Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Irish Independent reminds their readers of the upcoming Charlotte Brontë 200th anniversary from an Irish perspective:
Charlotte was of course half-Irish herself. Her father Patrick was a native of Co Down, and most famously an indulgent parent, when it came to encouraging the literary output of his children. But he was also a complex man of the cloth, and as a Church of England minister, he seemed ever anxious to distance himself from his poverty stricken childhood. He even changed the family name of Prunty - which can be traced back to the Irish clan O'Pronntaigh - to the more exotic sounding Brontë hoping it would smooth his pathway through English life.
And perhaps taking a cue from her father, Charlotte for most of her adult years, tended to ignore or downplay any legacy of Irishness which might influence her thinking or writing. She would remain determined that her English Protestantism, would always stay a step above, what she perceived to be the rabid Catholicism of the Irish peasantry. (...)
Despite her heartbreak, Charlotte would initially turn down a proposal of marriage from Mr Nicholls, the young Irish curate working with her father in the parish. As is made clear in correspondence she considered him dull and tedious. However, she later changed her mind, and decided she would marry him after all. Patrick Brontë's old snobbery resurrected itself once more and he refused to give her away at the wedding. He felt his daughter - who at this stage had achieved literary fame - could do better for herself than striking out with a relatively impoverished Church of England curate.
The couple spent their honeymoon in Ireland, with her new husband showing her around Dublin, including Trinity College, where he had been a student. They then travelled to Banagher, Co Offaly, to meet members of his family, continuing on to Kilkee, Tralee and Killarney. Charlotte admitted she was enthralled when she saw the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, but some old prejudices remained.
"I heard a great deal about Irish negligence,'' she wrote in one of her letters back home.
"I own that until I came to Kilkee I saw little of it. Here at our inn - the splendidly designated West End Hotel - there is a good deal to carp at - if we were in a carping humour - but we laugh instead of grumbling - for outdoors there is so much to compensate for any indoor shortcomings.'' (...)
Charlotte Brontë's life and work is a reminder of the ever overlapping world of language both the British and the Irish have come to share.
Of course we can't really claim her as one of our own. But there is assuredly a Celtic strain in her novels she could never really acknowledge.
And the Irish blood in her veins was surely part of those many mysterious forces which made her a writer of genius. (Gerard O'Regan)
We read in the Telegraph & Argus:
The BBC will celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday with a special broadcast of its Book Club show.
The BBC World Book Club, due to be recorded in London on April 14, will focus on Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre.
Guests will include novelist Tracy Chevalier, a leading light in this year’s bicentenary celebrations, and Charlotte’s biographer Claire Harman. (...)
Keighley people are being invited to the Radio Theatre at New Broadcasting House in London to pose questions to Tracy and Claire during the 12.30pm recording the radio programme.
Anyone interested should e-mail The programme is part of the BBC World Service. (David Knights)
Neue Westfälische (Germany) talks with several local people from Haworth about Brontë200:
Nebel liegt wie eine feuchte Tüllgardine über dem Hochmoor der Grafschaft Yorkshire. Auf den von kunstvoll gefügten Trockensteinmauern gerahmten Wiesen grasen Schafe. Heidekraut und Farne dominieren die Flora. Eines der Felder wird begrenzt von hochkant gestellten Steinplatten. Sie sehen aus wie Grabsteine.
Wir wandern mit Chris Upton, Pfarrer der Baptistengemeinde von Haworth und in seiner Freizeit auch schon mal Fremdenführer im Brontë Country. Der sympathische Mittvierziger weiß um die Bedeutung der Brontë-Schwestern: „In dieser Umgebung sind Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts Klassiker der Weltliteratur entstanden, hier haben die Brontës ihre Inspiration gefunden." So zum Beispiel für die Romane „Jane Eyre" (Charlotte) oder „Wuthering Heights" (Emily), auf deutsch unter dem Titel „Sturmhöhe" erschienen und mehrfach in Starbesetzung verfilmt. Darin geht es um tragische Liebe und weibliche Tugendhaftigkeit, aber auch um Verarmung und soziale Abhängigkeit. Kritiker sprechen von Romanen mit „dramatischer Gefühlsverdichtung". (Read more) (Jürgen Juchtmann) (Translation)
Let's now begin the section of reviews of Brontë-related books or TV. Glamour Magazine lists several of them:
Finally, Yorkshire novelist Charlotte Brontë, was born 200 years ago; an anniversary that sees a slew of new books inspired by her masterpiece, Jane Eyre. Camp and clever, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye is also about a bullied governess called Jane - but this one is also a serial killer.
