Thursday, March 30, 2017

Definitely self-reliant and thoroughly admirable

On Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 11:21 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    No comments
Decider reviews To Walk Invisible:
While To Walk Invisible offers elements familiar to anyone who consumes a lot of Masterpiece—period costumes, period settings, dreary cinematography—this film seems to be designed primarily for readers who know and love the Brontës. For example, filmmakers built a replica of the parsonage where the Brontës spent most of their lives and surrounded it with a model Haworth, their Yorkshire village, as it would have looked in the mid-nineteenth century. This is the kind of verisimilitude Brontë fans might be expected to crave, and it should appeal to fans of historical drama. One the other hand, there’s much here that would be uninteresting or unintelligible to anyone who isn’t learned in Brontë family lore.
ake the opening scene. In this dreamlike sequence, four children—three girls, one boy—wearing haloes of fire run into an empty ballroom where they play with toy soldiers come to life. Anyone schooled in Brontë lore will recognize this as a reference to the imaginary worlds created by the Brontë children, worlds that fueled their pretend play and inspired their earliest stories. It’s hard to know what a viewer lacking this information would make of this weird vignette. But, if we accept that this production is for superfans only, we have to ask: What are the superfans getting? Speaking as a Brontë fanatic, my answer is: Not much.
My beef with To Walk Invisible is right there at the beginning. Branwell, the lone Brontë boy, takes center stage here, and, from this point on, the whole narrative is built around him. The story proper begins when Branwell returns home—to the parsonage where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne still live with their father—after having an affair with his employer’s wife. His physical and mental disintegration descent gives the plot its shape. There’s no question that Branwell played a part in his sisters’ development as authors. He was there when they created their first manuscripts, he’s there in Wuthering Heights as Hindley Earnshaw, and his dissolution runs throughout The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. But I can’t imagine that anyone who comes for the Brontës wants to spend a lot time with Branwell. And, given that an essential element of the Brontë story is that three brilliant women felt compelled to publish under male pseudonyms, it’s especially galling that, in a film ostensibly about them, their lives and their literary careers are subordinate to the decline of their profligate, parasitic brother. [...]
Having said all that, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the acting here is excellent. Special shout-out for Chloe Pirrie for her portrayal of Emily. Wuthering Heights is my fave, and I believed her not only as the author of that novel but also as the teacher who told her students that she preferred the school dog to any of them. (Brontë superfans will know what I’m talking about.) (Jessica Jernigan)
Calling Branwell 'parasitic' may be a bit too harsh, though.

The Federalist reviews it too and is more understanding of Branwell's role:
The film itself is lovely. It captures the Brontë’s beloved moors, mysterious talent, and moving devotion to each other. The costuming and set are thoughtfully prepared. One could say this film is the perfect foil for Masterpiece’s “Victoria” series, which is basically a nineteenth-century soap opera. The latter proffers palace intrigue, sparkle, and way too much mascara and brow liner for a Victorian-era society. The former, however, is simple, even austere at times, with an attention to detail and historical correctness that make the film shine. [...]
But Bramwell’s [sic] story is indispensable to his sisters’. When we read about the life of Jane Austen, we’re struck by her fortitude and wit. But we rarely stop to think about the different space she inhabited: the rarity of female writers alive in her world (although there were a few), the societal and financial pressures on an “old maid.” In the Brontë’s case, we must add to this motherlessness the loss of two siblings and the addictive decline of another. They knew their father was growing old, and they needed some method to support themselves. Writing was not just a vocational aspiration, it was a financial necessity.
It’s also worth considering the way in which adversity separates the gold from the dross. The Brontë sisters, inhabiting a trouble-filled world, needed a respite from their hardships. Writing provided that. But they didn’t leave their troubles behind when they wrote: their stories were sharpened and honed by their hardships. Jane Eyre’s quiet plight has appealed to many women with unhappy childhoods, because—at least in this sense—she is real, less paper and pen than flesh and blood.
Perhaps the film is meant to offer commentary on gender roles and conceptions of privilege in the Brontë’s world. Bramwell had every opportunity for success, but wasted each chance he was given. The Brontë sisters had few opportunities to hone a successful career, yet used each one to optimum effect and crafted opportunities where none existed.
But I don’t think Wainwright is pigeonholing the Brontë sisters (or their world) by making it a feminist object lesson. Indeed, their aging father, while bewildered and surprised when he discovers their fame, is also excited by and encouraging of their success. After the sisters’ publisher overcomes his initial shock at the fact that the “Bell brothers” whose work he’s been publishing are actually the Brontë sisters, he is overjoyed to meet them in person, and insists on introducing them London’s intellectual stars.
The series suggests that the sisters’ initial use of pseudonyms, while partially inspired by their desire to succeed in the “man’s world” of publishing, was also part of their effort not to shame their brother, who never succeeded in his artistic enterprises.
Thus, love for Bramwell animates the series, giving depth to the sisters’ writing and personal travails. In one particularly moving scene, they take Bramwell back into their arms, and lives, at his very worst and lowest. At least in this story, the siblings of the prodigal always proffer an open door, no matter the cost. (Gracy Olmstead)
Slate has a podcast discussing the production as well.

