Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fiery Emily Brontë

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 11:29 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
The Bucks Herald has a video interview with resident director Hannah Drake about bringing Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre to life on stage. ITV News shares the tour dates and places. Laura Wadey reviews the production as seen at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

Several sites continue finding Brontë connections in the new film Lady Macbeth. The Irish Times highlights the fact that,
As with Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, William Oldroyd’s bold film utilises a racially diverse cast. (Tara Brady)
The Independent describes main character Katherine as
defiant, wilful, carnal – and with a capacity for plotting and subterfuge that makes her at times seem more like Myra Hindley than the Jane Eyre archetype she first appeared to be. (Geoffrey Macnab)
Ara (in Catalan) describes the film as follows:
un film eròtic de baixes passions desfermades en què la fredor expositiva provoca incomoditat, potser unes dècimes de febre i tot, en l’espectador (i aquí és on compateixen alcova les germanes Brontë amb Paul Verhoeven i D.H. Lawrence amb Roman Polanski). (Translation)
More film reviews with Brontë connections, as Stuff (New Zealand) highlights a scene from Mal de pierres:
Cotillard, all female glow and threadbare frocks, with the sun perpetually silhouetting her legs, is reintroduced to the screen as the eldest daughter of the farm's owners. We learn that she has some sort cinematic womanly-hysteria by her habit of waving her body double's bits and pieces at the camera and trying to seduce one of her teachers while licking – yes, licking – a copy of Wuthering Heights. (Graeme Tuckett)
The Hollywood Reporter has interviewed Bruce Miller, producer of TV series The Handmaid's Tale.
Why was Ofglen named Emily? Is there significance to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) — one of the "moral compasses" in this world — using her name in that final scene?She wasn’t Ofglen anymore. We had a bit of a naming problem. Try writing a story where everybody’s name changes every time they get assigned to a new house, it’s insane! We were addressing that problem with Aunt Lydia. In terms of naming her Emily, for me it was after Emily Bronte. I liked the name and I’ve always liked how fiery Emily Bronte was. But mostly we name characters by looking through our high school yearbooks. Putting more into names is often a fool’s errand for writers in television. (Amber Dowling)
Rodrigo Fresán continues promoting his new book La parte soñada. He speaks about his influences on La ventana.
“Los referentes y los héroes célebres que tiene el libro, que pueden ser (Vladimir) Nabokov, Emily Brontë y Bob Dylan en este, o (Francis Scott) Fitzgerald en el anterior, son escritores que trabajaron muy bien la reescritura de sí mismos para convertirse en personajes de sí mismos; algo muy tentador y riesgoso que a veces no sale mal literariamente, pero sale muy mal existencialmente, como en el caso de (Jack) Kerouac, (Ernest) Hemingway o Fitzgerald, que terminaron casi aniquilados por sus propios mitos. Nabokov y Brontë son dos extremos absolutos de una misma conducta: una es completamente salvaje, intuitiva y loca, y el otro es como una especie de científico total, muy cerebral. Eran dos genios, cada uno a su manera”. (Silvina Friera) (Translation)
The Spectator wonders when the expression 'plain Jane' was born.
There were precedents for plain Janes. Jane Eyre saw herself in the mirror as: ‘Portrait of a governess disconnected, poor, and plain.’ Mr Rochester is of the same mind: ‘You — poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are — I entreat to accept me as a husband.’ But then, the author makes plainness and plain speaking things to be proud of. (Dot Wordsworth)
In The Times, Tanya Gold discusses 'Instagram, bridezillas and an age of fantasy weddings' and regales us with one of her Brontë mentions.
I once spent a weekend walking round a wedding fair in the Midlands, and everyone was dressed as Charlotte Brontë without the tuberculosis. In their search for absolute individuality, every bride looked the same. It was very weird.
Charlotte Brontë didn't have TB, though.

Cherwell has an article on TV series Better Call Saul (a spin-off of Breaking Bad) and mentions Wide Sargasso Sea among other famous spin-offs.
12:54 am by M. in    No comments
We read in several media, like The Hollywood Reporter, about the dead of the actress Batman 1966) and some 50's low budget movies like Target Earth 1954.

Kathleen Crowley (1929-2017). She was a constant presence in the US TV shows of the fifties and sixties (maybe she is best remembered as Sophia Starr in

One of her very first roles in TV was an adaptation of Jane Eyre in 1951:
Kraft Television Theatre
Jane Eyre
28 February 1951, 9.00
Producer: Stanley Quinn
Director: Dick Dunlap
With Kathlenn Crowley, John Baragrey, Peggy Nelson, Amy Douglas, John Stephen, Shirley Dale Moore, Rhoderick Walker, Alan Shayne, Rica Martens.
In It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror, she said about the production:
These were the days of live television from New York; there was Kraft Television Theatre where I did Jane Eyre with John Baragray as Rochester, all very important things, etc.
The budget was so small [she is talking about Target Earth], one of the sets started to fall one time! That happened to me on live television, on Jane Eyre, which was horrible.
12:30 am by M.   No comments
A new ballet production of Wuthering Heights opens today in Charlotte, NC:
Charlotte Ballet presents
Wuthering Heights
Choreography and Direction by Sasha Janes
Costume Design by Sasha and Jennifer Janes
April 27-29, 2017 | Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë’s literary masterpiece, is a passionate story of love and revenge boldly adapted into a ballet by Associate Artistic Director Sasha Janes. Called “king of the pas de deux,” Sasha has a reputation for creating ballets that leave the audience as breathless as the dancers. Wuthering Heights tells the story of the unfortunate lovers Heathcliff and Catherine who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced to live apart by circumstance and prejudice. With Sasha’s intricate choreography and unique storytelling style, he’ll transport you to the 1700s. Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s final season comes to an end similar to where he began. Wuthering Heights opens with a performance of contemporary choreographer Alonzo King’s MAP, the first ballet Jean-Pierre commissioned for the company 20 years ago.
On the Charlotte Ballet website you can find more information, an interview with Chelsea Dumas (Catherine in this production), costume sketches...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:58 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Nell Stevens, who will publish a book called Mrs Gaskell and Me next year, writes in The Guardian in praise of Elizabeth Gaskell and her defence of Charlotte Brontë.
Here are some reasons to hate Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë: it is moralistic and stultifying; it flattens Brontë’s brilliantly transgressive nature and confines her to a saccharine version of Victorian female victimhood. It is inaccurate, overemotional and, at times, libellous towards those she accused of attacking her good friend. You might also criticise Gaskell’s motivations: driven by opportunistic ambition to feed, vulture-like, on the carcass of Brontë’s reputation, rather than a true desire to investigate or memorialise.
You wouldn’t be the first to say so. Ever since its publication in 1857, Gaskell’s biography has been snarked at for its sins and failings. But there are reasons to cherish it, too: it is a loving defence of the value and power of women’s writing; a biography of a woman was revolutionary at that time; and it is a testament to the constraints placed on female writers and the ways they have found to move beyond them. [...]
The idea that Brontë was, in the words of one article, “a filthy minx” seems to us irrelevant now (if luridly exciting). But if people don’t read your books because they think you’re a whore, that is not exciting at all. Even Dickens’s reputation was hurt when he separated from his wife; imagine what a similar tenor of gossip did to the career and immediate legacy of a woman without Dickens’s connections, resources or privileges.
Enter Mrs Gaskell, who knew how the game was played. [...]
Gaskell was moved and disconcerted by Jane Eyre, and characteristically intrigued to learn the identity of its author (“She’s a she!” Gaskell crowed, on discovering the real name of author Currer Bell). Gaskell wrote of how much she liked Brontë after they first met, though “she and I quarrelled and differed about almost everything – she calls me a democrat and can not bear Tennyson”.
Their experiences of life and writing were vastly different: Brontë shy and isolated, surrounded by death and poems, a view of a graveyard and the moors from her windows; Gaskell extroverted and busy, scribbling in snatched moments, bouncing noisily between Manchester, London and Paris with her gaggle of daughters in tow. But what the two women shared was fundamental: they were writers. In Haworth, they walked together for hours, and “like the moors”, Mrs Gaskell felt, “our talk might be extended in any direction without getting to the end of any subject”.
Mrs Gaskell could be conventional – she once wrote a fan letter to George Eliot with the caveat that she wished she could have addressed it to a “Mrs” instead of a “Miss”. In other ways, she was a radical. Ambitious, literary, political, Gaskell stuck up for herself, and when Brontë died, she stuck up for her, too. In the face of snide gossip about Brontë’s moral character, she wrote a book that rehabilitated her friend as a devoted daughter and sister and, eventually, wife; a phenomenal talent who led a respectable life.
Brontë would have recognised this approach, having herself handled the post-mortem reputation management of her sisters. She took it upon herself to “improve” Emily’s poems in a posthumous edition, and thought it not “desirable to preserve” Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She almost certainly destroyed Emily’s second novel-in-progress, arguing that “an interpreter ought always to have stood between her and the world”. No wonder, then, that Gaskell tried to perform the same service. She was Brontë’s interpreter, a protector against the insults hurled at her after her death.
Today, it is easier for us to detest gossipy, moralising Mrs Gaskell than Brontë for her love life. But both are stalwarts against the maddening, exhausting criticisms of female writers: they couldn’t write, shouldn’t write. And 160 years later, The Life of Charlotte Brontë is a twin portrait of two women who knew that women can’t write, mustn’t write, but could, and did.
And now for the Brontës on stage:

The Yorkshire Post reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre as seen at Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield:
It must be daunting to be tasked with adapting a classic novel that is as adored as Jane Eyre.
There have been countless stage and screen versions of Charlotte Brontë’s literary masterpiece but director/adapter Sally Cookson’s must surely be one of the best.
The trick, it seems, is to be fearless – not overly reverential with the material and absolutely commited to being true to the medium in which the story is being presented. Cookson’s credentials in this regard are impeccable – a highly skilled director and theatre-maker she knows exactly how to make a story leap into life on stage. The National Theatre production was a huge success at the Lytellton in 2015 and is now on a UK tour that takes in several dates in Yorkshire.
As a piece of theatre it is perfect – inventive, imaginative, totally compelling. Employing exciting physicality and live music on a versatile multi-level set, while at the same time giving due prominence to Brontë’s fine original dialogue, it is rivetting from start to finish. There are some ‘almost-forgot-to-breathe’ moments and at no point does its three hour running time feel too long. The script places right at its centre Jane’s life story, never allowing it to become secondary to the love story between a governess and her employer. Having said that there is a great zingy chemistry between Nadia Clifford as Jane and Tim Delap as Rochester which ensures the audience is always rooting for their happy ending.
Clifford absolutely inhabits the role – her ‘poor, obscure, plain and little’ Jane is a feisty bundle of energy and Delap delivers a refreshing take on the traditionally ‘brooding’ hero – laconic and world-weary yet vulnerable and tender. The three-piece onstage band provide fine accompaniment by turns poignant, atmospheric, jaunty and Melanie Marshall, as Bertha Mason lends her beautiful singing voice to the storytelling, including a a stand-out rendition of Mad About the Boy. The rest of the highly talented ensemble cast play multiple roles with great flair, nailing each characterisation with aplomb. And as a team they work together brilliantly – a hilarious rendering of a bumpy stagecoach ride is a prime example.
An unmissable treat. (Yvette Huddleston)
The Reviews Hub gives 4 out of 5 stars to the production as seen at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and sums it up as 'Fresh, Vital and Vivid'.
As Jane, Nadia Clifford progresses from young child to strong woman impressively, combining her steely strength with an obstinate streak and impassioned concern that always feel genuine. Tim Delap’s Rochester is similarly layered, initially gruff and aloof, but with his relationship with his dog, Pilot (played humorously in a scene-stealing performance by Paul Mundell) showing the compassion within.
The chapters of Jane’s life before her arrival at Thornfield, from the orphan’s housing with her cruel aunt and callous cousins to her schooling at Lowood and progression to teacher and governess, can seem as if being ticked off a list prior to the heroine’s first meeting with Rochester. It is a testament to Clifford, and the cast around her, that instead we see a progression from childhood to womanhood.
And a big part of that growth is the role of Bertha Mason, Rochester’s first wife and the original “mad woman in the attic”. Rather than being revealed at the end of the piece, Melanie Marshall’s Bertha is omnipresent, singing folk songs, contemporary pop numbers and arias that comment on and illuminate elements of Jane’s life. Recasting Bertha as an alter ego to Jane in this way removes some of the mystery surrounding events at Thornfield, to be sure, but it also grants the character a grace and tragedy that enriches the overall piece.
At a shade over three hours, Jane Eyre is one of the longer productions currently on tour in the UK. But it feels exquisitely paced, illuminating Charlotte Brontë’s tale in ways that feel fresh, vital and vivid. (Scott Matthewman)
The Bucks Herald reviews the production at the same venue.
Given the numerous locales and different time periods that the story is set in as well as the epic scale of the story, it is some achievement to pull off all of this. But to do with essentially one set and a handful of actors speak volumes for the quality of this production.
But the set by Michael Vale is ingenious, based on several different levels. Striking enough on its own but when all the production elements come together, it effortlessly transforms from all of the locations.
There is also a lot to admire in the acting as aside from Nadia Clifford in the title role and Tim Delap as Rochester, everyone else plays multiple characters and portray them very well. There is a lot to like about Clifford as Jane Eyre, especially as she plays the character through childhood and adulthood.
The other thing to mention is the music, played live and creating the perfect atmosphere for the show. Perhaps surprisingly as well, music is used and there are plenty of modern and recognisable tunes for people to spot. This comes to prominence during the show's climatic sequences and Melanie Marshall as the singer has a stunning voice.
Confession time, I am not a massive fan of the story or Victorian period drama generally and while this production didn't change my view of the story too much, I was thoroughly impressed with the production and suspect that there will be a lot for fans of the book and newcomers to the story to admire. (Steve Mills)
The Yorkshire Post has Deborah McAndrew tell how she adapted The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for the stage. The production opens tonight at York Theatre Royal.
The opportunity to adapt a Brontë novel appealed to McAndrew, as did the chance of working with director Elizabeth Newman again with whom she had previously collaborated on a Bolton Octagon production of David Copperfield. When Newman rang her two years ago to suggest they work on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall together, McAndrew was delighted. “Having grown up in Yorkshire, the Brontës are in my DNA,” she says. “I read Charlotte’s novels and Emily’s Wuthering Heights very early but I didn’t come to Anne’s work until a bit later when I was in my twenties.” She says she remembers reading Anne’s first novel Agnes Grey and being impressed by how impassioned it was. “She was very angry about a lot of things to do with the situation of women and particularly impoverished educated women – a lot of it was based on her own experiences as a governess – and she revisits those arguments in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. One of the most remarkable things about the novel is the way in which Brontë communicates her forthright views on gender equality and self-determination novel while maintaining the reader’s interest through its totally compelling narrative arc. “Although it is very radical and feminist and an exceptional achievement for a woman of Anne’s class and experience, at the same time it is a romantic novel,” says McAndrew. “And it is quite conventional in many ways, but I think that is its strength. It is not dry and it’s full of complex, well-rounded characters. She didn’t write a political pamphlet, she wrote a story.” The challenge for McAndrew, then, was to incorporate all those elements into her adaptation and make the story work as an engaging piece of theatre. “You have to sort of swallow the novel whole and then bring it back out on stage,” she says. “ I have to think about what works for a modern audience – if they are going to be interested and engaged I have to hook them in and keep them but I have obeyed Anne’s structure. so throughout the first Act we don’t know who Helen is and Gilbert’s obsession with her grows. That is great for audiences who don’t know the book as they get drawn in. I have used my own box of tricks as a dramatist, so I’ve built the tension and the curiosity around her.” Some characters have been cut, which is often necessary as large casts are generally unfeasible, and other technical aspects – such as editing long speeches and extending short scenes – have to be taken into consideration in order to make it work on stage. That is McAndrew’s craft and she is happy with the end result. “It feels like it exists in its own right as a play, it doesn’t feel like a novel on stage. ” Spending time with the book and bringing it to life for a theatre-going audience has been “a privilege” says McAndrew. “It’s been a real labour of love. I grew up with the Brontës – not only their books but as women writers they were always going to be a great inspiration for me.” (Yvette Huddleston)
Dorset Echo reviews We Are Brontë currently on stage at the Corn Exchange, Dorchester.
Sound effects paint a picture of bleak winds in a mysterious landscape which means we must be in Yorkshire moorland country where the Bronte family lived.
Right, that’s all the miserable part of the story taken care of, from now on we can enjoy the capers of a pair of actors as they enact a weird and wonderful picture of some aspects of the literary siblings lives while at the same time poking relentless fun at the gothic horror genre.
Physical comedy takes on a whole new image with this crazy couple as they explore a large house, do the washing, replicate a Heathcliff love scene and even bring Kate Bush into the scenario.
Funny and imaginative, the aim is not so much to explore the Bronte family history and novels as to take a witty and clever look at how we see their troubled lives with it ranging from hardship, hope and family tragedy.
With little in the way of dialogue or scenery, actors Sarah Corbett and Angus Barr make the most of a collection of props as they turn the tables on serious dramatic biographies and bring laughter into a madcap scenario that at times has echoes of the best of Father Ted. (Marion Cox)
Bustle recommends '9 Classics Every 20-Something Needs To Read (If You Haven't Already)' including
4 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë
Yeah, yeah, you probably already know about the "secret attic wife" reveal, and yes, Mr. Rochester and Jane don't exactly model the healthiest of relationships. But Jane Eyre still holds up as one of the greatest coming-of-age stories of all time: a young woman (and a deeply entertaining narrator) learns confidence and self-reliance, and only returns to her boyfriend once she's figured herself out. (Charlotte Ahlin)
Similarly, Verily Magazine lists '4 ways [in which] Jane Eyre speaks to the modern woman': resilience, sense of direction, integrity and hope.

