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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One of the classic family outings in Yorkshire is the Railway Children Walk, a 2 1/2 mile stroll beginning in the valley which carries the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway between Haworth and Oxenhope.The Sunday Times reviews the Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre performances:
The line was famously used as location in the 1970 film of E. Nesbitt’s classic novel. For those who would like a longer walk, this route doubles the length to take in rolling fields to the west of Oxenhope and a taste of the so-called Brontë Moors around Penistone Hill on the west side of Haworth. Be sure to make the minor detour to soak in the atmsophere of Oxenhope Station when a train is arriving or leaving. It is best to do the walk at weekends or on Bank Holidays, when there are numerous trains on the line. The walk passes the iconic Brontë Parsonage. Look out for goldfinches in the fields and linnets on Penistone Hill.
The latest addition to Northern Ballet’s ample stock of works based on literary classics, Cathy Marston’s new touring production of Jane Eyre, opened at Doncaster’s striking Cast theatre. In a handsomely polished staging (the designer being Patrick Kinmonth), Marston’s narrative makes a compellingly fluent sweep. For the company’s orchestra, Philip Feeny’s atmospheric score combines his own music with arrangements of Schubert and both Mendelssohns (Felix and Fanny). (David Dougill)Bidisha writes in the British Library's Discovering Literature: 20th century section about Wide Sargasso Sea:
Wide Sargasso Sea is both a response and a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, set in the West Indies and imagining the lives of Bertha Mason and her family. Bidisha describes how Jean Rhys’s novel portrays the racial and sexual exploitation at the heart of western civilisation and literature.The Hamilton Spectator highlights two recent Brontë-inspired novels:
Wide Sargasso Sea is a visceral response to Charlotte Brontë’s treatment of Mr Rochester’s ‘mad’ first wife, Bertha, in her classic Victorian novel Jane Eyre. Jean Rhys reveals the horrifying reality that might lie behind a man’s claim that a woman is mad, and humanises Brontë’s grotesque invention, the now-archetypal and heavily symbolic ‘madwoman in the attic’. The novel is a vindicating howl of rage and injustice, and a skin-flaying revelation of personal sadism.
Wide Sargasso Sea is also a valuable historical work, written in the 1960s but set in the early 1800s, which explores Victorian paternalism, sexualised racism and the complex social and political history of the West Indies. Rhys vividly imagines Rochester’s time there when he met Bertha, who is a Creole – a naturalised West Indian of European descent. The Emancipation Act freeing slaves but compensating slave-owners for their ‘loss’ has been passed, England and France are the dominating and competing colonisers while Spanish colonial exploration is a past influence, and many formerly profitable estates are in decline because of the absence of exploited labour and a slump in the sugar market. (Read more)
Stone Field, by Christy LenziChannel 3000 (WISC Wisconsin) publishes an obituary of Professor, writer and actress Sybil Robinson (1925-2016):
This Young Adult historical romance was inspired by "Wuthering Heights" and begins when a young, beautiful woman named Catrina finds a handsome, tortured man making unusual patterns in her family's sorghum crop. He's out of his mind — and also completely naked. Plus, he has no memory of who he is or what he did before arriving in Stone Field, an outlying community on the brink of civil war. Their passion echoes that of Catherine and Heathcliff, of course, as do the insurmountable obstacles that stand in their way.
The Lost Child, by Caryl Phillips
Another novel inspired by "Wuthering Heights," this one focuses on Heathcliff and seeks to tell the story of exactly why this literary lost boy became who he was. If ever there was a story that needed to be told, it's this one, and Phillips does so respectfully and tenderly in her response to Bronte's original work. Heathcliff's mother, Monica Johnson, was rejected by her parents after falling in love with an outsider. Now she must raise her sons against all odds in the wild moors of England's north. It's really no wonder Heathcliff was so tormented and gloomy. (Marissa Stapley)
She proved herself to be a capable actress, appearing on stages in South Africa, America, and also India, where she was invited by the Indo-American Society to teach and perform. Through the decades, Sybil wrote and performed one-woman shows on notable women in literature and of our times, including the Brontë sisters, Margaret Sanger, and Fanny Kemble, culminating in a television dramatization of “The Brontës” in 1977.More details of this production can be found in this 1978 Press-Republican newspaper:
On Saturday at 9 p.m., WCFE, Channel 57, presents "The Brontës," a one-hour special on Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.The Daily Mail interviews the Classics scholar Mary Beard:
This special, starring actress Sybil Robinson, brings together a collection of poetry, prose and letters written by three remarkable women who left an indelible mark on English literature.
