Thursday, August 28, 2014

Food, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sarah Waters and Contemporary Female Bildungsroman

Tomorrow is not only the opening of the 2014 Brontë Society Conference but also of this confernce in Slovakia with several Brontë-related talks:

12th ESSE Conference in Košice, Slovakia
Friday 29 August – Tuesday 2 September, 2014
Department of British and American Studies, Faculty of Arts and SKASE (The Slovak Association for the Study of English)

Agata Buda, University of Technology and Humanities in Radom, Poland,
Food as the Representation of Gender Roles in the Victorian Female Novel

The aim of the paper is to analyse the idea of cooking/eating in two Victorian novels: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. Both works present the idea of food as one of the major points of reference in human relationships. One of the aspects worth analysing is family eating. The meetings are preceded by careful preparation of meals (e.g. preserves by Mrs. Tulliver or Nelly’s dishes). The food often becomes the major topic during these meetings, showing in this way the gender roles in the nineteenth-century England: females are irreplaceable in preparing food but men very often ignore the final product of cooking. This idyllic space of collective eating (according to M. Bakhtin) can be frequently destroyed by refusing; men refuse to eat either because of sadness (Mr. Earnshaw) or being fussy (Linton); women do not eat due to the fact they are busy taking care of men (Cathy) or are more interested in reading (Maggie). Both sexes are aware of the demands society poses to them. Neither Cathy and Maggie are allowed to read books, but expected to be mindful about meals.

María José Coperías Aguilar, University of Valencia, Spain,
The Reception of Elizabeth Gaskell in Spain

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865) was a prolific and well-known Victorian writer who enjoyed great popularity during her lifetime and sold a comparatively high number of copies of her books. However, after her death, her work seems to have fallen into oblivion in the minds of most readers and critics, except for her novel Cranford and her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Although an incomplete collection of her works was published in the early 20th century and some occasional critical studies were also published in the first half of that century, it was not until the 1950s, with Marxist criticism, and in the 1970s and 1980s, from a feminist approach, that she was rediscovered. In this paper we will try to analyse how her work has been received in Spain, especially in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Despite the few translations we have managed to find for the first half of the 20th century, in recent decades there appears to have been a great increase in popular interest in reading her work. However, this great interest in Elizabeth Gaskell does not seem to exist in the academic world.

Soňa Šnircová, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia,
Girlhood in Susan Fletcher’s Eve Green and Tiffany Murray’s Happy Accidents: Contemporary Transformations of the Female Bildungsroman.

Published in 2004 as debut novels by contemporary writers, Eve Green and Happy Accidents share some important similarities. Fatherless and abandoned (for different reasons) by their rebellious mothers, the young heroines have to move from cities to the rural setting of Welsh farms to be brought up by their maternal grandmothers. Both authors place the coming-of-age stories into the context of the female Bildungsroman tradition, using allusions to Jane Eyre as important structural elements of their narratives. My paper will claim that these two texts represent a new stage in the development of the female Bildungsroman since their appropriation of the tradition can be defined as postfeminist: Susan Fletcher, who makes the romantic motif of Jane Eyre central to her novel, appears to support the new cult of (almost idyllic) domesticity, while Tiffany Murray, whose images of domesticity are, on the contrary, interwoven with grotesque elements, uses the mad Bertha motif in the way that challenges victim feminism.

Eileen Williams-Wanquet, University of La Réunion, France,
Reviving Ghosts: The Reversibility of Victims and Vindicators in Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger

I would like to pursue the conclusion Susana Onega comes to, in her answer to George Letissier, concerning the identity of the “little stranger” in Sarah Waters’s fifth novel (2009), showing how Waters associates the use of the Gothic and of psychological realism to “plumb the psyche” (Robert Heilmann) and express the unspeakable trauma of the mixed feelings involved in British class relations. Although the novel is set in the context of the class crisis of the postwar period, the trauma transcends time and space. The transtextuality with Jane Eyre shall be developed, in order to suggest that the “phantom” unconsciously carried by the narrator-focaliser, Faraday, is also that of Bertha Mason and of Jane Eyre herself, revived with a vengeance in The Little Stranger. Haunted by the ghost of a ghost of a ghost of a past text that itself keeps spectrally and anti-lineally returning, Waters’ novel, typical of postmodern romances that “create doubt” (Elam) and blur temporality, rethinks the relation between victims and vindicators, offering a reflexion on the ubiquitous and elusive nature of evil, and on its origins: if a victim cannot exist without a tormentor and if a traumatised victim returns to take revenge, where do vulnerability and responsibility ultimately lie and how can the endless repetition of the same, the repetitive spiral of violence, be broken?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Wuthering Before the Dawn