BookBub Blog recommends Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair to fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The Brussels Brontë Blog looks at Lewis Carroll's own copy of Villette.
The second Tenant proposal is the York premiere of the Deborah McAndrew adaptation previously seen in Bolton:
York Theatre Royal and Octagon Theatre Bolton present
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Writer: Anne Brontë
Adapted by: Deborah McAndrew
Directed by: Elizabeth Newman
Set & Costume Design: Amanda Stoodley
Lighting Designed by: Johanna Town
Movement & Associate Director: Lesley Hutchinson
Sound Designed by: Ben Occhipinti
Cast: Michael Peavoy, Susan Twist, Philip Starnier, Natasha Davidson, Phoebe Pryce, Nicôle Lecky, Marc Small, Colin Connor

York Theatre Royal
Wed 26 Apr - Sat 06 May
Time: 7.30pm, matinees 2pm Thursday & 2.30pm Saturday

In 19th century Yorkshire, a mysterious young widow Helen Graham and her son arrive at the desolate estate of Wildfell Hall. Isolating herself from the village, she soon becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation. Intrigued by this beautiful and enigmatic woman, a young, local farmer, Markham, gradually falls in love. Torn apart by her attraction to Markham and the secrets of her past, Helen finally reveals the shocking history she thought she'd left behind.
Based on the 1848 novel by Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a passionate story of a woman's fight for independence. This new stage adaptation has been lovingly brought to life by award winning playwright Deborah McAndrew, author of An August Bank Holiday Lark (Best New Play, UK Theatre Awards, 2014).

Two Tenant proposals open today, April 26. The first one is a curious experiment:
Concert Theatre presents
The Tenant
Based on Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and music from Mozart, Scriabin and Brahms.
Music performance and theatre company, Concert Theatre, bring to life Anne Brontë’s groundbreaking work The Tenant of Wildfell Hall with a woman’s valiant struggle for independence and creative freedom. In an innovative hybrid concert-theatre form, a live pianist and two actors tell the moving story through music and speech in a modern gallery setting.

With An-Ting Chang (Director) and Diana Brekalo (Pianist)

Scriabin’s perplexed harmony introduces the mysterious tenant settling at the Wildfell Hall. The protagonist’s innocent youth is narrated colourfully with Mozart’s music. The violin sonata is played by the piano with the actor as a duet between the piano sound and spoken English. Still overlapping with Mozart, however, Brahms’ Rhapsody changes the tune of life to the unfortunate marriage.
Music and drama collide to offer new perspectives on Brontë’s radical feminist text through three composer’s works; Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 26 and Brahms’ Rhapsody.

26-27 April: Kings Weston House (Bristol), 1:30 pm*, 7:30 pm
28 April: National Portrait Gallery (London), 6:30 pm
30 April: Drill Hall (Chepstow), 7:30 pm
23 May: Bury St Edmunds Festival , 7:30 pm
24 May: Sarum College (Salisbury), 7:30 pm
25 May: Holburne Museum (Bath), 7:30 pm
*Matinee on 27 April at 1:30 pm in addition to evening performances.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:50 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
Urban Milwaukee features the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of Jane Eyre, which opens tonight.
Sanchez jumped at the chance to direct the dramatic adaptation of the novel. “I said yes before reading the script. It was my favorite book when I was a kid.” [...]
“It’s a play about a young woman who suppresses her passionate nature in order to survive in an oppressive society,” Sanchez says. “She learns that to truly live requires equal parts passion and reason.”
Sanchez says the story speaks as much to men as women. “Jane and Mr. Rochester share similar character traits–they don’t fit into their time and place. Both are incredibly honest and neither have a filter regarding what they say. Neither know how to be political, charming, or sugarcoat anything. Everything is couched in absolute honesty.”[...]
Both Rochester and Jane are beaten up emotionally and neither feels they deserve to be loved.
“They’re on opposite sides of the spectrum,” Sanchez says. “One faces wealth and one faces poverty, but both are suffering. At the heart of a lot of questions today is how we judge women. How do we treat a woman that is anything less than perfect? Is she held by different standards? I don’t really see Jane as a feminist as much as a survivor.” [...]
While Jane Eyre is being played by an African American woman, Sanchez says it was not a conscious effort to do so.
“It’s really a commitment I have to casting in general,” Sanchez says. “I wanted this role to be universal. I wanted to audition Japanese women, Latino women, African American women. I requested a diverse acting pool. It didn’t matter to me. I’m dedicating my career to help remind us they’re actors, not people. When I watch Tartuffe, I realize it’s a character, and I don’t get muddled in not believing it’s an 18th century French guy. Jane Eyre isn’t a certain physical type or race. ‘Jane’ doesn’t exist. It’s not like you’re doing a play about Albert Einstein where you’d cast an actor that resembles Albert Einstein. I’m more interested in what’s behind the character.” (Jim Cryns)
Journal Sentinel recommends it too.

Beware of spoilers in this article on the series finale of Bates Motel on A.V. Club. The title of the episode was The Cord.
“There’s a cord between our hearts,” Norman said in the first episode, a sentiment played back to him repeatedly over the seasons. It’s a fitting title for the finale, too, as it works both as commentary and emotional bond. As Norma pointed out when Norman first said it to her, it’s a line stolen from Jane Eyre, and repurposed for the Bates family dynamic. Which is exactly what defined Bates Motel—it’s a show borrowed from a famous movie, a prequel story that takes the previous narrative’s basic contours and enriches them, turning fleeting tics in whole lives, and briefly referenced souls into living, breathing people. And like that Brontë-derived saying, it gives new meaning and depth to something that was the domain of another world entirely. Not only that, but it made this world its own, a world where Emma Decody could finally breathe, and everyone who watched could see events play out just as they should. (Alex McLevy)
A couple of reviews of the film Lady Macbeth mention the Brontës. According to Empire,
 the clearest influence on theatre director William Oldroyd’s feature debut is Andrea Arnold’s sombre 2011 take on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which explored the historical British attitudes to gender, class and race that persist today. (David Parkinson)
El Periódico (Spain) focuses on the moors shown in the film:
La cámara, sin embargo, sí viaja por los bastos exteriores, rodados entre New Castle y Durham, cerca de los páramos ingleses que inspiraron novelas como "Jane Eyre" o "Cumbres borrascosas" -de las hermanas Emily y Charlotte Brönte [sic]- en esta "Lady Macbeth" que difiere bastante del relato primigenio. (Pepi Cardenete) (Translation)
SciFiNow interviews Aliette De Bodard about her book The House Of Binding Thorns.
Were there any specific inspirations for this? For The House Of Binding Thorns specifically? I wanted to take some of the staples of Gothic fiction and give them a different slant: you have the arranged marriage, the perilous pregnancy, the grand and decaying mansion with a terrible history, the isolated households (or in this case, House and kingdom) who don’t understand each other… A lot of Gothic fiction doesn’t really have “foreign” elements though, or if they do it’s very often used with negative connotations (think of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, who has Roma blood and is described as looking like a Lascar). I wanted to break that particular problematic stereotype by having a diverse Paris, and a strong Vietnamese presence in the book. (Jonathan Hatfull)
Glamour (France) claims that the Brontës are not the grandmothers of chicklit as many (arguably) claim, but of chick noir.
De la même manière qu’on s’accorde à dire que Jane Austen est la pionnière de la chick lit, sans qui Bridget Jones ou Sarah Jessica Parker n’existeraient pas, des écrivaines comme les sœurs Brontë (de Jane Eyre aux Hauts de Hurlevent) ou Daphné du Maurier (Rebecca, premier grand bestseller du genre ?) ont, elles aussi, cultivé le jardin de la chick noir bien avant le XXIe siècle. (Translation)
Self-Publishing Review has an article on the Brontës as 'self-publishing pioneers'.
12:32 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new production of Wuthering Heights opens today, April 25, in Genève, Switzerland:
Les Hauts de Hurlevent
by Emily Brontë
Adaptation et mise en scène Camille Giacobino
Collaboration artistique et dramaturgie C Laure Hirsig
Univers sonore Graham Broomfield Lumières Jean-Philippe Roy
Costumes Nathalie Egea Maquillages Arnaud Buchs
Jeu Cédric Dorier, Camille Figuereo, Léonie Keller, Clémence Mermet, Guillaume Prin, Raphaël Vachoux

