Thursday, February 25, 2016

'A fiery heart' has been added to the title of the US edition of Claire Harman's biography of Charlotte Brontë. The Washington Post is one of the first to review it on that side of the pond.
Charlotte looks out, speaking for everyone ever sold short. She speaks for the right of women, plain or beautiful, to claim love.
She has found an affectionate champion in British biographer Claire Harman, whose lively and exhaustively researched “Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart” arrives on the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth.
Do we need another Brontë bio, given the dozen or so captivating meditations that have followed Elizabeth Gaskell’s brilliant and gossipy pioneer study, published in 1857 ? Of course we do. Harman’s story is about how writers write. Her subjects are not accidental geniuses, rather women with time. Yes, the sisters are socially isolated in Haworth. (They don’t care, as long as they have each other.) Yes, they are burdened by a pompous, needy father who places his faith in his fragile son. Yes, they endure their brother’s drug addiction and craziness — and use it in their books. Branwell set fire to his bed, and five minutes later, Bertha Mason did the same in the attic of Charlotte’s fictional Thornfield Hall. [...]
Harman’s Charlotte says yes to life more than no, advancing against all odds. [...]
She was always staring out a window, imagining women somewhere else. Thanks in part to Charlotte, we live there now. (Laurie Stone)
The Huffington Post looks at the legacy of another great author: Harper Lee.
Many great female authors before Lee - Austen, Brontë, Eliot, Woolf, among many others - have paved the way for women and writing. However you don't have to look far to discover the immense challenges they faced. Today, in an age where many are making considerable strides to increase the prominence of female authorship, female writers are still using pseudonyms, are still struggling for shelf space and still fighting for publishing contracts. In the past 15 years alone male-authored books about men or boys have won over half of the Pulitzer Prizes, whilst female-authored books about women or girls have won 0% (Griffith 2015). So what would it have been like for a female writing in the late 1950's? (Mindy Gibbins-Klein)
The Baltimore Sun reviews the book The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness by David Gelernter.
A fascinating new book by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter also sees literature as a vast and largely untapped source of evidence for understanding the intricacies of human cognition. In "The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness," Gelernter marshals evidence from psychological and scientific research as well as the works of Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Ernest Hemingway, J.M. Coetzee and many others to advance a new paradigm for the study of human consciousness. It's an astonishingly ambitious book, beautifully written and ultimately persuasive. [...]
To illustrate a down-spectrum state of mind, he quotes from passages of Bronte, Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, Wordsworth, Coetzee and many other authors. It's remarkable how similar the descriptions of mental life are from books produced in widely different periods and cultures. (Nick Romeo)
The Bay Area Reporter recalls how William Wyler's 1939 Wuthering Heights didn't win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Fans of classic Hollywood hail 1939 as its greatest year. Gone With the Wind was the big winner, although today The Wizard of Oz would likely prevail. But the New York Film Critics selected William Wyler's splendid version of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Merle Oberon was an exquisite Cathy, and Laurence Olivier, as Heathcliff, credited Wyler for teaching him how to act for the movies. (Tavo Amador)
Harpers Bazaar recommends another version of Wuthering Heights - Peter Kosminsky's - before it leaves Netflix on March 1st.

Back to modern-day movies, Shepherd Express reviews the Blu-ray/DVD edition of Crimson Peak.
Like a character by an American counterpart to Charlotte Brontë, Edith is a sharp-witted girl drawn into the darkest night of the human condition. She encounters a melancholy young Englishman, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), whose sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), favors crimson gowns and wears a ruby ring. Del Toro is capable of fabulous cinematography and is keenly aware of color. The shades in Crimson Peak are mostly dark, save for Edith’s white gown and the billowing blizzard near the end. Lurid hues are framed in inky darkness throughout.
Crimson Peak is a 19th-century period piece starting in Edith’s hometown, Buffalo, N.Y., and climaxing on the bleak wasteland of Cumberland, England. Edith’s father, a proud American tycoon, is distrustful of the Sharpes and endeavors to break the growing love between Sir Thomas and his daughter, but meets a grisly end in the men’s room of his private club. Although Edith is fond of Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), she is a budding writer swept away by the Brontë vision of the Sharpes. “Where I come from, ghosts are not to be taken lightly,” Thomas says encouragingly, after glancing at Edith’s yarn. The ghost in the tale is only a metaphor of the past, she insists. (David Luhrssen)
Bustle has selected 'The 13 Sexiest Movie Scenes That Don't Even Feature Nudity' including
4) Jane Eyre — Rochester And Jane Eyre
Literally anything Rochester, as played by Michael Fassbender, says to Jane Eyre in this movie is automatically sexy. I mean, look at him. (Olivia Truffaut-Wong)
Yesterday we mentioned a study which concluded that women do apparently prefer 'dark and brooding men'. And it's the kind of story that the Daily Mail just relishes.
Women really are drawn to men with the dark, brooding looks that suggest they are mad, bad or dangerous to know, according to a new study.
From the moody Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights to dangerous James Bond, women are attracted to their facial features, psychologists say.
It's thought this is because of a primitive desire to find a mate who appears mentally strong and confident to make a good father, with women drawn to narcissistic features having larger broods. (Sarah Griffiths)
The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page announces that Samira Ahmed of BBC R4's Front Row visited the museum and interviewed Arts Officer Lauren Livesey. The programme will air next Monday evening. Heavenali posts about Wide Sargasso Sea. Finally an alert from the Brussels Brontë blog:
Vincent Bijlo and Mariska Reijmerink, who joined us in Brussels at the Annual BBG Weekend in April last year, and the musicians The Rossettis, will be singing and playing ‘Op woeste hoogte’, the story of the Brontës, in March and April of this year. Mariska put music to and sings the poetry of the Brontës and Vincent will tell their story as their father Patrick.
Head over there to see the dates.


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