Observer and many others report on the National Portrait Gallery’s fourth Portrait Gala, which included the Duchess of Cambridge among its guests.
The black tie soirée served to raise funds for the Gallery’s upcoming shows. This includes “Coming Home,” a program focused on returning portraits of important figures back to locations that are specific to them, for a loan period of three years. For example, a painting of David Beckham will make a journey to Essex, while a portrait of the Brontë sisters will momentarily reside in Yorkshire.
Scotsman reviews Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore and we think that a reread of Jane Eyre is in order for the reviewer.
But it is also a Gothic novel – suitably since the 1790s were the heyday of the genre – and one which acknowledges and plays off its fictional predecessors. The ruthlessly ambitious but doomed Diner, tormented by unacknowledged guilt, is Dunmore’s Heathcliff. The pervasive influence of the mysterious first wife echoes Jane Eyre and even more powerfully Rebecca. Indeed, in its assurance, rapidity and narrative zest, Birdcage Walk might be a Daphne Du Maurier novel. Like Du Maurier, Dunmore has the ability to evoke a sense of place and to write passages of thrilling and disturbing action – a tremendous voyage in a boat rowed by Diner on a turbulent winter river, for instance. But Lizzie is a fully rounded, intelligent and capable character unlike the pallid second Mrs de Winter, and therefore more interesting, while Diner is complete in a way that Max de Winter surely wasn’t. Still, Du Maurier would have appreciated the darkness of his character while it is evidence of Dunmore’s skill and understanding that she takes this harsh, monomaniacal Gothic-Romantic hero-villain and presents him straight without sentimentalising him as, for instance, Charlotte Brontë sentimentalised Mr Rochester. But then Lizzie, through whose eyes we know him, isn’t a timid mouse like Jane Eyre, but a self-reliant and thoroughly admirable young woman. (Allan Massie)
Jane Eyre--a 'timid mouse' instead of 'a self-reliant and thoroughly admirable young woman'?

Female First has writer Suellen Dainty pick her 'Top Ten Most Intriguing Couples In Fiction' among which are
Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Miscommunication, destructive jealousy, overwhelming desire and final tragedy. Did I miss anything here? [...]
Jane and Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Not many laughs here, but a wonderful story of a plain unconventional heroine who is strong, self-reliant and would rather remain on her own if she cannot marry for love. Happily, she does just that at the end.
We are glad to see her describing Jane precisely as 'self-reliant'.

Le Bleu du Miroir (France) reviews the film The Young Lady and finds it reminiscent of Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights.
Elle qui rêve de grand air, de longues promenades sur la lande (le Wuthering Heights d’Andrea Arnold n’est jamais très loin) et d’abandon absolu se heurte à des conventions qui l’enserrent et la tourmentent. (Céline Bourdin) (Translation)
W Magazine reviews Karen Elson's new album, Double Roses.
. . . title track “Double Roses” channels the mystical inclinations of Kate Bush twirling her way through “Wuthering Heights.” (Katherine Cusumano)
The Telegraph and Argus announces that Reverend Peter Mullins has now been appointed as new rector for Haworth.
The Reverend Peter Mullins, who has been the rector of Great and Little Coates with Bradley, in Grimsby, for the last 17 years, is replacing the Rev Peter Mayo-Smith who left early this year.
The Rev Mullins, 57, who is coming to Haworth with his award-winning textile artist wife Deborah, said: “We are hugely looking forward to coming to live in Haworth and working alongside the voluntary clergy and lay leaders in the churches there and at Cross Roads and Stanbury.
"It will be an exciting final stage of my ministry, spending it among the large number who come to seek out the Bronte heritage, as well as among those who need committed Christian communities to make a real difference to lives locally.” (Miran Rahman)
Dymocks (Australia) has released its traditional list of the favourite 101 books of Australian readers. There's only a Brontë book on it: Jane Eyre, number 72. Mark David Major posts about Jane Eyre while Fairy Powered Productions reviews the stage production of the novel which passed through York while on tour. Literateur interviews poet Rebecca Watts, and mentions the fact that her new poetry collection, The Met Office Advises Caution includes a poem called Brontë. Radio Times has an article on 'Which Brontë sister wrote which book?' Visit Lancashire lists Brontë-related places to visit around the county, though it seems to forget about Elizabeth Gaskell's house in Manchester.
A new adaptation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall opens today, March 30, in Bolton:
Octagon Theatre & York Theatre Royal present
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Based on the novel by Anne Brontë
New Adaptation by Deborah McAndrew
Directed by Elizabeth Newman

Octagon Theatre
March 30, 31; April 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,10, 11,12,13,15, 18,19,20,21,22  @ 7:30pm
March 31; April 5,8, 12,19 @2:00pm
Mon 10 April, Post show talk @ 5:00pm

Colin Connor as Reverend Millward/Lord Lowborough
Natasha Davidson as Eliza Millward/Milicent Hattersley
Nicôle Lecky as Rose Markham/Lady Annabella Lowborough
Michael Peavoy as Gilbert Markham
Marc Small as Arthur Huntingdon
Philip Starnier as Mr Lawrence/Ralph Hattersley
Phoebe Pryce as Helen Graham
Susan Twist as Mrs Markham/Rachel

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:34 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
March, which is Women's History Month, is coming to an end, and this columnist from The Cornell Review has decided to end it controversially claiming that we don't need it.
Do you think Susan B. Anthony, Jane Austen, Ida B. Wells, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Brontë sisters, or any other of the incredibly accomplished women throughout history sat back and considered their femininity and the gender barriers they imagined in their way before going out and making a difference in their worlds? Chances are, we as American women wouldn’t reap the benefits of our equal rights now if they had. (Leona Marie Sharpstene)
Oh, but the Brontës absolutely did, and there are plenty of examples we could quote, but we have picked this from a letter by Charlotte Brontë:
To you I am neither man nor woman. I come before you as an author only. It is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me--the sole ground on which I accept your judgment.
So yes, those sound like the words of a woman who 'sat back and considered [her] femininity and the gender barriers [she] imagined in [her] way'. And we would venture to say that precisely because she (they) did you are reaping many (not all yet) of 'the benefits of our equal rights now'. And so, seeing how wrong the claim is, the conclusion is that we do need Women's History Month. Also, if you are going to mention the Brontës, please don't use them as an example of the opposite of what they worked for.

