Thursday, June 01, 2017

Keighley News shows just how busy June is going to be for the Brontë Society.
On Friday June 9 our annual Brontë Society Festival Weekend begins, when Brontë Society members from across the UK and abroad visit Haworth and enjoy a packed programme of events.
The director of the National Theatre’s Jane Eyre (now touring) will be joining us on Friday evening, and Skipton-born writer Blake Morrison (author of And When Did You Last See Your Father?) will deliver our annual lecture on Saturday morning in Hall Green Baptist Chapel.
These events are open to all, so please call or visit the website to buy a ticket.
On Thursday June 15, we’re looking forward to welcoming Hebden Bridge-based artist Kate Lycett to the museum for a special Meet the Maker evening.
Kate specialises in painting landscapes and townscapes, and the Bronte Parsonage now features in her portfolio.
Come along to hear about Kate’s collaboration with the museum, and discover more about her recent Lost Houses exhibition which features High Sunderland in Halifax, reputedly the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
Entry is free to the shop, and after 5.30pm museum entry is free to visitors living in the BD22, BD21, BD20 postcode areas and also to those living in Thornton. Visitors can also enjoy 10 per cent off the shop’s Kate Lycett range throughout the evening.
Towards the end of the month we’re getting into the spirit of the Haworth 60s weekend with a nod to the 50th anniversary of Mike Nichols’ movie The Graduate.
Join us on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25 at 2pm for free talks about the Mrs Robinson who allegedly had an affair with Branwell whilst he was employed as tutor to her son; an affair that led to his dismissal and subsequent decline.
We begin Monday, June 26, the 200th anniversary of Branwell’s birthday, on a cheerier note, with a birthday breakfast at the place where Branwell was born in Thornton; Emily’s café.
Guests can enjoy a delicious selection of pastries, while Ann Dinsdale, our Principal Curator, shares her experience of ‘living with Branwell’ over the past 27 years.
Back at the museum, and throughout the day, there will be informal talks about Branwell, an opportunity to paint Branwell – or yourself! – into the iconic Pillar portrait.
There will also be a screening of documentary film A Humble Station? which explores Branwell’s time in the Calder Valley.
The birthday celebrations end with Poetry at the Parsonage on July 1, when we’re delighted to welcome Simon Armitage, Patience Agbabi, Jacob Polley, Kei Miller, Zaffar Kunial and Clare Shaw to Haworth.
These award-winning poets will lead workshops throughout the day, whilst Haworth’s Old School Room will play host to open mic, and become the stage for ‘Poetryopolis’ in the evening.
This will be a feast of a treat for poetry lovers, featuring readings from Simon, Patience, Jacob, Kei, Zaffar and Clare.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear some of the most vibrant poetic voices on the contemporary scene! (Richard Parker)
Keighley News also features a new book on Sylvia Plath ( Gail Crowther and Peter K Steinberg’s These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing Of Sylvia Plath) and highlights the poet's connection to Brontë Country.
The poet and her then husband, poet Ted Hughes, visited Haworth in 1956 where she compared the local countryside to her beloved ocean. She wrote to her mother: “These moors are really even better, with the great luminous emerald lights changing always, and the animals and wildness.”
Plath sketched Top Withens in the freezing wind, and during a visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, admired Charlotte’s watercolours and her siblings’ miniature children’s books. (Richard Parker)
Museums Association News has an article on Kirklees Council putting the Red House up for sale.
Kirklees Council will sell the former Red House Museum, a Grade 2 listed 17th-century building that was frequented by the Brontë sisters, after turning down three bids from community groups to take over the site.
This means that instead of a community asset transfer, the site will be sold on the open market.
But campaigners have vowed they will continue to fight to keep the building in the community.
Lisa Holmes, a Conservative councillor at Kirklees and a member of the Gomersal Community Group, which was one of the three bidders for the museum, said she was “incredibly unhappy” with the council’s decision and with the lack of an appeals process.
