Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Telegraph and Argus tells about Anne Brontë-inspired projects made by local students.
Creative students are behind a new exhibition exploring how Anne Brontë was not just a writer but an artist too.
A group of pupils from Beckfoot Thornton School and Thornton Primary worked with film artist Rhian Cooke, developing films and tiny books about Anne's work and their own aspirations.
Like the students, Anne often dreamt about her hopes and futures and once told her father, at the tender age of four, that the thing she wanted most from life was “age and experience”.
Cooke dug around the archives at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth and discovered that Anne was also a prolific illustrator, creating detailed sketches of trees and the sea.
Bringing these ideas together and linking them to the students' lives in Thornton - the birthplace of the Brontё sisters - resulted in the students making projections, tiny books and thaumatropes - 19th century animated toys consisting of a disc with a different picture on each of its two sides which, when rotated, creates an animation.
The students filmed, photographed and audio recorded the surrounding area, capturing the calming sounds and textures of water, trees and the landscape.
Alice Withers, programme manager at South Square Centre, told the Telegraph & Argus: "Some of them knew about the Brontës but especially because Anne was the less well known, a lot of people don't know who she was or what she was famous for.
"Her love for the coastal and rural landscape can be found in her writing, inspired from her time of being a governess in Scarborough and from the surrounding landscape of Haworth.
"We went to tell them about that and the things that make Anne unique.
She added: "I think Anne would approve."
Meanwhile year four students from Thornton Primary School created works inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s rare 'little books’ - much like the tiny manuscript which recently went under the hammer for €600,000 and returned to the Parsonage, completing The Young Men’s Magazines collection. [...]
Students created their own paper, made from recycled paper using dried flowers and leaves to bring elements of the landscape.
Alice explained: "Anne was courageous and someone who was outspoken about the truth. In the little books which students created, they wrote messages of encouragement for fellow pupils.
"These are written in pig pen cipher code,UV pen or freeform across the pages."
Messages included: The best you can do is the best; always try your best and never give up. [...]
The exhibition will be shown until Sunday, March 1 at the South Square Centre, Thornton. (Natasha Meek)
We reckon Anne Brontë would be so, so pleased about these projects.

