Friday, March 25, 2016

Keighley News and New Statesman present Being the Brontës that will be broadcast tomorrow, March 25, on BBC2:
The BBC will this Saturday show a new documentary about how the Brontë sisters came to write their novels.
Being The Brontës will be screened at 9pm on BBC2 and features an in-depth visit to Haworth by three keen Brontë enthusiasts.
Journalist and broadcaster Martha Kearney, novelist Helen Oyeyemi and columnist and author Lucy Mangan travelled to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the home of the Brontë sisters, to discover the stories behind their classic novels Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. (David Knights)
 And Financial Times reviews it (3 of 5 stars): (Picture credit @Gareth Gatrell):
There is a moment in Being the Brontës (Saturday BBC2 9pm) that recalls an entertaining article by Muriel Spark that evoked the literary sisters’ careers as governesses from the point of view of their long-suffering employers. The film’s reference to the lady of the house unexpectedly entering to find her child tied to a table leg reinforces the suspicion that sympathy should not go all one way. (...)
In fact Being the Brontës is lightweight, even a bit giggly. With Lucy Mangan trying on a Victorian maid’s dress and windy moorland walks in the sisters’ footsteps, the programme is not without padding.
But if there are no revelations in Brontë scholarship, there are human details — Charlotte, we are reminded, was less than five feet tall and had an 18-and-a-half-inch waist; 40 per cent of children in the grim mill town of Haworth died before the age of six; the average lifespan was to the mid-twenties. (Martin Hoyle)

