Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The New York Times' Sunday Book Review asks several writers and editors about their favourite poems:
TAVI GEVINSON: Taking a standardized test at the end of senior year in a humid gymnasium, graduation looming and a first love recently ended. My crummy heart was cracked open just enough for a poem about loss to get extra-through to me. Instead of having to analyze a typically banal passage, we were given Remembrance, by Emily Brontë, whose work I’d never read. It totally screwed up my scores by moving me to tears, even with an adviser warning us at every five-minute mark. That summer, before moving out of my childhood home, I copied it down in watercolor and hung it at the foot of my bed. This is not some wimpy Post-it. It takes a particular kind of desperation to believe that watercoloring a poem will carry you over to your next life. It did, though. I still return to it to mourn just about everything.
— Tavi Gevinson is the founder and editor in chief of the online Rookie Magazine. She was named one of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 by Time magazine.
ANTHONY DOERR: The poem I’ve returned to most often over the past decade or so is a 39-page diamond mine called The Glass Essay, by Anne Carson. Every stanza of this masterpiece sends bolts of pleasure and recognition ricocheting through me. It’s about the speaker visiting her mother on a moor; it’s also about heartbreak, various connotations of “glass,” the Brontë family and “prisons, / vaults, cages, bars, curbs, bits, bolts, fetters, / locked windows, narrow frames, aching walls.” Who knows, maybe it’s not even a poem — maybe it’s a novel, a short story, an essay in verse? Whatever we call it, it feels to me like a thousand floodlights switching on.
— Anthony Doerr’s novel “All the Light We Cannot See” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015.
The ongoing radio adaptation of Jane Eyre in France Culture is discussed in Le Figaro (France):
Le feuilleton ravira aussi bien les exégètes de Brontë que ceux qui n'auraient pas encore ouvert le roman. Julie-Marie Parmentier, l'ex-pensionnaire de la Comédie-Française, prête à Jane Eyre sa voix claire, dans laquelle transparaissent une force et une défiance sourdes. Éric Herson-Macarel invente son propre Rochester, manipulateur pour mieux cacher ses secrets.
La réalisatrice Juliette Heymann ressuscite l'univers hypnotique de Jane Eyre. Les bruitages permettent de recréer la rencontre surréaliste de Jane et Rochester lorsque le cheval de ce dernier se cabre à l'arrivée de la jeune femme en plein hiver. Le compositeur Denis Chouillet habille le tout d'un quatuor à cordes tourmenté. La BBC n'aurait pas fait mieux! (Constance Jamet) (Translation)
Architecture Now (New Zealand) describes a development project in Wellington with links to Mary Taylor:
To make way for the modern complex, the earthquake-prone building that was once Te Aro House, Woolworths and then Deka has been demolished; however, the façade is being retained and strengtened for heritage reasons. Upper Cuba Street is notable for its Edwardian buildings. In lower Cuba Street a number of buildings remain from the post-WW1 period.
Both the building and the Cuba Central site are associated with the early development of retail business in Wellington. Mary Taylor, an early 19th century feminist, businesswoman and friend of novelist Charlotte Brontë, built a drapery and clothing shop there around 1845. She sold the property and it eventually passed to James Smith, who named the building Te Aro House. (Helen Frances)
Mainline Media News interviews a local senior student at Villa Maria Academy:
Q: You mentioned that the research paper that you wrote in your junior year at Villa was one of the most extraordinary projects that you have ever completed – your topic centered on the ironic likeness of Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet, despite Charlotte Brontë's criticisms of Jane Austen. Can you briefly describe your findings? (Bruce Adams)
Jaclyn Soulas: I found that although Charlotte Brontë claims that Jane Austen's writing lacks passion, there were great parallels between two of their novels' protagonists, Brontë's Jane Eyre and Austen's Elizabeth Bennet. These parallels included both characters' intelligence and fierce independence to break society's mold. It was actually very interesting to take two novels that you have read, set them up next to each other, and discover the parallels!
The Times talks about why historians make the best school leaders apparently:
When persuasion may prevail over force, headship appears to demand the oratory  of Demosthenes and the prose of Dickens or the Brontë sisters. The most common training for head teachers at leading schools is a degree in English literature or history. (Greg Hurst)
A curious story in Daily North Shore:
Picking the correct Christmas gift can be a challenge especially if you are trying to buy a book for someone who writes them.
Mason Reay of Lake Forest, one of many holiday shoppers in Market Square Dec. 22, was trying to find a gift for his wife, award-winning author Katherine Reay, as he browsed the Lake Forest Book Store.
“I’m trying to find a stocking stuffer for my wife. She’s an author so I’m trying to pick out a book I think she’ll like,” Mason Reay said. “She wrote that one,” he added pointing to “The Brontë Plot” on a table in the shop. (Steve Sadin)
Bustle on the top baby names in 2015:
Charlotte
I know what you're thinking: Princess Charlotte ignited this one. I won't disagree; but do you think Will and Kate invented the name Charlotte? No. The answer is no. Don't forget about Charlotte Brontë, the 19th-century writer who wrote Jane Eyre, and Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who founded the Palmer Memorial Institute in 1902. Get in line, Princess. (Megan Grant)
We don't think that the readers of this blog would be an easy target for this tactic to secure overhead bin space in a plane as suggested in The Huffington Post:
Make them fall asleep.
