Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016 12:36 pm by M. in , , , , ,    No comments
A little belatedly we report the nomination of Ponden Hall in the 2016 Dorset Cereals B&B awards. In The Guardian:
Boasting a stunning location on the Pennine Way, Ponden Hall is a must-visit for literary enthusiasts. Built in 1634, the Brontë children visited the hall regularly, using the library. “Branwell Brontë wrote a short ghost story about the house,” Akhurst says, “and there is compelling evidence that Ponden provided inspiration for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. One of our three guest bedrooms, the Earnshaw Room, houses the ‘Cathy window’ – in the book, Cathy’s ghost tries to get in the house through the window when she’s searching for Heathcliff.”
To make the room even more special, Akhurst commissioned an 18th-century-style box bed like the one described in Wuthering Heights. With such attention to literary detail, it’s easy to see why Ponden Hall has welcomed famous writers, including Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring), and TV dramatist Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley).
Most guests come to Ponden Hall on the Brontë trail, so Akhurst recommends walks to the Brontë Waterfall, or to Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse set in the exposed moorland location that inspired Wuthering Heights. Over the border into Lancashire, historic Wycoller Hall is thought to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
More Brontë history abounds in Haworth, at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where the literary family lived, and Akhurst used to work. For foodies, Akhurst recommends 10 the coffee house for coffee and cakes, Embers restaurant for dining, and, “For something more unusual, join a reading group at Cobbles and Clay cafe.”
Coincidentally, Vesna Armstrong Photography posts several pictures of Ponden Hall.

LitReactor posts a vindication of Branwell Brontë, on the 168th anniversary of his death and at the verge of next year's Branwell's own Brontë200:
Branwell Brontë died 168 years ago this weekend, on September 24th, 1848.  His cause of death was listed as “chronic bronchitis and marasmus”, a polite way of saying he was a coughing, half-starved, alcoholic, laudanum-addicted wreck who finally, mercifully, proved unequal to the struggle of drawing breath.
He lived just long enough to witness the first glimmering of what his sisters would become – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey were published in 1847, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848.  This cannot have helped his condition. Once, too, Branwell had dreamed of becoming a celebrated author, but, like his other plan to set the world on fire as a renowned poet and portrait-painter, or to marry his one great love, his literary ambition had dissolved into the bottom of a brandy glass.  Charlotte, Emily and Anne deliberately kept Branwell out of discussions about their work. They knew their success would choke him.
They failed, however, to keep Branwell out of the legends that grew up after their deaths. He only published a few poems in his local newspapers during his lifetime, but Branwell’s name is forever associated with the nineteenth century classic novels written by his sisters.  The Brontë label is a powerful one, conjuring up lowering skies, windswept moors, unbridled passion and haunting poetry.  Although Emily, Anne and Charlotte’s novels are all unique, common threads run through all of the books. Theirs was the Romantic impulse at its most pure and intense. (Karina Wilson) (Read more)
BBC's Radio 4 in Four lists some baddies we love to love. Including:
3. Heathcliff
Since its publication in 1847, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights has become one of the most admired and popular of all English novels. Heathcliff is more often thought of as a romantic hero, because of his love for Cathy than for his later years of retribution. In the second part of the novel he grows into a vicious, haunted man. His complicated, mesmeric and peculiar nature makes him a rare character, with components of both the hero and villain.
The New York Times reviews The Bestseller Code by Jodie Marcher and Matthew L. Jockers:
Nonetheless, there’s an awkward charm in watching an algorithm discern the things that humans appreciate instinctively. In a section about syntax, Archer and Jockers point to “Reader, I married him,” Charlotte Brontë’s famous line. “Isn’t the entire point of so many stories to get that ‘I’ and that ‘him’ closely aligned, separated by an all-important verb like ‘married’?” they write. “So often, this is entirely why we keep turning the pages.” (Jia Tolentino)
Richard and Judy in The Daily Express disagree with the choice of Emily Blunt for the The Girl on the Train film:
But really – though I understand the pressures on producers to cast beautiful women in lead roles – it’s pretty ridiculous. I can’t watch Victoria because Jenna Coleman is so spectacularly lovely (although that doesn’t stop Richard) and Queen Victoria simply wasn’t.
It’s a shame. It would be like casting Marilyn Monroe as Jane Eyre. A travesty.
