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Sally Wainwright, who wrote TV hits Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax, has slammed period shows for projecting a ‘very sanitised, 21st-century television view of history’.Keighley News has an update on the works being carried out at the Old School Room in Haworth.
Wainwright made the comments while discussing her new BBC film To Walk Invisible, about the Brontë siblings — Charlotte, Emily, Anne and brother Branwell — and their clergyman father Patrick, who is played by Jonathan Pryce.
I noted that the marvellously acted movie, which will be shown on BBC1 later this winter, has a remarkable, gritty quality to it.
‘Well, I really didn’t want to create a Sunday evening chocolate box thing,’ she said. ‘We have a slightly manicured view of what the past was like.
‘Often history is about wealthy rich people — and about men. We get so many costume dramas, which are very popular and people love them.
‘But they’ve all got very white teeth! They’re all immaculate,’ she complained of the period programmes on both the BBC and ITV.
‘It’s a very sanitised, 21st- century television view of history. When I watch certain period dramas, I often feel it wouldn’t be weird if someone whipped out a mobile phone. It wouldn’t look out of place, because everything is so clean and slick and polished — and healthy and hygienic.
‘I don’t want people to feel like that,’ she added.
Sally Wainwright, a daughter of Yorkshire — raised in Sowerby Bridge ten miles from Haworth, home of the Brontës — said that Charlotte and Emily both had poor teeth
Wainwright, a daughter of Yorkshire — raised in Sowerby Bridge ten miles from Haworth, home of the Brontes — said that Charlotte and Emily both had poor teeth.
The portrait that Wainwright presents in her film, which she also directed, certainly feels authentic. I was struck by how the actors captured the sense of a proper family: one who argued, and swore at each other — yes, even in the 1840s.
Wainwright established a kind of Brontë boot camp at a rented house on the moors at Haworth, where cast members Finn Atkins (Charlotte), Chloe Pirrie (Emily), Charlie Murphy (Anne) and Adam Nagaitis as Branwell did Brontë things for a week.
‘I wanted them together, so they’d feel like a family,’ she explained.
They were shown around the Brontë Parsonage Museum by principal curator Ann Dinsdale; and one evening they had dinner with Juliet Barker, who wrote a biography of the Brontes in 1995.
‘And somebody came and told them how to write with ink. We had a whole afternoon of getting our fingers covered in ink,’ Wainwright recalled gleefully.
‘By the end of the week they were so bonded.’
The film’s focus is about how well Branwell bonded with alcohol and opium — and how his sisters had to tip-toe around him for much of the time, ‘probably half-loving and half-hating him’.
But somehow, the sisters managed to produce great works of literature, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights; while Branwell, who had undeniable talent, produced nothing and has, Wainwright said, become famous ‘for failing’. (Baz Bamigboye)
The Daily Mail reviews the book A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray. The Brontës don't seem to be among them.
Haworth's Old School Room took another important step towards its restoration when one of its original north-facing Victorian window frames was replaced with a replica.
The building is currently having its extension roofs repaired and replaced. The window that overlooked the playground area has had to be replaced because the framework was rotten.
Thanks to grants from Craven Trust, Bradford Council Community Chest and Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, the Brontë Spirit charity which cares for the building was able to commission a replacement from Stanbury-based joiner Robert Cole.
Brontë Spirit chairman Averil Kenyon said: “The old window wasn’t an original fitting – it had been a replacement for one fitted by the builders. But our new window has been made to the same design as the original.
"We needed a craftsman who was sufficiently skilled to undertake this because it was a skilled task and we’re delighted with what Robert Cole has produced.
“We’re very grateful to the bodies who were able to grant-aid us. Repairing the roof is an expensive business and raising the funds to do the work that needs to be done has been time-consuming.
“There are four other windows on the north side of the building and they'll have to be replaced in future."
Robert Cole said: “Making such a complicated window frame proved a challenge. I'm very pleased that Brontë Spirit like the end result.” (Miran Rahman)
Still, Murray’s concise prose makes easy reading, and in the end it’s one I’ll keep on the shelf — possibly scrawling some notes down the margin such as: ‘Why no Queen Victoria?’ And: ‘Does Jane Austen, with her fondness for rich landowners, ladylike conduct and prudent marriages, really outrank George Eliot and the Brontës just because she “typifies everything I love about being British”? (Libby Purves)Speaking of Jane Austen, a New Zealand Herald reporter has been visiting Austen-related locations and states that,
To see Chawton is to understand Austen's world, just as the bleak Yorkshire moors of Haworth shaped the Brontë sisters. (Gary A Warner)Daily Express celebrated National Poetry Day yesterday by selecting some poetry books such as
England’s Best Loved Poems: The Enchantment of England by George CourtauldBoth Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights make it onto AmReading's list of '10 Compelling Classic Love Stories'.
