Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 10:16 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
The Telegraph and Argus reports an unexpected way of celebrating the Brontë bicentenaries.
Special flat caps are being produced to mark the 200th anniversary of Charlotte's birth this year, and there will also be caps for her siblings, Emily, Anne and Branwell.
They have been created by designer-to-the-stars Rhian Kempadoo-Millar, who counts actor and musician Idris Elba among her celebrity customers.
The Yorkshire-made hats, being launched on April 23, will be sold exclusively through Haworth gift shop Daisy Days.
Shop owner Jill Ross said: "We love stocking locally-produced, quirky brands and when we found out about Rhian's flat caps we knew they would go down well with our customers.
"When we met with her and got talking, the idea of doing an exclusive Brontë-themed range tied into the bicentenary celebrations came up and we all got very excited!
"We input into the designs by giving Rhian an insight into the personalities of the four Bronte siblings and then let her work her magic.
"The end result is amazing and we can't wait to start selling them.
"We're sure they are going to be hugely popular with locals, the many tourists we attract and customers from across the UK.
"They will also make a great addition to our themed window display for this year's Haworth 1940s Weekend."
Rhian will attend a launch-day event at the shop and give a short talk at 11am.
"Haworth is an area I have always been very fond of but knew little about," she said.
"When I arrived on the cobbled Main Street and saw the shop, I knew straight away that it was going to be the perfect fit!
"The Charlotte Brontë hat, like its namesake, is chic and understated with a lilac check tweed and a pheasant pin detail.
"As the author of Wuthering Heights, we wanted the Emily Brontë hat to be more eccentric and romantic so went for a feminine pink tweed with a bow detail.
"The Anne Brontë hat has been designed as a unisex baker-boy cap in earthy greens and browns to reflect the bleak moors in which the siblings lived.
"And the Branwell Brontë hat is a more masculine wool khaki baker-boy cap.
"They look fantastic and the fact they will only be sold in Haworth gives them an even more authentic and local feel." (Alistair Shand)
Another article in The Telegraph and Argus discusses vandalism at Top Withins and warning signs that don't do much for the place either.
Prominent safety signs erected next to one of Brontë Country's most scenic locations have been heavily criticised.
The three brightly-coloured signs were put up by Yorkshire Water at the Top Withens ruins, which suffer from exposure to the elements and vandalism.
But Worth Valley ward councillor Glen Miller (Con) said the signs, which feature the company's logo, were out of keeping. [...]
The signs tell people not to climb on the ruins, not to remove stone from the property and to supervise children.
Councillor Russell Brown (Worth Valley, Con) said there was clear damage to the ruined farmhouse caused by visitors.
"Vandalism would be a fair description, with stone being pulled out of walls, top stones overturned and broken and evidence of stonework being damaged by having other stones thrown at them.
"Clearly, the building is deteriorating due to the harsh climate, but this wanton damage being inflicted on it is reducing the time when the building will need some renovation or be closed to the public due to stability issues.
"I personally don’t like the signs, but if they help reduce damage caused or prevent visitors being hurt by collapsing stones, then they should stay."
Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman Councillor John Huxley added: "This is unfortunate in an area of outstanding natural beauty, as signs like these stick out like a sore thumb.
"I understand there is probably a reason for them, but it's hard to find the right balance. For the signs to work people have to notice them, and that won't happen if they blend too well into the background."
A Yorkshire Water spokesman said: "This is a really popular spot, which we get a lot of visitors to from around the world due to its links with the Brontë sisters.
"We've recently put these small signs up to warn adults and children not to sit or play on the ruins of the farmhouse as the structure is not safe and we don't want people to accidentally hurt themselves.
"We fully recognise the building is an iconic symbol of the past and are committed to preserving it.
"We were careful to ensure the signs were situated far enough away from the building to not interfere with photographs but close enough to ensure they are clearly visible, as they are there for people's safety."
A spokesman for the Brontë Society declined to comment. (Miran Rahman)
Bedford Today suggests a trip to Haworth.
Strolling along Haworth’s main street, I stop every few metres for a photograph of the quaint stone shopfronts and postcard-worthy views over the Yorkshire moors. I find it hard to imagine the village was once a crowded industrial town and a cesspool of death and disease during the early 19th century period, when English literature’s great Brontë sisters lived here. At that time, the average age of death was 24.
