Sunday, March 26, 2017

More US newspapers announce tonight's US premiere of To Walk Invisible on PBS:

The New York Times:
At first the Brontë sisters tried being governesses — a miserable job, but good for mining material for the novels they would write as “brothers,” using masculine-sounding pseudonyms: Currer Bell for Charlotte (Finn Atkins), who wrote “Jane Eyre”; Ellis Bell for Emily (Chloe Pirrie), the author of “Wuthering Heights”; and Acton Bell for Anne (Charlie Murphy), who wrote “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Sally Wainwright (“Last Tango in Halifax,” “Happy Valley”) is the force behind this movie about the dutiful daughters of an ailing Yorkshire clergyman (Jonathan Pryce) and the ne’er-do-well sibling, Branwell (Adam Nagaitis), who inspired vivid characters in his sisters’ novels. (Kathryn Shattuck)
Northwest Arkansas Democratic Gazette:
Masterpiece presents To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters at 8 p.m. today on AETN. The two-hour film highlights the famous literary siblings who, against all odds, "had their genius for writing romantic novels recognized in a male-dominated 19th-century world."
The film was written and directed by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) and tells the tale of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, the dutiful clergyman's daughters who became the authors of "the most controversial fiction of the 1840s." (...)
Wainwright based the film largely on Charlotte's letters and concentrates on the three-year period "that saw them rise from ordinary, unmarried women, taking care of the household and their widowed father, to the secret authors of the world's most sensational literature."
"I hope people will be entertained and go away wanting to know more about the Brontës," Wainwright added. (Michael Storey)
The Times Herald-Record clearly has not done a proper research (check the final paragraph):
"Invisible" is a must for Brontë buffs and "Masterpiece" completists, but even they may find some of the dialogue hard to understand.
At first I thought this was a matter of local dialects falling deaf on American ears, but apparently many British viewers went on social media to complain about muffled audio.
The film includes a peculiar, unfortunate and blessedly short bookending gimmick, depicting the young Brontë children flush with imagination and playing some fantastic board game of their own devising.
It comes off as a desperate effort to attract "Harry Potter" readers. Equally jarring, the film concludes with a contemporary trip to a Brontë museum, where we all end up in the gift shop.
Neal Justin in the Kansas Star-Tribune is no lover of the new production:
Charlotte, Emily and Anne may have been the most successful sister act in literary history, but their real-life tale isn’t exactly a page turner. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion after watching “To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters,” a well-meaning but tedious biopic that does little to capture the brilliance and personalities of the women behind “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.” Perhaps director/writer Sally Wainwright purposely churned out a yawner in hopes that viewers would switch off their sets and crack open a classic novel.
Also in The Vindicator,  Detroit Free Press, East Bay Times, ...