Coincidentally, The Times has an article on Sir Walter Scott, now considered a ‘farsighted feminist’ and 'an unlikely champion of women’s rights'. The article mentions his influence on many writers:
Scott, an acclaimed poet as well as a novelist, influenced a host of writers, including Balzac, the Brontës, Dumas, Hans Christian Andersen and Tolstoy. (Marc Horne)
Kenneth Woods - Conductor reviews John Joubert's Jane Eyre.
Transforming a great novel into a great opera poses many challenges, but the greatest of these is the fact that musical and literary forms work so differently. The 19th Century novel tends to start at “in the beginning” and to finish at “The End;” it is no accident that some of the most successful adaptations of Brontë’s Jane Eyre have been those for serialised television. Most musical forms, particularly instrumental ones, tend to start at the beginning and finish at a transformed version of the beginning. Repetition, development, restatement and transformation are the building blocks of musical form. Wagner was perhaps the first composer to understand this tension between narrative, linear literary form and architectural, developmental musical form in opera. Part of what makes a vast work like Tristan und Isolde so coherent and satisfying is the extent to which it works symphonically as well as dramatically.
In Jane Eyre, John Joubert and librettist Kenneth Birkin have managed the crucial balance between storytelling and structure about as well as it can be handled. Joubert’s Jane Eyre, while spiritually true to Charlotte Brontë, dispenses with much of the expository and descriptive content of the novel and focuses intently on the emotional journey of the protagonist as viewed through six pivotal scenes in her life.
Part of what makes the opera so compelling, apart from its staggering beauty, is Joubert’s mastery at balancing the levels of musical structure in the work. Each scene forms a sort of self-contained symphonic whole, while both acts are unified within themselves yet distinct from each other. Each act finds cohesion through the theme which opens it- neither of which is ever sung. In the case of Act 1, the mysterious opening in the viola, an enchanted musical “Once upon a time…” if there ever was one, achieves a kind of fierce monumentality at the climax of Jane and Mr. Brocklehurst’s contentious duet at the send of Scene 1, then a bleak stentorian savagery in Rochester’s despairing aria at the end of Scene 2, before being transformed into music of mystic tenderness at the opening of Scene 3. When we hear it in the closing bars of Act 1 we sense the completion of not only the first part of the musical journey, but the end of the first part of Jane’s life. (Read more)
La Vanguardia (Spain) lists things you will only experience in the UK and mentions that 2017 is the Year of Literary Heroes.
La literatura está más viva que nunca
2017 es el Año de Héroes Literarios en Inglaterra, la excusa perfecta para vivir tus propias aventuras en los mismos escenarios que inspiraron a Shakespeare, Jane Austen o las hermanas Brontë. Y es que solamente en territorios únicos como el indomable Yorkshire podrás contagiarte del espíritu romántico que influyó a Emily Brontë para escribir una de las historias más apasionadas de la literatura, Cumbres Borrascosas. (Translation)
Repubblica (Italy) finds a Brontëite in writer Jennifer Niven.
Sul suo sito sono elencate le donne, vere o immaginarie, che ammira di più. Ci sono Emily Brontë, Alice nel paese delle meraviglie, Flannery O'Connor, le Charlie's Angels: tutte antitesi delle damsels in distress..."Sono molto diverse tra loro, ovviamente. Ma hanno anche qualcosa di davvero speciale in comune. La forza. La determinazione. La voglia di non essere passive. La capacità di sfidare i luoghi comuni. Per questo sono le mie muse, e lo saranno sempre". (Claudia Morgoglione) (Tramslation)
El Periódico (Spain) interviews writer Rodrigo Fresán:
That's apparently the Brontë sisters' candlestick.
A la portada y como personaje secundario regresa Mr. Trip, el muñequito viajero, el juguete de su hijo. Sí, ahora aparece tuneado con el osito y la manta, el candelabro de las hermanas Brontë y el escudo de armas de los Nabokov. Dos autores que se pasean mucho por este libro. (Elena Hevia) (Translation)
Financial Review begins telling the history of Larnach Castle (the only castle in New Zealand) as follows:
While star-crossed lovers Catherine and Heathcliff faced their own travails in Wuthering Heights, Larnach Castle's owner William Larnach was arguably even less fortunate, losing two consecutive wives to premature death – both at the age of 38 – before his favourite daughter died in her 20s. (Georgina Safe)
BookBub Blog recommends '21 Classics Worth Revisiting with Your Book Club' including both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
The new issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 42, Issue 2, March 2017) is already available online. We provide you with the table of contents and abstracts:       
pp. 89-90 Author: Amber A. Adams

Further Thoughts on Aspects of Emily Brontë’s poems
pp. 91-99 Author:  Chitham, Edward
There is much work to be done on our understanding of the role played in the lives of Emily and Anne Brontë by their fictional land of Gondal. Here I propose to deal with three issues: (a) What more can we say about ‘Gondal’s Queen’? (b) When did Gondal end? (c) Is there anything further to say about the poem ‘Often Rebuked’? These are contributions to discussion, certainly not final. Both Emily and Anne separated their work in their manuscripts into Gondal and non-Gondal poems. Emily’s copy manuscripts are usually known as A (non-Gondal) and B (Gondal).

