Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Paris Review has a very interesting article on Charlotte Brontë's juvenilia as seen at the Morgan Library's current exhibition, Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will.
To attempt to pry into the juvenilia—or “hidden works,” as the biographer Claire Harman terms them—of Charlotte Brontë is to encounter a gentle but undeniable refusal. The current exhibition devoted to Brontë’s life and work at the Morgan Library & Museum, drawn largely from its own collections and that of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, allows a few tantalizing glimpses of Brontë’s early writing. Most touching and accessible is her very first extant work, a small book made for her youngest sister “Ane,” who was motherless by her second year and motherless again at age five after the deaths of the family’s two eldest daughters. Open to a page illustrated by a beguiling tiny watercolor of a sailing ship, the book makes clear how early Brontë, then age twelve or so, understood the power of imaginary travel. That travel was very soon denied to adults, for the books that followed are, even when examined with a magnifying glass, virtually unreadable, despite their careful script and wonderfully exact illustrations; they’re simply too tiny for the middle-aged eye, and perhaps for any eye other than that of a Brontë sibling. (Read more) (Cynthia Payne)
A couple of articles on the upcoming (December 29th) broadcast of To Walk Invisible:
The BBC built a life-size replica of the Haworth Parsonage and neighbouring graveyard on Penistone Hill for further location filming.
Indoor filming was carried out in Manchester, on a set painstakingly created with advice on historical accuracy from Brontë Parsonage Museum staff.
Sally Wainwright, writer of popular contemporary dramas like Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax, said she had tried to make To Walk Invisible feel as authentic as it could.
She said: “When people watch it I want them to feel that they are transported back in time. It’s not a chocolate box world and I hope it does reflect the real world that they lived in.this
“The primary aim of To Walk Invisible is to entertain people, for people to engage with it as drama and to enjoy it. I hope people will want to go away and know more about the Brontës, read their novels and read Emily’s poetry.
“What’s interesting about the story to a contemporary audience is the domestic situation of the three Brontë sisters.
“The family are living with the alcoholic Branwell, who was very ill. It started in 1845 and goes through to 1848 when he died. The story is really about these three women living with an alcoholic brother and how they start trying to publish."
Jonathan Pryce plays the Rev Patrick Brontë, with Chloe Pirrie, Finn Atkins, Charlie Murphy and Adam Nagaitis playing the Brontë siblings.
Pryce said that even without the Brontë name, To Walk Invisible would still be an exciting and relevant drama.
“Sally focuses on the tensions among the family; it’s about a family who happen to be called Brontë and happen to be very successful authors. It’s not all sweetness and light, it’s quite dark and troubled.” (The Telegraph & Argus)
Love/Hate star Charlie Murphy embarked on a "Brontë bootcamp" for her upcoming BBC role.
The Wexford actor, who played Siobhan in RTE's gangland drama, has a leading part in the BBC's festive film To Walk Invisible, which chronicles the lives of the Brontë sisters.
Murphy will take on the role of Anne, the author of the acclaimed novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (...)
In preparation for the role, Murphy and her co-stars took part in the week-long bootcamp in Haworth, West Yorkshire, the lifelong home of the sisters.
During the course of the bootcamp, the actors learnt how to write with old-fashioned ink pens and were given the opportunity to quiz Juliet Barker, the author of the Brontës' official biography.
It also allowed the actors to form a close bond. (Kirsty Blake Knox in The Irish Independent)
And the US broadcast on March 26:
A New Classic - To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters
This one-night television event tells the true story of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, who faced a bleak future as a family of unmarried women. Unable to rely on their alcoholic brother or near-blind father to provide for them, they worked as governesses to privileged and often unruly children. This is the story of how — against all odds — their genius for writing romantic novels was recognized in a male-dominated, 19th-century world.
See the new program on Sunday, March 26th, 2017 at 9/8c. Stay tuned for more updates! (PBS Masterpiece)
Incidentally, Anne Brontë is the subject of this article on Impact Magazine:
Many of us are familiar with both Charlotte and Emily Brontë as major literary figures, however Anne is often overlooked and outshone by the success of her sisters. It is likely that you have read or studied Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre at some stage, but why not Agnes Grey or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? (...)