25 April - 14 May, 2017
Théâtre du Grütli
16, Rue Général-Dufour 1204 Genève
Ce spectacle a lieu dans la salle du sous-sol
Ce spectacle est proposé en audiodescription le 7 et le 9 mai
Samedi 6 mai 2017, après la représentation Bord de scène Sur le théâtre des romans
Mardi, jeudi, samedi à 19h
Mercredi et vendredi à 20h
Dimanche à 18h
Relâche le lundi

Les Hauts de Hurlevent, récit d’un amour inouï dont les foudres contrariées vont s’abattre sur deux générations, puise sa fougue dans les p
aysages sauvages des landes du Yorkshire. Heathcliff est recueilli par Earnshaw qui l’élève comme son fils. Il grandit à Hurlevent, dans la haine de Hindley, le fils du maître, auquel s’oppose l’amour de Catherine, la soeur de ce dernier. Né dans le tumulte de l’enfance, l’amour qui lie Heathcliff et Catherine surgit là où rien ne le précède, et là où rien ne pourra jamais lui succéder… A la mort de Earnshaw, Heathcliff est martyrisé par Hindley et Catherine, en dépit de son amour pour le réprouvé, épouse le noble Edgar Linton. Dévasté par cette trahison, Heathcliff s’exile et revient habité par un impitoyable désir de vengeance. La plume impudique d’Emily Brontë fait un écho percutant à l’univers charnel et sensoriel de Camille Giacobino.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
The Milwaukee premiere of Jane Eyre opens today, April 25:
A co-production of Milwaukee Rep and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park presents
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
Adapted by Polly Teale
Originally Produced by Shared Experience Theatre Company
Directed by KJ Sanchez
With Margaret Ivey, Rin Allen, Andy Paterson, Michael Sharon

April 25 – May 21, 2017
Quadracci Powerhouse

A Costume Drama Not To Be Missed
From the award-winning Shared Experience Theatre Company in the U.K. comes this engaging adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s epic story of a spirited young woman in a man’s world searching for a sense of self.  Orphaned Jane overcomes a rough start in life to become an accomplished governess at the mysterious home of Mr. Rochester. Passions grow between them when a secret is revealed, threatening Jane’s hopes for the future. Told by eight actors playing more than 20 roles, The New York Times raved that “this Jane Eyre provides a bite…think of it as Brontë unbuttoned.”

What's Jane Eyre? Should I see it?
Jane Eyre shook the literary world when it was published, and remains so enduring and timeless that it has been adapted and reworked dozens of times. Our production’s adaptation contains a modern twist while remaining true to the original messaging. It’s the original coming-of-age story, as relevant as when it was published.
More information on Broadway World.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017 11:25 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
The Gay UK gives 4 stars to Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.
Charlotte Brontë’s seminal work needs very little introduction and under the impressive direction of Sally Cookson, the story is beautifully brought to life in this National Theatre production, using a slew of innovative and varied theatrical techniques to provide a highly contemporary take on a classic tale. The set, consisting of a white curtained backdrop and multi-level wooden platforms accessed by a series of ladders and steps proves to be incredibly versatile and surprisingly effective in its portrayal of the various locations. The cast scramble over the set with energy and enthusiasm as they portray multiple characters meaning that there is an almost constant flow of movement on stage.  Simple props and a healthy dose of imagination on behalf of the audience provide for an effective, original and inventive presentation.
Nadia Clifford’s portrayal of the titular character is one which is full of confidence, life and determination, and Tim Delap’s performance as Rochester compliments it well, with his aloof and brooding quirkiness. Overseeing events is Melanie Marshall, who observes and narrates key aspects of Eyre’s life with bursts of jazz infused song utilising her beautiful and distinctive voice. The remainder of the cast play numerous roles with clear demarcation between characters and, in the case of Paul Mundell, with a little humour injected into the proceedings.
Quite what Brontë purists will make of the production is unknown, as, whilst the production sticks closely to the source material and lifts out text, passage and prose from it, this is not your run of the mill period costume drama. Instead, it is a refreshingly inventive, highly stylised and imaginatively presented piece which never loses the spirit of the novel, and which is as trailblazing and as forward thinking as the central character herself. (Paul Szabo)
And The Reviews Hub also gives 4 stars out of 5 to We Are Brontë, summing it up as 'joyous'.
Although based on a recognised stimulus of the Brontë sisters, there is certainly nothing predictable about this highly entertaining devised fringe comedy. Encompassing genres of improvisation, stand-up, clown and physical theatre, this show is simply unlike anything else.
Set in the rolling hills of Yorkshire, the devisers and performers Sarah Corbett and Angus Barr, transport their audience to the fictional and real world of the Brontës and share a patchwork collage of gothic physical imagery. From the beginning there is a delightful honesty to the show as the fourth wall is immediately broken, hacking that comfortable barrier and opening up a dialogue in the room – complete with an entirely random Q&A session halfway though. This becomes the crux of the production, with the performers frequently coming out of character and offering a sustained stream of witty self-commentary. By playing up to the role of performers putting on a show, a joyous parody of theatre-making is allowed to emerge; a giggle at the fact that theatre isn’t real life and is just a silly game and boy, do they play.
Through exceptional comic timing and a genuine ear for the audience, Corbett and Barr keep the room alive through their craft. Barr, the seeming brains of the operation, holds the higher, more assertive status out of the two and frequently converses with the audience, much to Corbett’s horror. He has a wonderfully childish energy to him and his improvisational skills are something to be commended and awed. Corbett, on the other hand, with expressions that are fascinatingly hypnotic, full of energy, dynamism and vulnerability, perfectly compliments her counterpart and too has an admirable commitment to her craft. Complete with ramshackle props, both the performers are possessed with play as they construct a ridiculous and hysterical narrative that, despite its complete absurdity, contains creative, clever and romantic images. To see two adults fully at play is rare but absolutely uplifting and an aspect sometimes sadly forgotten about in theatre.
To put it simply – the show is unreservedly silly, and a truly unique experience that no audience member will see the same of twice. A fringe piece through and through, it is utterly untameable; much like Cathy Earnshaw herself or even the wigs featured in the production that certainly have a mind of their own. (Sophie Huggins)
And more Brontës on stage as Entertainment Focus recommends The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on stage at York Theatre Royal from April 26th.

Mid-day has an article on Mumbai's Sewri Cemetery and suggests looking out
for James Taylor's grave. We dug deeper (pun intended) in the city's libraries to discover that this Secretary of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce as well as the Royal Asiatic Society, a Scotsman, had proposed to English author Charlotte Brontë when he came to India to set up an Indian branch of a publishing firm. She turned him down. Charlotte didn't want to settle in India and though they maintained a long distance correspondence for years, it didn't work out eventually. Who knows if Jane Eyre would have had a Bombay twist had Brontë accepted Taylor's proposal! (Fiona Fernandez)
Many years ago, Charlotte Cory also wrote about finding James Taylor's grave.

