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Love Duets, Dark Debates, and the Passion of Jane EyreThe Irish Times reviews John Broderick's An Apology for Roses (first published in 1973):
As opening sentences of great novels go, “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day” doesn’t make much of an impression, certainly not compared to the upfront immediacy of “Call Me Ishmael” from Moby Dick or the expansive vision of society suggested by “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” from Pride and Prejudice. Herman Melville and Jane Austen head the American Book Review’s 100 Best First Lines from Novels. Charlotte Brontë’s no-walk-that-day opener doesn’t make the list.
But the first chapter of Jane Eyre grabs the reader and never lets go. You may begin by asking yourself “Who cares about taking a walk?” Five pages later, after a scene of primal childhood male/female violence that resonates into 2016 and the recent Town Hall debate, Brontë’ has you in her power as surely as Jane has Rochester.
The book became a national sensation. People in 1847 thought they were reading a novel written by a man named Currer Bell. According to Claire Harman’s bicentennial biography, Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart (Knopf $30), Jane Eyre sold in the thousands and was reprinted within ten weeks. Even Queen Victoria read “that intensely interesting novel.” William Makepeace Thackeray set aside his work on Vanity Fair, which was appearing in serial form at the same time. A servant found him weeping over the love scenes. England was obsessed with discovering the identity of Currer Bell. Reviewers never doubted the sex of the author. Said one, “This forthright tale of attempted bigamy and an unmarried woman’s passion could have been written only by a man.” (Read more) (Stuart Mitchner)
In his foreword to the new edition the librarian and writer Gearóid O’Brien describes his first meeting with the notorious author of what was generally considered a “dirty book”, in 1973. Instead of the aloof and abrasive writer he was expecting to encounter O’Brien found himself in the presence of a charming and sophisticated man of letters who conveyed such a passion for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, a prescribed text for that year’s Leaving Certificate, that the young student readily accepted the writer’s offer to speak to his class on the subject. (Eamon Maher)In the same newspaper Turtle Bunbury presents his new book, A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery:
I chose to write 1847 for a number of reasons, many personal. Indeed, it’s tempting to say the year chose me. Lisnavagh, my family home in Co Carlow, was built in 1847. So too was Glenalmond, the school I went to in Scotland. I read Wuthering Heights and observed that Emily Brontë wrote it in 1847, the same year her sisters published Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey.The Guardian reports the death of the actress Hazel Douglas (1923-2016) who
recorded books for visually impaired listeners; Hazel’s audio titles included EB White’s Charlotte’s Web, Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey and Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes.Flavorwire talks about the film A Quite Passion on Emily Dickinson:
Younger Emily is devoted to her family but suspicious, even defiant, of male authority — a loyal friend who is devastated when her friends marry and leave. She is a true 19th century heroine, tempestuous and strong, worthy of the Brontës, whom she idolizes. (Sarah Seltzer)Chesapeake Bay Weekly publishes a bad review of Jane Eyre 2011:
There is a fundamental problem with adapting Jane Eyre into film: Most people know what’s in the attic. To counteract the English Lit 101 plot, the movie has to make you invest in the characters so that you dread what you know will befall them.Letterboxd reviews I Walked with a Zombie 1943:
At the very least, filmmakers need to make that attic creepy.
In the latest adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) abandoned character development for the Cliffs Notes approach. (...)
The biggest fault of Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre is that it clearly wasn’t made for fans of the novel. It offers nothing new or interesting to those who dream of Thornfield or spend hours deciphering the motives of Rochester and Jane. But if you want an easy C on your upcoming English exam, this is a serviceable adaptation. (Diana Beechener)
The story may lack just a bit in parts, with some awkward plot transitions and an over-reliance on voiceover narration here and there, but it shines at other times. Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray were told to draw upon Jane Eyre and actually learn about voodoo; the results are a film that feels far more progressive and believable than many horror movies of the era would even approach. (Jeremy Thomas)Hull Daily Mail presents a new documentary series for BBC One, Books That Made Britain:
John Wedgwood Clarke, who is a creative writing lecturer at the University of Hull, will present the first in a new BBC series called the Books That Made Britain where he will travel from Whitby to Hull discovering the great writers who have immortalised the area in their work. (...)The International Business Times quotes from Charlotte Brontë celebrating the International Day Of The Girl 2016. The Telegraph recommends celebrating it visiting the Parsonage:
John, who lives in Scarborough, said: “Our programme is a combination of literary pilgrimage and investigation, and an entertaining view of how writers have left their mark on this wonderful stretch of coastline.
“Walking, cycling and swimming along the Yorkshire coast brought home to me the common ground these books share with readers, as well as the very different things each writer selects from that landscape.
“With the help of literary experts, writers and local people, we're able to open up just how distinctive each writer's vision is, and have fun tracing the relationship between, for instance, archive film of Philip Larkin forty years ago in Hull and the overgrown cemetery where we know part of it was filmed.
“Or Anne Brontë's version of Scarborough's South Bay with our own." (Ian Midgley)
To find out how three sisters – daughters of an Irish clergyman in Yorkshire – came to write some of the most dramatic novels, and create some of the most powerful heroines in English literature, visit the parsonage in Haworth, where they lived.Public Books comments on the Elena Ferrante's affair using the Brontës among others:
The village where the Bronte sisters grew up was a crowded industrial town. The smells and pollution are gone – but the parsonage museum at Haworth is near a pretty and historic cobbled street – complete with shops selling old-fashioned cream teas and boiled sweets – which may help to evoke the more charming aspects of early-to-mid 19th century life there. (Sally Peck)
Act I.The Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany) mentions Andrea Arnold's take on Wuthering Heights 2011:
The Heroine Chooses Her Incognito
1. Charlotte Brontë and her talented sisters offer perhaps the most famous examples from the period of pseudonymous female authors. Charlotte’s friend and fellow author Elizabeth Gaskell explained in her 1857 biography that after the publication of Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, “edited by Currer Bell,” in 1847, “the whole reading-world of England was in a ferment to discover the unknown author. Even the publishers of Jane Eyre were ignorant whether Currer Bell was a real or an assumed name, —whether it belonged to a man or a woman… Conjecture as to the authorship ran about like wild-fire.” (...)
