Saturday, July 21, 2018

Kathryn Hugues writes an interesting but very misguided article on Emily Brontë in The Guardian. (EDIT: The cover of The Guardian Review section is also completely wrong):
Brontë was no romantic child of nature but a pragmatic, self-interested Tory. Why is she still adored for her ‘screeching melodrama’ of a novel?
Over this ecstatic high summer, visitors to the Haworth parsonage museum will be able to watch a film that simulates the bird’s-eye view of Emily Brontë’s pet hawk, Nero, as he swoops over the moors to Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse that is the putative model for Wuthering Heights. You’ll be able to listen to the Unthanks, the quavery Northumbrian folk music sisters who have composed music in celebration of Emily’s 200th anniversary. If that’s not enough, you can watch a video installation by Lily Cole, the model-turned-actor-turned-Cambridge-double-first from Devon, which riffs on Heathcliff’s origins as a Liverpool foundling. Finally, Kate Bush, from Kent, has been busy on the moors unveiling a stone. In short, wherever you come from and whoever you are, you will find an Emily Brontë who is sufficiently formless yet endlessly adaptive to whatever you need her to be – a rock, a song, a bird in flight. (...)
In the place of Emily Brontë the wuthery maiden of the moors, we need to put Emily Brontë the ruthlessly self-defined artist. I happen to hate that art – no many how many popularity polls it wins, and no matter how many literary critics point out how cleverly it is crafted, nothing will convince me that Wuthering Heights is anything but a hot mess. But the fact that it exists at all, written in such unpromising circumstances by a woman who was convinced of her right to produce it, has a certain magnificence. Emily Brontë is the patron saint of difficult women. For that alone, she is to be admired, if only grudgingly and from a safe distance.
A completely different opinion can be read in Emily Brontë Reappraised by Claire O’Callaghan, which is reviewed by Samantha Ellis in The Telegraph (paywalled):
"Could Emily’s legacy be any more surreal?” asks Claire O’Callaghan at the start of this intriguing book. She is an academic and joyfully and unashamedly a Brontë fan – but even she finds it strange that the most secretive of the Brontë sisters has inspired so much infatuation. It’s not just knitted Emily dolls. There are mass dance-offs in honour of her, erotic novels with titles such as Fifty Shades of Heathcliff and Wuthering Nights, and even a dog-soothing video called Woofering Heights
EDIT: The article can be read (for free) in The Independent (Ireland).

