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My two personal highlights of this year's Christmas television both feature Yorkshire writers of great style and character. If you missed Alan Bennett's Diaries on BBC2 on Christmas Eve, it's an absolute treat and available on iPlayer, while I don't believe I'm exaggerating too much to say that if Sally Wainwright’s drama about the Brontë sisters, To Walk Invisible, had been an independent movie with, say, the wily The King's Speech and Shakespeare in Love producer Harvey Weinstein behind it, IThe Open University is also interested in the production.
could envisage it being in contention at the Oscars. (...)
It's not even known whether the sisters spoke with a Yorkshire accent – their father was from Ireland and their mother from Cornwall and it has been said that Emily had an Irish lilt, but Wainwright thought that would be confusing matters to introduce this much authenticity. However she remained determined to make the Brontës' world feel as real as possible – to get away from what Wainwright calls “a chocolate box world”, whether covering the streets of Haworth with manure, filming in all weathers (“and all the weather you see is real – it was a pretty arduous shoot”) or agonising over how they would speak.
“The biggest challenge was the dialogue,” says Wainwright. “Trying to make the dialogue feel authentic to the period but also make it feel alive. I didn't want to just to copy what I'd heard in other period dramas because I think we have a kind of period drama language now which is no more authentic. And we had various conversations about whether we should have Branwell use the word 'fuck' – I wasn't sure about that one but I realised later on that he would have used that word.” (...)
Indeed, To Walk Invisible is that rarity – a television drama with an overt feel for the surrounding nature, whether it be Emily and Anne taking long walks on the moors, or Emily and Branwell, sitting on a gate and gazing at the moon. “It does add something to the quality of the drama if you've got a beautiful landscape that reflects the tone and the mood of the show”, says Wainwright. “And especially as Emily was hugely affected by the landscape, it was good to be able to reflect that. It can be bleak as well, which I like.”
Such bucolic moments are rare, however, and the overriding impression of Brontë country in To Walk Invisible is of mud, rain and roads covered in horse dung. “We had conversations about the main street which I actually think we made it too sanitised in the end”, says Wainwright. “I think it should have been a lot filthier.” (Gerard Gilbert)
Simon said: “Most people know Branwell either as the ne’er-do-well brother of the Bronte family or as the shadowy absence in his famous portrait of his three sisters.The Guardian thinks that in hard times reading fiction connects us with our humanity:
“We’ll never really know Branwell properly, but in putting together events for his bicentenary I feel as if I’ve been privy to some of his hopes and dreams.” (Susie Beever)
Reading teaches us not only about our common humanity (it is wonderful to see something expressed in words and think, “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel”) but also about the world. Leo Tolstoy depicted a generation of young Russians trying to make sense of the Napoleonic wars, while Charles Dickens showed the bleak reality of what it meant to be poor in Victorian England. Charlotte Brontë wrote about what it meant to be plain and poor, yet clever and sensitive. All of these authors wrote with such empathy that the adventures of these characters, their thoughts, perils, loves, ideas, can be understood today and related to our own circumstances, though the stories are centuries old. (Hope Whitmore)Flavorwire recommends the film American Honey:
Writer/director Andrea Arnold, who went minimalist for her 2011 Wuthering Heights, goes maximalist (and then some) for this lengthy, meandering, yet fascinating tale of an aimless teenager who joins up with a motley crew of hard-partying, door-to-door magazine-selling con artists. (Jason Bailey)A reader of Ahmedabad Mirror will read Jane Eyre in 2017; Mes Répertoires posts about 'The Beast Others the Beauty: The Case of Jane Eyre); the Brussels Brontë Blog publishes the third installment of its history of French translations of The Professor. Also, a revision of the list of translations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. According to Eric Ruijssenaars:
The amount of languages in which Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre have been translated has continued to expand. In the last updated version of the second translations analysis article of 24 November the score was 51-49. Emily Jane is still in the lead, still two ahead. Wuthering Heights is now on 61 languages, Jane Eyre on 59. (It’s a combined total of 67 languages.) In the revised article the new lists of languages can be seen.