Monday, April 30, 2018

The enduring appeal of the Brontës in The Yorkshire Post:
It would have seemed astonishing to the Brontë sisters, in their quiet and secluded lives, that long after their deaths they should inspire such love and devotion from legions of admirers.
Yet it is a cause for rejoicing that not only do they continue to do so, but that their appeal is growing. More visitors than ever flock to Haworth to explore their heritage and the countryside that inspired them, and membership of the Brontë Society is increasing.
That should be celebrated as it marks its 125th anniversary. Its history has not always been harmonious, but happily that belongs to the past and it can look forward with optimism.
The magic of Emily, Charlotte and Anne endures. Their spirit makes their books timeless and draws visitors to the parsonage where they lived. The crowds will continue to grow, because these daughters of Haworth touched the hearts of the world.
The good health of the Brontë Society (and a panegyric of  his current honorary treasurer) is the subject of another article in the newspaper:
The internecine conflict between its traditionalists and modernists has for years played out like the plot from a Victorian novel. But the latest figures to emerge from the parsonage at Haworth suggest that the steady­ing influence of a clergyman who is Patrick Brontë’s spiritual successor might finally be calming the waters.
As it celebrates its 125th anniversary, the Brontë Society – one of the oldest such groups in the world – has reported that not only is income from visitors to the parsonage it administers up by more than a fifth, but more of them are joining as members.
It is welcome news for an organisation whose last fallout, over its decision to use the actress and model Lily Cole as a figurehead for its celebrations of Emily Brontë’s bicentenary this summer, created national headlines. (...)
Worldwide membership of the Society had increased by nearly six per cent as of last Christmas, and the number has continued to rise this year.
The treasurer has a unique and direct connection to the family. As rector of Haworth Parish Church, the Rev Peter Mayo-Smith was fulfilling the role Patrick Brontë, father to Emily, Charlotte and Anne, had held for four decades.
He was conscious of the weight on his shoulders.
“One of my great heroes is Patrick Brontë,” he said. “When you look at what he did for the Haworth area, his campaigning was in the mould of Wilberforce.
“He was a remarkable and very much a modern man in some ways. He brought education in because he saw it as the way out of poverty. And when there was raw sewage in the streets, he fought long and hard to get proper sanitation.
“Isn’t it ironic that his legacy in the village is a tourist economy based on his family.”
The rector, who two years ago moved in semi-retirement to the neighbouring moorland parish of Eldwick, was brought in to the Brontë Society after previous bouts of acrimony. (...)
Its trustees say its recent success is due in part to an expanded events programme and use of social media – a method of communication that would have reduced Wuthering Heights to 280 characters – to help spread the word.
The chair of trustees, the former Look North presenter, John Thirlwell, said: “Over the last three years, trustees have worked with the museum’s senior management to bring the organisation up to date – reviewing policies, procedures and our constitution to ensure they reflect those of a modern, multi-faceted charity.” (David Behrens)
Ellen Girardeau Kempler creates some 'literary self-help classics' titles for The Spectacle:
Madwoman in the Attic: How to Stay Sane When Surrounded by Lunatics by Jane Eyre
Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Camp Austen. My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman:
Scheinman discovers a whole new level of superfandom far apart from the teenaged girls who swooned over a brooding, wet-shirted Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the famous BBC adaptation. There are Austen action figures and bumper stickers, fatuous feuds with the Brontë camp (“Mr. Rochester attracts Jane Eyre by scowling; Darcy wins Lizzy’s love by treating the servants kindly.”), and outraged ladies compelled to defend Austen’s honor when she is portrayed in a poster with one sleeve slipping scantily down. (Leah Angstman
South Western Times reviews the film adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society:
Literary lovers rejoice, for here is a film set to tug at heartstrings just like the much-loved pages of a classic Brontë book.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a poignant period drama brimming with all the bells and whistles a bookworm could ask for in its emotionally mesmerising style of storytelling. (Ashwini Saseedaran)
The Times-Picayune has a point:
I wouldn't exactly call the Bible an easy read. Neither, for that matter, are the works of Shakespeare, Dante, Dostoyevsky, Milton, Descartes or the Brontës. That doesn't mean we shouldn't read them. (Tim Morris)
Onirik (in French) highlights the Collector's edition of Wuthering Heights recently published by Éditions de l'Archipel:
Hindley, Catherine et Heathcliff grandissent ensemble. Ce dernier a été adopté par le père, Mr Earnshaw. A la mort de celui-ci, Hindley, jaloux, maltraite et humilie constamment celui qu’il n’a jamais reconnu comme son frère. Le seul réconfort d’Heathcliff est l’affection sans bornes qui’il voue à Catherine...
On aurait aussi pu commencer ce résumé en précisant que l’histoire commence alors qu’un jeune homme trouve refuge aux Hauts de Hurlevent, où Heathcliff lui loue une chambre. La nuit, au comble de la terreur, il voit apparaître le fantôme de Catherine... Une vieille servante lui raconte alors le passé tragique des anciens habitants de la maison...
Ce troublant récit enchâssé, à l’image des contes que la bonne de la maison des Brontë, Tabby, racontait aux enfants, par des nuits de pleine lune, au son du vent fuyant dans les landes désolées, est un authentique chef d’oeuvre. Tant par sa forme, audacieuse, que par sa langue étrangement poétique, que par son sujet, profondément anxiogène.
Des histoires de passion qui mènent aux portes de la folie, si ce n’est de la mort, des amours troublantes entre cousins -et entre frère et soeur adoptifs-, un personnage rustre que l’on n’arrive pas à prendre en pitié malgré ses blessures d’enfance... Il y a tant à décortiquer sur ce roman qui en a choqué plus d’un à sa publication.
Mais il est surtout à l’image de son auteur, sauvage, libre et sans concession. (Claire) (Translation)
Dagans Nyheter (Sweden) interviews participants in a local poetry contest:
Mamma tog tidigt med mig till biblioteket och jag blev förälskad. Jag läste en bok om dagen. Jag slukade allt, från Jane Eyre till Zlatan, som mamma och jag läste och diskuterade. (Alexandra Pascalidou) (Translation)
Jane Eyre 1983 and Jane Eyre 2006 will be available on the Amazon Prime Video catalogue in May, according to Newsweek. USA Today publishes an excerpt of Alexa Donne's Brightly Burning new novel. Victorian Musings reviews Without the Veil Between, Anne Brontë: A Fine and Subtle Spirit by DM Denton. Escuta Esso (in Portuguese) begins a Wuthering Heights reading.

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