Monday, October 20, 2014

Governesses and bad boys

Music Omh reviews the Glyndebourne production of Benjamin Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw and wonders,

what sensible Governess would not have turned tail sharpish, faced with such monsters? – and we intend the question as a compliment to these unusually talented youngsters. Corrupted by an oik who got above himself in league with Jane Eyre’s evil twin? Hardly. The ceremony of innocence may have been drowned but these two gave it something to grapple with on the way down. (Melanie Eskenazi)
Anime News Network discusses Episodes 1-3 of the Japanese shōjo manga Wolf Girl & Black Prince:
That said, there's something about the jerk boyfriend trope that resonates with the type of person who enjoys it, because it sure appears a lot in fiction, and has for literally hundreds of years. (Consider Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, for example.) It's not just the "oh, girls really want a bad boy deep down" argument, either. Most women are quite aware that they're not going to be the one who changes a bad boy, and frankly, he's not worth the effort anyway. (Brooding, self-aggrandizing people do not make good friends.) However, the crux of compelling stories is drama. Ideal relationships are sweet but not often ideal entertainment. Fiction is a safe place for exploring an unhealthy dynamic between two characters. (Amy McNulty)
The Reviews posts about Jane Eyre 2011;  Babbling Books and Future.Flying.Saucers. continues posting about the original novel. The Bookworm's Closet didn't like Wuthering Heights.

Marketing and Communications Officer

The Brontë Society is hiring. If you are interested in this position you should hurry up:
Marketing and Communications Officer, The Brontë Society
Yorkshire Closes Tuesday 21 October 2014 Paid (£20k-25k pro rata) Part time Artform: literature, museums   Contact: Sonia Boocock sonia.boocock@bronte.org.uk
 
Description
Permanent
Salary pro rata £20k - £25k / annum (dependent on experience)
The Brontë Society is seeking a Marketing and Communications Officer at an exciting time as we move towards the bicentenary celebrations of Charlotte Brontë in 2016, Emily Brontë in 2018 and Anne Brontë in 2020.  We are seeking an experienced and highly motivated individual with specific responsibility for developing and administering the Society’s marketing and communications strategies.

Purpose of the job:

To build the profile of the Brontë Society through all media and digital channels with the aim of growing the Society’s membership.
To promote the Bronte Parsonage Museum and its associated events programme in order to drive an increase in visitor numbers.
To develop and implement plans to maximise opportunities presented by the upcoming bi-centenary celebrations.
To manage marketing communications on behalf of the Society across print, digital and social media.
To manage the work of the Membership Officer and develop them in their role.
To develop and implement a PR strategy for both the Society and the Museum.
To  improve our understanding of visitor, membership and social media profiles in order to inform the development of  our offer and to maximise our appeal and income generation.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

