Friday, March 03, 2017

Hastings & St Leonards Observer reviews ExploreTheArch’s take on Jane Eyre, The House of the Heroine, which is part of the Jane Eyre Project at St Leonards-on-Sea.
This new take on Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a dreamy expressionist piece exploring Jane’s psychological battles through voices in her head and the conjuring of avian creatures from a bird book. The profusion of string, pulleys and paper props, signatures of the company, are present but the production’s team have explored new ground in this gothic piece.
Bewick’s History of British Birds, the book that a ten year old Jane hides with at the beginning of the novel, has bought to life the idiosyncratic birds operating as metaphors for Jane Eyre’s experiences. Performer, Gail Borrow, personifies the exuberant creatures playfully. The two cockerels vibrantly morph into bullies, John Reed of Gateshead Hall and the zealous wannabe missionary, St John Rivers. This mirroring of the attitudes of the two male cousins in Jane’s life creates humour which quickly spirals into startlingly chaotic theatrical moments in the production.
Maria McAteer plays Mr Rochester’s Parisian mistress gliding out of the shadows to pursue a friendship with Jane Eyre that beautifully capitalizes on the freedom of the imaginary companion. McAteer’s spirited delivery is warm. This is the strength of this production-taking a peripheral character only reported on in Brontë’s novel and offering Jane Eyre a female figure to confide in, to share confidences with and rail against.
And Mr Rochester? An arresting choice in this production is the portrayal of Jane’s lover as a scarred grand piano. The instrument dominates the space, framed by the twigs and thorns of Thornfield Hall, Rochester’s country home. Composer Vladimir Miller explores every aspect of the instrument in his composition, playing the inside of the instrument as well as the keys. The live music in this intimate space serves to heighten the performance at times and support more natural moments at others. Not being driven by plot like many current Jane Eyre adaptations, the production affords actor Charlotte Ellen playing Jane Eyre the space to interpret the personal battles of arguably the most famous literary orphan. (Erica Smith)
Coinciding with World Book Day yesterday, We Are the City tells about the results of a survey carried out by Powwownow which has revealed the most memorable lines in literature, including
9. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Also in connection with World Book Day, the Belfast Telegraph asked 'some Northern Ireland personalities about the tomes they've turned to again and again'.
Jan Carson: Wuthering Heights
Jan Carson (37) is an author of two books, Malcolm Orange Disappears and Children's Children, and a community arts development officer. She lives in Belfast. She says:
More than any other novel or short story collection, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, is the book I've returned to most often and continue to revisit almost annually. It's not my favourite book, but it's such an essential part of my journey as a writer and a person.
It was the first book to actually make me cry. It still can. It is beautifully written and full of well-drawn, memorable characters, but it is also a dark and disturbing read and stands in stark contrast to the needlepoint and carefully controlled love affairs laid out in Jane Austen's novels.
I first read Wuthering Heights aged 16 and it was so compelling, so gritty and passionate, that it shaped my reading tastes for years to come.
I fell in love with the other Brontës, with Thomas Hardy, with Tennessee Williams and later with Flannery O'Connor, and discovered that I had an almost insatiable appetite for raw, complex, brutally honest storytelling.
Later, when I came to write my own stories, Wuthering Heights inspired me to create characters that were flawed, intriguing and always ready to defy expectation. Every time I read Wuthering Heights it ruins me in a different way." (Lee Henry)
Yahoo! Finance imagines what several literary characters' salary would be these days.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Zillah, Housekeeper – £18,000
While Zillah’s job involved living on-site in a remote location, most live-in housekeeper jobs are now advertised in London, where the average salary is just over £20,000. [...]
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Miss Scatcherd, History Teacher – £38,250
While the average salary for a history teacher is around £30,000, Miss Scatcherd’s years of service means she would be at the top of the pay band. (Mark Dorman)
According to The Irish News, Wide Sargasso Sea is one of '7 feminist novels that will change your life'.
4. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
What’s it about?
Were you ever made to read Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre at school? This is the same story, but rewritten from the perspective of the madwoman in the attic – otherwise known as Antoinette Cosway. She is a Jamaican heiress who is married off to an Englishman, renamed Bertha and sent to live in England.
Why should I read it?
