Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Washington Post publishes an appreciation for Emily Brontë on her bicentenary:
Even the light of 200 birthday candles couldn’t pierce the gloom of “Wuthering Heights.” But the fire that burned within Emily Brontë roars across the centuries.
How remarkable that on the bicentennial of her birth, this reclusive woman should still be crying at our window like Catherine, “Let me in — let me in! I’m come home!” (...)
The novelist Kate Mosse is one of many luminaries celebrating Emily’s bicentennial with the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth. She writes via email, “There is no apology within ‘Wuthering Heights,’ no attempt to make the story palatable or the characters likable or domestic, but instead it has an unashamed sense of its own purpose, its own self.”
Emily, after all, is the woman who wrote, “No coward soul is mine / No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere.” And the characters she created are just as fearless, just as audacious in their disregard for what is expected, what is reasonable, what makes sense. Their relentless pettiness, their meanness, their physical and emotional abuse, including knife-throwing and dog-hanging — I don’t deny the repulsiveness of any of that behavior; the story would make an effective Human Resources PowerPoint presentation on Disruptive Behavior Procedures. But romantic tragedy is cathartic, not instructive. The wonder of “Wuthering Heights” is its exponential emotions: “such anguish in the gush of grief!” (Ron Charles)
More readers of The Guardian come to Emily Brontë's rescue:
If Laetitia Wheelwright is to be a key witness then why not Louise de Bassompierre, also taught by Brontë, who apparently liked her very much?
More to the point, why are we still judging a leading novelist (and major poet) on these terms? (Was Thackeray a difficult man? Did Conrad have a Laetitia Wheelwright in his life?) We’ve been here also with Sylvia Plath; the author and her readers (that “cult” – or should it be coven?) are condemned together. (Emma Jones)
In attempting to write an article that apparently seeks to dispel the “Emily myth” and to replace it with Emily “the ruthlessly self-defined artist”, Kathryn Hughes fails remarkably. She may not like Wuthering Heights, a book that she confesses to struggling to finish, but more notably she completely fails to mention the 200 poems written by Emily Brontë, apart from a passing reference to the commercial failure of the Brontë sisters’ combined edition of their poems. (...)
Hilary Ward (Letters, 24 July) is correct in saying that it would be good to read an article by someone who has enjoyed the Brontës’ books. I would add to this that it would be good to read an article on Emily Brontë that is based on her writing, and is written by someone who has actually read that work.
(Tricia Ayrton)
One of the authors of I Am Heathcliff, Erin Kelly, analyzes the role of Heathcliff in the post #MeToo era in The Pool.
Is Heathcliff still a romantic hero, in 2018?
Should we still read Wuthering Heights post-#MeToo? Of course, says Erin Kelly – but it’s likely that we’ll interpret it differently. (...)
So, was I Am Heathcliff the collection of romances I’d feared? Was it bollocks. Sixteen writers contributed to the anthology – bestsellers, up-and-comers, literary heavyweights and genre writers – and the stories are as varied as their authors. We didn’t have a brief or discuss our work, yet there’s a theme that underpins almost every story, like rock under heather. Toxic, bullying relationships abound. Thwarted, violent love is scrutinised, never celebrated. It’s a strange thing to say, but my heart soared a little higher on every page; it felt like a collective overthrowing of the pervasive idea that real love hurts. 
The Conversation exhumes an obscure Hungarian play about the Brontës: Brontë-k
Perhaps the most peculiar of these spin-offs is a biographical drama from post iron-curtain Hungary. Brontëk (“Brontës”), first published by Hungarian writers Zsolt Győrei and Csaba Schlachtovszky in 1992, is a curiously playful, topsy-turvy and irreverent play about the Brontë family.
The play’s story is truly transnational. Set in March 1848 on the Yorkshire moors, it revisits the popular myths and mysteries surrounding the Brontës, but with a neo-Victorian (a modern reimagining what the Victorian era was like) twist. The events take place on the eve of the Hungarian revolution against the Hapsburgs. Its language is historically layered, with traces of mock Renaissance and mock 19th-century registers, mixed in with the contemporary Hungarian it was written in.
Little actually happens in the drama, instead its purpose is to be a parodic take on the myths that surround the reclusive authors. Where others have been far more serious in their explanations of the Brontës’ lives, this is very much tongue-in-cheek. (...)
While Anne, Charlotte and Emily famously chose to write under the male pseudonyms Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell, the sisters of the play (Anna, Sarolta and Emília) are actually men who have been brought up by their father as women. At the start of the drama they have just been summoned back from Brussels to the moors by Patrik and, with no access to pen and paper – despite asking “Santa”/Patrik for it – they spend their time embroidering their novels.
The “sisters” (bearded men) are not allowed to go out, the doors are barricaded with wooden panels. But Emília, the romantic one who longs to be in the moors, goes out in “her” father’s clothes – only to catch a cold that later proves to be fatal.
Monsieur Heger, a hopeless bore of a bachelor with a domineering mother, who proposed to Sarolta in Brussels, arrives to elope with her (unlike the real life Monsieur Heger who is reputed to have ripped up Charlotte’s letters). Heger wears women’s clothing so as not to look suspicious to the protective and jealous Patrik, and introduces himself as Currer Bell, but wants to be called simply “Curry”. (Márta Minier)
We demand a musical version of this play now! La cage aux Brontës!