Counterfire reviews Wuthering Heights at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.
Those expecting either the gothic qualities of the novel, the romance of William Wyler’s 1939 film, or the otherworldliness of Andrea Arnold’s 2011 version, would be well-advised similarly, to treat this production as a re-imagining rather than a straight adaptation.
The performance begins with music from Sophie Galpin and Becky Wilkie, who are present throughout at the edge of the space dressed in period costume under an overhanging tree. Some moments later, the audience sees Mr Earnshaw (David Crellin) encountering a wild boy on the streets of Liverpool, who he names Heathcliff (Alex Austin) and takes home to the Yorkshire Moors. Despite his insistence that his children, Cathy (Rakhee Sharma) and Hindley (Gurjeet Singh), treat the foundling as an equal sibling, both are initially dismissive of him. However, he and Cathy become close and soon spend their time out on the Moors. Hindley thus begins to hate him as he sees the boy as having supplanted him in the eyes of his father and sister. The set contains raised areas, rocks, and foliage representing the heather and other wild flora and fauna of the Moors. The theatre space is in the round, and much is made of the circularity that brings, with Heathcliff often running around the edge, sometimes with wild abandon and love; at other times, enraged by Cathy’s confusion and choices, or indeed, lack of them.
The round also adds to the sense of an emotional circle that cannot be broken. [...]
The performances are strong throughout, with particular emphasis given to Cathy’s strength (and what reduces it), and the relative weakness of the men. Nelly (Samantha Power), Mr Earnshaw’s servant, and the narrator of the novel, is also a powerful character. Cathy weakens, both intellectually and physically, once she takes on the role of lady, and wife. Similarly, Heathcliff becomes crueller once he returns from London a wealthy gentleman. [...]
What is less evident is the racial element that Arnold’s 2011 film brought out, which added to the debate about Heathcliff’s ethnicity, based upon various lines in the novel and Liverpool being a centre of the slave trade. Brontë refers to Heathcliff as a ‘dark-skinned gypsy’ and Nelly at various times refers to him as black. However, the play presents him as a white Londoner, and indeed his whiteness is emphasised by both Cathy and Hindley being played by British Asian actors. While the performance never refers to their ethnicity, the casting leaves it open for the audience to take from it what they will.
The music is very powerful throughout, and Shanahan and Alexandra Faye Braithwaite, the sound designer and composer, refer in the programme to the musicians as standing in for Emily Brontë. The music, in that sense, presents another narrational voice for the audience, who are also treated to Brontë’s poetry, which often functions as a form of soliloquy for Cathy, and therefore a very direct way for her to express the depth of her emotions.
At times, both musicians play guitar, while Wilkie also plays drums and a harp. Close harmonies are the main driving force of the soundscape and the music adds light and shade throughout.
What might be more of a surprise is the performance’s use of humour, mostly in the first half. While it is certainly not unlikely that Cathy and Heathcliff would have laughed and joked, it did feel at times that it was a little forced, and perhaps didn’t add a great deal to the power of the play.
It is power that is the principal achievement of the adaptation. Particular scenes are kinetic in their effect, and both Austin and Sharma are visceral in their movement and speech, especially in the second half, where the energy increases and darkens, and shade mostly overcomes light, as it should, in what is after all a tragic love story. (Martin Hall)
RTVE (Spain) reviews the Spanish edition of Isabel Greenberg's Glass Town.
Una obra sobre la magia de contar historias, que es profundamente feminista, como todas de la joven británica.
Y todo narrado con sus maravillosos y encantadores dibujos naif que terminan de dar al conjunto la apariencia de una ensoñación, de un cuento. Pero un cuento que esconde agudas reflexiones sobre la vida y sobre la creación literaria. Y en el que cada página esconde alguna nueva sorpresa, algún detalle relevante. (Jesús Jiménez) (Translation)
Republic World (India) looks a several modern retellings of classic novels such as
An American Heir: Modern Retellings of Jane Eyre- Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is a novel written by English writer Charlotte Bronte published under the pen name Currer Bell. Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for the brooding master of Thornfield. The book contains elements of social criticism and also focuses on topics like class, sexuality, religion, and feminism.
The retelling of Jane Eyre is titled An American Heir: A modern retelling of Jane Eyre. This book is written by Chrissy Breen Keffer. The book has a modern adaptation of the character with a drastic difference in society. (Aditi Sharma)
The Sun recalls a highly dramatic moment on Coronation Street:
Corrie fans will remember that Geoff played a cruel prank on Yasmeen last year when he pretended that he had served up her beloved pet chicken Charlotte Brontë for dinner.
He then laughed out loud when he revealed it was all a joke. (Molly Moss)
According to Locus,
Then again, our culture’s stories are rife with questionable characters which readers and viewers root for. From manipulative and arrogant Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre to selfish capitalists like Harvey Specter in Suits to drug dealers Walter White (Breaking Bad) and Nancy Botwin (Weeds) to serial killers like Dexter and American Psycho‘s Patrick Bateman. (Josh Pearce, Arley Sorg)
This contributor to Evening Standard feels the need to make this public announcement:
Here goes. I hate Charlotte Brontë’s writing and I don’t know how anybody can sit through Mozart’s Don Giovanni. [...]
I’ve read most of the classics and, while some were life-changing, others were Jane Eyre, a book so miserable I don’t believe anyone could enjoy. [...]
I owe my recent uncharacteristic bravery to the Jamaican Booker Prize-winning writer Marlon James, who gives his honest view of “great” literature along with his editor Jake Morrissey, on their podcast Marlon and Jake Read Dead People. In his opinion, the Brontë sisters “don’t get human emotion”. He likes what he likes and that is the only thing that really matters.
The pressure to brainwash yourself into liking what you’re supposed to is enormous but this inauthenticity comes at a price: your soul. Loving food, wine, music and art is supposed to be joyous and the whole point of sharing cultural experiences is to bring your own opinions to the table. You can find the Mona Lisa drab (she is) and music by female grime artists an endless wellspring of creative joy (I do). But, for most of my adult life, I suppressed my true opinions and forced my tastes into line with what others considered to be good because I thought it was the only way to gain social cachet. (Rob Rinder)
There's also 'pressure' lately to differentiate yourself from the rest by making these supposedly ground-breaking 'confessions', which do nothing but feed these people's constant demands for attention, regardless of whether it's positive or negative. It's not ground-breaking or shocking, folks, it's just plain boring.

AnneBrontë.org has an article on 'How Brussels Changed The Brontës Forever'.

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