Saturday, April 25, 2015

Heated Love

The Telegraph & Argus highlights some of the Brontë-related events in the upcoming Bradford Literature Festival:

Bradford Literature Festival pays tribute to the Brontës with a series of events, including a quiz, heritage trail and beginners’ guide. (...)
Next month’s festival looks at how the Brontës’ lives and work continue to inspire writers, artists and film-makers today, with their spirit living on through themes of fairness and equality of class, race, gender that remain relevant.
Playwright, author and critic Bonnie Greer, who is president of the Brontë Society, leads a discussion on race and gender in Brontë novels. (...)
Also on the panel are Juliet Barker, former curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum; John Bowen, a professor of 19th century literature; Rebecca Fraser, author of a feminist biography of Charlotte Brontë; and journalist Boyd Tonkin, who has judged the Booker Prize. The panel’s critical exploration of race and gender within Brontë novels looks at the context of the age they lived in and highlights the relevance of their work today.
Bonnie Greer and Boyd Tonkin will also join Tamar Yellin, writer of Kafka in Brontëland, for a panel discussion called Inspired by the Brontës looking at the legacy of the sisters’ novels and how their memorable characters, landscapes and themes of passion, danger, and the redemptive power of love continue to inspire. (...)
Ann Dinsdale, the museum’s collections manager, will discuss key objects from the Brontës' Haworth home and tell the fascinating story of the development of the Brontë Society’s collection over a special afternoon tea at Bradford’s Midland Hotel.
If you’ve yet to discover the literary siblings’ work, Brontës for Beginners is a whistle-stop guide by Susan Newby, education officer at Brontë Parsonage Museum, offering an introduction to the family.
Also, a heritage tour led by join Brontë enthusiast Christa Ackroyd covers significant sites on a vintage bus.  (Emma Clayton)
The Lytham St Annes Express talks about the summer season of outdoor plays at Lytham Hall:
Chapterhouse Theatre Company will launch the season and their own summer tour with Richard Main’s production of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, adapted for the stage by Laura Turner, at the Hall on Sunday, June 14, at 6pm. (...)
Julian [Wilde]  says audiences can look forward to some first-class acting in this summer’s programme.
Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s novel and Petruchio and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew are all very strong characters and I am very much looking forward to the tensions of their dialogue,” he said.
It has been a long time since we knew nothing about the Rochester comic project illustrated by Ramon Perez. On io9:
Boom Studios’ retelling of Jane Eyre from Rochester’s perspective still isn’t out, but that didn’t stop Fox 2000 from grabbing the rights to it in 2013. Heck, they actually got the rights from Archaia, before Boom even bought them. Crazy. (Rob Bricken)
The new editorial team of The Oxford Student lists their favourite books:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë As I stepped into the threshold of Wuthering Heights, into the depths of Emily Brontë’s tempestuous world, I found myself in the midst of a heated love relationship bordering on insanity. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre does indeed seem to be widely read, but this certainly puts up a fight. The settings are well-developed to reflect an ominous atmosphere that overshadows the entire novel, and Brontë’s language skillfully explores the psyche of her characters. This is certainly an essential for any erudite bookshelf. (Marcus Li)
Hadley Freeman vindicates Gilbert Blythe, from Anne of the Green Gables, as a real literary hero in The Guardian:
The Anne of Green Gables male lead is a unique feminist dreamboat whose boots Darcy, Heathcliff and all other rivals in classic novels are unfit to tie. (...)
Gilbert is an unusual male character in a novel ostensibly aimed at women, in that he is not utterly ridiculous at best and completely hateful at worst. I read Anne of Green Gables around the same time I started reading the works of Jane Austen, the Brontës, Louisa May Alcott, Daphne du Maurier, Margaret Mitchell, George Eliot and all the classic novels adolescent girls who love reading eventually come to read. (...)
It is often noted how little attention is given to female characters in pop culture aimed at men (which is to say, most pop culture). But the same can be said in reverse, including of literature that is largely read by girls and women. Austen never seemed very interested in her male characters beyond what financial security they could provide for her heroines, while the Brontës were incapable of writing male characters who were much more than overheated adolescent fantasies.
Bustle lists (verbatim) 'Trees In Literature That We Wish We Could Read A Book Under For Arbor Day':
Just after Rochester, Jane’s employer and the master of Thornfield, proposes to Jane underneath the horse-chestnut at the bottom of the orchard, the exact same tree gets hit by lightning in the middle of the night, splitting it directly in half. Coincidence? I think definitely, definitely not. However, I’m still not sure if the splitting represents both Jane and Rochester together or just Rochester. If it’s the two of them, Jane is surely the part that splits away (as she runs from Rochester’s temptation). However, Rochester later compares himself to the torn tree and Jane to a plant. I wish Charlotte Brontë could just tell us the truth. (Becky Schultz)
Ipswich Star asks several local writers about their favourite novels. Nicci Gerrard chooses:
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë: I read this first as a teenager and was bowled over by it – not just because it was so romantic (like the first, great, Mills and Boon), or so Gothic, but because of the voice of Jane, this plain, small, stubborn, unseen and passionate woman carrying a volcano beneath her calm surface. (Steve Russell) 
The Herald on sequels and revisitations:
Countless novels have had memorable sequels, either by their own author or those who purloin their characters. But, with the exception of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, where she takes Charlotte Brontë's "madwoman in the attic" in Jane Eyre and creates a politically electrifying account of who this woman was, I can't think of many outstanding prequels.
Even in New Zealand, on the Wanganui Chronicle, we can find a Poldark-is-Heathcliff reference:
The captivating, swarthy and handsome Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) brought into play all the roiling passions that were a little reminiscent of Heathcliff in Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights.
Bath Chronicle reviews The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips:
Identity, belonging and family are the focal themes as the Booker Prize-shortlisted author and screenwriter cleverly stitches together two separate narratives, imagining the early years of Emily Brontë's conflicted protagonist Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, which he interweaves with the Sixties-set story of Wakefield-born dreamer and social recluse Monica who drops out of Oxford and cuts all ties with her parents after falling for Caribbean graduate Julius. (Dan Biggane)
Hackney Gazette reviews the performances of the play Bridlington by Peter Hamilton:
We focus on the delicate Wuthering Heights-obsessed Ruth (Julia Tarnoky). Pacing the wards with a dog-eared copy of the Brontë classic in hand, she witters through an infectious logorrhoea; aided by good hearted, yet exaggerated, gesticulation. (Greg Wetherall)
FFT recalls a curious event at the recent Cúirt International Festival of Literature:
Food done well is as much of an art form as literature. The two made a happy marriage at Kai Café and Restaurant, Galway on Tuesday April 21st, as it hosted a Literary Supper on the opening night of the city’s Cuirt International Festival of Literature. (...)
Each was to be accompanied by a relevant reading. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck inspired the prosecco with frozen grapes. Bubbles never fail to get people happy and they were smiling as they were presented with the oysters, pickled mussels and silver darlings called Wuthering Heights. The oysters were native. They’re more expensive, of course, but that ozone flavour is like none other. All they needed was ice and lemon, and that’s all they got.
Jornal do Campus (Brazil) talks about gender equality:
“Tem-se a crença de que as mulheres, em geral, são bastante calmas, mas as mulheres sentem a mesma coisa que os homens”, disse Jane Eyre, personagem-título do romance de Charlotte Brontë, publicado em 1847. Volto tanto no tempo, pois, perante os casos de violência contra mulheres, recentemente denunciados na USP, a fala ousada da heroína ainda se mostra fundamental. Infelizmente, os quase 170 anos que nos separam da obra de Brontë parecem míseros dias, e precisamos lembrar constantemente que mulheres possuem sentimentos e vontades, assim como homens. (Translation)
Libération (France) is also concerned about the absence of female writers in French curriculum:
«Des auteures féminines ne sont pas suffisamment étudiées, mais il ne faudrait pas essayer de chercher une parité qui ne peut pas exister, poursuit Romain Vignest. Si l’on va chercher des écrivains de second ordre[pour obtenir la parité, ndlr], on va atteindre le but inverse de celui que l’on cherche.» Difficile, cependant, de qualifier d’écrivains de second ordre des figures littéraires telles que Marguerite de Navarre, Mary Shelley, Edith Wharton ou les sœurs Brontë. (Elsa Maudet) (Translation)
But the Washington Post thinks that the problem is the absence of non-white writers in the reading world:
In 2014, I decided that for the entire year, I would not read books written by white authors. My goal was to address the reading practices I developed growing up in Australia, where white authors have dominated the literary world. My high school reading list was filled with the “classics” — Shakespeare, Austen, the Brontes, Euripides — and well-known modern writers such as Margaret Atwood and T.S. Eliot. (Sunili Govinnage)
The Inquirer and Mirror talks about pen names:
In 1846, the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Anne and Emily published a collection of poetry under the pseudonyms Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell. Not only did the Brontës increase the likelihood of their work being published by writing under a male pseudonym, they also were protected from public scrutiny. “Authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice,” Charlotte Brontë noted in the posthumous editions of her sister’s work “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey”. The Brontë’s pen names preserved their initials and they also chose names that, at the time, were not considered overtly masculine. The sisters wanted their work to be taken seriously and not dismissed on the basis of gender.
While their first foray into publishing their own works was unsuccessful (their collected book of poems sold only two copies) the sisters were undeterred and in 1847 their individual novels were published: “Wuthering Heights,” “Agnes Grey” and “Jane Eyre.” Charlotte’s debut and autobiographical novel, “Jane Eyre” was a great commercial and critical success and Currer Bell became the most celebrated author in England. This prompted rampant speculation about Currer; some critics believed that Currer was a woman due to the novels detailed passages about sewing while others believed the novel too good to have been written by a woman. In 1850, just five years before Charlotte’s death (Emily died in 1848 and Anne the following year), a local newspaper revealed her to be the author of the novel, “Jane Eyre”. (Adelaide Richards)
Le Figaro (France) talks about Kate Bush:
Elle possédait les armes pour connaître le même type de carrière, seulement elle a eu ce truc très anglais de s’effacer, de disparaître, sans chercher à capitaliser sur le succès. Il n’y avait pas de chanteuse comme elle, qui sache imposer sa féminité par la douceur et l’étrangeté, sans être uneriot grrrl. L’esthétique des sœurs Brontë, de l’Angleterre chevaleresque, les codes de la danse classique, du théâtre, du music-hall… Debbie Harry et Kate Bush sont mes premières idoles, l’Américaine délurée et l’Anglaise faussement sage qui n’a jamais sacrifié au mythe de la déglingue. (Hélène Guillaume quoting Olivier Nuc) (Translation)
The Wharfedale Observer echoes the Brontë Society upcoming bicentenary celebrations press release; The Hereford Times presents the Blue Orange Theatre performances of Jane Eyre in Hereford; Women Writers, Women['s] Books has a great post on reading Wuthering Heights with Juvenile Offenders.

