Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lucy Mangan, who plays Anne Brontë on the upcoming (March 26) Being the Brontës BBC docudrama, publishesa nice vindication of the figure of the youngest Brontë sister in The Guardian :
We know about Emily Brontë (who gave us Wuthering Heights, Cathy, Heathcliff, Laurence Olivier in leather britches striding across Hollywood moors – for which, absolutely, many thanks – and Kate Bush) and Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre, the red room, mad wife in the attic, blinded Byronic hero who nevertheless sees through the heroine’s plain exterior to love the passionate heart within). But who, really, has heard of Anne Brontë? We are more likely to know about their drunken brother Branwell, who never got his act together, than we are about the third sister. Why is she the underdog, the unknown Brontë, when any reading of their collected works will show her talent burning as brightly and as fiercely as those of her famous sisters?
Relative literary merits aside, the Brontës were all geniuses for managing to keep warm and dry enough in this town
Always slow on the uptake, it wasn’t until I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, aged 20 at university, that I realised literary reputations might not be the purely meritocratic things I thought they were. Here was a book, published in 1847, laying out in remorseless, compelling detail the effects of a husband’s alcoholism on a woman, Helen Graham, and her son – and her fight to begin a new life away from his violence. So perfectly did it capture the powerlessness and fear of the female experience that I remain convinced to this day that to read it is to be armed for ever against the traps into which the unwary Helen fell. Anyone who professes not to understand “why women stay” should read it – and be re-educated from top to bottom.
Twenty years on, I am striding across the West Yorkshire moors, arguing with my co-presenters Martha Kearney (Charlotte devotee) and novelist Helen Oyeyemi (Emily champion) about Anne’s unacknowledged supremacy for Being the Brontës. This BBC documentary examines those few years in that house in Haworth when they all wrote and published those extraordinary novels. We have been in the town a week and the general consensus is that, relative literary merits aside, they were all geniuses for managing to keep dry enough and warm enough to put pen to paper at all. (Read more)
Isabelle Huppert, who was Anne Brontë in Les Soeurs Brontë 1979, is interviewed by La Nación (Argentina):
-¿Qué importancia tuvo la cultura en su juventud? (Álex Vicente)
-Una importancia inmensa. Fue una fuente permanente de curiosidad, de placer y de vitalidad. Pero convertirme en una actriz conocida nunca formó parte de mis sueños. A menudo pienso en las hermanas Brontë, que vivieron toda su vida en un perímetro minúsculo, sin que su imaginario y creatividad se vieran perjudicados por ello. Yo creo que podría haber sido actriz sin salir de mi habitación. De hecho, nunca me he inspirado en lo vivido, sino en mi propia imaginación, que es mucho más poderosa. (Translation)
The Londonist has an article about Charlotte Brontë's visits to London (although they seem to forget the first one in February 1842, on her way to Brussels):
Euston would have been Charlotte's gateway to London; she passed through the Victorian railway hub each time she arrived in the capital, and each time she escaped back to the quiet of Haworth.
It's nice to note that the first WH Smith bookstall at a train station opened in the same year — November 1848 — perhaps Charlotte would have perused the books on offer when she visited. (...)
Records also show Charlotte and Anne visited St Stephen's Walbrook the next day, hoping to hear the famous author and cleric Dr George Croly preach. In fact, Croly was absent that Sunday. Memorials to the cleric remain in this beautiful Wren church today.
After the death of her brother and sisters, Charlotte made four more visits to London.
In the summer of 1850 she toured many London sights, seeing a new hippo at the Zoological Gardens, the first seen in Europe since Roman times; celeb-spotting the Duke of Wellington at the Chapel Royal; and generally being shown the best bits of town by her dashing young publisher..
Charlotte also visited the 1851 Great Exhibition not once, but five times in the company of Dr David Brewster, and eminent scientists and inventor, and friend of George Smith.
She wrote to her father about the trip:
It is a wonderful place — vast, strange, new and impossible to describe. Its grandeur does not consist in one thing, but in the unique assemblage of all things.
Through George and the dinner parties hosted by his mother, Charlotte was introduced to various figures from London's literary society.
The diminutive Charlotte was teased by a larger-than-life William Makepeace Thackeray, when they met in 1850; he insisted on calling her Jane Eyre throughout various social engagements, and by all accounts generally made our heroine feel pretty uncomfortable.
There's a fantastic report of one of these evenings written by Anne, Thackeray's daughter who would've been a young girl at the time of Charlotte's visit.
"Two gentlemen come in," reports Anne, "leading a tiny, delicate, serious little lady, with fair, straight hair and steady eyes. She may be a little over thirty; she is dressed in a little barége dress with a pattern of faint green moss. She enters in mittens, in silence, in seriousness; our hearts are beating with wild excitement."
The dazzling soiree everyone was expecting failed to materialise. "It was a gloomy and silent evening," Anne recalls. "Everyone waited for the brilliant conversation which never began at all."
One of Thackeray's friends, Mrs Brookfield, asked, "Do you like London, Miss Brontë?"
