Saturday, February 17, 2018

The visit of the Duchess of Cornwall to Yorkshire and the Brontë Parsonage, in particular, is all over the place:
The Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the Worth Valley in Yorkshire today, and it seems she enjoyed all of the literary connections involved.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where all three Bronte sisters wrote their novels. This year marks both the 90th anniversary of the founding of the museum, as well as the bicentennial of Emily Brontë’s birth. In honour of the latter, the museum has, through 2017, been recreating a manuscript of Wuthering Heights.
A museum spokesman said “During 2017, over 10,000 visitors participated in Clare Twomey’s Wuthering Heights – A Manuscript project, which set out to create a new version of Emily Brontë’s long-lost manuscript by copying it out one line at a time.
“Her Royal Highness will also meet Clare Twomey before writing the last line of Wuthering Heights into the newly-created manuscript in the very house where Emily wrote the original.”
The Duchess has long been a keen supporter of literacy project and is a patron of the National Literacy Project, as well as the BBC 2 500 words competition which is running at the moment. She was then no doubt very pleased that in addition to her guided tour of the museum by Principal Curator Ann Dinsdale, the visit also included a private reception where she met staff, and local children who had recently taken part in a creative writing competition organised by the museum. (Peter Anderson in Royal Central)
Earlier, Camilla fulfilled a life-long wish to visit the Brontë family parsonage in - and even got to make her mark by writing the final line in a new manuscript of Wuthering Heights.Ostensibly her visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, on the edge of some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful moorland, was to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Bronte and 90 years of the museum, but it was also a very personal one for the duchess.
‘I’ve always wanted to visit this place,’ she told Mail Online. ‘This really is such a treat. I’ve always been fascinated by the Brontës.’
Camilla received a short, personal tour of the house with principal curator Ann Dinsdale, and got to handle - gloves on- some of its most precious treasures, including sketches made by the famous sisters themselves - Emily, Charlotte and Anne - and miniature, handwritten books.
‘How did they do this?’ she marvelled. ‘Even with my glasses and a magnifying glass I can barely read them.’
She also wondered at how tiny the sisters, dresses were - ‘they really were so tiny, weren’t they?’ - and of the sadness of their lives. None of the sisters lived until old age: Charlotte died at 38, Emily at 30 and Anne at 29, and all were childless.
Their father, Patrick Brontë, curate of Haworth Church, outlived all of his six children and also his wife.
She was also invited to take part in Clare Twomey’s Wuthering Heights - A Manuscript project, which set out to recreate the long-lost first manuscript of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights by inviting 12,000 visitors to each copy a line from the book.
Some enthusiasts queued for three days to write the line of their choice for the bound book, which will be displayed for the rest of the year.
The duchess was invited to write the last line in the manuscript which read: ‘and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth’.
‘I had better make sure this is in my best handwriting, ‘ she joked, but afterwards admitted: ‘I think that tailed off a bit towards the end, sorry.’
Afterwards she stopped off at a short reception where she met museum staff and volunteers, as well as local schoolchildren who recently took part in a creative writing competition organised by the museum.
The duchess is an avid reader and patron of a number of literary charities.
There was something of a royal first later as she boarded a vintage bus for a very bumpy ride through the streets of the village.
As the bus started creaking ominously at the top of a steep hill, the royal joked loudly: ‘I hope the brakes are working!’
But she still managed to wave cheerily to local well-wishers and tourists lining the streets. (Rebecca English in Daily Mail)
And The TimesStarts at 60, Yorkshire Post, International Business Times, Keighley News, BBC, Andover Advertiser, Belfast Telegraph, ...

The Yorkshire Post interviews Lily Cole about her role as creative partner of the Brontë Parsonage:
The bicentenary commemorations continue this year, with the spotlight falling on Emily, and a few weeks ago the museum announced that Lily Cole would be its creative partner.
It seemed an inspired choice. A model, actor and businesswoman, Cole has become a bit of a role model and, as a fan of the Brontës, and Emily in particular, the museum looked like it had scored a coup.
However, not everyone saw it that way and Cole’s tenure got off to a something of a rocky start when critical comments about her appointment made in a blog by a disapproving Brontë Society member went viral.
