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Patricia Sullivan: the Brontë sistersWhile certainly not wealthy, we find it rather untrue to say that the Brontës 'lived in poverty'. Not to mention unfair to the many, many poor people in Victorian England.
When she was around 13, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan's mother introduced her to "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" — two books that led to a personal "pivot moment," she said. The novels, by Charlotte Brontë and her younger sister, Emily Brontë, respectively, gave Sullivan an image she said she had never seen before: a woman using her intellect to carve her own path.
"In those books, women were doing things and starting things," she said. "They had jobs. They were intense, making their own way, and just pulsing with emotion and power."
When Sullivan told a cousin, who was working as an attorney on Wall Street, that she dreamed of a career in law, he responded that his firm would never hire a woman. Her sister said, "you can't do that; woman don't do that." But Sullivan was buoyed by other evidence — protagonists Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw.
"What it did for me, it allowed me to imagine life paths that didn't depend on submitting to a relationship," Sullivan recalled.
When she was older, Sullivan researched the 19th-century authors, as well as Anne Brontë, whose "Agnes Grey" is another favorite of hers. She is as inspired by the Brontë sisters' grit and determination while living in poverty as by their raw talent, Sullivan said. (Jacqueline Tempera)
Sanchez’s contribution to this season is to stage the current mainstage production of Charlotte Brontë’s romantic novel Jane Eyre. Published in 1847, it has captivated readership for more than a century and a half. The tale has inspired 20 films, three musicals, two operas, two ballets, a symphony and more.The Scotsman reveals the Edinburgh International Festival line-up, which will include the following:
Sanchez is using British playwright Polly Teale’s stage adaptation, a rendition that distills the novel’s most crucial events. The production uses music, movement and choreography to creatively tell the Victorian story of love on the moors of Northern England. Jane is a simple but feisty young woman who transcends the tragedies of her troubled childhood as an orphan to become a governess at a mysterious estate where she falls in love with its enigmatic lord, Edward Fairfax Rochester. But her new life is threatened by social inferiority and gender inequality. Her relationship with Rochester requires her to find her way through moral challenges.
Sanchez’s artistic design team and actors are bringing elements of their own creativity to the production of this Gothic story. The actors will play musical instruments, and sound designer Jane Shaw has written original music for the show.
Sanchez first read Brontë’s novel when she was 13. “It honestly changed my life,” she says. “Jane was a heroine altogether different from any I had encountered. She was smart and strong and not afraid to speak her mind. She was most comfortable in nature, least comfortable when required to be charming. In fact, she’s reviled, punished and mistreated because she is ‘plain’ — yet Jane is essentially downright beautiful, but (she was) hated because her beauty is unique and doesn’t fit what is expected by social norms.”
Sanchez is excited to use Teale’s adaptation. “It’s a wonderful invitation to be as creative as I like,” she says. “Polly and I had a great meeting over Skype — she lives in London — and she invited me to bring my own style to the work. She’s done an incredible job with the text, distilling the book, finding the most essential moments.” (Rick Pender)
Pulp frontman Cocker will be joining forces with Canadian musician Chilly Gonzales to showcase a new set of songs inspired by the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, where the likes of Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes all stayed. The same stage will play host to an array of big-name stars on when Edinburgh-based Canongate stages its star-studded celebration of the power of written correspondence. Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave, Juliet Stevenson, Jude Law and Russell Brand are among those to have brought to life letters by Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Charlotte Brontë and Che Guevara. (Brian Ferguson)The Comics Journal interviews R. Sikoryak, who was of course the author of Masterpiece Comics (2009).
