Saturday, May 13, 2017

Daily Echo reviews the Jane Eyre performances at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton:
Director Sally Cookson has struck just the right balance in keeping the original plot and characterisations in tact whilst adding a timeless appeal and many modern devices to this brave new retelling of a literary classic. (...)
Were Charlotte Brontë alive today she would have been impressed I'm sure. The production opens with the cast declaring "It's a girl" - and the play ends with these words too, almost like a feminist proclamation of female power over adversity, whilst also announcing the inevitable circle of life. (Hilary Porter)
And The Porstmouth News:
The stark set has a band tucked into a maze of ladders and ramps which are used effectively to change setting by merely taking different routes through them. Brilliantly, the band are as much part of the action as the actors. When not playing, they are avidly involved watching in tight synchronicity, reacting to the story, and also moonlight as bearded young girls in the school Jane is sent to. (...)
As beautiful and well-produced as the show is, Jane Eyre’s, Rochester’s and Bertha’s fates were of less interest than whether the set would catch alight in the flames. (Zella Compton)
Words of Wander also reviews the production.

Winnipeg Free Press reviews Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker unfavourably:
It’s perplexing that Michigan author Sarah Shoemaker’s novel made it past these checks. Mr. Rochester takes the perspective of its eponymous hero instead of one of the novel’s many female characters and was written, according to its editor, because "Sarah was eager to read Brontë’s story from Rochester’s point of view — but... no such novel existed."
There is, in fact, at least one other Jane Eyre retelling devoted to Rochester’s perspective. But, more pertinently, if a new novel is to be devoted to Rochester’s (privileged, white, male) viewpoint, shouldn’t it productively add to existing conversations about race, social inequality, mental illness, sexual politics and agency in Jane Eyre? (...)
As in Brontë’s original, Rochester meets justice in the end, but his comeuppance — which might have yielded Mr. Rochester’s most interesting moments — is given only a handful of pages at the end of the novel, which are swiftly capped by the same breathless happy ending that makes Jane Eyre’s conclusion oddly unsatisfying.
As a bildungsroman, or novel dealing with a character’s formative years, Mr. Rochester never goes deep enough to adequately explain its lead’s later errors, and his voice remains stubbornly banal. Try as Shoemaker might, Rochester still isn’t the victim in Jane Eyre. (Julienne Isaacs)
The Guardian reviews Netflix's Anne with an E:
The second episode, directed by Helen Shaver (who, fun fact, played Vivian Bell in iconic lesbian romance Desert Hearts) enters darker territory. Matthew goes in search of Anne, who has been sent back to the orphan asylum by Marilla after being wrongly accused of stealing her prized brooch. She fends off all sorts of jeopardy and is eventually coaxed back to Avonlea, but this 21st-century Anne – a bit Brontë-ish, a bit Jane Campion – is more damaged and untrusting than previous incarnations. (Chitra Ramaswamy)
Not the only review:
In the best of the classic novels of the late 19th and early 20th century that are beloved of certain teenage girls, there’s a careful balancing act between the sensibility of the heroine and the sensibility of the world around her: The more gothic and lurid the world, the more sensible the girl, and vice versa.
Jane Eyre, with its gothic haunted mansions and madwomen in attics, requires sensible, acerbic Jane, who when asked why she isn’t afraid of a fortune-telling gypsy woman, replies sharply, “I’m not silly.” (Constance Grady on Vox)
A very good adaptation of Anne is buried within the Jane Eyre–esque Gothicism of “Anne with an E.” The cinematography is exquisite, the lead actress is bewitching, and the interplay between Anne’s dark and light sides makes for a fascinating update. (Dean Van Nguyen in Huffington Post)
The freckled redhead is on the train, sneering, like everyone else, at the idea of a crying infant on public transport. In her case, it’s because the wails trigger a flashback to her bitchy former foster mother. She recovers in time to quote Jane Eyre and then grill her minder about the Cuthberts' love lives. (Erin Donnelly in Refinery29)
Mashable lists the best British films 'you've never seen':
Wuthering Heights 2011
What's it about?