Brontë’s novel is a classic, but Wide Sargasso Sea sheds a whole new light on the tale. It’s a powerful post-colonial novel: not only does Antoinette have to deal with her patriarchal society (she’s married off against her will and her husband is significantly never named), but it also addresses her experiences as a black woman in 1800s England.
You’ll also be captivated by Rhys’s descriptions of Jamaica in stark contrast to the England that Antoinette is forced to fit into. (literarylainey)
The National Student has selected the '10 top destinations for literature lovers in the UK', which of course include
4. The Brontë Parsonage and Top Withens, Haworth, West Yorkshire
The Brontë sisters sure were inspired by the surrounding landscape. Their lifelong family house is now transformed into a museum, which is open to visitors all year round. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Walk to the nearby Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse which is said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw family home in Wuthering Heights. It definitely captures the spirit. (Polly Vodenicharova)
The Yorkshire Post recommends several literary-related locations in the county.
Brontë Country
The Brontës are inextricably linked to the brooding, windswept moors surrounding Haworth. In Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë’s pulsating tale of love and alienation, the book’s narrator Mr Lockwood writes in his journal: “This is certainly a beautiful country!” And it is hard to disagree. (Sarah Freeman)
Blackpool Gazette looks at literary locations in Lancashire, with a side-eye look at Yorkshire.
While Lancashire can boast three properties on the HHA [Historic Houses Association] trail, neighbouring Yorkshire has only one, Norton Conyers near Ripon, where Charlotte Brontë stayed when she was working as a governess.
While there Charlotte heard a story about a lady known as “Mad Mary” who had been incarcerated in one of the gable rooms.
And that tale inspired her to create the character of mad Mrs Rochester in her classic novel Jane Eyre.
Radio Times also points to literary destinations around England with a lovely infographic.

More literary locations, as iNews shares '20 memorable quotes about Edinburgh' including
“My dear Sir, do not think that I blaspheme when I tell you that your great London, as compared to Dun-Edin, ‘mine own romantic town’, is as prose compared to poetry, or as a great rumbling, rambling, heavy Epic compared to a Lyric, brief, bright, clear, and vital as a flash of lightning.” Charlotte Brontë
In this letter of 1850, author Charlotte Brontë tells her companion that London and Edinburgh are two very different cities. She even makes reference to the famous line from Marmion, which she also quoted in her novel Jane Eyre. (Gillian McDonald)
The New York Times interviews author Richard Holmes about books.
What’s the best classic novel you recently read for the first time? For a month last summer I sat on a garden bench under a cherry tree in France, and very slowly read Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” All I can say is that it was an utterly transporting experience. I fell in love with Anna, and she joined my private pantheon of tragic 19th-century heroines: Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest and Henry James’s Isabel Archer (in “The Portrait of a Lady”). As a biographer, these books simply remind me of the matchless power of great fiction to create a permanent world and a unique life, that nonfiction can never really quite reach (though Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Brontë comes close). It’s a humbling, but also uplifting, experience. I can still taste the cherries. [...]
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite? I would be looking for some brilliant combination of intelligence, flirtation, scandal and intoxication. My first thought was the three Brontë sisters, but though Romantically fascinating, with haunting anecdotes of the real Heathcliff and the real Jane Eyre, this might be a rather grim, heartbreaking gathering in the end, and disturbed by the absent ghost of their tragic brother Branwell.
Evening Standard Magazine features Héloïse Letissier, aka Christine and the Queens, who
grew up in Nantes, in the west of France. A shy, bookish child, she would lose herself in ‘Dickens and the Brontë sisters, and French poets and theatre’. (Emily Jupp)
YS News features a group of poets called the Tower Poets.
They call themselves the Tower Poets. They meet at the home of Conrad Balliet, just outside of Yellow Springs. They share poems, laughter and friendship. And raisin bread, freshly baked by Balliet.
“I kind of imagine it as England in the Brontës’ time … or a literary salon from the 1920s,” said poet Lori Gravley, a Yellow Springs resident who has been part of the group for over two years. “It’s a sharing of poetry. It’s warm, not a critique. And it always ends with raisin bread.” (Audrey Hackett)
This columnist from El periódico de Aragón (Spain) writes about Jane Eyre after having seen the stage version in Barcelona.
