Saturday, January 16, 2016

Financial Times and The Times review Mick Jackson's upcoming book Yuki Chan in Brontë Country.
To visit Haworth, especially in the dead of winter, is to be engulfed in a dark cloud of brooding Brontëmania. The gloom of the louring parsonage only intensifies the experience, offering neither comfort nor cheer. For young Yuki Chan, loosely and embarrassingly attached to a tottering band of awestruck Japanese elders, it is almost too much. She can just about cope with seeing the small (undoubtedly germ-infested, she thinks) sofa upon which Emily expired, but when faced with the deathbed of the tragic Mrs Brontë, she seriously considers throwing herself on to it and sobbing. But if she did, she reasons, the bed, the floor and the whole dismal (clearly outdated) building would collapse, and she’d be thrown into prison and beaten with copies of Wuthering Heights — which, along with all the rest of the Brontë oeuvre, she has never read. (Sue Gaisford) (Read more)
In April, it’s the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë. The Brontë Society is curating a big exhibition and hosting a conference, with Germaine Greer as a speaker. A biography by Claire Harman came out at the end of last year and the novelist Tracy Chevalier is editing a collection of short stories,Reader, I Married Him, inspired by the famous line from Jane Eyre. (Paula Byrne)
The New Yorker has a really interesting article on what the ideal marriage is according to novels.
This type of attention to a lover’s intelligence—and to those facets of character that fall under the auspices of intelligence and factor into respect, such as fairness, integrity, magnanimity, and sensitivity—is consistent with the way women novelists have long written about love. For as long as novels have been written, heroines in books by women have studied their beloveds’ minds with a methodical, dispassionate eye. The ideal mate, for Jane Austen’s heroines, for Charlotte Brontë’s, for George Eliot’s, is someone intelligent enough to appreciate fully and respond deeply to their own intelligence, a partner for whom they feel not only desire but a sense of kinship, of intellectual and moral equality. [...]
Like Austen before her, Eliot prefers a vision of romance that is based on common values and mutual respect, rather than a faith in masculine and feminine difference (the goose and the gander, as she terms it). One sees this in the second marriage of the novel’s heroine, Dorothea, in which she weds the bright young politician Will Ladislaw, a man who loves her for, rather than in spite of, her hardheaded intellect and firm principles. Charlotte Brontë is even more explicit. “My bride is here because my equal is here,” Mr. Rochester says to Jane Eyre as he proposes. She consents because he has what she delights in—“an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind,” which more than compensates for what she repeatedly describes as his ugliness. [...]
Eliot, Austen, and Brontë were all writing against a climate in which female intellect tended to be either denied or ridiculed, and the “happy” endings, the good marriages, that we see in their work may not represent, as we are often quick to think, a romantic sensibility or a form of sentimentality so much as an attempt to demonstrate the strength and desirability of equal marriages. But to advocate for a position, no matter how just or enlightened, is to risk one’s novelistic objectivity. And indeed there is, in “Jane Eyre,” for example, more than a tinge of wish fulfillment. Rarely is the inner life of another so wholly congenial, so perfectly aligned with one’s own sense of self, as is Rochester’s with Jane Eyre’s. As a result, we believe far more in Tolstoy’s coolheaded depiction of the marriage of Levin and Kitty, just as we believe more in Elena Greco’s problematic relationship with Nino. Still, Jane Eyre’s scrutiny of her lover’s intellect, and her confidence in her own judgments, recalls Elena Greco far more than it does Kitty Shcherbatsky. (Adelle Waldman)
There are lots more references to Jane Eyre for instance so do read the full article.

The Yorkshire Post reminds us of the upcoming major exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Charlotte Great and Small:
The news was unveiled by The Brontë Society as it gears up to mark this year’s bicentenary. The world-renowned author was born on April 21, 1816 and staff at her former Haworth home, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, have put together an exciting programme of events to mark the occasion. Curated by writer and Brontë enthusiast Tracy Chevalier, who is working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum as a Creative Partner throughout 2016, the exhibition will include her child-size clothes, tiny books and paintings she made and a scrap from a dress she wore to an important London dinner party hosted by writer William Thackeray.
