Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020 7:48 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
On BookTrust Tanya Landman, author of Jane Eyre. A Retelling, which is to be published in a couple of weeks, shares her reasons for writing it.
I actually can’t remember the first time I read Jane Eyre – the book has always seemed to be part of my life and its heroine a close, personal friend.
Growing up, I returned to the novel over and over again as a comfort read. I adored Jane and saw myself in her, even though we were separated by more than a century. She was plain, like I was. As a child, adults disliked her the way many of them disliked me. She simmered with righteous fury, as I so often did. But she was also quietly strong and self-possessed and had a sense of her own worth that I could only aspire to.
And – on top of all that – it was such a good story! Cruelty, starvation, sickness, death, disaster, romance, horror – Jane Eyre had it all.
Jane Eyre was on the background reading list when my sons did their A-level English Literature. I could hardly wait for them to read it.
Great! I thought. How wonderful! They’re going to love it just as much as I did! We can discuss it over meals.
Sadly, those earnest conversations never took place. The boys did not share my enthusiasm.
The oldest gave up reading soon after Jane left Lowood. The youngest abandoned my heroine soon after she ran away from Thornfield Hall.
I was dumbfounded. How could they not be as entranced as I was?
When I interrogated them, they complained about the Victorian prose, the tedious descriptions, the piety and soul searching and endless banging on about God.
‘But it’s such a good story!’ I kept saying. ‘It’s so scary! So gothic! What about the red room? What about the laughter in the empty corridor – didn’t that send shivers up your spine?’
‘Yes, that bit was great, but… The rest, Mum. It’s all the rest.’ [...]
It would be a monumental task. Cutting Jane Eyre from 185,000 words to a mere 18,000, reshaping what was left into a coherent, compelling and above all readable narrative – was it even possible? I really didn’t know if it could be achieved. But I wanted to have a go.
I suggested it and then it was Barrington Stoke’s turn to mull over the idea. But by then, I was so fired up that I just started, contract or no contract – I wanted to be in Jane’s head, telling her story to my sons in words they would actually read, creating a version I hoped that they would find as gripping as I’d found the original.
Going back to Jane Eyre as an adult, I noticed things that I hadn’t as a teenage reader. The portrayal of Bertha Mason – the mad woman in the attic – was particularly problematic. How was I to address Rochester’s vile belief that his wife was mad because of her racial heritage? My answer was to keep the madness, keep the debauchery and drunkenness, keep the deceit on the part of her father and brother, but break any link between that and her skin colour.
As for the rest of the book, I wanted to eliminate that annoying "rest" that my boys had complained about. So I kept the plot and cut the padding. I kept the passion and cut the piety. St John Rivers – who I hated and despised as a teen – has been reduced to a mere page. He doesn’t even get a name check.
Once I’d started writing, I couldn’t stop. It was quite possibly the most enjoyable and satisfying experience I’ve ever had playing with words on the page. I didn’t have to angst about plot or character – that was already there for me. All I had to do was to get inside Jane’s head. [...]
And have the boys read the book?
Did they like it?
And YES!
Yorkshire Post reviews Northern Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Gala at Leeds Grand Theatre.
Hosted by artistic director David Nixon, who introduced each piece in a relaxed, informative style – the evening got off to a suitably celebratory start with the whole company performing the party scene from The Great Gatsby. There then followed a series of beautiful, intense and totally compelling pas de deux from some of Northern Ballet’s most iconic works including Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet, Dracula, Casanova, A Christmas Carol, 1984, Jane Eyre and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It was a selection that flawlessly demonstrated the depth and breadth of the company’s bold choices and fearless artistic ambition – who else would have dared to think that a dystopian nightmare or a child’s eye view of the Holocaust could work as ballets? Many of the pieces were performed by guest artists – from the Royal Ballet, Central School of Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet – and dancers from Phoenix Dance Theatre presented a duet from Sharon Watson’s Windrush: Movement of the People. (Yvette Huddleston)
Still on the stage, The Star reviews the play Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.
Snaden is overly bashful, uncomfortably eager to please and yet clear in her desire for her professor and favourite author. She appears in brief snippets, often under spotlight (lighting design by Bonnie Beecher), and usually in a red coat that entrances Jon — the same red that covers the set of an intentionally confining hallway: the red of Lolita’s sunglasses, or Jane Eyre’s haunted room, or Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter (set and costumes by Michael Gianfrancesco). (Carly Maga)
Boston Globe interviews novelist Namwali Serpell.
Amy Sutherland: Did spending a year in Zambia in high school change you as a reader?
N.S.: It did so far as education in Zambia was still very British. We were reading works of British literature that I hadn’t read as an American student. I read “Jane Eyre” for the first time. I read it in one sitting. Gothic stories tend to do that for me. I didn’t read a single American author in school that year. 
The Sydney Morning Herald looks into the reasons why Australian photographer Olive Cotton abandoned photography.
But another, unspoken, story emerges; how a disciplined, rational, well-bred young woman fell in love in exactly the way Jane Eyre and Cathy Linton fell in love. Olive Cotton revered science and reason but the composer for her was Chopin. Ross McInerney, not an easy man, was Olive Cotton’s fate, her Rochester, Heathcliff, Darcy. She chose not to dedicate her life to her art but she had an immense life. (Helen Elliott)
The Guardian on Yorkshire:
Yorkshire is the backdrop to many disquieting works of art, such as David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Brontës’ explorations of the soul. (Jude Rogers)
Espinof (Spain) looks into the 13 films that have clearly influenced the latest installment of Star Wars and apparently Wuthering Heights 1970 is one of them.
Cumbres borrascosas (Wuthering Heights, 1970)
Hay muchas versiones de la obra de Emily Brontë, pero esta de Robert Fuest en los 70 mantiene una atmósfera ominosa y oscura mayor a la de otras versiones. La conexión con ‘El ascenso de Skywalker’ —y con esta nueva trilogía, en general— es el romance gótico, imposible y prohibido de Rey y Kylo Ren, la atracción por el villano, esa posibilidad de consanguineidad, y ese Heathcliff sideral que es Ben Solo, enfrentado a Rey en un desfiladero brumoso como los parajes de niebla de la película. El romance imposible acaba en un beso, eso sí, que tiene más de ‘Duelo al sol’ (Duel in the Sun, 1946). (Jorge Loser) (Translation)
The Eyre Guide shares five things she learned from the Brontës in Context DVD.


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