There was a long silence. At length, the author replied, "Yes; and no."
Awkward. (Zoe Craig)
Lyndsay Garbutt recommends Rita Maria Martinez's The Jane and Bertha in Me in The Huffington Post:
Speaking of another text as source of inspiration, The Jane and Bertha in Me by Rita Maria Martinez is the result of a fruitful obsession. I first encountered this project in her chapbook, Jane-in-the-Box. I remember wondering: Will she try to sustain this in a complete book and succeed? The answer is an 81-page YES. Let me put it this way: I haven’t read Charlotte Brontë‘s novel, yet I relished Martinez’s book for the way it creates this quirky, yet passionate universe unto itself, one where (to quote Nin Andrews) the “Gothic sensibility of Jane Eyre joins the surreal world of contemporary American culture.”
Pasadena Weekly reviews Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele:
The suffocating life choices available to women in the Victorian era propel key developments, and establish context for what commentary is offered on social conventions and gender roles. It’s a lively fiction; Faye’s language is as zesty as the homemade curry dishes Charles Thornfield savors, and her historical research and thoughtfully drawn characters make “Jane Steele” a compelling page-turner. (Bliss Bowen)
The Daily Gazette Standard highlights the casting of a local charity trustee as Hindley Earnshaw in Elisaveta Abrahall's Wuthering Heights:
Marcus Churchill, who is on the board of KYDS Youth Drama Society, based in Tiptree, will portray the tyrannical Hindley Earnshaw in the upcoming version of Emily Brontë’s classic novel.
The film directed by Elisaveta Abrahall has just begun filming and Marcus is waiting for the call for when he needs to head onto set in Shropshire.
He said: “I saw the role listed on an online database and sent off a self-take.
“I was contacted to say I had the part which was brilliant – it is very rare for it be that easy.
“It is a really good, meaty role. Hindley is not a bad person he is just jealous." (Chad Nugent)
The Michigan Daily on comfort:
In Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel, after returning to her stagnating routine at home when she had just spontaneously spent a day outside on a long walk, Jane Eyre describes, “an existence whose very privileges of security and ease I was becoming incapable of appreciating.” In order to appreciate moments of comfort and ease, we need to experiment, to challenge ourselves, to fully feel and acknowledge moments of discomfort. (Isaiah Zeavin-Moss)
Bustle lists overrated classics. Jane Eyre is not on the list:
But I'm not going to pretend that I enjoyed every second of English class. As much as I loved Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird, I would rather eat glass shards than re-read The Scarlet Letter. (Charlotte Ahlin)
La Repubblica (Italy) looks into Bronte (Sicily) and how Patrick changed his surname in homage to Nelson:
Bronte e Brontë. Bisogna tornare indietro di due secoli per scoprire il legame tra il piccolo paese dei Nebrodi e le tre sorelle inglesi entrate nell'olimpo della letteratura. Charlotte, Emily e Anne Brontë, autrici di capolavori come "Jane Eyre", "Cime tempestose" e "Agnes Grey", devono il loro cognome a Bronte in provincia di Catania. Il padre delle tre scrittrici, il reverendo Patrick, modificò il suo cognome da Brunty in Brontë in onore dell'ammiraglio Nelson, che il re Ferdinando di Borbone aveva nominato, nel 1799, duca di Bronte. Ma nel paesino celebre per il pistacchio, le scrittrici sono praticamente sconosciute. Il sindaco di Bronte Graziano Calanna promette: "Mi impegnerò perché Bronte onori le tre grandi scrittrici alle quali ha dato il cognome". (Giorgio Ruta and Sara Scarafia) (Translation)
L'Hebdo (Switzerland) on Guillaume Musso:
Guillaume Musso, c’était à 11 ans. Il ne lisait que des BD, malgré une mère bibliothécaire. En vacances de Noël chez ses grands-parents, il y a deux livres sur l’étagère de sa chambre: une biographie du général de Gaulle et Les hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë. Le livre le bouleverse, il tombe amoureux d’Emily Brontë et devient un lecteur. (Isabelle Falconier) (Translation)
An article about Elena Ferrante without naming the Brontës? Not possible. In Il Post (Italy):
Usarono invece pseudonimi maschili le sorelle Brontë: Charlotte, Emily ed Anne pubblicarono i loro primi romanzi (Jane Eyre, Cime tempestose e Agnes Grey, rispettivamente) nel 1847 con i nomi Currer, Ellis e Acton Bell, che conservavano le iniziali dei loro veri nomi. La loro vera identità venne fuori presto: l’anno dopo Charlotte e Anne andarono a Londra di persona per convincere il loro editore che non erano un’unica persona. (Translation)
An alert from Bainbridge Island,WA:
Alison Case, author and professor at Williams College in Massachusetts, will talk about her debut novel “Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights” in a visit to Eagle Harbor Book Store at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24. (Bainbridge Island Review)
The crossword puzzle of Metro (US) contained  Brontë question; The Honest Bookseller posts about Wuthering Heights.

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