Thursday, November 05, 2015

Thursday, November 05, 2015 10:16 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
The complaints about sexism in the new UK passport continue today:
Excuse me for stating the blindingly obvious, but half the people coming back from their holidays or business trips - standing in the long queues to get through airport immigration - will be women. And as they wait they may well leaf through their new passport. If they do I have no doubt that they will be asking the same question as me - where are all the women?
Did the men (for it undoubtedly was men) designing the new passport not consider Barbara Hepworth, George Elliot, the Brontë sisters or Virginia Woolf as even a little bit creative?
What about the popular appeal of Vivienne Westwood, Vera Lynn, or Agatha Christie? No doubt younger passport holders would love a page featuring Beatrix Potter or JK Rowling. What are we telling our young girls? Are we invisible? Not to be taken seriously for our achievements? (Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury in The Telegraph)
The women who succeeded in challenging that oppression were oppressed some more, censured and then mostly written out of history. Those who are remembered despite all that are worth more to this country than the bloody Tube map (awarded a whole double page spread all to itself). There are hundreds of them, enough to fill passports 10 times over — Jane Austen, any of the Brontës, Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft, the Pankhursts. There are still women like that having to fight today. (Rebecca Winson in The People's Daily Morning Star)
In the Yorkshire Post Sarah Freeman lists several Yorkshire women who deserve being included in the passport such as
The Brontë Sisters
The Passport Office could have had three for the price of one had they chosen to include Yorskhire’s literary sisters. It’s not just a gripping story line which has won Charlotte’s Jane Eyre so many fans, it’s also the fact that here is a heroine who was ahead of her time - an independent, free-thinking young woman who was determined to have a marriage based on love not convenience.
Add in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which has inspired countless plays, books and even a song by Kate Bush and their creative legacy is hard to argue with.
Still in Yorkshire, the Brontë Parsonage Museum is one of 'the best museum homes from around the world' according to Daily Life (Australia).
Ah, Brontë country - the moors and quaint villages in the heart of England that were the backdrop for all the grand romances and sweeping drama contained in the great works of Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë. The epicentre of it all was their country home in Haworth where all their novels, stories and poetry were conceived and written. Today it is lovingly kept as an open house by the Brontë society and is filled with the possessions of the sisters, as well as the house's original furnishings. (Sarah Oakes)
The Irish Times speaks to Nuala O’Connor author of the novel Miss Emily, based on the life of Emily Dickinson.
Such attention to detail is fastidious by any novelist’s standards and enhances the story – and our perception of Emily.
There are framed pictures of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot in Dickinson’s writing room, because her father – who didn’t like “women of letters” – still bought books for his daughter.
“Emily loved the Brontës and Dickens . . . she was very aware of contemporary British literature. Periodicals would come via post to the house and she read reviews, but interestingly she didn’t read Walt Whitman. There’s a sense she deliberately avoided him as the big American poet.” (Sinead Gleeson)
The Irish Times also reviews the film adaptation of Colm Toíbín's novel Brooklyn.
Eilis ends up torn between a fast-talking Italian-American and the boy she left behind, but no contrast is set up between any wan Edgar Linton and any rugged Heathcliff. (Donald Clarke)
More against Slate's article Against Subtlety in The Huffington Post.
It’s interesting that Wickman applauds lack of subtlety solely through examples of male authors (and directors), when female authors are often criticized for being less “artful,” in works from Jane Eyre to The Goldfinch, than their counterparts. Perhaps white boy geniuses like Jonathan Franzen and F. Scott Fitzgerald coming in for such critiques is just what it takes to get this value structure reexamined, and I only hope critics will take his words to heart the next time they dismiss a purposefully fairy-tale-esque novel from Donna Tartt or Hanya Yanagihara for being too unlikely, too extreme in its emotions, or too unsubtle. As Wickman points out, sometimes writers deploy these techniques judiciously and with calculated intent, yet we prefer to review another book, the one we wish they’d written, out of prejudice against bold choices. (Claire Fallon)
Claire Harman presents her Charlotte Brontë biography in Bath:
November 5, 12.00 h
Charlotte Brontë. A Life with Claire HarmanBath Theatre Royal

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