Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Keighley News reports on the celebrations of Anne's bicentenary in Thornton and the Brontë Parsonage.
Commemorations of Anne Brontë’s bicentennial began with a knees up in the old gal’s honour. [...]
Revellers descended on the Delius Arts and Cultural Centre in Bradford for an evening of live music, poetry and dancing. The line-up featured musicians, poets and DJs, and people attending were able to try their hand at DIY crafts like let making badges and magazines.
Attractions included a vegan pop-up stall and a bar serving specially-made Anne Brontë punch.
The festivities were dreamed by the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Thornton’s South Square Centre.
A museum spokesman said: “Anne is often thought of as the ‘other Brontë’, less famous than her sisters Charlotte and Emily, but she was a talented novelist, poet, visual artist and musician.
“This event was inspired by her creativity and the conviction with which she held her beliefs.”
The following day the Parsonage Museum hosted its annual Parsonage Wrapped event where literature enthusiasts could go behind the scenes during the museum’s annual closed period.
The museum reopened last Saturday with the star attraction being a year-long exhibition devoted to Anne, entitled Amid the Brave and Strong.
The spokesman said: “Anne’s life and work have had much less exploration than those of her sisters. The new exhibition delves into key elements of Anne’s life, from her childhood at the Parsonage to how her legacy has been shaped by others since her death.
“Anne’s strong moral beliefs led her to write for purpose as well as pleasure, something which shocked and excited her readers.
Anne’s novels include The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels in English literature.
Highlights of the exhibition include Anne’s poignant last letter, Charlotte’s first ‘little book’ written specially for Anne, a copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall that Anne gave a close friend, and a portrait of Anne by Charlotte along with the carnelian necklace worn by her in the picture. (David Knights)
Henley Standard reviews Blackeyed Theatre's stage adaptation of Jane Eyre.
This production was a masterpiece of translation to the stage by Nick Lane for Blackeyed Theatre.
It was pure storytelling from beginning to end and had me gripped throughout, even though I knew what was coming.
I shared in Jane’s pain at the hands of her spoilt cousins, her fear of her loveless Aunt Reed, her joy at Mr Rochester’s proposal, the depths of her despair at finding out about his mad wife, and the flooding back of her love for the blind Mr Rochester on discovering the loss of Thornfield Hall, and Edward’s gallant attempt to save his wife, Bertha — blinding himself in the process. The actors never ceased to amaze us with their talent. All moved effortlessly between their multiple characters and at one point in the action Ben Warwick (Mr Rochester and Mr Brocklehurst) and Oliver Hamilton (St John Rivers, John Reed, Mr Mason) even overlapped in their underscoring on the piano — the left hand of Ben being joined by Oliver’s right as one took over from the other. Ben also added some plaintive violin playing to the mix.
Eleanor Toms showed startling versatility with her spiteful Georgiana Reed and her joyous Diana Rivers, along with her Blanche Ingram, Helen Burns and Adele Varens — there being no doubt as to who she was portraying.
Eleanor delighted us not only with her singing voice but also her moody cello playing. Camilla Simson gave us an elegant Mrs Fairfax, contrasting sharply with the mad Bertha Mason, the mean Aunt Reed and the happy-go-lucky Mary Rivers. But there was no doubting the power of the performance of this iconic character from literature that Kelsey Short gave us.
Her portrayal, tearing at our hearts with her heartfelt sincerity was unfaltering. She wrung us out with her performance, taking us with her throughout her painful journey through to the joyous conclusion. She was a joy to behold.
This production was a work of art in collaborative theatre. Every move was perfectly choreographed, with the cast moving seemingly odd pieces of wood, the odd bench or piece of fabric which would ingeniously then become a corridor, an attic or even a coach. The director, Adrian McDougall, must be congratulated along with all the rest of the team for quite a remarkable piece of work.
From now on, this will be my Jane Eyre memory and I shall certainly be seeking out more from Blackeyed Theatre in future. You must do the same. You will not be disappointed. (Julie Huntington)
The Yorkshire Post features Poet Laureate Simon Armitage recalling the fact that 2017 was
 a busy year even by Armitage’s standards, when he was both poet-in-residence at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to celebrate its 40th anniversary and creative partner at the Brontë Parsonage Museum marking the 200th anniversary of Branwell Brontë’s birth. (Yvette Huddleston)
Abebooks has a post on women writers.
In 1837, Charlotte Brontë wrote a letter and enthusiastic submission to then Poet Laureate Robert Southey, including some of her poetry. While Southey acknowledged the skill and talent within the writing, he was dismissive and discouraging of her efforts, and advised her not to bother attempting to write professionally, as the literary world belonged to men, and was no place for a woman.  Rather than giving up, Brontë and her two sisters Emily and Anne continued to write, and were published - under the names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Men’s names. That story should be of little surprise, given the politics of the 19th century. [...]
As an adult, I’ve discovered and enjoyed classic authors like Harper Lee, Jane Austen, and the Brontë sisters (as Anne, Charlotte and Emily), as well as more contemporary authors like Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Kathryn Stockett,  Kiran Desai, Elizabeth Kostova, Marilynne Robinson, and yes, generous helpings of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. I even tried Doris Lessing.
It seems to me that the world is teeming with talented female writers and that readers everywhere recognise and enjoy their work. The names I mention in this article are the small tip of an iceberg. (Beth Carswell)
Página 12 (Argentina) features dancer Francisco Fradi Ocampo, who says,
“Creo que en Austen, Emily Brontë y ese tipo de literatura decimonónica hay un universo muy centrado en los sentimientos, especialmente de figuras femeninas, que es súper intenso y súper pop.” (Santiago Rial Ungaro) (Translation)

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