Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Telegraph publishes an edited version of the introduction by Tracy Chevalier for the new Folio edition of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:
In her bicentenary year, it’s time we recognised Anne as Charlotte and Emily’s equal, argues Tracy Chevalier
I have discovered that there are essentially two camps of Brontë supporters: “Charlottes” and “Emilys”. I am a Charlotte, serious and focused and rather traditional. Emilys are much stranger, more romantic and unpredictable. Why, though, are there so few “Annes”?
Like her two sisters, Anne Brontë also wrote; indeed, she published two novels as opposed to Emily’s one. Anne’s first novel, Agnes Grey, came out in 1847, the same year as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall appearing the following year. Agnes Grey is a somewhat standard novel about the trials of a governess in a difficult family, addressing issues Charlotte took up with a more Gothic spin in Jane Eyre. But Wildfell Hall is a different, wilder beast – perhaps too wild for its time.
Like her sisters, Anne initially published under a male pseudonym, Acton Bell. When it was discovered that Wildfell Hall had been written by a woman, there was an awful lot of critical tutting about coarseness and unwomanly topics. The book still sold well (possibly because of the criticism) – so well that within a month a second edition went to print. In it Anne was able to address its critical reception in a preface that defends her decision to write about domestic abuse, boldly stating, “when we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear … when I feel it my duty to speak an unpalatable truth, with the help of God, I will speak it …” (Read more)
Hindustan Times also vindicates Anne Brontë in her 200th anniversary:
Overshadowed by her sisters’ literary fame, Anne Brontë is now regarded as a feminist writer by many.
Anne Brontë wanted to write the truth, about people and society. It was a risky thing to do in the 1840s, especially for a woman, when Victorian-era respectability established a strict code of social conduct. Anything which challenged the morality and respectability of the times (or the appearance of it) was regarded with disapproval. And Anne – whose birth bicentenary is on January 17 – was determined to look beyond appearances. She paid dearly for it, often lost under the shadow of the literary genius of her better known sisters – Charlotte and Emily – whose works Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, are regarded as classics. But Anne, unlike her sisters, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, look at life and people through the prism of romance. Take for example, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, her second novel, published in 1848. (...)
It was this desire for honesty that made Anne dwell on class and gender issues in Agnes Grey, her first published novel. But it was Anne’s fate to be overshadowed by her sisters. Charlotte’s passionate love story of a plain-Jane governess and her rich employer was published two months before Agnes Grey, also an account of a governess’s life (though Anne started her book much before). And romance is so much more captivating than reality. (Poulomi Banerjee)
20 Minutos (México) also publishes a commemorative article.

Alex O'Connell (and daughter) make interesting points in The Times' review of Tanya Landman's Jane Eyre retelling:
 Why would you “retell” Jane Eyre, you might ask, as did my teenage daughter when she saw me reading this nippy, easy-to-digest condensing and rewriting of the novel.
“Well, it’s shorter and simpler with the same DNA as the original, if not the same body,” I said, vaguely. “But it’s easier to read, especially if you’re dyslexic or find the type and dense language of a classic a challenge.
“It made me want to read the original again,” I added. “It might make some teenagers want to read Brontë 1.0 too, when they might not have considered it for them.”
“No it won’t,” she replied. “They might feel they have already read it, so they won’t bother, but they won’t have read it, they will have read a version that isn’t Charlotte Brontë’s. You don’t read Jane Eyre for the story, you read it for the writing.”
It’s annoying when they’re almost right, as Brontë probably said.
Yet we agree to disagree. (...)
Landman has oiled the wheels of Mr Rochester’s carriage, a selfless service that makes the essence of a great book accessible to all. Readers, I hope you devour it.