Time-Space Compression in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
pp. 100-108 Author:  Poklad, Josh
This essay provides a reading of the geographical structure of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Using concepts borrowed from the theory of Mikhail Bakhtin and David Harvey, it shows that the geography of Wuthering Heights comprises a juxtaposition of two temporally and spatially contrasting environments. The interaction between these two geographies is interpreted as Emily Brontë’s exploration of the conflict between capitalist and feudal socio-economic systems, and, more broadly, between social and cultural modernity and Britain’s pre-modern past.

‘He’s more myself than I am’: The Problem of Comparisons in Wuthering Heights
pp. 109-117  Author:  Tytler, Graeme
A careful reading of Wuthering Heights makes us aware of the abundance of comparisons to be found therein and of the various thematic functions they serve. As well as several comparisons in the form of similes, a significant number of which have to do with likenesses between human beings and animals, we come across comparisons that the characters now and again make between two individuals or between themselves and other people. But except where they have to do with similarities or differences as to, say, age or physicality or situation, comparisons between persons often seem unduly subjective and, in many cases, even fallacious. The fact that Emily Brontë thereby suggests that such comparisons are inherently problematic is hardly to be wondered at if we recognize the extent to which she is fundamentally concerned here with the primacy of each human identity, especially through her treatment of love.

Female Images in Jane Eyre and The Woman in White in Russian Translations of the 1840–60s
pp. 118-129 Author:  Irina A. Matveenko, Anna A. Syskina, Irina A. Aizikova, Vitaly S. Kiselev & Sue Lonoff
This article analyses mid-nineteenth-century Russian translations of Jane Eyre and The Woman in White, with a special focus on the way these novels rendered images of women. Particular attention is paid to the contemporary Russian context, the reasons for the translators’ diverse approaches, and the consequent choices they made as they translated the original texts. We conclude that Russian interest in these English novels was spurred by the search for a contemporary literary heroine. The translated versions partially filled this lacuna, thereby effecting a satisfying compromise between the British and Russian literary traditions.

Charlotte Brontë’s Alternative Enlightenment: The Muslim Other in Villette
pp. 130-142 Author:  Aljenfawi, Khaled
Anne Brontë may be less famous than her sisters, but contemporary popular culture still makes many knowing allusions to the writer. This article delineates the origins and development of some of the key motifs in representations of Anne Brontë’s life, death and literary imagination. Investigating the reasons for this writer's continuous marginalization, this examination also explores the ways in which the critical discourse parallels the writer’s re-emergence in popular culture as a feminist figure.

Portals of Desire in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall
pp. 143-153 Author: Nyman, Micki
Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre (1847) and Fanny Fern in Ruth Hall (1855) inscribe the possibility for personal agency through textual passages that describe border spaces and movement between margin and periphery, inside and outside, and departure and arrival. The authors employ architectural portals — windows, doorways, gates, stairs and hallways — to illuminate an array of physical, psychic and socio-cultural spaces and to convey a more fluid sense of truth as knowledge gained by experience. Truth is represented within a subjective lens, in the different positions their protagonists assume. By way of the insertion of autobiographic resonances in their fiction, Charlotte Brontë and Fanny Fern invert public and private spheres, thereby creating a strategy for personal agency. This emphasis on mobile independence for a woman did not sit well with many nineteenth-century critics, who responded adversely to the implied expansion of gender roles. Ultimately, Charlotte Brontë and Fern, through their method of encoding threshold images with subjective significance, create a conceptual space that affords possibilities of resistance to social oppression.

Simple Dame Fairfax
pp. 154 Author:  Duckett, Bob

Place and Progress in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell
pp. 155-156 Author:  Pearson, Sarah L.

The Brontës in the English Lake District
pp. 157-158 Author: Mullis, Aileen

Critical Insights: Jane Eyre
p. 158-161 Author: Duckett, Bob

Charlotte Brontë Revisited: A View from the Twenty-First Century
p. 161-163 Author: O'Callaghan, Claire

‘A Brontё Reading List, Parts 1–7 (2007–2016)
p. 163-167 Author: Duckett, Bob
 ‘Emily Brontë. From a painting by Charlotte Brontë, hitherto unpublished’p. 168-169 Author: Duckett, Bob
A Response to ‘Emily Brontë. From a painting by Charlotte Brontë, hitherto unpublished’ p. 169  Author: Christopher Heywood

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We still have some reviews of To Walk Invisible today. Decider describes it as
not your typical Masterpiece fare. Instead of being pretty and pristine, this film takes an unflinching look at some of literature’s most complex voices. (Meghan O'Keefe)
The Christian Science Monitor has a review too:
Think of “To Walk Invisible,” which debuted last night on public television’s “Masterpiece,” and is now streaming for free at, as a thank-you note to the Brontë sisters for giving “Masterpiece” so much material. [...]
The best way to explore the Brontës’ legacy, of course, is reading their novels. With any luck, “To Walk Invisible” will send viewers back to their fiction, or nudge them to experience it for the first time. (Danny Heitman)
Inquisitr has an article on 'The Brontë Sisters: their books, loves, and lives'.