The Hindu also explores Emily Brontë's figure:
Did Emily Brontë, born this month in 1818, write only out of inspiration? Or did she write of experience that made and marred her? (...)
How could Emily describe psychosis with such vividness? If she had herself suffered something like it, she must have known that it has to be endured rather than cured. Psychiatrists were still years away and Emily had a horror of doctors in any case — she stubbornly refused medical treatment when she was dying. Was fictionalising her troubles the cure Emily had devised for herself? Was the writing, most of which she had no intention of publishing, a way of cauterising herself against a malady which she wanted no one to detect or fuss over? (Anusua Mukherjee)
Finally The Indiependent discusses the fate of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights:
 Wuthering Heights, I’ve come to realise, can’t finish happily because it wouldn’t fit the novel. Emily  Bronte wasn’t afraid to look at the worst side of humanity and our lives – as Hobbes put it, nasty, brutish and short. This truth disgusted the Victorian, frilled sensibilities of the magazine critics and provoked a visceral reaction from them. Heathcliff might get away with it in the end, because that’s how life is sometimes. Bittersweet above all, a tale of sadness, love, passion, loneliness and hatred. (Gabriel Rutherford)
The Brontë Parsonage summer activities are discussed in Keighley News:
Over the course of two days – August 6 and 7 – we’re workshops on writing, performance and using your voice for speaking and performance.
The theme of the workshops is ‘stormy weather’, and day one is a day of inspiration at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, whilst day two will be spent at Leeds Library, where you will have the opportunity to make, create, perform and present new work at a public showcase at the end of the day. (...)
And we’re just about ready for the biggest weekend of events we’ve ever hosted at the museum.
The Emily Birthday Weekend is finally upon us, and as I write, a huge marquee is being erected in Parson’s Field behind the Parsonage to host the dizzying array of events.
The weekend kicks off on the evening of Friday July 27 with the launch of I am Heathcliff, a collection of short stories inspired by Wuthering Heights, featuring a number of the contributors.
Then on Saturday there are workshops on vlogging, blogging, and podcasts, an ‘in conversation’ event about Emily and the Gothic, and a fabulous headline event entitled ‘This, That and ‘The Other’’ featuring the above-mentioned calypso musician Tobago Crusoe, our writer-in-residence performance poet Patience Agbabi, and Jay Bernard, winner of the 2018 Ted Hughes award for new poetry, and more besides. It promises to be a highlight of the weekend!
However exhausted I will be after Saturday, I’ll be up bright and early on Sunday to take part in the 14-mile Emily Walk, which is one of the four Brontë Stones Walks devised by author Michael Stewart.
Whilst I’m walking the moors, I’ll miss the welcome return of Poetry at the Parsonage’s Open Mic, more workshops – including free sketching outdoors workshops – and a Birds of Prey display.
There’s too much to fit in!
I’ll hopefully finish the walk in time to see the screening of Lily Cole’s film, specially commisioned by the museum for Emily’s bicentenary, and I’ll be back in the museum on Monday July 30 – the actual birthday – when we’ll be in a celebratory mood.
We will be looking forward to the evening event featuring Lily Cole, The Unthanks, Patience Agbabi, and other special guests.
Shelf Awareness reviews the Anniversary edition of The Oxford Companion to the Brontës:
This special edition of The Oxford Companion to the Brontës commemorates the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights. It "aims to evoke the milieu in which the Brontës lived and wrote, to disseminate new reliable research, and to provide detailed information about their lives, works, and reputation." Authors and editors Christine Alexander (Love and Friendship: And Other Youthful Writings) and Margaret Smith (Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë) and seven additional contributors have created an authoritative and enjoyable reference work.
This well-structured book offers a web of connected concepts, events and people that allows readers to begin anywhere, whatever their initial interests. The bulk of it is in the form of an encyclopedia, with alphabetized entries, illustrations and several long features on topics such as individual family members, their childhood fiction, letters, mature work and biographies written about them. Other sections include a bibliography, a glossary of dialect and obsolete words, and a chronology that begins and ends with Patrick Brontë, since he outlived all his children. There are three timelines, side by side, of biographical, literary and artistic, and historical events. In the year 1842, the reader can see at a glance, among other things, that Charlotte and Emily moved to Brussels and the French novelist George Sand published her novel Consuelo. Flip to the entry on George Sand, and there is a comment on what Charlotte thought of that novel. This is an indispensable reference for anyone with a deep interest in this brilliant literary family, their times and their work. (Sara Catterall)
East Anglian Times talks about the TV series Picnic in Hanging Rock:
The canvas and the colouring may change but it is the subject matter which is eternal and this is the richness to be found in great literat ure. This is why the works of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters remain so relevant. (Andrew Clarke)
The Record talks about the novel The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson
When Miranda Brooks was young, her Uncle Billy's shop, Prospero Books, was like a second home to her. But a family argument on the night of her 12th birthday was so explosive she never visited it again. When she learns of her uncle's death, she is surprised to find that he has left the shop to her in his will and a book-filled scavenger hunt to go with it. Riddles are left in the pages of books like "Frankenstein," "Jane Eyre" and "The Tempest" and as she hunts, she finds out about a family secret, Billy's devotion to her and learns something about herself. The search takes her through picturesque Los Angeles and beyond as she meets her uncle's friends and mines his past for answers. This captivating debut novel mixes family drama with the daily life of an independent bookstore in perfect balance, reminding us all of the importance of great books at any age.
Jaskiran Chopra in The Pioneer (India) describes her bond to books
After this began the bond with adapted versions of classics like “The Mill on the Floss”, “Jane Eyre”, “The Scarlet Letter”, “Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Mayor of Casterbridge”. This bond turned out to be the strongest and continued all my life.
The 4:3 format is not yet dead according to RedSharkNews:
Gus Van Sant’s Elephant (2003) used the narrower frame to emphasise the isolation of its teenaged leads. Dealing with similar themes, Arnold wanted a combination of intimacy and claustrophobia for her Bafta-winning 2009 drama Fish Tank. She carried the ratio over to her next film, an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, despite the prevalence of big landscapes which would have prompted most directors to choose 2.39:1. The Academy Ratio focuses the viewer’s attention much more on the characters and their inner worlds. (Neil Oseman)
Regió 7 (in Catalan) recommends Wuthering Heights:
'Cims borroscosos', Emily Brontë
Quina millor manera de celebrar el 200è aniversari del naixement d'Emily Brontë que llegint aquests dies un dels seus clàssics més universals. Aquesta novel·la s'ha convertit en la gran obra romàntica per excel·lència, arribant a inspirar pel·lícules, seqüeles o fins i tot cançons. Criticada en la seva època, 'Cims borrascosos' va ser un llibre avançat al seu temps en què la intensitat i la bogeria es palpen a cada pàgina. (Translation
Osnabrücker Zeitung (Germany) interviews a couple of German literary translators:
 Die Übersetzerin mag die zeitgenössische Literatur. Als einen ihrer Lieblingsautoren nennt sie aber einen Klassiker: Friedrich Schiller. Außerdem liebt sie Jane Austen und die Brontë-Schwestern, die sie nach wie vor für zeitgemäß hält. „Frauen, die sich behaupten wollen, haben es auch heute schwer“, so Manuela Klenke. (Anne Reiner) (Translation)
Krytyka (in Polish) reviews the film Mary Shelley:
Film nie radzi sobie także z tym, żeby w ciekawy sposób przedstawić sam proces powstawania Frankensteina. Tym razem trudno obarczać winą scenarzystkę czy reżyserkę – jak powiedział André Téchiné przy okazji reżyserowania filmu o siostrach Brontë, pisanie jest wybitnie niefilmową czynnością. (Anna Gutowska) (Translation)
Dear Sugar's latest podcast talks about love and money and includes Jane Eyre. Finally, the Irish magazine Ireland's Own devotes an article and the cover to Emily Brontë's bicentenary.
Ireland’s Own 
July 20, 2018
Issue 5665
The Unforgettable Emily Brontë


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