Saturday, August 27, 2016

More news on the Brontë stones initiative in The Telegraph & Argus:
Plans to install a commemorative stone celebrating the life of Charlotte Brontë at her Thornton birthplace have been submitted to Bradford Council.
The stone will mark the bicentenary of the birth of the older of the literary Brontë sisters, and is part of a wider project to create memorials to younger sisters Emily and Anne, as well as their brother Branwell.
The Brontë Stones project has been developed by the Bradford Literature Festival, and this application has been submitted by writer Michael Stewart.
The first stone will be installed on the outside of the Brontë birthplace, 72 - 74 Market Street in Thornton.
The project is being supported by both Bradford Council and the Arts Council, and will involve high profile writers composing words for the four stones - which will eventually create a trail from Thornton to Haworth.
The planning application, submitted this week, says: “The stones will be inscribed with specially commissioned writing from some of the most prominent writers in the world.
“This will generate a lot of positive publicity for Bradford and visitors.” (...)
A decision on the application is expected in October. (Chris Young)
The Guardian's Book Podcast includes a couple of readings of the collection Reader, I Married Him:
Tracy Chevalier and Esther Freud read stories inspired by Brontë’s most famous line: ‘Reader, I married him’
There are few more celebrated lines in literature than Jane Eyre’s: “Reader, I married him.” So, in celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of its author, Charlotte Brontë, novelist Tracy Chevalier commissioned contemporary writers to create their own stories in response to it. Twenty-one agreed, among them Esther Freud, who joined Tracy for a Guardian Live event at the Brighton festival.
They read their own contributions to the collection and explore why Brontë and her most celebrated work still means so much to so many.
NYC's City Guide anticipates the upcoming Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York (September 9-January 2):
One of the strongest female characters in classic literature is undoubtedly Jane Eyre, the headstrong orphan who makes a life for herself as a governess. But Jane’s description of herself as “a free human being with an independent will” can just as easily apply to the writer behind her words: Charlotte Brontë. Now, visitors to the Morgan Library and Museum have the chance to learn more about the famed author through the new exhibition Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will. (...)
The exhibition will be a collaboration with the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England, the world’s foremost Brontë museum located on the site of the family’s childhood home. On display will be a variety of artifacts from Brontë’s life and work, including her portable writing desk, a dress, personal letters, and her earliest surviving miniature manuscript. The centerpiece, however, will be a portion of Jane Eyre’s original manuscript, which is on loan from the British Museum and will appear here for the first time in the US.
Burnley Express anticipates another, more modest event. During the upcoming Heritage Open Days, Gawthorpe Hall will open its doors for free:
Visitors to the annual Heritage Open Day at Gawthorpe Hall will get a behind the scenes look at what life was like at the “Downton of the North”. (...)
The Literary Lions exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth will be available for visitors to enjoy for free. The display showcases the effect that Charlotte’s friendships, especially with Elizabeth Gaskell, and her visits to Gawthorpe Hall staying with the Kay-Shuttleworth family, had on her literary legacy. Some of the objects featured in the exhibition have been loaned from the Brontë Parsonage Museum. These include items belonging to Charlotte Brontë. An original letter written by Charlotte to Janet Kay-Shuttleworth, after her first stay at Gawthorpe Hall, will also be on display. This has rarely been on public display previously. (Dominic Collis)
This story about North Korean defectors in The Guardian is fascinating in itself, but it also contains a passing reference to a censored Jane Eyre in an Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (change religion for ideology) way:
In such a closed culture, even the most banal items can seem revolutionary. One prominent defector told me how watching Titanic made her realise the restrictive nature of North Korea and the real meaning of love. Another described being transfixed by Chinese television commercials for products she had never seen before, such as bottled water. A third man told me how he smuggled in DVDs of Desperate Housewives – its glossy view of life in the US runs counter to the official line. A fourth was fascinated by Jane Eyre, so different from the censored version shorn of any sexual frisson or societal critiques. (Ian Birrell)
The Guardian interviews the writer Carol Birch:
As a child and teenager, Birch was always “scribbling in school exercise books and shoving them under the bed”. Her first literary loves were James Joyce and Emily Brontë, Bob Dylan and John Steinbeck; she took English and American studies at Keele University, but didn’t set her mind to writing properly until she was 30. (Justine Jordan)
The webseries Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party is finally available. We read on A.V. Club:
Have you been longing for more jokes about Emily Dickinson in your life? Then Shipwrecked Comedy’s brand-new literary-themed webseries Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party might be for you. Billed as “Midnight in Paris meets Clue,” the 11-part series brings together famed authors including Ernest Hemingway, Charlotte Brontë, and Oscar Wilde for a themed murder-mystery dinner party hosted by Edgar Allan Poe (Sean Persaud) and his sardonic ghost companion Lenore (Sinead Persaud). (Caroline Siede)
Chortle reviews the So You Think You're Funny final:
Musical comic Harriet Braine rewrote a couple of 1980s hits to make reference to great artists: Steve Miller Band’s Abracadabra became Pablo Picasso and Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights about Da Vinci. It’s straightforward stuff, with the songs outlasting the jokes, but with a few neat touches. A reference to Georges Braques makes the educated feel smart, while the punchline to Da Vinci is a nice conspiracy theory even Dan Brown missed. (Steve Bennett)
The Huffington Post criticises the (over)abundance of creative writing courses:
How is it, that in the twenty-first century, a creative writing course has come to be considered de rigueur for any aspiring author? The idea that creativity - nebulous, indefinable, unknown - can be imparted through lectures and seminars? Goodness gracious me! It’s enough to make you wonder how William Shakespeare ever penned a word without the advice of a creative writing tutor, Jane Austen write Pride and Prejudice without having a creative writing degree, or Charlotte Brontë produce Jane Eyre without having studied the dialogue between theory and practice? (Ravinder Randhawa)
The Telegraph is all for the North, presenting BBC Radio4's The Matter of the North:
Later, the dramatic, bony, ice-gauged grandeur of the landscape in the North began to inspire writers – Wordsworth, the Brontës, Ted Hughes, Simon Armitage – and artists who came to paint this unlikely paradise, from Turner up to Julian Cooper today. The Lake District was the cradle of what became an overwhelming Romantic movement. (Melvyn Bragg)
Same as in The Guardian:
What “The North” means is not exactly lost, but is in the process of being simplified. We have to look hard to find a North that thinks, dresses up, shows off, reads and responds to beauty. We like to laugh; we don’t laugh when we’ve made a joke ourselves; we relish a view; we don’t go on about it afterwards; and best of all, I would say, we like a bit of a spread. You can find all that in the films, novels, poetry, art and theatre the North has produced, from Wordsworth and the Brontës to Victoria Wood and Arctic Monkeys. But to say all that is to do something we don’t traditionally tend to do: enthuse. (Philip Hensher)
Bustle has inspiring feminist quotes for Women's Equality Day 2016:
11. "If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed." — Charlotte Brontë (Chelsey Grazzo) 
The quote comes from Shirley, of course.