The Innocent

This is  a recent Jane Eyre retelling that was not under our rader until now:
The Innocent: A paranormal retelling of "Jane Eyre"
Candice Raquel Lee
ReaderLee Books
ISBN-13: 978-0991455706 (February 2, 2014)

"I was eaten, plain and simple. It felt like being burned alive, like every cell in my body was exploding. Then everything stopped--my breathing, my heart, my pain. . ."

In this retelling of Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester is an incubus with a touch that can kill.

Cristien LaRoche is terrifying, deceitful, beautiful and deadly. He is a medieval knight, a world-weary monster and a man cursed by his murderous past. He has come for Alexa Wyndham and nothing can sto
p him, not even himself. He knows he should leave her in peace. Alexa is everything he believes he can no longer be, pure, good, and happy, but Cristien has been alone for so long, and she is the only thing he has ever loved.

Alexa Wyndham is a college student out on her own for the first time. She is an innocent in every sense of the word, her views of the world formed from the romantic poetry and literary novels she reads. Alexa thinks love should be a perfect dream. Then an evening out in Manhattan lands her in a feverish nightmare full of deadly supernatural beings. Is Alexa brave enough to see the good man inside the monster and free Cristien from the ageless evil that haunts him? When all the veils are torn down and the truth is revealed, will Alexa rise from the ashes like a phoenix or will love destroy her utterly?

The Innocent is a passionate, poetic, and at times humorous novel about the transformative power of love. It will take the reader on a literary adventure from suffering to redemption, from innocence to heroism. At its heart, The Innocent is an allegory about Love and the immortal Soul.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Emily Brontë: torturing high schoolers since 1847

Last night was World Book Night and Marie Claire chose a couple of Brontë novels as part of their '10 Books To Empower You In Celebration Of World Book Night'.

1. Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Originally published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847, it is hard to believe that Charlotte was only 31 when she finished her feminist masterpiece. Transforming personal experience into spellbinding art, Jane Eyre soars from the first sentence to her last. As Brontë writes, the novel's objective is clear: 'Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.' Her words have lost none of their bite: Jane Eyre is a passionate rejection of patriarchal repression. Jane Eyre sings and she's still unforgettable. [...]
6. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it at the time as 'a fiend of a book – an incredible monster'. He wasn't the only one who thought so – the overriding response to Emily Brontë's first-and-only novel was one of outrage. Even now, Emily's portrayal of masochistic 'first love' on the wild and untamed moors still shocks and provokes. As ugly as it is beautiful, it is hard to believe this violent tale of sexual obsession was written in 1847. 'I wish I were out of doors. I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free.' Emily's Cathy speaks and we are immediately by her side among the heather 'on those hills'. When Emily writes we still feel her frustrations and they become ours too. (Kat Lister)
Yesterday was also St George's Day, patron saint of England. The Irish Times had an article in praise of the English.
On this St George’s Day, while England goes about its business, too busy to demand a pubic [sic!] holiday, it would be a short-sighted individual indeed who would dismiss the English imagination. Look to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, or to Auden or Larkin. JRR Tolkien celebrates the English imagination on an epic scale and draws on the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. The novels of Thomas Hardy or better still his poetry such as his three-volume epic, The Dynasts (1904-1908). In many ways, perhaps through his use of the colloquial, folktale and ballads as well as his love of the Wessex landscape, Hardy is a bastion of melancholic and ultimately doomed Englishness. He is a defining English romantic. (Eileen Battersby)
Saint George is Sant Jordi in Catalonia (Spain), a day for giving books and roses, and the local edition of El País sums up the day as follows:
Però la festa és una festa d'amor, d'amor als llibres, i es dóna per bo tot sacrifici –les cues, l'estretor, la despesa, la dificultat de trobar el títol que es busca o de recordar-lo (“Teniu llibres de Jane Eyre?”)–. És també una festa d'amor a seques. (Jacinto Antón) (Translation)
The National Student reviews Northern Ballet's take on Wuthering Heights giving it 4 stars out of 5.
As the narrative driven piece moves on, we find ourselves watching the now grown up Cathy and Heathcliff (Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley) dancing on the Yorkshire moors. Leebolt and Batley alike should be praised for their virtuosic ability to tell stories through pointed toes. It seems to serve as a trend with Northern Ballet recently, having also showcased 1984 and The Great Gatsby, both literature greats, in their repertoire. NB blur the boundaries between story and dance.
Though moments of the first half seemed a little slow, they were made up for in an impeccable second half, with the wedding scene stealing the show and documenting just how well Northern Ballet do it. The few slips were forgiven for such a well-choreographed and emotive piece. We see Heathcliff overthrown with power, temptation, intimacy and the ability to seduce and, well, the rest is dance. Hannah Bateman (playing Isabella Linton) is a true centrepiece for the NB, having proved her capabilities as her casted character.
Hironao Takahashi completes the set of soloists in his role of Edgar Linton. Though in the novel, we see a wash away, pathetic version of the character, Takahashi plays on the insecurities and forms a well-rounded and slightly comic character consistently, aided with the trembling hands of his Maids. (Dean Eastmond)
On the Scene Magazine adds:
At the end when all the dancers were taking their bows the room was electric. I clapped solidly for five minutes. My hands were left sore for ages afterward but it was such a stunning performance – I could not help it. (Lily Anderson)
The Southern Daily Echo concludes
From the start of the show’s two acts, we were captivated as sombre music and brooding scenery set the tone of Heathcliff’s anguish as he danced frenetically on the heath, recalling his youth when he and Cathy were once united in joy. By the time the ballet reached its conclusion it was difficult to imagine a more moving production.
An 18-year-old describes the novel as 'heavy' in The Huffington Post and The New York Post would seem to agree with her:
At 29, Emily Brontë published “Wuthering Heights,” which gave her immortality in the form of torturing high schoolers to this day. (Gregory E. Miller)
According to Fucsia (Colombia), Jane Eyre is one of five great heroines of women's literature.
4. Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brönte [sic].
"Querido lector, espero que nunca padezcas lo que yo padecí entonces. Que nunca broten de tus ojos unas lágrimas tan tempestuosas, abrasadoras y dolorosas como las que brotaron de los míos. Que nunca clames al cielo con ruegos tan angustiosos y desesperanzados como los que salieron de mis labios. Que nunca temas ser la causa de la desgracia del que más amas"
La huérfana Jane Eyre es la materialización del personaje destinado a romper con un destino incierto y miserable gracias a su entereza, fortaleza  e inteligencia, cualidades que generalmente se asociaban a los roles masculinos. Una mujer hecha a sí misma, se vale de su educación y coraje para romper con los estereotipos y limitaciones que arrastra la realidad de la pobreza. (Translation)
Jane Eyre is also mentioned in an anecdote in The New Yorker:
Kenji Yoshino, a professor of constitutional law at N.Y.U., writes in his new book, “Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial,” that when he and his husband, Ron Stoneham, were getting ready for their wedding, in 2009, they learned that, these days, most couples leave out “that tremulous moment where the officiant states, ‘If any of you can show just cause why these two may not be married, speak now, or else forever hold your peace.’ ” The phrase in its traditional form, from the Book of Common Prayer, is actually “why these two may not be lawfully married,” and it is meant to allow for the discovery of, say, a wife in another town, and not, outside of a romantic comedy, for the groom’s brother to announce that he thinks the groom really loves someone else—or, God forbid, for a filibuster by Ted Cruz. But Yoshino and Stoneham asked Judge Guido Calebresi, who officiated at their very lawful New York wedding, to keep the line in, as “a subtle reminder to ourselves and our guests that many of our fellow citizens felt they had just cause to object to our marriage.” Yoshino adds that he was quite sure no one would jump up, “though I did think wildly of that scene in Jane Eyre, when a stranger declares: ‘The marriage cannot go on.’ ” (Amy Davidson)
The Journal Gazette reveals that soon we will see another stage adaptation of the novel.
To end the season next year, Nichols says she will premiere her original adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.
“I was definitely motivated to get it finished once I knew we were going to be moving,” she says. “It gives us the opportunity to do some things like working with two-story sets and the ability to put the aisles where we want them. All of those things were important to me.” (Keiara Carr)
The Pennine Way is 50 years old today and BMC celebrates it by sharing '50 things you (probably) didn't know about the Pennine Way' such as
35. Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse visited by the Pennine Way, is said to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. (Hanna Lindon)
The Times Literary Supplement interviews Caryll Phillips:
 The version of Brontë’s novel that the reader is impelled to recover is no great and doomed tale of love (has romantic love ever really offered an adequate way of accounting for Wuthering Heights?) but one of inheritance and generation, of origins and renewals, of family abuses and misunderstandings played out from father to daughter and mother to son. It is, as Monica Johnson’s miserably curtailed existence suggests, about the problems of growing up and entering an adult life.
Where Brontë deliberately leaves Heathcliff’s racial origins uncertain (picked up from the streets of Liverpool, he is variously described as “a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect”, “a little Lascar [an East Indian sailor], or an American or Spanish castaway”), the legacy of a mixed white and Afro-Caribbean descent is central to Phillips’s reimagining.  (...)
In Wuthering Heights the reader is coaxed from the beginning into reading signs and gathering details into patterns that might prove adequate to explain the mystery at the book’s heart. It is a novel about storytelling, about learning to read, about reading well, and reading as both diversion and salvation. Phillips has found a way to enlist the strange energy of Emily Brontë’s work and redirect it to powerful and surprising effect. (Katryn Sutherland)
William Atkins has also written an article about it in The Guardian.
My own memories of the Pennine Way, it must be said, are not exactly green: I think of the denuded black nightmare of Kinder Scout, eroded to a terrain that seems newly released from a flood; the ankle-turning, ash-toned plateau of Cross Fell, a sudden fog contracting visibility to a metre’s ambit; the bog flats of Brontë Land, tinged blood-red by the stalks of dying cotton grass.
Librópatas (Spain) recommends a Wuthering Heights postcard among other literary ones. The Vivacious Reader posts about Emily Brontë's novel.

Did Bertha have Huntington Disease?

This is a poster presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology; April 18-25, 2015; Washington, DC.:
Did the "Woman in the Attic" in Jane Eyre have Huntington Disease? 
Elizabeth Coon and Anhar Hassan
Neurology April 6, 2015 vol. 84 no. 14 Supplement S44.005

OBJECTIVE:
To describe features of Huntington disease in Charlotte Brontё’s character, Bertha Mason, in Jane Eyre. 
BACKGROUND: George Huntington’s essay “On Chorea” described adult-onset hereditary chorea in 1872. However, several decades preceding Huntington’s description, familial cases of chorea in children and adults with involuntary movements, speech disturbances, and progressive dementia were published. During this period of enhanced recognition of what is now termed Huntington disease, Charlotte Brontё published Jane Eyre in 1847.
METHODS:
Comparison of Charlotte Brontё’s portrayal of Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre with George Huntington’s original description of Huntington disease.
RESULTS:
In Jane Eyre, Brontё features the enigmatic Bertha Mason, known as the “woman in the attic”. Mason had a progressive and familial neuropsychiatric disease with violent movements whose description mirrors the tenets in Huntington’s original essay. One tenet was the “tendency to insanity and suicide.” These behavioral features are prominently featured in Brontё’s text, with descriptions of Mason as a “maniac” with homicidal tendencies who later commits suicide. Mason’s cognitive decline is described as having a “cast of mind common, low, narrow and singularly incapable of being led to anything higher.” Brontё depicts Mason as having abnormal movements, described as wild and animal-like with “convulsive plunges.” Mason’s abnormal movements resemble the description in Huntington’s original essay which is of movements “which gradually increase in violence and variety.”
CONCLUSIONS:
Brontё’s character has a familial disorder with classic motor, cognitive and behavioral features of Huntington disease. This depiction has had implications for the treatment of patients with neuropsychiatric disease. Brontё’s unsympathetic portrayal of Mason’s neuropsychiatric illness has been deplored by literary critics who brought the issue of humane treatment of neuropsychiatric patients into broader view. This insight remains important today as patients with Huntington disease and their families continue to face stigmatization and prejudicial representation.
Elizabeth Coon, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, expands on the theory that Bertha had Huntington’s disease in this video published on Rare Disease Report:


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Not as old as Emily Brontë

Several writers tell The Guardian about the places that inspire them in the UK:

William Atkins on Top Withens near Haworth, West Yorkshire
I’m writing this in a farmhouse on the edge of the moors above Haworth, West Yorkshire. In the woodshed a pellet boiler’s being installed – there’s some concern that its droning will put off the swallows that normally nest there (we spotted the year’s first this afternoon). The lambs are blahing and gargling pitilessly from the adjacent field. “Give over,” I just told them. They arrive late up here, and are still rickety as botched stools.
This morning we took a walk I know pretty well, and which I love as much as any: up the taxing hill behind the house, past the gamekeeper’s cottage and onto the moor. The heather-burning season is over, but in patches the ground is still cindered with its aftermath. Walk east a few miles and the crowns of two trees appear over the moor’s brow, the westernmost specimen beginning to bud. As you walk on, the roofless house they attend comes into view.
These ruins are known to hundreds of thousands, despite their isolation. For they are what is left of Top Withens, the house associated with Wuthering Heights. Those twin trees beside them have always moved me: stalwart sycamores, holding out against the Ural winds – since Emily Brontë’s day, I like to think, though they are not that old. A caravan of tourists braves the hike uphill from the Brontë parsonage three miles away. If it’s “peace” you think you want, follow the Pennine Way south for a mile or so.
Abandon the flagstones and soon you’re in a desert realm. All around is flat and silent bog tinged blood-red by the stalks of cotton grass. And then the wind dies, and stillness occurs, like the slowing of a wheel.
At my feet, three hours later, the woodburner is ticking, and its radiance smarts where I’ve caught the sun.
Keighley News comments on a recent event at the Brontë Parsonage:
An enthusiastic audience of Brontë lovers watched the local premiere of an opera based on Wuthering Heights.
Brontë Parsonage Museum worker Charissa Hutchins organised last Saturday’s performance of extracts from the little-known work.
Bernard Hermann, the American composer of classic film soundtracks like Psycho and Citizen Kane, wrote the opera in the 1940s.
arissa said the concert, performed by herself with several other singers, was very well attended.
She said: “The first half, of operatic scenes, was greatly appreciated by the audience.
“Although the cast had very few rehearsals together, the Wuthering Heights extracts came together very well and all the cast members put in strong performances, both well-acted and well-sung.
“A few audience members made the comment after the show that this was the first opera that they had seen and they now look forward to going to another opera in the near future.”
Half of the proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Brontë Society. (David Knights)
The event warrants another article in the same newspaper:
We had a one-off operatic treat at Haworth Parish Church Hall last Saturday, produced and directed by local soprano Charissa Hutchins.
She pulled together a very talented group of five singers: herself, Louise Jacques, Leon Waksberg, Phil Wilcox and Yvonne Dean.
Gordon Balmforth directed the music from the piano and some rather nice violin obligati were played by Pamela Dimbleby.
In the first half of the evening we enjoyed operatic excerpts delivered with great gusto in a superb display of singing, superbly costumed.
The second half was a rare performance of part of the only opera by Bernard Herrmann, Wuthering Heights from 1951.
Although the music was much less familiar to what we heard in the first half it was performed with great passion and intensity.
I have to congratulate the entire cast and accompanists on their very great effort.
Charissa said afterwards that she hoped one day they would perform the entire opera. This was pure Brontë culture in the hall where Emily taught.
The hall was almost full, perhaps 100 people, and it was good to see in the audience many local musicians, particularly a good number from the local Gilbert and Sullivan society. (Jens Hislop)
Still locally, The Telegraph and Argus has an article on the goings-on within the ranks of the Brontë Society.
Campaigners pushing for the modernisation of the Brontë Society are standing for election to the organisation’s ruling council.
The controversial campaign’s two leaders are among those responding to the society’s call for new blood to fill a ‘skills gap’ on the council.
Success for John Thirlwell and Janice Lee could help drive through far-reaching changes to the way that both the literary society and Brontë Parsonage Museum is run.
Also standing for the ruling council is Haworth vicar, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, who hopes the society will do more to attract tourists to the village.
The Haworth-based Brontë Society, which runs the museum, recently relaxed its rules governing council membership to help fill a shortfall in nominations.
It is understood that at least five of the 12 council members are due to stand down on the annual meeting in June.
Mr Thirlwell this week warned that whoever was elected, it was vital the new-look council responded to concerns raised by the modernisers.
He said key to this would be the findings of a review, currently being carried out, into the structure and governance of the Brontë Society.
Mr Thirlwell said: “The agreement was that we would see the report before going to the annual general meeting in June, so we can have some sensible debate about how the Brontë Society should operate.
“The museum should be a separate entity with a trust running it. We’re hoping the review will give us a way to put a new structure in place.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the people of Haworth saying ‘let’s get the society to work with local people, so that Haworth gains from this literary history’.”
Mr Mayo-Smith, priest in charge at Haworth Parish Church, hopes to bring his past business experience to the council if he is elected.
He also believes Haworth is failing to the most of its tourism potential, and wants the Brontë Parsonage Museum to pack a “harder punch”.
A spokesman for the Brontë Society said a sufficient number of members had put their names forward by April 11, the deadline for nominations, and the aim was to ensure the council had the “best possible skill set”.
The spokesman said membership numbers had risen since the beginning of the year.
Bonnie Greer, president of the Brontë Society: “It’s great that new members are coming forward to join council and we hope that any new members on the Brontë Society Council will continue the work and dedication of the present one.”
“I’m working to help diversify membership and bring on younger members - local, regional, national and international - who are all crucial to the future of the Brontë Society.” (David Knights)
We are not leaving Haworth yet as The Yorkshire Post mentions it in a short article on The Yorkshire part of the Pennine Way.

io9 has selected the 'Top 10 Most Horribly Mistreated First Wives In Gothic Fiction'. Of course one of them is
3. Bertha Antoinetta Mason Rochester from Jane Eyre
Here’s the star of the list. Thanks to high school English class, almost everyone knows Charlotte Brontë‘s most famous book. But here’s a quick review, from the first wife’s point of view. Bertha is rich. Edward Fairfax Rochester needs money. He marries her. She goes insane, in part, Rochester claims, because she was “unchaste.” He locks her in a single room in his attic with a single alcoholic servant to mind her, and then works off his anguish by slutting his way around Europe in an extremely “unchaste” manner. Finally comes back to England with an illegitimate daughter he barely tolerates and keeps Bertha a secret so he can marry the teenage governess he likes to verbally abuse.
The governess finds out about Bertha, and leaves. Eventually Bertha, who has a habit of being a firebug, sets fire to the entire house. Rochester escapes, and is reunited with Jane Eyre, the governess, but is blinded for many years and scarred for the rest of his life.
Lesson: Arson is usually the answer. (Esther Inglis-Arkell)
The Herald Scotland recommends 10 books to mark the anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe on Saturday and one of them is book much mentioned on here when it was first published:
Shutter Island
Dennis Lehane
Written as a gothic homage to the likes of the Brontë sisters, with many a nod to the same genre of films, Lehane's creepy mystery is set in the 1950s when the disappearance of a patient in a hospital for the criminally insane leads investigating officers to make unsettling discoveries. It was later filmed, as the author could have predicted. (Rosemary Goring)
Emily Brontë as literary one-hit wonder in the CT Post.
"Wuthering Heights," by Emily Brontë
Brontë died just a year after "Wuthering Heights" was published, thus never living to see the success of her only novel. She was only 30 at the time of her death, and she believed the local climate and poor sanitary conditions led to her weakened health. "Heights" was her masterpiece and is considered an English classic. (Siobhan Schugmann)
And as a library treasure for writer Anna Moner in the Catalan section of El País (Spain)
els espectres de Catherine Earshaw i Heathcliff que Emily Brontë condemna a vagar pels ermassos de Yorkshire... Un recull de talismans que, en cada visita, a més de proporcionar-me un immens plaer, m’ajuden a bastir mons paral·lels, paradisos artificials, en els quals perdre’m. (Translation)
Revista GQ (Spain) recommends a book for each year of your life.
19 AÑOS: ‘Cumbres borrascosas’, de Emily Brontë
Tú crees que has conocido el amor en su faceta más huracanada, pero aún no sabes nada. Deja que Catherine y Heathcliff te lo cuenten. [...]
34 AÑOS: ‘Jane Eyre’, de Charlotte Brontë
¿Te acuerdas cuando conociste a su hermana en la postadolescente? Pues a ver que te parece la señorita Eyre. También puedes leer a: Anne, sobre todo su poesía. No hace falta que molestes por: Branwell. Aunque seguro que sus hermanas lo querían mucho. (Noel Ceballos) (Translation)
Readers Lane lists and reviews eight modern retellings of Jane Eyre;.

