Review - Villette at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - *Review by Richard Wilcocks* Charlotte Brontë’s *Villette*, which was recognised by knowledgeable readers in nineteenth century Brussels as a close parallel...
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The Brontë Family - “Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell”Brussel Nieuws (in Dutch) discusses Charlotte Brontë's stay in Brussels, some of the events organised by the Brussels Brontë Group, Jolien Janzing's novel about Charlotte and Emily's time in Brussels De Meester and the upcoming High Tea Birthday Party for Charlotte Brontë that will take place on April 24:
When mere children, as soon as they could read and write, Charlotte [Currer Bell] and her brother and sisters used to invent and act little plays of their own, in which the Duke of Wellington, my daughter Charlotte’s hero, was sure to come off conqueror; when a dispute would not unfrequently arise amongst them regarding the comparative merits of him, Bonaparte, Hannibal, and Caesar. I frequently thought that I had discovered signs of rising talent, which I had seldom or never seen in any of their age. (...)
Lees Brontës Brusselroman Villette uit 1853 of de historische roman van Jolien Janzing De Meester: de geheime liefde van Charlotte Brontë in het negentiende-eeuwse Brussel uit 2013. Dat al haar romans eigenlijk Brusselromans kunnen genoemd worden, heeft alles te maken met de figuur van Constantin Heger, haar leraar Frans, echtgenoot van de directrice van het meisjespensionaat in de Isabellestraat. Zelfs haar beroemdste roman Jane Eyre (1847). “Mr Rochester ís Constantin Heger,” zegt Janzing daarover. Postuum verscheen The Professor (1857), dat Brontë schreef vlak na haar terugkeer uit Brussel. Het is het verhaal van een selfmade man die verliefd wordt op een leerlinge. En Lucy Snowe in Villette is wel zeker Charlotte Brontë. Haar persoonlijkste roman speelt zich af in Brussel, Villette, de hoofdstad van het jonge koninkrijk Labassecour.A big data analysis in book reviews signals apparent biases and stereotypes about women's writings. In New Republic:
Charlotte en Emily Brontë waren in 1842 naar Brussel gekomen om er Frans te leren omdat ze thuis in Haworth (Yorkshire) een privéschool wilden oprichten. Emily keerde het tweede jaar niet meer terug naar Brussel - te veel heimwee - maar Charlotte wel. Ze gaf tot eind 1843 Engelse les in het pensionaat in ruil voor kost en inwoon. (An Devroe) (Read more) (Translation)
Stereotypes about women writers are as old as books written by women. Many female authors—Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters among them—rose to prominence in the mid-nineteenth century, a period the literary scholar Elaine Showalter calls “The Age of the Female Novelist.” (Andrew Piper and Richard Jean So)Inverse recommends the third season of the TV series Penny Dreadful:
Josh Hartnett’s understated intensity is straight out of an old cowboy film. Eva Green’s scenery chewing belongs in avant-garde theatre. Timothy Dalton’s mixture of preening, sneering, and pathos are like a brooding and bitter leading man in a Brontë novel. The fact that these threads somehow weave together into a gloriously gothic tapestry is a testament to the show’s intelligence. Penny Dreadful is unlike anything else on TV, and it’s the perfect dark delight for your spring. (Lauren Sarner)We think Emily Lackey on Bustle goes a bit too far extracting conclusions from this picture of the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival that we published yesterday:
When Entertainment Weekly released the first images from the Gilmore Girls revival, it’s stuck out to my like a sore thumb: There, on the chalkboard, were some very telling notes about the novel Jane Eyre. And the more I looked at those notes — and the more I pulled from my memory of the novel by Charlotte Brontë — I started to make a connection between Rory Gilmore and Jane Eyre that may reveal a lot about which of her exes she chooses in the revival.More overanalysis (the best one: Jane Eyre on the chalkboard is a clue indicating that this is all just a dream, and she’s really locked in an attic): Bustle, Bustle, Junkee, Zap2it, Vulture, sheknows, Refinery29, Marie Claire, Glamour, KQED Arts, Seventeen...