British Mollusca vs Velveteen Rabbits

What can The History of British Mollusca and the Brontës possibly have in common? The answer in The Scarborough News:
The answer lies in the name ‘Currer’. It was the Christian name adopted by Charlotte Brontë, later author of Jane Eyre, when she self-published with her sisters Anne and Emily (‘Acton’ and ‘Ellis’) their first volume, a collection of poetry, under the joint surname ‘Bell’. (...)
But where did that unusual given name that Charlotte chose come from? It’s believed it may have been a tribute to a Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861) of Skipton, an early member of the Scarborough Philosophical Society which, in the early 1800s, built the Rotunda museum.
When the museum opened in 1829, women made up just 10 per cent of its membership – and it was to be a further 70 years before one achieved the dizzying heights of being elected as an officer.
But women collectors were a powerful force in the rapidly expanding scientific enlightenment of the late Georgian and early Victorian periods – several were major contributors to the Society during its early years, even though they had no family connection with it.
Miss Currer, who lived at Eshton Hall near Skipton, was a niece of Clive of India, and variously described by other scholars as ‘at the head of all female collectors in Europe’ and ‘England’s earliest female bibliophile’. She is also believed to have given £50 (nearly £4,000 today) to help pay the debts of the Brontë sisters’ father, Patrick, when he was widowed in 1821. Perhaps Charlotte’s adoption of her name 25 years later was a way of saying ‘thank you’?
A highly regarded book collector and scholar, with a library containing some 15,000 volumes, she donated large sums of money to the Society and bought cutting edge scientific books for the museum’s library.
These included the gorgeous leather-bound gilt-edge, four-volume set pictured here: History of British Mollusca by Professor Edward Forbes, FRS and Sylvanus Hanley, published in 1833 by John Van Voorst. (...)
The books are part of the Scarborough Collections, the name given to all the museum objects that have been acquired by the borough over the years, and now in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust. (Jeanie Swales)
Mantel’s artful use of various classic storytelling gambits no doubt reinforces one’s sense of this all-of-a-pieceness: her Brontë-esque preference for knowing, if not cynical, first-person female narrators; the crisp, droll narrative idiom; and her abiding curiosity about what might be called the crises of bourgeois sociability – disturbed and/or misfiring relationships between hosts and guests.
Chicago Theater Beat reviews the LifeLine production of Jane Eyre:
Minus that chemistry and so much of the early essence in Brontë’s book, “Jane Eyre” never really takes flight. The story is missing both Jane’s raw, beating, authentic heart and the gloriously undiminished empowerment she finds under the most oppressive circumstances. (Scotty Zacher)
The Glens Falls Post-Star gives more details about a story we loved a few days ago:
“What story were you hoping the teachers would pick?” I asked.
Girl after my own heart, she answered, “Jane Eyre.”
“For the fifth-grade play?” I asked.
“Yes, why not?”
I tried to imagine the elementary school putting on a play about a man who keeps his crazy wife locked up in the attic and tries to marry another, but gets tripped up because crazy attic wife keeps trying to light everyone on fire.
“I’m not sure ‘Jane Eyre’ would have been a good fit,” I said, picturing orange and red construction paper flames across the cafetorium stage while a screaming 10-year-old in a house coat leaps to her death.
“I would have played Grace Poole,” said my daughter, who had already cast herself as the devoted servant to the crazy lady.
“I agree ‘Jane Eyre’ would have been lovely, but what’s so bad about ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’?” I asked.
She looked at me like I had just kicked over a baby carriage.
“It’s about a stuffed rabbit that gets burned up in a fire!” she said.
I thought for a moment, quickly scrolling through my mental Rolodex of children’s literature.
I got nothing.
Three kids, and I couldn’t remember what happened to the stupid stuffed bunny.
“It’s true,” confirmed my niece, walking into the kitchen right on cue. “Everyone dies. The boy. The rabbit. Everyone.”
“Wow, that’s pretty depressing for the fifth grade,” I said, thinking “Jane Eyre” was starting to look pretty good. (Martha Petteys)
On Moviepilot we read a list of favourite recent films:
Jane Eyre 2011
Looking for a good love story with a bit of mystery behind it? Look no further. Not only is the book great but it bodes well in film. It doesn't matter which version you watch (though I highly suggest the 2011 or 1996 versions). Jane Eyre the plain, penniless orphan sets out to be the governess of Mr. Rochester's ward. During which time her wit ensnares her master but he has a deadly secret. (Danica Lynn Abeln)
Dr G in The Star (Malaysia) is a bit full of clichés:
Just like how Mr Rochester proposed his love to Jane Eyre with such primitive instinct of fixation: “You, Jane. I must have you for my own - entirely my own” with a tinge of ardor: “I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” With such primal enthusiastic passion, no women will decline.
Entertainment Wise publishes an excerpt of the upcoming novel After by Anna Todd:
Before I can stop myself, my hand is turning the knob on the only room I’m somewhat familiar with in this oversize house. Hardin’s bedroom door opens without a problem. He claims to always lock his door, but he’s proving otherwise. It looks the same as before, only this time the room is moving around beneath my unsteady feet. Wuthering Heights is missing from where it was on the shelf, but I find it on the bedside table, next to Pride and Prejudice. Hardin’s comments about the novel replay in my mind. He has obviously read it before—and understood it—which is rare for our age group, and for a boy especially. Maybe he had to read it for class before, that’s why. But why is this copy of Wuthering Heights out? I grab it and sit on the bed, opening the book halfway through. My eyes scan the pages and the room stops spinning.
Jenna Hermle reviews Jane Eyre. A Serpent for All Seasons posts about Wuthering Heights. And on The Sunday Times you can listen (yes, listen) to Helen Davies discussing The Colour Purple:
I had devoured Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton, and churned through Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jane Eyre, but nothing had prepared me for the sexual violence, degradation and grinding poverty that Walker presented in short, often misspelt sentences in her 1982 novel.
And Krissi Murison talking about The Yellow Wallpaper:
As any student of Victorian, feminist psychodrama will tell you, there is usually a madwoman locked in an attic somewhere. Jane Eyre had the violent arsonist Bertha Mason, but it is the not-so-reliable narrator, Jane, from this 1892 short story, that I find creepiest.

The Essence of the Brontës

Carcanet Press has republished Muriel Spark's essays on the Brontës and her selection of Brontë poems and letters:

The Essence of the Brontës
A Compilation with Essays
Muriel Spark
ISBN: 978 1 847772 46 6
Publisher: Carcanet Press,  September 2014
Lives and Letters

Muriel Spark always regarded the Brontës with a novelist's eye. As Boyd Tonkin argues in his lively introduction, written for the new edition, the Brontës inspired Spark at the very beginning of her own career, but not in a straightforward way. Through her critical and biographical on the Brontës Spark identified not only their achievements but also their flaws and failings, and thereby began to define, as Tonkin puts it, 'her own best route'. As she herself said, in a piece recorded for the BBC at Emily Brontë's grave in 1961, 'I was fascinated by [Emily's] creative mind because it's so entirely alien to my own'.
This book, first published in 1993, collects Spark's essays on the Brontës, her selection of their letters and of Emily's poetry. Evident throughout are Spark's critical intelligence, dry wit, and refusal to sentimentalise - qualities that gave her own novels their particular appeal. At the same time, The Essence of the Brontës is Muriel Spark's tribute to the sisters whose talents 'placed them on a stage from where they could hypnotize their own generation and, even more, posterity'.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Things far more dangerous than Heathcliff