More of the Brontës on screen as The Blackpool Gazette features Paul Eryk Atlas, who plays Heathcliff in the latest screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
Early last year, The Gazette interviewed an Anchorsholme actor, who had just been cast as Heathcliff in a new, independent movie of classic novel Wuthering Heights. A year on, the film is now in post-production, with it due to be released in 2018 - a fitting year as it will mark the author of Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë’s 200th birthday and well as 170 years since her death, aged just 30. After spending the past year of his life regularly travelling down to Herefordshire by train, in order to film his scenes, Paul Eryk Atlas is now looking forward to leaving the rest of the work to the production team. He told The Gazette: “The cast have been very involved in the whole process. “So it’s nice to hand it over and wait to see what it looks like. Hopefully the takes that they use are the takes I actually like!” [...]
Wuthering Heights is his first real screen-based acting role and he admits that the process has helped him grow massively as an actor. He said: “I’m a completely different performer than I was a year ago, just being more comfortable with the cameras. I’ve also had intensive horse riding training specifically for the role, which is a skill I can hopefully use again. Even though I was terrified!” The film is an independent, micro-budget production and is a passion project for the director Nina Elizaveta Abhrahall, with the aim being to be as faithful to the book as is humanly possible. Last month, the first full-length trailer was released and has currently been viewed by more than 6,300 people on Youtube. Paul says that the response to the trailer has been overwhelmingly positive. He added: “The Brontë fans and the Wuthering Heights fans are very excited, especially ones who can already see things marrying up to the book closely. “There’ll be more trailers released fairly soon for people less familiar with the films and books but it’s definitely been a positive response so far.”
Keighley News reports on the launch of Simon Armitage's new poetry collection at Haworth last week.
More than 130 people heard leading poet Simon Armitage read from his latest anthology in Haworth.
They packed into the Old School Room this month (March) to hear Simon showcase poems from his collection The Unaccompanied.
Afterwards the audience were able to visit the nearby Brontë Parsonage Museum to see Mansions in the Sky, an exhibition curated by Simon and focusing on Branwell Brontë.
Simon is the museum’s Creative Partner for 2017, a year focusing on the 200th anniversary of Branwell’s birth and following a similar bicentenary last year for Charlotte Brontë’s birth.
Rebecca Yorke, Head of Communications and Marketing at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said it was a privilege to hear Simon Armitage read from The Unaccompanied so soon after its publication.
She said: “The audience was clearly captivated by the new poems which give voice to those in our communities who are emotionally or politically isolated: you have heard a pin drop in the Old School Room.
“Many people had travelled a considerable distance to hear Simon read and we were delighted to welcome lots of new faces to the museum.”
Simon will talk about the Mansions in the Sky exhibition at an event at West Lane Baptist Centre on May 13.
He will relate how his understanding of Branwell developed and changed during the period he took a close look at the Brontë brother’s life and influences.
The exhibition includes a dramatic recreation of Branwell’s bedroom and a series of new poems by Armitage, each inspired by an object belonging to Branwell. (David Knights)
LitHub quotes the words of another poet, Adrienne Rich, on the fifth anniversary of her death.
Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: “I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” (Emily Temple)
The University of Indianapolis has asked three English professors to pick 'the top books to read by women writers', one of which is
Jane Erye [sic], Charlotte Brontë
“Also Jane Erye [sic], by Charlotte Brontë – most people forget the subtitle of that novel “an autobiography,” and it is unique in focusing on a female protagonist telling her own story, especially one who isn’t rich or beautiful.” – Jennifer Camden
Patheos discusses 'female beauty, religion, and fetishism' and mentions Jane Eyre:
Maybe our word “beauty” is too broad, too ambiguous – rather like our word “love.” It’s true that even in aesthetics, much that we loosely term “beautiful” would be better served by another adjective. It’s also true that the power of eros, at the height of its spiritual perfection, allows us to see a certain kind of beauty of the person, an ontological goodness that radiates and attracts, so that we are drawn towards union with the beloved even if that person doesn’t have physical, aesthetic beauty. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre presents, wonderfully, the phenomenon of two physically unattractive people falling in love – not only spiritually, with a love of the mind, but with a truly bodily desire for unity. (Rebecca Bratten Weiss)
Fine Books and Collections sums up some of the achievements of publishing house Harper Collins in its 200 years of history:
Among their successes over the past 200 years, HarperCollins pioneered the process of stereotyping; published the first American editions of the Brontë sisters’ novels; and championed Martin Luther King, Jr., publishing his Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story in 1958. (Rebecca Rego Barry)
Hermead of Surazeus has posted a poem called Mist Of Wuthering Heights.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new production of Wuthering Heights opens today, March 28, in Vienna (Austria):
Wuthering Heights - Sturmhöhe
by Emily Brontë
Adapted and directed by Thomas Birkmeir

Heathcliff ... Luka Dimic
Catherine Earnshaw ...  Felicitas Franz
Edgar Linton ...  Jürgen Heigl
Nelly Dean ... Elisabeth Findeis
Isabella Linton ... Aline-Sarah Kunisch
Hindley Earnshaw ... Pascal Groß
Joseph ... Florian Stohr

Renaissancetheater, Neubaugasse 36, 1070 Wien
28. March 2017 - 28. April 2017
Premiere: 29. March 2017

