Thursday, December 31, 2015

That 2016 will be a very (Charlotte) Brontë year is something that several newspapers are aware of: 20 Minutos (Spain), The Irish News, Western Morning News or Keighley News:
Everyone at the museum has worked incredibly hard to ensure Charlotte and her achievements are celebrated in a way we can all feel proud of.
What’s more, Brontë200 is a five-year programme and we are already considering how we can celebrate Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020. This is just the beginning!
So what have we got planned? A printed programme is available from the museum, but here are a couple of highlights.
The museum will open on February 1 with Tracy Chevalier’s exhibition: Charlotte Great and Small.
Tracy has been wonderful to work with. She exudes energy and passion and is a fount of ideas and inspiration. We can’t wait to see her exhibition and other projects (including a knitted Jane Eyre!) come to fruition and look forward to seeing more of her during 2016.
Tracy has a new novel out in March, but we are also eagerly awaiting the publication of Reader I Married Him, a new edition of short stories by contemporary female writers inspired by the famous line from Jane Eyre.
Tracy has commissioned stories by authors including Audrey Niffenegger, Susan Hill, Helen Dunmore and Salley Vickers, and the latter two will read from the collection at an event in Haworth on April 7.
We hope the world will join us in celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth in April.
There will be events happening the length and breadth of the country, but here in Haworth, we will be hosting a birthday party at the Old School Room. There will be tea and cake and, if all goes to plan, the world’s largest Apple Charlotte!
Please join us if you can. And bring a friend – there can be no better time to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum than in 2016! (David Knights)
The Irish News interviews the American singer Dana Masters:
5. And the book?(Brian Campbell)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I was made to read it in primary school by my teacher as a punishment. I loved it! 
About Education shres some examples of literary 'continuations':
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
This postcolonial novel was written by Jean Rhys, a Dominican-born British author. The piece is an excellent example of postcolonialism in the way that it "writes back to empire." In other words, it reimagines a British work that depicted a subject-character in some negative light, and gives that subject (of England) a central role, a history, a voice.
In the original novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Jane learns that Rochester has a wife, the infamous “madwoman in the attic.” This character gets no voice or agency in the original work. In her prequel, however, Rhys gives the woman a name: Antoinette Cosway, and a history; she is a Creole heiress from Jamaica who was essentially kidnapped by "an English gentleman" and brought back to England with him, where she was locked away.
The implication is that the gentlemen (who we only know is Rochester if we read Jane Eyre, because he is never named in Rhys's prequel) simply wanted Antoinette's fortune.
The dominant patriarchy and severe gender and racial inequality of the time would have allowed Rochester, a white Englishman, to dominate a foreign woman in this way, with little question. Published in 1966, Wide Sargasso Sea was Jean Rhys's most successful novel.
It is an extraordinary example of postcolonial literature and has been greatly advanced by feminist readings as well. (Adam Burgess)
Samantha Ellis reviews Mallory Ortberg's Texts from Jane Eyre for The Spectator:
Smartphones for Hamlet and Heathcliff.
Mallory Ortberg hilariously imagines how some of the greatest fictional characters would have texted today.
Goals for 2016. Santa Rosa's Press Gazette has a few:
Read more. Reading, instead of binge-watching movies on Netflix, provides mental stimulation and reduces stress. I could learn something new. It also increases your vocabulary. As a lover of British classics, one can always hope a lost Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë manuscript will be found. If not, I can branch out and maybe read a mystery novel. If you have any ideas, let me know. I don’t want just anyone to move my cheese. (Pamela Holt)
Boston Standard reviews the current BBC series, Dickensian:
The twenty episode postmodern mock epic of Dickensian (BBC1) has begun skipping its way across the author’s cannon, with wit, charm and a subtle, but not too showy, knowledge of the novels.
Dickens’s characters have been reanimated and converged into a time seven years prior to his A Christmas Carol, to loiter and plot around the murder of Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley.
This approach to the Classics is not new: Jane Austen, the Brontë’s (sic), most of the Fin de Siecle writers, have had the postmodern pastiche treatment. (James Waller-Davies)
The Halifax Courier announces that the Ovenden giant turbines will be completed by the next year's summer:
Calderdale Council approved the £12 million scheme in November 2012 for the replacement of the existing 166-ft tall machines with nine turbines 370ft tall, despite 108 letters of objection.