Reader, I Married Him, meanwhile, is a short story anthology, with 21 writers using Jane Eyre's immortal line as a creative springboard. Edited by Tracy Chevalier who wrote Girl With A Pearl Earring, it includes tales from Lionel Schriver and Room author Emma Donoghue. Finally, Catherine Lowell's The Madwoman Upstairs is a love story-cum-mystery novel about a fictional descendent of the Brontë family.
Cheers, everyone! (Kerry Potter)
Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele is reviewed in New York Daily News:
I was hooked by “Jane Steele” when I first heard the premise: a retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre,” with the heroine as a serial killer.
Beyond that, I wasn’t sure how the book would actually play out. The end result? A beautifully written, thoroughly engaging and brilliantly satirical novel. (...)
Jane Steele is an extraordinary, likeable narrator, and Faye’s other characters are just as memorable. The sharp and tragic Mr. Thornfield gives Brontë’s Mr. Rochester a run for his money.
This book, whether you’re trying to puzzle out the mysteries or just lapping up Faye’s brilliant humor, is an excellent homage to Brontë and simply a treasure on its own. (Allison Chopin)
The recent BBC documentary The Brontës at the BBC is reviewed in The National (Scotland):
This programme showcased clips of all the Brontë adaptations the BBC have attempted over the years and, oh, there have been plenty! But, as a TV critic and Brontë lover, let me tell you that the only adaptation which is worthy was not from the BBC, but an ITV production of Jane Eyre in 1997, staring the magnificent Ciarán Hinds as Mr Rochester. After watching it you will surely agree no one else should ever play him. His performance even managed to dislodge the Rochester image which Charlotte Brontë had created on the page – but I think she’d have approved of him.
So ITV might have given us the best Brontë film, but the BBC has still made some brave attempts and they’re keen to remind us of them here. A good effort, BBC, but ITV still nabbed the best one. Nonetheless, the show was fascinating in letting us see the myriad ways in which a single character can be interpreted by a hundred different imaginations. As with all good books programmes, this made me want to read all the Brontë novels again. Except Agnes Grey – no one bothers with that one! (Julie McDowall).
We beg to (fiercely) differ in both Ciarán Hinds's Rochester and Agnes Grey.

The collection of short stories Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier is reviewed by The Times:
Tracy Chevalier has assembled a starry line-up of writers, all of whom have contributed stories inspired by that immortal tale of the plain little governess and her passion for a man with a mad wife in the attic. In her engaging foreword, Chevalier describes Jane Eyre as “the embodiment of the underdog who ultimately triumphs”. (Kate Saunders)
The Washington Post interviews Tracy Chevalier:
Q: Why do you think people are so taken with “Jane Eyre?” (Carole Burns)
A: Jane Eyre is an underdog, and underneath it all, we all think we’re underdogs. If you ask people if they were popular in high school, everyone says they were on the fringe. Even the cheerleaders say that. Jane Eyre has nothing — she’s an orphan, she’s unloved — yet somehow out of that very unpromising beginning, she manages to hold onto that core of being, and she triumphs in the end. Everyone can relate to that.
Q: Why does the line “Reader, I Married Him” resonate so strongly?
A: When Jane says, “Reader, I married him,” it’s almost like we’re all saying, “Reader, we married him,” or “Reader, we got her to marry him.” It draws us in and makes us a part of the story — like we’re included in the decision. And that’s incredibly seductive and appealing. In the 1840s, there were not many books in which the reader was addressed directly. I think Charlotte Brontë was the first woman to do that, certainly in a major book, and I liken it to breaking through the fourth wall in the theater. It’s always a surprise, and I think people love that.
Nick Holland's In Search of Anne Brontë is presented in Barnsley Chronicle:
In Search of Anne Brontë’ opens her up her private life and shows the true nature of her relationship with her sister Charlotte.
Nick, 44, of Sheffield Road, Birdwell, said:
“I’ve always loved the Brontë sisters since I went to university. I’ve read all their books several times and became fascinated by their lives - particularly Anne. She is the youngest sister and the one who is least known.
