Sunday, February 04, 2018

Daily Express has an article on the Brontë Parsonage and Emily Brontë's 200th anniversary (although it is illustrated with a highly controversial picture):
And the complex but fascinating Brontës are the reason why thousands make a literary pilgrimage to the home where some of our greatest works of literature were created.
The family may be long dead but once inside the imposing porch you sense the frenetic, creative energy that oozes from the assortment of suffocatingly tiny rooms in Brontë Parsonage.
You can almost hear fervent whispering along the narrow corridors, skirt hems rustling across wooden floors and the muffled sound of excited children debating stories from their fantasy worlds of Gondal and Angria in the rigid confines of the claustrophobic playroom.
Downstairs in the dining room you sense the ghosts of sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, fingers sore and eyes deteriorating from scribbling in quill and ink by candlelight.
Crouched over writing desks, their determination to constantly improve and add magic to their stories is infectious and each cheers the other on as they pace the room, dissecting their work.
Across the corridor in his cosy study sits their troubled father the Reverend Patrick Brontë, attempting to focus on his Sunday sermon while he waits anxiously for the return of his alcoholic son Branwell.
Retiring at 9pm Patrick urges his daughters not to stay up late before shuffling up the stairs, stopping half way, as he does every night, to wind the grandfather clock.
Much, much later, after a night in the notorious Black Bull public house, the girls’ creative spell is finally broken when errant Branwell stumbles in, high on opium and gin and consumed by self-loathing.
Waking to the inevitable commotion Patrick insists Branwell sleeps in his own bed, terrified that his son may inadvertently burn the house down in a drunken stupor.
This is life at Haworth Parsonage in the mid-1800s, the pendulum swinging between joy and overriding despair, where the shadow of death is a constant visitor.
In this intense atmosphere it is no wonder the Brontë children escaped into their own worlds. What a priceless treasure to our nation that two centuries later we can still feel this intense family environment.
This literary heritage, illuminating the social conditions of the time, only exists due to the hard work undertaken by parsonage staff and members of the Brontë Society since the museum opened in 1928, as well as Brontë collectors throughout the decades who have generously donated invaluable items.
Last week I attended the opening of the museum for a monumental year that celebrates the bicentenary of Emily’s birth.
Despite being one of the greatest writers in English history, little is known about this reclusive, strong-willed genius who wrote many works of poetry as well as creating the novel Wuthering Heights.
A number of Emily’s famous admirers, including Maxine Peake, Dame Judi Dench and Lily Cole, have contributed their thoughts in the new exhibition Making Thunder Roar.
But the most thrilling parts of the display are the fragments of Emily’s possessions that bring you closer to the woman, described by family friend Ellen Nussey as being extremely reserved but also intensely lovable. (...)
The exhibition includes personal artefacts including cuttings – mainly critical – that Emily took from newspaper reviews of Wuthering Heights, as well as numerous incredible drawings and a brass collar made for Keeper, her adored bull mastiff dog and only friend.
However the most heartbreaking monument to Emily is the dark green, velvet covered sofa in the dining room on which she is believed to have died.
These physical artefacts may help give visitors a connection to the original possessor but they also teach us about the social and economic history of the times. (Lisa Byrne)
Daily Mail interviews the latest Emily Brontë on the screen, Chloe Pirrie, who played the reclusive Brontë sister in To Walk Invisible 2016.
But it was being cast in To Walk Invisible that proved pivotal. ‘I read the script and had that rare reaction where I thought, “This is mine.” I had read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre and loved the Brontës, so it was the most amazing moment when I got the part. Emily was complex and intelligent; it’s so rare to be able to portray a woman in a period drama who answers to no one and is totally true to herself. Sally [Wainwright, the writer/director] did such a good job of creating the inner lives of the sisters and their relationship to each other with such humour.’ Chloe’s performance earned her reviews as the ‘standout star’ of the film and brought her a new level of attention, though she insists selfie requests and the like are still few and far between. ‘I do remember the day after it aired, though. I went swimming in Edinburgh and the girl working at the pool was, like, “Weren’t you in that thing last night?”’ (Charlotte Pearson Meathven)
Broadway World interviews  Andrea Unger, Lydia McCleary, Sara Youcheff, Jessica Crowe of Jane Eyre  at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts in York, PA:
BWW: Narrator Jane, what was the biggest challenge for you playing a character who is also the narrator?