A collection of over 100 classic poems, this anthology includes national favourites as well as lesser-known poems by the likes of Emily Brontë, Winston Churchill and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Each poem is placed in its historical context, with a short biography of each poet giving insight to the work. (Stefan Kyriazis)
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëBoston Globe interviews novelist and screenwriter Maria Semple:
Jane Eyre is personally my favorite classic novel. Bronte was ahead of her time in writing this epic coming of age story. While the love story between Eyre and Rochester binds the book together, it is Eyre’s journey to womanhood that makes the tale epic. Not your traditional classic love story, Eyre and Rochester must overcome deceit, distance. and distrust to find their way back to one another. [...]
8.Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel, and yet it is considered a literary classic. This story of unrequited love due to classism is still beloved by readers. The story of Catherine and Heathcliff follows the characters from their childhood friendship until their burial beside each other. (April Driver)
BOOKS: When you were an English major in college what were your favorite books?Laura Benedict writes about her novel The Abandoned Heart on Kill Zone.
SEMPLE: George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” by far. Also Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” and Jean Rhys’s “Wide Sargasso Sea.” That was the first time I experienced someone writing an alternate version of a classic.
Oh, did I mention that Bliss House is haunted?This columnist from Easton Wicked Local claims that,
I had long wanted to write a haunted house novel. My favorite gothics—Jane Eyre and Rebecca—are set in houses that heavily influence the novels’ action. (Jordan Dane)
It was Arthur Conan Doyle and Emily Brontë who made me long to wander moors in Dartmoor and Yorkshire. (Donna Whitehead)Le News (Switzerland) makes a rather confusing description of the film The Light between Oceans when it claims that it is
In the vein of “Wuthering Heights” or “The English Patient” (Neptune)Just Bollywood also refers rather intriguingly to Wuthering Heights in a review of the film Mirzya.
Every musical piece in the film seems to be a narrative that tells its own story. Talking about Gulzar, he is simply infallible; however, in this film he seems to have adapted some of the internal and external words from the film Wuthering Heights from Emily Brontë.The Village Voice describes André Téchiné's Les Soeurs Brontë as
his superb literary biopic starring, among others, the preeminent Isabelles of the era, Adjani and Huppert. (Melissa Anderson)And this is how Chicago Tribune describes Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights:
After the stripped-to-bone minimalism of her remarkable but divisive "Wuthering Heights" adaptation, one can hardly blame Arnold for treating herself to this kind of sunburned, open-armed excess. (Guy Lodge)Sheffield Telegraph features singer/songwriter Nat Johnson. This is her latest project:
Most recently, Nat has been working on a project for this year’s Off the Shelf festival. She has written a musical triptych – three songs about the Brontë sisters called The Liberty System – as part of celebrations for the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë. She will be performing and discussing her work at New Responses to the Brontës at the Upper Chapel on Friday, October 14.El País (Spain) has an article on Madrid's 8th Gothic Week, which included a conference on gothic literature:
Abre las charlas el profesor Miguel Salmerón, hablando de la tragedia en Esquilo, Shakespeare y Wagner. Luego se hablará de Lilith en la cultura popular, de la represión sexual en Charlotte Brontë, del pacto mefistofélico en la película La bruja, del hada Melusine, de opio y oculismo, de lo ecogótico, de esoterismo, de figuras fantasmales como medio de denuncia social, de las dominatrix, de gárgolas y de un sinfín de variopintos asuntos más. Un buen remolino de referencias que dan idea del amplio espectro (nunca mejor dicho) de esta tendencia. (Sergio C. Fanjul) (Translation)College Magazine recommends '10 Items to Take Your Dorm Room from Drab to Fab' such as a
1. Jane Eyre Throw PillowMuseums Journal announces the closure of the Red House Museum. Research in English at Durham continues studying Emily and Anne's diary papers, now focusing on Anne's anxieties.
No need to fret about travel expenses to get across the pond, set yourself in the Brontë House with this pillow. “I feel like it would be very homey to be surrounded by great minds,” said Luther College sophomore Anna Becker, an unashamed fan of classic literature. After all, countless Ikea pillows already litter the room; adding a little literary flare can take your dorm from basic to beautiful. Plus, this little decoration doubles as a great conversation starter when you invite your cute study buddy over to your room. (Kate Koch)