Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015 10:54 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The UK has launched its most secure passport ever at Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London. The passport’s theme is Creative United Kingdom because it features 'some of the best achievements of the last 500 years in Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. And yet out of 9 icons, only 2 are women: mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace and architect Elisabeth Scott. There have been complaints of course and here's a roundup of what's being said about it:
Asked about the omission of female icons such as Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, Mark Thomson, director general of the Passport Office, said: “Whenever we do these things there is always someone who wants their favourite rock band or icon in the book.”
He added: “It wasn’t something where we said let’s set out to only have two women.
“In trying to celebrate the UK’s creativity we tried to get a range of locations and things around the country to celebrate our triumphs over the years, so there we are.
“We’ve got 16 pages, a very finite space. We like to feel we’ve got a good representative view celebrating some real icons of the UK- Shakespeare, Constable and of course Elisabeth Scott herself.” (Yorkshire Post)
Besides the author of Pride and Prejudice and the creator of Harry Potter, high-profile creative women ignored by the Home Office include Charlotte Brontë, Barbara Hepworth, Laura Ashley, Maggie Smith and Amy Winehouse. (Simon Calder in The Independent)
But only two women appear in the proposed 34-page passport, which prompted protests from women in Parliament. Barbara Hepworth, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen—the face of the new 10-pound note—and the Brontë sisters are among some of the names proffered by critics as additions to balance out the passport. (Kriston Capps on CityLab)
In another article, the Yorkshire Post makes a very good point:
In seeking to showcase the country’s cultural and creative heritage, it is surprising that just two of the famous figures portrayed on the new UK passport are women.
Far more baffling, however, is the absence of a trio of writers from Yorkshire whose works continue to be read and appreciated around the world.
When asked to explain the decision not to include Emily, Charlotte and Anne Brontë, head of the Passport Office Mark Thomson said: “Whenever we do these things there is always someone who wants their favourite rock band or icon in the book.”
Perhaps the next question to Mr Thomson should have been which rock band he thought the Brontë sisters belonged to.
Another reason he cited for their exclusion was a shortage of space.
If that is true, then the absence of the nation’s most famous female writers makes even less sense.
After all, with the Brontë sisters they could have had three inspirational women for the price of one.

