Saturday, November 14, 2015

Many sites from all over the world are still reporting the news about the unpublished contents in a book that used to belong to Maria Brontë and which has been acquired by the Brontë Society. We like these thoughts from Flavorwire:
Charlotte Brontë outlived the rest of her siblings by six years, but she still died early enough to leave people marveling at her immense influence given that she perished at the age at which many current authors first start getting recognition — and curious at the question of what else she (not to mention Emily and Anne Brontë) would have produced if she’d had more time. Thus, as we’ve seen with current-day megastars like, say, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Jeff Buckley, every found and unpublished scrap seems a piece of a puzzle about an author who everyone still seeks to know more about. And apparently, over 1.5 centuries after her death, there’s still more out there to discover. The New York Times reports on two such newly found items from Charlotte Brontë — a poem and piece of prose that’ll soon come into the hands of the Brontë Society. (Moze Halperin)
The New York Times has asked Ann Disndale:
The society plans to formally acquire the book and its contents for about 200,000 pounds, or $300,000, within the next several weeks, Ann Dinsdale, the museum’s collections manager, said in a phone interview.
Both the poem and the prose piece deal with characters from Angria, a fictional kingdom that Charlotte created with her brother Branwell, and wrote about in several stories, some of which were originally scrawled in small handmade books. In the prose piece, characters from Angria encounter people from real cities in England. The poem focuses on the character Mary, an Angrian. Both works are about 70 lines long.
“It’s quite romantic, quite dramatic language,” Ms. Disdale said of the poem, adding that it was most notable for having been “written by a teenage girl who even at that age had the ambition to be forever known as a poet.” (Christopher D. Shea)
On Newsweek they add:
Ann Dinsdale, collection manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said the book was "clearly well-used and of great sentimental value to the Brontë children, who lost their mother while they were very young."
Dinsdale added: "In addition, the unpublished writings by Charlotte offer new opportunities for research, which is really exciting. It's of interest to anyone interested in Charlotte's life, and because of the tragic story of the Brontës, their lives are particularly appealing to a wide range of people." (Natalie Ilsley)
New Republic discusses new trends in biography and brings up a book much focused on Brontëana:
Writing the kind of biography that moves from its subject’s birth to his death, creating him as a psychologically rounded character, wasn’t really a possibility for Michie and Warhol, then. But, as they point out, this approach has seemed old-fashioned for a while, in comparison to more inventive works of recent years, such as the biography of a group of friends (The Fellowship by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski), a life or lives told through a series of objects (Deborah Lutz’s The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects) or a single event (The Immortal Dinner by Penelope Hughes-Hallet). But although the approach of these works is experimental, their content often relies as much as birth-to-death biographies on those things conspicuously absent from Scharf’s documents. (Hannah Rosefield)
Deborah Lutz would have had a feast telling the story of the new Brontë discovery in her book, that's for certain.

The Guardian takes a look around at several reviews of Claire Harman's biography of Charlotte Brontë.
The character flaws of the Brontë sisters were likewise outlined with some relish by the Daily Mail, in a review of Claire Harman’s Charlotte Brontë: A Life: “Emily beat up her pet dog. Charlotte – plain, toothless and dull – was so spiteful children threw stones at her” ran the headline. “As the Brontës spent most of their lives cloistered away in Haworth, Yorkshire, often in poor health, people have tended to assume they were as timid as they were retiring,” wrote John Preston. “Claire Harman’s elegantly written, consistently perceptive new biography lays this theory firmly to rest.” For Daisy Goodwin in the Sunday Times, “Harman’s biography does not add anything new to the body of Brontë scholarship”. In the Independent, Lucasta Miller put a more positive spin on it. “With no particular interpretative or ideological axe to grind, Harman is able to tell the story straight, and to get rid of all argumentation and clutter.”
The Australian features the novel The Women's Pages by Debra Adelaide.