The special readings take place in a setting reminiscent of Haworth Parsonage, the Yorkshire parish house where the Brontës grew up and spent nearly all their adult years. The setting encompasses not only the intricate interior of the parsonage, but reflects the image of the moors which pervaded the entire scene.
"The intimacy of the TV camera has been a superb addition to this program, whcihc is not a performance on the grand scale but rather an intimate, personal and internal kind of communication on the lifes of the three women as told through their writings," says Robinson.
A member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Theatre Drama faculty, Robinson has had a life-long interest in the Brontës. Since 1970, she has done extensive research on the sisters.
I was the kind of child who loved encyclopedias. I remember having the Junior Pears Encyclopedia. That, plus the Guinness Book Of Records, would amuse me for hours.Judy Berman on cool, bad and good girls in modern books as published in The Guardian:
The first grown-up novel I loved was Jane Eyre. I decided it was so important that I would learn it off by heart, but I only managed three pages. (Roz Lewis)
Classic literature often pairs bad girls with good girls – who are not always kindhearted, but do adhere to society’s rules for women. The bad girl tends to serve a dual function in these stories, as a cautionary tale and an obstacle the good girl must clear to obtain the object of her affection. Mad Bertha’s fiery suicide frees up Rochester to marry Jane Eyre. (...)Aysha Taryam makes an interesting remark in the Gulf Today (UAE):
Literature’s bad girls have – or seize – the agency to make choices. That, more than anything else, is what distinguishes them from good girls. Whereas Lacey and Medea and Jane Eyre’s Bertha create their own alternatives when they’re backed into a corner, good girls with plenty of options tend to move in whatever direction they’re pushed.
As a young student enthusiastic about literature my school’s curriculum although included great works, it was noticeable to my young mind even then that they were mostly by male authors, poets, and philosophers. Being a young Arab girl the only rare glimpses of female works came in the form of novels by the Brontë sisters and other Western greats, and while I drank every drop of their ink I was mostly left unsatiated and ever yearning for a familiar female voice. For all the genius of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights neither their authors nor their protagonists shared much in common with this young Arab girl, although the cultural restrictions of England’s 1800s might have slightly resembled some of the aspects we as women lived through at the time, neither the political backdrop of my surroundings nor the struggles of my region were reflected in their foreign works, these women had never even felt that distinct burning that only the Arab sun can leave on one’s skin.Triblive lists some nightmare teachers:
Henry Brocklehurst, the tight-fisted, self-righteous, hypocritical clergyman runs the charity school, Lowood, where Jane Eyre is sent as a 9-year-old orphan. In the 1943 black-and-white movie of “Jane Eyre,” Jane (Peggy Ann Garner) and her friend Helen (Elizabeth Taylor) suffered through cold rooms, verbal abuse, bad meals, humiliation and a typhus epidemic. (Alice T. Carter)RadioTimes describes Beethoven in a curious way:
Beethoven has long been regarded as a great romantic figure of the 19th century. The Heathcliff of the treble clef, he glares angrily out of portraits. “He’s become a sort of a Sturm und Drang statue, fossilised in the form of that bust on Schroeder’s little piano in Peanuts. But it’s time to look at him differently, and many experts now argue the romantic hero thing was overblown. (Michael Hodges)Berliner Zeitung reviews the German translation of M-Train by Patti Smith:
Als „The Killing“ nach 38 Folgen zu Ende ist, spürt Patti Smith eine Traurigkeit, die sie so noch nicht bei sich kannte. „Was sollen wir tun mit denen, die sich per Fernbedienung holen oder verwerfen lassen, die wir genauso lieben wie einen Dichter aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, einen verehrten Fremden oder eine Figur aus der Feder von Emily Brontë?“ Alles geht verloren, irgendwann. (Frank Junghänel) (Translation)Columbia Tribune recommends O Crime do Padre Amaro by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz:
I hope students and residents of Missouri have the time and interest to read the novel, which is a wonderful summer read. It is spectacularly rich, comparable to the works of Dickens, the Brontës, Zola or Tolstoy, providing inroads to everyday life and ethical sensibilities of a time in dialogue with today. (Michael Ugarte)El escritor, sus fantasmas, los libros y las noches (in Spanish) posts about Wuthering Heights; Books and Things vlogs about the same novel; Zezee with Books and Oddly Ally post about Jane Eyre; Perros en la Playa (in Spanish) has an entry on the Brontës. Toglietemi tutto, ma non i miei libri (in Italian) reviews Shirley. AnneBrontë.org commemorates the 167th anniversary of Anne Brontë's death. Les Soeurs Brontë posts a selection of beautiful Wuthering Heights illustrations by Rovina Cai.