Also on Bustle what your favourite literary character says about you:
Much like what Hogwarts house we belong in, our favorite book characters say a lot about who we are as a person. If your favorite character is Jane Eyre, you're a down-to-earth but passionate person with a strong moral code. (Shaun Fitzpatrick)
Brad Stevens on BFI begins an article about Quentin Tarantino's endings with a direct reference to Jane Eyre:
The final chapter of Jane Eyre begins with a four-word sentence – “Reader, I married him.” – which neatly conveys Charlotte Brontë’s acerbic attitude towards those rules governing not just nineteenth-century popular fiction, but also, indistinguishably, the society wherein fiction, rules and the writer herself existed. Censorship, in its many forms, demanded Brontë’s novel end with its eponymous heroine marrying Mr. Rochester, and if the author could not have provided a more ‘satisfying’ denouement – one in which Jane decides to reject patriarchal rule and live as a single woman – she nonetheless conveys her opinion of both Jane’s fate and the conventions determining it by communicating theoretically joyful news in a manner so terse it evokes resignation, surrender, the closing of a trap. (...) Charlotte Brontë understood [that] tones of voice cannot be easily censored.
We loved this one.You know that Wuthering Heights is a perfect excuse for all kinds of weather-like metaphors. But to use it talking about extreme 'weather' conditions on exoplanets is really a new one. On Blastr, describing the conditions on HD 189733b:
Flirting Icarus-like with the ball of fire it orbits perilously close to, it cools itself off from from those 1,170-degree days of cheating death with night breezes that shriek like a banshee across its desolate landscape at six times the speed of sound. It puts the haunted moors of Wuthering Heights to shame.
Guest of a Guest talks (snobbish spoiler red flag) about haircuts:
Second, God knows my hair is 55% of my personality. Eyebrows are 40%, and the remainder - well, who's to say? I've a thick head of hair that when left to it's own devices has this Wuthering Heights / Italian countryside thing going where it's like I just had a walk on the moors, or picked a bucket of grapes and am off to go make some mozzarella. (Christie Grimm)
Literary anecdotes in Haber Turk (Turkey):
Charlotte Brontë ve kız kardeşi Emily’nin henüz çocukken Tolkien-vâri iki fantastik dünya yaratarak uydurma günlükler, biyografiler, tarihçeler, gazete haberleri aracılığıyla Gondal ve Angria adlı bu iki dünyada tam 10 yıl dolaştığını... (Gülenay Börekçi̇) (Translation) 
La Repubblica (Italy) interviews YA writer Frances Hardinge:
Temi ricorrenti, nella letteratura inglese dell'800...
"Ho letto tanti di quei libri, da adolescente e nei miei primi vent'anni: Conan Doyle, Dickens, George Eliot. E le sorelle Brontë: adoro in particolare un romanzo scritto da Charlotte, Villette. La sua eroina è socialmente invisibile, ma ha una potente intelligenza nascosta e un'intensa vita interiore. (Claudia Morgoglione) (Translation)
Momoko (in Spanish) reviews Wuthering Heights; a local Brontëite on Marshalltown Times-Republican; How Stuff Works has a first lines in novels quiz, which includes Jane Eyre. Tara Spaling Writes looks at how classic novels should be marketed if they were published today:
Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë. Publ. 1847
Modern Genre: Domestic Noir
BLURB:
Prim and proper Jane has worked hard to put her past as a hot-headed scrapper behind her. But when she gets a new job working in Thornfield Hall for the affluently brooding Mr Rochester, the past threatens to catch up with both of them. Jane knows that at least one person in the old mansion isn’t telling her the truth. But can anyone mansplain to her what is happening in the attic in the dead of night? And can it be that every time Mr Rochester is horrible and abusive, he’s really saying ‘I love you’?
Finally, an alert from Austin, TX. The Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline movie theatre has an afternoon tea screening of Jane Eyre 2011 today and tomorrow (August 27, 28). Details here.

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