A Christian and conservative perspective on Emily's anniversary on Aleteia:
It’s a mistake of our modern age to assume that following traditional gender roles or expectations marks weakness or a lack of ambition. For most of Emily’s life, she was a homemaker, sometimes a teacher, and always a dreamer. None of those roles diminished her genius and insight and literary flare. “I wish to be as God made me,” she once said, and so she was — both fulfilling and transcending what others wanted her to be, too.
And so can we all. Most of us, I’d imagine, live fairly prosaic lives. We do our jobs. We raise our kids. We do what we have to do to move from one day to the next. But Emily Brontë reminds us that God made us all for a reason. And that even within the confines we live in, we can find room to soar. (Paul Asay)
The Moors for the Future partnership Brontë celebrations are described on Grough:
The Moors for the Future partnership said: “Literary fans across the globe are gearing up to commemorate the middle Brontë sister on the bicentenary of her birth on Monday.
“Little did Brontë know as she penned her acclaimed 19th-century novel, that the moorlands she so adored surrounding her family home in West Yorkshire were beginning their very own bleak chapter.
“Brontë took inspiration from the moors around Haworth for the narrative and mood of her only novel. It tells the passionate and revengeful story of doomed lovers, Heathcliff and Catherine, whose fondness for each other extended to the ‘wild green park’ of the South Pennine moors, where the grand farmhouse Wuthering Heights stood.
“As Brontë wrote her iconic tale, the industrial revolution was steamrolling across Britain. Advancements in technology and manufacturing contributed to the eventual decline of the moors, as pollution from nearby quarries and factories rained onto the open landscapes, killing much of the delicate bog plant life such as sphagnum moss.”
The partnership, which works to improve the moorland environment in the South Pennines and Peak District, said the outlook for the countryside around Top Withins is brighter, unlike the novel’s characters’ ill fated relationship.
It will be bringing its ‘Bogtastic’ van to the area on the anniversary of Emily Brontë’s to give an insight into the work it carries out and to experience the sights, sounds and textures of the local moors that inspired a literary work of genius. (Bob Smith)
Lily Cole's Balls and the weekend of Brontë celebrations are discussed in the Yorkshire Post:
A film by the actress and model Lily Cole, which caused a storm over Top Withens earlier this year when it was commissioned by the Brontë Society, will have its premiere tomorrow, as part of a weekend of events celebrating the bicentenary of the author of Wuthering Heights. (David Behrens)
The Brontë weekend agenda is also on Brinkwire.

