Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Telegraph and Argus has a lovely letter from a reader concerning Mary Taylor's bicentenary celebrations.
SIR – I attended the Sunday morning service at St Mary’s Church in Gomersal, prior to laying the flowers on behalf of the local Brontë Society at the grave of Mary Taylor and what would have been her 200th birthday.
It was a pleasure to carry out those duties, for Mary was an inspirational woman, a feminist and businesswoman who travelled the world, wrote books and was a friend of the Brontë family.
May I through your newspaper thank the church for their support, Flowers by Salindras in Heckmondwike for providing the beautiful flowers and the children of St Mary’s School in Gomersal for their display of Mary Taylor which was much admired by the people who were present.
John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge
The Bolton News has a an article on the stage adaptation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which opens at the end of this month.
Bolton's Octagon Theatre and York Theatre Royal has announced the casting for its forthcoming production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Based on the novel by Anne Brontë, this new adaptation by award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew will be directed by the theatre's artistic director Elizabeth Newman.
She said: "Deborah’s adaptation has beautifully captured the passion and the bravery of Anne Brontë’s exquisite novel, which follows one woman’s fight for independence against all odds. [...]
"Audiences here in Bolton and in York will be transported into a world of mystery, intrigue, betrayal, and love."
Hitting the stage at the end of this month, the welcomes three newcomers to the Octagon, Phoebe Pryce who will be bringing enigmatic Helen Graham to life, Eccles-born actor Michael Peavoy - who has appeared in shows including the BBC's Musketeers - stars as handsome farmer Gilbert Markham and Nicole Lecky as Rose Markham and Lady Annabella Lowborough.
They will be joined by faces used to treading the Bolton boards.
These include Marc Small, following his roles in The Winter’s Tale and To Kill a Mockingbird, Two and Two 2's Colin Connor who is currently starring in Ashes at the Octagon, and Philip Starnier, who has featured in The Winter’s Tale, To Kill a Mockingbird and Singin’ in the Rain.
Susan Twist, who starred in Streetcar Named Desire, and Natasha Davidson, from The Secret Garden and A View From the Bridge, also return.
Youngsters Ollie Guffogg and Adam Crompton, who played Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird, hit the stage sharing the role of young Arthur, son of Helen Graham.
Completing the cast are two border collies, Tia and Eve, who will be playing Sancho with the help of their trainer and owner Elspeth Brown. (Rosalind Saul)
The end of March will also see the release of the new poetry collection by Simon Armitage, as reported by Keighley News.
Branwell Brontë champion Simon Armitage is launching his latest batch of poetry in Haworth this month.
Leading British poet Armitage is this year’s creative partner with the Brontë Parsonage Museum in the year it celebrates the 200th anniversary of Branwell’s birth.
He will be at the Old School Room, next to the museum, on March 18 to read from his new anthology The Unaccompanied.
The 7.30pm event will also see Armitage in conversation.
In The Unaccompanied, Armitage gives a voice to the people of Britain with a haunting grace and his trademark eye for detail and biting wit.
Readers will meet characters whose sense of isolation is both emotional and political, both real and metaphorical.
There is a son made to groom the garden hedge as punishment, a nurse standing alone at a bus stop as the centuries pass by, and a latter-day Odysseus looking for enlightenment and hope in the shadowy underworld of a cut-price supermarket.
The event is the first in Haworth organised by Armitage in his role as creative partner following the launch of an exhibition Mansions in the Sky.
He created the year-long exhibition at the museum to mark the bicentenary of Branwell, notorious brother of famous writers Anne, Charlotte and Emily Brontë.
Visitors to the launch of The Unaccompanied can also attend an exclusive reception at the museum while viewing the exhibition.
Mansions in the Sky invites museum visitors into the mind and work of Branwell to discover exactly who he was. [...]
Simon Armitage has spoken of his interest in the “charismatic and complicated” Branwell.
He said: “As a poet of this landscape and region I recognise Branwell’s creative impulses and inspirations. I also sympathise with his desire to have his voice heard by the wider world.” (Richard Parker)
The Westmorland Gazette reports that the former Cowan Bridge School has received a grant towards its archive.
A former private girls' school with historic links to the Bronte sisters has been given a £27,000 lottery boost to help it celebrate 190 years of women's education.
