Friday, June 26, 2020

It's Branwell Brontë's 203rd birthday today and we all know how he would celebrate. Still, here's one of his most memorable poems.
Thorp Green
I sit, this evening, far away,
From all I used to know,
And nought reminds my soul to-day
Of happy long ago.
Unwelcome cares, unthought-of fears,
Around my room arise;
I seek for suns of former years
But clouds o'ercast my skies.
Yes-Memory, wherefore does thy voice
Bring old times back to view,
As thou wouldst bid me not rejoice
In thoughts and prospects new?
I'll thank thee, Memory, in the hour
When troubled thoughts are mine-
For thou, like suns in April's shower,
On shadowy scenes wilt shine.
I'll thank thee when approaching death
Would quench life's feeble ember,
For thou wouldst even renew my breath
With thy sweet word 'Remember'!
The New European has reached its 200th issue and mentions bicentenaries, claiming that,
Cultural bicentennials, like that of Emily Brontë two years ago, tend to be marked with retrospectives, readings and exhibitions, which are all very nice – but perhaps a bit niche. (Liz Gerard)
The Emily Brontë reference is so random. It's Anne's bicentenary this year and it would have sounded less vague.

e-flux discusses 'Historical Formalism':
One such neoformalist is literary scholar Caroline Levine, who defines form as “an arrangement of elements—an ordering, patterning, or shaping.” This broad definition includes “social arrangements,” meaning that forms are “the stuff of politics,” and thus formal devices in a novel such as Jane Eyre can be read in conjunction with the structures of institutions in the fictional world of the novel; Lowood School, with its disciplinary regime and its “semicircles, timed durations, and ladders of achievement” is a matter of form, too. (Sven Lütticken)
The News (Pakistan) shares literary recipes such as
Seed cake from Jane Eyre
“Having invited Helen and me to approach the table, and placed before each of us a cup of tea with one delicious but thin morsel of toast, she got up, unlocked a drawer, and taking from it a parcel wrapped in paper, disclosed presently to our eyes a good-sized seed-cake.”
Seed cake is a very traditional Victorian recipe. Baked like a normal cake it is infused with caraway seeds, commonly used in British-styled baked goods, but not readily available in grocery stores. But you can still make it with other kinds of seeds. Just use that regular pound cake batter recipe and replace some flour (around 3 tbsp) with flax seeds, crushed pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or sprinkle some black sesame seeds for texture. Play around and make it your own seed cake to eat while you reread Jane Eyre! (SG)
News Letter recommends 'ten of the best shows to watch at home' including:
Wasted, Southwark Playhouse, streaming now, free
Through the lens of a rock documentary, Wasted gives an access-all-areas account of the struggles, heartbreaks and triumphs of the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and their brother Branwell. Brought up in a remote, poverty-stricken town in Yorkshire, without money or opportunity, they fought ill-health, unrequited love and family feuds to write some of the most celebrated literature including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Never afraid to rebel against expectations, the lives behind the pages expose a struggling, squabbling, ferociously driven, drug-fuelled crash and burn trajectory from obscurity to celebrity and ultimately to their untimely deaths. It’s coupled with a rock score from the award-winning Christopher Ash.
Where to watch: southwarkplayhouse.co.uk (Peter Ormerod)
Crunchyroll recommends the work and anime adaptations of manga artist Takako Shimura.
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is a classic novel all about tragic love. Sweet Blue Flowers is a similar story: sensitive and bookish Fumi Manjōme comes to the world-changing realization she is a girl who likes girls. And her dear childhood friend, Akira "Acchan" Okudaira, who attends the prestige Fujigaya Girls Academy, doesn’t have the slightest clue. Fumi is tall and has a soft voice; Akira is short and can be heard from miles away. Set in historical and beautiful Kamakura, Sweet Blue Flowers has a cozy literary vibe that reminds me of curling up with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women as a kid. Literature itself is a recurring theme throughout the series — with Wuthering Heights and The Little Prince constantly referenced, it’s hard not to feel like this high school puppy love tale has something bigger to say about the world at large. (Blake Planty)
The Guardian announces that Aunt Nellie’s Diary, an unfinished story by Louisa May Alcott, is to be published for the first time.
Alcott would write her first novel, The Inheritance, the same year. The story of an Italian orphan who discovers that her inheritance is the English estate on which she is a paid companion, it was not published until 1997. Together with Aunt Nellie’s Diary, it is part of what Alcott described in her journals as her sentimental period. “I fancy ‘lurid things’, if true and strong also,” Alcott wrote of her literary influences at the time – Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, Charlotte Brontë and Nathaniel Hawthorne. “Aunt Nellie’s Diary shows hints of that love of darker fiction,” writes Shealy in an introduction to the tale. (Alison Flood)
The Artifice has an article on 'Wuthering Heights and its Many Genres'. And finally, this month's treasure from the Brontë Parsonage Museum on The Sisters' Room is the 1834 portrait of Anne done by Charlotte.

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