Reading the book [Terms and Conditions], I couldn’t help but think that it must have been such a daunting task to track down all these comics that were precisely right for what you were attempting to convey with the material at hand. Were you ever hesitant about the project because of this? Well, in some ways it was less daunting [than my previous works]. Because I try to adapt heavy, important works of literature, usually, like Crime and Punishment or Wuthering Heights, it sometimes gets daunting to struggle with a work that people are very familiar with, and that has characters that people really love. What was great about the Terms and Conditions for me was that there’s no narrative, and no one has an emotional attachment to it, at least not in the same way. I certainly don’t! It freed me up, it liberated me from having to worry about being faithful to it because there’s not a narrative to be faithful to. And it doesn’t lend itself to illustration in an overt way. I wasn’t interested in choosing a text that would be cinematic [laughs], I was interested in a text that didn’t have those concerns that I usually have when I’m doing a text. By choosing a text that had no narrative, it meant I could use the narratives of the comics that I was parodying to provide drama, or suspense, or humor. It was, in a way, a relief. I don’t know how I could do this again! [laughs] But for this project it was kind of a break from the way that I normally make comics. The length was daunting in a certain way, especially when the terms got longer as I was going, and I had to go back and revise them, and then add twenty more pages in the end. But that just gave me an opportunity to add more different styles, so in a way, ultimately I’m happy that they strung me along like that. In terms of me being daunted by it, it was a little overwhelming but I could see the end of it, I knew the end of the text. I knew there was an end. My only concern was that they were going to update them again, and I would have to update them again, but ultimately it was finite. It wasn’t as if I was writing an inter-generational family saga that took place on multiple planets or something—Oh, I have to take care of those people I introduced! So it was very different than something like that, you know, I wasn’t doing Dune. (Rachel Davies)The Dispatch wonders whether women can 'move beyond the veil'.
In another nod to Women’s History Month, I set out to learn more about women using male pen names historically and currently in order to disguise their identities and successfully navigate the publishing industry.And yet she meant to keep it 'forever'.
When 20-year-old Charlotte Brontë sent a selection of her poetry to England’s poet laureate Robert Southey, she was told: "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life." The future author of “Jane Eyre” disregarded his advice. (Antionette Kerr)
Desde esa ironía, Christie habla de feminazis, de mutilación genital, de tocamientos no consentidos en los colegios, de campañas de lencería para mujeres “normales”, de brecha salarial, de la dictadura del físico… pero también de Virginia Woolf, de las hermanas Brontë, de Mary Wollstonecraft o de Malala, la niña víctima de los talibanes por querer estudiar que fue galardonada con el Nobel de la Paz hace dos años. (Carmen Domingo) (Translation)This columnist from Signature tells about her neurologist, a man who had never read any book by a woman.
After confessing that he had never read a book by a woman, he asked me for a book suggestion. “Which woman writers should I read?”This statement from Vogue certainly works against this effort and has us rolling our eyes:
The question left me speechless as it’s so huge as to be meaningless. I sputtered a bit, and he asked me if I would call his office later with some recommendations for him. As I drove home, the names of women writers and books I loved flooded my brain. Gloria Naylor. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Margaret Atwood. Carol Shields. The Woman Upstairs. Girls on Fire. Jane Eyre. These, and dozens of names and book titles flitted across my brain. (Lorraine Berry)
The second big there’ll-always-be-an-England theme here is old lace. Needlework, of course, was what all those clever young ladies from the Austen and Brontë novels were doing while matrimonial plans were being hatched in drawing rooms. (Bess Rattray)Fortunately, this sports writer from The Times seems to know his Brontës better.
Charlotte Brontë wasn’t thinking of Kerry attempts to beat Dublin when she wrote, “It is a pity that doing one’s best does not always answer” but she might as well have been. (Ronan Early)The Huffington Post lists 'Five Wedding Trends That’ll Surprise You This Summer', one of which is
Reading From Your Favourite Books. Ceremony readings have changed a lot over the years. While readings used to be strictly taken out from religious books, the shift has moved more towards non-religious content.We wonder whether this reviewer from BookRiot knows that one is an author and the other is a character. Hopefully it's just a pun on the name Jane.
Indeed, couples have for a while now been writing their own readings or using poems and lyrics as the basis for this part of the ceremony. The newest trend that is going to be a big hit during the summer is citing from books. Literature offers plenty of romance and beautiful words about love. Passages from books like Wuthering Heights and The Bridge Across Forever could make the wedding ceremony unique and more personal.
Away from traditional romance, remember if you’re a fan of Irvine Welsh that your reading might not be for everyone! (Jay Feeney)
Catwings by Ursula LeGuinThe Art of Simple has a podcast which discusses The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
Street cats with wings ! That’s really all I should have to tell you before you run off and by this book. But I’ll elaborate: Down in an alley dumpster, in a busy city, Mrs. Jane Tabby gives birth to four kittens. These are not ordinary kittens, however– each one has been born with a pair of wings. Worried for their safety, Mrs. Tabby sends the siblings to a better life in the country, where adventures ensue. The wonderful illustrations and odd, but interesting tone (think Jane Austen meets Jane Eyre, with cats) appeals to both kids and their parents. (Kristy Pasquariello)