Kate Bush's first comeback concert is, of course, all over the news. Regrettably she didn't included Wuthering Heights on her setlist:
Certainly, her voice still sounds terrific – although she no longer includes Wuthering Heights, her first and biggest hit, on her set list. (Jan Moir in Daily Mail)
It is not difficult to realise why Kate Bush made such a startling impression when, in 1978, at the age of 19, she burst upon the scene with Wuthering Heights, cartwheeling in her weird dance moves to No 1 in the charts – the first woman to reach the top with a song she had written. Everything about it was rich and strange: the swooping soprano, the musical progression and the words! Even in the hippy Seventies lyrics based on Emily Brontë’s mad fantasy seemed far-fetched: “Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home. I’m so cold!” Then there were her looks: unusual but stunning. (The Telegraph)
The singer shares a birthday, July 30, with novelist Emily Brontë. Kate's birthday is known as Katemas and it is celebrated by devoted fans all over the world.
Kate's debut single, Wuthering Heights, is based on Emily Brontë’s novel of the same name but the singer hadn't actually read the book at the time. (Emma Pietras in The Mirror)
 In 1978, a 19-year-old doctor’s daughter from Kent mimed her way through Wuthering Heights on Top Of The Pops. Scary yet sexy, romantic and other-worldly, Kate Bush’s wild-eyed rendition of a song she wrote after catching the last ten minutes of a BBC adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel (she didn’t read the novel until later) was a life-changing, generation-defining moment in pop culture. (Will Hodgkinson in The TImes)
The aftershocks of punk and new wave were still rolling across the cultural landscape, disco was in its pomp,Jeff Wayne had just unleashed his musical version of HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, and then suddenly there’s this girl singing a song about an old Emily Brontë  novel in a strange, witchy voice. (Fraser McAlpine on BBC America)
Yelena Akhtiorskaya remembers why she disliked English class in New Republic:
Imagine my shock then, when we began reading novels and taking apart the characters and events as if they were real, trudging laboriously through Steinbeck and Brontë, answering the equivalent of who, what, where, how, and why. My literary identity fractured; I loathed the assigned books and dreaded analyzing them, but loved my secret books, which I’d never defile by deconstructing (or thinking about too hard).
SBS on Spring fashion(s):
After a 150 year hiatus, Victorian era skirts are back, and shorter than ever! More titillating than their 150 year old predecessors, these skirts reveal an entire ankle (so racy), and make a great costume should you ever choose to attend a party dressed as ‘Sexy Charlotte Brontë’ or ‘Sexy Emily Dickinson’. Long and flowing, these skirts are also great for sneaking people and things in and out of places. (Nina Oyama)
New York Daily News makes a list of great books to bring along this Labor Day:
"Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys.
Rhys takes the done-to-death story of "Jane Eyre," flips it and reverses it. By exploring that "crazy woman in the attic," she opens up a story about love, identity and destiny. Could a woman who is told she is crazy over and over again learn to believe it? Heartbreaking and sad, this book taught me in college about how the ability to express vulnerability gives us strength.
North Devon Gazette presents the Wuthering Heights performances at the Tapeley Park Gardens by the ChapterHouse Theatre Company; Quite as Mouse reviews Jane Eyre; Tony Walker uploads some recent pictures of Top Withins.

Auditions in Edmonton

Auditions for a Jane Eyre. The Musical (Gordon & Caird version) production in Edmonton, Canada:

Theatre Alberta

We are presenting this musical in an in-concert, semi-staged setting (like we did with Titanic back in 2012) at Myer Horowitz Theatre. Those cast in the production need to be available for a daytime technical rehearsal on November 18th and a school matinee on November 19 at 10am, in addition to the 2 evening performances on November 18 and 19.

There will be two evening rehearsals and one Sunday afternoon rehearsal starting in September.

Show dates and tech details:

Tech rehearsal from 8am – 4:30pm on November 18th.
November 18th at 7:30pm
November 19th at 10am and 7:30pm


Thursday, August 28 from 7-10pm
Friday, August 29 from 7-10pm

Saturday, August 30, 6-10pm

Location: 5951-103A Street (use 58 Ave for access, the studio is located between Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulverad, first bay in an orange roof industrial bay complex)

Director: Linette Smith
Musical Director: Daniel Belland
More information.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grumpiest Plaque Award

The Telegraph & Argus talks about last Sunday's BBC Radio 4 programme Open Book who was devoted to the moors as literary landscape:

The trio discussed the sense of freedom the moors provided for the Brontë sisters, and how these authors personified the wild landscape in some of their own literary characters.
John Bowen, a professor of 19th century literature, who took part in the programme, said Haworth Moor during the Brontë's time would have seemed relatively untouched by the modern world, despite being on the edge of a village that was being rapidly changed by the Industrial Revolution.
Mrs Frostrup joked that the Brontë Society plaque at Top Withens, which explains that this building has no resemblance to the Earnshaw Home in the novel Wuthering Heights, could qualify as a winner of the "grumpiest plaque award". (Miran Rahman)
Vanora Bennett discusses Kate Bush songs in The Guardian. Wuthering Heights is not her favourite one but, nevertheless, she says
For instance, her 1978 No 1 single Wuthering Heights rescued Emily Brontë’s novel from languishing dustily on school exam syllabuses, unloved by unmotivated teenage readers, and gave it a new generation of admirers. The plaintive refrain, “Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home,” brought chillingly back to life the uncanny nightmare episode at the start of the book.
Les inRocks (France) has something to add about the song too:
Dans ce décor sur mesure, Kate Bush cultiverait à l’abri des regards sa psyché torturée de demi-sœur Brontë, elle dont la chanson talisman s’intitule Wuthering Heights (“Les Hauts de Hurlevent”), improbable premier single qui attira vers elle tous les projecteurs lorsqu’elle avait à peine 19 ans. (Christophe Conte) (Translation)
USA Today features a conversation between writers Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Krentz:
JAK: It's the fact that the reviewers are comparing Heroes Are My Weakness to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and even to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre that made you go out and buy a new one, right?
SEP: A girl can't have too many tiaras, and it was the perfect excuse. Heroes is a modern take on those classic Gothic novels we loved.
The Mirror talks about a recent survey about Britain's most popular childhood holiday destination. Scarborough is the fifth most popular:
I haven’t mentioned the magnificent Rotunda Museum housing Gristhorpe Man, a Bronze Age local, the Stephen Joseph Theatre where Alan Ayckbourn’s plays are premiered, writer Anne Brontë’s grave in St Mary’s churchyard, or the spa where the waters have been taken for 300 years, or the shows or the brilliant pubs like the Alma Inn. (Paul Routledge)
Augusta Magazine has an article about TB:
When we think of tuberculosis, we think of Old West outlaws, novels set in 19th-century Europe and afflicted geniuses. We think of Doc Holliday, the Georgia-born dentist and gunfighter who went to the Southwest in hopes of extending his life. We think of Marguerite Gautier, the heroine of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Lady of the Camellias. We think of Emily Brontë and George Orwell. (Lucy Adams)
A column in The Herald (Ireland) about why women like helpless guys:
The mismatch between capable, get up and go women and less-than-motivated men is the theme of countless romance novels and even romantic comedies.
Stubborn Mr Rochester, who finally recognises Jane Eyre's love for him when he is blinded and needs a carer.
On Vibe Ghana we read Kwesi Atta Sakyi chronicle his school days:
We had abridged versions of novels by Shakespeare, Emile [sic] Brontë, Charles Dickens, Arabian Nights, Daniel Defoe, Enid Blyton, Sheila Stuart, and of course, our Fante Fie na Skuul Readers by J.A. Annobil, and the Fante Grammar of Function or Mfantse Nkasafuwa Dwumadzi by C.F.C Grant, Nana Bosompo, Prama, and the Nkwantabisa Weekly newspaper.
Novostia (Serbia) talks about an exhibition in Belgrade by the photographer Tomislav Grujičić Ravanjac:
Pomalja se Radnička ulica, simbol Stare Čukarice, sa iščezlim kućercima, "Lazarevački drum sa Đurinom pekarom", fotografija koja ima istorijsku vrednost, dok "Stara zgrada u Zimonjićevoj ulici" kao da je ilustracija za neki roman Emili ili Šarlote Brontë. Na ovom mestu srela su se dva sveta, dva veka, dva načina života. (Translation)
El Diario de Huelva talks about the essay Marco Antonio en Actium by José Orihuela:
Por el ensayo circulan los pensamientos y la palabra escrita de Homero, Plutarco, Pompeyo, Cátulo, Aquiles, Hector, Shakespeare, Hegel, Dumas, Julio Verne, Charlot [sic] Brontë, Pascal, Kovaliov, Fuller, Rostovtzeff, Gracia Alonso, Jordi Cortadella, Margaret George, Massie, Antonio Aguilera, Vicente Picón o el cineasta Joseph L. Mankiewicz entre otros muchos. (Paco Huelva) (Translation)
Che Donna (Italy) lists disastrous marriage proposals:
St. John Rivers e Jane Eyre: pur volendo mettere da parte la consapevolezza che la protagonista del romanzo è destinata a sposare il ricco e affascinante Mr Rochester, l’impacciata proposta del missionario, totalmente priva di qualsiasi romanticismo, può, nel migliore dei casi, limitarsi a strappare un sorriso al lettore e, nel peggiore, far nascere in lui serie perplessità sulla presenza di anche solo un grammo di fascino nell’uomo. Il sunto della proposta sona infatti come “sto per partire missionario e ho bisogno di una compagna, Dio vuole che quella donna sia tu”: ma non era meglio un bel mazzo di fiori e una semplice “vuoi sposarmi”? Almeno rimaneva il dubbio di un sincero sentimento. (Francesca) (Translation)
Nos Folies Littéraires (in French) and Luke McGrath post about Wuthering Heights; Little Miss Trainwreck reviews The Poetic World of Emily Brontë by Laura Inman.