Although is it fair to say that Anne was the most radical of the Brontë sisters, her presentation of forward-thinking and feminist issues make her a talented author in her own right. During her lifetime and for much time since, Anne has taken a backseat in the literary scene compared to her sisters Emily and Charlotte. However in recent years, literary critics have begun to re-evaluate Anne’s work, raising her novels to the status of classic English texts. Now appears to be the time that Anne receives the reputation she deserves. (Sophie Hunt) 
Another Magazine on Veronique Branquinho's Brontë-inspired fashion designs:
 Veronique Branquinho’s woman is the kind that Charlotte Brontë had in mind when writing Jane Eyre (1847) and Villette (1853): “Fashion for me is a language and I want to tell a story,” says Branquinho. Her most recent collections, she says, have been inspired by the poetry of Emily Brontë and the work of Lewis Carroll, and are true to her cascading, covered-up silhouettes. (...)
Last year’s autumn collection began a creative love affair with Brontë that would inform her next couple of collections. Sweaters, especially, featured a checkerboard intarsia with words from Emily Brontë’s poem I’m Happiest When Most Away. “I took it from a really beautiful book I have called Poems of Solitude,” explains Branquinho. “I think that is part of my women; they’re independent and strong, but at the same time they’re fragile and I can imagine they get lost in romantic fantasies of solitude. It’s not an in-your-face slogan because I like the power of a whisper.” (...)
 A fan of the great romantic novels of the 19th century, it’s unsurprising that Branquinho relishes in life away from the hoi polloi – just like Charlotte Brontë’s heroines. (Osman Ahmed)
Cornell Chronicle talks about a recent talk at the University:
Fiction writer and associate professor of English Ernesto Quiñonez began a recent talk with a plot summary of “a story told by the neighbor.”
“It’s about a reclusive man who lives in a mansion. The man appears to be a gentleman, but his manners are not quite there.” He claims to come from old money, and could be hiding something, Quiñonez said.
“We learn that this man had once been in love with a rich, spoiled, brattish, temper-throwing woman, who actually had been in love with him but did not marry him,” because he lacked social status and education, he said.
The man had disappeared before the story begins, has now returned, and is wealthy – “and his only goal is to take back the love of this woman who had scorned him, had left him, for a richer man.”
Quiñonez then reveals that this story is “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë – though his listeners would be correct to assume it to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.
His talk in Goldwin Smith Hall’s English Department Lounge, “The Fingerprints of Influence,” was off and running. (...)
Among the similarities between Brontë’s novel and Fitzgerald’s, he said: “It is interesting to note that in both novels they start at the lawn where these characters live. Brontë’s Mr. Lockwood and Heathcliff could be mistaken for Nick Carraway and Gatsby. And in both novels, Mr. Lockwood and Nick Carraway are pathetic, peripheral, passive narrators. They are not really involved in the story, and are basically outsiders, looking in.” (Daniel Aloi)
The White Horse Theater Company is touring Germany with English-spoken plays (including an adaptation of Jane Eyre by Peter Griffith) to be performed in high schools around.  Lübecker Nachrichten and  Ostsee Zeitung talk about the performances at the Gymnasium Am Tannenberg in Grevesmühlen:
Picture Source: Annett Menke
Jane Eyre ist die Heldin des ersten Romans der englischen Schriftstellerin Charlotte Brontë, veröffentlicht im Jahr 1847. Inzwischen wurde das Buch – das im Original „Jane Eyre - eine Autobiografie“  heißt – schon oft verfilmt. Es wird die Geschichte der Waise Jane Eyre erzählt, die eine harte Zeit im Waisenhaus erlebt, sich später als Gouvernante in ihren Arbeitgeber verliebt – ihn dennoch verlässt, obwohl sie seine Geliebte hätte werden können – und sich alleine durch das Leben schlägt, bis das Schicksal sie und ihren dann blinden Geliebten wieder zusammenführt. Einige der Gymnasiasten kannten den Film, was es ihnen einfacher machte, dem Theaterstück zu folgen. (Annett Meinke) (Translation)
Henley Standard talks about a recent talk organised by the Women's Institute in Grays:
Members were invited to join Val at her home on November 21 to discuss next year’s programme.
Val introduced our speaker, Jane Stubbs, author of Thornfield Hall, in which the classic story of Jane Eyre is retold by the servants from “below stairs”.