The Globe and Mail reviews Emma Donoghue's The Wonder:
One of the book’s most arresting phrases is about Anna’s last day of eating. First, communion is “the end of being a child.” Another strong refrain comes from Psalms: “[S]trange children have faded away.” Following the trail of novels such as Oliver Twist or Jane Eyre, the stop sign on childhood comes too soon, and this story’s conflict fades rather quickly as well. The Wonder’s ending fits a Victorian tale, but it could have used a little more salt. (Alix Hawley)
The Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune reviews the same novel:
So many things are right in this novel that I wished — almost angrily — that a few things had been better, most particularly the dialogues in which characters tell each other things for no reason except that the reader needs to know them. And the ending struck me as contrived. But then, I could say the same about “Jane Eyre,” which I love. The bottom line: Read it. The important things will stay with you while the clumsy ones will fade from memory. (Patricia Hagen)
The New York Observer is very critical with the producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who thinks that Hollywood is failing at the young male audience:
Perhaps, Lorenzo, you oily insider from the executive suite, you approached your in-house focus group – your sons, 18 and 15. Possibly, they were bellyaching that they had to readWuthering Heights in AP English – a novel BY A WOMAN — or attended a school-imposed workshop on how not to rape a sleeping co-ed.  (Thelma Adams)
The National visits the FutureFest in London:
The Tobacco Dock is a gated thoroughfare filled with glass box-rooms. And I couldn’t help but feel the echoes of the original Crystal Palace “Great Exhibition” of 1851, where Darwin, Dickens, Charlotte Brontë and thousands of others gazed upon the inventive and productive plenty of the British Empire. (Pat Kane)
Bustle has a list of reader types:
1, The Classics Reader
This reader can often be found at rare bookstores, trying to track down the perfect copy of Jane Eyre. They've read every classic — not for class, for fun — and you're pretty sure that 80% of the things they say are actually book quotes. They're very sophisticated, and when you're looking for classy conversation, this is your go-to reader friend. (Julia Seales)
The Georgia Straight asks the author Kevin Patterson about the book that changed his life:
There is a window in adolescence and early adulthood when one is open to being rocked by books in a way that does not persist long enough. That feeling of watching a movie play in one’s thoughts, of losing even the sense of turning pages: for a lot of us it was Jane Austen, for others Tolkein (sic) , one of the Brontës, or Hemingway.
Jezebel discusses the apparent 'rise of the sexy period drama':
The costume drama, the argument goes, was once a reliable straight adaptation where sex was a mere afterthought, less valued than a lovingly accurate depiction of either source material or subject matter. It’s where Shakespeare and Jane Austen, the Brontes and important men of genius found a modern audience; it’s where the best of British culture and history was simultaneously preserved and adapted. The genre, it would seem, has devolved into a melodramatic romp in which important novels and influential historical figures are reduced to lumps of lusty flesh. A handful of critics bemoan the sexy costume drama and point to the usual suspects: the inevitable dumbing down of culture, Hollywood, and, of course, women. (Stassa Edwards)
El País (Spain) reviews The Houses of the Russians by Robert Aickman:
Como si Roald Dahl y Lovecraft hubieran tenido un hijo secreto (al fin y al cabo, esto es ficción) y lo hubieran mandado a los páramos de Cumbres borrascosas. O al Hotel Fawlty. (Carlos Primo) (Translation)
La Razón (Spain) reviews the film Lady Macbeth by William Oldroyd:
La trama ambientada en el siglo XIX se inspira en Shakespeare –poquito- y en la obra de Nikolai Leskov, quien ya andaba en la famosa película de Andrzej Wajda “Lady Macbeth en Siberia”. Este film acaba pareciéndose más a “Cumbres borrascosas”, eso sí, con muchos asesinatos. Francamente inútil. (Carlos Pumares) (Translation)
El País's Cinemanía (Spain) thinks more or less the same:
Como Cumbres borrascosas protagonizada por el estrangulador de Boston, digo yo. Lady Macbeth es la historia de Katherine (sí, como Catherine Earnshaw), una joven recién casada en un matrimonio de conveniencia a la que Oldroyd nos presenta como una víctima de la brutalidad de su marido y su suegro. (Andrea G. Bermejo) (Translation)
Página 12 (Argentina) describes the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in the Patagonia:
Las cumbres borrascosas del Paine –un nombre que significa azul y que, contradiciendo a Emily Brontë, “no traduce bien los rigores que allí desencadena el viento cuando hay tempestad”– nos dicen adiós. (Graciela Cutuli) (Translation)
The Queen's University Journal (Canada) thinks that Shakespeare is overrated. Not really a good idea to use the Brontës (big fans) to build up the notion:
The notion of star-crossed lovers: Try reading Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. Loss of innocence: Just pick up Lord of the Flies. Death, honour and revenge:Hello, Harry Potter, anyone? (Gabi Sandler & Clayton Tomlinson)
According to GraphoMania (Italy) Wuthering Heights was one of the favourite books of Henry Miller; this Vogue China photoshot is called Wuthering Heights. Bookstr talks about the Morgan Library exhibition on Charlotte Brontë.

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