The cash will be used to collect, catalogue and share documents and items relating to the women who studied and worked at Casterton School, near Kirkby Lonsdale.
The school, originally in Cowan Bridge, was founded in 1823 by Rev Carus Wilson to educate daughters of financially disadvantaged clergymen. It was attended by four of the Bronte sisters - Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily - and is said to have inspired Lowood, the school featured in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
The school moved to Casterton in 1833 and continued as a girls' school until a merger with Sedbergh School in 2013. It is now a preparatory school. (Alan Tunningley)
Such an aseptic description!

Mangialibri (Italy) recommends the Italian translation of Lyndall Gordon's Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life.
Charlotte, Emily, Anne e Branwell sono i figli del Reverendo Patrick Brontë, tre femminucce e un maschietto. Orfani di madre, dopo un’infanzia piena di dolore e lutti famigliari crescono ad Haworth, nel bel mezzo della brughiera dello Yorkshire, nel nord dell’Inghilterra. Tutti e quattro dotati di una fervida immaginazione e di una propensione naturale per la letteratura, già fin da piccoli iniziano ad inventare mondi e personaggi che li tengono occupati nelle lunghe giornate passate in canonica. Molto presto, però, la realtà prende il sopravvento e i fratelli devono iniziare a lavorare per mantenersi. Ed è proprio per migliorare la loro educazione e la conoscenza della lingua francese che Charlotte ed Emily decidono di frequentare un collegio in Belgio, a Bruxelles. Mentre Anne trova un impiego come istitutrice, e Branwell, a dispetto di tutte le grandi aspettative del padre, trova la sua strada nell’alcool. Sono lontani i tempi in cui i quattro bambini sognavano glorie future e il riscatto sociale. La vita reale si scontra con i sogni giovanili. Ma una natura appassionata, nonostante sia celata dall’aspetto virtuoso e freddo della donna vittoriana, non può che cogliere da questa vita tutto ciò che ha da offrirle, le esperienze, i contrasti e le emozioni, per farlo diventare arte…
Una vita appassionata, uscito in occasione del bicentenario della nascita di Charlotte Brontë, è una biografia atipica dell’autrice di Jane Eyre. Siamo abituati a considerare la più longeva dei fratelli Brontë come timorosa, debole, schiva e tenacemente attaccata alla vita ritirata della canonica di Haworth, in grande misura a causa della biografia che le dedicò Elizabeth Gaskell. Grazie a questo libro di Lyndall Gordon scopriamo invece che sotto la cenere il fuoco ardeva. Quella che Gordon ci vuole trasmettere è la figura, finora nascosta, di una donna viva, passionale e dalle forti emozioni. Una donna che non ha paura di essere schietta quando le conviene, anche davanti a dei grandi della letteratura come William Makepeace Thackeray. La vita di Charlotte viene esaminata attraverso un corposo contributo epistolare e attraverso la voce delle eroine dei suoi romanzi, che in un modo o nell’altro rispecchiavano la voce dell’autrice al momento della loro stesura. Un lavoro che ha visto l’autrice soffermarsi in modo particolare sulla volontà di Charlotte di far venire alla luce la voce vera delle donne vittoriane, e non quella fasulla che volevano ascoltare gli uomini dell’epoca. Appare inoltre centrale, nella sua vita, la presenza degli uomini di cui si innamorò e che in modi diversi la motivarono a scrivere. (Translation)
Suzanne Vega picks her 10 favourite books for The New York Times.
Wuthering Heights,” Emily Brontë
It took me a while to get into this book but now it is permanently in my heart. I love the convoluted storytelling — the first person narrator, a stranger passing by who stays the night with a bewildering family, dreaming strange dreams. Then the narration switches to the family nurse who tells a story from generations ago, which explains the current circumstances. I also love the wildness of the characters — their jealousies, pains, passions and obsessions — as well as the unabashed antisocialism of the world contained at Wuthering Heights and the love story at the heart of the book.
Jane Eyre,” Charlotte Brontë
Before there was “Wuthering Heights,” there was “Jane Eyre.” I will never forget reading the first chapter and the shock of recognition — the narrator is a young girl living with a family she is tangentially related to, and she longs for freedom. In time, she becomes independent (after a series of hardships which she endures stoically) all the while earning her living and finding love in the end. I love her for her plain, sturdy, sensible character. I identify with her.