The McGill Tribune takes the Crimson Peak references a step further and compares it directly to Jane Eyre.
The mansion in Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a character in itself. It breathes, bleeds, and moans. It’s rotting and sickly, yet simultaneously vibrant and beautiful; it’s also an accomplice to the brutal murders that have plagued its inhabitants for decades. With an ancient manor, a mysterious suitor, and an innocent, yet cunning heroine, it’s clear to see why Crimson Peak has been called a revival of the 19th century gothic. While gothic tropes abound in Crimson Peak it is also thematically similar to the quintessential gothic novel, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
In both Crimson Peak and Jane Eyre, reality is more horrifying than the supernatural. For Jane, the discovery that Edward Rochester keeps his first wife chained in the attic after she has gone insane is far worse than the other-worldly projections of her active imagination. There is a logical explanation to the strange cries and sudden fires that happen at Thornfield Hall but the reality offers Jane little comfort. For Edith, ghosts are entirely real. She’s seen them since she was a child and upon moving to Allerdale Hall grotesque, malformed spectres visit her nightly. As disgusting as the ghosts may appear, they become Edith’s allies. Edith’s supernatural sight guides her in her investigation into the truth of Allerdale Hall and the Sharpe siblings. In Crimson Peak as in Jane Eyre, it’s not ghosts that haunt the manor—it’s the inhabitants.
The ancient manor homes oppress and trap each heroine in both Crimson Peak and Jane Eyre. Thornfield Hall and Allerdale Hall represent the lineage and traditions of the English aristocracy. In these homes, women must take on a traditional role and are expected to be subordinate to their husbands. Jane and Edith aren’t supposed to ask questions, and they’re certainly forbidden from looking into rooms that are off limits. Both Thornfield Hall and Alerdale Hall encapsulate Jane and Edith’s isolation, and the isolation of many women in the 19th century. These houses are all the young women have. They can’t go outside without permission and there are no other homes around for miles. When Jane and Edith try to escape, they are met with cold and snow. Both heroines face the ultimate choice: Do they leave their oppressive, dangerous home and risk dying in the cold, or stay and face the horror of their home and husband? (Anna St. Clair)
Diario de Córdoba (Spain) interviews Luccia Gray, author of the recently-released novel All Hallows at Eyre Hall.
--¿En qué se basa la novela 'All Hallows at Eyre Hall'?
--Esta novela es la continuación de Jane Eyre , una novela del siglo XIX escrita por Charlotte Brontë, y el Ancho Mar de los Sargazos , escrita en el siglo XX, al estilo poscolonial, que vuelve a escribir la obra de Jane Eyre desde el punto de vista de la loca del ático, que no era tan loca. Yo tomo los personajes y la trama de ambas obras, y relato la continuación, veinte años después, de estas dos novelas, aportando otra visión. De alguna manera, reescribo estas obras en un tono un poco irreverente. La principal diferencia es que la obra de Brontë está narrada en primera persona por la protagonista, que es una mujer enamorada que muestra su punto de vista, mientras que la innovación en mi novela es que hay aproximadamente doce narradores, ya que la realidad se compone de todas las visiones de las personas que viven esa realidad. He querido democratizar el narrador lo que, para mí, enriquece la historia. (T. C.) (Translation)
Refinery 29 has a short article on the film Miss You Already.
 In one climatic moment, they flee an uncomfortable party in a taxi cab and head for the moors made famous by Wuthering Heights, a book they've adored since childhood. (Esther Zuckerman)
This Fort Myers Florida Weekly columnist also discusses the power of childhood reads.
My problem? I imagined myself as the complicated heroine in the midst of an epic love story. I wanted to be Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennet. But life, I’m slowly discovering, doesn’t have these plot lines. Those little girls who wanted to play house were closer to understanding the real world than I ever was. All those ho-hum scenarios were actually good practice for the rest of our lives.
Recently, I bemoaned this realization to a friend.
“What did you think life would be like?” he asked.
“More dramatic,” I said. “Like what you read in books.”
He laughed. “There’s your problem.”
My problem? What’s wrong with using novels as a reference guide?
“Who wrote those books?” my friend asked.
I thought through my favorites. Emily Brontë, dead at 30 from tuberculosis, unmarried. Jane Austen, also unwed, who never lived apart from her family.
“Did any of those authors live the lives they wrote about?” my friend asked.
No, I thought. In fact, if I had to guess, I’d say they probably lived quite lonely lives. (Artis Henderson)
Jane Eyre apparently influenced this columnist from Washingtonian too:
Too much Jane Eyre as a child had me fantasizing about hot water bottles, that quintessentially British invention designed to warm your sheets and act as a pre-heated bedtime snuggle buddy. (Hillary Kelly)
Are there really hot water bottles in Jane Eyre?

Sparked by an article from Slate, Inverse discusses subtlety.
Wickman argues that our perception of “subtlety” as a positive quality is a recent one. “The reign of Queen Alexandrina Victoria was the last time we didn’t think it so crucial — or even good — to be subtle.” he says. “Before the 19th and 20th centuries, subtle was more akin to obscure, a word that … has a negative connotation.”
He’s right that the definition of the word has changed. But if we look at what we consider “great art” from that era — Arthur Conan Doyle, the Brontës, Bram Stoker — all as nuanced as a butterfly’s wing. (Lauren Sarner)
SF Weekly features Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights.
And then there's that voice. In later years it would learn to hop octaves and reveal rich and velvety depths, but on “Wuthering Heights”, Bush's 19-year-old instrument is high-pitched and eerily bright, appropriately otherworldly. You love it or you hate it – or, ideally, you're unsettled yet irresistibly drawn to it, like the ghost of your one true love, come back in the dead of winter to stake a claim on your soul. The simple piano accompaniment stays politely out of the way, transitioning to a guitar solo that fades out as Cathy's ghost drifts back to the underworld. Some earworms work because they completely and comfortably fill their allotted sonic space; “Wuthering Heights” works because it's uncomfortable, strange – and repeatedly rewarding. (Lori Selke)
Universitarian posts about Wuthering Heights. 


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