Monday, May 04, 2020

In The Telegraph, Samantha Ellis reviews Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg.
Lurid, florid and overheated, the imaginary worlds the Brontë siblings created, first by improvising, then by moving their toy soldiers around maps they made themselves, then in the “little books” written in tiny print, have been called their secret science fiction. Their juvenilia were finally deciphered and transcribed for a critical edition in 2010. But they’ve never quite found a readership. They’re incoherent – the Brontës rewrote each others’ stories, killed each other’s characters off and brought them back to life – and full of gaps because so much of the writing is lost or was destroyed.
So Isabel Greenberg has done something extraordinary. She has somehow made sense of the juvenilia without tidying it up. In this graphic novel she has met the Brontës on their own terms, and the result is – and I mean this as a compliment – utterly loopy. [...]
Glass Town works so well because while the Brontës’ own story is absolutely devastating, the Glass Town scenes are full of fun. I loved Charlotte’s melodramatic heroine Mary Percy shrieking, all mouth and eyes: “If I don’t marry him… I. WILL. LITERALLY. DIE.” And I loved her father, Northangerland, wondering if he can use his daughter to revenge himself on his enemy. “NO! I love her!” he cries, but then, practically leaping like a bunny, he is revelling in his “dastardly plan”.
As for Glass Town’s undoubted racism and imperialism, Greenberg has empowered two black characters, the Ashantee prince Quashia Quamina (a prototype for Heathcliff) and the bluestocking Zenobia, and given them exciting and very credible stories. I believe the Brontës would have wanted her to take these liberties; their writing was all about taking liberties, about being free. They didn’t think that anyone would ever get to read about Glass Town. They made their world for the sheer pleasure of making, and that pleasure radiates off Greenberg’s pages too.
On iNews writer Lucy McRobert discusses nature writing.
This is why I’m excited to be one of the judges for the new Nature on Your Doorstep competition for young writers (more on that below), and why I’d like readers to think beyond what’s included in the ever-growing genre dubbed “nature writing”. The truth is, it’s something which is all around us.
It doesn’t come from one defined genre, but from Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, Bill Bryson’s travelogues. It is embedded in fantasy, crime and romance. It’s in almost every book I read to my 19-month-old daughter.
The Canberra Times features a local bookshop that, while closed to browsers, is taking orders over the phone.
Ms Canty said Dostoevsky and "Wuthering Heights" were prominent, neither of them light reads in normal times. (Steve Evans)
Nu (Netherlands) interviews writing duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.
Welk boek kun je keer op keer opnieuw lezen? French: "Het vaakst heb ik denk ik Pride and Prejudice gelezen, van Jane Austen. En ook Great Expectations en David Copperfield van Charles Dickens heb ik vaak opengeslagen."
Gerrard: "Jane Eyre van Charlotte Brontë heb ik wel twintig keer gelezen. Maar het vaakst heb ik sommige kinderboeken gelezen, die ik als kind gelezen heb, maar nu ook weer, gewoon voor het plezier." (Translation)
Kathimerini (Cyprus) recommends classic books such as
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Brontë
Το «Τζέιν Έιρ» είναι έργο της Βρετανίδας συγγραφέως Σαρλότ Μπροντέ και αποτελεί ανεπανάληπτο επίτευγμα στην ιστορία της λογοτεχνίας. Το βιβλίο επικεντρώνεται στην ιστορία ενός ορφανού κοριτσιού που ηλικία δέκα χρόνων μπαίνει σε ορφανοτροφείο με εντολή της θείας της. Όταν μεγαλώνει γίνεται γκουβερνάντα και πηγαίνει σε ένα πύργο να αναλάβει την ανατροφή της κόρης του άντρα που τελικά ερωτεύεται. Με τον καιρό, οι δυο αυτοί αντίθετοι χαρακτήρες θα έρθουν κοντά και θα ερωτευθούν, ενώ η Jane θα πρέπει να επιστρατεύσει όλη την υπομονή, το θάρρος και τη βαθιά αφοσίωση της, αναζητώντας ένα ευτυχισμένο μέλλον μαζί του. Όμως η μοίρα τη χτυπάει για ακόμα μία φορά καθώς τη μέρα του γάμου της, και ενώ βρίσκεται στην εκκλησία, αποκαλύπτεται ένα μυστικό που τελικά ακυρώνει το γάμο. (Translation)
South China Morning Post discusses opium and its impact on British literature.
Name a famous 19th century British writer and he or she had probably used the drug, if not been an addict: Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Browning, Carlyle, Coleridge, Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde. I don’t know if the Bronte sisters were into the drug, but their brother Branwell was definitely an addict. (Alex Lo)
Maria Branwell is one '50 people from Cornwall who changed the world' according to Cornwall Live.
6. Maria Branwell (1783-1821)
Born and raised in Penzance, Maria met Patrick Brontë while visiting her aunt and uncle in Yorkshire, which means, yes, she was the mother of British authors Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë and their poet/painter brother Branwell. (Lee Trewhela)
Infobae (Spain) thinks that the Brontës were able to live off their writing.
A veces a mí también me gustaría ser Lord Byron pero me alegro de no serlo y de no pensar en esto igual que su siglo (de paso: la idea del arte no lucrativo es clasista por donde se la mire y sospechosa de patriarcal si la miramos más de cerca: hubo mujeres como las Brontë o Jane Austen que pudieron emanciparse solo gracias al dinero ganado con la escritura). (Betina González) (Translation)
WGBH has a humorous recap of Season 9 Episode 6 of Call the Midwife.
At Nonnatus, Sister Monica Joan is telling Baby Doctor that they’re thrilled to have him back. Despite what everyone said last time, he’s allowed to stay at the house again, probably because he's not a nightmare like Doctor Sherlock was.
Sister Julienne: LOL sorry we stuck you in the attic, Jane Eyre style. Please don't burn the place down.
Baby Doctor: It’s ok, and thank you for having me so suddenly — turns out the place I booked is getting demolished soon!
Phyllis, no sense of irony: It happens all the time in Poplar!
Sister Julienne, internally: If I stay very still, maybe no one will notice how bad I am at pretending everything is fine.
Sister Hilda, lying: But not here! We’ll probably still be here in the crazy futuristic year of 2000! (Jackie Bruleigh)
'The Brontës And The Merry Month Of May' on AnneBrontë.org.


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