It's an adaptation of the 1847 novel by Emily Brontë, which tells the story of a homeless boy's turbulent relationship with the daughter of the man who takes him in.
Why should you watch it?
Andrea Arnold's adaptation of Wuthering Heights isn't a perfect film, but the cinematography and the sound mixing are perfect. The sights and sounds of the moor are infused with so much life and movement that the landscape almost becomes a character in its own right. (Sam Hayson)
The Minneapolis Star Tribune interviews the comedian and television host Jay Leno:
Q: What does your wife, Mavis, collect on the same scale as your love of cars? (C.J.)
A: I always tell people, “You want to marry your conscience.” Marry the person you wish you could be. My wife got a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. She works with women in Afghanistan, women’s rights issues. You can guess which side of the [President Donald] Trump thing she’s on. My wife is a voracious reader. She reads at least one book a day. I like to get her first editions, Dickens and Brontë sisters. But she doesn’t really ask for anything. She doesn’t really collect things.
The Guardian has an interview with the author Lucy Hughes-Hallett:
Hughes-Hallett, who had a younger as well as an elder brother, was not cool, and was more interested in 19th-century novels than the American-influenced counterculture. Her autodidact mother thought children should start on grown-up books “as soon as they possibly could, she would have been appalled by the concept of young adult fiction, I think rightly, so when I was 11 or 12, I was reading Charlotte Brontë and War and Peace.” (Susanna Rustin)
The Lancashire Telegraph talks about the upcoming Pendle Walking Festival:
The Pendle Walking Festival, from August 12 to 20, will celebrate the magnificent circular trail at the borough’s heart.
Visitors will be asked to complete the whole ‘Way’, including section seven from Newchurch to Barley over the summit of Pendle Hill, East Lancashire's most famous and visible landmark.
In total there are 61 walks mapped out for the festival and year-round for hikers to follow in the footsteps of the Brontë sisters, the Pendle Witches and George Fox, founder of The Quakers. (Bill Jacobs)
The New York Observer reviews the film Une Vie:
With this beautifully rendered live wire of a tragedy, [Stéphane] Brizé brings a contemporary vitality to an exacting period recreation in a way that calls to mind Cary Fukunaga's 2011 take on Jane Eyre. (Oliver Jones)
Keighley News announces one of the talks that will be held at the Brontë Parsonage Museum next month:
The mystery of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Thackeray Dress’ will be unpicked at 3pm on June 9.
Dress historian Eleanor Houghton will talk about Charlotte’s blue and white delaine dress at the West Lane Baptist Centre in Haworth.
She will offer an insight into the subsequent ownership of the garment, it’s cut and its construction, as well as the production and printing of the fabric. She will also attempt to answer the question of whether the dress was worn to a dinner held in Charlotte’s honour at the home of William Makepeace Thackeray in June 1850.