The Guardian reviews The Other Bennet sister by Janice Hadlow:
Although not suffering materially, Mary is emotionally starved; she refuses, however, to accept that this is her fate. Like Jane Eyre – with whom she has perhaps more in common than Austen’s own heroines – it turns out that her unassuming exterior contains a fierce, passionate soul, keen to find expression. Mary wants. She wants experience, friendship, love; like Jane Eyre, she will settle, if she must, for the life of the mind, but she won’t compromise her heart. (Jo Baker)
The New York Times puts together a 'female rage' reading list:
The Woman Upstairs” by Claire Messud
Reading the title of Claire Messud’s latest novel, anyone of a literary turn of mind will immediately think of the madwoman in the attic, the 19th century’s best-known “woman upstairs.” In “Jane Eyre,” Bertha Mason was the first wife of the master of Thornfield Hall, who shut her away and, in so doing, opened the door to more than a hundred years of impassioned feminist criticism. This connection is entirely intentional, as Messud quickly makes plain. “We’re not the madwomen in the attic,” argues her “reliable,” “organized” protagonist, a teacher named Nora Eldridge, referring to unmarried women like herself, “numerous” in their 20s and 30s, “positively legion” in their 40s and 50s. “We’re the quiet woman at the end of the third-floor hallway, whose trash is always tidy, who smiles brightly in the stairwell.” Outwardly they may seem “benignant” (to use a Brontëan word), but inwardly, Nora declares, they seethe. “People don’t want to worry about the Woman Upstairs,” she reflects. “Not a soul registers that we are furious. We’re completely invisible.” In time, she will resolve to “use that invisibility, to make it burn.” (Liesl Schillinger)
Keighley News announces a new guide which includes Haworth:
A newguide hasbeen produced spotlighting attractions around Haworth.
It is among a series of Discover Guides produced for areas of the Bradford district.
Aimed at visitors and residents, the guides – launched by Bradford Council's tourism team, Visit Bradford – include details of events and food and drink, heritage and culture offerings.
They cover Haworth and Brontë Country, Bradford city centre, Ilkley and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire. (Alistair Shand)
The author Chandani Lokuge chooses Wuthering Heights as one of the 'books that changed her' in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Wuthering Heights personifies the Romantic Sublime in the Cathy-Heathcliff relationship – that highest ideal encompassing body and soul, where individual identity means nothing but melts into the other, where Cathy says, ‘‘I am Heathcliff! ... He’s … my own being’’. As a teenager hidden in our guava tree in Sri Lanka, I dreamt that one day, I would be Cathy. When Jennifer Strauss launched My Van Gogh she observed that the Romantic Sublime is the ideal in it.
Stylecaster uses Myers-Briggs personality types to ... choose your outfit:
Put all those years of fantasizing about running around the moors with Heathcliff to use and manifest your heavy romance vibes all year long. (Becca Evans)
El Comercio (Spain) reviews Ángeles Caso's Quiero escribirte esta noche una carta de amor:
Ángeles Caso (1959) nos habla en 'Quiero escribirte esta noche una carta de amor' de quince mujeres especiales, luchadoras, rebeldes, sufridoras, geniales. (...) De la institutriz Charlotte Brontë, de los amores imposibles y de las novelas enormes. (Fulgencio Argüelles) (Translation)
El País (in Catalan) vindicates George Eliot's Middlemarch:
Si les germanes Brontë van ser, comparativament, unes feministes més exaltades que Eliot, aquesta, dona de gran cultura i de gran intel·ligència, va plantejar a Middlemarch una crítica assaonada i més que valenta sobre el lloc de les dones a la societat i a la llar, adreçada als lectors de la tan púdica era de la reina Victòria. (Jordi Llovet) (Translation)
Pangea (Italy) talks about the work of the writer Janet Frame:
Con voce lucida la Frame racconta la passione per la lettura e la scrittura che ne farà un’autrice, la capacità d’identificarsi totalmente, perdutamente nei libri che legge, nelle vite degli scrittori e nell’alone incantato che circonfonde quelle vite: “Imparammo a conoscere e ad amare la storia delle sorelle Brontë: il malinconico scenario delle brughiere dello Yorkshire, la parrocchia paterna, il cimitero. Ci sentivamo vicini a quella famiglia autosufficiente (…): le Brontë con le loro brughiere, noi con la nostra collina e il nostro canale e le pinete. La loro famiglia aveva conosciuto la morte, al pari della nostra, e la loro vita era tanto più tragica della nostra, e malgrado tutto prevalentemente gioiosa, che potevamo attribuire loro, con cuore grato, i tristi sentimenti dai quali eravamo talvolta sopraffatte…”.