Gaskell in Madrid

Today, April 23 in Madrid, Spain:
Elizabeth Gaskell, la Contadora de Historias
Por Mª José Coperías, Profesora titular de Filología Inglesa de la Universitat de València.
J23 de abril, 19.00 h.
Auditorio del Museo del Romanticismo (acceso por c/ Beneficencia)

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) es, junto con las hermanas Brontë y George Eliot, una de las novelistas victorianas mejor consideradas. Su vida se caracterizó por contar historias, y Charles Dickens llegó a apodarla “Sherezade”. En su vida privada era una gran conversadora y escribió innumerables cartas llenas de anécdotas.  Publicó seis novelas, entre las que se encuentran Cranford y Norte y Sur (de la que acaba de publicarse una reciente edición en español), una biografía, multitud de relatos e incluso algún ensayo.
Colabora: Editorial Cátedra.

*Actividad dentro de la NOCHE DE LOS LIBROS.

Actividad gratuita. No se requiere reserva previa. Acceso libre hasta completar aforo.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do it for the Brontës!

Keighley News has an article on Charlotte Brontë's birthday celebrations yesterday.

A BBC crew is in Haworth today only hours before the launch of a major Brontë celebration.
Plans for a five-year-long festival to mark the Bronte siblings' 200th birthdays will be launched tonight at the house in Thornton where most of them were born.
Coincidentally, One Show presenter Cerys Matthews is making a short film about the youngest sister, Anne Brontë.
The Brontë200 festival, masterminded by the Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum, will last five years.
It will begin next year with Charlotte’s 200th anniversary, followed by Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020.
The Brontë Society also plans to commemorate the siblings' father Patrick Brontë in 2019, 200 years after he was invited to take up the parson’s role in Haworth.
The launch party, being held on the same day as Charlotte Bronte's 199th birthday, is at Emily’s, in Thornton. It is hosted jointly by proprietor Marc de Luca and staff from the the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Guests at the party will hear how the Brontë Society intends to ‘bring the Brontës to the world and the world to Yorkshire’ through a series of events, exhibitions and partnership projects. [...]
Matthew Withey, chairman of the Brontë Society Bicentenary Committee, said: “The bicentenaries of the Brontë siblings provide a tremendous opportunity for the Brontë Society to celebrate the legacy of the Brontës across the globe.”
There will be a website, bronte200.org, which will serve as a hub for all events and activities connected to the Bicentennial programme. (David Knights)
A few pictures of the BBC crew can be seen on Ponden Hall's Facebook page as well as on the Brontë Parsonage facebook page.

ITV News lists the bicentenary events as well while Marie Claire celebrated by selecting '12 Inspiring Charlotte Brontë Quotes To Live By'. Also, The Bookseller gives us some of the background of the collection of short stories inspired by Charlotte Brontë to be edited by Tracy Chevalier.
The Borough Press has acquired a collection of short stories inspired by Charlotte Brontë, edited by Tracy Chevalier.
Authors contributing stories for the collection, Reader, I Married Him, include Helen Dunmore, Susan Hill and Emma Donoghue. Each will use Brontë's famous line from Jane Eyre as a starting point for an original story.
Katie Espiner, publisher of The Borough Press, signed world rights in the anthology in a deal with Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.
The book will be published in spring 2016, marking Charlotte Brontë's bicentenary year. Chevalier is also curating an exhibition at The Brontë Society and Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, where Bronte and her siblings lived.
She said: "Charlotte Brontë emerged from the most unlikely of places – a small parsonage in an isolated Yorkshire village – to become a celebrated author in an era when women were not encouraged to express themselves publicly or to be ambitious. Women writers owe her and her sisters a lot for kicking open that door. I want to celebrate her achievement by giving today’s writers an opportunity to riff on Charlotte’s most famous line. I expect the results to be startling and entertaining!"
Espiner added: "When Tracy first started talking about the anthology, I knew it was something we wanted to publish. Jane Eyre’s words are arguably among the best-known ever spoken in English literature, and I am excited to see the 21st century interpretation these brilliant women will bring."
Today (21st April) is the 199th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth. (Joshua Farrington)
And it looks like next year the celebrations will cross the Atlantic too. Deseret News reports that Hale Center Theater Orem has announced the 2016 season which will include
Jane Eyre,” a musical adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic Gothic romance novel, will run from April 21 to June 4.
The story of Jane, an orphan who grows up in a harsh boarding school and falls in love with her mysterious employer, is a beautiful, triumphant story about faith and forgiveness, Swenson said.
“The play leaves you feeling uplifted and better than when you arrived,” she said, as it shows the beautiful transformations that occur in both Jane and Mr. Rochester’s lives accompanied by “haunting” music.
“What sets this show apart from many musicals are the soaring, musical melodies that demand your attention,” Swenson said. (Ginny Romney)
On to regular news now. Palo Alto Online finds a Brontëite in young writer Kathleen Xue who has just published her debut novel.
Asked what her favorite books were, Xue named "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë and "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. (Maev Lowe)
While one of the tips given by The Telegraph on going through finals this year is
5. Learn to love exams.
‘What?’, I hear you cry, ‘Surely not – exams are the devils of the academic world!’. On the contrary; our detestation of exams is the real criminal of academia. Exams taken as single entities are the gateways to a flourishing career and study abroad opportunities.
Swan through those gateways, and the world is a more open place for us and our brains. Use exams to show off how excellent you are. Use exams as an opportunity to remember why you chose to study that subject. Fall back in love with the joy of solving equations or re-reading Wuthering Heights and you will perform so much better in the exam hall. (Hilary Bell)
The Telegraph and Argus has an article on the activities that will take place during the Bradford Literature Festival.
Topics to be explored this year will cover everything from ISIS to Islamophobia, Bollywood to the Brontës, comedy to crime, diabetes to doll making, horror to goth and poetry to politics. [...]
Will Self will be offering philosophical insights on particle physics with leading scientist Professor Akram Khan. Former literary editor of The Independent, Boyd Tonkin, will be discussing freedom of speech as well as chairing a number of events as part of a special Brontë-themed weekend. (Kathie Griffiths)
Detroit Theater Examiner includes The Heights by Kathe Koja and Nerve on a list of 'Five shows you don't want to miss' because 'you've not seen anything like it'.

