Saturday, November 09, 2019

The first episode of BBC Two's Novels That Shaped Our World is to be broadcast tonight at 9.45pm. Entertainment (Ireland) sums it up:
A Woman's Place
Documentary examining the impact of novels from three perspectives - the empire, class experience and, in this first film, women's voices. The programme aims to show the plight of women is a theme that reaches right back to the earliest novels, with extracts from Jane Austen, the Brontës, Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf, through to the post-war publishing boom where a new generation of global writers such as Zadie Smith, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Margaret Atwood have continued to speak out for women to a new generation of readers.
The Times complains about it:
The Novels That Shaped Our World
BBC Two, 9.45pm
It may seem a doomed enterprise to try to encapsulate the female experience as seen through the novel in an hour, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a shot — and at the very least this is a provocative primer. This first in a three-part series (future episodes address empire and class) is inevitably selective, and many will be dismayed at what has been left out; the Brontës, for example, barely feature. Others, though, are given a fair and balanced hearing. (Chris Bennion)
Funny when it's only Charlotte or only Emily we never see that kind of comment. When it's Anne Brontë's still relevant second novel then it's 'the Brontës [...] barely feature'. Either they are going to have a hard time next year when her bicentenary comes around or they will then vindicate her because it's on.

Also in The Times, Caitlin Moran visits the British Library Permanent Treasures exhibition:
Finally, among the Blakes, I found two manuscripts by Charlotte and Emily Brontë. They were powerful items – for both sisters wrote, in brown ink, in an impossibly tiny hand.
The note beside the books explained that the Brontës wrote in this tiny hand so that “adults” would not read what they wrote. To be a writer was not a career for a young woman, in that age or any previous – as we know, the sisters had to take male pseudonyms to get Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre into print.
The Brontës’ manuscripts were the first things I had seen all morning that were written by, or about, women. And, as I stared at them, the various elements of the day collided in my head. This room full of Christian culture – and then these two tiny, potent time capsules by two sisters, which they wrote, in letters so small as to be almost invisible, in the fragments of time around housework and taking care of their elderly father and alcoholic brother.
A contributor to Cultured Vultures writes about the books that shaped her.
Then I met the Brontës. Three sisters, all gifted with imaginative gusto, crafting such different and unique world despite their similar shared spaces. I was most blown away by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. There was an intensity to her prose that scared me yet drew me in, like a moth to a flame. I allowed myself to drown in the fire of her prose, swallowed in the torments of Heathcliff and Cathy’s passion. Was love really like this? It sounded so agonisingly tantalising. Charlotte Brontë was also guilty of painting a similar picture with Jane and Rochester, but with even greater depth. Jane and Rochester were such equals in wit and conversation that of course love would follow. Thus, upon meeting a friend of a mutual friend at a bus stop, the electric conversation that followed left me in a swirling state of hope and agony. Surely he felt the pull of our shared banter, or the sustained eye contact we kept drawing from each other. But all I got was a friend request on Facebook and a few messages that quickly dwindled into nothing.
As I crawled my way into my final year in university, I chose to do my thesis on Jane Eyre, wanting to purge the message it had imprinted on me. In writing about Jane, it was inevitable that I started to pay more attention to Bertha Mason, or as I prefer to know her – Antoinette. In submerging myself in Jane’s narrative, I had forgotten about the madwoman in the attic. She had been the obstacle to Jane and Rochester’s happiness. I never considered her voice, or who she was before she was reduced to this snarling creature who creeps around destroying wedding veils. Jean Rhys gave her a presence, an identity; a sense of agency is returned to her as her narrative unfolds.
She was a beautiful, vibrant woman, struggling to deal with her dual ethnic identities. In her struggle she lost herself, and became a victim to a man’s warped recreation of who he thinks she should be. That’s when I realised I was allowing my love for books to do the same to me. The narratives I had experienced in these texts were constructing the way I lived my life. [...]
But Antoinette saved me. In Rhys’ narrative, she resists Rochester’s desire to limit who she should be, and how she should love. Her act of burning his home was not the act of a mad woman that we all perceived in Jane Eyre, it was a way for her to save herself from his patriarchal boundaries. In doing so, she saves Jane as well. She gives her a man who is now able to love her on more equal terms. As for me, she gave me a cloak to wrap myself in as I dived into texts, so I was in the world but insulated from it. Fantasy may come from reality, but we cannot believe in its reality to the point where we lose sight of our own. (Natasha Alvar)
A contributor to Business Insider writes about travelling by train around Europe during 8 days  for under $500.
The deeper into Austria — and higher into the Alps — we went, the deeper the fog became. Wispy tendrils thickened into solid blankets, then puffy pillows, until finally all around us was a solid sheet of fog, so thick it was impossible to see more than a few feet.
I've long had an active imagination, and couldn't help but immediately think of the murk permeating the setting of the well-worn copy of "Jane Eyre" I brought with me for reading material. Like Charlotte Brontë's titular heroine, I wondered if the gloom had a deeper meaning. (Ben Mack)
The show titled “Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels”, which is on view till March 1, 2020, features such perennial favourites as Tracy Beaker, Pippi Longstocking, Jane Eyre and Matilda, as well as new characters including Omar from Planet Omar, Billy from Billy and the Beast and Dirty Bertie.
“The exhibition highlights how rebels in children’s literature have been presented in many different ways: characters who stand up for what they believe in, break away from convention, have a cause they are striving for, are extremely resilient, survive difficult situations, or are just slightly mischievous,” the Library said in its note on the exhibition.
The Chinese Jane Eyre film seems to be still in the works, according to this passing mention in Keighley News.
David Wilson, Bradford UNESCO City of Film director, delivered a presentation on Bradford and how culture is used to drive sustainable development.
He told how City of Film planned to work with the Chinese film industry on a re-working of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, opening up the potential for the city to benefit from the massive Chinese tourism market. 
The Telegraph and Argus reports that Sally Wainwright is to receive the Freedom of the Borough of Calderdale for her 'outstanding contribution to the borough, which features as a backdrop in many of her shows'.

WAMC asks,
5. What name is shared by one of the central characters in the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, a 1996 musical based on the novel, and an orange cat who first appeared in a comic strip bearing his name in September of 1973? (Ian Pickus)
Il Gazzettino (Italy) has an article on Emily Brontë's bicentenary talking about Paola Tonussi's book. Gem's Book Nook posts about Jane Eyre.


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