El Cultural (Spain) celebrates Emily and presents the recent Spanish translation of her poems published by Alba Editorial:
Indómita, casi salvaje, Emily Brontë nació el 30 de julio de 1818 en una época en la que ser escritora, libre y mujer parecía una ecuación imposible. Poeta y novelista, publicó sus versos con sus hermanas Charlotte y Anne bajo seudónimos masculinos (Currer, Ellis y Acton Bell), pero fue una novela, Cumbres borrascosas (1847), la que conquistó siglos y lectores. Ahora Alba Editorial reúne su Poesía Completa en edición bilingüe de Xandru Fernández. (...)
Xandru Fernández, responsable de la edición de las Poesías completas que acaba de lanzar Alba, destaca cómo en estos poemas primerizos comenzó a forjarse además la Brontë de Cumbres borrascosas. “Sí -explica-, muchos de sus versos funcionan como laboratorio en el que probó combinaciones de imágenes, giros lingüísticos, temas procedentes del folclore que luego en su novela se transformarán en aspectos y rasgos de carácter de algunos de sus personajes. Sobre todo en sus poemas más épicos, los que tienen como escenario el paisaje ficticio de Gondal, aparecen figuras que anticipan a Heathcliff, a Catherine Earnshow o a Edgar Linton”. La relación entre poesía y relato es tal que, como Harold Bloom ha señalado, “resulta imposible distinguir muchos de los temas de sus versos de los de la novela”.(Nuria Azancot) (Translation)
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland) also joins in the Emily celebrations:
Emily Brontë – die Frau der vielen Stimmen
Ihr einziger Roman ist eines der grössten Meisterwerke der englischen Literatur. Die Frage, woraus sich die Wucht von «Sturmhöhe» speist, ist Gegenstand vieler Betrachtungen. Ein selten betrachteter Aspekt ist, dass die vor 200 Jahren geborene Emily Brontë der Kultur der Autorschaft entsprungen war. (...) (Susanne Ostwald) (Translation)
El Espectador (Colombia) talks mainly about Wuthering Heights and shares a personal anecdote:
 Cuando yo era chiquito había libros clandestinos. Prohibidos por los curas, confiscados por los sacristanes e intercambiados de mano en mano por damas ansiosas de conocer el pecado, al menos sobre el papel. Por ejemplo, mis tías, Tina y Genia, las señoritas Valderrama, que me criaron contra viento y marea, se turnaban para leer una obra pecaminosa, diabólica, torcida, ponzoñosa: Cumbres borrascosas (Wuthering Heights), de la señorita Emily Brontë. (Esteban Carlos Mejía) (Translation)
Aso in El Norte (México).

The Yorkshire Evening Post interviews TV presenter Christine Calbot:
Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer?
Sorry, but it has to be Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. I loved that book as a child, and I agrew up with it as well.
Let's not forget that July 30, is also Kate Bush's birthday:

The Guardian:
Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! 60 unbelievable facts about Kate Bush (...)
2. Bush was inspired to write Wuthering Heights without having fully finished reading Emily Brontë’s novel. (...)
60. Kate Bush’s solitary professional activity this year is a piece of writing to be inscribed on a stone near Emily Brontë’s birthplace.  (Alexis Petridis)
Fear isn't something usually associated with Bush, who celebrates her 60th birthday on July 30. In fact, fearlessness is a hallmark of her career, which kicked off in 1978 with a stunning debut single, "Wuthering Heights," featuring a daring, spunky protagonist based on the titular Emily Brontë novel — "I wrote the song from Cathy's standpoint," Bush once said. "Cathy wants to take Heathcliff's soul so that they can be together in the spiritual world" — the song glitters with spiraling piano pirouettes and Bush's antique-lace trills. (Annie Zaleski)
NMZ also talks about Emily in connection with Kate Bush's music:
Vor 200 Jahren wurde die Britin geboren. Mit ihrem einzigen Roman „Wuthering Heights“ ist sie in die Weltliteratur eingegangen. Noch heute bringt der gleichnamige Song von Kate Bush die Fans auf die Beine. (Regina Jerichow) (Translation)
Also on Fyens (Denmark).