Las lecturas de la infancia y adolescencia perduran en la memoria como un tesoro recóndito, al margen del implacable olvido; así, de tanto en tanto tornan a la luz, muchas veces de forma tan sorprendente como inesperada. Es justo lo que me acaba de suceder merced a la representación de Jane Eyre, en el Teatro Lliure de Barcelona. Al finalizar mi séptimo año del Bachillerato Técnico Administrativo, las alumnas dejamos de redactar cartas comerciales en inglés para introducirnos en la literatura inglesa; tuve entonces ocasión de leer la versión original de la celebérrima novela de Charlotte Brontë y sumergirme en la apasionante y romántica vida de su protagonista, tantas veces llevada al celuloide y, en esta ocasión, a la escena, encarnada por Ariadna Gil. En el relato, Charlotte nos traslada muchas de las vicisitudes que con tanta dureza le afectaron personalmente, como la experiencia de un cruel internado y sus sombrías perspectivas vitales, amenazadas por carencias afectivas y también materiales, incluso una escueta nutrición que tanto favorecía la omnipresencia de dolencias como la tuberculosis, auténtico azote que sacudió con extrema violencia el devenir de la familia Brontë y que también terminaría por arrebatarle la vida a Charlotte. Jane Eyre se alza contra la desventura y se enfrenta a la adversidad haciendo gala de sólidos valores morales; sinceridad y bravura se dan la mano sin menoscabo de la tolerancia y comprensión a lo largo de muchos años de dramáticas tinieblas, hasta que la novela, tras hacerse mucho de rogar, alcanza un final feliz... que la existencia de su autora no compartió. Y es que, en la vida real, lo peor del ser humano exhibe un falso y nefasto brillo que tiende a eclipsar las auténticas virtudes. Que ahí siguen, ¡claro que sí! (Carmen Bandrés) (Translation)
Diari de Girona has an article in Catalan on being young.
En la majoria de novel·les del segle XIX, algú que tingués l'edat que tinc jo ara –seixanta anys– era un ancià sense remei. No sabem l'edat exacta que té la usurera de Crim i càstig, a la qual Raskólnikov assassina per ser una vella inútil i repugnant, però és molt possible que no tingués més de 55 o 60 anys, que eren molts per a la seva època. I en molts relats de Txèkhov apareixen personatges que no han complert encara els seixanta anys, encara que tots reben el qualificatiu d'«ancià» i se'ls descriu com a persones gairebé invàlides que s'han d'acontentar a observar de lluny les distraccions dels joves i a tenir cura de l'hort de la casa de pagès, si és que tenen la sort de tenir una casa de pagès. I pitjor encara és la sort de les dones d'aquesta edat, que es veuen condemnades a una existència estèril, treballant en silenci a la cuina o cosint en un racó. Ja no poden aspirar a res més. Txèkhov es compadia d'elles, i crec que és el primer escriptor home que ho fa. En canvi, abans que ell sí s'havien compadit de les dones grans les poques escriptores femenines que hi havia, com Jane Austen, Emily Brontë o Emilia Pardo Bazán. (Eduardo Jordá) (Translation)
Books by Women discusses social media in novels and imagines
how some classic works would be altered with the addition of social media: Juliet could send Romeo a quick snap cluing him into her fake suicide ploy (and the snap would essentially self-destruct upon viewing, ensuring that her plan remained secret); Jane Eyre might have scrolled far back enough through Mr. Rochester’s timeline to find evidence of his first wife; and the entire plot of The Importance of Being Earnest would fall apart once the characters could check Instagram and realize that neither Jack nor Algernon was in fact Ernest. (Kathleen Barber)
Bustle lists '7 Unexpected Ways Loneliness Can Affect Your Health' and recalls the fact that,
In music and literature, loneliness often takes center stage. From Emma Donoghue's Room to Charlotte Bronte's depiction of Jane Eyre in her eponymous novel, from Akon's smash hit "Lonely" and almost every song by The Smiths, loneliness is consistently depicted in popular culture. (Georgina Lawton)
Ipswich Star has a quiz which lets you find out 'how well do you know Dickens, Austen and Brontë'. A reader of The Telegraph and Argus has written a letter to complain about the closure of public toilets in the area. A reader of The York Press wonders why youngsters' reading habits have changed. Letterpile has an essay on 'Hindley's Cruelty in Wuthering Heights'. Shanaya Tales posts about Jane Eyre.

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