A few weeks ago, writer Hunter Davies shared with iNews a picture from one of the diaries of his late wife, also writer Margaret Forster. On it, she rated several Brontë works and Brontë-related books.


Talky Movie
(Italy) recommends Jane Eyre 2011 as one of several films to watch when you'd like to be on your own.
Jane Eyre fugge da Thornfield House, la residenza dove lavora come governante per il ricco Edward Rochester. L’isolamento e l’austerità del luogo, oltre alla freddezza di Mr. Rochester, hanno infatti lasciato in segno sulla giovane Jane, nonostante la scorza dura che la vita in orfanotrofio le aveva fatto sviluppare. Riflettendo sul suo passato, e ritrovando la sua naturale curiosità, Jane farà ritorno alla dimora di Mr. Rochester e al terribile segreto che egli nasconde. (Noemi Purpura) (Translation)
La dépêche (France) features comic illustrator Pascal Croci and the projects he'd like to carry out.
Il aimerait aussi réaliser un album sur le camp d'extermination de Treblinka, en Pologne, sur Hiltler, sur le massacre des Indiens et sur une autre héroïne féminine chère à son cœur, Jane Eyre. (M.-Ch. B) (Translation)
Spanish writer Javier Marías tells about finishing his 15th novel in El País (Spain) and dreams of a future novel with a name for a title.
El título todavía no está decidido, pero podría ser este nombre, Berta Isla, para inscribirme en una larguísima y a menudo noble tradición: la de Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Madame Bovary, Robinson Crusoe, Tess de los d’Urberville, Eugénie Grandet, Tom Jones, Tristram Shandy, Moll Flanders, Daisy Miller, Jean Santeuil y tantos otros títulos memorables. Ay, si con eso bastara para aproximarse un poco a ellos … (Translation)
This columnist from Sevilla Actualidad (Spain) reminisces about his literature teacher.
Pilar Fernández me descubrió a Aleixandre y Gil de Biedma. Me abrió las puertas de una de las mejores novelas escritas en castellano, como es Tiempo de silencio, de Luis Martín Santos. Recuerdo como en aquellas clases descubría su fascinación por Jane Eyre o nos impresionaba con el impacto que supuso en su tiempo una novela como Nada, de Carmen Laforet. (Jaime Fernández-Mijares) (Translation)
El Mundo (Spain) has a travel article on Wales and it turns out that - as with many things - Charlotte Brontë was ahead of her time. The inn where she and her new husband Arthur Bell Nicholls stopped at on their way to Ireland during their honeymoon is now a must for foodies.
El segundo es el Castle Hotel, la antigua posada donde Charlotte Brontë pasó su luna de miel cuyo restaurante ofrece los mejores sabores galeses. (Marta González-Hontoria) (Translation)
The New York Times has an article 'In Praise of Derek Walcott’s Epic of the Americas'.
But I already had, not only into Atlantic history but also into Caribbean literature, and poetry from the Négritude movement to W. H. Auden and T. S. Eliot. Because of Walcott I read Jean Rhys’s “Wide Sargasso Sea” and Aimé Césaire’s “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land,” Alejo Carpentier’s “The Kingdom of This World” and Patrick Chamoiseau’s “Texaco.” I reread “The Tempest” and lyrics from two Bobs (Marley and Lowell), then landed back in the novels, and later the classroom, of Jamaica Kincaid. (Julian Lucas)
Wuthering Heights as one of several 'Literary One-Hit Wonders To Read At Least Once in Your Lifetime' on iDiva. Nick Holland writes about 'Anne and Emily Brontë And The Crow Hill Explosion' on AnneBrontë.org.

So where he reigns in glory bright,
Above those starry skies of night,
Amid his paradise of light
Oh, why may I not be?

Oft when awake on Christmas morn,
In sleepless twilight laid forlorn,
Strange thoughts have o'er my mind been borne,
How He has died for me.

And oft within my chamber lying,
Have I awaked myself with crying
From dreams, where I beheld Him dying
Upon the accursed Tree.

And often has my mother said,
While on her lap I laid my head,
She feared for time I was not made,
But for Eternity.

So "I can read my title clear,
To mansions in the skies,
And let me bid farewell to fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes."

I'll lay me down on this marble stone,
And set the world aside,
To see upon her ebon throne
The Moon in glory ride.  

Branwell Brontë, August 13, 1836
These stanzas are the fragments included by Elizabeth Gaskell in her Life of Charlotte Brontë from a poem known as The Struggles of Flesh and Spirit by Branwell Brontë which he sent to William Wordsworth in his famous letter of 1837. He never received a reply from the Lake District but the poem and the letter are now at the very core of the Brontë Parsonage Museum exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Branwell Brontë.

The tragic figure of the Brontë brother has been much vilified and occasionally vindicated by his contemporaries (like J.B. Leyland or Francis Grundy) or modern biographical revisionism (Winnifred Gérin or Daphne DuMaurier's biographies). Not always his vindication has been in his best interest such as the times when he is attributed the writing of Wuthering Heights. These comments have worked towards creating the image of Branwell, the delusional fool rather than Branwell, the misunderstood genius.

Still under the influence of Sally Wainwright's To Walk Invisible production (which in a way has fixed an image of Branwell as a kind of tragic Deus ex-machina of the work of her sisters), the Brontë Parsonage has devoted this year's exhibition to not exactly vindicating Branwell Brontë but trying to restore his presence (achievements and delusions alike) in the Brontë canon. This is achieved through recreating Branwell's room in the Parsonage and by highlighting signifying Branwell items from the Parsonage collection.

Simon Armitage, a Yorkshire poet like Branwell, is the creative partner of the exhibition. He has curated several objects of the Parsonage collection and explores his personal response to the items through a series of poems which will be published shortly but that can already be read at the exhibition.

The recreation of Branwell's room in the late 1830s is particularly convincing. Grant Montgomery, production designer of To Walk Invisible and Simon Armitage have completely contributed to the recreate the ominous and dense atmosphere of the room and redesigned Branwell's Studio (the room that connects the original Parsonage with the Exhibition Room). An unmade bed, a bottle of ink (or maybe liquor?) is spilt on the floor. Poems in different stages of composition everywhere, a wide selection of Branwell's drawings (including his famous self-portrait) hang on the wall, a letter to J.B. Leyland, etc... The dim illumination and a reading of the poem sent to Wordsworth on loop as read by young students from Beckfoot Oakbank School. The room's chaos is particularly striking when compared when the neatness of the rest of the rooms, which is significant in more ways than one.

The rest of the exhibition is downstairs at the Bonnell Room. Eleven objects selected from the Brontë Parsonage collection and the Wordsworth letter (on loan from the Wordsworth Trust, only until August) are on display beside original poems-response by Simon Armitage(1). The walls of the room are a festival of reddish and bluish reproductions of manuscripts and drawings by Branwell. Oppressive but seducing at the same time and rather psychedelic, too.

Some of the items include the manuscript of The Politics of Verdopolis (1833) with the sketch of a tall building which has been used as the image of the exhibition; the 1840 Branwell caricature self-portrait (we loved the companion Self Portrait poem by Simon Armitage, by the way); a very curious masonic apron allegedly decorated by Branwell; a selection of manuscripts of poems by Branwell, including Lydia Gisborne (1846), all signed by Northangerland; the watercolour Gos Hawk (after Bewick's History of British Birds) with a very funny companion poem by Armitage; the 1833 manuscript of the newspaper The Monthly Intelligencer with its impressive minute writing and convincing imitation of a real newspaper; his wallet; the very fascinating Luddenden Foot notebook; The History and Adventures of Little Henry (1810), a paperback with seven cut-out card figures which was owned by the Brontës; the very famous 1848 drawing by Branwell depicting him summoned by Death.

The Branwell exhibition is complemented by an assorted selection of costumes worn in To Walk Invisible (designed by Tom Pye) distributed around the various rooms of the Parsonage. A selection of props, replicas and reproductions of manuscripts (including a copy of the original screenplay signed by the writer and actors) can be seen in the Exhibition Room. Finally, in the space between the Bonnell Room and the shop, a selection of beautiful stills by photographer Michael Prince documenting the production process: building the Parsonage replica or script reading by the actors.