“There were not enough books about Anne and rather than waiting for one to come out, I decided to write one myself.” (Lynsey Bradford)
The Torch reviews The Eyre Affair production at Valparaiso University:
Director Austin Tichenor brings this novel to life in his very own stage adaptation. Literary detective Thursday Next is on a mission to find a literary kidnapper to stop them from committing homicides in various novels to prevent history from changing drastically.
While a few scenes are a direct adaptation from the novel, the majority of them have been remastered by Tichenor, creating a unique experience for Valpo’s Department of Theatre. Many of the characters that will be presented are popular literary figures people will be familiar with.
Jane Eyre, played by Natalia Terzic, is one of the main characters who gets kidnapped from her novel, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. Terzic will additionally play eight other minor characters throughout the performance, a common theme for each actor in the show. (Emily Doherty)
Biobiochile (Chile) reviews the screening of the National Theatre's production of Jane Eyre:
La obra es esencialmente feminista y está plena de detalles inteligentes, para adaptar a la modernidad una obra que a través de su bien enfocada puesta en escena, refleja la idea de la autora de desarrollar una trama en forma folletinesca o novela por entregas, en que a la protagonista, Jane Eyre, le van sucediendo muchas cosas, va pasando de un período a otro, de una situación a otra, de una familia a otra, casi siempre guíada por un destino terrible, pero que al fin para ella, es llegar al fin a lo ideal. Madeleine Worrall, encarna en forma brillante a Jane Eyre y se trasforma, por la magia de su interpretación, en “una luchadora admirable; una mujer inteligente, incontenible y honesta”. (Johnny Teperman) (Translation)
Now miscellaneous news. The Gladstone Observer (Australia) visits the North of England:
The Brontë sisters moved to Haworth in 1820, a small village surrounded by dramatic moorland. Now you can wander the cobbled streets and follow in their footsteps, visiting familiar sites like the Old Apothecary and Black Bull pub.
At the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the preserved rooms of the Brontë family home are where you'll discover some of Charlotte's personal possessions, including her dresses and the table where she sat and wrote her famous novel Jane Eyre. (Jude Gadd)
Bustle on dysfunctional couples:
Mr. Rochester and Antoinette from Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
First of all, being married to a madwoman in an attic is not healthy, but in this unofficial prequel to Jane Eyre, matters are made worse when we learn that Bertha Rochester is actually a woman named Antoinette, a Creole heiress from Jamaica locked in an arranged marriage with an unnamed Englishman (ahem — Mr. Rochester). As the book progresses, we watch as she is renamed, stripped of her agency, gaslighted, and lied to by an unfeeling man who eventually casts her aside to pursue a certain governess. Reader, I wish she divorced him. (...)
Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Neither of these characters are very nice people, which makes their toxic relationship that much more fun to read. These childhood sweethearts grew up obsessed with each other — only to have Cathy decide that marrying the foundling would be beneath her. This decision leads to a lot of longing, jealousy, and hatred. All of this would have been okay were it not for the fact that the pair in question dragged a whole mess of people into the conflict. Are they embroiled in some sort of epic, insane love that defies description and strains against society? Perhaps. But can you imagine how awful that must be? Not only for the people in that love, but for literally everyone around them? (Catherine Kovach)
The Patriot Ledger reviews a local production of The Sound of Music:
First of all, there’s that score blessed by Richard Rodgers’ melodies that go round in your head and Oscar Hammerstein II’s poetic lyrics. Next is the story old as time (think “Jane Eyre” without the mad woman in the attic), about the penniless Nanny, Maria, who falls in love with the older, wiser man of the house. (Iris Fanger)
A Heathcliff in Namibia? In The Economist (Namibia):
The lightning on that side is as vivid as anything produced in the pages of National Geographic and very, very dramatic. Perhaps, somewhere in some patch of veld, some lovelorn woman is crying out for Heathcliff. (Pierre Maré)