1848 starb eine gerade 30-jährige Frau an Lungenentzündung. Sie hatte sich beharrlich geweigert, ärztliche Hilfe anzunehmen, denn man solle »der Natur ihren Lauf lassen«. Dieses unbelehrbare, eigenbrötlerische, emanzipatorische Wesen Emily Brontë hatte ein Jahr zuvor ihren einzigen Roman unter dem männlichen Pseudonym Ellis Bell veröffentlicht: Wuthering Heights – Sturmhöhe. Ein Roman, der heute als Klassiker der britischen Romanliteratur des 19. Jahrhunderts gilt.
Ob Liebe jemals »romantisch« sein kann, ist die Grundfrage dieser seltsamen Schöpfung, die die beiden Hauptfiguren Heathcliff und Cathy wie Naturgewalten aufeinanderprallen lässt. Seit ihrer Kindheit in gemeinsamen Träumen, abenteuerlichen Spielen, aber auch Hassliebe einander zugewandt, entwickeln sie sich zu Erwachsenen, die den jeweils anderen vergessen wollen, sich deshalb verletzen und demütigen, sich aber wie mächtige Magneten immer wieder ungewollt anziehen.
Die »tugendhaften« Zeitgenossen waren entsetzt und empört über diesen Roman. So schrieb man nicht über Gefühle, Leidenschaften, das Sich-einander-verfallen-Sein. So schrieb man schon gar nicht, wenn man eine Frau war… Es dauerte über 50 Jahre bis Literatur-wissenschaftler erkannten und anerkannten, dass »Wuthering Heights« auch von der künstlerischen Konstruktion her eine gewaltige Neuerung darstellte.
Ihre Schwester Charlotte schrieb über Emily: »Ihr Wille war nicht sehr anpassungsfähig. Ihr Temperament war großmütig, lebhaft und jäh, ihr Geist unbeugsam. Sie war stärker als ein Mann und einfacher als ein Kind.«
Dieses umstrittene Kuriosum der Weltliteratur, häufig verfilmt, ein düsterer Gegenentwurf zu Shakespeares Romeo und Julia, befragt die möglichen Schattenseiten der Liebe, wo »Romantik« umschlagen kann in Eigennutz, Eifersucht und Besitzgier.
More information on Theaterkompass. A making of the production can be followed on this blog.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017 11:07 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
After the broadcast of To Walk Invisible in the US last night, Radio Times has put together several articles on the life and times of the Brontës: Who were the real Brontë sisters?Who was Branwell Brontë?Meet the cast of To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters, Where was To Walk Invisible: The Brontë sisters filmed?To Walk Invisible: the best books by and about the Brontë sisters, and finally there's a review of the programme:
This warts-and-all dramatisation of the lives of the famous writing sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë features vomiting blood, an assault against an old man, swearing and a sense of general grimness that wouldn’t feel out of place in writer/director Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley (an impression that may be helped by the fact that several of that programme’s actors, including Charlie Murphy and James Norton, pop up in roles of various sizes).
Set around a short period in the sisters’ lives that included their brother Branwell’s (Adam Nagaitis) decline and the publication of their novels, To Walk Invisible is a long-gestating passion project for Wainwright, and that definitely shows onscreen.
As usual, the depth and honesty of the relationships between her female characters is impressively authentic, but it’s bolstered by Wainwright’s evident love and knowledge of Brontë lore from the make-believe games they played as children (inventing sagas set in fictional countries called Gondal and Angria) to the specific dimensions of the Haworth Parsonage where they wrote their great works (the entire set, including outdoor areas was built from scratch on location in Yorkshire).
The drama is also peppered with brilliant performances, from Jonathan Pryce’s genial yet haunted patriarch Patrick Brontë and Nagaitis’ charismatically pathetic Branwell to all three sisters. Chloe Pirrie in particular delivers a stormy take on Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë, a Catherine Cawood of the 19th century who slaps down her siblings, spends her time striding over the bleak moors and reacts with glee to real-life tales of passion and revenge (a highlight sees her breathily recounting the tale of a Heathcliff-like villain to her unimpressed sister Anne, who was far less enamoured of her two sisters’ style of Byronic hero in her own works).
However, Wainwright’s passion for the subject matter is also the drama’s weakness. At two hours the story feels indulgently long, and seems to assume a certain level of Brontë knowledge from its audience lest they be left behind (a lot of references to the young Brontë's juvenilia fall into this category).
Dramatically, by contrast, certain scenes feel the need to hold the audience by the hand, with characters delivering emotionally expositional dialogue about their struggles as women in a man’s world that feel a little on-the-nose for writers who wrote with such subtlety. [...]
The end result is a well-acted and unusually historically accurate drama that just feels a little overwhelmed by the responsibility of doing the Brontës and their legacy justice, culminating in a slightly bizarre segue to the present day Haworth Parsonage which serves as little more than a plug for the gift shop. It has some excellent qualities, but overall To Walk Invisible is not quite the full Brontë. (Huw Fullerton)
The Atlantic reviews it too:
The drama’s undeniable strength is its three female leads: Pirrie, Atkins, and Charlie Murphy as Anne Brontë, who find great depth in their three different characters, and their complex bonds. Pirrie’s Emily is ferocious and mercurial, running the household with a matter-of-fact steeliness that belies moments of profound compassion for her siblings. “When a man writes something, it’s what he’s written that’s judged,” she says acidly, while the three sisters are considering their pen names. “When a woman writes something, it’s her that’s judged.” Murphy’s Anne is a peacemaker and Emily’s confidante, who nevertheless breaks with her sister when their integrity is questioned. Atkins’s Charlotte is quiet and reserved, but also the most ambitious of the three. When her publisher doubts that she’s really the Currer Bell who wrote Jane Eyre, she fires back, “What makes you doubt it Mr. Smith? My accent? My gender? My size?”
Wainwright draws compelling drama out of the sisters finding their literary talents, like superheroes discovering their powers for the first time. When Charlotte rifles through Emily’s possessions to find her hidden poems, the music swells and her face alters perceivably as she reads them, overcome with emotion. There’s comedy, too, when Charlotte confesses to her father that she’s written a book, and he assumes it’s another homemade manuscript in her “tiny little writing,” rather than the colossal success Jane Eyre had become—a book so powerful critics were calling its author “complicit in revolutions across Europe.”
That the sisters are so intriguing is what makes To Walk Invisible’s heavy focus on Branwell so frustrating. Clearly, Wainwright wanted to draw parallels between the era of the Brontës and modern-day Yorkshire, still rife with drug and alcohol abuse that devastates communities. Nagaitis allows Branwell flashes of sympathy, but he is, from a beginning, a lost cause, enabled by his father as he terrorizes his household. His violent and self-pitying decline spurs his sisters’ desire for self-determination, but it also distracts from their more remarkable story. There are fleeting hints of the thwarted romance for Charlotte that inspired Mr. Rochester, and of the village gossip that sparked Wuthering Heights, but Branwell ultimately receives more attention than any of the sisters individually, even as his path is, tragically, the most predictable.
But To Walk Invisible succeeds by humanizing the Brontës to an unprecedented extent, hinting at how their isolated and turbulent home life might have nurtured a capacity for creativity and imagination that resounded in all three women. Shot against the wild backdrop of the Yorkshire moors, it’s a strikingly different kind of costume drama. In the drama’s strange conclusion, Wainwright jumps forward in time to the modern-day Brontë Parsonage Museum, a clumsy but well-intentioned reminder of how powerful these sisters’ legacy would become. (Sophie Gilbert)
Screener TV claims that 'The Brontë sisters are the feminist heroes we need right now on PBS'.