Finally, following a recent collaboration with the Department of Electro-Chemistry at the University of Southampton, she will reveal new findings that offer scientific insight into the fibres, dyes, mordants and methods used to produce the beautiful blue fabric that remains vivid to this day. (Richard Parker)
Publishers Weekly announces a new YA novel, Waking Romeo:
In a deal for a U.S. debut, Sarah Barley at Flatiron Books bought world English rights (excluding Australia/New Zealand) to Kathryn Barker’s YA novel, Waking Romeo. The book follows a character named Jules Capulet who, in a future world, is reeling from the end of her romance with a classmate called Romeo; it has left him in a coma and her as a social outcast. The publisher said the novel was pitched as “Romeo and Juliet meets Wuthering Heights.” The latter comes into play with the entrance of a character named Heathcliff Ellis who, Flatiron explained, is “a time traveler sent on a mission to ‘wake Romeo.’ ” The Gernert Company’s Sara Burnes represented the author, who is Australian. (Rachel Deahl)
SBS reviews the film Ma vie de Courgette:
At the heart of the action is Icare, a nine year-old boy who calls himself Zucchini. It’s a nickname his heavy-drinking mother gave him before he accidentally caused her death while playing with empty beer cans. With the help of a kindly policeman, he is sent to an orphanage where he meets other children who have suffered similar neglect and abuse. Yet as with the book, it’s no horrific Lowood Jane Eyre-type tale. The people running the orphanage are understanding and realise that creating a family of any sort is better than none at all. (Helen Barlow)
The Times reviews Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls:
There are nine entries from the UK, including the mathematician Ada Lovelace, the paleontologist Mary Anning, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth I, Virginia Woolf and the Brontë sisters. (Helena de Bertodano)
SoGlos interviews Everyman Theatre's creative director Paul Milton:
Do you have a favourite genre, or does it depend on the individual story? (Kathryn Godfrey)
What I really love is gothic Victorian novels, and I love to see this kind of thing on the stage – women burning in the attic, Heathcliff on the moors – that heightened drama!
The Times talks about streaming and pop-charts:
The fact that it’s the first 30 seconds that count towards the streaming figures is starting to influence the way songs are written. The blandly unthreatening intro is now being favoured over the eccentrically unusual. If you can get the instant sugar-rush of an easy Adele intro, who would bother with the oddness of, say, the opening of Wuthering Heights? Strikingly original pop is unlikely to emerge from a system that favours familiar sounds that won’t make the listener swipe off during those crucial first 30 seconds. (Will Hodgkinson)
YA literature in Clarín (Argentina):
Es que de la literatura juvenil se abren a otros caminos. Para los jóvenes son biblias Cumbres borrascosas y Orgullo y Prejuicio, por ejemplo. También leen Demian, Rayuela, a Stephen King o a Edgar Allan Poe. (Cristina Alemany) (Translation)
Die Welt on domesticity and privacy in literature:
In den Werken verschiedenster Schriftstellerinnen – Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Brontë, Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joan Didion, die Liste ist lang – erkennen die Professorinnen dieselbe Tradition: für Schriftstellerinnen waren Heim und Häuslichkeit selten positiv besetzt und erschienen als beengende Erfindung von, na klar, Männern. (Sarah Pines) (Translation)
Il Giornale talks about literature and gastronomy:
La letteratura in cucina, e la cucina in letteratura. La bibliografia è grassa. Anni fa, una docente di Letteratura italiana a Bologna, Maria Grazia Accorsi, invitò a mangiare tutti i Personaggi letterari a tavola e in cucina (Sellerio, 2005), tra romantici che non mangiano, realisti che lo fanno con misura, decadenti solo cibi raffinati: le tartine del giovane Werther; la farinata di Cime tempestose; i muffin della zia Chloe nella Capanna dello zio Tom; i pasticci di Capitan Fracassa... (Luigi Mascheroni) (Translation)
Pijamasurf finds this ultraslow Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights video fascinating; the writer Faiqa Mansab is a Brontëite according to Kitaab; Books for Mks reviews The Professor; Middle Name Brain explores Jane Eyre and Gilbert & Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic. Creative Multilingualism has an article on the many translations of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

Let's finish with the spot of an Italian reading campaign: Patto per La Lettura, where Wuthering Heights is on the very center:
Il ministro di Beni Culturali e Turismo Dario Franceschini ha lanciato a Roma il primo di tre spot a sostegno della lettura, realizzati dal Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, che andrà in onda sulle tv nazionali accompagnato da altre iniziative che ogni emittente deciderà di fare. (...) Nello spot di trenta secondi, realizzato da Paolo Santamaria, 26 anni, viene letto un passo di 'Cime tempestose' di Emily Bronte. "Il libro non è multitasking. Lo spot sottolinea proprio quello spazio esclusivo per se, di lentezza preziosa", ha spiegato Franceschini. (Source)

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