The Confidantes Learn the Secret
1. Brontë wrote to Elizabeth Gaskell, instructing her to rebuff any questions about Brontë’s authorship: “I have given NO ONE a right either to affirm, or to hint, in the most distant manner, that I was ‘publishing’—(humbug!)… Though twenty books were ascribed to me, I should own none… The most profound obscurity is infinitely preferable to vulgar notoriety; and that notoriety I neither seek nor will have.” (...)
The Discloser Uncovers the Truth; the Heroine is Revealed
1. Gaskell wrote of Brontë’s identity as Currer Bell: “the secret, so jealously preserved, was oozing out at last. The publication of Shirley seemed to fix the conviction that the writer was an inhabitant of the district where the story was laid. And a clever Haworth man, who had somewhat risen in the world, and gone to settle in Liverpool, read the novel, and was struck with some of the names of places mentioned, and knew the dialect in which parts of it were written. He became convinced that it was the production of someone in Haworth. But he could not imagine who in that village could have written such a work except Miss Brontë. Proud of his conjecture, he divulged the suspicion… in the columns of a Liverpool paper; thus the heart of the mystery came slowly creeping out; and a visit to London, which Miss Brontë paid towards the end of the year 1849, made it distinctly known.” (...)
In some cases, the loss of the incognito did not cause lasting damage to the authorial career, or perhaps was even necessary to its eventual success. The legend of the mysterious Brontë sisters, living in their own isolated world in the Yorkshire moors, was arguably crucial to their eventual ascent to the first rank of English novelists. (Ivan Kreilkamp)
Vielleicht, um dem drohenden Schubladendenken zu entkommen, drehte sie auch eine Adaption von Emily Brontës viktorianischem Romanklassiker "Sturmhöhe" – ein Buch, von dem sie sagt, sie sei schon lange davon "besessen" gewesen. (Volker Behrens) (Translation)One Room with a View reviews the film, a film that RTÉ describes as 'extra visceral'. It was screened yesterday on UK's Film4 and The Guardian or The Times talk about it:
Andrea Arnold brings real conviction to her adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic. This is the first version that makes overt the latent suggestion that Heathcliff is African Caribbean (he’s played by Solomon Glave as a youth and James Howson when older), emphasising the transgressive nature of his love for Catherine (Shannon Beer and Kaya Scodelario). It’s a heavy, passionate and, at times, brutal rendering of the wild moorland romance. (Paul Howlett)Sul21 (Brazil) explores patience:
É também a paciência de Jane Eyre, a personagem de Charlotte Bronte, tem em sua natureza constantes brotos de paciência a nascer-lhe na alma. Desde a infância suportara o desprezo, o ódio da tia e dos primos; na escola era alvo das mais improváveis implicâncias e dos mais severos castigos. Na vida adulta apaixona-se por um homem totalmente desconhecido e com usa cota de loucura e segredos. Mas ela resiste, tem a paciência de viver cada dia de uma forma única, faz do seu cotidiano, não uma espera pela solução do amor ou da vida, mas um tanto de tempo para o aprendizado, para que novamente aprenda a caminhar com as próprias pernas e resiliente (a palavra companheira de paciência) sobrevive a tudo e encontra o amor nos braços de Rochester depois dele mesmo ter sobrevivido a sua desgraça matrimonial e financeira. Ah Jane Eyre nesse tempo de espera, também se descobre uma herdeira de uns bons trocados. (Gabriela Silva) (Translation)An alert for today, October 12, from Ferrara, Italy:
Mercoledì 12 Ottobre ore 17
Biblioteca Ariostea - Sala Agnelli - Via delle Scienze, 17 44121 Ferrara FE Italia
Letture critiche di Silvia Lambertini e Matteo Pazzi
La Compagnia del libro ha deciso di avventurarsi nel mondo letterario delle sorelle Brontë.
Charlotte, sorella maggiore, autrice di“Jane Eyre”, Emily, autrice di “Cime tempestose”, Anne, sorella minore, autrice di “La signora di Wildfell Hall”, un trio di scrittrici vittoriane della prima metà dell'Ottocento, dotate di uno straordinario talento narrativo, capaci di pubblicare tre romanzi nello stesso anno (il 1847). Onde evitare i pregiudizi allora diffusi nei confronti delle donne, adottarono pseudonimi maschili. Accanto alle tre autrici la Compagnia riserverà un piccolo spazio anche all’opera poetica del fratello Branwell Brontë.
A cura della Compagnia del Libro in collaborazione con Associazione Gruppo del Tasso di Ferrara
(Via Cronaca Comune)YourTango lists Jane Eyre among the 25 Life-Changing Novels every Woman Should Read By Age 30; Career Girl Daily also lists it on a 20 book every twenty something should read list:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëYelhispressing reviews Agnes Grey. The Brussels Brontë Blog posts the Villette and The Professor German and French translations published in Switzerland.
Jane Eyre was one of my idols as a teenager. She is one of the most famous and memorable heroines of all time – Jane will teach you about the importance of passion but also restraint and wisdom. It’s also one of the greatest love stories ever written. (Larissa Scotting)