Exclaim reviews the video of the song Don't Take Yourself Away (Instant Nostalgia) by Hawksley Workman:
Described as "one part Brontë, one part John Bender," the new clip brings together the unexpected worlds of Wuthering Heights and The Breakfast Club, with a rebellious-looking Workman delivering the tune against a backdrop of spooky moorlands.
Tied together by the cultural references' shared "brooding gothic angst," the video was directed by Ken Cunningham and serves as an entertaining accompaniment to the theatrical, glam rock-inspired pop song. (Sarah Murphy)
The Record features the Haworth Municipal Library... in New Jersey.
Raising money to run and expand a library has been a daunting challenge since the recession struck, so for a library that serves just 1,100 households, as Haworth’s does, it pays to be creative. When the Friends of the Haworth Library learned in 2012 that a 2,900-square-foot expansion project was facing a budget shortfall of roughly $150,000, the goup  hatched an idea to trade on the borough’s connections to anyone with so much as a hint of fame, and the fact that the town shares a name with Haworth, England — a West Yorkshire village and the home of the Brontë sisters.
“Haworth is such a small town that it felt like we had to go beyond our city limits,” said Beth Potter, president of the Friends organization and one of the architects of the fundraising campaign.
Potter started writing letters to anyone with even a tenuous connection to Haworth or its history: authors who might be fans of the Brontë sisters; the Haworth Furniture Co., based in Holland, Mich.; and the actress Brooke Shields, perhaps Haworth’s most famous ex-resident, who responded by buying a brick.
“I have a cockamamie idea,” one letter opened. “You’re going to change your email address because of me,” read another. “Do it for the Brontës!” concluded a third.
Donations started pouring in. [...]
But perhaps the most fitting donation came from the Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council in West Yorkshire, England, whose members voted unanimously to buy a brick. “From your friends in Haworth, UK,” the inscription will read when the patio is installed sometime in the next few months.
Potter, who has an abiding interest in local history, and other Haworth residents had long assumed that the borough was named for the West Yorkshire home of the Brontë sisters. Their suspicions were confirmed by a line in a 1923 directory that Potter purchased off eBay a few years ago.
John S. Sauzade, an Englewood-based lawyer and railroad financier, came to own much of the land around a railroad station in northern New Jersey in the years leading up to 1872, the directory said. Sauzade, the author of at least two novels, admired the work of Charlotte Brontë, the author of “Jane Eyre,” the directory noted, so he named his railroad station and the surrounding land “Haworth” in her memory.
“I’m sure the Brontë sisters would have totally approved of our support for a library in the ‘new world” John Huxley, the chairman of the Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, explained in an email. “You never know,” he added, “we might be asking them for help someday!” (Nicholas Pugliese)

The Smell of Jane Eyre

A curious initiative in Oñati (Basque country, Spain). At the local library:

Lurrinak eta Liburuak
Kata Literarioa
April 22, 19.00
Udal Liburutegian

Disfrutar de una experiencia emocionante, sensorial y diferente en torno al libro, ese es el objetivo de la cata literaria con la que la Biblioteca invitará a descubrir a qué huele una época, un personaje, un obra, un lugar ....a través de un perfume. Tratará de despertar el alma investigadora y los sentidos del lector, en el marco de las celebraciones del Día Internacional del Libro.
«Tenemos muchas palabras para describir otros sentidos y sensaciones, pero el olor parece desafiar las palabras. El sentido del olfato humano no está desarrollado fuertemente y aún así, es rico y profundo, y puede mejorar la forma en la que te comunicas. La literatura se ha fijado muchas veces en los olores, así que pensamos que poner olor a los libros sería una propuesta original para animar a la gente a acercarse a la Biblioteca y la cata que asocia perfumes y libros, un buen formato» explica la responsable del servicio Arantzazu Ibarrondo.
La cita será el miércoles, a las 19.00 horas, y permitirá descubrir los aromas de la novela negra, y degustar, entre otros, pasajes de «Twist» de Harkaitz Cano, «Seda» de Alessandro Baricco, «El amor en los tiempos del cólera» de Gabriel García Márquez, « Jane Eyre» de Charlote Brontë ... y por su puesto «El perfume» de Patrick Süskind.
«Hemos intentado elegir libros que la gente conozca, que aunque no los tenga leídos, sepa cuál podría ser la atmósfera del libro y que evoquen olores diferentes entre ellos. Creemos que será una experiencia distinta y aprenderemos disfrutando» relata Ibarrondo. (Marian González in El Diario Vasco) (Translation)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bicentenary minus one

The Western Courier reviews the Western Illinois University’s production of Jane Eyre the musical.

Whitney Willard plays Jane Eyre and her voice is flawless. Throughout the production Willard plays a perfectly witty Jane. This musical has Jane Eyre being a bit more passionate than the books, and it works.
Mr. Rochester, played by Grant Brown, is a comical character, with his stern moments. It is quite a different take on the traditional version.
The play opens with Willard introducing her young life. Her parents pass away from infection and she is shipped off to live with her Aunt and Uncle Reed. Once her uncle passes away, she is left neglected and tormented by her family. Eventually, they send her away to Lowood School for Girls.
Young Jane, played by Shannon Fields, is a passionate ball of fire. All she wants in life is fairness and love. However, her friend Helen teaches her the art of forgiveness.
When Jane grows up, she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall for a man named Mr. Rochester. That is when Jane’s life changes forever.
The best part of the play by far, and perhaps the main reason I plan on seeing the play again this Wednesday, is when the gypsy comes to Thornfield and tells the fortunes of the residents at the hall. The singing and acting during that performance was spectacular.
Also, Kellie Nolan’s character Bessie is hilarious. She plays such a wonderful comedic relief character, and she could not do a better job. [...]
Western’s production of “Jane Eyre” is fantastic and definitely deserves to be watched over and over until it is gone. (Jessie Sheley)
Chicago Now's Big Words and Little Birds looks into the 'birth of horror' and passes through the Gothic genre.
[S.T.] Joshi states that while Walpole's work served as a basis or a framework for the gothic novel, many gothic writers "consciously departed" from his model, and thus the genre sees works that improve upon and better the elements present in Otranto, from minds such as Ann Radcliffe, Shelley, Poe, Henry James, and the Brontë sisters. (Melissa Baron)
The Galloway Gazette features a forthcoming talk/tour, 'Discovering Crockett’s Galloway' on the novels by SR Crockett and the real-life backgrounds where they were set.
Nowadays SR Crockett is best known for his novel “The Raiders” - his stirring tale of smugglers and gypsies which ranges from Heston Island on the Auchencairn coast to the fastnesses of the Galloway Hills, the Silver Flowe and Loch Neldricken. However Crockett wrote many adventure and romantic tales featuring the history, characters and folklore of Galloway , including sequel and prequel to “The Raiders” – “The Dark o’ the Moon” and “Silver Sand;’ and “Men of the Moss Hags” about the Covenanters and the Killing Times. All of these novels feature lovely, evocative descriptions of the countryside, sometimes using real place names but on other occasions tantalisingly masking the real places with fictional names. Cally has done the work to untangle this and will lead the audience into the world of Crockett’s Galloway from the 17th to 19th century with the aid of extracts from the novels and visual images.
Joan Mitchell. Chair of the festival committee said: “Some novelists have the ability to make the landscape setting an integral part of their story, conjuring up vibrant images of the countryside so that some areas of the country are for ever associated with these writers. Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and the Yorkshire Moors of the Brontë sisters are good examples. SR Crockett, writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, did the same for Galloway but unfortunately his work, which was hugely popular in his time, has fallen out of favour, at least until now when thanks to Cally’s work it is beginning to enjoy a revival.
Coincidentally, there's another Galloway in the news today as The Herald Scotland has George Galloway discuss 'the diverse and controversial Bradford West seat', described as
a constituency where mosques stand alongside churches, derelict mills crumble next to modern apartment blocks, independent shops and businesses line the streets and the famous rugged countryside of the Brontë sisters lies just minutes away from the terraced houses of the city.
Jezebel has an article on the 'doomed' relationship between Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift:
Romeo and Juliet. Heathcliff and Cathy. Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris. Some relationships are doomed from the start.
While most tragic romances are torn apart by feuding families, wars, or the untamable Yorkshire moors, Calvin and Taylor face a very different problem: Calvin is allergic to Taylor Swift’s beloved cats. (Madeleine Davies)
And finally, today is of course Charlotte Brontë's 199 birthday. Her bicentenary minus one and both BBC News and the Yorkshire Post extract from the Brontë Society's press release what to expect next year. Frock Flicks posts about Jane Eyre costumes in films and series. BookRiot has a guest post from Patricia Park, the author of Re Jane: A Novel, a Korean-American retelling of Brontë’s Jane Eyre set in Queens, Brooklyn, and Seoul (forthcoming with Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, Penguin on May 5). Hard Book Habit revisits Jane Eyre.

