Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:36 am by Cristina in , ,    No comments
Sheila Kohler discusses madness in literature on Psychology Today.
Women, too, if they did not toe the line were often put away, or even lobotomized during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. We see this wonderfully portrayed in two examples in literature: "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë which is contrasted with "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys. In Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel, with its Gothic elements (cries heard coming from the third floor in the night , mysterious fires,  and stabbings) madness is portrayed with all its grisly details in the person of Rochester's Creole wife, Bertha Mason. The tainted child of a lunatic mother, she is dangerously violent, and stabs and bites her brother Richard Mason, as well as attempts to set Mr Rochester on fire. At the end she brings the whole house of Thornfield down in a grand conflagration, jumping to her own death.
She is hardly human, without sex or language, an it: "In the deep shade, at the farther end of the room, a figure ran backwards and forwards. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not at first sight tell." Yet, she is described as cunning, stealing the keys to wander at night through the house. Is she suffering perhaps from tertiary syphilis contracted because of her relationship with Rochester?
Writing in 1966 Jean Rhys takes up this story of "madness" from the start and on the contrary gives us the Creole wife's history (she comes from Jamaica) and her real name, Antoinette Cosway. She is sold to Mr Rochester though he is never named in the later book. She has no rights, has forfeited all her money on her marriage, and has no legal protection from her husband who betrays her. He brings her to a foreign land, England,  and locks her up alone with only Grace Poole as her drunken guardian, where she retreats from reality into dreams.
The London Economic also mentions Grace Poole.
A book is not a monologue, it is a conversation. Writers who do not realize this either go unpublished or are bores. Thus there is the importance of Grace Poole in Jane Eyre, Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Polonius in Hamlet, or Catherine Howard in Young and Damned and Fair. (Hubert O'Hearn)
The News & Observer interviews writer Robert Wallace.
Recommended read: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. My daughter is a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro, currently taking a Victorian Literature course. We have a long-standing history of reading books together, so I decided to read the books her class was reading. This story contains many themes, but at its heart, it is a love story. I also read the recent biography “Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart” by Claire Harman. I found the story of Charlotte Brontë, and her equally-talented sisters, and the entire Brontë family, quite tragic but fascinating. (Teresa Leonard)
Out reviews the film A Quiet Passion.
"He fumbles at your spirit/ As players at the keys/ Before they drop full music on/ They stun you by degrees.”
Those lines make Dickinson Davies’ best critic. His emotional intimacy recalls André Téchiné’s visionary film The Brontë Sisters, Alan Rudolph’s Dorothy Parker bio-pic, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle as well as the sense of mortality (and radical film form) that inspired Carl Dreyer’s Gertrud. A Quiet Passion refuses categorization in a gay film ghetto. It ranks with the finest achievements in all of film. (Armond White)
Taft Midway Driller interviews filmmaker James Gray about his film The Lost City of Z.
Q: The story is true, and pretty amazing, and the protagonist, Percy Fawcett, is a fascinating guy. What made you say yes to doing it, the story or Fawcett?
A: I guess it always comes down to character. He was a very troubled person and in real life considerably darker and more racist than he is in the movie. But you have to make those sacrifices for a greater truth. If you were to really make him the way that he was, you’d have to have a lengthy bit of exposition to lay the groundwork for what the tenor of the times were. I was struck by how his need to explore was about filling up this hole inside of him. Certainly, to explore is often a noble quality. But sometimes it’s just a way of trying to escape from all of life’s great indignities. There was a passage in the book where it talked about how Fawcett’s father was an alcoholic and a gambler who had ruined not one, but two family fortunes, and had taken the family name into the trash. Fawcett himself had had a very strict education in Victorian England. And even the way he married his wife was enough for a whole Brontë novel. I felt, well, this is an interesting guy. (Ed Symkus)
The Plain Dealer reviews the latest DVD/Blu-ray releases, including
To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters
This biopic feels like one of the Brontë sisters' own novels. Life looks bleak for Emily, Charlotte and Jane in 1845. Expected to stay home to take care of their father and brother, they escape into their imaginations with stories and poems. When Charlotte realizes their writing offers them a possible way out of their dreary situation, they fight to gain recognition for their work. But of course it isn't easy for female writers to be taken seriously in the 1800s. This 2016 BBC biopic stars Finn Atkins, Charlie Murphy, Adam Nagaitis, Chloe Pirrie and Jonathan Price. It aired on PBS on March 26. 120 minutes. From PBS Home Video. Released April 11. pbs.org (Chris Ball)
We disagree with every single point of this article on 'Why Jane Eyre Is Not A Good Role Model' on OdysseyLove London Love Culture shares some images from the UK tour of Jane Eyre. The Brontë Sisters shares pictures of her lovely Brontë watercolours. The Brussels Brontë Blog has a post on the talk on Charlotte given by Helen MacEwan and Sam Jordison on April 1st. On AnneBrontë.org, Nick Holland has written about Maria Brontë, née Branwell.

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