BBC North Ireland's The Arts Show (March 24) featured Charlotte Brontë and the Parsonage:
The Arts Show
Episode 9
On the 200th anniversary of her birth, an examination of Charlotte Brontë's impact as a trailblazer for female writers,
Chicago Tribune and Bookreporter review Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier:
The 21 stories in this exemplary collection are written by some of today's best female writers. Each story is different, each features a love story that evokes the longings, loneliness and literary legacy of Jane Eyre, the penniless orphan whose life takes a sharp turn when she becomes a gove
rness at the foreboding Thornfield Hall.
In a forward written by Tracy Chevalier, the collection's editor, the author of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" talks about the feminist power of "Reader, I married him," and why the words have resonated with readers for nearly two centuries. Chevalier writes that "Reader, I married him" is "Jane's defiant conclusion to her rollercoaster story. It is not, 'Reader, he married me' — as you would expect in a Victorian society where women were supposed to be passive — or even, 'Reader, we married.' Instead, Jane asserts herself; she is the driving force of the narrative, and it is she who chooses to be with Rochester." (Read more) (Carol Memmott
Several of the stories feel far longer than their few pages. They are complex and complicated tales with fully formed characters that draw readers in from the first sentence. “Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark,” about partnership, the devastating fragility of life and the joys of parental love, is Elizabeth McCracken’s contribution, and it’s marvelous. Likewise, “The Self-Seeding Sycamore” by Lionel Shriver explores love, in this instance a love that shakes a woman from grief to happiness. It does so in such a sophisticated way but with an enjoyable style.
In truth, all the stories here are very good. A few are really fantastic and worth a second read. Though each is inspired by Jane Eyre, that is just about the only thing connecting them. However, it is the variety of style, plot, setting and characters that make the collection so intriguing as readers search for threads of commonality and whispers of Brontë. Highly literary yet absorbing and entertaining, Reader, I Married Him is an inventive and a satisfying tribute to a great novel. (Jana Siciliano)
Broadway World reviews the shake & stir Australian Wuthering Heights tour: (Picture @Dylan Evans)
Shake & Stir Theatre Company has bought Emily Brontë's dark and twisted story of love and revenge into the 21st Century with its interpretation of Wuthering Heights. Adaptor and Director Nick Skubij has blended modern language, clean design and modern technology to create a work that is accessible to modern audiences whilst still retaining references to the story's old world setting.
The ominous mood is instantly set with the clap of thunder and flash of lighting that fills the minimalistic monochrome grand room of a stately manor. Voices lift out of the pages of a book a young man is frantically reading, blended with eerie sounds and screams before a piano melody with a melancholy undertone fills the room. (...)
Wuthering Heights is a well-constructed work that adopts modern theatre technology to make it accessible to new audiences that are used to multimedia expression. The pre-recorded projections allow for reinforcement of expressions and emotions that unfold through the dialogue and Nelly's narration. Jason Glenwright and Guy Webster's lighting and sound (respectively) adds to the mysterious mood that settles windswept moors, heightening the drama. (Jade Kops
The Guardian's month reading group will be Don Quixote or Jane Eyre:
April 2016 marks 400 years since the death of Miguel de Cervantes. It also marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. You don’t need me to tell you about the importance of either writer.
Don Quixote is arguably the first modern novel. (Some even say it’s a crucial modernist text.) It’s also a book that is still read, still enjoyed and still able to baffle and bemuse. It has influenced everyone from Shakespeare to Terry Gilliam via Henry Fielding and John Kennedy Toole. The world would be less colourful without it.
Jane Eyre, meanwhile, remains a central part of the English canon, an astonishing, vivid, angry and visionary masterpiece. A book that changed the way the English-speaking world thinks about fiction; not least because it demonstrated how well women can write it. Again, we’d all be diminished if we didn’t have it. (Sam Jordison)
The Yorkshire Post features once again Norton Conyers, and their owners Sir James and Lady Graham:
This year, the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë, Sir James and Lady Graham are expecting renewed interest on the back of the house’s connection with the famous author who is believed to have visited in 1839 and heard the family legend of “Mad Mary” secretly confined to an end room in the attics.
The story goes that she was the inspiration for Edward Rochester’s Creole wife in her 1847 classic Jane Eyre.
The secret staircase leading to the attics can be seen, but is sadly too dangerous for the public to use.
The Irish Times reviews Lisa McInerney:
Who is your favourite fictional character? (Martin Doyle)
Heathcliff. Lord knows how such a triumphant reprobate ever became shorthand for “passionate romantic”. He’s a perfect villain: frightening both in his capacity for brutality and his intelligence but too vulnerable to dismiss as a monster. You’d cross the county to avoid him. And he’s got all the best lines.
 Popular fiction in the Daily Mail and The Sydney Morning Herald:
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
Perfectly timed for the Charlotte bicentenary, this Brontë-centred tale has American student Samantha Whipple as the famous family’s last surviving member. Problem is, she can’t stand their novels. This might not be a problem were she not reading English Literature at Oxford.
The other difficulty is the ever-present ghost of her dead father, a tricksy academic obsessed with the Brontës.
Throw into the mix a brooding tutor, a spooky tower room and various buried secrets and the result is a sort of Jane Eyre at Oxford.
It’s a super premise, stylishly written and the bits about the sisters are great. I found the bumptious, clever-clever heroine irritating, even so. (Wendy Holden
If you thought the rash of Austen and Brontë tributes, parodies, fanfics and other homages had finally cleared up, you will be disappointed to learn that people are still writing them. This one plays a pretty good game with the Brontës and their works, particularly Jane Eyre, as the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family – a fictional great-great-great-granddaughter of Patrick Brontë's brother – arrives at Oxford and is enveloped in a Brontë-related mystery while attempting to come to grips with her brilliant but overbearing tutor. This is an imaginative, intelligent, and often witty fanfic, using the genre to explore ideas about the Brontës and their work, as well as the contemporary fetishism about their belongings and their home. Catherine Lowell also uses the plot and characters of Jane Eyre quite subtly and adroitly to shape her own quite different tale of intrigue. (Kerryn Goldsworthy)
The Sydney Morning Herald reviews Emily Maguire's An Isolated Incident:
Maguire's favourite novel is Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. She returns to it whenever she becomes stuck for words.
And one more review in the same newspaper. Now Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift:
Graham Swift steps out of character in Mothering Sunday. By contrast with the sombre tone and grisly plot of his best-known novel, Waterland, and the wry humour of Last Orders, this beguiling novella comes with an unexpected happy ending. Sunny weather, sexual delight, echoes of Jane Eyre and Downton Abbey: can this be Graham Swift? (Brenda Niall)
The Student Newspaper reviews the recent BBC Radio 4 Wide Sargasso Sea adaptation:
It is fascinating to hear the celebrated story from another perspective, from Antoinette and Rochester’s meeting, to their intense and tragic relationship, and culminating in her brutal imprisonment by Charlotte Brontë’s character Grace Poole. In the final scene, the two narratives meet, and so do two very different types of gothic. (Niamh Anderson)
The Telegraph lists the most valuable rare books in existence. Among them:
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
London: Thomas Cautley Newby, 1847
Published in a poorly-printed edition of only 250 copies, its author disguised by the pseudonym Ellis Bell, Wuthering Heights proved to be an extraordinary novel, written with a power and passion which baffled and disgusted contemporary critics.
A first edition commands £200,000 at auction.
Jacob Lambert in The Millions is not impressed. His loss:
A Modern Literary Glossary: Definitions for Our Ever-Changing Reading World. (...)
Wuthering Heights: A method of killing any nascent interest in reading that a high-school student may have. 
ITV mentions the exhibition Emma at 200: From English village to Global appeal in Chawton House Library, Hampshire:
To celebrate the bi-centenary, and examine the global appeal of Jane Austen, a new exhibition has just opened at Chawton House Library in Hampshire, curated by the University of Southampton.
Among the exhibits, first editions published in both France and America, and a scathing letter written by Charlotte Brontë, who was born in 1816, the year of Emma's publication.
A retired high school teacher complains about the current state of education in Wicked Local Newton:
What of the curriculum now taught? In the past decade public education has largely abandoned the core texts of my heyday. In English classes nationwide, fewer of the books are 19th and early 20th century classics. Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Emily Brontë? Not many classes study their novels anymore. Dickens’s shadow has diminished as well though “Great Expectations” and “A Tale of Two Cities” still have their adherents. Steinbeck has almost disappeared, for better or worse. In their place, contemporary writers of more diverse backgrounds have come to the fore, and it remains to be seen which of their works will stick. (Bob Jampol)
Quotable first lines on About Education:
In which classic novel does the following first line appear: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” Give up? Why, it’s Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), of course! The line might read like something out of Jane Austen, given Austen’s affinity for the use of walking as a narrative device; however, Brontë, too, explores the connection between physical and psychological freedoms and restraints. (Adam Burgess)
An alert for tomorrow, March 26, in Berlin:
Die Volkshochschule Offenbach lädt am Samstag,16. April von 10:00 bis 12:15 Uhr zum englischen Buchclub im Haus der Volkshochschule Offenbach, Berliner Straße 77 ein.
Der Buchclub bietet die Möglichkeit, die eigene Leseerfahrung und Meinung über einen Roman auszutauschen. An diesem Samstag wird der Klassiker der britischen Romanliteratur des 19. Jahrhunderts „Wuthering Heights“ von Emily Bronte diskutiert. Es ist wichtig, dass der Roman davor gelesen wird, damit man sich an der Diskussion beteiligen kann. (Source)
After ranking Wuthering Heights meals in order of sadness, Mallory Ortberg now ranks Jane Eyre's in order of severity on The Toast. L'angolo di Annarita reviews The Brontës. Children of the Moors by Mick Manning and Brita Granström. Just Simply Delete It and Me in Blogland... reviews Wuthering Heights. Stil de Scriitor (in Romanian) posts about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Royal Reviews posts about Jane Steele.


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