The Yorkshire Post vindicates the validity of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

The latest version includes Geoffrey Ambler, a Bradford industrialist and senior RAF officer who reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal in Fighter Command during the Second World War, and his scientific collaborator Margaret Hannah – a mathematician who became a lecturer at Leeds University.
Another new addition is Sir James Roberts, the former owner of Saltaire textile mill who later saved the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth.
The Sheffield Star has eaten at the Greenhead House Restaurant in Chapletown:
There are times when the soul needs as much sustenance and nurture as the body. And that a few hours in food heaven help you through the hellish. We walked into the charming three-storey 17th century cottage and relaxed in a drawing room filled with cushions, nicknacks and antique furniture. It was like being in Charlotte Brontë’s dolls’ house.
The New York Times reviews  The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton:
It’s a lot of fun, like doing a Charlotte Brontë-themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board. Some readers will delight in the challenge, others may despair. (Bill Roorbach)
The Chicago Daily Herald remembers that the LifeLine Theatre performances of Jane Eyre has been extended:
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, has extended its production of "Jane Eyre," adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel by ensemble member Christine Calvit and starring Anu Bhatt as Jane and John Henry Roberts as Edward Rochester. Performances continue through Nov. 16.
The Daily Express invites you to take their literary quiz and find out which classic literary character you are:
Great works of literature entertain, inform and reflect the world back at us.
Do you identify with a particular character - perhaps you share Jane Eyre's quiet wisdom and determination, Lizzie Bennet's quick wit, Holden Caulfield's contempt for the status quo or Edmond Dantes totally focused drive?
Now's your chance to discover your true literary soulmate - just click the link below...
** WHICH CLASSIC LITERARY CHARACTER ARE YOU? FIND OUT RIGHT HERE **
Sarah Moss reviews The Surfacing by Cormac James in The Guardian:
The last expedition of Sir John Franklin has been lost for over 160 years, but the search continues. A Canadian team this summer found the hull of one of Franklin's ships, the Erebus, reported abandoned in 1848. Franklin and his men were looking for the last section of the Northwest Passage, where British governments since the 16th century had hoped to find a quick trade route to the fabled wealth of east Asia. Like hundreds before them, they died in the attempt. Most of the British men who died after them in that area were search crews; well before the end of the 19th century, more explorers had died looking for the Franklin expedition than were on it in the first place. The search, motivated by Franklin's widow and by a powerful mixture of Victorian sentiment and imperial rhetoric, became a national project. There were folk songs, poems, lantern shows, essays by Charles Dickens and a play by Wilkie Collins. There's a glancing mention in Jane Eyre.
The Globe and Mail interviews the writer Carrie Snyder. She's is not a Brontëite, sorry:
What agreed-upon classic do you despise?
Pass. If I don’t like a book, I stop reading it, and therefore do not despise it. For example, I could never get into Jane Eyre despite having made repeated attempts. Please don’t hold this against me.
We read on The Cambridge Student:
When I was thirteen, I was forbidden to do three things: hard drugs, join the Tory Party and read Wuthering Heights. My mother explained that teenage girls read Emily Brontë’s novel when young and suggestible. The next 10 years are spent searching for Heathcliff, trawling an adolescent smog of lynx and insecurity for a whiff of angst-fuelling testosterone. (...)
Perilous as this passionate romantic view may be, my mother missed a trick. Far more dangerous than Heathcliff to sexually frustrated teenagers is the super-embossed goo of kissing in the rain and writing letters that is Noah from The Notebook. (Sarah Howden)
The TImes reviews Gwendolen by Diana Souhami:
Just as Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea resurrected Antoinette in a post-colonial prequel to Jane Eyre, so Souhami's first novel Gwendolen becomes a 21st-century feminist rereading from the perspective of Daniel Deronda's heroine. (Fiona Wilson)
Grazia (Italy) reviews the performances in Milano, Italy of Faust Marlowe Burlesque :
È una storia nota, quella di Faust che stringe un patto col diavolo Mefistofele pur di appagare la sua sete di conoscenza. Meno nota la versione di Aldo Trionfo e Lorenzo Salveti, scritta per due mostri sacri come Carmelo Bene e Franco Branciaroli. Un pastiche di attuale complessità, che cita Goethe e Marlowe, senza precludersi riferimenti letterari eclettici come quelli a Cime Tempestose. (Gabriele Verratti) (Translation)
Milliebot Reads compares several covers of Wuthering Heights editions.

In Memoriam. Robert Demeger

Several news outlets report the death of the British actor Robert Demeger (1951-2014):

Although Robert Demeger played some challenging leading roles, including an acclaimed King Lear for director Deborah Warner early in his career, and went on to cover an impressive range of work on screen and on stage in the West End as well as for both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was always happy to describe himself, with characteristic self-deprecation, as "a jobbing actor". (Alan Strachan in The Independent)
He played the role of Joseph in Wuthering Heights 1992.