His gripe was the post should have been given to a writer, the inference being that a public face like Cole was a bit of a publicity stunt. As a number of authors and literary scholars jumped to Cole’s defence, her own dignified, articulate and measured response was published in the Guardian and when we meet in Haworth she hopes the furore is behind her as she looks forward to the next 12 months helping to celebrate Emily’s legacy.
Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books; I have read it multiple times over the years,” she says. “And Emily’s relationship to nature and to the landscape has always resonated with me – I am a nature person at heart. In Wuthering Heights she creates a whole world, as all great novels do, that feels completely truthful and authentic – and the characters are so real. I think Heathcliff is one of the most powerful fictional characters in literature.”
Cole has taken Heathcliff as a starting point for a short film that she will be producing which is currently at the writing and development stage. It will explore the connections between the origins of Emily’s famous anti-hero, found by Mr Earnshaw abandoned as a child in Liverpool, and the real foundlings of the 19th century in a new partnership with the Foundling Museum in London, of which Cole has been a fellow since 2016.  (...)
“I have been looking through the archives there at years that have resonance – so 1764, which is the year that Heathcliff was born, 1818 when Emily was born, 1848 when she died – and immersing myself in the research to try to understand the society that Emily was living and writing in. And because her father Patrick was a social campaigner I think Emily would have been aware of some of the social issues of the time.”
While she was visiting Haworth, Cole stayed at nearby Ponden Hall, often cited as a possible model for the Wuthering Heights farmhouse, an experience she found inspiring. “It was magical,” she says. “I was so excited to see the window that Emily drew when she was 10 years old, and that had inspired that infamous scene in Wuthering Heights.”
She explored the landscape, walking across the moors to Ponden Kirk – the inspiration for Penistone Crags – before returning to the museum to explore archive material in the collection relating to Emily and her work. “There isn’t a lot, as so much has been destroyed or lost over time, but there are some really special objects,” she says. “I didn’t realise that Emily’s handwriting was so tiny. Her poems exist like secret documents and I was perhaps most surprised by Emily’s drawings, for example a beautiful portrait of a wounded hawk that she had apparently rescued. I hadn’t realised she was a talented visual artist.” (...)
“We decided that as well as marking Emily’s brilliance as a writer, we wanted to look at her wider artistic talents,” says Jenna Holmes, who leads the contemporary arts programme at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. “She was the most accomplished artist and musician of all the family. We selected projects and partners that would reflect these multi-disciplinary interests, but also touch on the themes that resonate with Emily, such as the landscape.”
There was also the opportunity to use Wuthering Heights as a means to investigate contemporary issues still relevant in society today such as identity, belonging and migration. “Lily is a perfect fit for Emily,” says Holmes. “A writer herself with interests in the environment, literacy and the creative arts as well as a social entrepreneur, there are many parallels with Emily’s work. She is a talented film-maker and we look forward to seeing what she creates.”
Other celebrations include a new exhibition, Making Thunder Roar. The show invites a number of well-known Emily admirers to share their own fascination with her life and work and relate it to a piece from the museum collection. They include screenwriter and director Sally Wainwright who chose cuttings of reviews of Wuthering Heights found in Emily’s writing desk after her death; comedian Josie Long who selected the drawing of a window made by Emily when she was a child; and novelist Benjamin Myers who used Emily’s study of a fir tree as inspiration for a poem.
Cole chose the “Bell” signatures, the androgynous pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell inscribed on a fragment of paper in the handwriting of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. (Yvette Huddelston)
Banbridge Leader informs that the re-opening of the Brontë Interpretative Centre in Rathfriland has been delayed:
The re-opening of the Brontë Interpretive Centre has been put on hold whilst an application for a new entertainment licence is considered.
The centre near Rathfriland has been closed since early January to allow for essential maintenance works.
In addition to refurbishing the interior of both buildings, emergency lighting and electrical fittings have been upgraded and some sections of the concrete walkways around the centre’s grounds have been replaced.