Hospitality and Treachery in Wuthering Heights

An alert for tomorrow, August 27, from Dorset, Vermont:
Green Mountain Academy of Lifelong Learning
Hospitality and Treachery in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 4:30-6 pm
Equinox Village

Description: In a lecture drawn from his new book, Hospitality and Treachery in Western Literature, James Heffernan re-examines two famous nineteenth century English novels. By showing what hosts and guests do to as well as for each other in these two novels, he aims to shed light on what they can tell us about property, possession, and power.

James A. W. Heffernan is Professor of English Emeritus at Dartmouth College since 2004. He is the founding editor of Review 19 an online review of books on nineteenth-century English and American literature. He is the author of several books including the forthcoming, Hospitality and Treachery in Western Literature, Yale University Press, 2014. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Heathcliff after a Tesco trip

Lucy Mangan in Radio Times talks about her Radio 4 programme Literary Solutions to the Economy:

I’ve always loved reading. From the back of the cornflake packet at breakfast, to the newspapers, websites and books I read for work, to the 3ft pile of to-be-reads waiting for me on my bedside table at night, I always have something on hand. My bookshelves are crammed with everything from Jane Eyre to Jack Reacher. The only thing I had, until recently, never touched were the newspapers’ economic and business pages. Impenetrable, I thought, and nothing to do with me.
Rowan Pelling in her Daily Mail sex column:
I have no doubt your husband would be highly agitated if you told him your plan. Who could blame him? You don’t reflect on what would have happened, had the relationship run its course. Would you still feel like Cathy and Heathcliff after 20 years of Tesco trips and TV suppers?
EuroSport reminds us of the mythical Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost rivalry:
That Wuthering Heights-esque grand passion, though, is very different to what we see at Mercedes at the moment.  (Carrie Dunn)
Les inRocks (France) interviews the actress Adèle Haenel:
Travailler avec [André] Téchiné, de toute façon j’aurais dis oui direct sans lire le scénar. J’avais vu Les Témoins, Les Roseaux sauvages, Ma saison préférée, Les Sœurs Brontë, et je me suis dit que j’avais intérêt à envoyer. (Serge Kaganski) (Translation)
We think that La Jornada (México) exaggerates a bit too much when it comes to Jane Eyre's influence:
Si Charles Dickens logró cambiar con su Oliver Twist las leyes que martirizaban a los inglesitos pobres y Jane Eyre, de Charlotte Brontë, hizo que las mujeres de Inglaterra se convirtieran en propietarias de tierras, así como García Márquez puso a América Latina en el escenario del mundo con Cien años de soledad, ojalá Ladydi [by Jennifer Clement] consiga cambiar la condición de las niñas mexicanas y centroamericanas robadas y traficadas sexualmente. (Elena Poniatowska) (Translation)
daeandwrite posts about Jane Eyre; the Brontë Parsonage tweets a 1844 drawing by Branwell Brontë.

Brazilian Nails

Apparently these are not the only Brontë-inspired nail varnishes.  In Brazil we have found a couple more:

Granado Pharmácias

Esmalte Charlotte
Descrição da cor: bege acinzentado. Enriquecido com Vitamina E, cálcio e proteína da seda, fortalece as unhas, deixando-as saudáveis e protegidas, evitando assim a quebra e descamação. Não contém tolueno, parabenos, formaldeído, cânfora e DBP, ingredientes que podem causar alergia e o ressecamento das unhas. Produto de alta cobertura com brilho extra e secagem rápida.

Esmalte Emily
Descrição da cor: violeta vivo

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bloody Amateurs

Julie McDowall in The Herald on Sunday talks about the latest installment of Dr Who and, in general, about fans:

But perhaps that's the way the fans like it: they want their own tight-knit community packed with in-jokes and references which we outsiders won't get. And that's fine. I respect that. I get the same sense of exclusivity when my resident geek confuses Emily and Charlotte. I can stroke my laminated Brontë Society membership card and think 'Hah! Bloody amateurs.'
The Greenville News reviews a local production of Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep:
 The magic involves two actors portraying eight characters, male and female, in this farce by Charles Ludlam that zestfully satirizes Victorian melodrama and dark-hued films such as “Wuthering Heights” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca.” (Paul Hyde)
Sheila Kohler's Psychology Today article talks about why are we fascinated about celebrities:
 In my own case I was fascinated by Charlotte Brontë, another heroine from my youth who had first written a book, “The Professor” which few people have read, which was turned down by publishers again and again and even humiliatingly rejected when her two younger sisters’ books, “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey” had been chosen. Yet she then went on to write “Jane Eyre,” sitting in a darkened room beside her bedridden father when he had his cataracts removed. What enabled her to go from this first novel, written from the point of view of a rather unsympathetic man, to “Jane Eyre” where she dared to write in the first person, as a woman, a governess, taking on a persona nearer to her own?
Points Communs (France) highlights the importance of John Irving's The World According to Garp:
 "Le Monde selon Garp est le roman qui fit le plus de bruit dans les années 70 et apporta à son auteur un succès plus que mérité. Un des quelques livres que je relis épisodiquement sans me lasser (avec Le livre qui fit le Jane Eyre… eh oui !). (repassera) (Translation)
Kölner Stadt Unzeiger reviews a concert of the band Get Well Soon:
Zufällig ist an diesem Abend nichts. Selbst der Song, der läuft, bevor das Light im Saal gedimmt wird, ist mit Bedacht augewählt. Es erklingt "Wuthering Heights" von Kate Bush, und sofort  ist man noch besser eigenstimmt auf das, was kommen wird. (Martin Weber) (Translation
The Daily Telegraph describes as 'winsome' Juliette Binoche's take on Cathy in Wuthering Heights 1992; Reading Bukowski vlogs (not a typo) about Brontë Country.

