Friday, June 02, 2017

Friday, June 02, 2017 8:26 am by M. in , , , , , , ,    No comments
One of the coauthors of A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf presents the book in The Islington Gazette and in The Telegraph:
Did Jane Austen have a confidante she called on for literary advice? What about George Eliot? Or Virginia Woolf? We’d heard that Charlotte Brontë had been a friend of the Cranford author, Elizabeth Gaskell. But they had become acquainted near to the end of Brontë’s life. Was there anyone else, other than her author sisters Anne and Emily, to whom Brontë could turn for support? (...)
In addition to the influence of her famous sisters, Brontë’s work was also shaped by her friendship with the feminist author Mary Taylor, who she met at boarding school. Taylor encouraged the literary ambitions of the future author of Jane Eyre, and convinced Brontë that she should accompany Taylor for a period living in the Belgian capital of Brussels – where she would scandalously end up falling in love with a married man. (...)
Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney will be in conversation with author and playwright Samantha Ellis at Waterstones Crouch End on Wednesday June 7, 19:30. (Emily Midorikawa)
Charlotte Brontë is perceived as one of three long-suffering sisters, scribbling away in a draughty parsonage on the edge of the windswept moors. The George Eliot of popular imagination is an aloof intellectual, shunned by more conventional Victorian ladies. And Virginia Woolf haunts the collective memory as a depressive, loading her pockets with stones before stepping into the River Ouse. (...)
The truth is, becoming a published writer has always been a struggle. Jane Austen didn’t see her debut book published until 15 years after she penned the initial draft. Charlotte Brontё’s first novel was turned down, and lay in a bottom drawer until after her death. Knowing how much harder it would have been for each of us to keep at it without the other for support, we began to wonder whether our favourite female authors of the past had also enjoyed these kinds of friendships. (...)
The friendships detailed in A Secret Sisterhood shed new light on the lives of the nation’s most celebrated female authors. Charlotte Brontë, we learned, enjoyed a lively friendship with the pioneering feminist writer Mary Taylor, whom she met as an adolescent at boarding school in 1831. The intrepid young woman persuaded Charlotte to leave the familiar moorland of Yorkshire behind for a joint adventure in the Belgian capital of Brussels, and her forthright views on the importance of financial independence for women encouraged Charlotte to pursue her literary ambitions. Mary even makes an appearance in Charlotte’s novel Shirley, reimagined as the forward-thinking character of Rose Yorke. (Emily Midorikawa)
The Bookseller announces that Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is the nation's favourite book according to WH Smith:
In celebration of its 225th anniversary year, retailer W H Smith has revealed Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier to be the nation's favourite book of the past 225 years.
The retailer asked its customers to look back on the books that have "stood out, changed perspectives and stayed with their readers long after the last page" in order to find the nation’s favourite book of the past 225 years.
Votes were cast via social media and the W H Smith blog, with the selection narrowed down to a shortlist made up of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and 1984 by George Orwell. (Natasha Onwuezemi)
The conductor Kenneth Woods posts a summary of the English Symphony Orchestra season with a particular focus on their performances of Jane Eyre by John Joubert:
Well, Jane Eyre was the first time I ever got to experience what it might have been like to be there in Karlsruhe in 1876. No, Jane Eyre is not Brahms 1, but it is, I’m quietly confident, the finest English-language opera written since the death of Britten. So did people notice? Did they get it? Of course, there are always those whose perceptive powers are sadly dulled by arrogance and routine. We can only pity them (him?). For all the others, it was an unforgettable night. To be part of something like the ovation John received at the end, with everyone in the orchestra and the audience standing for him, well, it is a moment to treasure forever. A great example of how music can bring people together. I’m very glad the recording we made that week is available, and I’m very proud of how it sounds, but I would have been perfectly happy to tuck the premiere of Jane Eyre into the most secure vault of my most precious memories and never listen to it again. It was that special.
Katona's HamletHub lists some child and YA nonfiction reads:
The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne” by Catherine Reef: The short, difficult lives of the Brontë sisters are rendered in elegant prose. While Reef doesn’t sugarcoat the sisters’ tragic experiences, she knows her audience and treads softly. (Sally Allen)
The Alton Post Gazette reviews the touring performances of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre:
Every once in a while there comes along a theatrical tour-de-force that is so mindblowingly good that it renders its audience almost speechless.
This is the case with the Bristol Old Vic’s production of Jane Eyre, currently playing at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. (...)
The main characters are supported by a strong company, taking on the parts of the characters who stride through the pages of Charlotte’s book, and some immensely adaptable musicians. The staging is superb: sparse yet effective lighting and decor helps weave a magical spell that creates the set in the audience’s mind. And even that spare staging has the ability to shock as the tale is told.
This is a wonderful production.(JSB
More reviews can be read on Pocket Size Theatre and My Theatre Mates.

Female Desire on Literary Hub:
Passionate feelings of all kinds could look unfeminine. Even writing about them was risky. Charlotte Brontë felt obliged to apologize for her sister Emily’s rendering of the “harshly manifested passions, the unbridled aversions, and headlong partialities” of northern folk in Wuthering Heights. That a quiet, well-behaved girl could even imagine a Heathcliff was somewhat unseemly. Emily had been unworldly, a home-bred country girl, Charlotte explained, much accustomed to the rough folk of the rugged moorlands, and it showed in the “perverted passion and passionate perversity” of her characters. Not that Charlotte herself was able to fully disguise her passions: her love for the (married) French teacher, Professor Constantin Héger, with whom she lodged and worked in Brussels in the 1840s, was a disruptive influence in her life and erupts through the surface of her novels. (Carol Dyhouse)
Blasting News (Mexico) posts about Wuthering Heights:
Si ya has leído Cumbres Borrascosas, sabrás de antemano que es una novela en donde se describen muy nítidamente las pasiones humanas, es una historia cargada de odio, amor, rencor y venganza. El ingenio de Emily Brontë al escribir con brillantez un libro tan pasional en una época tan reprimida y sin haber experimentado tantas relaciones humanas, definitivamente deja anonadado al lector. (María Teresa Horta Reyes) (Translation)
Medium is not quite right when it says:
Charlotte Bronte created the harsh worlds of Jane Eyre and Villette because of her day job as a governess. (Bianca Bass)
None of those novels were written, as a matter of fact, when Charlotte was working as a governess.

Open Democracy chooses a reading list for bleak times:
In moments of crisis the need for empathy and understanding becomes acute. It’s one of the reasons I often turn to Atwood when the world looks bleak. Her work so often focuses on women’s stories and experiences. I draw strength and determination from that moment of recognition – when elements of my own experiences living as a woman in an unequal society are reflected back at me. I also find myself rereading a novel written in secret by a woman more than 150 years ago: Jane Eyre. (Sian Norris)
Kylie Lang in The Courier Mail quotes Charlotte Brontë in an article about menstrual leave:
Surely, the Victorian Women’s Trust is joking in its advocacy of menstrual leave.
No, the philanthropic body — named after the state of Victoria and not the era when women, as Charlotte Brontë wrote in 1847, were expected by their “more privileged fellow-creatures” to “confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings” — is serious.
Keighley News and Keighley Online have a reminder of the land art depicting Branwell Brontë on a bicycle as being shortlisted for a regional award. More on the threatened future of the public toilets in Haworth on Keighley News. Univision misquotes Charlotte Brontë: "Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive” is a nice quote, but not by Charlotte. The Little Professor reviews Mad Richard by Lesley Krueger. The Lily Garden reviews the 2013 anime Aoi Hana / Sweet Blue Flowers.

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