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The Times' best biographies of 2015 includes Claire Harman's book.
Perhaps it seems odd to call Austen “revolutionary” – certainly few of the other great pioneers in the history of the English novel have thought so. From Charlotte Brontë, who found only “neat borders” and elegant confinement in her fiction, to DH Lawrence, who called her “English in the bad, mean, snobbish sense of the word”, many thought her limited to the small world and small concerns of her characters. (...)Alexandra Petri in The Washington Post advocates for keeping the language as poor as possible (or something like it):
Emma sees nothing untoward – but what has really been going on? Why is Frank so “deedily occupied” and Jane “intent” on a musical instrument? Surely they have been in a close embrace. It is as if there is a Charlotte Brontë story going on under Emma’s nose.
“The Passions are perfectly unknown to her,” Brontë declared, sounding like a character whom Austen would have delighted in depicting. She had been recommended Pride and Prejudice by George Eliot’s partner, George Henry Lewes, who was partly responsible for Eliot holding Austen in higher regard than most of the other great novelists of the 19th century. Lewes’s 1859 essay in Blackwood’s Magazine is still one of the most perceptive analyses of Austen’s powers.
Every other possible word you could use in place of “said” is, loosely speaking, terrible. “Barking” is for seals and carnival promoters. “Yelps” should be used sparingly, as should “gasps.” No one who is not a character in a Brontë novel should be allowed to “ejaculate,” ever. (If you snickered at that last sentence, that only strengthens my case.)We suppose she is a big fan of this new evil toy.
O’Neill sent one of her most recent missives from the computer terminal of a public library in Queensland. She has started to meditate, discovered Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (“Okay, whoah”) and is making herself eat her lunch in silence in the sun. She described the experience of being in a library, surrounded by quiet and other people, with the wonder of someone visiting a new and unfamiliar country. “I like being alone and yet surrounded by so many strangers,” she said. (Richard Guilliat)Flavorwire lists classic feminist texts — 'improved with extra ass-kicking feminism':
Jane Eyre and the DragonsChortle talks about the upcoming Sky Atlantic series Hunderby:
Jane Eyre runs away so she can spend time facing starvation and hanging out with boring Christian cousins? No way. In this adaptation, we bring her back, Khaleesi style, with an army, a midriff-baring outfit, and three awesome dragons. She and her minions and the flaming beasts lay siege to Thornfield and starve out everyone who was complicit in her deception. Then, she sets the fire herself. And psst: Does the castration of Rochester have to be metaphor, or can it be the real thing? Either way, bloody revenge is totally giving this novel a fire-breathing feminist boost.(Sarah Saltzer)
[Rufus] Jones said he acted like 'a refugee from 1980s BBC costume-dramas' for his grandiose performance in Hunderby, citing a 1983 version of Jane Eyre, starring Timothy Dalton as a key influence. 'The tone of costume drama 30 years ago was just so grand and theatrical,' he added.The Irish Times talks with Kate Bolick about spinsters in literature:
Many of literature’s classic spinsters (Elizabeth Mapp, Jane Eyre) also end up married, but too often they are painted as tragic on-the-shelf leftovers who never managed to bag a man. Think of poor Miss Havisham wandering her mansion in a faded wedding dress, or Jean Brodie bewitched by fascism. (Sinead Gleason)The New Yorker interviews the actor and director Norman Lloyd who among his many mementoes include:
There is an autographed recording of “Wuthering Heights,” an opera by the film composer Bernard Herrmann, who followed Welles to Hollywood and later collaborated with Hitchcock. (Alex Ross)Now that we have mentioned Orson Welles. Slate has an article about the film adaptations of Macbeth. Including the one by Welles:
In 1948, Orson Welles—having been fired from RKO studios for his tendency to ignore both budgets and schedules—managed to cadge a modest sum from the B-movie outfit Republic Pictures to shoot his own version of Macbeth. His vision for this new adaptation was to emphasize the play’s elements of gothic horror; he pitched it to Republic executives as “a perfect cross between Wuthering Heights and Bride of Frankenstein.” (Dana Stevens)The Herald picks the best YA for Christmas, including The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz:
Perhaps most readable of all is The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Walker, £12.99), which has the feel of a dusty old classic, a Louisa M Alcott, or Charlotte Brontë, only grittier and often funnier. (Vicky Allan)Forge Today has an article about popular music from Elvis Presley until Madonna:
Of course, no one can forget Kate Bush in that red dress, as she danced along the misty moors to the pitchy lyrics of ‘Wuthering Heights’. The way the arms of this dress hung and how effortlessly the v-neckline was cut is evident of a laidback 70s era. (Sian Bradley)PopMatters reviews the episode 5 of the ITV series Jekyll and Hyde:
Amelia Bullmore’s Renata, on the other hand, perfectly conveyed a character whose family had fallen from grace, both financially and spiritually. Shuttered off and bare-footed like Heathcliff’s Cathy, Renata has become her own haunted presence and guardian of the family secrets; which would be fine were it not for her son roaming the countryside like a feral beast, consuming simple townsfolk for supper. (Carl Wilson)L'Express (France) interviews the film director Jane Campion who says:
L'exacerbation des sentiments peut nous éloigner du réel. La leçon de piano était d'ailleurs une variation personnelle des Hauts de Hurlevent, d'Emily Brontë. La facture du film était formellement très étudiée. Parfaite si vous voulez et, pourtant, à l'intérieur du cadre, la passion qui se jouait était explosive. Il n'y avait rien d'académique là-dedans. Du moins j'espère! (Thomas Baurez) (Translation)