Buffy's Phrenology (and more)

Recent Brontë-related talks at different conferences and workshops:
Nineteenth-Century, Energies Annual Conference Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies
March 27-30, 2014
University of Houston

Moderator: Melissa Gniadek, Rice University

Written in the Schoolroom: Charlotte Brontë’s Unpublishable Schoolgirls” | Ashly Bennett, Haverford College

Moderator: John Kucich, Rutgers University

“‘The Toad in the Block of Marble’: Animation, Petrification, and Imprisonment in Charlotte Brontë’s Figures in Stone” | Susan B. Taylor, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Moderator: Ashley Miller, University of Texas, Arlington

Subversive Phrenology in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of  Wildfell Hall” | Shalyn Claggett, Mississippi State University
Children's Literature Association. 41ts Annual Conference
University of South California
June 18-21, 2014

14D.Reading from the Canon
Chair: Marilyn Bloss Koester, University of Memphis

C. Anita Tarr, Illinois State University (retired)
Jane Eyre for Children?”
University Writing and Research Conference
The George Washington University, Washington DC
February 27-28, 2014

Panel: From Books to Film, From Landscapes to Lessons

Veronica Hoyer –"Just an Old Wives’ Tale" Nominating Professor: Katherine Howell
This essay compares the use of British folklore in Brontë's Jane Eyre and Cary Fukunaga's 2011 film adaption. It analyses the film adaption's interpretations of British folklore within the novel Jane Eyre with conclusions that speak of the harmony between the adaptation and the historians who have traditionally recorded the stories with disdain—scorning the druid, pre-Christian enlightenment beliefs as mere superstitions—and not as Brontë incorporated them within her plot and characters. The essay explores theories of filmic adaption to compare the two pieces and to understand the aim of the partial integration of the different Gothic elements setting the mood of the film, focusing on the legend of the Gytrash and the appearance of Mr. Rochester as expressed in both mediums.
The 6th Biennial Slayage Conference on the WhedonversesCalifornia State University-Sacramento
19-22 June 2014
T.4—Love, Romance, and Vampires in Classic and  Contemporary Texts
Eva Hayles Gledhill, Chair

Eva Hayles Gledhill, “Wuthering Revello Drive: Eroticism, Romance, and Time in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight and Wuthering Heights

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pretty Addictive Plot

Jeanette Winterson is a Kate Bush admirer as she confesses in The Guardian:

Every young woman I knew at Oxford was listening to Kate Bush – even the chemistry students. For an English student the fact that a new singer could hit No 1 with a cover version of Emily Brontë was proof that poetry, music, feminism and lo-fi would rescue the world from boy bands and electro-pop, dead white males and money.
In the Washington Post we found another writer, Siri Hustvedt, wondering what she would like to ask Emily Brontë if it was possible:
Siri Hustvedt asks Emily Brontë:
How did you devise the diabolical form of “Wuthering Heights?” Did you say to yourself, I will lock up my first narrator, Lockwood, in a piece of the dead Catherine’s furniture, which resembles both a book and a coffin, and in that cramped space, he will read her name on the walls and her diary written in the margins of another book, and there he will dream or hallucinate or actually see the young woman’s ghost? Did you plan to write a book about the ambiguities of the act of reading itself? I am happy to receive messages from beyond the grave.
More writers. The Globe and Mail interviews Penny Vincenzi:
Which fictional character do you wish you’d created?
Oh my goodness, that’s a tough one. So many. All those romantic heroes – but not just romantic, dark and difficult – Mr. Rochester; Max de Winter (in Rebecca); Heathcliff… I was in love with them all in my teens. 
The New York Times Magazine lists writers that used pseudonyms:
The Brontë sisters
Charlotte, Emily and Anne produced their masterworks of Victorian literature under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. They chose these androgynous monikers because of “a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice,” an impression shared by at least two other great “authoresses” of the day, George Eliot and George Sand.
In the same magazine we find an interview with Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen's designer:
 In her fall show for Alexander McQueen, Burton set all this to life, like a magician of selfhood. A strange, misty moorland — not unconnected to the landscape of her childhood — was the setting for the combination of beautiful tailoring and wild imaginings that characterize the house. There was a sense of romanticism-in-crisis, of the Bronte sisters, of Heathcliff haunted by the cold hand of death scratching at his window, of owls, dreams and the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom Burton cites. (Andrew O'Hagan)
Visit Britain announces that the number of foreign tourists visiting Yorkshire has increased by 37 per cent last summer. The Telegraph & Argus reports:
Ann Dinsdale, of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: "It is good news, especially for a museum like the Parsonage because we are independent. We are dependant on visitors coming here.
"And we are unique. We are the whole Brontë thing. We are the centre for anyone visiting Yorkshire for literature."
She added: "We get a lot of visitors from Japan." (Rhys Thomas)
Radhika Sanghani lists books you should read beforing leaving college. In Pubishers Weekly:
 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - This book taught me to grow up. It has a pretty addictive plot, but more than that, it’s the story of Jane’s journey from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. She learns to let go, to adapt and finally, that there are some things you need to just accept. I can’t think of any better time to read this book than when you’re learning to do the same.
The Australian reviews The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters:
With the intricate plotting of Dickens and the gothic textures of the novels of the Brontë sisters, Waters blurs the lines of Victorian fiction by bringing the hidden sexual world into the light, reframing erotic secrets in marvels of pseudo-Victorian crafting.
The Sydney Morning Herald describes the Leoš Janáček's String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters",
As love stories go, this is definitely a slow-burner. Seven hundred letters, spanning 11 years, resulting in one chaste kiss, suggests way too much ambivalence for Czech composer Leos Janacek and his muse to join the ranks of Romeo and Juliet, Cathy and Heathcliff or Tristan and Iseult in the annals of star-crossed romances. (Kathy Evans)
Malorie Blackman retraces her own personal literary history in The Guardian:
 Later on she dabbled in westerns and eventually found science fiction, through John Wyndham's book Chocky. "By then I had worked my way through the children's library," she says (she was 11),"so the librarian gave me Jane Eyre and Rebecca, then all of Agatha Christie."
What is a Wuthering Heights night? The Toronto Star says:
 In Toronto, on one of those Wuthering Heights nights, you’re on your own, braced to be crushed or munched, which is one thing, but you are defenceless, which is another. (Heather Mallick)
Dagens Naeringsliv (Norway) reviews The Prime of Miss Brodie by Muriel Spark:
Romanen er på sitt morsomste når denne forestillingsverdenen smelter sammen med elevenes drømmer og gryende seksualitet. Flere av dem lever dobbeltliv i fantasien, befolket av romanfigurer fra «Jane Eyre» og tenkte brevvekslinger med høytidelige vendinger mellom frøken Brodie og den mannlige tegnelæreren, som er gift på annet hold. (Susanne Hedemann Hiorth) (Translation)
The Brussels Brontë Blog posts about a (very complete) visit to Patrick Brontë's Ireland birthplace.

Liberal but Deathly

Two recent scholar papers about Wuthering Heights:

Liberal Anguish: Wuthering Heights and the Structures of Liberal Thought
Anat Rosenberg
Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 69, No. 1, June 2014, pp 1-25

After decades of sustained academic critiques along established lines, liberalism has recently attracted renewed evaluations. These readings treat complexity as inherent in liberalism, and proceed to explore its structures beyond suspicious hermeneutics. This essay argues that Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) constitutes an early and sophisticated argument about the structures of complexity in liberalism. Not only does Brontë’s novel merit entry into the discussion as a conceptual contribution, but it also offers an aesthetic enactment of the anguish that liberal structures of complexity were to evoke for generations to follow, an anguish experienced already at its troubled reception.
Spaces of Death in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Albert Myburgha
Journal of Literary Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2014, pp 20-33

In this article I explore the idea expressed by philosophers and social geographers such as Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja, and Henk van Houtum that “space” is a social construct; that the space in which a society exists and of which it consists is shaped by that society itself, and that specific locations are assigned to each of the members of the community. I discuss how the dominant spaces in society are shaped by those in positions of authority according to their own ideologies so as to ensure social order and their continued empowerment within the social structure. Additionally, I suggest that it is possible for those who do not conform to social norms, and who are consequently cast into dominated spaces, to undermine the authority of those in positions of power by embracing their marginalised state, and thereby to generate new spaces they can inhabit. I explore these ideas in relation to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and its depiction and examination of central nineteenth-century ideas and anxieties about death and the different areas allocated to the dead.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Women on their own

Nashville Scene explains the origins of the David Olney song, Millionaire:

And when he set out to write a love song for his eventual wife Regine, a German immigrant who was married to another when she began dating Olney, what came forth was "Millionaire."
At first blush, it seems impossible to imagine the song as a romantic overture. But Regine's favorite book at the time was Wuthering Heights. To impress her, Olney wrote what is essentially a missing chapter that supposes how Heathcliff might have accumulated his wealth before returning as the novel's antihero. The tactic proved effective. The pair married 27 years ago and have two grown children.
After ghost-writing Emily Brontë, what remained but the ultimate Nashville mission impossible: a co-write with Shakespeare. (Skip Anderson)
Sarah Paretsky, in The Independent, vindicates George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss as a great story of siblings. A Brontë reference slips in:
The sibling bond isn’t written about often in English or American fiction. We’re more engaged by the loner hero, by Pip or Huck Finn’s voyage of self-discovery. Even the heroes of the close-knit Brontë sisters are for the most part women on their own.
Another vindication comes from The Huffington Post. The subject now is Kate Bush:
Much of her oeuvre defies definition but through her work, one could discover what it means to be human. Who else had the ability for such diverse narrative viewpoints in their songs, and with such astonishing aplomb? She was a mix of Brontë, Keats, Kubrick and Mozart rolled into one; a musical auteur in an industry of vapid puppets and one-dimensional mundanity. (Robert Ince)
And The Herald more or less agrees with that:
If untutored, you might only recall something about Kate's high notes, along with images of a lassie in a long white dress warbling aboot yon Heathcliff out of Wuthering Heights.
Fair enough. It's what set her, in 1978 at the tender age of 19, on the road to stardom. But it also set her on the path to creative freedom and an extraordinary body of work that means such a lot to so many people. (Robert McNeil)
Yahoo Movies quotes Chloë Grace Moretz saying:
So, what are Moretz’s favorite teen love stories? “Wuthering Heights,” she said without blinking. “I’m super dramatic — when I was younger, especially. I kind of love the tragedy of it and the drama.” (Meriah Doty)
Nora Roberts's Inn BoonsBoro features once again in the news. We read in The Baltimore Sun:
On the other side of the state, the Inn BoonsBoro in Western Maryland is owned by best-selling author Nora Roberts, who undertook a restoration of the historic building. Many of the inn's eight graciously appointed rooms and suites bear the names of literary lovers. Think Elizabeth and Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice," Jane and Rochester from "Jane Eyre," as well as Shakespeare's Titania and Oberon from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (Donna M. Owens)
Carolyn on Autostraddle seems to have liked Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
I got an advanced copy of Texts From Jane Eyre and at one point laughed so enthusiastically that I sustained bruises.
Keighley News publishes the monthly Brontë Society activities article by Hermione Williams:
Throughout August we have enjoyed a busy summer programme. There have been craft workshops where children have created miniature moorland gardens and felt landscapes.
We have also been holding talks about aspects of the Brontës’ lives and took walks onto Penistone Hill. The visitors were thrilled to see the landscape which inspired the famous Brontë novels, and to have an opportunity to walk in the sisters’ footsteps.
Der Spiegel (Germany) reviews Jane, le Renard et Moi :
Wer würde schon die ehrwürdige literarische Figur "Jane Eyre" mit Mobbing in Verbindung bringen? Nicht unbedingt jeder. Und doch macht die Autorin Fanny Britt in ihrer zauberhaften Graphic Novel "Jane, der Fuchs und ich" genau das. Ihre Protagonistin Hélène entdeckt als begeisterte Leserin den Klassiker der viktorianischen Romanliteratur und findet dort Trost. Sie steht nämlich seit kurzem auf der einsamen Seite ihrer Schulklasse. Die Mädchen, die einst ihre Freundinnen waren, kichern jetzt hinter ihrem Rücken und schreiben fiese Sprüche über sie an die Klowände. (...)
In der Bücherwelt findet sie Trost und Schutz, ausgerechnet die leicht angestaubte Jane Eyre wird zur ihrer einzigen Verbündeten im täglichen Spießrutenlauf durchs Klassenzimmer. In ihr entdeckt Hélène ein Vorbild für den Umgang mit aussichtslosen Situation. Es sind die einzigen Farbausflüge, die Arsenault den Lesern in den vorherrschenden Grau- und Brauntönen des Buches gönnt, oft Naturskizzen oder Auszüge aus "Jane Eyre" in Hélènes Worten nacherzählt.
In der gebeutelten Jugend der Romanheldin erkennt sich Hélène wieder. Aber auch Charlotte Brontës feministische Ikone ist auf Dauer kein Ersatz für echte Freundinnen. In kleinen, feinen Sätzen wie diesem gelingt es Britt, die ganze Verzweiflung des gemobbten Mädchens unterzubringen: "Ich habe selbst eine blühende Fantasie, aber trotzdem bin ich immer wieder überrascht, wenn ihr eine neue Gemeinheit eingefallen ist." (Moritz Piehler) (Translation)
Another review can be found on An Education in Books Blog.

Life in the Classroom talks about Jane Eyre and several of its film adaptations;  A Culpa Dos Livros (in Portuguese) posts about Wuthering Heights. Lancashire Evening Post presents the ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights production at the Grand Theatre in Lancaster. Helena Fairfax discusses literature inspired by the Yorkshire moors after listening to the recent BBC Radio 4 programme Open Book. Charlotte Blackwood reviews Jane Eyre.