The girls’ father, Patrick, played a pivotal role in helping clean up the village’s water supply, the main cause of high infant mortality rates, disease and other deaths. But his own children failed to benefit, as they passed away before he was buried in 1861.
His valiant efforts are documented at the Brontë Parsonage, the Brontë’s former family home which is now a museum. I visit to find out more about the tragedy-tinged lives of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell.
The Parsonage illustrates a picture of three women who resisted social convention and expectation to realise their unbridled ambitions. It is 200 years since Charlotte was born, and a special exhibition curated by author Tracy Chevalier aims to further explore that contrast between her constrained life and furious determination.
Some of Charlotte’s books and toys are on display, along with examples of her writing and coded letters which scholars believe were attempts by the sisters to disguise their - often outrageous for the times - work. (Nicholas McAvaney)
Jane Eyre has been fittingly chosen by The Guardian as this month's Reading Group book.
Following our Reading Group vote, I have to admit some relief in announcing that Jane Eyre has trounced Don Quixote. I am keen to try a tilt at Cervantes one day – but, for now, a familiar Victorian classic feels like an easier bet than a strange 17th-century doorstopper.
Although, “easy” is probably not the best word to use in relation to Charlotte Brontë’s awkward, fiery novel. It’s a book that has always been divisive. While a large majority spoke up for Jane Eyre, others dismissed it with adjectives including “sleep inducing” and even “vintage chick lit”.
I found that second remark amusing at first – yet the more I thought about it, the more I worried about the suggestion that a book for women might somehow be less worthwhile. The more I wondered about how much contemporary “chick lit” isn’t given the attention it deserves, and the more it felt like the kind of criticism Brontë had to endure in her own lifetime. (Sam Jordison) (Read more)
The novel is also Slate Plus's novel of the month and so there's a new essay about appearances on Jane Eyre:
Jane Eyre, which crackles with fantasy elements like a pond with ice, deepens its quality of myth or dream by making physical appearances predictive. But what do they predict? There is plain Jane and craggy Rochester; glamorous Blanche Ingram and statuesque St. John Rivers. Charlotte Brontë’s focus on looks is more than spare fabric borrowed from the fairytale genre. It also reflects Victorian England’s preoccupation with the pseudosciences of phrenology and physiognomy. By 1847, the year Jane Eyre came out, many respectable Londoners had embraced the idea that one’s inner traits were legible in the slope of one’s nose or the curve of one’s brow. (Read more) (Katy Waldman)
Vox lists Wide Sargasso Sea among other examples of fan fiction.
5) Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea is a postcolonialist prequel to and critique of Jane Eyre. Written from the point of view of Mr. Rochester’s first wife — called Bertha in Jane Eyre and Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea — the book turns Charlotte Brontë’s gothic madwoman in the attic into a fully realized tragic heroine.
Where Jane Eyre’s Bertha is "savage," "devilish," and unspeaking, Antoinette is intelligent and perceptive, driven slowly to madness both by her husband’s cruelty and by a society that considers her to be her husband’s property. While the book can stand on its own, it depends on its intertextual relationship to its source material to reach its full emotional resonance. (Constance Grady)
Madame Noire interviews beauty blogger Tia Williams:
What did you grow up reading?
I was always a huge fan of sexy, glitzy, juicy, over-the-top women’s fiction – anything written by Judith Krantz or Jackie Collins. But I was also crazy-obsessed with early 20th century fiction, anything by Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy Parker, or Langston Hughes. And Wuthering Heights lit my world on fire. For better or worse, I’m always searching for my Heathcliff. (Kweli Wright)
Sarah Powell interview Caitlin Moran in The Huffington Post.
Here's what happened when a slightly hungover Caitlin chatted to me about Wuthering Heights, getting tipsy on Chatty Man and cheese. [...]
Who would you do on Stars in their EyesWhat sexually?
No! There's only Matthew. I'm a broadchurch! I'd do a Kate Bush. My Wuthering Heights... the word is piercing.
The Brussels Brontë Blog has a post on why you should be reading Charlotte Brontë. Genre-Bending reviews Lindsay's Faye's Jane Steele.

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