Thursday, April 21, 2016

Some recent Brontë200 reports on the media:

BBC One Look North (Yorkshire) (12 minutes into the programme) has a brief report of the preparations for the Brontë200 celebrations at the Parsonage.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports from Haworth:
[Rebecca Yorke] “We’re delighted there’s all this attention, it really shows the power of the novels – Jane Eyre especially is something women often read at a young age and it stays with them. Last week we had a Twitter campaign called Jane and Me and we asked people to take a photo of themselves with their copy of Jane Eyre and post it and we were trending for four hours.
“At one point we had #JaneAndMe, #JaneEyre and #Bronte200 all in the top ten Twitter trends. There were people tweeting in Italian and there was somebody in New Zealand with their copy, it was amazing.” (Chris Bond)
New Statesman tries to look further than just Jane Eyre:
The celebrations among literature lovers for Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday on 21 April popularly seem like celebrations for one book. Jane Eyre is a Bible for bookish teenage girls, and much-loved by adult readers, but Brontë’s other books don’t have the same compelling power. However, reading them is not only necessary for understanding her life’s work and how she saw the changing society she lived in, but also offers many hidden delights.
Brontë wrote from an early age, creating the fictional kingdom of Angria in a sometimes-fraught collaboration with her brother Branwell. Her juvenilia shows the origins of tropes that would fascinate her for the rest of her life, such as the many love affairs of her Byronic hero the Duke of Zamorna, an energetic and tempestuous leader who inspires borderline masochistic devotion in women. The juvenilia is melodramatic, but in a way that feels more purposeful than immature romanticism. Instead, Brontë exaggerates the ideals of masculine strength and feminine submissiveness until it seems like she was beginning to question their limitations. (Read more) (Rosemary Collins)
The Telegraph tests you with a quiz: Which Charlotte Brontë novel does this character appear in? Lily Waddell lists in The Guardian several of the best-known Charlotte Brontë quotes and ends the selection with this petition:
There are so many captivating quotes to choose from. Tweet us your favourite Charlotte Brontë quotes and we will share a few here.
Nature's A View from the Bridge has a fascinating article about Charlotte Brontë and science, through the journalist's visit to the exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum. A truly remarkable article:
The 6 million visitors generated enough surplus funds to seed the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and design treasurehouse the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was a show not just for gawkers, but for anyone with an interest in scientific endeavour and invention. It drew in Charles Darwin; photographer, mathematician and author Lewis Carroll; and eminent physicist David Brewster who, Cory told me, squired Brontë on one of her visits.
Brewster was a leading light in experimental optics. His advanced ‘lenticular’ stereoscope, replacing mirrors with prisms, is displayed at the Soane. He also explored polarised light, invented the kaleidoscope, and created a precursor of the Fresnel lens. Brewster and Brontë seem to have got along, as she noted in a letter to a friend:
Sir David Brewster came to take us to the Crystal Palace — I had rather dreaded this, for Sir David is a man of the profoundest science and I feared it would be impossible to understand his explanations of the mechanisms &c. indeed I hardly knew how to ask him questions — I was spared all trouble — without being questioned — he gave information in the kindest and simplest manner…
But in another letter about the exhibition, Brontë is more pungent:
… after all, its wonders appeal too exclusively to the eye, and rarely touch the heart or head. I make an exception to the last assertion, in favour of those who possess a large range of scientific knowledge. Once I went with Sir David Brewster, and perceived that he looked on objects with other eyes than mine.
The phrase “with other eyes” is provocative. Was Brewster gripped by technological aspects of the show that failed to dazzle Brontë? Interest is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, and an expert in the mechanics of light and vision might perceive the same object very differently from an artistic adept of the ‘inward eye’. Despite her poor vision (hence the spectacles at the Soane), Brontë had planned a career in art, but transmuted that visual and emotional precision into “deep, significant reality” on the page, as science writer George Henry Lewes wrote of Jane Eyre.  (Barbara Kiser)
Tracy Chevalier has picked The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for the Wall Street Journal Book club:
Why ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?’
It was the most scandalous publication! It’s about an alcoholic husband who treats his wife terribly, and she leaves him. In most other novels at that time, the woman would have suffered in silence, she would have turned to the church, she would have turned to God. But [the protagonist] Helen leaves with her son and starts a new life and it was just—wow! Nobody did that.
Is this a feminist novel?