The community group was hoping to take over both the museum and the Gomersall Public Hall, and had been offered up to half a million pounds by a private donor to take over the venues.
The council rejected the bid on the grounds that it was too commercial, and had questions about the governance model the group proposed, but Holmes claims that the council would not work with the group to improve the bid, and would not consider a bid for both buildings together.
“We were only turned down for Red House, we are still on track for Gomersall Public Hall,” said Holmes. “But we will continue to fight for the museum and until the day the gavel goes down on the auction we won’t give up on it.”
Museums Journal is still waiting for comment from Kirklees Council.
The museum closed in December after the council halved its funding for museums and galleries. Nearby Dewsbury Museum closed in November.
The Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion are hoping to create a community hub on the site of the former Dewsbury Museum, and aim to work with local history societies in Dewsbury to explore the possibility of setting up a local history study facility in the building, with a view to creating displays.
Most of the collections from both museums are being held in secure storage while the council considers how they should be displayed in future. A number of items on loan have been returned to their original owners. (Patrick Steel)
Essential Surrey gives 5 stars to Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.
This production is absolutely magnificent from beginning to end. From Clifford’s awe-inspiring performance as Jane to Paul Mundell’s nuanced turn as Rochester’s faithful hound Pilot, each member of the 10-strong company is quite simply a triumph. It is an incredibly physical piece enacted around the striking wood and iron playground-style set designed by Michael Vale, which sees the actors and musicians constantly climbing, running and marching throughout the action. (Jane McGowan)
Foyles has a Q&A with Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney, authors of the new book A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf.
What prompted the idea of a book on female literary friendship? The two of us met right at the beginning of our writing journeys, during a time when we were still secretive about our fledgling work. In fact, it took us a year before we admitted to each other that we were writing in our spare time. Since then we have helped each other with the many uphill struggles and shared every moment of celebration. This got us to wondering whether our favourite writers of the past had enjoyed the same kind of support. Lots of male duos came to mind: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. But we struggled to come up with many examples of female literary friendship because women who write are often cast as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses: Jane Austen cooped away in her country cottage, Charlotte Brontë roaming the moors, George Eliot too aloof to need the advice of another woman who wrote, and Virginia Woolf protecting her space at the top. Our own friendship taught us to question these portrayals, and so we set out to discover whether behind each of these great women was another great woman.
Linda's Book Bag has a guest post by the two authors as well.
When we began writing A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf, we set out to answer such questions.
We discovered that Jane Austen benefitted from an unlikely friendship with a family servant, the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontë was inspired by the daring feminist Mary Taylor; George Eliot shared her experience of stratospheric literary fame with Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of internationally bestselling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and Virginia Woolf was spurred on to produce her best work by her rivalrous friendship with fellow modernist Katherine Mansfield.
The more we researched the friendships of these great authors of the past, the more we began to wonder why these stories of female solidarity had been written out. 
Open Letters Monthly reviews the book Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll by Gillian Beer.
 In others, Beer detects not so much influence as delicate echo, as when she suggests that Carroll’s fascination with Mr. Lockwood’s terrifying nightmares in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights exerts a pull on Alice’s dream adventures in Wonderland—not as some form of direct correspondence, but as a mutual fascination with the dreamer’s agency within the dream. In this kind of juxtaposition, we can see how Beer’s approach to the Alice books tries to emulate their allusive playfulness: the reference to Wuthering Heights is both a literary critic’s strategy (hunt the source, much as one might hunt a snark) and extremely unexpected (one doesn’t usually think of ghost girls wandering the moors when Alice’s adventures come up for discussion). But the source slips away, as always, for while in the end Lockwood’s nightmares don’t explain Alice’s own dream experiences, they do illuminate how Carroll freely appropriates and warps his literary environment to create his uniquely bizarre effects. (Miriam Elizabeth Burstein)
Parka Blogs reviews Jane, le renard et moi.

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