Dove, the writer-protagonist of one strand of The Women’s Pages, puzzles over the physics of the narrative she is producing. Its anatomy and energies mystify her even as they haul her along to discover them. Dove’s own protagonist, Ellis, is like ‘‘the fourth or fifth figure in a set of babushka dolls’’. The number of dolls that can nest within the largest doll depends on the skill and dexterity of the matryoshka artist. The innermost doll is a baby, the only doll that does not open to include smaller versions, or progeny.
Dove might think of herself as the artist, but she is the largest of Debra Adelaide’s own dolls in this intricately crafted novel. Wrapped around these nesting dolls is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, itself housing narratives within narratives, a structure that baffled contemporary critics. In another of her novels, The Household Guide to Dying (2008), Adelaide’s protagonist Delia describes Brontë’s novel as having a ‘‘fussy trick-box narrative’’ that she knows is ‘‘brilliant’’ even as it frustrates her.
The inventive structure of The Women’s Pages allows Adelaide to celebrate Wuthering Heights and to create her own puzzle box with secret compartments and ingenious tricks, its mysteries unlocking new narrative layers.
The novel has grown from The Sleepers in that Quiet Earth, a story in Adelaide’s 2013 short-story collection Letter to George Clooney, which opens with an epigraph from Charlotte Brontë’s preface to the 1850 edition of her sister’s novel: ‘‘Having formed these beings, she did not know what she had done.’’
Dove, whose tale is set in the inner-west of Sydney in the present, begins writing the story of Ellis after reading Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, and is similarly surprised by her own characters. [...]
At the centre of Adelaide’s marvellously intertextual narrative nests the question of motherhood. Dove dreams of herself near Top Withens, the abandoned house said to have inspired Wuthering Heights, and when she wakes, she imagines watching Emily Bronte burying a small wrapped package. Charlotte Brontë may have died from severe morning sickness, and wrote that the saddest image is of ‘‘a woman looking down at her empty arms’’.
Dove is sceptical about rogue biographers’ suggestions that Emily suffered a miscarriage, and uncomprehending of Ellis’s choice between a baby and her career. Dove is not unlike the writers Virginia Woolf describes in A Room of One’s Own when she notes that the authors of Villette, Emma, Wuthering Heights and Middlemarch were all ‘‘women without more experience of life than could enter the house of a respectable clergyman’’, defying the prohibitions of the internalised voice of a ‘‘too-conscientious governess’’ to venture, as Jane Eyre herself does, on to the roof, hoping for ‘‘a power of vision which might … reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen’’. In the context of Adelaide’s sharp analysis, the book’s mawkish cover seems a discordant choice. (Felicity Plunkett)
National Geographic's Intelligent Travel writes about Yorkshire, including a stop in Haworth.
My first stop is Haworth, 50 miles west of York. Here in the first half of the 19th century, the three Brontë sisters imagined a world of demonic villains, madwomen in the attic, and dispossessed spirits in such novels as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
The Brontë family parsonage sits at the top of the hilly town. Once I park my rental car and climb the stony spine of Haworth’s main street, what immediately strikes me is how swallowed up the home appears. Photos show the house framed by a few small graves. But in reality the cemetery swamps the parsonage, the high jagged tombstones lined up in wildly slanting rows that record the town’s body count.
Typhoid, cholera, and tuberculosis plagued Haworth in the 19th century, and more than 40 percent of children died before the age of six. Their short lives are etched everywhere in the sprawling graveyard. One tombstone features the names of six babies, all lost to a stonemason father who sculpted a sleeping child, resting its tiny doomed head on a tasseled pillow, at the base of the grave.
Clearly the Brontë sisters were sketching from life when they wrote of death. Maybe they glimpsed their own fate, too. Emily Brontë would be laid to rest beneath the bleak town church at the age of 30.
Ann Dinsdale, the collections manager of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, explains to me later that the local drinking water flowed from moorland spring to village wells and pumps by way of the cemetery grounds. Historians link that tainted water to Haworth’s high death rate. “The Brontës had their own private well,” Dinsdale notes, “but since the parsonage is bordered on two sides by the churchyard, it’s possible there was contamination to their drinking water, too.”
The home, now owned by the Brontë Society, doesn’t offer much relief. As I trail through the dim rooms, I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic, especially in the tiny dining room where the three sisters wrote, sharing space at a small central table. “They would walk around the dining table every evening discussing their writing,” Dinsdale says.
