Thursday, January 16, 2020

Anne's bicentenary is tomorrow and Times Literary Supplement has an article on her by Emma Butcher:
The year 2020 brings an end to the Brontë bicentenaries, a succession of celebrations since 2016 to mark the births of Charlotte, Emily, Branwell and now Anne. The youngest of the siblings, Anne Brontë started out in the shadow of her sisters, only to emerge triumphant eventually as an acknowledged proto-feminist. Anne’s legacy, like that of her siblings, has been marred by biographical representations of her weakness, cultivated by those closest to her. Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte’s biographer, branded her “delicate all her life”, while Charlotte herself rejected Anne’s writing, critiquing her honest choice of subject matter and claiming that her sincerity as a Christian, although noble, enforced “sad shade over her brief, blameless life”. These statements may all be true, but alongside her unassuming physicality and moral strictures the power of Anne’s progressiveness as a woman has slowly burned through the romanticism of her sister’s work, establishing itself as a foundation block on the path to women’s rights and social independence: now her words haunt the #MeToo age. [...]
In 1913, the suffrage writer and activist May Sinclair wrote that the noise of Helen slamming her bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England. In truth, it reverberates now. Anne’s personal and literary experience of “the terrible effects of talents misused and faculties abused” seems all too familiar. Tenant was written long before terms such as “toxic masculinity” and “red flags” came along to describe abusive relationships. But that is the kind of relationship Helen describes in her psychologically intimate diary, from Arthur’s initial gushing romantic gestures and quick commitment (“I love you to distraction – Will you bestow yourself upon me? You will!”), to his intense gaslighting when called out for his behaviour (“it is all nonsense Helen . . . Will you never learn”), deceit, verbal manipulation and degradation (“everything I did was wrong; I was cold-hearted, hard, insensate; my sour, pale face was perfectly repulsive”), and self-victimization (“you promised to honour and obey me, and now you attempt to hector over me and threaten and accuse me”). Helen’s journey is painful, and her long road to escape is a timeless reminder of both the difficulties of breaking from narcissistic control and of the toll it takes to leave. Tenant, now as then, consoles and convicts – it asks us to think twice about trusting the wrong person and calls out wrong behaviours.
On her sister Emily’s birthday in 1845, Anne wrote a diary paper that imagined the year 1848. She wonders “what changes shall we have seen and known and shall we be much chan[g]ed ourselves? I hope not”. When that future year came, her two siblings Branwell and Emily were dead, and Anne herself was dying. On the Scarborough cliffs she laboured her last breath and muttered two words to her surviving sister, Charlotte: “take courage”. Those words epitomize Anne’s life and works. They may also serve as a rallying cry for the modern age.
Actualitté (France) looks at what we know of the celebrations.
Décédée en 1849 à l’âge de 29 ans, Anne Brontë fêterait cette année le bicentenaire de sa naissance. Pour l’occasion, la romancière fera l’objet d’une vaste exposition organisée par le Brontë Parsonage Museum situé à Haworth, dans le West Yorkshire (Angleterre). Intitulée « Anne Brontë : Amid the brave and strong », cette manifestation mettra en lumière la vie et l’œuvre de la cadette, beaucoup moins étudiés que ceux de ses deux sœurs, Emily et Charlotte.
Alors que le Brontë Parsonage Museum, également connu sous le nom de Musée du Presbytère des Brontë, est fermé tout le mois de janvier pour des travaux de restauration, il ouvrira exceptionnellement ses portes le 17 janvier prochain, jour du 200e anniversaire d’Anne Brontë.
Cette journée sera consacrée à l’avant-première de l’exposition « Anne Brontë : Amid the brave and strong ». « Nous voulions marquer cette journée si spéciale. Notre espace Bonnell sera donc accessible au public, pour une journée seulement, pour une visite gratuite de l’exposition », annonce le musée. Des personnalités et des spécialistes des sœurs Bronte seront également présents, précise l’institution.