Haworth Bis

The Brontë Parsonage Blog posts a curious initiative by the Haworth Municipal Library... in New Jersey.
Our library here is trying to reach out to Brontë fans everywhere to get some help for its expanding library.   I figure anyone who's read and appreciated Jane Eyre or Villette or Wuthering Heights or Agnes Grey must have a soft spot for a place named Haworth.   Haworth, New Jersey, is, in fact, named for Haworth, England - in 1872 a railroadman and land developer named John S. Sauzade named this little station stop Haworth in honor of the Brontë sisters' hometown.  Sauzade was himself a novelist, and, obviously, a huge admirer of the Brontës.

Within our new local history room, we hope to have a plaque on the wall, honoring the sisters - and the British town - that gave us such a special name.   We're also going to have a new children's room and a meeting room.

The new addition will have a glass 'Donor Wall' with names honoring the people and groups that have donated to our expansion, and it occurred to me that it would be meaningful to have the Brontë Society listed as a donor, because without the Brontës, we wouldn't be a Haworth.   And a library in a town called Haworth is a very relevant place to remember the Brontë sisters.

If you'd care to help, there's a Paypal "Donate" button on the library website,  We sure would appreciate your support.   Small donations from lots of people add up to a large donation!  And come visit us sometime...  a lot of folks from here have visited your Haworth and had a grand time.  (Beth Potter, Friends of the Haworth NJ Library)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Madwoman and the Beetles

The Northern Echo talks about the upcoming opening to visitors of Norton Conyers, but from a different point of view, the insect's point of view:

A project to tackle a deathwatch beetle infestation at the historic house which inspired Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre has unearthed 1,000 years of history at the site.
Sir James and Lady Graham said eight years' work to conserve their family's home of 11 generations, Norton Conyers, near Ripon, had revealed Viking pottery beneath the floorboards, a Tudor painted screen hiding a door behind 18th-century plaster and rare 18th-century wallpapers.
The couple said after experts revealed the property's timbers had been infested since it was built in the 17th-century and that some rooms could cave in within five years, they launched a £300,000 scheme which saw them having to live at bed and breakfast guesthouses for a year.
Sir James, whose family moved to the house in 1642, said he felt duty-bound to preserve the property, where they had found a secret staircase and room which inspired mad Mrs Rochester's room in Jane Eyre. (...)
Although the couple say they will never rid the property of the beetles and are currently restoring the King James Room, the Historic Houses Association and Sotheby’s have awarded them the 2014 Restoration Award.
Harry Dalmeny, chairman of Sotheby's, said: “The Grahams have achieved an heroic restoration. Their passion, extensive research and great attention to detail have lifted the veil on over 1,000 years of history, while retaining Norton Conyers’ impenetrable mystery.
"Almost 200 years after Charlotte Brontë, visitors will with no doubt be mesmerised by this fascinating house”.
The property will be reopened to visitors next July. (Mark Foster)
Carolyn Bass in The Huffington Post talks about death and how to deal with grief:
My unpublished novel, The Sword Swallower's Daughter, is sliced so full of death the pages have slits. Prowling about my work in progress are the ghosts of Heathcliff and Catherine, along with the death of a newborn baby in a derelict manor set on the moors of Yorkshire.
Tips to visit the literary London on Fodor's Travel:
What better place to begin a literary tour of London than at a library? Originally part of the British Museum, the [British] Library moved to its current location on Euston Road in 1998, transferring its collection to the 1.2-million-square-foot space. (...) Literature fans should make a beeline for the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, just to the right of the main entrance, to view the Library's stunning archival collection, which includes the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, original copies of Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Jane Eyre,and Shakespeare's First Folio, and select works from Jane Austen to the Beatles.
Total Film lists the hottest horror movies. Among them I Walked with a Zombie 1943:
If you can squint past the voodoo and Caribbean heat, I Walked With A Zombie is a sort of adaptation of Jane Eyre. But you’d really have to squint, because so much of the film’s ambience comes from the oppressive climate and elaborate rituals. (Sarah Dobbs
The New Yorker editor William Maxwell asked Salinger who his influences were in a 1951 interview for Book of the Month Club NewsRTV Slovenia quotes from it:
A writer, when he's asked to discuss his craft, ought to get up and call out in a loud voice just the names of the writers he loves. I love Kafka, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Proust, O'Casey, Rilke, Lorca, Keats, Rimbaud, Burns, E. Brontë, Jane Austen, Henry James, Blake, Coleridge. I won't name any living writers. I don't think it's right.
Guidone (Italy) has a post about Haddon Hall ('il maniero di Jane Eyre');  K.M. Weiland continues her blog tour promoting Jane Eyre: Writer's Digest Annotated Classics and has a guest post on The Writers Alley about Jane Eyre and the weather; Ode to Jo & Katniss reviews Jane Eyre 2011; WK Dowden reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Five-Book Bundle

What could have in common novels like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Portrait of a Lady and Lady Chatterley’s Lover? In our opinion maybe that all of them are written in English, but HarperPerennial Classics thinks otherwise:

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Other Classic Romances: Five-Book Bundle
This special ebook bundle includes Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence.
Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics (March 25, 2014)

Sweeping tales of love, loss, and passion will ignite your imagination as you read some of the world’s most enduring and romantic novels. HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.