The Huffington Post interviews writer Faye Kellerman:
If you could re-experience reading one novel as though reading it for the first time, which one would it be?Wow. That’s a tough one. [Laughter]. Leaving my husband’s books aside, and my son Jesse’s, I’ll pick Jane Eyre. It’s a very personal story of a girl who becomes a woman. I’d also say The Count of Monte Cristo, that’s a novel of world adventure and a swashbuckling account of extreme revenge.
Both books moved me as a teenager and opened my eyes to a world far beyond my very confined one. (Mark Rubinstein)
Chorley Guardian features local writer Rhona Whiteford, who is a Brontëite:
She says: “I really admire JK Rowling as she totally revolutionalised children’s literature.
“In the 1980s and 1990s ,children’s books were going downhill. Then she wrote Harry Potter and single-handedly boosted children’s literature. Now the market is booming.
“I also love Jane Austin [sic], Emily Bronte and Agatha Christie.”
Fotogramas (Spain) features actress Ariadna Gil, who is currently playing Jane Eyre on stage in Barcelona.
“Jane Eyre es una mujer que nos sigue sorprendiendo. Más, si tenemos en cuenta que la novela es de 1847. En un mundo de hombres, ella se rebela contra la injusticia, y hace cosas de una valentía y complejidad fantásticas. Y cuando cae, siempre se levanta. Es un canto a la dignidad. Encima, se nos explica una gran historia de amor”.
Cuando se le comenta que todas las entradas del Lliure se agotaron al poco de ponerse a la venta, lo atribuye al “interés que el texto, y toda la obra de las hermanas Brontë en general, todavía despiertan hoy. Estamos viendo que el público lo disfruta, y se emociona en cada representación”. (Pere Vall) (Translation)
Ara reviews the production in Catalan.
Charlotte Brontë devia sentir, poc o molt, el mateix que la seva heroïna Jane Eyre: una dona de classe humil però amb decisió per conduir la seva vida més enllà de les convencions socials i, sobretot, per damunt de les aparences i les hipocresies d’una societat dominada pels homes. A la Jane Eyre adolescent l’acusen de mentidera perquè es revolta contra el que considera injust. Però no calla. Accepta el càstig però no calla.
No és estranya la connexió entre la figura de Jane Eyre i Carme Portaceli, una directora feminista, reivindicativa i compromesa, malgrat el romanticisme de la novel·la. I aquest és probablement el seu projecte més rodó dels últims anys. Una posada en escena directa, emocionant, que combina el relat amb els diàlegs mantenint el pols d’una història en què es barreja dolor amb alegria, força amb delicadesa, sobre una àgil versió d’Anna Maria Ricart. Una funció gairebé en blanc i negre i amb impactants projeccions (d’Eugenio Szwarcer) que recrea els clímaxs des de la duresa de la dickensiana Lowood School fins al terror gòtic del Manderley de Hitchcock.
La novel·la té alguna cosa de drama exagerat, i Portaceli el serveix amb saviesa i solucions escèniques admirables, com el joc de la gitana que vol predir-li el futur a la protagonista. La intensitat emotiva recau, però, en els diàlegs, en les confrontacions entre Jane Eyre i el senyor de Rochester, que és on nia la millor literatura del text. Res seria així, però, sense la immensa puresa d’Ariadna Gil, fantàsticament secundada per Abel Folk. Entre ells hi ha veritat i el joc teatral és subjugant. Com n’hi ha entre Gil i Joan Negrié, el reconcentrat mossèn. Molt bé també Gabriela Flores com la dona boja de les golfes, a qui Portaceli regala una escena final per qüestionar Rochester i la seva bondat. Una escena que no pertany a l’original sinó a la novel·la de Jean Rhys Ancho mar de los Sargazos. Tots els intèrprets demostren una gran -i gens fàcil- comunió amb les directrius de la directora. (Santi Fondevila) (Translation)
Publishers Weekly celebrates the bicentenary of publishing house HarperCollins and lists its many milestones, including
1848 Harper & Brothers publishes the first American editions of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (Jim Milliot)
The Guardian is inviting readers to post their questions to Ruth Wilson, who played Jane Eyre in 2006, and who will be answering them during a live webchat at 1pm on Tuesday 7 March.

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