The move angered anti-wind farm campaigners and especially members of the Brontë Society who said the decision showed a lack of consideration for a unique heritage landscape - Brontë Country - which has internationally renowned cultural associations.
Creative Loafing has a best & worst film list for 2015:
Jem and the Holograms. This flavorless bubble-gum flick was rejected by even its target audience, since it turns out to be an adaptation of the cartoon about as much as Steven Spielberg'sJaws was an adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. (Matt Brunson)
The Huffington Post has a list of the most overlooked novels of the year:
'The Lost Child' by Caryl Phillips
"Gorgeously crafted and emotionally shattering."
Award-winning novelist, essayist and playwright Phillips (Color Me English, 2011, etc.) responds to Wuthering Heights. (Kirkus)
And Den of Geek! lists the best comics of 2015:
I don’t think I went more than a page in Step Aside, Pops, the second collection of [Kate] Beaton’s comics, without laughing hard. There’s something about the way she uses intellect in everything, from the Wuthering Heights jokes to the velocipedestrienne to angry, chain-smoking Wonder Woman, that makes them hilarious. (Jim Dandeneau)
The Artifice explores the sublime in Gothic fiction:
In the beginning, Jane experiences terror when her aunt locks her inside the red-room, the former chambers of her dead uncle. As her imprisonment lingers, the experience takes its toll on Jane, and she soon believes her uncle’s ghost, a patriarchal symbol, will rise and attack her. She states, “My heart beat thick, my head grew hot; a sound filled my ears, which I deemed the rushing of wings; something seemed near me; I was oppressed, suffocated; endurance broke down; I rushed to the door and shook the lock in desperate effort”.
Jane Eyre becomes enraptured in an experience that affects her on both a physical and emotional level, an experience that strains her, that challenges her and extends past the capacity of her imagination. The sublime creates hysteria, and the concept of “hysteria” derives from the archaic belief that cis women act in excess or have uncontrollable, irrational bouts of emotions when their uterus does not function properly. Considering the Victorian woman’s experience, as well as earlier ones (though published in the Victorian era, Brontë set the novel in the Georgian era) the red-room may be red for a variety of symbolic reasons: menstruation (Jane is ten at the novel’s beginning and will soon enter puberty); passion; torment; blood.
Furthermore, Jane’s imprisonment in the red-room stems from punishment for confronting her male cousin after he hits her and insults her because she is dependent on his family and because the books she reads are not her own. She suffers for rebelling, for educating herself and living in an environment where she does not possess her own independence, so the surreality of her break with reality emphasizes the terror of her experience as a girl approaching womanhood.
In Jane Eyre, this issue also manifests in the character of Bertha Mason, the wife of Jane’s love interest, who spends several years locked in an attic because of her mental instability. Because of society’s treatment of mental illness, especially in regards to Bertha’s gender and racial identity, Bertha becomes as trapped as Jane was at the start of the novel, and her ordeal culminates in a result that is both terrifying to witness but dazzling and gripping in its own terrible way: fire. (Emily Deibler)
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) devotes an article to the writer Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865):
Hennes romaner översattes till de flesta europeiska språk och sålde stort i Tyskland, Storbritannien och Amerika. En modern läsare kan få intrycket att Bremer påverkats av de viktorianska författarna, men det var faktiskt tvärtom. Vardagsskildringarna var nya för de engelska läsarna, och Charlotte Brontë var orolig att hennes guvernantroman ”Jane Eyre” skulle uppfattas som ett plagiat på Bremers ”Grannarne”. Det vore faktiskt roligt att efter alla dessa brittiska herrgårdsfilmer få se en svensk tv-serie baserad på något av Bremers verk, kanske ”Famillen H*” eller ”Grannarne”. (Carina Burman) (Translation)
La Bibliothèque de Bénédicte (in French) reviews the first volume of the Yann and Édith comic version of Wuthering Heights; Marty Babits recommends Jane Eyre by Emily Brontë (!!!!) in Psychology Today; Vesna Armstrong Photography posts some pictures of Brontë country.

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