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) occupies both the role of horror damsel and romantic heroine. After the murder of her father, she is swept away by the dark and mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) to the dilapidated, Brontë-esque Allerdale Hall. This reads like a straightforward English Gothic romance, but a number of American horror elements are inserted throughout, including paranormal investigation and the trope of the blonde, shrieking lead. The resulting effect is more distracting than interesting. (Cassidy Olsen in The Tufts Daily)
The ghosts looked really great and I was initially excited to see a compelling ghost story in this gothic, Brontë sisters-type setting but it seemed that the ghosts had no real point of being there because there were no rules for this world that Del Toro created. The ghosts provided a few good scares and they looked beautiful and disturbing but couldn’t the movie have been basically the same without them? (Alyssa on MXDWN)
Sie spielen in „Crimson Peak“ eine Autorin. Gab es denn Geistergeschichten, die Sie während der Dreharbeiten gelesen haben?[Mia Wasikowska]: Ich habe „Frankenstein“ von Mary Shelley und „The Turn Of The Screw“ von Henry James gelesen, die mir beide von Guillermo empfohlen wurden, um in die richtige Stimmung des Films eintauchen zu können. Hinzu kommt, dass meine Figur Mary Shelley sehr verehrt, insofern war es toll, sich mit ihrem Werk zu beschäftigen. Vorher besaß ich keine große Kenntnis über dieses ganze literarische Genre, ausgenommen vielleicht von den Arbeiten der Brontë-Schwestern, die ja eher Gothic-Romance-Bücher verfasst haben. Der Film verschaffte mir nun einen ganz anderen Zugang zu dieser Welt, dem Schaffen und der Person Mary Shelley. (Fabian Broicher in Rolling Stone Germany) (Translation)
According to Metro, Matthew Lewis is still attached to The Brontës film.
The only historical project he’s working on is The Brontës, in which he plays the literary sisters’ brother Branwell but he didn’t rock a moustache, just serious sideburns which Matthew, to be fair, has got going on to perfection. (Hanna Flint)
The Pitch reviews a production of The Turn of the Screw at Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City.
The inexperienced woman, clearly attracted to the man, leaves with romanticized images of Jane Eyre in her head, an innocence that's soon challenged. (Deborah Hirsch)
The London Evening Standard has an article on choirs. Among them is
the similar punnily-named male six-piece The Sons of Pitches, who have covered everything from Little Mix to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights in the series. (Ben Travis)
Libertad Digital's Ríase, aunque sea de mí (Spain) describes Spanish politician Irene Lozano as follows:
con aquel look tan novelesco a lo Emily Brontë la de Cumbres Borrascosas. (Translation)
Optometry Today reports the launch of new Made in England eyewear brand whose
range pays homage to the best of English heritage, with designs named after iconic figures such as Brontë, Churchill and Kipling.
The Loopy Librarian reviews Jane Eyre. Caterpillar Poetry posts on Emily Brontë, Sylvia Plath and the Legacy of Top Withens.


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