The Daily Mail has writer Gill Hornby recommend the 'best books on revenge' such as Wuthering Heights.
Emily Brontë understood this well. The theme of revenge whips around Wuthering Heights like the wind off the moors.
When the low-born Heathcliff is brought into his family, privileged young Hindley grows ‘bitter with brooding’ and swears to ‘reduce him’. The sentiments are ugly, and the outcome can not be a pretty one.
The hatred between them ends up consuming them all.
La Provincia (Spain) alerts to the fact that Jane Eyre 1944 is being screened later today at  Las Palmas de G. C., 6:30 pm. Cicca. Alameda de Colón, 1.

On AnneBrontë.org, Nick Holland looks into what may have inspired the Brontës' pseudonyms.
12:30 am by M. in    No comments
After watching To Walk Invisible, you may feel the need to discuss it through tea. At the Bridgeport Public Library (West Virginia) they have the same idea:
Tea and Talk March 27, 1 p.m.,
To Walk Invisible, the Lives of the Brontë Sisters,Bridgeport Public Library
200 Johnson Ave, Bridgeport, WV 26330, USA
(via The Exponent Telegram) 
In Arizona, another public library will discuss Jane Eyre among other classics:
Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library
Pine Public Library, 6124 North Randall Palce, Pine, AZ

Friends of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library is hosting retired high school English teacher John Hall at its monthly meeting to be held at 1 p.m., Monday, March 27 in the library activity room. Hall will discuss the reading of classics.
“Jane Eyre,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Wuthering Heights” and “Huckleberry Finn” are some of the classics that could be discussed. (via Payson Roundup)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

More US newspapers announce tonight's US premiere of To Walk Invisible on PBS:

The New York Times:
At first the Brontë sisters tried being governesses — a miserable job, but good for mining material for the novels they would write as “brothers,” using masculine-sounding pseudonyms: Currer Bell for Charlotte (Finn Atkins), who wrote “Jane Eyre”; Ellis Bell for Emily (Chloe Pirrie), the author of “Wuthering Heights”; and Acton Bell for Anne (Charlie Murphy), who wrote “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Sally Wainwright (“Last Tango in Halifax,” “Happy Valley”) is the force behind this movie about the dutiful daughters of an ailing Yorkshire clergyman (Jonathan Pryce) and the ne’er-do-well sibling, Branwell (Adam Nagaitis), who inspired vivid characters in his sisters’ novels. (Kathryn Shattuck)
Northwest Arkansas Democratic Gazette:
Masterpiece presents To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters at 8 p.m. today on AETN. The two-hour film highlights the famous literary siblings who, against all odds, "had their genius for writing romantic novels recognized in a male-dominated 19th-century world."
The film was written and directed by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) and tells the tale of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, the dutiful clergyman's daughters who became the authors of "the most controversial fiction of the 1840s." (...)
Wainwright based the film largely on Charlotte's letters and concentrates on the three-year period "that saw them rise from ordinary, unmarried women, taking care of the household and their widowed father, to the secret authors of the world's most sensational literature."
"I hope people will be entertained and go away wanting to know more about the Brontës," Wainwright added. (Michael Storey)
The Times Herald-Record clearly has not done a proper research (check the final paragraph):
"Invisible" is a must for Brontë buffs and "Masterpiece" completists, but even they may find some of the dialogue hard to understand.
At first I thought this was a matter of local dialects falling deaf on American ears, but apparently many British viewers went on social media to complain about muffled audio.
The film includes a peculiar, unfortunate and blessedly short bookending gimmick, depicting the young Brontë children flush with imagination and playing some fantastic board game of their own devising.
It comes off as a desperate effort to attract "Harry Potter" readers. Equally jarring, the film concludes with a contemporary trip to a Brontë museum, where we all end up in the gift shop.
Neal Justin in the Kansas Star-Tribune is no lover of the new production:
Charlotte, Emily and Anne may have been the most successful sister act in literary history, but their real-life tale isn’t exactly a page turner. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion after watching “To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters,” a well-meaning but tedious biopic that does little to capture the brilliance and personalities of the women behind “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.” Perhaps director/writer Sally Wainwright purposely churned out a yawner in hopes that viewers would switch off their sets and crack open a classic novel.
Also in The Vindicator,  Detroit Free Press, East Bay Times, ...