Bonnie Greer and Auditions

Today, October 17, at the Ilkley Literature Festival, we have a rendez vous with the president of the Brontë Society, Bonnie Greer:
Bonnie Greer: A Parallel Life
Ilkley Playhouse Wildman 1.30–2.30pm

Award-winning playwright, author and critic Bonnie Greer discusses her touching, funny and thought provoking memoir: A Parallel Life – a voyage into the making of a woman who set out to unmake what she’d been born and brought up to be. Born in segregated, racist America, Bonnie defeated the odds to become one of the most important champions of civil – and human – rights.
And in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Young Actors Company
Neptune Theatre

Auditions for Jane Eyre will be held on Saturday, October, 18 2014 at 10am at Neptune. Please enter via the Studio Theatre doors on Argyle Street. You are to prepare one monologue under two minutes in length. No need to make an appointment.
Students who are cast will rehearse Fridays from 6:00-10:00pm and Sundays from 10:00am-5:00pm beginning Friday, January 9, 2015.
In this process-oriented program, students work with a professional creative team to hone their acting skills. The culmination of this rehearsal period is a fully mounted show on Neptune Theatre’s Studio Stage from March 4-7, 2015. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

An ivory quill-cutter

The Telegraph and Argus has a letter from the Brontë Parsonage Museum telling about the latest goings-on:

This morning was spent organising the return of Elizabeth Gaskell’s escritoire (or writing desk!) that we have had on loan from Manchester Museum.
We have also been introducing our new collections intern, Alana to the role. She will be working with staff, including Collections Manager and the Library and Collections Officer for the next six months to gain experience in the museum.
Alana will also be writing this column in future, keeping you up to date on all things Brontë related.
It’s been a busy month. Last week, we were alerted to a Charlotte Brontë letter coming up for sale by auction, the next day! Sadly, we were unsuccessful in our bids as it sold for double the estimated price.
We were disappointed that we couldn’t bring the letter back home to the place where it was written over 150 years ago.
To lift our spirits though, we were thrilled to receive an exciting donation to the collection. An ivory quill-cutter which the Brontë family would have used to sharpen their quills before they put quill to paper!
This was an important tool in the Brontë household and was probably used many times by the young Brontë children to achieve such miniscule handwriting inside their tiny books, and later in life for writing their letters, poems and novels. We will display the quill-cutter from February 2015.
The year 2016 marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and there will be celebrations all over the world.
We have been putting together a list of objects to exhibit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York to commemorate the bicentenary, which will include a Charlotte Bronte dress, a selection of her artwork, and one of the famous handmade ‘little books’.
The exhibition will travel between the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Parsonage, and finally the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York throughout 2016.
Staff have also been star-spotting in Haworth! Actress Drew Barrymore visited the museum, taking some time out from shooting scenes for Missing You Already, and she was later spotted in the Black Bull, Branwell’s favourite pub!
We also welcomed famous folk singer Maddy Prior who took a guided tour of the museum and came in to the library for a special treasures session.
Last Saturday we held a water colour painting workshop at the very atmospheric Ponden Hall. Sue Newby our Learning Officer, who organised the workshop, said: “The painting was really enjoyable and people produced some lovely work, but the highlight of the day might just have been the incredible home- made cake made by our host Julie Akhurst!
“Ponden Hall is such an inspiring environment for any creative activity that we do hope to repeat it in the future; in fact we have a writing workshop booked for October 25 run by Hebden Bridge based author Anne Caldwell.”
Rachel Hore tells about her struggles when young in The Independent:
As a conventional teenage girl of the 1970s dressed in Laura Ashley prints, I had little knowledge of feminist texts and found those I had come across beyond my sheltered experience. At the same time, nothing infuriated me more than some male of my acquaintance asserting that women were intellectually inferior to men.
Where were the great female musical composers?, they'd ask, as if this nailed the matter. The great female artists? I'd struggle to suggest examples. At least when it came to literature I could say Jane Austen, the Brontës, George Eliot, but these names were still only a handful and I didn't know enough history to commandeer a fuller answer. 
Daily Press interviews Jerry Lewis:
Daily Press: A generation of people grew up on your comedies – films like "The Nutty Professor," "The Disorderly Orderly" and "The Sad Sack." Groundbreaking comedies. Is there one film in particular that stands out as your own favorite?
Lewis: "Wuthering Heights" … oh, you mean my films! "The Nutty Professor" is the one that is the most special. (Mike Holtzclaw)
The Independent describes a more recent take on Wuthering Heights--Peter Kosminsky's 1992 version--as 'fitfully powerful'.