This busy season at the Brontë Parsonage also includes Clare Twomey's project Wuthering Heights: A Manuscript, which we were told has had such an incredible reception that hours have had to be set in order to avoid finishing this 18-month-long project in a matter of a few weeks. We were lucky enough to take part in it.

The museum was bursting with visitors - crowded as we had never seen it before - and it was a delight to see. It's certainly a good time to visit: as a member of the staff told us, 'the parsonage has never looked better'.


(1) Including references to Paul Pogba's record fee, Facebook, coke, condoms and Branwell photo-bombing 
those darlings bitches witches sisters
in the Pillar portrait....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Keighley News reports that the Brontë Society is willing to take over the running of Haworth's Tourist Office:
A new council report, going before the authority’s regeneration overview and scrutiny committee today, says the Brontë Society has submitted proposals to take over the running of Haworth’s tourist office at the junction of West Lane and Main Street, with the aim of keeping it open in its current location.
It says: “This will provide strategic benefits for both organisations: it will provide the Society with a prominent Main Street presence in the town, including much-needed office space, while maintaining a Visitor Information Centre service in Haworth, promoting tourism across the entire Bradford district. (Richard Parker
Which will be like a return to its origins as the Brontë Society occupied part of those offices (the ones above what was then the Yorkshire Penny Bank) from 1895 until Sir James Roberts officially handed over the Parsonage to the Society in 1928.

The New Yorker has an article about the Arctic obsession in literature:
All this was—to use the apt cliché—the tip of the iceberg. The nineteenth-century obsession with the Arctic intruded even in novels not otherwise concerned with the poles. In Jane Austen’s “Persuasion,” Admiral Croft’s wife laments the fact that she had to stay home in Kent while her husband explored the Far North. “Jane Eyre” opens with the title character reading about “the vast sweep of the Arctic Zone, and those forlorn regions of dreary space” where fields of ice “concentrate the multiplied rigours of extreme cold.” (Like Shelley, Charlotte Brontë had been interested in the Arctic since childhood. In the imaginary world she created with her siblings, Anne and Emily adopted the identities of Parry and Ross.) (Kathryn Schulz)
The Guardian lists several new DVD and VOD premieres:
Turning to the comparatively old-fashioned realm of straight to DVD, we’ve waited nearly three years for Sophie Barthes’s Madame Bovary (Kaleidoscope, 15) to surface in the UK. While this limpidly pretty, polished Gustave Flaubert adaptation is a mite too corseted and convention-bound to be entirely worth the wait, it merits a look, chiefly for the wondrous Mia Wasikowska, whose sharp, rigorous reading of an oft-played heroine can stand tall beside her similarly insightful Jane Eyre. (Guy Lodge)
Top10Films has an article on new films to be found on the BFI player:
The Night Has Eyes (Leslie Arliss, 1942)
One of only a handful of British horror films produced during WWII, this delicious slice of gothic melodrama (think Jane Eyre meets The Old Dark House) stars James Mason as Stephen, a reclusive composer living in an isolated mansion on the perennially misty Yorkshire Moors.
Shakespeare deniers in The Huffington Post:
The Refuseniks can’t believe that someone who wasn’t upper class and a world traveler could have been a brilliant writer. This shows a total misunderstanding of the grasping creative mind and ugly snobbery bordering on contempt. What about the Brontës, James Joyce, Dickens, and Jane Austen? (Lev Raphael)
Psychology Today discusses 'how some women know how to handle men':
Yet we read literature with some feisty heroines who should have been role models like Katherina in the" Taming of the Shrew" or Jane Eyre or even Dorothea Brooke in "Middlemarch." Yet when our teacher asked us how many of us would like to marry Heathcliff ( the Byronic hero in "Wuthering Heights") all the hands shot up. Obviously we were in for trouble. (Sheila Kohler)
Redbook has a list of books every woman should read:
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
This rich, creepy Victorian Gothic is the old-school version of Gone Girl (and The Girl on the Train, and The Luckiest Girl Alive, and every female-led page-turner of recent years). Plus, it centered on the revolutionary idea that women should be able to educate and express themselves, just as men do. Hear, hear. (Holly Corbett)
Ara (in Catalan) on the pleasure of reading:
Llegir és tenir companys de viatge, i cadascú ha de triar els seus. Com es trien? Doncs una mica per casualitat, com els amics a la vida. Llegeixes La metamorfosi de Kafka, et submergeixes en aquest món estrany en què la realitat sembla somniada, hi trobes coses de tu mateix, i mires de seguir el mateix camí llegint Borges, Calders o Murakami. I d’aquí potser t’endinses més pel bosc, més fosc, dels contes de Poe o de Lovecraft. I aleshores tens a la vora el misteri d’un Henry James i l’atmosfera inquietant de Cims borrascosos, d’Emily Brontë, o Jane Eyre, de la seva germana Charlotte. (David Cirici) (Translation)
British Theatre publishes some pictures of the National Theatre’s Jane Eyre UK Tour.  And What's Good To Do reviews the Sheffield performances:
The show thoroughly deserves the full 5/5 for being a stunning piece of theatre that is both educational and entertaining. If you have read Jane Eyre you will see the book in a fresh light and if you haven’t read the book you will now want to (as well as watch the show again)!
Your Story uses a Charlotte Brontë quote in an article about startups. There Ought to be Clowns reviews the Octagon Theatre performances of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. La Luna Vita and Nerd Cactus review Wuthering Heights.
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A musical alert for today, April 23, in Leominster, Herefordshire, UK:
The piano music of John Joubert 
23rd April, 2017, 3.00pm
Lion Ballroom, 17 Broad Street, Leominster, HR6 8DB

John Joubert is 90 this year, and best known for his carol, Torches.
Duncan Honeybourne will play the Dance Suite, the 3rd Sonata, dedicated to Duncan, and the Lyric Fantasy, based on his opera, Jane Eyre.
John Joubert’s compositional career now stretches over 70 years. His catalogue includes over 180 opus numbers, ranging from operas, major orchestral works, concertos for oboe, bassoon, violin, cello and piano, chamber and instrumental music, through to short carols and anthems and a series of major choral-orchestral pieces that place him at the forefront of composers of the generation after Britten and Tippett.
Duncan Honeybourne enjoys a colourful and unique career as solo pianist, chamber musician, educator and artistic director.
He has appeared at many major concert halls and at leading festivals, and has been a frequent broadcaster at home and abroad.
One of his generation's leading exponents of 20th century English piano music, several celebrated contemporary composers have also dedicated major new works to him.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel interviews KJ Sanchez on the upcoming Milwaukee Repertory Theater production of Polly Teale’s “Jane Eyre”:
“‘Jane Eyre’ was incredibly important to me as a teenaged girl,” Sanchez said, speaking by phone from Austin during a break in a new play festival at the University of Texas, where she is an associate professor.
“I was a geeky weird girl who didn’t know how to be charming and cute.  I was opinionated.  I couldn’t find my way, and all the heroines I was reading about were charming and beautiful.  Jane was a revolutionary who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She gave me permission to be myself.” (...)
“We used clothes as close to the real clothes that would have then been worn as possible,” Sanchez said, of the costume design by Rachel Anne Healy.  “All of the actresses, for example, are wearing corsets.  We wanted to enclose women in clothing reflecting the confining expectations that they live and experience.” (...)
“We used clothes as close to the real clothes that would have then been worn as possible,” Sanchez said, of the costume design by Rachel Anne Healy.  “All of the actresses, for example, are wearing corsets.  We wanted to enclose women in clothing reflecting the confining expectations that they live and experience.” (...)
“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed,” Brontë wrote in “Shirley,” a novel published two years after “Jane Eyre.”  Might Sanchez’s production free Jane to stand up and be fully herself?  Will we learn to see her as she really is?  Might the Jane Eyre we meet at the Rep teach us how to better read a great novel like “Jane Eyre”? (Mike Fischer)
Dorset Echo described like this the performances of We Are Brontë in Dorchester:
A madcap physical interpretation of the Brontë myth, taking the real and imaginary worlds of the Yorkshire siblings as inspiration, comes to the Corn Exchange in Dorchester tonight from 8pm.
We Are Brontë uses only a handful of props, with the two masterful performers deconstructing not only gothic themes of love, madness and revenge, but also themselves. Contact Dorchester Arts for tickets. 
Catherine Lowell, the author of The Madwoman Upstairs, posts in BOOKish vindicates Anne Brontë's legacy:
Growing up, Anne was the Brontë who intrigued me the most. She was a bona fide underdog, and I had a particular fondness for underdogs. As the youngest sibling in a family that produced two of the most storied writers in English literature, Anne was generally seen as the quiet, gentle sister. Her fictional protagonist, Agnes Grey, might as well have been speaking for Anne when she complained of being “regarded as the child, and the pet of the family.” And yet Anne was a gifted writer in her own right, with the characteristic Brontë bravery. Why had she been slighted by history?
I began studying Anne in a formal capacity when I started writing a novel about the Brontës several years ago. I spent time (too much) speculating about what Anne was really like, behind her tidy historical depictions—what kind of fiery woman might have been raging inside of her? Was this another Bertha Mason, trapped and struggling?
After poring over her life story, I did not find Bertha (to my disappointment), but I did come away with a deep appreciation for an author who was much stronger than people gave her credit for. Here are some of the reasons the youngest Brontë quickly became my favorite—the same reasons, perhaps, that she never made it big. (Read more)
No new developments in the Haworth visitor information threatened future according to The Telegraph & Argus:
Bradford Council has placed the future of its four visitor information centres under review, and consultants have recommended closing the offices in the tourist hotspots of Haworth, Saltaire and Ilkley, and only retaining the one in central Bradford.
A formal decision is due to be taken soon by Council bosses, but already community groups have been stepping in with plans to save their local tourist offices. (Claire Wilde)
Entertainment Weekly recaps the latest episode of The Blacklist:
She’s been thinking about how when Kathryn Nemec went to Canada to be the governess to a baby girl, she didn’t know things were about to go full-tilt Jane Eyre. How she didn’t know that 30 years later, committing her life to keeping that little girl safe would have turned into something much more sinister. (Jodi Walker)
Now for a complete (double) disaster. The Sheffield Star confuses an (r) with baffling consequences:
Main Street, in Harworth near Doncaster was surprisingly included alongside The Shambles in York and The Royal Mile as some of the prettiest in Britain.
A survey of 1,000 people in the UK, composed by the National Express, was conducted to uncover the nation's 15 most charming streets. However, the street near Doncaster which boasts a pub and a few shops, came in tenth place alongside Harbour Street in Whitstable. While South Yorkshire boasts a number of idyllic streets, the accolade may have come as somewhat of a shock for local residents. However, on Tuesday National Express released the list once again, but this time coming in at number 10 was Main Street in Haworth. (Dan Windham)
But the confusion gets bigger when the same newspaper publishes a couple of pictures of the two streets and decides that the best picture of Haworth's Main Street is this one: a country lane, almost a mile from the real Main Street. Come on, it's not so difficult.