Ms Chevalier said: “I have long loved Charlotte Brontë and am thrilled to be involved in the celebration of her bicentenary.”
The Burnley Express has another important reminder: the petition to save Wycoller Hall:
Campaigners fighting to save the area’s heritage are urging people to sign protest petitions before time runs out.
Lancashire County Council will end all consultation on Monday on the future of Wycoller - the inspiration for Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, on Burnley’s unique Queen Street Mill and on Helmshore Mills textile museum.
The three are part of a tranch of heritage cuts which also include the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Fleetwood Museum and the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster.
The county council says it will close five museums from April 1st as part of a proposed budget that aims to save £65m over the next two years.
It is understood staff consultations began before the end of December, and statutory redundancy talks with trade unions start this month.
Campaign leader David Morris, of the Friends of Pendle Heritage, in Barrowford, said: “We have just discovered that Lancashire County Council began an official consultation on the cuts on December 10th, and this is now mentioned on its home page. However, the consultation finishes on Monday so if you would like to comment, now is the time!
“Your comments will be anonymous - you only have to indicate whether you are a resident, business etc.
“Please help save Wycoller and the mill museums.
“Tell county councillors what you think.”
There is a link for comments at
Noisey interviews the singer The Anchoress:
In real life I have tended to crush hard on those displaying traits on the narcissistic to sociopathic spectrum. Early foundations were most definitely laid for this by Mr Rochester of Jane Eyre fame. When I wasn't daydreaming about being declared mentally unfit and being locked in the attic, I was planning on cornering Nicky Wire in the local library. Fiction has no place in the world of a girl with big plans. (Kim Taylor Bennett)
The Guardian announces the return of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre production to the Bristol Old Vic:
The Bristol Old Vic celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, and given the crisis it faced back in 2007 when it looked as if it might close its doors for ever, it’s a mighty achievement that it has survived so long. It’s in rude health, too, with its production of Pink Mist at London’s Bush Theatre (W12, Thu to 13 Feb) opening on the same day that Sally Cookson’s Jane Eyre returns in triumph from the National to the venue where this reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s novel began life back in 2014. It’s a terrific example of contemporary British theatre finding inspiration in a classic novel but reinventing it, and – in an act of theatrical alchemy – making it seem new-minted on the stage. Passionate, faithful and yet full of invention and verve, this is a brilliant piece of ensemble theatre-making and is well worth your time and money. (Mark Cook & Lyn Gardner)
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) asks writer Kristina Sandberg about her literary and personal influences.
Vill du nämna några andra författarskap som betytt mycket för dig som människa och författare?– Det är den svåraste frågan för det innebär att man väljer bort så många som också varit viktiga… I barndomen Astrid Lindgren, Maria Gripe, Nan Inger. I tidiga tonåren Moa Martinson, Karin Boye och Agnes von Krusenstjerna för att de var de kvinnliga svenska författarskapen man kom i kontakt med i skolan – och jag ville redan då skriva. Men också Charlotte Brontë, Carson McCullers, Cora Sandel. I mitt verksamma skrivande finns det kanske ingen som ger mig mer läs- och skrivlust än Joyce Carol Oates med sitt generöst voluminösa författarskap. Men också Virginia Woolf, Nina Bouraoui, Richard Yates. (Madelaine Levy) (Translation)
Another Swedish newspaper, Dagens Samhälle, has an article on Mary Wollstonecraft and mentions the Brontës in passing.
Eftersom hon inte ville gifta sig måste hon försörja sig på det fåtal yrken som stod öppna: hon var underbetald sällskapsdam, hemsömmerska och startade en skola tillsammans med en väninna och en syster. När skolan efter några år gick i konkurs och Mary misslyckats som guvernant, hade hon 28 år gammal uttömt alla yrkesmöjligheter.