iDigital Times brings up a relevant point in connection with that:
... it’s been decades since Hollywood has tackled “Moby-Dick.” The book has a deserving reputation for its thematic density and the tendency of movie adaptations to treat the “Moby-Dick” dialogue like Shakespeare and its metaphors like lectures.
It’s a strange problem to have, since most major books end up getting a Hollywood adaptation every ten years or so. Just look at Jane Austen, Hamlet, “The Great Gatsby,” or even “Wuthering Heights.” (Andrew Whalen)
Palatinate discusses imaginative play and mentions the young Brontës:
Imagination has to be nurtured. Otherwise, we will all use it with minimal effort, just like we do with our back muscles. But regular exercise is not enough, a good diet is necessary too: feed yourself with words and images and your imagination will be fine. The lives of the three Brontë sisters show how play and imagination are intertwined, and how imagination can develop if it is allowed to follow the right course. Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell (a painter) created stories as children, fashioning the African kingdom of Glass Town and the Empire of Angria and the fictional continent, Gondal. They were particularly stimulated by their father who gave them books and toys to immerse themselves in. (Natalia Dutra)
The Drum comments on Yorkshire being chosen for the Tour de France Grand Départ.
Unlike boasting of being the birthplace of the Brontë sisters or David Hockney, or falling into low-level factionalism around a cricket team or quality of beer, La Grande Boucle conferred a rare honour, one which Yorkshire had been granted only by outsmarting the likes of Edinburgh, capital of a near-nation. (Lewis Blackwell)

The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds

A new scholar book exploring the 'translingual, transnational, and transcultural' contexts the Brontë sisters works:
The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds
Edited by Shouhua Qi, Jacqueline Padgett
ISBN 9781137405142
Publication Date October 2014
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

While the reception of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë has drawn extensive attention from critics in the United Kingdom and in the United States, much needed scholarship on their position in other wor(l)ds - languages and cultures - remains to be done. This collection of essays looks at the works of the Brontë sisters through a translingual, transnational, and transcultural lens, viewing them as examples of heteroglossia, hybridity, and postcolonial reworkings. In applying principles of postcolonial theory, reception studies, translation theory, media analysis, and comparative literature, this collection is the first book-length study of the works of the Brontës sisters as received and reimagined in languages and cultures outside of Europe and the United States.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saint Emily's favourite gin

The Museum Association Journal reports the Brontë Society emergency general meeting taking place this weekend at Haworth.
The chairwoman of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, has stepped down just 26 days into her 12-month term.
The society said Christine Went had been forced to take the decision due to "ill health and an urgent family matter". She was appointed as chairwoman on 6 September after a unanimous vote, and formally stepped down on 2 October. Went had previously been a member of the society for four years.
Her resignation came ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which takes place this Saturday. A group of more than 50 members have forced the meeting amid a number of allegations about the conduct of the council.
These included a claim that the council attempted to call an EGM to overturn a vote at the society’s AGM in June that defeated motions to extend the chairman of trustees' term of office and give the council the power to summarily expel trustees and members.
The group said the meeting would include discussion about electing a new council in order to “modernise” the organisation and bring “higher levels of professionalism and experience to the society”.
However, a clause in the Company Act prevents a vote removing the current council.
Doreen Harris, the honorary secretary of the society, who has taken on the work of the chairwoman until an appointment is made, said: “Regarding the EGM, we look forward to a frank exchange of views to enable the Brontë Society to go forward into the bicentenary period a stronger and more united organisation.” (Rebecca Atkinson)
TES has a letter from a head of English on the new English literature syllabus.
Perhaps it’s not actually who is speaking that they are objecting to, but what they’re saying. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre also features on OCR’s syllabus, but from nowhere has come the suggestion that this honest portrayal of the tribulations of a 19th century governess is unsuitable material for our children, despite the fact that the novel was initially condemned by critics for violating “every code, human and divine”.
It seems that social comment is acceptable as long as it’s studied at a safe historical distance. God forbid that, after reading about Brand’s call for a more compassionate approach to drug addiction, Dizzee’s ideas about Britishness or Moran’s opinions about the treatment of women in the 21st century, rigorous linguistic analysis might be also accompanied by some classroom discussion of the UK’s (failing) drugs legislation or the gender pay gap. (Alexandra Smith)
Sentieri Selvaggi (Itali) mentions François Truffaut's Les Deux Anglaises et le Continent:
“Aveva dei problemi personali, che risolse tuffandosi nelle Due inglesi. […] Per i due terzi seguì pressappoco la mia stesura, ma nell’ultima parte – la morte di Anne e della madre – apportò alcuni elementi nuovi: stava leggendo la biografia di Branwell Brontë scritta da Daphne Du Maurier, e si ispirò un poco alle Brontë”  [Fragment from J. Gruault, Il segreto perduto, in Il romanzo di François Truffaut, cit., p. 86] (Translation)
Marie Claire (Italy) finds a Brontëite in writer Valentina D'Urbano:
I tuoi miti? Le sorelle Brontë, che prego quando ho il blocco dello scrittore “santa Emily aiutami tu”. (Laura Goria) (Translation)
Forbes features a type of gin called Caorunn and finds potential drinkers:
Carounn (sic) is also made with the following: heather (Scottish Highlands heather—think of it, this could be the official gin of Wuthering Heights fans), Coul Blush apple, dandelion for an herbal twist and rowan berry—a traditional medicinal herb of the Highlands. (Katie Kelly Bell)
female arts reviews the Butterfly Psyche Wuthering Heights production:
Jazz Hazelwood's direction is sharp, well-realised and manages to expertly lead the actors through the complexity of their many shifts and character changes with success and vivacity. She navigates a concept, which could have easily slipped into absurdism into an elegant, engaging example of storytelling.
This is a play that will please even the most avid lovers of the book, whilst holding its own as a brilliant production in its own right. A thoroughly enjoyable and captivating piece of theatre that held the audience's attention from start to Finish. I look forward to seeing more from both Butterfly Psyche and Livewire Theatre.  (Naia Headland-Vanni)
Girls Love to Read posts an entry by Zana Bell talking about Jane Eyre vs Wuthering Heights.

