Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Telegraph and Argus has Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, comment on Claire Harman's new biography of Charlotte Brontë.
"I'm about a third of the way through the book and, yes, it does emphasise the fact the Brontë family was quite eccentric," she said.
"But the book also contains plenty of perceptive observations about the relationship between the different members of the family and their development as writers.
"It is a good book, written in a very engaging style, and we did spend a lot of time with the author, Claire Harman. She came here to use our research facilities.
"Her book contains some very well-known stories about the Brontës. For example, Patrick Brontë carried a pistol because this was a period of history when there was a lot of unrest, and Luddite rioters often targeted members of the clergy.
"We do know Emily beat her dog on one occasion for some misdemeanour, but apart from that she did actually love animals intensely – more than she liked people."
Commenting on the book's recounting of the Brontës' indifferent record as teachers, she said: "It's true that none of them were cut out to be teachers.
"But then that is because they themselves were incredibly studious and intent on getting an education. They therefore could not understand more 'normal' children, who just wanted to mess about.
"The Brontës were strong minded and very unusual people, and that is how they are depicted in this book." (Miran Rahman)
The Huffington Post reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre at the National Theatre.
The issue is almost nothing is left behind. It's all here - Jane's birth, the death of her parents, death of her uncle, the cruelty of her Aunt, her friendship with Bessie, being carted off to Lowood Institution, her friendship with Helen, Helen's death, becoming a teacher, advertising as a governess, going to Thornfield Hall, meeting Rochester.... And all that is before the interval. I was exhausted.
But the profound impact of covering all of this ground is that you're not emotionally grabbed. I just wanted to halt the production and just go, 'stop, stop! Please, someone have a conversation with Jane for more than a minute.'
I was just longing for some emotional attachment and the speed in the production, its energy, is actually a real barrier to that.
To compensate, director Sally Cookson invests in an impressive production design. The Lyttleton is stripped bare and the play is staged on a two storey wooden platform, utilising a versatile company and many theatrical devices to turn this into a multi-functional space and an exciting piece of theatre.
There's music and physical movement, on-stage costume changes and clever use of lighting and props. The company work their socks off playing the myriad of characters in Jane's life, and the ghostly noises from the attic are atmospheric and intriguing.
But often these tricks and devices were used again and again. And again. Such as Rochester's beloved dog, played superbly by Craig Edwards. When Craig first morphs into the dog, it's funny, unexpected and his replication of dog behaviour is extraordinary. But when it happens for the fifth, sixth, seventh, even eighth time, well, it's overdone. And distracting. You end up watching the dog and not the drama.
Similarly for the running. Endless running. Whenever Jane was on the move, the company would come together into the centre of the stage and, focus forward, run together in unison. The first time it happens, you think, wow. But second, third, fourth time... Yes, you get the picture.
One that is effectively used is the subtle use of the company as a chorus, verbalising the internal conflict in Jane's head. Credit to dramaturg Mike Akers for pulling that out of the book and on to the stage. A wise and clever choice over the more obvious soliloquy. (Victoria Sadler) (Read more)
Screens & Pixels also vlogs about the production.

Halloween is nearly here and Bustle has selected '20 Halloween Ghost Stories That’ll Make Grown-Ups Want To Celebrate' such as
Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
For me, the Brontës are the undisputed mistresses of the Gothic novel. Lena Coakley based her upcoming [January 2016] novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, on the sisters' juvenilia, but she's added her own twist by turning the girls' writing into alternate realities that threaten to consume their human visitors with madness. (Kristian Wilson)
While Chilango (Spain) recommends some gothic films not to be missed. The summary for Jane Eyre 2011 is quite - erm - original.
Jane Eyre (1911) [sic]
La clásica novela de Charlotte Brontë se ha representado en el cine múltiple veces, casi una por década y la más reciente versión interpretada por la misma actriz que aparece en La cumbre escarlata, Mia Wasikowska. La historia de trata de Eyre, quien huye de la mansión Thornfield, en donde trabajaba como institutriz para Edward Rochester, protagonizado por Michael Fassbender. Años después, Jane volverá a la mansión con Rochester, quien guarda un terrible secreto. (Luis Roiz) (Translation)
The Telegraph discusses A-levels:
I’m impressed by the new A-level courses that started this September and am enjoying teaching the new specifications.
Are these new A-levels just another case of 'dumbing down'? I don’t think so. I’m currently teaching Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. That’s two hefty Victorian tomes for the keen sixth former to cut their teeth on: nearly 700 pages of reading no less, in the Penguin Classic editions we’re currently using. Bite-size learning? Hardly. (Boarding School Beak)
Smoky Mountain News also has a teacher whose programme includes Wuthering Heights:
Many readers — and I am one of them — are fascinated by books lists. There are scores of these lists, ranging from “The Greatest Novels of the Twentieth Century” to “The Ten Greatest Books for Children.” Part of the fun in reading these bills of fare comes from the questions they raise. Why, we may ask ourselves, does the list include James Joyce but not Evelyn Waugh? Why three novels by Faulkner but one by Hemingway? Why is Virginia Woolf featured but not Emily Brontë? [...]
Every year, I teach Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to my Advanced Placement English literature students, and every year I am amazed that an author so young could spring such a tale on the world. With each reading, Brontë’s insights into the passions of human beings amaze me. The emotions of Heathcliff and Catherine shock readers while at the same time, I would suppose, filling them with envy. How many of us have loved so deeply, so desperately? Brontë’s book so impressed me — and puzzled me — that I spent two days this past summer visiting Haworth, the English village in which Brontë’s father served as an Anglican parish priest and where she grew up. (Jeff Minick)
This is how Noisey describes Globelamp's song The Orange Glow:
Globelamp's commanding debut titled The Orange Glow creates a Wuthering Heights narrative for the Haight Ashbury heyday. (Bryn Lovitt)
Leonardo (Italy) features the novel too and The Wall Street Journal has an article on the Balthus exhibition in Rome that includes some of the artist's paintings inspired by Wuthering Heights. Remember the sand sculpture of Emily Brontë to be found this week in a Bradford Waterstones? Here's the artists' update on its progress: both on Instagram and Facebook.

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