Listen, Amy Sherman-Palladino is a smart lady, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Gilmore Girls revival uses literary allusions to great works like Jane Eyre to carry the plot and add depth to the storyline. It’s especially easy to do for a character like Rory, who is rarely seen without a book in her hand. But making a comparison between her character and the character of a major literary work also starts to make a lot of sense when you consider just how much Rory and Jane have in common. Like this: They both just happen to be two female protagonists who are introduced to a life of wealth and privilege after growing up without it. (Read more)
Jane EyreThe Yorkshire Evening Post recommends the gardens of Oakwell Hall:
I read this book first as a teenage girl, next as a college sophomore, and then as a graduate student. First, I saw Jane as Cinderella; then I saw the heaven-and-hell nature of the fairy tale; then I saw the second-class position of women, as Jane prevails as an equal only when Rochester is blind – and has therefore been cut down to size. Again, the thrill of rereading: taking in what you need to see when you need to see it.
Oakwell Hall, BirstallThe Herald talks about the author Sara Sheridan:
Oakwell Hall was built by John Batt in 1583 and is featured in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley. Set in 100 acres of Green Flag parkland, there are six restored gardens, the majority reflecting the design styles of 1690. Featuring a walled garden, an arboretum which is stocked with trees available in the 1700s and a wildlife garden, perfect for mini-beast hunting, the gardens have won a Gold Award from Yorkshire in Bloom. While access is quite easy, with level footpaths, a ramp and a good footpath network some wheelchair users may not ble to use all the paths.
While as a teenager Sheridan fell in love with crime writers Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh (and owned a well-thumbed copy of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë as a 10-year-old), it is Swiss author Johanna Spyri's famed Heidi that can lay claim to being her most beloved childhood book. (Susan Swarbrick)Daisy Goodwin in The Times mentions Branwell Brontë and laudanum in a review of Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson.
If you could go back in time and ask one question from anyone from history, who would you want to meet and what question would you ask? (Simonetta Lein)Bustle and your literary genre according to zodiac sign. Apparently if you are a Taurus, you like classics.
As a human rights activist I would have liked to meet Martin Luther King and ask him where he got all his strength and courage to continue to fight for his cause.
As a woman I would have asked to one of my favorite writers, Emily Brontë, from where she drew her inspiration.
But you love a book with a good old-fashioned romance, windswept moors, and sumptuous costumes. There's a reason that Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice are still around so many years later (and you're going to keep rereading them until you find your own Darcy or slightly less intense Heathcliff). (Charlotte Ahlin)Oh well.
So eindringlich Gardam von Sehnsüchten und Enttäuschungen zu erzählen weiß, so nah uns die Welt Hongkongs kommt und so angestrengt die zwischen Asien und England pendelnde Betty nach dauernder Zugehörigkeit sucht – nie gibt die brillante Schriftstellerin Gardam das Heft aus der Hand, nie verliert sie sich in Sentimentalitäten, stets weiß sie zum richtigen Zeitpunkt das Tempo zu drosseln oder zu beschleunigen und dabei charmant auf ihre literarischen Vorfahren Charles Dickens, Jane Austen oder Emily Brontë anzuspielen. (Rainer Moritz) (Translation)Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) discusses the work of the writer Kate Zambreno:
I Jean Rhys roman ”Sargassohavet” (som skrevs under flera årtionden, då världen trodde att hon var död) ges liv och historia åt den galna kvinnan på vinden i Charlotte Brontës klassiker ”Jane Eyre”, och Kate Zambreno började långsamt göra detsamma. (Matilda Gustavsson) (Translation)24 Heures (Switzerland) interviews the writer Guillaume Musso:
Qu’en est-il de cette légende? (Cécile Lecoultre)Yozone (France) highlights a Wuthering Heights quote ( "heaven did not seem to be my home" ...) in the 2012 comic Ghost: In the Smoke and Din (written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, art by Phil Noto):
Oh, il n’y a pas eu que cet accident. J’étais un gros consommateur de BD mais, à 11 ans, lors d’une panne d’électricité, je me suis replié sur les deux livres à disposition, les Mémoires du général de Gaulle et Les Hauts de Hurlevent. Ma mère, bibliothécaire, m’a aussi initié sans me forcer aux classiques. (Translation)