The bluebell season always brings Emily Brontë to some newspaper or other. This time, the Eastern Daily Press:
Spring bluebells have inspired some of our greatest poets and writers. “The Bluebell is the sweetest flower,” wrote Emily Brontë. (Simon Parkin)
The actress Tannishtha Chatterjee writers in Outlook India about prejudices:
One day I was reading a survey about a premier educational institute in India and it reminded me of a famous quote from Charlotte Bronte: “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.” The survey concludes that only some—not all—prejudices could be eradicated by education and discussions because most become a part of our identity and being. 
Catholic Stand briefly mentions Jane Eyre in an article:
Often in literature, you need to read between the lines: even though we’re over halfway through Jane Eyre before Mr. Rochester and Jane say they love each other, most readers have read that between the lines long before. (Fr. Matthew Schneider)
The Brontës are mentioned in this article about the Festival Internacional Cinematográfico de Montevideo in Brecha (in Spanish), discussing A Quiet Passion. Diario Español de la República Constitucional (Spain) has an article about Funeral y Pasacalle by Francisco Nieva:
Pero el héroe es Grandío (para algunos), no Ermelina (para mí). Él es quien incurre en la Hamartía trágica al presentarse como lo que en realidad es, un gitano romántico (vid. v. gr. un precedente en Cumbres Borrascosas, de la tonante Emile (sic) Brontë ) , y quien, a consecuencia de la anagnórisis, que en este caso sería el reconocimiento de la verdadera naturaleza de su amada y de la sociedad en general, sufre un proceso de transformación que lo lleva finalmente a la muerte. (Martín-Miguel Rubio Esteban) (Translation)
La Repubblica (Italy) talks about Milan's Tempo di Libri fair which has Jane Austen as one of its guidelines:
Ho sempre pensato che nessuna delle sue eroine avrebbe potuto fare una cosa come innamorarsi di Heathcliff, come Catherine di Cime tempestose, il romanzo di Emily Brontë che esce qualche anno più tardi. Il meraviglioso e dannato Heathcliff, selvaggio e auto-distruttivo. «È così. Perché Austen ha un’idea del destino che deve compiersi in una vita sociale, condivisa. È positiva e positivista, oltre che comica, mentre tutte le sorelle Brontë sono tragicissime. Cime tempestose è già pieno Romanticismo. In Austen siamo ancora vicini all’Illuminismo». Eppure ho la sensazione che abbia vinto la “linea Brontë” rispetto alla “linea Jane Austen”: siamo ancora tutti troppo romantici, tragici e poco lucidi. In letteratura e nel modo di gestire i sentimenti. (Elena Stancanelli interviews Nadia Fusini) (Translation)
Hannah Nunn celebrates Charlotte Brontë's 201st anniversary and her workshop in the Parsonage with this post. Vesna Armstrong Photography shares some pictures of the Parsonage last year and and Jane Austen in Vermont also posts about Charlotte. Les lectures de la Diablotine (in French) reviews the recent Manga adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Finally, an alert for today at April 22 in Miami:
The Bookstore in the Grove
3390 Mary St, Miami, Florida 33133
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Night of Poets - National Poetry Month Celebration
Featuring among others Rita Maria Mertinez, author of The Jane and Bertha in Me.
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Thanks to Wiley-Blackwell for sending us a review copy of this book
A Companion to the Brontës
Edited by Diane Long Hoeveler, Deborah Denenholz Morse
ISBN: 978-1-118-40494-2
632 pages
A Companion to the Brontës (Wiley-Blackwell) is a huge enterprise: thirty-five scholars write in-depth articles about any possible imaginable Brontë-related topic: six hundred pages in 10.5pt Garamond font. Quite impressive. The editorial efforts of the late Diane Long Hoeveler and Deborah Denenholz Morse are remarkable in providing a sense of coherence and avoiding repetitions. Their success is not always absolute but we have to consider that this is no ordinary book. It is as much a book to read page after page as a reference book and, as it can be easily understood, the editorial criteria for both types of books are not the same.

This book appears almost four years after a similar project: The Brontës in Context, edited by Marianne Thormählen and certainly some topics (and some authors) are repeated in both works. Nevertheless, the aim is different. For better or for worse A Companion to the Brontës is a much more ambitious, polyhedral and heterogeneous work. It may lack the focus of The Brontës in Context, but it is more exciting (and, at times, irritating) in its bold absence of scholar frontiers. Biographical pieces of information are reduced to some context in some articles but are not developed per se, something that will please the Brontë aficionado who knows these details by heart, but no so much the occasional reader who peruses the book casually.

The editors make it clear in their illuminating introduction:
Although one of our projects is to consider the Brontës together and within their many contexts, it is also our aim in this volume to study each Brontë sister as a great writer in her own right.
The book is divided into five sections exploring the literary and critical contexts and the imaginative forms of their early writings; the texts themselves; reception studies; historical, intellectual and cultural contexts and the afterlives of the Brontës. Not all the sections have the same ambition and the selection of articles is irregular (something unavoidable in a book like this). By far the articles devoted to the texts and to the diverse contexts are the most complete albeit not necessarily the most exciting. The Afterlives section is probably the less coherent and/or complete but contains the most engaging studies of the volume. All the articles have a reference list and a selection of further reading with a brief description of the book or article listed, which is particularly useful.

The selection of authors ('well-known and emerging scholars from around the world') is sometimes surprising. If the collaborators of The Brontës in Context were almost a list of a who's who in Brontë scholarship here we find a more diverse selection of authors. It could seem like a wise decision to oxygenate the list of usual suspects and to introduce new voices and points of view. However, we don't really know whether a reference book like this one is the best place to do it. The danger is obvious: to give space to approaches which being singular can also end up being footnotes in the whole of  Brontë scholarship without actual transcendence or relevance. Similarly, really important names in the Brontë scholar world are not featured at all.