Stabilisce precoci corrispondenze anche con altre presenze: inviati, angeli, intermediari tra lei e gli scrittori e i poeti. E sempre presente è il grande amore per la terra ampia in cui vive. Proprio come le bambine Brontë la piccola Janet vagabonda con passione per le colline intorno a casa, i fratelli con lei in molta libertà, quasi piccoli selvaggi alla scoperta di un continente: “guardavamo in cielo a quelle che parevano essere le uniche altre creature viventi al mondo: i falchi roteanti in picchiata e le allodole”. (Paola Tonussi) (Translation)
Moviesushi (Italy) reviews Little Women 2019:
La narrazione procede infatti mischiando i due romanzi, Piccole donne e Piccole donne crescono, perché segue le vicende delle ragazze March quando sono già grandi, mostrandocele nell’adolescenza nei flashback, e Gerwig inventa un bel finale, che cambia quello originale, mischiando la biografia dell’autrice Louisa May Alcott con qualcosa di personale: quel voler essere donna libera in un mondo di uomini, con la pretesa di vivere del proprio mestiere di (orrore) scrittrice o comunque “creativo” (nel film si citano le sorelle Brontë, autrici di Cime tempestose, fonte di ispirazione per la stessa Alcott). (Giuliana Molteni) (Translation)
Redenoticia  (Brazil) mentions a Wuthering Heights reference in an episode of the soap opera Bom Sucesso:
Nana entra como Cathy Earnshaw de O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes, de Emily Brontë. (Translation)
Donne sul Web (Italy) lists writers' quotes on the meaning of life:
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
 La poetessa e autrice del celebre romanzo Jane Eyre, nonché sorella delle famose Emily e Anne, con cui peraltro pubblicò anche una raccolta di poesie, riflette sulla caducità e la brevità della vita, confermando che non c’è tempo da perdere dietro a fesserie e sciocchezze, ma che non possiamo fare altro che concentrarci sulle cose davvero importanti e profonde che la costituiscono. (M P) (Translation)
The Huffington Post (Spain) recommends Laura Ramos's Infernales: La Hermandad Brontë:
La casa de la familia Brontë en elpoblado de Haworth, en Yorkshire (Inglaterra), fue excepcional desde que los niños eran pequeños cuando su madre murió. Charlotte, Emily, Anne y Branwell, nacidos entre 1814 y 1820, crearon mundos literarios propios siempre que podían, su relación era singular entre ellos y algunos lograrán obras memorables. «Con el tiempo, Charlotte llegará a ser una celebrada autora; Emily mantendrá el anonimato mientras su Cumbres Borrascosas escandaliza a Gran Bretaña; Anne publicará La inquilina de Wildfell Hall, una de las primeras novelas feministas; Branwell, poeta maldito, llevará el ideal romántico hasta los límites de la autodestrucción y será proscrito de la historia». Así lo recuerda la editorial Taurus en Infernales una biografía muy completa, amena y documentada de la familia Brontë escrita en castellano.
Escribieron a escondidas del padre, un clérigo de la iglesia local que vivía en una casa junto a la rectoría y cercana al templo y cementerio.»Ellas debieron luchar frente a prejuicios en contra de las mujeres, él, contra los férreos mandatos paternos para que llegara a ser un pintor de fama. Ellas lo consiguieron, él, no». (Maribel Lienhard) (Translation)
This is Lancashire reports a Guinness World Record which has some Brontës on it. Verweben (in Dutch) reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.


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