Thursday, March 15, 2018

Northern Soul reviews Emily's bicentenary exhibition, Making Thunder Roar, at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
The exhibition space is small and unassuming. A collection of Emily’s belongings, writing and artwork is displayed in glass cases, accompanied by contributions from well-known writers, actors and public figures, each responding to the question, ‘What does Emily Brontë mean to me?’
There are crowd-pleasers, such as Judi Dench and Maxine Peake, but several lesser-known voices too, each singular and thought-provoking. Stand-outs are Rosie Garland’s fiery poem, which perfectly captures Emily’s small world and her all-consuming creative drive, and a piece by Benjamin Myers that recognises Emily’s complex relationship with the Yorkshire landscape, reminiscent of Myers’ own lyrical work in his recent novel, The Gallows Pole.
I was struck too by Kei Miller’s audio contribution, acknowledging a late-flowering identification with Wuthering Heights. A new manuscript of that novel, penned by more than 10,000 members of the public during 2017 and now on display in the main museum, emphasises the enduring and universal appeal of Emily’s work.
Making Thunder Roar won’t be for everyone. During my visit, several gave only a cursory glance, but for those with the time and inclination, there is plenty here to provoke personal response. Postcards are provided should you wish to add your tuppence-worth.
This quiet, reflective exhibition is in sharp contrast to ‘Branwell’s studio’, a staged space representing the chaos and dissipation of that troubled soul. The room’s untidy, tactile props and lack of hushed, reverential atmosphere make its human subject seem more tangible. In comparison, Emily’s real possessions stay behind glass.
Perhaps that’s apt. Emily remains as inaccessible and enigmatic as ever, a figure we can only guess at, and who means different things to different people. Her unique voice, passion and spirit live on best in her writing, her most lasting legacy. (Katherine Clements)
And Northern Soul also reviews Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre, giving it 5 stars.
The opulence of The Grand makes the perfect stage for this mesmerising production and is matched only by the calibre of the dance skills of the troupe of ballet dancers. Simplistic in set design, Patrick Kinmonth allows the dancers to take centre stage, leaving the audience to be captured by the passionate movement and complete consumption of the performances.
I’ll confess, I’m no Bob Fosse and and wouldn’t know a plié if it came and bopped me on the nose. But through Cathy Marston’s choreographic brilliance and the breathtaking abilities of the performers, Jane Eyre proves to be one hell of a show. From the lead dancers (Dreda Blow and Javier Torres) whose chemistry as the two leads (the vulnerable yet strong Jane and the mysterious and somewhat exotic Edward Rochester) ignites a metaphorical fire to match that set alight by the deranged Bertha (played to perfection by first soloist Victoria Sibson) to the junior members of the company, it’s a tour de force. Of the junior cast, Rachael Gillespie is notable as Adele, bringing a youthful vigour and delight to the performance evocative of the printed novel.
Philip Feeney’s spellbinding musical score is brought to life by the sublime orchestra with Geoffrey Allan at the helm. As I sat in my plush red velvet seat, I noted how every element of the performance magically connected to produce a thoroughly bewitching experience.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to catch this production. If you miss it, you’ll lose the opportunity to see one of the UK’s leading ballet companies in all its splendour. Who knows? It might even prove to be as much of an eye-opener to the mesmerising world of ballet as it was to me. (Sarah Clapperton)
China Daily shows a picture of the manuscript of Jane Eyre in Shanghai.
Original manuscripts by five acclaimed British authors, including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, are currently on display at Shanghai Library for a month.
The exhibition, titled “Where Great writers gather: Treasures from the British Library”, kicked off on March 15. Admission is free.
In addition to Brontë and Dickens, manuscripts and letters by three other heavyweights in the English literature world – D.H. Lawrence, Percy Bysshe Shelley and T.S. Eliot – are on display. Chinese translations, adaptations and responses to their works can also be found at the exhibition. (Zhang Kun)
And so does Ecns.

The New York Times' Insider comments on the newspaper's initiative to finally write the well-deserved obituaries of famous women. Here's something funny (and by funny we mean sad):
Then there is Charlotte Brontë, the author of “Jane Eyre,” whose 1855 death did not receive a mention in our pages.
The Times did cover the death, a half-century later, of the Rev. Arthur Bell Nichols. The headline: “Charlotte Brontë’s Husband Dead.” (Albert Sun)
Los Angeles Review of Books explores pain in literature.
Writing about pain can be an afflictive undertaking unto itself. In her poem “The Glass Essay,” which explores the end of a relationship as well as various dynamics between the Brontë sisters, Anne Carson writes:
It pains me to record this,
I am not a melodramatic person. (Emily Wells)
Literary Sofa reviews A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney.

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