Review - Villette at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - *Review by Richard Wilcocks* Charlotte Brontë’s *Villette*, which was recognised by knowledgeable readers in nineteenth century Brussels as a close parallel...
7 hours ago
On April 21 it will be 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë – she of Jane Eyre fame – and there’s masses of good stuff going on for that too.The Conversation makes an excellent point talking about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:
I hadn’t been there before and somehow had it in mind the Brontës – Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their wayward brother Branwell – had led sheltered, luxurious lives living in a huge house with their clergyman father.
Not a bit of it. Their home, The Parsonage, has tiny rooms. Good job the home was small. I came away riveted by the fact Charlotte may have had huge talent but was just 4ft 10in tall. You can see the clothes that prove it. And they were also allowed to read anything they liked – the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet Lord Byron was a favourite – which would have scandalised their posh neighbours.
The house is now a museum packed with things linked to the family. And if you’re really lucky you get to see some of the rarer items – like a tiny book of words and drawings made by Charlotte when she was just 10. It would fit in the palm of your hand, but such is her fame a similar book that came up for auction fetched nearly £1million.
I liked the town of Haworth – no chain stores on the old main road, just lots of local shops in quaint buildings.
But the “quaintness” hides a dark past. In the Brontës’ time, the death rate, always high in those days, was even worse in Haworth. Turns out the local people were drinking water from a spring that made it’s way to town – through the graveyard.
No danger of anything nasty at my base for the night, Ponden Hall high on the moors outside the town. Mind you, there could have been. This beautifully restored farmhouse, dating to 1634, is said to be the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.On the east gable end of the house, a tiny single-paned window is, according to local tradition, where Cathy’s ghost scratched furiously at the glass, trying to get in.
Perhaps she was after the warmth. My room (three beds!) had a wonderful log-burning stove and a Victorian rocking horse to keep the kids happy. And breakfast was magnificent. (Sue Jolly)
Putting a zombie spin on a classic novel by Jane Austen might seem like an innovative twist. But it isn’t. In 1943 film director Jacques Tourneur partially based his I Walked With a Zombie on Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre. I Walked With a Zombie, for all its schlock-horror aspirations, is a genuinely haunting piece of film history. But Tourneur’s zombie wasn’t the flesh-eating living dead kind (the kind that, after all, Romero never intended to be zombies). No; his was the original zombie. (Victoria Anderson)John Mullan in The Guardian proposes other mashups with classical novels:
Jane Eyre’s Fifty Shades of GreyWe wonder if he knows that what he's joking about... already exists(and here or here or ...).
Dominance/submission; sadism/masochism; master/servant. It is all there in potentia in Charlotte Brontë’s original. A nice young lady encounters a rich control freak, Christian Rochester, to whom she is inexplicably attracted. At first we think he is gay, but then Jane finds the secret chamber at Thornfield. Jane makes allowances for his interest in BDSM toys (all that apparatus up in the attic) when he tells her that, visiting France as a young man, he was seduced by a heartless actress. But will she sign the weird contract he offers her?
Four years ago I wrote a book called A History of Fiction in 294 Lives. Finishing it, I realised, aged 74, that I had outlived about 260 of the authors I had written about. What could Dickens (died aged 58) or the three Brontës (who between them didn’t have a team score of a century) have done with my superfluous years?The Spectator reviews Pretentiousness: Why it Matters by Dan Fox:
He suggests that a song such as Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ is gloriously pretentious in appropriating a 19th-century novel. But he then says that its proven popularity ‘undermines the position that it’s “pretentious” for musicians to play with ideas’. (Jonathan Beckman)The Anglo-Celt is quite correct when it says:
Hunger Games, Twilight, Bridget Jones Diary, Wuthering Heights... dramas exploring the conflict between love rivals are commonplace; less so when one of the rivals is a cow. (Damien McCarney)The Boston Herald interviews Bethany Consentino from the band Best Coast:
“I like to do the really dramatic songs, like ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush, and I also really like ‘I’m Goin’ Down’ by Mary J. Blige, and a couple of songs by nu metal bands like Limp Bizkit or Korn,” she said. (Pat Healy)The death of Harper Lee triggers one of the favourite topics of newspapers and magazines: one-hit-author lists:
Although the Brontës are well-known writers, Emily Brontë only published one novel — “Wuthering Heights.”
Released in 1847 under an alias, the story of Heathcliff, the Earnshaws and the Lintons is known for its unusual structure and narrative view.
Although it’s a classic now, the book did not become a literary staple until after its author’s death in 1848. (Keri Blakinger in New York Daily News)
To Kill a Mockingbird, her novel of 1960, sat very well alongside Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. All of the them great novels and unsullied by the existence of other inferior works by the same hand. (Robbie Millen in The Times)Another sad obituary. The film director Andrzej Zulawski is remembered in this article in El Mundo (Spain):
Su película 'Lo importante es amar' (1974) golpeó nuestros corazones y nuestros cerebros, y eso que la vimos minuciosamente cortada por la censura. Aquel trágico trío de amantes, frágil y vulnerable, nos impresionó con fuerza en un tiempo y en una edad en los que las historias de amor y sexo debían tener, a nuestro criterio y gusto, un componente dramático y desquiciado que, en plena línea de romanticismo mayúsculo y exacerbado, no dejara lugar a las pamplinas. El sufrimiento y un horizonte de muerte eran lo ideal. Confieso que mi punto de vista al respecto ha cambiado, aunque estoy dispuesto a examinar una nueva versión de 'Cumbres borrascosas'. (Manuel Hidalgo) (Translation)A late Valentine article with a twist on astrology (birds of a feather...):
Wuthering Heigths (Cumbres borrascosas), de Emily Brontë. Heathcliff y Catherine viven una apasionada historia de amor en una época llena de romanticismo. Ideal para las mujeres Acuario que gustan de estas historias tan intensas y capaces de romper convencionalismos. (Vanidades) (Translation)MilanoPost discusses Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo:
Al di là dei Miss Sixty, delle serate in discoteca e dello zainetto Camomilla, la solfa è la stessa di tantissime altre storie antiche e nuovissime: un po’ “Cime tempestose”, un po’ “Twilight”. (Francesca del Boca) (Translation)20 Minutos (Spain) reports of some the events and exhibitions associated to the Brontë200 celebrations.Entre Libros y Tintas (in Spanish) posts about Wuthering Heights. Eric Ruijssenaars discusses on the Brussels Brontë Blog the plausibility of Charlotte Brontë saying to Madame Heger 'Je me vengerai'.