Andrea: Two things: The sheer number of lines that I've had to memorize. And then, being on stage all the time, and while I am on stage all the time, I'm not really interacting with everybody else so it makes a really sort of interesting dichotomy to be there but not really be there...and you can't really help each other out if something goes wrong on stage; we're there as a team, but I can't just jump in and help them and they can't jump in and help me, we have to sort of figure that out.
BWW observations: Unger certainly achieves a wonderful balance of narrator and character as she remains engaged in the story even when she is not actively involved in the scene. Some of my favorite elements of this production were watching narrator Jane's face as she experienced the thoughts and feelings she had in the past as her memory unfolds on the stage.
BWW: Each of you plays Jane at a different age and a different time in her life; what is your favorite thing about your Jane?
Sara: So I have to say screaming in the red room. That was really fun-getting to scream at Mrs. Reed all the time.
Lydia: I would definitely say that the strong moral core of Jane and the fact that even though she's desperately in love with Mr. Rochester, she will not do what is wrong. She would rather run away, she would rather literally starve on the moors and faint on someone's doorstep than go and live with a man that she knows is married. Because she knows that God will consider that wrong
Andrea: What I like about my character is that she knows the whole story. So, there are places where...there's one place where I get to play with Lydia a little bit because I know what she was feeling because it was me and I kind of get to tease her a little bit and play with that. Those are parts of the show that are really neat because my character knows what's going to happen.
BWW observations: Each stage of Jane's life shows the audience how she never lost her sense of self-even when it seemed like the world was against her, she always followed her heart. When she was locked in the red room-the room where Mr. Reed had died-Jane has a terrifying experience with Mr. Reed's spirit. Even when Mrs. Reed berates her and forces her to stay in the room, Jane never wavers in her conviction about what she experienced. These three actresses successfully portray Jane's story in a cohesive way so that the audience believes they are truly seeing her grow and mature from a young girl to an eighteen-year-old to a mature woman. (Interview by Andrea Stephenson)
flickreel reviews the film Phantom Thread by Paul Thomas Anderson:
To say more of the plot would be to reveal unexpected treats, suffice to say that this is very much a love story – an assuredly gothic, darkly funny tale of the love of family, art and companionship. Think Emily Brontë meets Roman Holiday. (Paddy Wilson)
An alert in Norfolk as read in the Eastern Daily Press:
Parallel Spirals book signing - Tuesday February 27, Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library. Free.
‘What can a secret mermaid, Belgian beguines, Jane Eyre and a modern Norfolk vicar have in common?’ Norwich-based Elspeth Rushbrook, author of Parallel Spirals, will be discussing just that and signing copies of her book - a ‘subverted Jane Eyre’. (Mariah Feria)
Diario 16 (Spain) on mental health:
Marjorie Wallace, de la organización Sane, dijo que algunos de los grandes escritores de la historia han tenido dificultades. Si se mira a los más famosos escritores ingleses, muchos de ellos han tratado el tema y fracasaron. Charles Dickens, Charlote Bronte y Shakespeare tuvieron caracteres con problemas mentales, pero nunca explicaron por qué". Según algunos, el extraño caso del doctor Jekyll y mister Hyde ha perpetuado estereotipos.
"En Jane Eyre, por ejemplo. Es claro que la señora Roche (sic) está loca, pero Brontë nunca se preocupa por profundizar un poco y contarnos por qué ella es así." (Jorge Zavaleta Alegre) (Translation)
Onirik (France) announces Wuthering Heights 1992 in Paramount Channel (France) next February 6, 12.50am

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