Some non-Emily tidbits:

Good news for the Brontë Spirit group. According to Keighley News:
The Craven and Beamsley Trusts awarded funding to Bronte Spirit and the Sue Belcher Centre as part of a £9,400 payout at their July meeting. (...)
Bronte Spirit look after and maintain the upkeep of important heritage building, the Old School Room, next to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth. (David Knights)
The Globe and Mail talks about retellings:
Another common approach is to “remix” the story, creating a new story from underlooked characters or elements in the original. In her 1968 novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys foregrounds a tertiary figure in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre named Bertha Mason. Literally the madwoman in the attic in Brontë’s 1847 novel, this character of Creole heritage (renamed Antoinette Cosway) becomes the keyhole through which Rhys, a Dominican-born British writer, explores racism and colonialism. (Kevin Chong)
The Virginian Pilot reviews Last Stories by William Trevor:
But my favorites were “An Idyll in Winter,” what could be characterized as an updated, abbreviated version of “Wuthering Heights” in which lovers on the moors learn the complicated penalties of rekindled passion[.] (Michael Pierson)
Le Journal des Femmes (in French) interviews the actress Emma Thompson:
Fiona Ipert: D'où vous vient cette force de conviction ?
A la fac, j'ai étudié la littérature anglaise et les romancières Charlotte Brontë, Edith Warthon, George Eliot... Alors que je devais lire les critiques, je me suis aperçue que toutes étaient rédigées par des hommes. Un jour, j'ai découvert La Folle dans le grenier de Gilbert et Gubar, une critique féministe, et ce livre a changé ma vie. J'ai compris que ce n'était pas nécessaire de ne lire que des hommes, qu'ils ont des idées différentes des femmes et j'ai fait toute mes études autour de ça. C'était fascinant, une nouvelle manière de voir les livres. Après ça, j'ai été de plus en plus fascinée par les idées des femmes. (Translation)
ScuolaZoo (Italy) lists books you 'absolutely' have to read:
 Cime tempestose di Emily Bronte: la storia è ambientata nella brughiera inglese di inizio Ottocento e i protagonisti sono Heathcliff e Catherine, innamorati ma messi alla prova dalle profonde differenze sociali che li costringeranno ad allontanarsi. Catherine sposerà lo stimato Edgar Linton mentre Heathcliff , tornato da un viaggio in Inghilterra dove ha accumulato ricchezze, decide di vendicarsi intrecciando una relazione con Isabel, sorella di Edgar. Gelosia e vendetta si intrecciano irrimediabilmente, in una storia in cui amore e odio, vita e morte, passione e istinto si intrecciano, creando uno dei capolavori della letteratura inglese del’800. (Raffaella Berardi) (Translation)
Vogue (France) lists movies about writers:
Les Soeurs Brontë 1979
L'adaptation de la vie des trois soeurs Brönte par André Téchiné est présentée au Festival de Cannes en compétition officielle en 1979. Dans ce biopic au charme suranné, Isabelle Adjani interprète Emily Brontë, écrivaine précoce qui écrira le célèbre roman Les Hauts du Hurlevent, publié en 1847. Ce sera son seul et unique roman, la jeune femme mourra de la tuberculose, à seulement 30 ans, maladie qui emportera 1 an plus tard sa soeur Anne (Isabelle Huppert), poétesse talentueuse, ainsi, on le suppose, quelques années après, l'aînée Charlotte (Marie-France Pisier) auteure de Jane Eyre. (Manon Garrigues) (Translation)
Los Andes (Argentina) presents Infernales. La Hermandad Brontë by Laura Ramos:
Ahora, llega a nosotros la "biografía no autorizada" que merecían los hermanos Brontë. A través de las páginas de “Infernales”, de la periodista y escritora argentina Laura Ramos, el mitos de esas vírgenes salvajes que escriben en un páramo historias truculentas se diluye ante la investigación que muestra a tres feministas avant la lettre, que deciden cambiar el matrimonio por el estudio y la libertad y que crean su propia leyenda. A tal punto que hoy el pueblo de Haworth sigue viendo sus fantasmas y viviendo de su merchandising. (Mariana Guzzante) (Translation)
Imma Merino continues reading and sharing her views of Wuthering Heights in El Punt Avui (in Catalan). La LiBéLuLa (Radio 3) (in Spanish) reviews Damas oscuras. Cuentos de fantasmas de escritoras victorianas eminentes with special attention to Charlotte Brontë. Het Financieele Dagblad (Netherlands) mentions I Walked with a Zombie 1943.


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