Heathcliff Adrift

Devil's Eye (Source)
Today, October 16, at the Durham Book Festival. A talk and an exhibition:
William Atkins and Benjamin Myers: Lives, Landscape, LiteratureThursday 16 October,
7pm-8pm
Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars

This special event celebrates the dramatic landscape of the moors, in both words and pictures. William Atkins’ The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature is a deeply personal journey across our nation’s most forbidding and most mysterious moors.
Atkins will read from his work, surrounded by Heathcliff Adrift, an exhibition of poems and images from author Benjamin Myers (winner of the 2013 Gordon Burn Prize) and photographer Nick Small, covering Heathcliff’s ‘missing’ three years in Wuthering Heights, when he leaves Haworth a boy and returns a wealthy man, and the moorland landscape, as seen through his eyes. Extracts from Myers’ haunting poems will be read aloud during the event.
The Moor was The Guardian’s book of the week and described as ‘an ambitious mix of history, topography, literary criticism and nature writing, in the tradition of WG Sebald, Robert MacFarlane and Olivia Laing.’
Caught by the River gives some more information about the Heathcliff Adrift exhibition:
A clever idea cooked up by a triumvirate of Caught by the River pals and contributors – Nick Small, Ben Myers and Will Atkins – Heathcliff Adrift is a series of narrative poems, a selection of which are being reproduced and exhibited in Durham Cathedral for the duration of Durham Book Festival 2014.
Ben says of the idea’s genesis: “It was conceived while walking the moors of the West Riding in Yorkshire and born out of the questions: where did Heathcliff go and what did he see? The work runs alongside stunning landscape photographs taken by Nick Small which explore the idea of what happened to Heathcliff during his ‘missing’ three years in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, an era in which the industrial revolution was in its earliest days and the ragged beauty of the landscape was under threat from the arrival of mechanisation.”
Nick says: “This collaboration between Ben and I was born on the pages of Caught by the River. Having exchanged correspondence over an number of years we finally met in the fitting environs of a Hebden Bridge pub, with beer in hand and in the company of chief alchemist Jeff. When Ben asked me to provide photographs to accompany his Heathcliff poems we both found that we referenced the peerless collaboration between Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin, “The Remains of Elmet” as our inspiration. The photographs are taken on the South Pennine Moorland between Calderdale and Haworth. The intention was not to create a literal narrative accompaniment to the poems. Instead, I wanted to present a series of images that would convey the wild and weird nature of the landscape that is my “back yard” and to explore some of the emotional themes that the landscape itself evokes: love, fear, life, death, awe, euphoria and, above all, time(lessness).”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Horrified by her own stockings

Bustle lists '13 contemporary novels all feminists should read'. It's not Jane Eyre that's on it but

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
As much as I like Jane Eyre, I still think that Jean Rhys’s retelling is an essential critique. The novel refocuses the story and makes Bertha, Rochester’s crazy wife in the attic, the protagonist and narrator. That alone makes a powerful statement about who gets to have their story told and which women are worthy of being the center of attention, and Rhys follows through with a short but impactful novel about Bertha and Rochester in the their early days. (Emma Cueto)
Blogtaormina (Italy) features another list: the one compiled by literary critic Piero Dorfles for the Italian TV programme Per un pugno di libri.
Poche, a nostro giudizio le scrittrici selezionate: Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, Elsa Morante e Mary Shelley. (Milena Privitera) (Translation)
And speaking of lists, Ecns (China) has an article on the Book List Challenge. Apparently,
Li Jiajia, an anchor at Guangdong Satellite TV, based in Guangzhou in Guangdong province, accepted the challenge on Sept 26, after a friend working at Phoenix Satellite TV nominated her.
She listed 10 books, including Wuthering Heights, 1984, Animal Farm and Chinese writer Yu Hua's Brothers and To Live.
"The books I listed were those I could remember instantly when I received the challenge," Li says. "They are both insightful and a pleasure to read, and they easily stand out from what I have read." (Si Huan)
And yet more lists, as The Independent reviews the book Lists of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher which includes
Hemingway's must-read books for aspiring novelists: War and Peace, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights[.] (James Kidd)
The Star is reminded of a Brontë novel when reviewing The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
Mystery and intrigue infuse every page of this first novel by British writer and actor Jessie Burton. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, “where the pendulum swings from God to a guilder,” there’s a Brönte-like [sic] mood afoot from the moment Nella Oortman arrives at her rich husband’s house on an Amsterdam canal. (Nancy Wigston)
The Spectator discusses heroes and makes an interesting point:
After any famous writer goes their own long journey, the difficulties of preserving their home for would-be pilgrims become more fraught: whether a literary shrine is tended or neglected, there will always be enthusiasts claiming that their idol has not been treated appropriately. As Simon Goldhill observes in Scott’s Buttocks, Freud’s Couch, Brontë’s Grave, Charlotte Brontë would have been horrified had she seen her stockings on public display at Haworth Parsonage, but in the 21st century they’re a precious link – however creepy – to a great talent now gone. (Philip Sidney)
Speaking of Charlotte Brontë items on display, The Economist's Prospero posts about the new British Library exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination where
there is a case dedicated to "Northanger Abbey", the gothic spoof written by the teenage Jane Austen; a waspish letter written by Ann Radcliffe to her mother in law; and early copies of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë and "The Raven" by Edgar Allen [sic] Poe. (K. S. C.
Brides offers guidance on how to find a passage for a wedding and suggests
Novels and plays: Writers such as John Updike, Thornton Wilder, D. H. Lawrence, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea) and Gabríel (sic) García Marquez offer great inspiration. (Terri Pous)
The Notre Dame & St Mary's Observer reviews the performances of the Aquila Theatre production of Wuthering Heights. Patras Events (Greece) has a quote on eyes by Charlotte Brontë. The deputy books editor at The Boar picks Jane Eyre as one of her favourite literary characters. More on Jane Eyre on the Lifeline Theatre blog, this thread on reddit/r/books (or in here) and Chicago Literati. WKTS posts in Polish about Agnes Grey.