With the application process normally taking six weeks to complete, it is anticipated that the centre will re-open in April.
iNews imagines the Brontës using social media today:
The Brontë Sisters would find their social media home on Instagram, bluestocking rivals to the Kardashians. Anne, Charlotte and Emily would post moody selfies on the Yorkshire moors and film vlogs from Haworth parsonage. #Wuthering #Wildfell (Laura Freeman)
Laura Freeman's book, The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite, is reviewed in The Times:
Freeman, who now reviews books for The Times, can pinpoint the exact hour when something in her mind gave way. It was 2001 and she was 13 and nearing the end of an idyllic summer holiday with her family. She was dreading returning to her academic all-girls school, a place more hateful to her than Jane Eyre’s Lowood or Nicholas Nickleby’s Dotheboys. Two thirds of each year group went on to Oxbridge and there was plenty of what the school called healthy rivalry, which she experienced as bullying. (Cathy Rentzenbrink)
Inspiring ladies in literature on iSubscribe:
Charlotte Brontë’s eponymous heroine Jane Eyre is regarded as one of the first feminist icons in literature. Determined to garner an education, the precocious young woman insists her guardian send her to school, upon leaving which she obtains a job as a governess. Women of the 19th century were generally expected to marry and bear children, but Jane is firmly in control of her own destiny.
Amy Chozick explains in the New York Times her literary personal history:
I’ve always been a voracious reader. Growing up in San Antonio, I was the dork at the Friday night football games with my head buried in a book — Jack Kerouac or Oscar Wilde, years before I really understood them. As my neighbors moved lava lamps and glass bongs and Foo Fighters posters into their college dorm rooms in Austin, I unpacked the Brontë sisters boxed set and a vintage edition of “The Bell Jar.” Pretentious? Let’s just say I didn’t get invited to a lot of frat parties. But that was who I was.
The Herald talks with Chloe Pirrie:
Having watched Sally Wainwright’s Brontë drama To Walk Invisible the night before, I’ve arrived in Shoreditch trailing notions of Pirrie framed by her portrayal of Emily Brontë, all flint and spark and fire. (Teddy Jamieson)
The Telegraph reviews the film The Bookshop by Isabel Coixet:
[Bill] Nighy sneaks in some necessary laughs, too, with his sheer antipathy to Clarkson’s character, and makes Mr Brundish, in his brooding isolation and principled rage, come over as exactly the reluctant riff on a Brontë hero the author had in mind. (Tim Robey)
The Times also reviews the film:
The film needed either the lightness of touch that Sally Potter brought to her recent triumph The Party (also starring Mortimer and Clarkson) or the serious intensity that Andrea Arnold brought to her Wuthering Heights. Instead it is adapted and directed by the Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet (Elegy) with all the finesse and psychological realism of an am-dram art-happening set on Pluto. (Kevin Maher)
Sarah Churchwell in The Guardian defends the need for women to rewrite history (the fine line between denouncing patriarchy and condescendingly retrojudging, Stalin vs Trotsky anyone?, is dangerously walked on):
That uncertainty speaks to women’s experience of the world, their need to discover whether men are predators or protectors. The classic gothic – say, Jane Eyre (1847) – tends to validate the woman’s perspective: her anxieties are warranted and legitimate. By contrast, many modern gothics – say, Rebecca (1938), which rewrites Jane Eyre – end with the heroine’s fears revealed as foolish, even hysterical; she misread the man’s perspective, and must learn to read him better in future. In other words, the story is gaslighting its own heroine: she was being paranoid. Given that such narratives encourage the audience to share the heroine’s suspicions, they also gaslight the audience, reinforcing the idea that women are unreliable interpreters of male behaviour.
Also in The Guardian, Joyce Carol Oates says:
The book that had the greatest influence on my writing
Possibly the stories of Franz Kafka. Or Dubliners. Or Wuthering Heights. Or ...
Camden New Journal reviews The Divide:
[Erin] Doherty pitches her funny, feisty character just right as she tries to make sense of the bewildering religious, political and moral differences expressed by the people she loves, and begins her own awakening secretly reading proscribed books such as Jane Eyre. (Julie Tomlin)
Dread Central interviews film director Derek Nguyen:
Mike Sprague: What are some of the films that inspired The Housemaid?
DN: Jane Eyre, The Others, Rebecca, The Shining.