In Estonia, Eesti Päevaleht's Saturday edition comes with an edition of Wuthering Heights:
Brontë on kirjutanud "Vihurimäe" meistriteoseks, mida loetakse ka kakssada aastat pärast ilmumist ja mille järgi vändatakse üha uusi filme. Samuti armastavad seda teksti teatrilavad nii Eestis kui välismaal. Tegelaste suhteid ja käitumist võib analüüsida kõikvõimalike uute teooriate järgi ja jõuda iga kord erineva tulemuseni. Praegused noored on "Vihurimäe" avastanud seoses ülipopulaarse "Videviku" sarjaga, mille kangelanna Bella lemmikraamatuks see oli. (Picture: Ilmar Saabas)
Il Post (Italy) mentions Charlotte Brontë as a fan fiction pioneer:
After di Anna Todd, altro bestseller mondiale nato dai fan, si ispira ai componenti dei One Direction. Anche qui, però, niente di nuovo: da piccoli Charlotte Brontë e le sue sorelle si divertivano a scrivere le avventure di Arthur Wellesley, primo Duca di Wellington, e dei suoi due bambini, tutti personaggi che esistevano quanto i One Direction. (Giacomo Papi) (Translation)
Osnabrücker Zeitung and Badische Zeitung (Germany) review the film Miss You Already:
Die durch „Twilight – Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen“ international bekannte US-amerikanische Regisseurin Catherine Hardwicke hat ebenso ein Händchen für kleine Details von bunt bemoosten Steinen wie auch für Emily Brontës dramatische Landschaften der „Wuthering Heights“ in Yorkshire. Die enorme Spielfreunde der nicht-britischen Hauptdarstellerinnen ist ihr stärkstes Pfund!" (Wolfgang Mundt)(Translation)
Es ist Freundschaft seit Kindertagen, von dem Moment an, als die Amerikanerin Jess (Drew Barrymore) in einer Londoner Schulklasse auf die Engländerin Millie (Toni Collette) traf. Unzertrennlich haben sie die erste Liebe und den ersten Rausch erlebt, gesungen und getanzt, für Emily Brontës "Sturmhöhe" geschwärmt und von den schottischen Mooren geträumt, geheiratet und Kinder bekommen oder mit dem unerfüllten Kinderwunsch gerungen. Unvorstellbar, dass das nicht immer so weiterginge. (Translation)
ABC (Spain) interviews the writer Marina Sanmartín:
Busco en los libros de los otros esas mismas ideas, mis obsesiones de turno. Mientras trabajaba en el «Informe» leí a Joyce Carol Oates («Hermana mía, mi amor») y volví a «Grandes Esperanzas» y «Cumbres borrascosas». Leer y escribir es diseccionar y asistir como espectador a una autopsia. Por eso me gusta tanto. Soy muy morbosa. (Inés Martín Rodríguez) (Translation)
La Diaria (Uruguay) reviews the film Remake, Remix, RipOff:
Uno de los momentos más fascinantes es la ensalada de fotogramas rescatados de un montón de films, con el mismo personaje haciendo la misma película (especialmente Cumbres borrascosas) pero en diferentes escenarios o con diferentes subtramas. (Agustín Acevedo Kanopa) (Translation)
Cheek Magazine and Hétéroclite (France) interview Céline Sciamma, the screenwriter of the André Téchiné film Quant on a 17 ans:
D’après le dossier de presse du film, il était important pour André Téchiné que le personnage de Thomas soit métis. Dans quelle mesure ta propre volonté de montrer plus de diversité au cinéma a-t-elle influé sur lui? (Faustine Kopiejwski )
Il faudrait le lui demander, car c’est quelque chose dont on n’a pas vraiment parlé. C’est lui qui est arrivé avec ce désir de mettre en scène un personnage métis, il tenait cette envie des Hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë et du personnage de Heathcliff, qui est lui-même métis. (Translation)
Dans votre précédent film, Bande de filles, les héroïnes étaient des adolescentes noires. Dans Quand on a dix-sept ans, l’un des deux personnages principaux, Tom, est un jeune homme métisse. André Téchiné explique que c’était important pour lui. L’était-ce aussi pour vous et pourquoi ? (Romain Vallet)
Ce qui était important pour lui était important pour moi. Il s’agissait, là aussi, de faire bouger les représentations, et de montrer que ce paysan qui perpétue une forme d’agriculture ancestrale dans des montagnes françaises reculées, ce pouvait très bien être un métis. Ce personnage est aussi une évocation de Heathcliff dans Les Hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë : lui aussi est métisse et adopté. (Translation)
Culturapoing (France) insists on the idea:
A travers Tom, inspiré du personnage d’Heatcliff, c’est à nouveau Emily Brontë qui est convoquée avec « Les Hauts de Hurlevent ». (William Lurson) (Translation)
The Debrief gives some tips for your visit to Haworth; The Times visits Calderdale and mentions Wuthering Heights. Adventures in Keeping House posts about Jane Eyre 2006.


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