Sunday, May 19, 2019

A nice initiative to mark and incorporate into the 'Brontë trail' the grave of Nancy Garrs in Bradford's Undercliffe Cemetery. The Telegraph & Argus reports:
Picture Source
When Nancy De Garrs, the Brontës' former nanny, ended up in Bradford Workhouse, her dying wish was not to go to a pauper's grave.
Her plea was taken up by newspapers, including the New York Times, and money was raised for a headstone. But when she died in 1886, aged 82, Nancy was buried in an unmarked plot at Undercliffe Cemetery. Now volunteers have found the plot and cleared the waist-high undergrowth. And the cemetery has launched an appeal to fund a headstone finally paying tribute to Nancy, who had a significant impact on the Brontë children.
Aged 13, Nancy went to work for the Brontës in Thornton in 1816 with her sister, Sarah. They later moved with the family to Haworth. When the Brontës' mother died her sister looked after them, and Nancy and Sarah left, but Patrick thought highly of them and gave them £10 each. Years later, when Elizabeth Gaskell's famous biography of Charlotte Brontë was published, Nancy played a pivotal role in Patrick's legacy.
Stephen Lightfoot, a cemetery volunteer, researched Nancy after coming across her in newspaper archives. He said: "Elizabeth Gaskell was very critical of Patrick, and called Nancy and Sarah 'wasteful servants'. When Nancy alerted Patrick to this he wrote her a letter confirming that they were "kind, honest and not wasteful". Outraged by Gaskell's book, Patrick's friend, William Dearden, wrote a letter to the Keighley News in his defence. Gaskell later withdrew the excerpts on Patrick. Nancy played a major part in restoring his reputation."
When Nancy married, Patrick gave her presents, known as the "Brontë relics". They ended up in the hands of Nancy's nephew, John Hodgson Widdop of Girlington when she was in the workhouse, a destitute widow. When Nancy died Widdop had her buried in an unmarked family plot at Undercliffe, costing just a guinea. The whereabouts of the headstone funds remain a mystery - despite a letter by Widdop to the Keighley News thanking those who contributed. In 1896 he sold some of her Brontë relics to the Parsonage Museum.
Now the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery aims to raise £3,000 for a headstone and to clear access to Nancy's grave.
"Nancy was the Brontes' nanny for eight years, she told them stories and took them for moorland walks. She had a huge impact, but she's been erased from history," said Mr Lightfoot.
Chairman Allan Hillary added: "She's been hidden in undergrowth - it's time to recognise her part in history with her name on a headstone. We'd like it to become part of the Brontë Trail." (Emma Clayton)
Classique News reviews Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights opera production in Nancy, France:
Il est vrai que cet opéra souffre d’un livret inégal, qui se tient à peu près dans la première partie de l’ouvrage, mais qui déçoit ensuite du fait de plusieurs maladresses : des scènes inutilement longues contrastent ainsi avec des accélérations subites du récit. D’où l’impression de raccourcis dramatiques et de personnages peu crédibles dans leurs comportements. On pense par exemple à l’amour d’Isabelle Linton pour Heathcliff, qui prête à sourire tant il est soudain : la cohérence aurait voulu que soit accordée une présence plus soutenue à ce personnage en première partie d’ouvrage. On regrette aussi la suppression de la scène du jeu, qui explique dans le roman comment Heathcliff se venge de son rival et devient maître des Hauts de Hurlevent à son retour d’exil. Le maintien de cette scène aurait notamment permis à Bernard Herrmann de donner davantage de variété à son inspiration musicale, qui alterne entre les ambiances sombres et morbides du prologue et du finale, avec des airs plus hollywoodiens et sucrés, souvent dévolus aux personnages féminins. D’une grande maitrise orchestrale, ces airs séduisent par leur perfection formelle d’inspiration néo-romantique, mais sans marquer les esprits au niveau mélodique. Alors que le chœur n’intervient qu’une fois brièvement en coulisse, on notera une absence résolue de tout recours aux ensembles, ce qui provoque une alternance monotone sur la durée entre scènes de parlés-chanté et airs. Enfin, on regrettera que la scène finale, beaucoup trop longue, refuse la réminiscence mélodique des émois passés de Cathy et Heathcliff, se contentant de mettre en valeur l’interminable agonie de l’héroïne. (...)
Si l’on excepte les faiblesses de l’ouvrage, on ne peut que s’associer à l’accueil chaleureux du public nancéen en fin de représentation, justement convaincu par la somme des talents réunis par cette production. (Florent Coudeyrant) (Translation)
The Hindu talks about Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca:
There are many ways to read the original, according to [Sally] Beauman: One way is to accept it as a “convention-ridden love story, in which the good woman triumphs over the bad by winning a man’s love”; another way is to see its imaginative links, with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for example, and its “mythic resonance and psychological truth.” (Sudipta Datta)
The Sunday Times explores the Cleveland Way:
Two hours later, I’m on the moor, my companion for four days. Think Wuthering Heights with waymarks: old droving tracks, isolated tumuli, a sense of vastness. At times it’s glorious, at others moody, with the wind whistling through dry-stone walls. (Ben Lerwill)
Le Journal de Montréal (Canada) interviews the writer Antonine Maillet:
Les Russes aussi avaient l’art de nous faire voir tout un peuple et toute une époque. Je pense par exemple à Guerre et Paix de Tolstoï ou à L’idiot de Dostoïevski. Et puis il y a Les hauts de Hurlevent d’Emily Brontë. Ça, c’est du très grand roman. (Karine Vilder) (Translation)
La Città di Salerno (Italy) quotes the Japanese writer Banana Yoshimoto saying:
Figlia di un noto intellettuale e critico giapponese, Banana cresce circondata dalla cultura e il suo linguaggio letterario, è frutto di una rielaborazione fuori dagli schemi, dei temi a lei cari, la famiglia, l’amicizia e l’amore. I suoi romanzi sono intensi e affascinanti, moderni e originali, scritti con una sorprendente sintesi dei concetti: «Il mio punto di riferimento letterario è il romanzo “Cime tempestose”, - rivela la scrittrice - ma ammiro molto anche Umberto Eco. (Maria Romana Del Mese) (Translation)
The Eyre Guide repost a review of Jane Eyre 1956. The Brontë Babe Blog reviews a 2010  novelette by Catherine E. Chapman, Brizecombe Hall.

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