Among the big names of Brontë scholarship we find Christine Alexander on juvenilia; Dudley Green on Patrick Brontë's articles, letters and poetry;  Edward Chitham on the Irish Heritage of the Brontës; Ann Dinsdale on the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Preservation of Brontëana (one of the most interesting articles of the whole collection, exploring the fascinating story of Brontëana after the Brontës); Lucasta Miller (on the periodicals read by the Brontës). Also important names in Victorian studies and occasionally Brontë-related like Penny Boumelha, Karen E. Laird, John Maynard, Judith E. Pike, Herbert Rosengarten...

Special mention has to be made to Tom Winnifrith who writes the most bizarre article in the book devoted to film adaptations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Clearly, he is not comfortable with the topic:
In my oldfashioned way, I prefer the original texts to modern adaptations, and am glad that looking at films and television drove me back to study the words of Charlotte and Emily Brontë.
Probably not the best contribution to the intertextual and intermedial studies of the Brontës.

In no particular order, and from a personal viewpoint (with all the subjectiveness and bias we can associate with it) we enjoyed the contributions of Diane Long Hoeveler placing the Brontës within the Gothic tradition or Lisa Jadwin's survey of theoretical approaches to the Brontës. The two articles devoted to Anne Brontë's works The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Kari Lokke and Agnes Grey by Judith E. Pike were particularly interesting. Margaret Markwick signs a Jane Eyre paper, exemplary in its survey of critical approaches to the novel. Herbert Rosengarten contextualises and lists the industrial tropes of Shirley. Beth Lau's article on Marriage and Divorce in the Novels elevates to the surface common structures and topics which we were not aware permeated so clearly the Brontë narratives. We loved Abigail Burnham Bloom's incomplete but full of information article about the Brontë family and popular culture (and not only because this blog was among the quoted references!).

A few other contributions were disappointing or anodyne because of lack of focus or because of being too much self-focused in an impenetrable solipsism. Irregularity is the name of the game, of course. This may not be THE book of Brontë reference which it sometimes seems to aim at but, nevertheless, it contains enough interesting articles and ideas to complement the other available Brontë scholar omnibuses.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017 11:50 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
Today marks the 201st anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë.
EDIT: Check the National Portrait Gallery's Instagram, Your Story with a list of Charlotte Brontë's quotes, How Stuff Works posts five (rather trivial and tabloid-like) facts bout our author, Mental Floss publishes ten (real) facts, a guest post by Catherine Lowell Bookriot , Un Mondo di Italiani, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Entérate, Gaceta Mexicana...

India Times picks up on a recent Twitter hashtag: #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear.
Charlotte Brontë’s ”Jane Eyre” deciphered the complex variety of critical approaches and significant statements about issues central to women and their lives and let's not even get started about J.K. Rowling, the phenomenal writer, who captured our hearts and our imaginations through the fantastical world of Harry Potter. [...]
Recently twitter had a rather catechising session that got us vis-à-vis with the harsh reality of the literary world. A lot of budding writers shared their experience and the kind of sexist mark that they receive, as they step in this world, presumably boasting of being male dominated.
"Have you considered using a pseudonym so people don't know you're a woman?"
Because it's 1842 & I'm a Brontë. #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear— Emma Olson (@jonesing4words) April 18, 2017 (Shewali Tiwari)
After linking to a controversial article a few days ago discussing why Jane Eyre is not a good role model and after years of reading article after article on why she is a good role model, we think that precisely that is one of the #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. You don't read articles discussing whether Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist, Bilbo Baggins or Holden Caulfield are good or bad role models, now do you?

On Vox we read why 'The Brontë sisters are the feminist heroes we need in 2017' based on their lives, To Walk Invisible and the theatre play The Moors.
Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday was last year, but 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the Brontë sisters regardless. They’ve left the bookshelf to show up onstage and onscreen, and everywhere they go they bring with them allegories of fighting the patriarchy. [...]
What animates the Brontë sisters’ work is a specifically feminine anger in response to their patriarchal society, a feeling of being hunted and trapped and confined and degraded that is peculiar to women of great intelligence and few opportunities and resources.
So you have Jane Eyre kicking and biting as she is tied down and admonished to sit still and be quiet, like a good girl; you have her chafing at her isolation in the schoolroom and remarking, “Women are supposed to be very calm generally, but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer.”
You have Wuthering Heights’ Catherine Earnshaw slapping and pinching and biting like “a rude little savage” out on the moors, and then dressing herself up in a silk gown and pretending to be domesticated so that she can marry well, because she’ll have no money otherwise. You have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’s Helen resolving to redeem her dissolute husband through love and good works, as a woman should, and finding instead that he has ruined her life.
The Brontë novels are about women who want to be free and who have been trapped by the patriarchy. And luckily for our current cultural moment, the Brontë sisters come with a dissolute brother tailor-made to represent the patriarchy. (Constance Grady) (Read more)
Rotherham Advertiser reviews Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre.
The atmosphere is set by Michael Vale’s design which uses a background of white curtains and a wooden platform, suggesting houses by floating window frames and ladders.
The unfairness and cruelty suffered by orphan Jane in early life is vividly depicted.
The red room in which she is locked is evoked with a flood of scarlet light. Later, real flames flicker up the stage as Rochester’s house burns.
Benji Bower's music — expertly performed by Matthew Churcher, Alex Heane and David Ridley — complements the rich mezzo notes of Melanie Marshall, who stalks the stage as Bertha Mason, Rochester's first wife, the “mad woman in the attic”, who is here given her own voice.
Singing Mad about the Boy works wonderfully well.
Nadia Clifford is totally convincing as Jane, going from child to adult as sturdy and strong as her Lancashire accent, raging against the injustice of it all while displaying the right amount of vulnerability.
Tim Delap’s Rochester displays wit and intelligence, a man changed by the cruel world around him — very much like adventurer Delaney in the recent Taboo TV series.
The rest of the actors play several roles. Hannah Bristow runs about endearingly as Rochester’s ward Adele and movingly portrays tragic schoolgirl Helen Burns.
Paul Mundell is captivating as Rochester’s dog, slapping a leather strap for his tail.
Lynda Rooke perfectly captures the warmth and affection of housekeeper Mrs Fairfax and the cruelty of an unbending Mrs Reeve.
Evelyn Miller revels in the roles of Bessie and St John.
“It’s a girl,” are the first and last words uttered by the whole cast.
A clever device to demonstrate, as Cookson says, a clarion call for equal opportunities. (Phil Turner)
The Star recommends seeing the production as one of 'Ten great things to do'. And Theatre Royal Plymouth is looking forward to welcoming the production at the beginning of May.

Critical Hit reviews the film Fallen:
Meanwhile, in terms of acting, leads Timlin and Irvine strive to present themselves as star-crossed lovers of Brontë or Austen weight, but they’re far too light as performers. (Noelle Adams)
Revista Arcadia (Colombia) reviews the film Mal de pierres.
Así como el amor de Catherine en Cumbres borrascosas se llama Heathcliff -algo así como un páramo acantilado-, así el amado de la heroína romántica de esta película se llama André Sauvage. Lo diré aunque suene muy mal: Andrés Salvaje. Así como en la novela de Brontë hay fantasmas, en esta película también. Quiero decir fantasmas de verdad, presencias más intensas que las presencias reales. (Andrea Mejía) (Translation)
The Conversation has an article on Sylvia Plath:
Part of the reason why we feel such ownership over this material, I would speculate, is correlated not only with our notions of celebrity culture, but also, how far we have invested the Hughes-Plath marriage with paradigms inherited from 19th-century texts (comparisons with Wuthering Heights are fostered by both poets). (Claire Nally)
JuneauEmpire finds a Brontëite in writer Greta McKennan:
Other mystery writers like Diane Mott Davidson (culinary mystery series), Mary Stewart (romantic suspense), and M. M. Kaye (stand-alone mysteries) have inspired Barnhill’s work. Outside of that genre, as a child she enjoyed the “Childhood of Famous Americans” series, and writers Louisa May Alcott and Charlotte Brontë. (Clara Miller)
InfoLibre (Spain) features Jane Eyre.