Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:34 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
March, which is Women's History Month, is coming to an end, and this columnist from The Cornell Review has decided to end it controversially claiming that we don't need it.
Do you think Susan B. Anthony, Jane Austen, Ida B. Wells, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Brontë sisters, or any other of the incredibly accomplished women throughout history sat back and considered their femininity and the gender barriers they imagined in their way before going out and making a difference in their worlds? Chances are, we as American women wouldn’t reap the benefits of our equal rights now if they had. (Leona Marie Sharpstene)
Oh, but the Brontës absolutely did, and there are plenty of examples we could quote, but we have picked this from a letter by Charlotte Brontë:
To you I am neither man nor woman. I come before you as an author only. It is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me--the sole ground on which I accept your judgment.
So yes, those sound like the words of a woman who 'sat back and considered [her] femininity and the gender barriers [she] imagined in [her] way'. And we would venture to say that precisely because she (they) did you are reaping many (not all yet) of 'the benefits of our equal rights now'. And so, seeing how wrong the claim is, the conclusion is that we do need Women's History Month. Also, if you are going to mention the Brontës, please don't use them as an example of the opposite of what they worked for.

Coincidentally, The Times has an article on Sir Walter Scott, now considered a ‘farsighted feminist’ and 'an unlikely champion of women’s rights'. The article mentions his influence on many writers:
Scott, an acclaimed poet as well as a novelist, influenced a host of writers, including Balzac, the Brontës, Dumas, Hans Christian Andersen and Tolstoy. (Marc Horne)
Kenneth Woods - Conductor reviews John Joubert's Jane Eyre.
Transforming a great novel into a great opera poses many challenges, but the greatest of these is the fact that musical and literary forms work so differently. The 19th Century novel tends to start at “in the beginning” and to finish at “The End;” it is no accident that some of the most successful adaptations of Brontë’s Jane Eyre have been those for serialised television. Most musical forms, particularly instrumental ones, tend to start at the beginning and finish at a transformed version of the beginning. Repetition, development, restatement and transformation are the building blocks of musical form. Wagner was perhaps the first composer to understand this tension between narrative, linear literary form and architectural, developmental musical form in opera. Part of what makes a vast work like Tristan und Isolde so coherent and satisfying is the extent to which it works symphonically as well as dramatically.
In Jane Eyre, John Joubert and librettist Kenneth Birkin have managed the crucial balance between storytelling and structure about as well as it can be handled. Joubert’s Jane Eyre, while spiritually true to Charlotte Brontë, dispenses with much of the expository and descriptive content of the novel and focuses intently on the emotional journey of the protagonist as viewed through six pivotal scenes in her life.
Part of what makes the opera so compelling, apart from its staggering beauty, is Joubert’s mastery at balancing the levels of musical structure in the work. Each scene forms a sort of self-contained symphonic whole, while both acts are unified within themselves yet distinct from each other. Each act finds cohesion through the theme which opens it- neither of which is ever sung. In the case of Act 1, the mysterious opening in the viola, an enchanted musical “Once upon a time…” if there ever was one, achieves a kind of fierce monumentality at the climax of Jane and Mr. Brocklehurst’s contentious duet at the send of Scene 1, then a bleak stentorian savagery in Rochester’s despairing aria at the end of Scene 2, before being transformed into music of mystic tenderness at the opening of Scene 3. When we hear it in the closing bars of Act 1 we sense the completion of not only the first part of the musical journey, but the end of the first part of Jane’s life. (Read more)
La Vanguardia (Spain) lists things you will only experience in the UK and mentions that 2017 is the Year of Literary Heroes.
La literatura está más viva que nunca
2017 es el Año de Héroes Literarios en Inglaterra, la excusa perfecta para vivir tus propias aventuras en los mismos escenarios que inspiraron a Shakespeare, Jane Austen o las hermanas Brontë. Y es que solamente en territorios únicos como el indomable Yorkshire podrás contagiarte del espíritu romántico que influyó a Emily Brontë para escribir una de las historias más apasionadas de la literatura, Cumbres Borrascosas. (Translation)
Repubblica (Italy) finds a Brontëite in writer Jennifer Niven.
Sul suo sito sono elencate le donne, vere o immaginarie, che ammira di più. Ci sono Emily Brontë, Alice nel paese delle meraviglie, Flannery O'Connor, le Charlie's Angels: tutte antitesi delle damsels in distress..."Sono molto diverse tra loro, ovviamente. Ma hanno anche qualcosa di davvero speciale in comune. La forza. La determinazione. La voglia di non essere passive. La capacità di sfidare i luoghi comuni. Per questo sono le mie muse, e lo saranno sempre". (Claudia Morgoglione) (Tramslation)
El Periódico (Spain) interviews writer Rodrigo Fresán:
That's apparently the Brontë sisters' candlestick.
A la portada y como personaje secundario regresa Mr. Trip, el muñequito viajero, el juguete de su hijo. Sí, ahora aparece tuneado con el osito y la manta, el candelabro de las hermanas Brontë y el escudo de armas de los Nabokov. Dos autores que se pasean mucho por este libro. (Elena Hevia) (Translation)
Financial Review begins telling the history of Larnach Castle (the only castle in New Zealand) as follows:
While star-crossed lovers Catherine and Heathcliff faced their own travails in Wuthering Heights, Larnach Castle's owner William Larnach was arguably even less fortunate, losing two consecutive wives to premature death – both at the age of 38 – before his favourite daughter died in her 20s. (Georgina Safe)
BookBub Blog recommends '21 Classics Worth Revisiting with Your Book Club' including both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.


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