Jane Barnes at Bronte Parsonage Museum. - Jane Barnes: Looking across Haworth Parish Church graveyard to the Bronte Parsonage Museum 3 (2 hours ago)
2 hours ago
Bafta-winning writer Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango In Halifax) returns to the BBC this Christmas for a period drama involving some very special characters: the Brontë sisters.Yesterday, the film was screened at the BAFTA and a further Q&A was held with Sally Wainwright and cast members Chloe Pirrie, Finn Atkins and Charlie Murphy.
Yes, Emily Brontë (author of the ground-breaking Wuthering Heights), older sister Charlottë (the woman behind the phenomenally successful Jane Eyre) and younger sister Anne (who wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall) are all the subjects of the one-off 120-minute drama.
Expect, as the BBC puts it, "the story of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, sisters who overcome a life of hardship and the tragic decline of their troubled brother to write great works of literature".
And then, many, many years later I found my way to Haworth in Yorkshire, where these writers, long recognised as amongst the greatest in English literature, lived. The Brontë sisters — Charlotte, whose 200th birth anniversary is this year (no, the trip wasn’t planned to commemorate that, I promise), Emily and Anne. And their brother Branwell who tried to paint but failed and then tried to be a drunk, succeeded and died from that success, and their father Patrick who was the curate at the church and though a frail, sickly man, outlived the children and died an octogenarian. They all lived in this big stone house behind the church, which was called Parsonage because that is what a house allotted to members of the clergy was called. There was, and is, a cemetery in front, which, I imagine, must have been a depressing and all too realistic sight to wake up to. But then there were the moors behind the house and they were bleak, cold, windy and maddeningly inspiring, so maybe the tombs weren’t that bad after all.The Telegraph & Argus announces a couple of Christmas events at Brontë country:
So they all lived in this big house with an aunt who moved in to help raise the children after Mama Brontë died. Largely ignored by the adults, the Brontë siblings took to making up and then writing down stories and poems in miniscule handmade books, some of which are on display at National Portrait Gallery, London. I went and spent an hour peering into these books and the many drawings and paintings the siblings made — their art, though not at the level of genius as their books — was still mighty skilled. Or so I think. As you can tell, I’d forgive every Brontë folly. (Read more) (Deepa Bhasthi)
A museum in the district will be opening its doors for Christmas for the final time this weekend in one of a number of events taking place across Bradford.The closing of the public toilets in Haworth is also mentioned in the same newspaper:
Elsewhere in the district this weekend, Haworth will be lit up by a procession of torches, and one of the nation’s best loved children’s books and films will be brought to life on ice.
Christmas is coming to Red House Museum in Gomersal this weekend for the final time as the period house is due to close its doors in just under a fortnight.
The Friends of Red House are busy helping staff to prepare for the last major event - Red House at Christmas, which takes place on Sunday.
The house will be decorated as it might have been in the 1830s, when Charlotte Bronte was a regular visitor.
There will be a traditional kissing ball hanging in the hall, as well as performances from the Nonsuch Dulcimers, Honley Brass Band and the local community choir.
Jacqueline Ryder, chairman of the Friends of Red House, said: “This will be a bittersweet occasion for so many people, knowing that the museum will close to the public on 21 December.
“But the Friends and staff are determined to make the event one to remember.
“The afternoon will close with carol singing and fireworks.”
Red House Christmas will be open between noon and 4pm.
A decision was taken by Kirklees Council in October to close Red House and another museum due to budget cuts.
The Grade II-listed 17th-century cloth merchant’s home was frequently visited by Charlotte Brontë and was featured in her novel, Shirley.
In Haworth, the atmospheric torchlight weekend is taking place in Main Street.
Tomorrow there will be a carol parade at 3pm at the foot of the Haworth Church steps, where people can sing Christmas carols and listen to traditional festive music.
On Sunday the torchlight procession will begin at 4.30pm from beside the Christmas tree in Main Street.
Residents and visitors can walk up the cobbled Main Street together carrying candlelit torches and singing carols.
The procession is followed by a traditional candlelit carol service in Haworth Parish Church. (David Jagger)
Haworth's remaining public toilets could close as part of Bradford Council's swingeing budget cuts.The Atlantic Magazine asks what the most interesting family in history is:
The blocks at Central Park and the Brontë Museum car park are earmarked to shut, saving more than £53,000 a year in running costs.
Across the district, seven public conveniences are under threat. The total saving would be £144,600 a year. (Alistair Shand)
Glennon Doyle Melton, author, Love WarriorEugene Weekly recommends winter reads:
I’m fascinated by writers, sisterhood, and women ahead of their time—so if I could spend time with one historical family, it would be the Brontës. I’d thank Anne, Emily, and Charlotte for insisting on their right to creativity before the world gave them permission. And I’d assure them that we women now regularly use our own names on our books.
Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman.The Chicago Tribune looks for the best poetry books in 2016:
While reading Claire Harmon’s excellent biography of Charlotte Brontë — famed author of Jane Eyre — I found myself wondering how the Brontës would have fared in the 21st century. Harmon intimately describes the siblings’ faults and talents, creating a tangible portrait of the Brontë family in all its oddball charm. Would Branwell Brontë have sought help for his opium addiction and alcoholism, I wonder? Would Charlotte Brontë have found true love on eHarmony, crafting her image through writing to supplement her abysmally absent social graces? Would all four siblings have lived to a ripe old age, producing mountains of literary genius, instead of dying tragically young from tuberculosis?
I have always been intrigued by the Brontës and their churning creativity, so this glimpse into their world proved fascinating. Harmon depicts Charlotte Brontë with warmth and fondness, while keeping honest about the darker sides of her nature. Brontë’s blatant obsession with her professor is cringe-worthy, an unrequited infatuation that clung to her for years. But Harmon’s descriptions of Brontë’s sensitivity, her bluntness, her ability to craft fantasy worlds to which she mentally escaped, truly shed light on the complexity and deep intelligence that characterized the life of this great novelist. With every success Brontë encounters, I felt cheered, and with every obstacle, I despaired for her. As a woman and author in the 19th century, she faced difficulties at every turn, and Harmon’s biography portrays the full contextual magnitude of Brontë’s accomplishments.
If you’re looking for a book that makes you want to reach back through time and hug its subject, Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart fulfills every wish. (Amy Klarup)
Robyn Schiff, "A Woman of Property" (Penguin)Insider Media talks about Castle Hotel in Conwy:
Somehow this opens the floodgates to Thomas Hardy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Brontë, Flaubert, Aeschylus, "Jaws 3-D" and "The Spy Who Loved Me," but casually, as if the poem were a tractor beam sucking up whatever's at hand. It shouldn't work, but it works like — well, like a charm. (Michael Robbins)
A Lincolnshire-headquartered hotel group has snapped up a 17th century, grade I-listed hotel in Wales after securing a £10m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) earlier this week.Daily Maverick (SouthAfrica) reviews My Own Liberator by Dikgang Moseneke:
The Castle Hotel in Conwy, which was built on the site of a Cistercian abbey, has been bought by The Coaching Inn Group as part of a planned £50m expansion programme.
The 27-bedroom property retains many original features, including stone mullion windows and fire surrounds, and has a bar, restaurant and beauty salon.
Past visitors have included William Wordsworth and Samuel Johnson. Charlotte Brontë spent her honeymoon at the hotel and the Queen of Romania visited the restaurant while convalescing in Llandudno in 1890. (Stephen Farrell)
When recreating his years on Robben Island he reimagines his “10pm-to-midnight crusade on the island” and how during the even lonelier hours he worked his way through writings of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Chaucer, Shakespeare’s tragedies, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, TS Eliot, Keats. (Mark Heywood)KTEP talks about slash fan fiction:
Slash plays with the relationship between creator and audience, injecting adult themes into decidedly non-adult content to see what happens, and commenting on an overall lack of queer characters in fiction. And what of the original creators whose works form the basis for this remixed lit-smut? Well, to be fair, they did conjure fantasy worlds with virtually limitless possibilities. "It's like they're begging us to fix them," says one of the heroes in the new coming-of-age comedy Slash, a line which amounts to the film's most succinct explanation for why these writers do what they do. As we're told repeatedly, the Brontë sisters themselves wrote their own form of fan fiction. (Andrew Lapin)Déjà Vu TV on The Worldin:
Stories have been reinvented for centuries. Shakespeare reworked Chaucer’s poem “Troilus and Criseyde” into a play. “The Lion King” bears a noticeable trace of “Hamlet”. In “Wide Sargasso Sea” (1966), Jean Rhys unravelled the history of Antoinette Cosway, Mr Rochester’s spurned wife in “Jane Eyre”. These works provoke us into analysing the original story: what was left out, and why? Why do its themes endure? (Rachel Lloyd)Info Chrétienne (in French) mentions a well-known story of Emily Brontë and Keeper:
Emily Brontë frappa très violemment le sien au point de le laisser à moitié aveugle.Le sien, c’était Keeper, un chien qui oubliait, volontairement ou non, l’interdiction de se coucher sur les lits et avait, ce jour-là, reçu la correction promise, avant d’être soigné avec amour par sa maîtresse ; c’était aussi un chien qui n’oublia pas l’écrivain après sa mort et resta, prostré, devant la porte de sa chambre la nuit, après avoir accompagné sa dépouille lors de ses funérailles. Une récente étude empirique tend à prouver que le meilleur ami de l’homme dispose, comme ce dernier, de la mémoire épisodique, mais de manière bien plus limitée dans la durée. (Hans-Søren Dag) (Translation)