Brontë 200

An important press release by the Brontë Society. The first clues of what will be the 2016 Charlotte Brontë's bicentenary:






Brontë 199

Activities celebrating Charlotte Brontë's 199th birthday in Thornton, Haworth and London:

In Thornton, at Emily's by de Luca Boutique:


In Haworth, at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
April 21st 2015 - April 22nd 2015

To celebrate the 199th birthday of Charlotte Brontë, visitors to the Museum on Tuesday 21 April will have the opportunity to spend some time in the library with Ann Dinsdale, our Collections Manager, and see some of the treasures of our collection at close quarters.
Library sessions will take place at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.  Although included in the price of admission to the Museum, places are strictly limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  
In London, at The Trouble's Club:
Bonnie Greer & Judith Watts: Fan Fiction Workshop
April 21 @ 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM
She was a square, looking to find place to settle. He was tall, handsome, educated but kind of lonely, and needed someone to tutor his kid. But all was not as it seemed. In the shady attic corners of the large house, events were taking place that young Adele would certainly not be allowed to see.
Ok, not the greatest writing I admit but what you are reading is Trouble’s terrible attempt at doing fanfiction on Charlotte Brontë ’s Jane Eyre. We think you can probably do better, especially when guided by acclaimed critic and playwright Bonnie Greer and Judith Watts, author and publishing lecturer at Kingston University.

The two will be leading a workshop of fanfiction as a “Gateway to Your Own Voice” They will talk a bit about this new genre – 50 Shades of Grey grew out of Twilight, which name checks another  Brontë great: Emily.  All you need to do is know the plot of Jane Eyre (if you haven’t read the novel, a wikipedia-style précis and a few pages of its dialogue will do) and prepare your pens.

As Bonnie says: “This an empowering exercise. Everybody can write. You just need to begin to explore your own “line”. And you never stop learning. Fan fiction is a great way to begin… and could even become a lucrative career. I’m learning to do it  for pleasure. I think it can really expand the creative voice. I have a lot of respect for FF.”

Bonnie is President of the  Brontë Society, and this is part of her BSide project – aiming to bring their works into the 21st Century… and by extension, all great classics. This is the beginning of the 200th birthday anniversaries – in succession – of Charlotte, (2016) Branwell, Emily and Anne.  “They’re more in our heads than we know. ”

Judith loves the way Fan Fiction fires the imagination. A writer of erotic fiction, she enjoys the freedom it brings (Rochester beds Darcy), and how it brings reading and writing together. Judith is also working on a PhD in the Mills & Boon archives to become a Dr of Desire.

Monday, April 20, 2015

107,945 words

Detroit Theater Examiner reviews the 'theatre experience' The Heights giving it four stars out of five.

“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
This is one of the many quotes from Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” that is painted on the floor of the performance space inside Gallery 17. Wander around (or wonder around) and you’ll find headless manikins and faceless dolls set on pillars between trees made out of skewered books. Up the stairs, a steel bed is adorned with mementos and everything seems draped with a tangle of tarnished lockets. Audience members are free to move about the space along with the actors, who may interact with them as seems appropriate over the course of this tightly paced, one-hour experience.
Choose your vantage point – upstairs or down – and enjoy being enveloped in “The Heights” – the latest immersive experience designed and performed by the nerve theatre company. It’s the classic story of Heathcliff and his beloved Cathy – a dark novel about the earthly vengeance that obsesses him and the immortal passion that binds them through eternity. It helps if one can remember the basic plot points from the complex novel studied in English Lit 101 – or even from the 1939 film – but it’s not mandatory. Brontë’s 107,945 words have been pared down to the emotional essentials in this captivating nerve production – and that’s what matters. [...]
The Heights” does what nerve does best – it makes us reconsider something we thought we knew. Those who love “Wuthering Heights” will appreciate how the script is true to Brontë’s own words. Those who are intrigued by the phenomenon of immersive theatre will find that everything is calculated to engage on a sensory level. And those who simply want to try something new will not be disappointed – unless the simply fail to secure a reservation for the last two performances. (Patty Nolan)
Theaternomadin reviews the Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights performances in Brunswick:
Der amerikanische Komponist Bernard Herrmann nahm kein Blatt vor den Mund. Wenn er einen Film miserabel fand, weigerte er sich schlichtweg dafür Musik zu schreiben. Umso bezeichnender ist es, dass ein so düsterer und eigenartiger Stoff wie Wuthering Heights von Emily Brontë seine Aufmerksamkeit und Faszination so sehr weckte, dass er ihn zum Thema seiner einzigen Oper machte. Mehr als sechzig Jahre nach Vollendung der Partitur dieses lyrischen Dramas fand nun am Staatstheater Braunschweig die europäische Erstaufführung in einer Inszenierung von Operndirektor Philipp Kochheim statt. Kann er damit an den Erfolg des ersten Beitrags der neuen Reihe “The American Way of Opera” (The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe von Dominick Argento) anschließen? (Read more) (Viktoria Knuth)
Teen Ink has an article on 'Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre as Early Feminist Commentaries'.

Creole Madness

A new scholar Brontë-related book in French:
Genèse d'une folie créole
Jean Rhys et Jane Eyre
Catherine Rovera-Amandolese
Éditions Hermann
ISBN 9782705690465
April 13, 2015

On se propose ici d'explorer les rapports pour le moins complexes qui, à un siècle d'intervalle, relient le dernier roman de Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, à son hypotexte victorien, Jane Eyre. En revisitant le personnage de la Créole – alias Bertha Mason – dans Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys livre en effet sa version personnelle, rectificatrice, de la folie. Et surtout, son roman se donne comme le texte matriciel de celui qui l'a engendré, comme l'avant-Jane Eyre et, partant, comme la voix inaugurale de la folie. Il est donc fascinant de redécouvrir l'un des canons de la littérature victorienne à l'aune de Wide Sargasso Sea, en raison même de ce rapport de filiation inversée.

Prendre pour objet la genèse de la folie implique par ailleurs de revenir aux sources mêmes du texte, autrement dit à l’avant-texte. On relira donc le dernier roman de Jean Rhys à la lumière des lettres et manuscrits issus des archives de l’université de Tulsa et de la British Library. Ces originaux se donnent comme un véritable journal de création. Ils nous permettent de voir comment la folie s’écrit, s’inscrit dans le texte, au fil d’une gestation lente et sinueuse. Et ils portent en eux la trace des multiples repentirs, tâtonnements et changements de cap qui ont permis d’aboutir au chef-d’œuvre que l’on connaît.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ann Dinsdale in Ponden Hall

An alert from Haworth for today, April 19:

The Brontë Parsonage is home to one of the world’s most famous museums, and houses the world’s biggest collection of Brontë manuscripts, drawings, artefacts and other memorabilia, from locks of their hair, to the stockings they darned. Now Collections Manager and Brontë scholar Ann Dinsdale, who’s worked at the Museum for over 20 years, talks about the Museum’s astonishing recent acquisitions – including the famous dining table at which they wrote their novels – and offers a fascinating personal glimpse of life at the Museum from the other side of the cordon.