It isn’t until I step outside, into the ocean of wild grass, that I breathe freely again. It’s easy to imagine Emily’s ecstasy, embodied by the unfettered passion of her characters Heathcliff and Catherine, when she broke loose on these moors. (Raphael Kadushin)
Télam (Argentina) features the Spanish editions of Penguin Classics with a special focus on Wuthering Heights.
A estos títulos se suma Cumbres borrascosas, situada en los sombríos páramos de Yorkshire, que constituye una visión metafísica del destino, la obsesión, la venganza y la pasión.
Emily Brontë, que se vio obligada a publicar sus obras bajo seudónimo, rompió por completo con los cánones de la literatura victoriana. La singularidad de su estructura narrativa y la fuerza de su lenguaje convirtieron de inmediato a esta novela en una de las más conocidas de la literatura universal.
En el prólogo, Lucasta Miller analiza varias interpretaciones en torno a esta poliédrica obra. A su vez, la introducción de Pauline Nestor da cuenta de las influencias y los orígenes de la escritora.
Y además se recuperan en esta edición la nota biográfica y el prólogo escrito por Charlotte Brontë, en el que revelaba la identidad de su hermana como autora, además de un árbol genealógico de los diversos protagonistas. (Translation)
The Globe and Mail begins a review of the National Ballet’s The Winter’s Tale with a reflection on jealousy. Wuthering Heights being of course a case in point:
I’ve always had a readerly interest in jealousy – its presence and, maybe just as equally, its absence. I like to blame my interest on Wuthering Heights, which I first read when I was much too young and which, no doubt, gave the emotion a certain romantic amplitude. Literary characters don’t get much more jealous than Heathcliff, who spends 30 years destroying the lives of everyone around him after his childhood love marries the wrong guy. There’s been much made of the fact that this insanely torrid novel was written by a lonely and isolated 19th-century woman who (allegedly) died a virgin at 31. The poet Anne Carson has an explanation for why jealousy feels so big in the book that it becomes practically metafictional: “I find myself tempted/to read Wuthering Heights as one thick stacked act of revenge/for all that life withheld from Emily.” (Martha Schabas)
And Wuthering Heights is also mentioned in connection to cousins stories in an interview with YA author Kate Brauning on LA Young Adult Fiction Examiner.
RR: Are there other examples of cousins in literature or entertainment that you thought about with your book [How We Fall]?
KB: Yeah, I mean, people do write about this. We have a history full of famous cousin marriages, as well as a number of famous novels, including "Mansfield Park" and "Wuthering Heights", where a cousin relationship is part of the story. (Rektok Ross)
New Statesman discusses free speech:
Freedom of speech does not mean that we are never allowed to analyse or re-interpret culture. The occasional use of "trigger warnings" on campus, for example, has been wilfully misinterpreted by those who did not grow up with them as an attempt to censor classic literature. In fact, trigger warnings are a call for cultural sensitivity and a new way of interpreting important texts. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, is part of what studying the humanities has been about for decades. Back in real life, nobody is going around slapping "do not read: contains awful men" on the cover of Jane Eyre. (Laurie Penny)
Doctor Who Watch reviews the comic book Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1 in which
While searching for his favorite copy of the novel Jane Eyre, The Doctor returns to a cottage he used while in his Third incarnation. (Joel Getter)
Broadway World reviews the Baltimore performances of The Secret Garden
As Archibald Craven, [Kevin] Earley is as brooding and passionate as any Bronte hero replete with a looming 100-room mansion. (Tina Collins)
Digital Trends interviews Nic Offer from the band !!!:
What was the first record you got as a kid that had impact on you?
I bought cassettes first, so the first cassette I bought was at a garage sale — Pat Benatar, Crimes of Passion (1980). She’s a Brooklyn native, and it’s interesting that she covers the Kate Bush song Wuthering Heights on there, which was the first place I ever heard it. (Mike Mettler)
A Drop of Romeo reviews Jane Eyre. Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) posts mood boards for each Brontë sister.


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