Les portes du Brontë Parsonage Museum seront donc ouvertes de 10h à 15h30. Plus tard dans la soirée, les célébrations se poursuivront au Delius Center de Bradford, ville de sa naissance. Organisée par le South Square Centre et le musée, cet événement réunira des concerts de musique live, de la poésie, des spectacles de danse, en l’honneur de l’écrivaine. Anne Bronte était en effet romancière, poètesse, mais également plasticienne et musicienne.
L’exposition ouvrira officiellement ses portes le 1er février 2020, et se tiendra jusqu’en janvier 2021. Elle explorera l’œuvre d’Anne Brontë et retracera le cours de sa vie pour donner un aperçu de celle qui est souvent restée dans l’ombre de ses sœurs.
Parmi les pièces importantes exposées, on retrouvera la dernière lettre écrite par l’écrivaine ainsi que le premier des 6 « petits livres » de Charlotte dédiée à la cadette et une copie manuscrite de The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, son second roman (connu en France sous le titre de La Locataire de Wildfell Hall, traduit par Maurice Rancès aux éditions Gallimard en 1937).
Mais aussi, son portrait réalisé par Charlotte, son collier de cornaline, son bloc de croquis et un grand nombre de ses dessins et peintures. (Camille Cado) (Translation)
The staff at the Brontë Parsonage tweeted
Erica Wagner discusses Helen Taylor's book Why Women Read Fiction in New Statesman America.
I confess that, despite being a stalwart of the literary scene, I mostly failed to recognise myself as a reader in these pages. Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre are the novels women love best, Taylor claims. Not this woman. I feel certain that it was my position in a patriarchal society that drove my childhood reading even before I knew what that position was.
Smile Politely announces that, 'The Moors will kick off the Station Theatre’s latter half of their eight-show season and the Station's inaugural show of the 2020s' and goes on to interview director Mathew Green.
Smile Politely: Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of the show? Mathew Green: I will do my best. But one of the difficulties my cast and producer and I have been having is that this show is genuinely hard to market because no summary of the plot can do justice to how funny and deeply weird it is.
I will say that this show borrows a lot of plot points and ideas from novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, twisting them and modernizing them along the way. There are two sisters living in an ancient house on the edge of a desolate wilderness with their sad old dog. They have a mysterious housemaid who lurks about. A governess arrives under suspicious circumstances. A bird crash-lands in the woods. Then all hell breaks loose, for everyone. Hilarity ensues – dark, strange hilarity. (KT Burke)
Empire has compiled a list of 'The 100 Greatest Movies Of The 21st Century' and one of them is
30. God’s Own Country (2017)
A film of contradictory extremes both of nature and emotion: anger and love, aggression and tenderness, casual sex and deep emotional bonds. Focused on a cross-cultural gay relationship, God’s Own Country is Yorkshire-pragmatic without being dour, and maintains a sensual, Heaney-ish sense of the land and the backbreaking work it takes to maintain. Anyone squeamish about hardcore calving action might want to steel themselves. In many ways it’s not unlike Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights – the antithesis of picture-postcard, export-friendly British cinema. In the vision of director Francis Lee and cinematographer Joshua James Richards, the Dales are as bleak and unforgiving as they are beautiful. It’s an emotionally literate film about characters who find it easier not to communicate – a lot goes unspoken, but you feel it anyway thanks to the central performances of Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu: raw, committed and truthful, much like the film itself.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette reviews Beauty and Ruin, the new album by David Starr.
David, along with some of his musical friends, has created a project inspired by his late granddad's final novel, 1972's Of What Was, Nothing Is Left. [...]
Starr first read Of What Was, Nothing Is Left a few years ago and was immediately struck by the book's musical possibilities.
Subtitled, A Suspense-Packed Tale of Arkansas, the slim novel is a tragedy set in south Arkansas after the Civil War.
"Ultimately, it's about people's selfishness, their inability to see beyond their own needs," says Starr, who owned Starr's Guitars, a music store in Little Rock before moving to Cedaredge, Colo., almost 20 years ago. "Irene Kelly, who is a bluegrass writer in Nashville, her first take on it was that it reminded her of Wuthering Heights." (Sean Clancy)

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