Vad skulle hon göra? Märkligt nog fanns det en frizon för kvinnor som senare Jane Austen och systrarna Brontë också använde sig av. Att skriva! Mary hade turen att leva i en tid av förändring. Redan som lärarinna hade hon haft viss kontakt med Joseph Johnson, en radikal bokförläggare i London. Nu var det på hans dörr hon knackade då hon pank och desperat inte visste vart hon skulle ta vägen. (Gunilla Boëthius) (Translation
La Vanguardia (Spain) interviews poet Pere Gimferrer, who has dedicated his latest poetry collection to his grandfather.
Sobre este familiar, afirma que era una persona "excéntrica", a quien le gustaban mucho dos libros, "El rojo y el negro", de Stendhal, y "Cumbres borrascosas", de Emily Brontë, que se los comentaba de pequeño y que se los hizo leer entre los trece y los catorce años. (Irene Dalmases) (Translation)
Film Totaal (Netherlands) features Wuthering Heights 1939:
De chemie tussen Merle Oberon en Laurence Olivier is een van de redenen, dat de film zo goed werkt. Maar op de set ging het er niet zo vrolijk aan toe. Olivier wilde eigenlijk dat zijn minnares en later echtgenote Vivien Leigh de rol van Cathy zou spelen, maar zij werd toen nog als te onbekend gezien. Olivier was daar boos over en accepteerde Oberon vanaf het begin niet als tegenspeelster. Oberon was op haar beurt ongelukkig tijdens de opnames omdat ze haar geliefde Alexander Korda miste. Om te zeggen, dat de twee het niet met elkaar konden vinden is een understatement. Zo zou volgens verschillende bronnen Olivier op Oberon gespuugd hebben tijdens een romantisch moment, waarna Oberon huilend de set af rende. Regisseur William Wyler stond erop dat Olivier zijn excuses zou aanbieden, waardoor Olivier ook erg ongelukkig was met de regisseur. Later was Olivier terugblikkend milder in zijn mening over de film en hoe die tot stand kwam. Hij zag in dat Wyler hem veel had geleerd over naturel acteren in films, omdat hij de neiging had om te acteren alsof hij op het toneel stond. (Michelle Iwema) (Translation)
And this is what Boston Standard thinks of the BBC adaptation of War and Peace:
There’s nothing particularly Russian about this War and Peace.It has blurred into the bland landscape that is the BBC’s dramatized nineteenth century. It could be Austen, Elliot, Hardy, the Brontës – costumed pouting and parlour games. Turn the sound down and you’ve seen it all before. (James Waller-Davies)
Actualidad Literaria explains a rather obvious thing:
Comenzar a leer El diario de Ana Frank cuando pasamos por un episodio de depresión puede no ser lo más apropiado, ni tampoco Cumbres borrascosas al día siguiente de que nos deje la pareja o comenzar El lobo estepario tras haber trabajado diez horas en un día. (Alberto Piernas) (Translation)
Télérama (France) reviews The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall:
L'essentiel de La Frontière du loup, d'ailleurs, ne se déroule pas si loin de ces Hauts de Hurlevent où Heathcliff et Catherine s'entre-déchirèrent... Il y a bien de la passion, aussi, et de la plus noire dans le cinquième opus de la fine et sensuelle styliste, qui prend pour héros un couple de loups, Ra et Merle. (Fabienne Pascaud) (Translation)
Dire Donna (Italy) lists several Wuthering Heights film versions: 1939, 1954, 1970, 1992 and 2011. Daily Kos discusses The Common Reader by Virginia Wolf, in particular her views on Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Check the Brontë Parsonage Facebook Wall to see how the Collections Team is preparing items that will be sent to London for the upcoming NPG exhibition.


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