Charlotte Rhymed

An alert for today, October 15, at the Ilkley Literature Festival:
FRINGE: Something Rhymed
Ilkley Playhouse Wildman 9.15–10.15pm

Who did Jane Austen turn to for literary friendship? What about Charlotte Brontë? Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney discuss the friendship of female authors and share new writing inspired by the friendships of Ilkley Festival goers.
FREE FRINGE EVENT

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three plays

WhatsOnStage reviews the current performances of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at Arnos Val Cemetery in Bristol, part of the LiveWire Theatre and Butterfly Psyche Theatre Brontë season, and gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

Performed in the atmospheric surroundings of Arnos Vale Cemetery, Alison Farina's moving stage adaption sees just two actors on stage throughout the performance, each representing a multitude of carefully defined characters. The speed at which the actors switch between roles to narrate the story is extremely impressive. From youthful humour to lustful conceptions the characters are near-faultlessly played. Both Madeline Ryan and Tom Turner shift between these opposing roles across both genders with accuracy and wit.
Directed by Shane Morgan, the choice of soundtrack (by Bradford –Upon – Avon based Wasuremono) is apt for the production, sparsely using modern alternative music to compliment the minimalist set and timeless costume. There is no frivolity or grandeur to stifle the lesson behind the story and this is an astute director's choice, leaving the audience to focus on the characters and how their actions affect others within the plot.
Despite being just an hour and a half long, due to the nature of the story and the depiction of time passing slowly and painfully through an abusive relationship, the play does seem – only very slightly – too lengthy towards the end and could perhaps be split in to two halves. However, this may awkwardly divide the plot and I can understand the avoidance of having an interval in such a gripping tale. [...]
If you are looking for a thought-provoking night at the theatre, this is the play for you. (Hannah Sweetnam)
While the Notre Dame and Saint Mary's Observer features Aquila Theatre's take on Wuthering Heights.
Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” graced the stage at O’Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary’s Monday night with a performance by the Aquila Theatre company. Six actors, united by Aquila’s mission to make classical works accessible to everyone through performance arts, brought the classic novel to life under the direction of Desiree Sanchez.
“It was a marvelous performance,” director of special events Richard Baxter said. “Very well put together, very clear. You know what I loved most of all? No mics.”
One of the production’s lead actors, Kali Hughes (Cathy Earnshaw), said although the show is demanding, it is gratifying to perform.
“It’s a really tough show,” Hughes said. “It’s kind of shocked me. I’ve got to stay fit and healthy. You can’t have a day off, but it’s immensely enjoyable as well.”
Dale Mathurin (Heathcliffe), who is just older than most members of the Saint Mary’s audience, said “Heights” has been on the road for three weeks and the central role can be taxing for such a fresh actor.
“It’s a very hectic show,” Mathurin said. “I’m fresh out of drama school. This is my first time abroad. There are a lot of days in the van getting to different venues.” [...]
“As brilliant as the book is, it really does peak in the middle, it’s really exciting, this bit where we ended. A novel is different. On the stage you need to be gripped. Despite the absolute mess they’ve gotten themselves into. If we were to put the whole thing onstage, when [the characters] fail, we want to see more, do we care? It’s like a book with lots of little ends. It kind of leeches the drama.”
Hughes said part of the challenge in adapting “Wuthering Heights,” is the complexity of Cathy’s character.
“I actually find Cathy to be an energy vacuum,” Hughes said. “She walks into a room and sucks the energy out of everything, like a vortex. But she’s also very human, and she makes a mistake. I think she’s just this fantastically flawed individual. She’s trying to claw back her love for Heathcliff.”
Mathurin said Heathcliff’s mysterious side makes the role appealing.
“What draws me the most is his mystery,” he said. “I find him to be very enigmatic to play with in the scenes that he’s in,” Mathurin said. “The mystery of the character’s what drew me. I don’t think at this point in time I want to be anyone else but Heathcliff.” (Emilie Kefalas)
And even more theatre, as Broadway World reports that the Lifeline Theatre Chicago production of Jane Eyre has been extended:
To accommodate ticket demand, Lifeline Theatre announces fifteen added performances of its critically-acclaimed production of Jane Eyre, adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christina Calvit (four-time Jeff Award winner), and directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne (Jeff Award and After Dark Award winner). After a troubled childhood, Jane Eyre searches for new purpose as a governess at Thornfield Hall. But a fragile peace gives way to turbulent passion when she meets Mr. Rochester, a man concealing a dark secret. Their unconventional relationship leads to a terrible revelation, and Jane must forge a new future amid the ashes of her ravaged dreams. As she struggles to free herself from the ghosts of her past, Jane realizes that her only hope is to find love on her own terms. A highly theatrical exploration of one woman's independent spirit in a beloved adaptation freshly updated for its first appearance on the Lifeline stage in thirteen years. Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (www.playscripts.com).
UPDATED CLOSING DATE: Jane Eyre runs through November 16 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. [...]. Performance times are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. The production runs approximately two hours with one intermission.
A columnist from Lillie News reviews the play Fishwrap and says,
 "Fishwrap" is hardly a hard-hitting drama. It's rife with puns, as well as jokes about booze and sex. Hey, it takes place in a newsroom: What do you think we talk about around here, the Brontë sisters' collected works? (Ben Bromley)
The Guardian has received a letter stating that bad mothers weren't quite so rare in 19th-century novels:
“Family” novels by women writers featuring bad mothers (Tim Lott, Family, 11 October) were a standard trope in 19th-century literature. Jane Austen’s lazy Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park prefers her pug to her children. Charlotte Brontë’s cold Mrs Reed in Jane Eyre spoils her children and believes her bullying son’s lies. Elizabeth Gaskell’s hypocritical Mrs Gibson in Wives and Daughters neglects her daughter. All are described with compassion and wit. Perhaps that makes them not quite bad enough?
Michele Roberts, London
This columnist from My Jewish Learning recalls that,
Growing up as the daughter of two teachers, my parents encouraged me to read every kind of book that I was interested in. As a middle schooler I socialized with Charles Dickens, curled up with Jane Austen, ate snacks with the Bronte sisters, decided that I hated every stuffy Victorian who took 150 pages to start a plot, and moved on to their dark Russian cousins, the Tolstoys and Dostoevskys (125 pages to start a plot). (Malka Z. Simkovich)
Flavorwire reviews Nell Zink's novel The Wallcreeper:
The driver of the novel, its protagonist and voice, is Tiffany, a thoroughly contemporary personality that somehow hearkens back to the Brontë’s and Jane Austin (and Zink confirms that Austen is a reference for The Wallcreeper). (Jonathon Sturgeon)
Columbus Monthly shares several not-so-well-known shopping places in the area such as the following:
At the Library Store inside the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s main branch Downtown, you’ll find much more than books for sale. For the book-obsessed, there are T-shirts, books, toys, accessories (like an irresistible “Jane Eyre” zippered pouch) and even books about books. 
The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shares an oil sketch by Branwell. Open Letters Monthly talks about the upcoming Annotated Wuthering Heights published by Harvard University Press. edited by Janet Gezari. On Bookriot (and on The Squirrel's Diary) we read the personal experience and timeline of a Wuthering Heights reader.  Finally, Vonnie's Reading Come, Lost Generation Reader and A Night's Dream of Books continue posting about their Jane Eyre readalong.

Posthumous Vision

Raffaelli Editore has re-issued the works of the Italian poetess Nadia Campana (1954-1985), including Visione Postuma (originally published in 1986) where she showed her fascination with Emily Brontë.
Campana Nadia
Visione postuma
Collana Poesia contemporanea n. 53
A cura di Milo De Angelis, Emi Rabuffetti e Giovanni Turci
ISBN 9788867920464
Raffaelli Editore

Sono importanti questi saggi per comprendere la figura e l’opera di Nadia Campana. E sono tutti percorsi dalla passione per la vita e per la letteratura. Alcuni poi (in particolare quelli sulla Cvetaeva) hanno venature biografiche di impressionante profezia, come se l’autrice avesse scelto questo tipo di scrittura per svelare la parte più segreta di se stessa e il destino che da lì a poco si sarebbe compiuto. (Milo De Angelis)
Abbiamo intitolato Visione postuma questa raccolta di scritti di Nadia Campana, in gran parte inediti, prendendo spunto da quello inaugurale, particolarmente caro all’autrice. Il libro è diviso in tre sezioni. La prima raccoglie testi di poetica, ricchi di forza lirica e di presagio, dove il tema della morte volontaria appare centrale. La seconda comprende alcune riflessioni su due scrittrici di lingua inglese – Emily Brontë ed Emily Dickinson – e sull’arte della traduzione. La terza riunisce scritti brevi e di vario genere, dedicati agli interessi di Nadia Campana negli anni ottanta: i libri di poesia usciti in quel periodo, il teatro, l’insegnamento della letteratura nella scuola media.