To better understand her main character, the housekeeper Mrs Fairfax, Jane showed a dressmaker’s dummy in a replica Victorian dress, which she proceeded to disrobe, layer by layer, down to the corset.
This was “straight-laced” — one tug on the lace and it was undone, hence the term “bodice ripper”.
It was indeed a delightfully light-hearted look at the daily life of women in Victorian times.
School's Week interviews the author Lucy Crehan:
What is your favourite book? (Laura McInerney)
I really like Jane Eyre because it’s a great story. I told it to my friends on a long walk a couple of years ago and it made one of them cry.
Bustle lists literary characters which are, as a matter of fact, terrible people:
4. Cathy Earnshaw
Yeah, Heathcliff is just as bad as Cathy from Wuthering Heights, but at least Heathcliff had a rough childhood that explains some of his behavior. Cathy is just garbage. She loves Heathcliff, but she won't marry him because it would "degrade" her, and then she's furious at him for leaving her?? You are creating all of your own problems, Cathy! Please just date Heathcliff or break up with him, don't keep going back and forth until you die in childbirth and then haunt him forever, that's so rude. (Charlotte Ahlin)
Hello Giggles recommends reads for the holiday season:
 10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë  (Thebookishpress instagram)
Spoiler alert: This is a very sad novel. But it’s also a novel all about true love and never-ending passion. In the movie The Proposal, Sandra Bullock’s character says she reads this novel every Christmas, and if you’re the right kind of person, you just might start that tradition yourself. (Anna Buckley)
Mental Floss talks about laudanum:
Another famous victim of laudanum addiction was Branwell Brontë, the brother of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Together the four siblings shared the same tragic and lonely upbringing, which in the sisters unleashed a creative spark that kindled into some of the greatest works in English literature, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Yet Branwell, who seemingly shared the same potential talent as a poet and artist (he created respected juvenilia alongside his sisters), instead descended into alcohol and laudanum dependency, his sensibilities seemingly too delicate to take the constant rejections an artist must endure. Branwell died a penniless addict at 31 years old in 1848, just a year after his sisters’ most famous novels were published. (Claire Cock-Starkey)
SugarScope reviews Claire Eastham's We're all MAD here:
I mean let us analyse this from a literary perspective. David Copperfield was beaten, Jane Eyre was made to stand on a chair with a sign around her neck and Harry Potter? Well he was practically attacked every day! In many ways school could totally be likened to prison. (Lucia Ennis)
Danmarks Radio (Denmark) lists music+literature associations:
I 1847 udgav Emily Brontë under pseudonym sin roman ‘Stormfulde højder’, som i dag er en af engelsk litteraturs store klassikere. I romanen fortælles historien om den forældreløse Heatcliff, som adopteres af familien Earnshaw, og om Heatcliff og hans stedsøster Catherines umulige forelskelse. Mere end 100 år senere udgav sangerinden Kate Bush sangen ’Wuthering Heights’, som er baseret på netop Brontës klassiske værk. Nana Kira Schrøder Rafn) (Translation)
El Colombiano (Colombia) on writers' pseudonyms:
Muy conocido es el caso de las hermanas Brontë, Charlote, Emily y Anne, novelistas y poetas inglesas del siglo diecinueve, que no hallaron otra manera de publicar sus obras, sino con seudónimos masculinos. Y la buscaron. Cuentan que Charlotte envió un poemario suyo a Robert Southey (Ricitos de oro y los tres osos) y recibió esta frase por respuesta: “La literatura no es asunto de mujeres y no debería serlo nunca”.
Charlotte es conocida por su novela Jane Eyre; Emily por Cumbres Borrascosas y Anne por La inquilina de Wildfell Hall. Publicaban como Currer Bell, Ellis Bell y Acton Bell, respectivamente, hasta que estuvieron seguras de que sus obras eran bien recibidas por el público.
Y para darnos cuenta de que en las clasificaciones de la literatura no hay una que se refiera a la que es hecha por hombres y otra la que es hecha por mujeres, sino que hay buena o la mala literatura, recordemos el final de la novela de Emily Brontë. (John Saldarriaga) (Translation)
The Stage describes Sally Cookson's take on Jane Eyre as 'one of the best Brontë adaptions, if not one of the best literary adaptations ever to grace a stage'; Blogs of a Bookaholic reviews Jane Eyre.

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