It’s like a proto-feminist novel. It’s a woman standing up for herself. Jane Eyre also gets out of difficult circumstances, but she does it in a more traditional way. Here it’s so much more vivid and violent that it’s really surprising. (Read more) (Brenda Cronin)
Sophie Franklin, author of  Charlotte Brontë Revisited, talks about her book and her experience writing it in The Northern Echo:
My new book, Charlotte Brontë Revisited, aims to do something a little different, by reconsidering Charlotte from a modern-day perspective, in order to ask why she still matters and to see whether there are any parallels between how we live now and how she lived then. Her nature writing, for example, wouldn’t look out of place next to the likes of Robert Macfarlane or Helen Macdonald. And the proto-feminism that breaks out in her most well-known novel, Jane Eyre, still speaks to so many in the 21st Century.
But I think it’s her characters’ ability to rail against injustice that has the most lasting impression. As Jane Eyre so famously said: “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will”. For me, Charlotte Brontë’s legacy lives in these words.
The Halifax Courier (and Keighley News) celebrates the bicentenary with an article about the exhibition Splendids Shreds of Silk and Satin: A Celebration of Charlotte Brontë in Quilts
 The Bankfield Museum will host an exhition about the Yorkshire writer and her literary family, designed by Girl With a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier, who is a keen Brontë enthusiast.
The event is part of a series of activities planned by Calderdale Council to mark the district’s links with the Brontë sisters.
Charlotte’s sister Emily, who wrote the classic novel Wuthering Heights, taught at a girls’ school at Law Hill House, Southowram, and their only brother, Branwell, worked at both Sowerby Bridge and Luddendenfoot railway stations.
The exhibition, called Splendid Shreds of Silk and Satin, is based around the sisters’ interest in needlework and features a quilt made by them together. 
Another exhibition opening tomorrow which is tangentially related to the Brontës is Thornton Village-The Brontë Birthplace at the Bradford National Media Museum. The Telegraph & Argus informs (Picture Source):
An exhibition looking at Thornton's past will go on display at the National Media Museum tomorrow, the same day the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of one of the village's most famous daughters.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre, and to mark the occasion there are numerous events being held in Thornton and Haworth, where the sisters spent most of their life.
Among the events is the exhibition, Thornton Village - the Brontë Birthplace, which has been put together by the Thornton Antiquarian Society and South Square Gallery. It marks the first time the Thornton-based gallery has worked with the museum. The exhibition will run until the end of May.
Charlotte Brontë was born on Market Street in April 1816 in a house that is now Emily's bistro.
The exhibition's photographs come from the Thornton archives and include images dating back over 100 years. A number will be on display in the foyer of the museum while others are available to view from the Insight research centre. (Chris Young)
Even the bluebells in bloom have a Brontë twist these days. In The Yorkshire Post:
And a decade before she wrote Wuthering Heights, a then 20-year-old Emily Brontë composed her poem ‘The Bluebell’ which began: “The bluebell is the sweetest flower/That waves in summer air: Its blossoms have the mightiest power/To soothe my spirit’s care…”
The flower thing can be taken very seriously. This florist in Rugby participates in the Brontë 200 celebrations at the Parsonage. In the Rugby Advertiser:
Sue Ainley, who owns Garden Gate Flowers, will be joining nine other florists in the village of Haworth, West Yorkshire, to work together to make floral installations both ‘great and small’ for each room of the Brontë Parsonage.
Working from the Old School Rooms where Charlotte taught, they will spend the day using British grown spring flowers to create floral arrangements to sit inside Yorkshire’s most famous museum.
Sue, who studied Jane Eyre many years ago, said: “Mr Rochester is back in my life again and I’m hoping that arranging beautiful British flowers with a group of creative flowery folk will be far less arduous than revising for my O level English literature exam!”
We read in the radio section in The Telegraph:
If Charlotte Brontë had lived in the smartphone age would she have written Jane Eyre? Probably. There has to be a place where the human imagination roams freer than can be expressed in a couple of sentences circulated by smartphone. That’s why it’s been wonderful these past two Sunday afternoons, listening to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit on Radio 4, Jeanette Winterson’s brilliant 1985 novel, dramatised by herself. (Gillian Reynolds)
The MarySue reviews a recent episode of Wynonna Earp:
Speaking of the devil, while in his trailer reading what I can only assume is a Jane Austen novel (or do you think he’s more of a Brontë man?), he’s greeted by a young woman named Bethany. (Dana Piccoli)
Many other foreign news outlets also mention the bicentenary: Agencia EFE (Spain); Informe21 (Spain); Le Figaro (France); Le Figaro and Télé-Loisirs (in French) and Thüringische Landeszeitung (in German) highly recommend Jane Eyre 2011; ORF (Austria); Il Giornale di Vicenza (Italy); Die Tagespost (Germany).

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