Saturday, March 03, 2018

Diane Fare, from the Brontë Parsonage Museum, writes about the latest and future goings-on at the museum - including the visit of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall - in Keighley News.
As I write this, I am most definitely snowed in, and we’ve had to close the museum due to the heavy snow, which is very rare.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, the snowdrops in the Parsonage garden will be visible again, and we’ll all be enjoying snow-free days!
We had another reason to close the museum for a few hours in February – for the visit of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
We had just a few weeks to prepare for this visit, which we had to keep secret until very close to the day itself, which was a bit tricky, but we did manage not to spill the beans!
On the day itself, our royal guest had a tour of the museum with our Principal Curator Ann Dinsdale, and whilst this was going on, we hosted a reception in Haworth’s Old School Room.
Specially invited guests were treated to a fantastic lunch provided by Jill from Cobbles and Clay on Main Street, and then enjoyed a prize-giving ceremony for the winners of Writing Worlds, our creative writing competition for local primary school children.
Some of the children were brave enough to read their work, whilst others chose to have extracts of their work read by Young Adult writer, and judge, Liz Flanagan.
The visit went without a hitch – kind of!
We had everything planned down to the last minute, so when the Duchess arrived at the School Room ten minutes early, we were caught by surprise and had a farcical two minutes where those who knew they were going to meet Camilla (such as the school children) were running around to get themselves in position. Don’t think HRH noticed!
It’s been a busy February then – we’ve had the opening of our new Emily Brontë exhibition, an event with the fantastic Chris Riddle, and a royal visit to boot. March will hopefully be calmer!
That said, we’re getting ready for Easter, planning activities for visiting families. This year we have a couple of Wild Wednesday workshops – Extraordinary Eggs on April 4, and Marvellous Maps on April 11.
Along with Hands on History sessions, and an Easter trail, there will be a short walk up to Penistone Hill every day, so join us if you want to learn more about the landscape that inspired the Brontes.
Before that, Bradford-based author Michael Stewart visits Haworth to discuss the research for his new novel, Ill Will, which focuses on Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff – in particular the years when he runs off in the storm and disappears to who knows where.
The north of England in the late 1700s was going through radical change, and this is the context of Ill Will.
Join us at West Lane Baptist Centre on the afternoon of Saturday March 17 to hear more about the research Michael conducted for his new novel. It should be fascinating!
Tickets cost just £7 or £5 and are available at bronte.org.uk/whats-on or call 01535 640192.
More on the Easter activities at the museum in Keighley News. And more news from the museum, as they are looking for a museum manager and retail assistants.

John Sutherland reviews Helen MacEwan's Through Belgian Eyes for the Literary Review.
MacEwan, a learned Brussels resident, levels her points coolly and authoritatively, assisted by rich illustration. What, then, was the ‘broadening’ that fed Charlotte’s oeuvre? It is evident most clearly in Villette, the sole work by Charlotte that can be called autofiction. Boundaries, the novel testifies, were broken in Brussels, releasing a genius more transgressively creative than that of Charlotte’s sisters.
The fiercely Protestant author, like her heroine Lucy Snowe (originally Frost), melted towards Catholicism, taking confession in the church (now cathedral) of St Gudula. An astonishing surrender. Both author and heroine of Villette fell in love with their professeurs. In Charlotte’s case, she did not, apparently, try hard to suppress adulterous desire. An even more astonishing surrender.
Such behaviour presages Jane Eyre hearing Rochester’s ethereal summons and racing back to him – still a married man, she believes. She will defy the seventh commandment nonetheless. Luckily Rochester has defied the sixth, murdering the luckless Bertha (as one can plausibly suppose). What would Charlotte have done had Heger, mad with love, summoned her?
It’s a fanciful supposition, but sufficient to suggest that Helen MacEwan has done what she set out to do. She gives us a complicatedly creative, if invincibly troubled, Charlotte to read with eyes opened wider. MacEwan’s work should find a place on every Brontëan’s bookshelf.
Publishes' Weekly announces the release in May of Caryl Phillips's new novel, A View of the Empire at Sunset.
Following The Lost Child, Phillips’s haunting novel centers on the life and work of Jean Rhys, born Ella Gwendolyn Williams and most celebrated for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea. The story opens in 1930s London, as the author and her second husband, Leslie Tilden Smith, plan a voyage to the West Indies. Jean hopes that showing Leslie her birthplace will help him understand her sense of alienation; Leslie wants to soothe his wife’s coldness and alcoholic caprice. The trip still pending, Phillips shifts to his protagonist’s childhood as the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a Creole mother in the Dominican city of Roseau. Sent from her beloved homeland to England for schooling at 16, the wayward and homesick Gwennie has an incomprehensible accent, “mongrel” looks, and the persistent unease of an outsider. A string of marginal careers and unsatisfactory relationships, two children lost in different ways, and an emerging talent for fiction lead to her meeting with Leslie, an agent who appreciates her writing. Closing the novel and bringing its narrative full circle, the couple’s trip to the Caribbean is in equal measure revelatory and futile. The brief vignettes and small, disquieting moments from which Phillips crafts his story push against the epic grandeur its scope suggests. Though Rhys fans might be disappointed by Phillips’s decision to depict little of her literary development, they will appreciate the rich echoes of Wide Sargasso Sea, another novel of untamed “misfit” women, colonial wreckage, the West Indies, and the power dynamics of gender and race. Phillips is at his best in this powerful evocation of Rhys’s vision, which illuminates both her time and the present.
North by Northwestern comments on a recent public Q&A with comedian Jenny Slate:
She read every book in E.L. James’ series, but she found it unrealistic that the main character was a 22-year-old virgin who never masturbated.
“I don’t think anyone’s just like, ‘Wow what’s that cosmic buzz between my legs," Slate said. "I guess I’ll just ignore it and keep reading Jane Eyre for the twentieth time.” (Marco Cartolano)
The staff of A.V. Club discuss their favourite 'Best Picture lineup at the Oscars'.
The Oscars for films made in 1939 (12th Academy Awards) were a cage match between twin epics Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz, but the rest of the lineup (10 total back then, as now) was so spectacular that it’s hard to believe how many classics got lost in the awards shuffle [...] Topping it all off is the likely Best Picture in any other year: the gothic, savage romance of Wuthering Heights, featuring the only Heathcliff that will ever matter, Laurence Olivier. (And one of the greatest Hollywood movies of all time, Howard Hawks’ Only Angels Have Wings, didn’t even make the cut.) (Gwen Ihnat)
Miss Malini (India) reviews the film Pari.
Like Kahaani (which also stars Parambrata), Pari is set in Kolkata – a very rainy and very ‘blue’ Kolkata which could be mistaken for the moors Emily Bronte wrote about in Wuthering Heights or the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Saawariya. The love story (if we can call it that) has major Gothic undertones too. But the genders here have been switched. While we usually read about a virtuous, shy and introvert female protagonist falling for the brooding, handsome, rakish to the point of being animal-istic heroes, Pari does the opposite. (Shreemi Verma)
Fashion and literature once again in the The New York Times:
 At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson handed out copies of “Don Quixote,” which suggested he felt much the same — except then he also distributed “Dracula,” “Heart of Darkness,” “Madame Bovary” and “Wuthering Heights” (Loewe has gotten into publishing). A cheery reading list, that. But he aims high. And he likes pulling apart the classics. (Vanessa Friedman)

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