Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 is not only the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë, it also marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Emma (although it was published on the 25th of December of 1815) and the Chawton House Library has a commemorative exhibition:
Our current exhibition commemorates this landmark in Jane Austen’s publishing career. Items from our own collection, and the Knight family collection (belonging to Austen’s brother, and on deposit here) are used to talk about the world of the novel and its reception through the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And some unique manuscript material joins selected work from our own collection. This is the first time we have been able to solicit loans from other research libraries, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of individuals, and the Garfield Weston Foundation, who have provided us with funding to equip our Exhibition Room with state-of-the-art display cases.
One of the items exhibited, on loan from the Huntington library in California is the (in)famous letter from Charlotte Brontë to W.S. Williams dated 12th April 1850 where Charlotte expressed her views about Austen's Emma. The Basingstoke Gazette and Mental Floss talk about it:
Fans of both authors might be surprised to discover that Jane Austen’s Emma was a little too prim for fellow writer Charlotte Brontë. Brontë, who was born just after Emma’s 1815 debut, wrote her editor William Smith Williams a letter detailing her feelings about the book some 35 years later in 1850.
In her letter, she praises Austen’s ability to sketch the lives of the English gentry with accuracy. “She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well,” Brontë wrote. Yet Austen (who died in 1817) failed to understand people’s passions, according to Brontë, whose Jane Eyre has more than enough passionate characters to go around. (Shaunacy Ferro)
The News Hub interviews Charlotte Cory, curator of the Soane Museum's Charlotte Brontë exhibition:
How did you approach the curation of the exhibition? how did you source the items on show?
A I spent the best part of two years writing a 5 part drama series for BBC Radio 4 “Charlotte Brontë in Babylon” that aired the week the exhibition opens and I became very excited when I went to the library in the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth and looked at the London guide-book she owned with its entry about the Soane Museum. I rushed back down to London and into the Soane archives and begged to look through their wonderful old visitors books. When i was designing silk scarves for the Soane a few years ago, i based the images on these wonderful books. i had spent hours looking through them and found the signatures of Henry James, father and son, D G Rossetti, William Morris, Ford Madox Brown etc etc I hoped to find Charlotte Brontë.
I knew exactly what dates to look at. Sadly she was not there. I handed the volumes back and left the museum feeling slightly depressed. Then I suddenly thought - she evidently didn’t come. But she should have! When you and I walk through the front door of the Soane Museum that has not changed at all since Sir John died in 1837, we experience exactly what Charlotte Brontë would have experienced if she had visited in 1850. So why not bring her here? And give her a nice time. Celebrate Jane Eyre for instance (you know we are reading the whole book through on her actual birthday?) (...)
Q Which item/s stand out for you as particularly poignant or just reflective of her spirit?
A The tiny dress - and the miniature note book in which she jotted her expenses. very moving.
Q What are you hoping visitors will remember from this exhibition?
A The stuffed giraffe. the desk full of missing Brontë items.
Deadline Hollywood informs that the movie rights of Jane Steele have been sold:
Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures has acquired Lyndsay Faye’s acclaimed novel Jane Steele along with Ocean Blue Entertainment and Prescience in association with Altus Media. (Ali Jaafar)
Read It Forward interviews the author of the novel Lyndsay Faye:
RIF: You are obviously a fan of Jane Eyre, and so is your character Jane Steele, who is reading the novel throughout your narrative. What is her reaction to it? Does she see herself as being like or unlike Jane Eyre?
LF: She sees a great deal of herself in Jane Eyre, but whereas Jane Eyre resisted the lie that she was wicked and irredeemable, Jane Steele is guilty of enough crimes that she believes it wholeheartedly. A large question of the book is—is Jane Steele right to consider herself evil? If you kill for self-defense, is that unforgiveable? What about killing for love? What about killing to protect a helpless child from a predator? When is doing the wrong thing actually the right thing? When Jane Steele first encountersJane Eyre, she’s shocked by a great many parallels about their lives, but also fascinated by the number of choices she’s made that the other Jane would have found impossible.
More about films, The Hollywood Reporter reviews Slash, premiered at the SXSW 2016:
"The Bronte sisters wrote fanfic," claim the teen heroes of Clay Liford's Slash, a coming-of-age pic set in the subculture of those who write unauthorized erotic stories about their favorite fictional characters. Well, that may be — but Emily and Charlotte probably brought more wit to their tales than do the authors here, whose klutzy fantasies are sometimes enacted film-within-a-film style. Writer-director Liford fares little better, missing most opportunities for humor and arousal in this sincere but flat picture. (John DeFore)
Vanished Empires posts about Wide Sargasso Sea; the Princeton Garden Theatre will screen Wuthering Heights 2011 next Thursday;  a student who loved Jane Eyre is willing to read Villette next in Norfolk Daily News.


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