Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Guardian devotes an article to the 2014 Folio Society edition of Jane Eyre, illustrated by Santiago Caruso. The author comments on some of his illustrations. For instance, this one:
Jane is punished by Mr Brocklehurst in front of the class, demonised to stand over a stool for hours. I saw Jane as a stylite: the stool is turned almost into a column, where she learns the prayers and penance.
The concept has been taken from Fra Angelico’s fresco The Mocking of Christ: I used his technique to represent the punishments that Lowood Institute gave to the girls they sheltered. The bad food, the scourges with the bundle of twigs, the censorship represented by the scissors over the head of Jane.
The third annual Academy of British Cover Design Awards (ABCD) have been revealed and the cover of Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë (Design by Gill Heeley,
Embroidery by Chloe Giordano) was nominated to the Non-Fiction section.

The book is recommended by The Huffington Post:
Claire Harman's biography about Charlotte Brontë -- the eldest of the Brontë sisters who infamously wrote Jane Eyre -- is a detailed and in-depth look at the writer's life, going beyond her typical melancholy upbringing by exploring her fierce ambition and indisputable creativity. (Jenavieve Hatch)
And reviewed by the Boston Globe:
The Brontë saga remains an astonishing chapter in literary history. But even its most ardent devotees may wonder why a new biography of Charlotte is in order.
There are two reasons. Between 1994 and 2004, a new three-volume edition of Charlotte’s letters was brought out by scholar Margaret Smith. “Smith published many items for the first time, corrected attributions, dates, and readings, and set all of the letters in a context of impeccably researched annotation and commentary,” Harman writes. “Her edition [provides] . . . the fullest and most suggestive source to date of Charlotte Brontë’s behavior and private opinions.”
The second reason is Harman’s extraordinary knack for evoking the triumphs, frustrations, and prickly contradictions of Charlotte’s character. Her portrait of the Brontë family, in all its dysfunction, is both pointed and poignant. The perversely stoic figure of Emily, about whom the least is known, makes an especially indelible impression. (...)
“Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart” (...)  travels both inward and outward, plumbing every aspect of its subject’s character while bringing the world around her to remarkable life. (Michael Upchurch)
Publishers Weekly announces a new Jane Eyre YA retelling for 2017:
[Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen] nabbed world English rights to a YA noir by Michelle Gagnon called Unearthly Things. A retelling of Jane Eyre with what Ehrenhaft described as a “supernatural twist,” the book is set in the world of San Francisco’s debutante society and follows an orphaned teenager beginning a new life with a mysterious adoptive family. Gagnon was represented by Stephanie Kip Rostanat Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary, and the book is scheduled for April 2017.
Newsday publishes an excerpt from All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister. At least, this time, it doesn't distort and misuse Charlotte Brontë's life but chooses to 'interpret' Jane Eyre's final marriage with Rochester. We don't agree with her view but at least this time it's not twisting real facts to make a (her) point.
And Jane Eyre: Oh, smart, resourceful, sad Jane. Her prize, readers, after a youth of fighting for some smidgen of autonomy? Marrying him: the bad-tempered guy who kept his first wife in the attic, wooed Jane through a series of elaborate head games, and was, by the time she landed him, blind and missing a hand.
Peter Bradshaw's column in The Guardian highlights a tweet by Guy Lodge:
Thursday’s World Book Day was the occasion for the film writer Guy Lodge to tweet a perennially interesting question: what was the first grownup book you remember reading? Not a kids’ or a young adult (YA) book – an actual, proper, grownup book.
Guy said his was Jane Eyre
The Boar reviews the WUDS performances of Wuthering Heights:

I walked into the theatre for WUDS production of Wuthering Heights, I knew immediately that this was to be a theatre experience unlike any other: instead of conventionally sitting in front of the play, the audience are instead encouraged to move around the space, following the action as it moves from Wuthering Heights, across the moor, and into Thrushcross Grange. Though this felt a little clumsy at times, with characters occasionally bumping into members of the audience, on the whole it worked well. The audience felt part of Nelly’s story and the heath being centre stage really emphasised the centrality of the wilderness and nature consuming Cathy and Heathcliff to the story. Lockwood often standing amongst the audience was a clever touch, drawing the audience in as the tale unfolded. (Imogen Cooper)
Slate asks for help to decide what to read next in its A Year of Great Books initiative. One of the contenders is:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A novel in the Gothic tradition—the story of an orphaned governess who gets a job in a gloomy house in the British countryside. Adrienne Rich wrote, “I have never lost the sense that it contains, through and beyond the force of its creator’s imagination, some nourishment I needed then and still need today.” (Laura Miller and Jacob Weisberg)
The Yorkshire Post devotes an article to the dancer Pippa Moore who
In Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre she plays Mrs Fairfax, Mr Rochester’s housekeeper.
The Guardian talks about YA's bad boys:
We all love a bad guy, right? One of my earliest love interests was Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. I seriously thought I could change that guy – surely he just was misunderstood? I figured that his broody, moody ways meant he’d be an intense and passionate lover – and that being with someone nice and understanding like me would bring out their softer side. I don’t think I was alone in thinking that. (Eve Ainsworth)
Stuff (New Zealand) reviews Yuki Chan in Brontë Country:
Underpinning the delicate complexity of character is Jackson's pared back prose, themes and motifs. As understated as the characters' psychologies, for instance, are a series of considerations about snow, its emotional and sentient properties, while the dark, brooding moorlands of the Brontës' hometown provide an astute backdrop to this book's mournful moments.
Although its heroine is described as a psychic detective, Yuki Chan in Brontë Country is no whodunit; rather it's a masterful, lyrical examination of the psyche and loss. (Siobhan Harvey)
The Bookseller interviews Tracy Chevalier:
Hot on the heels of At the Edge of the Orchard is Reader, I Married Him (The Borough Press, April), a short-story collection Chevalier edited—“I can’t tell you . . . I’m so terrified of this spring because there is so much happening at the same time,” she jokes. Just over a year ago the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth, West Yorkshire, contacted Chevalier with an irresistible invitation to help celebrate the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth: “I could not say no to that. It just sounded like so much fun.”
An Arts Council grant was secured to fund an exhibition, a series of events and a publication, which became Reader, I Married Him. Chevalier managed to amass a terrific list of writers to contribute, including Helen Dunmore, Linda Grant, Susan Hill and Lionel Shriver. The brief she gave them was to take the famous line from Jane Eyre and write a story about it. Some chose to retell the story of Jane Eyre from a different viewpoint, others chose to write about marriage more generally. Chevalier had a wonderful time: “It was a lot of work but I loved the editing process. I had so much fun batting the stories back and forth with the writers. Some argue over a comma and others just go: ‘Oh my god, this is so much better!’” (Alice O'Keeffe)
And the Daily Express does the same with the actress and comedian Debra Stephenson who lists her favourite books:
Wuthering Heights
In my teenage years I was totally lost in the romance. I studied it with a fantastic teacher so got to grips with every nuance. Then I got to play Nelly Dean at drama school. I really wanted to play Cathy but they felt Nelly would help to give gravitas to my acting and it did. (Caroline Rees)
Impact on books in prisons:
Literature invokes thoughts, feelings and changes of opinion no matter what age or situation one is in. It should be a right for everyone to experience Brontë’s love stories, Dickens’ harsh world and Blake’s reflective poems. Whether in prison or not it is a right: a right to learn, teach, reflect and become connected with the world around us. (Rachael Maltby)
The Marion Star recommends some new books:
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
In this smart and original debut novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind, and the Brontës’ own novels.
Bustle lists book characters that 'made us feminists':
A complex female character written at a time when so few existed, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre made us all want to become feminists. Despite her troubled childhood and harsh upbringing, or maybe because of it, Jane learns to take care of herself, and whatever hardship she suffers, she relies on herself to get back on track. The complete opposite of a damsel in distress, Jane Eyre has been, and will continue to, spreading feminism for generations of women. (Sadie L. Trombetta)
The Press Enterprise loves printed books:
What I desire is complete immersion – somehow figured in my mind by the image of Jane Eyre reading in the red-curtained window seat while, outside, the skies over the moors darken – and what I reach for to satisfy that desire is a physical book, whose pages I feel as I turn them, whose words weigh in my hand, whether the relatively few of Peter Handke’s slim “A Sorrow Beyond Dreams,” or the millions and millions of Roberto Bolaño’s wrist-bending brick of a novel, “2666” – two of the pile of books waiting for me on the headboard shelf above my bed.
Giant Bomb explores the Dwarf Fortress videogame and mentions the Brontës:
The thing about not knowing the Bible is sexy, or that Austen is funny, or that Brontë is dark as hell, is that it denies readers a sense of joy when they interact with those texts. We are supposed to read the Bible in a certain way, as a moral backbone to our culture, and ignore just how much and how often it talks about sex. Austen and Brontë are grand narratives about women in the Regency era, but they also have room to delight or disturb. This is how you get young people to relate to these things, the things that they have no real way to relate to. (Gita Jackson)
We don't really agree with this comment of Saccity Express:
Austen’s prestigious body of work — which includes “Pride and Prejudice” — is based on her experience with the landed gentry. There is nothing unique about this point of view, as is evidenced by contemporary authors such as the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and by Sir Walter Scott, who also hobnobbed with the same social circles. 
A curious event in Reggio Emilia (Italy):
Al circolo Dinamo si cena tra mostri e leggende dell'Ottocento: Gothic&Mistery Nightè uno spettacolo-evento dove il pubblico, accompagnato da osti masnadieri e cantastorie, ha il privilegio di assistere all’incontro tra i poeti, i mostri e gli eroi dell’età romantica durante una cena ispirata ai sapori del primo ottocento che si svolgerà domani all'interno del locale di viale Monte San Michele. George Byron, Emily Brontë, Percy e Mary Shelley, John Polidori, Joseph Le Fanu, Ugo Foscolo: i versi dei poeti romantici tracceranno la strada del pubblico fino all’ultimo saluto, fino a quando le fiammelle delle candele non si saranno definitivamente consumate e i fantasmi avranno gentilmente preso congedo. (Via Reggi Online) (Translation)
Les InRocks (France) quotes Wuthering Heights talking about Gothic literature:
Deux auteurs français s’emparent du genre gothique : Romain Slocombe signe le remake ultra dark des Petites filles modèles et Emmanuel Régniez enferme un frère et une sœur dans son premier roman.
Il y a eu les petites sœurs terrifiantes de Shining, l’étrange tandem des Hauts de Hurlevent, Hindley et Catherine. (Clémentine Goldszal) (Translation

A student and fan of Jane Eyre in Sauk Valley; a college student who read Wuthering Heights in La Patria (Colombia);  WAZ (Germany) mentions Wuthering Heights as an influence for the painter Alexandra Frohloff. Royal Reviews posts about Catherine Lowell's The Madwoman Upstairs.The Haworth Village Facebook wall posts several pictures of Haworth under the snow.

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