The Irish Times interviews the fashion designer Josep Font:
“It is important to disconnect. I like buying artisan crafts, perfumes, soaps and finding materials for a friend who is building a house.” His preferred reading is Stendhal and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is one of his favourite novels. (Deirdre McQuillan)
Episcopal Café reviews the film Phantom Thread:
It is hard not to be spellbound by Paul Thomas Anderson’s disturbingly beautiful Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis’ mystifyingly memorable Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock, and Vicky Krieps’ enigmatically sensational Alma. It is a most unconventional, unparalleled older boy meets girl story. Both Woodcock and Alma veer away from the archetypal Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre, Max De Winter and the second Mrs. De Winter or even Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. (Esther Dharmaraj)
La Stampa (Italy) reviews the novel Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor:
Lo scenario è quello di un non meglio precisato paesino rurale del nord dell’Inghilterra. A est bacini idrici e tutto intorno quella stessa lirica e cupa brughiera delle Cime tempestose di Emily Brontë. (Alessia Gazzola) (Translation)
El Norte de Castilla (Spain) talks about the La Ofrenda by Gustavo Martín Garzo:
El libro dibuja así una trama que en sí misma no oculta deberle, y mucho, a otros grandes clásicos de la novela gótica, como ‘Jane Eyre’, de Charlotte Brontë, o ‘Rebeca’, de Daphne du Maurier: «Todas ellas se construyen a partir de jóvenes heroínas desamparadas y un secreto oscuro al que se enfrentan». (Samuel Regueira) (Translation)
Il Terreno (Italy) and the ex-football player Carlo Caramelli:
Carlo Caramelli ricorda molto sir Lawrence Oliver nel film “Cime Tempestose”, sia per l’aplomb britannica che per il timbro basso, quasi roco, della voce, come il disperato Heathcliff quando invocava il nome di Cathy nella bufera di neve. In questo caso specifico, però, le condizioni climatiche o il tono impostato c’entrano poco. (Translation)
Valentine's Day still lingers on in Libero Pensiero (Italy) :
E ancora, potremmo omaggiare il bellissimo “Cime Tempestose” di Emily Brontë: il romanzo per eccellenza dell’amore come forza totalizzante e irrazionale. La bellezza del libro è nel suo essere sgombro da ogni ornamento, perché racconta di una storia lontana dal semplicistico «e vissero per sempre felici e contenti»: l’amore è inteso nella sua essenza più totale, e come tale anche in senso prettamente negativo, una storia di un sentimento ardente che va oltre ogni cosa. La bella e capricciosa Catherine e il rozzo e duro Heathcliff sono due personaggi dalla passionalità bruciante e a tratti “crudeli” nell’essenza, e il tutto viene portato ai limiti più estremi. Amore e odio che convivono, si scontrano e trovano sempre nuovi compromessi. (Vanessa Vaia) (Translation)
Boersenblatt (Germany) reviews a couple of German Wuthering Heights audiobooks:
Zu den wichtigen literarischen Terminen dieses Jahres gehört der 200. Geburtstag Emily Brontës am 30. Juli. Die britische Schriftstellerin wurde nur 30 Jahre alt; ihr Werk ist schmal, ein einziger Roman hat in ihrem Fall für den Weltruhm genügt: "Sturmhöhe". Zum Jubiläum gibt es zwei ungekürzte Hörbuchfassungen; bei der einen (Audiobuch Verlag, 12 CDs, 22,95 Euro) lesen Beate Rysop und Wolfgang Berger im Wechsel und markieren dadurch die Geschlechterspannung in Brontës Erzählwelt auch akus­tisch. Bisweilen klingt der Roman hier aber ein wenig zu brav und aufgesagt. Im Alleingang liest ihn dagegen der 2014 verstorbene Rolf Boysen (Der Hörverlag, 10 CDs, 20,95 Euro). Seine wuchtige, maskuline Deklamation, mit der er viele eindrückliche Klassiker-Lesungen von Homer bis Kleist geschaffen hat, kann bei diesem Referenzwerk der weiblichen Literaturgeschichte zunächst irritieren. Aber schnell zeigt sich: Dieser Roman voller Leidenschaftlichkeit und Selbstzerstörung, voller Stolz, Wut und Wahn ist eine ideale Partitur für den Pathetiker Boysen. Sein kantiger, schroffer, manchmal ­kauzig-komischer Ton treibt alles Sentimentale aus dem Text heraus und bringt Brontës illusionslose, in der Tradition Shakespeares stehende Kunst der Menschendarstellung zur Geltung. Gebannt lauscht man dieser intensiven Lesung, einer Sturmhöhe der Vortragskunst. (Wolfgang Schneider) (Translation)
PJs and Pugs remembers reading Wuthering Heights a few years ago;  Ksiażkowir (in Polish) posts about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.


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