Talk about a particularly interesting leg of the wine and cheese tour you and your spouse took in Napa last spring. Read aloud your favorite passage from the second half of 'Jane Eyre.' Start early, at the gate, to anyone who will listen. (Map Happy)
Below the Line talks about the film editor Melanie Oliver who
Only 17 at the time, it was there she met a major mentor and friend, director Jane Campion. Campion took the time to talk to the teenager about the rushes and all manner of film. They had incredible conversations, and to this day, Oliver considers herself lucky to have been able to spend so much time with the esteemed director. After all this time, Oliver was delighted to find that Campion called her to congratulate her on a job well done, after the release of the breathtaking film, Jane Eyre in 2011. (Doreen Alexander Child)
Bloomberg discusses the sixth season of Downton Abbey:
These are some of the same questions that animate Downton’s literary antecedents, the great novels of Edith Wharton, the Brontë sisters, and, of course, Jane Austen. The sixth season (which has already aired in the U.K.) points to Austen deliberately when, over tea, the Dowager Countess and a cousin discuss the strangeness of hosting an open house at Downton to benefit the village hospital. “Even Elizabeth Bennet wanted to see what Pemberley was like inside,” the cousin remarks. The Dowager tartly replies, “A decision which caused her a great deal of embarrassment, if I remember the novel correctly.” (Mary Pilon)
2015 lists are just around the corner. Toronto Now lists best films
Crimson Peak (horror, drama): The marketing of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak as a horror movie does it a great disservice. Scary things do shuffle about, manifesting with howling and shaking, but the intentions are more literary. Imagine Jane Eyre, if the first Mrs. Rochester was literally haunting Gateshead.
And Vox recommends books:
Recommending books can be a tricky endeavor. If someone comes away fromWuthering Heights flush with enjoyment and looking for more, do you suggest a gothic romance? A Brontë biography? Or do you hand her a walking guide to the moors? (Honestly, that walking guide would probably be amazing, but we understand your concern.) (Genevieve Valentine)
Still in Toronto, University of Toronto talks about Dickens' A Christmas Carol:
Victorian England was very much a period of unprecedented innovation and progress contrasted sharply with the world's first industrial slums where poverty and disease disproportionately affected the very young and old of the lower classes. Do any of these themes show up in popular Christmas literature of the time? (Don Campbell)
Andrea Charise: In the second half of the 19th century, British literature was concerned with portraying matters of wealth, class, employment, and education – what we would call today the “social determinants” of health and illness. The social novel, as it was called, aimed to dramatize the effects of poverty, the Poor Laws, epidemics, dreadful sanitation, and labour conditions, all of which had become part of the new urban landscape of the industrial period. British authors like Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë joined writers from other countries including Russia’s Leo Tolstoy, France’s Victor Hugo and America’s Harriet Beecher Stowe in using realist fiction to portray and protest vast social inequities.
Tucson Interior Design Examiner is all about bedroom designs:
Victorian Style – geometric perfections filled with wondrous patterns of vines and flowers, wood designs and many tapestries, this style will take you back to Victorian England with ease. If you ever thought what it is to be in Jane Eyre or Catherine’s bedroom, now is your chance to find out. Thorough and efficient house cleaning it is a nightmare, though. (Jack Dawson)
Aargauer Zeitung (Switzerland) interviews the author Andrea Gerk who talks about novels and poetry intended as therapy:
Gewisse Bücher können sicher auch kontraproduktiv sein. Welches Buch würden Sie einem depressiven Menschen niemals empfehlen? (Silvia Schaub)
Ich glaube, es gibt keine Patentrezepte. Man sagt auch: Trauriges heilt Trauriges. Jemanden, der sehr unglücklich ist oder eine leichte Depression hat, wird ein heiteres Frühlingsgedicht gar nicht erreichen. Die amerikanische Schriftstellerin Siri Hustvedt, die zwei Jahre Poesietherapiekurse in einer New Yorker Psychiatrie gegeben hat, erzählte mir, dass die Patienten besonders gut auf schwere, düstere Texte ansprachen: von Emily Brontë, Paul Celan, Friedrich Hölderlin. Darin fanden die schwer kranken Menschen offenbar eine starke Resonanz auf ihren eigenen Zustand, und zugleich etwas, das ihnen eine andere Perspektive eröffnete. (Translation)
La Razón (Spain) reviews  You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz:
El núcleo central sigue siendo el mismo: la estructura familiar, el amor romántico, un terrible secreto escondido y una tardía revelación que contradice los ideales del planteamiento inicial y desvela, con los sucesivos descubrimientos, la ignorancia en la que ha vivido la protagonista. Porque la heroína suele ser una mujer, como en «Cumbres borrascosas», «Rebeca» o «Perdida», y los temas esenciales son el descenso a los infiernos del alma humana y el horror que produce enfrentarse a la realidad. (Lluís Fernández) (Translation)
Lexology and Onirik (France) posts about the upcoming Brontë  exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Bibliophile Support Group reviews The World Within by Jane Eagland. Vicky Honour posts on the Haworth and the Brontës Facebook Wall a sketch of the Parsonage.

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