Ann’s talk is here at Ponden Hall on Sunday April 19 at 2pm, and will be followed by a luxurious Ponden cream tea, complete with various kinds of sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, teatime cakes – and, of course, many pots of the statutory Yorkshire Tea! Afterwards visitors are also welcome to join in a tour of Ponden Hall.This special event will take place on Sunday 19 April at 2pm.  Tickets cost £20 and need to be booked in advance. For more information please contact 01535 648 608, email talks@ponden.force9.co.uk or see www.ponden-hall.co.uk.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Symbolic Conduit

Lucasta Miller reviews in The Guardian Caryl Phillips's The Lost Child. 
Wuthering Heights is the inspiration for a novel that explores darkness and dislocation in a 20th-century family.
Wuthering Heights has inspired countless sublime and ridiculous spin-offs, ranging from poetry by Ted Hughes to the Cliff Richard vehicle Heathcliff: The Musical. Caryl Phillips’s new novel takes its cue from Emily Brontë’s original, but only at a slant. For him, it functions as a symbolic conduit for ideas of alienation, orphanhood and family dislocation.
The Lost Child is bookended by two scenes that feature the seven-year-old Heathcliff. Left purposefully mysterious by Emily Brontë, his origins are here fleshed out by Phillips, who makes him the illegitimate son of Mr Earnshaw by an African former slave. In the early scene, the boy’s mother is dying of disease in Liverpool; the novel ends with her son being led over the moors by Mr Earnshaw to Wuthering Heights. A central section imagines Brontë on her deathbed, a woman alienated from quotidian reality. Charlotte described her sister being “torn panting out of a happy life”; but this is the Emily of myth, who “lives in two worlds” and yearns for “the bosom of eternity”. If the idea of a black Heathcliff appears to have been inspired by Andrea Arnold’s film of 2011 starring James Howson, Emily’s mystical death-dreams recall her portrayal in the 1946 biopic Devotion. (Read more)
Radio Times lists the films on (British) TV today:
Jane Eyre ★★★
8.30-10.20pm BBC2

Charlotte Brontë's classic gets another screen makeover with Michael Fassbender and winsome Mia Wasikowska. Swoon... (Rose Thompson)
Herts & Essex Observer gives more details:
Is It Any Good? Charlotte Brontë's novel is brought to Gothic life by Cary Fukunaga, a second-choice director after Lynne Ramsay turned the film down.
Mia Wasikowska, fresh from her breakout turn in Alice in Wonderland, is excellent in the title role, with Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell also performing well.
Anything Else? The location of Jane's cottage was so remote there was no mobile phone signal. The crew stationed someone at a nearby phone box and equipped him with a walkie-talkie just in case anyone needed anything.
Locals took pity on the man and brought him tea and biscuits throughout the day.
Star Rating: **** (2011)
And The Carlow Nationalist adds:
Charlotte Brontë's novel is brought to Gothic life by Cary Fukunaga, a second-choice director after Lynne Ramsay turned the film down.
Mia Wasikowska, fresh from her breakout turn in Alice in Wonderland, is excellent in the title role, with Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell also performing well.
The Sydney Morning Herald reviews Motherhood & Creativity: The Divided Heart by various authors:
Novelist and columnist Nikki Gemmell observed that as a young woman she realised that none of her favourite female writers such as Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters had children. "I thought that was the path I would choose for myself." However once she had her babies Gemmell also realised that motherhood imposed its own discipline on the writer. "I wasn't faffing around making endless cups of tea." (Rachel Power)
Also in the same newspaper an article about the Bausch brothers (Richard and Robert):
Discovering that a beloved author has a sibling writer prompts a similar thrill of pleasure. We race through the houses of Brontë or Mitford, gathering clues that will tell us more about the individual writers and also about the entire family. (Kevin Rabalais)
An Emily Brontë poem will be recited in the Poetry in Voice national finals (Canada)
Jeremy Mallette's skills with prose have earned him a trip to Montreal on April 20 to compete in a national championship.
Mallete, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School, is one of 12 students from across Canada who've qualified for the Poetry in Voice National Finals in the bilingual stream. (...)
The two poems that Mallette will be reciting are, "Shall earth no more inspire thee" by Emily Bronte and "L'Automne" by Alphonse de Lamartine. (Sarra Lalonde in Cornwall Standard-Freeholder)
More poetry at The Fort Morgan Times:
Last Friday night's Open Mic Poetry Night with the River City Nomads was full of laughter and large doses of quiet profundity and raucously irreverent wisdom. Over 35 people filled Bloedorn as 13 poets and readers from Morgan Community College, both faculty and students, and the larger community shared fine, original work — some in free verse, some in formal rhyme — as well as the work of greats like Emily Brontë, Dr. Seuss, and Seamus Heaney. (Rachel Kellum)
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel interviews a local teacher:
I grew up reading 'Little Women' and 'The Secret Garden' and 'The Little Princess.' Then came 'Jane Eyre' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Betty E. Stein)
Kwasi Kwarteng remember when he was on University Challenge some years ago in The London Evening Standard:
Then we got a starter for ten right, and then another. We answered the bonus questions quite well, and then pulled level. I think we won the round on the last question, when one of our team buzzed and just said, “Wuthering Heights”. I can’t even remember the exact details of the question but the answer is seared into my memory.
Huddersfield heritage is celebrated in The Huddersfield Daily Examiner:
Dewsbury, Batley and the Spen Valley are not the most fashionable places today but they are steeped in the rich history of the Brontës, Luddites and Chartists, while the Spen Valley’s woollen industry heritage is evident in the towns of Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Gomersal. (Robert Sutcliffe)
and here
[Joanne Harris] said: “Yorkshire is amazingly diverse, rich in heritage and culture.
“My neighbours, among many, are the Brontës; Sylvia Plath; David Hockney; Ted Hughes; Alan Bennett; Bruce Chatwin; W.H. Auden; Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. (Chloe Glover)
Marcus Berkman in The Australian is categorical here:
Every song, of course, sounds a little like another song, except possibly for Wuthering Heights.
This comment on Le Temps (Switzerland) about economic bubbles is quite exaggerated when says that two of the Brontës (why not the other ones?) were impoverished by the railway shares madness of 1840s:
Ainsi, l’émerveillement de la bonne société victorienne devant le chemin de fer et sa mobilité décuplée n’est pas étranger à l’envolée extraordinaire que les titres de ce secteur connaissent dans les années 1840, sans doute la plus grande bulle financière n’ayant jamais existé et dont l’éclatement fin 1845 appauvrira deux des sœurs Brontë avant d’ébranler l’Europe deux ans plus tard. (Jean-Pierre Béguelin) (Translation)
Los Tiempos (México) lists the 17 books to read before you turn... 17:
Cumbres borrascosas
¿Te encanta el drama amoroso? ¡”Cumbres Borrascosas” de Emily Brontë es para ti! En este libro encontrarás el drama más auténtico y telenovelesco de amor que jamás habías imaginado. (Translation)
The Hampshire Chronicle is eager to see the Northern Ballet's performances of Wuthering Heights in Southampton next week.  RTCG (Montenegro) announces a screening of Wuthering Heighs 1992 next April 22 in the context of the "Svjetska književnost na filmu" festival. Cai tlin Moran complains about the austerity measures in libraries in The Times Magazine. The Sleepless Reader lists a series of Brontë-related favourite books. The Brussels Brontë Blog reviews a new edition of Path to the Silent Country by Lynne Reid Banks (originally published in 1977).