The Silver Petticoat Review recommends the production.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch has an article on the columnist and writer Sara Payson Parton (aka Fanny Fern):
Although their names are largely forgotten, many American writers drew from Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” in the 1850s. And some were successful — very successful.
One million copies sold for one novel, “The Wide Wide World” by Susan Warner. Warner had, in fact, started writing her book before “Jane” took the English-reading world by storm. Her sister, Anna, also wrote popular novels and likened the American pair to the Brontë sisters. Between them, they published 21 titles — with most of the money going to pay their father’s debts, writes Elaine Showalter in “A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers From Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx.” (...)
Although “Ruth Hall” was apparently no “Jane Eyre” or “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Fern’s feminism and professionalism, Showalter writes, “cleared the path for Stowe and the new order of women to come.” (Jane Henderson)
Critic (New Zealand) reviews Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea:
This book lives on my bookshelf, in a case, with a plaque underneath: ‘A Modernist Triumph of Femme Freedom’. In 1969, Jean Rhys published Wide Sargasso Sea, a prequel and intervention to Jane Eyre, much like the prequel and intervention of my flatmate telling me I am cunty vomitty person the day after a party. However, where my flatmate sets a house on fire, Rhys burns it to the ground. This novel deconstructs the hysterical woman, especially as portrayed in the ‘feminist’ gothic text Jane Eyre.
Where Bertha in Jane Eyre is an elusive creature, so too is the tumbling narrative of Wide Sargasso Sea. The way the protagonist’s focus sways from the heave and seethe of the Caribbean jungle to her decomposing marriage lends itself to post-post-colonial dialogue. (...)
This is a baffling read and for such a short novel, it is surprisingly dense. Not because of the content, but because of the space that the narrative is meant to occupy. Wide Sargasso Sea alleviates the limitations of Jane Eyre, and celebrates the existence of a) humans and b) women, no matter their mental state, background or role within society. Like a Lana Del Rey song, Wide Sargasso Sea works to validate and celebrate self-indulgent sadness; it is a love letter to the tides of hedonistic apathy, commiserating the vilification of those who suffer loss without need for redemption or forgiveness. Most importantly, Rhys drives for the continuation of the human voice through dissolution to insanity. In short: it’s a good time. (Zoe Taptiklis)
The Sunday Times reviews the biography Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World by Kathy Chamberlain:
She herself was rumoured to be the author of the pseudonymously published Jane Eyre. She admired Charlotte Brontë, but disliked Jane Austen (“too washy — watergruel”) and said of George Eliot: “She looks Propriety personified. Oh, so slow!” (Paula Byrne)
Also in The Sunday Times, an interview with Reed Hastings founder and CEO of Netflix:
As I wait to meet the CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, two PRs are talking about how as children they were obsessed with books. “I used to read under the covers so my mum didn’t know,” says one. “Yes, I set fire to a T-shirt using it to dim my bedside light,” says the other. This, they agree, is how people feel about Netflix. A new episode is like the next chapter: gobbling down the Gilmore Girls is the same as piling through Jane Eyre. I’m not sure whether this conversation is for my benefit. (I wouldn’t be surprised.) (Janice Turner)
BuzzFeed lists several classical films 'every woman should see'. Including Jane Eyre 1944 where Orson Welles plays one Mr Rotchester, apparently:
Joan Fontaine plays Jane Eyre who works as governess at Mr. Rotchester's home. She falls in love but struggles under numerous circumstances that keep her apart from Mr. Rotchester. (juldarps)
Reading is my Superpower interviews the author Barbara Cameron:
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Barbara: It’s got to be Jane Eyre. I first read the book when I was about twelve and fell in love with her spirit and her loving kindness. I wore out several copies of that book and loved being able to teach it when I later became a college English instructor.
El Día de Córdoba (Spain) interviews the writer Rodrigo Fresán who thinks that David Lynch could be a perfect director for a Wuthering Heights film:
-En la segunda parte tiene gran importancia la familia Brontë y especialmente Cumbres borrascosas, "un libro tóxico y con alto poder de contagio". (Braulio Ortiz)
-Lynch podría hacer una adaptación maravillosa de ese libro. Estamos ante una novela que, es curioso, por el tema y el tono ya resultaba antigua en la fecha en la que aparece, y sin embargo anticipa muchas de las cosas que vendrán después. Todo lo que hicieron las hermanas Brontë es fascinante. A mí me gusta mucho Jane Eyre, pero también otro libro de Charlotte que se llama Villette, y las dos novelas protofeministas de Anne [La inquilina de Wildfell y Agnes Grey]. Lo interesante de Cumbres borrascosas es que puede verse no tanto como una novela de vampiros como de vampirizados: el vampiro pasó, los mordió a todos y los dejó allí.  (Translation)
Vivere Pesaro (Italy) vindicates the work of the writer Grazia Deledda:
Le sue tematiche hanno un'impronta verista, tenendo conto che la Deledda è una profonda osservatrice della Sardegna antica, dell'interiorizzazione della sua terra. Ne La Madre, la Deledda recupera il significato dell'Isola del mito, di una certa impronta anglosassone come Cime tempestose di Emily Brontë. Ma la Deledda viene definita anche una scrittrice, anche superficiale, estimatrice di Carolina Invernizio. (Paolo Montanari) (Translation)
The Readiness is All reviews Wuthering Heights.


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