Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner interviews writer and poet Simon Armitage:
He was invited to curate an exhibition, recently opened, at The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Branwell Brontë, brother of the famous literary sisters and black sheep of the family.
Simon admits that before tackling the project he knew little about Branwell (whose story of drug addiction, thwarted ambition and alcoholism was recently featured in a Sally Wainwright television drama) and was more familiar with sister Emily’s poetry. But he has attempted to get into the mind of the troubled only son. The starting point of the exhibition, which links 10 Armitage poems with 10 Branwell artefacts, is a letter and poem sent by Branwell to the acclaimed poet William Wordsworth. As one poet to another, how does Simon rate the ill-fated young man’s work? “You can see the poem is full of repetition and cliches,” he says. “But there are some great lines in there as well. His poetry is young and very enthusiastic and ambitious and imitates the Romantics of the era, in particular Byron and Wordsworth.
“He never got a response to the letter, which is a little bit heartbreaking. But Branwell was precocious and very puffed up in his letter, and he irritated Wordsworth by criticising some of the poets of the day, but not by name.”
When writing the Brontë poems, Simon says he couldn’t avoid imagining who and what Branwell would have been today. “One of the objects in the exhibition is his wallet,” he explains, “ and I wanted to think about what it meant to him – it was always empty. In the poem it becomes a contemporary object; there’s a condom in there, his dealer’s phone number, a credit card with cocaine on the end of it.” (Hilarie Stelfox)
The Observer talks about this year's Berlinale and mentions the film Viceroy's House which contans a curious Brontë reference:
The most opulent movie at this year’s festival was Viceroy’s House by Gurinder Chadha, a behind-the-scenes story of the partition of India. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson, as Lord and Lady Mountbatten, lead a squadron of character notables including Simon Callow and Michael Gambon, although the film’s emotional centre is the Muslim-Hindu Romeo-and-Juliet romance played out by Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal. The script sometimes struggles to transcend the required history lesson, although it’s a sumptuous film, and never boring. But its account of the nightmare of partition sometimes states the obvious. As the contents of Delhi’s Viceroy House are split between the two new nations, even the library has to be divvied up – Pakistan gets Wuthering Heights, India gets the complete Jane Austen. “But this is absurd!” protests Lady M, with Anderson doing her crispest Celia Johnson voice. (Jonathan Romney)
BBC Culture reviews the film God's Own Country:
This sense of place, and of tactile immediacy in the detail and dirt of its wild location, at times recalls Andrea Arnold's viscerally damp and windswept take on Wuthering Heights, but there is nothing ethereal about [Francis]Lee's vision of rural life. (Jessica Kiang)
The Sunday Times reviews the dance piece Town and Country:
Country has a delightful backdrop of a village in a valley (like a 1930s travel poster), the cast in frocks, smocks and jodhpurs, a stormy Wuthering Heights love segment and (echoing Ashton again) a jaunty clog and tap dance that accidentally squashed a puppet hedgehog. The finale is elegiac. (David Dougill)
This columnist in The Sunday Herald recommends novels for therapy:
To get us started, there are a number of books I would suggest that every doctor should have in their consulting room, ready to prescribe at any minute whatever the problem. Acne and teenage angst for instance. Just prescribe The Diary Of Adrian Mole and the patient will understand that the spots will go away in time. The angst, on the other hand, never does. I can also see doctors prescribing Jane Eyre to anyone suffering depression over the state of their marriage and before long the advice will be clear. Do try counselling or couples therapy. Do not try locking your wife in the attic and marrying someone else. (Mark Smith)
VilaWeb (in Catalan) interviews Ariadna Gil on her upcoming role as Jane Eyre in a new theatre adaptation to open in Barcelona:
—Coneixíeu l’obra Jane Eyre?—No. I ha estat una gran oportunitat. És de les millors coses que m’han passat últimament. He descobert tot un món, i tota una època. La duresa de la vida i l’anhel d’independència. Amb els Brontë també he vist que hi ha famílies on tots són brillants. Això passa i et demanes, què els han donat de petits? Jo he quedat enamorada de Jane Eyre i Charlotte Brontë. I el procés d’assaig ha estat molt exigent. Però potser el més feliç de la meva vida. Positivament, molt gran. Senties que treballaves molt, però sense patir. La intel·ligència de la Carme Portaceli ens ha guiat a tots. No t’ho diu tot de cop, per exemple. Els canvis, un per un. Et sents superacompanyada. Ho he gaudit molt. (...)
—He vist que, a banda de la novel·la, recomaneu molt la biografia sobre Brontë escrita per una amiga seva.—Sí. Molt. Escrita per Elizabeth Gaskell, escriptora de l’època. Eren amigues. I quan va morir Charlotte Brontë va escriure aquesta biografia per encàrrec del pare de Brontë. El pare va enterrar els seus sis fills. I el privilegi és que vas llegint una persona que parla amb la gent que va conviure amb la Brontë. També hi ha multitud de cartes de Brontë amb els editors. Allà entens qui era aquesta dona. El criteri que tenia. I veus que s’assembla molt a la Jane Eyre de la novel·la. Recordo, per exemple, el pobre home que venia el paper a les germanes. Els trossos de paper on escrivien les seves obres. L’home, es veu, ho passava fatal quan se’n quedava sense. La cara que feien les germanes quan veien que no en quedava, de paper! Elles eren dones que vivien únicament per escriure. I escriure conjuntament. (Read more) (Andreu Barnils) (Translation)
El Español (in Spanish) talks about the playwright José Zorrilla:
Es el momento de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, de Rosalía de Castro, de Cecilia Böhl de Faber, de las hermanas Brönte (sic), de Jane Austen, de Emily Dickinson, de Mary Shelley… La mujer no sólo alcanza al hombre sino que, además, lo supera
En este contexto, José Zorrilla adapta la obra a ese cambio de tendencia. El argumento no puede alejarse del protagonismo que toma la mujer, que poco a poco van haciéndose dueñas y señoras de gran parte del argumento. Parece increíble, pero hasta el XIX es difícil incluso encontrar obras que sean protagonizadas por personajes femeninos. Sin embargo, éste es el siglo de Karénina, Emma Bovary y Ana Ozores; de la Teresa de Espronceda; de Fortunata y de Jacinta; de la Alicia de Carroll; de Berenice; de Jane Eyre. Y Zorrilla, insisto, no puede obviar este giro: su doña Inés no será, ya nunca más, la simple novicia que sucumbió al Tenorio. (Carlos Mayoral) (Translation)
Best Movie (in Italian) reviews the film Fallen:
Jane Austen ed Emily Brontë dietro a Bella Swan, Katniss, ‘Tris’ Prior, Lucinda “Luce” Price, col distopico spacciato per utopico e la deformazione per formazione. Lo sdoganamento del “chick flick” coll’aggravante della serialità, un “Twilight biblico”. (Mauro Lanari) (Translation)
Diary of an Eccentric shares a list of best reads of 2016 including Rita Maria Martinez's The Jane and Bertha in Me.

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