The Silver Petticoat Review recommends the production.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch has an article on the columnist and writer Sara Payson Parton (aka Fanny Fern):
Although their names are largely forgotten, many American writers drew from Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” in the 1850s. And some were successful — very successful.
One million copies sold for one novel, “The Wide Wide World” by Susan Warner. Warner had, in fact, started writing her book before “Jane” took the English-reading world by storm. Her sister, Anna, also wrote popular novels and likened the American pair to the Brontë sisters. Between them, they published 21 titles — with most of the money going to pay their father’s debts, writes Elaine Showalter in “A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers From Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx.” (...)
Although “Ruth Hall” was apparently no “Jane Eyre” or “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Fern’s feminism and professionalism, Showalter writes, “cleared the path for Stowe and the new order of women to come.” (Jane Henderson)
Critic (New Zealand) reviews Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea:
This book lives on my bookshelf, in a case, with a plaque underneath: ‘A Modernist Triumph of Femme Freedom’. In 1969, Jean Rhys published Wide Sargasso Sea, a prequel and intervention to Jane Eyre, much like the prequel and intervention of my flatmate telling me I am cunty vomitty person the day after a party. However, where my flatmate sets a house on fire, Rhys burns it to the ground. This novel deconstructs the hysterical woman, especially as portrayed in the ‘feminist’ gothic text Jane Eyre.
Where Bertha in Jane Eyre is an elusive creature, so too is the tumbling narrative of Wide Sargasso Sea. The way the protagonist’s focus sways from the heave and seethe of the Caribbean jungle to her decomposing marriage lends itself to post-post-colonial dialogue. (...)
This is a baffling read and for such a short novel, it is surprisingly dense. Not because of the content, but because of the space that the narrative is meant to occupy. Wide Sargasso Sea alleviates the limitations of Jane Eyre, and celebrates the existence of a) humans and b) women, no matter their mental state, background or role within society. Like a Lana Del Rey song, Wide Sargasso Sea works to validate and celebrate self-indulgent sadness; it is a love letter to the tides of hedonistic apathy, commiserating the vilification of those who suffer loss without need for redemption or forgiveness. Most importantly, Rhys drives for the continuation of the human voice through dissolution to insanity. In short: it’s a good time. (Zoe Taptiklis)
The Sunday Times reviews the biography Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World by Kathy Chamberlain:
She herself was rumoured to be the author of the pseudonymously published Jane Eyre. She admired Charlotte Brontë, but disliked Jane Austen (“too washy — watergruel”) and said of George Eliot: “She looks Propriety personified. Oh, so slow!” (Paula Byrne)
Also in The Sunday Times, an interview with Reed Hastings founder and CEO of Netflix:
As I wait to meet the CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, two PRs are talking about how as children they were obsessed with books. “I used to read under the covers so my mum didn’t know,” says one. “Yes, I set fire to a T-shirt using it to dim my bedside light,” says the other. This, they agree, is how people feel about Netflix. A new episode is like the next chapter: gobbling down the Gilmore Girls is the same as piling through Jane Eyre. I’m not sure whether this conversation is for my benefit. (I wouldn’t be surprised.) (Janice Turner)
BuzzFeed lists several classical films 'every woman should see'. Including Jane Eyre 1944 where Orson Welles plays one Mr Rotchester, apparently:
Joan Fontaine plays Jane Eyre who works as governess at Mr. Rotchester's home. She falls in love but struggles under numerous circumstances that keep her apart from Mr. Rotchester. (juldarps)
Reading is my Superpower interviews the author Barbara Cameron:
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Barbara: It’s got to be Jane Eyre. I first read the book when I was about twelve and fell in love with her spirit and her loving kindness. I wore out several copies of that book and loved being able to teach it when I later became a college English instructor.
El Día de Córdoba (Spain) interviews the writer Rodrigo Fresán who thinks that David Lynch could be a perfect director for a Wuthering Heights film:
-En la segunda parte tiene gran importancia la familia Brontë y especialmente Cumbres borrascosas, "un libro tóxico y con alto poder de contagio". (Braulio Ortiz)
-Lynch podría hacer una adaptación maravillosa de ese libro. Estamos ante una novela que, es curioso, por el tema y el tono ya resultaba antigua en la fecha en la que aparece, y sin embargo anticipa muchas de las cosas que vendrán después. Todo lo que hicieron las hermanas Brontë es fascinante. A mí me gusta mucho Jane Eyre, pero también otro libro de Charlotte que se llama Villette, y las dos novelas protofeministas de Anne [La inquilina de Wildfell y Agnes Grey]. Lo interesante de Cumbres borrascosas es que puede verse no tanto como una novela de vampiros como de vampirizados: el vampiro pasó, los mordió a todos y los dejó allí.  (Translation)
Vivere Pesaro (Italy) vindicates the work of the writer Grazia Deledda:
Le sue tematiche hanno un'impronta verista, tenendo conto che la Deledda è una profonda osservatrice della Sardegna antica, dell'interiorizzazione della sua terra. Ne La Madre, la Deledda recupera il significato dell'Isola del mito, di una certa impronta anglosassone come Cime tempestose di Emily Brontë. Ma la Deledda viene definita anche una scrittrice, anche superficiale, estimatrice di Carolina Invernizio. (Paolo Montanari) (Translation)
The Readiness is All reviews Wuthering Heights.
This exhibition in Madrid, Spain, includes original illustrations by Fernando Vicente of, among others, a recent Wuthering Heights Spanish edition:

Clásicos Ilustrados
Complejo Cultural El Águila
Ramírez de Prado, 3, Madrid
March 2 - April 20

Esta muestra está compuesta por más de 200 ilustraciones originales, realizadas por Fernando Vicente para la ilustración de relatos clásicos de la literatura universal publicados en los últimos 10 años, como Drácula, Peter Pan, Alicia a través del espejo o Cumbres Borrascosas entre otros.
El acceso a la exposición es libre y gratuito, el horario es de lunes a viernes de 11 a 19. Sábados, domingos y festivos de 11 a 15.
Además, los ciudadanos que así lo deseen, podrán inscribirse a las visitas guiadas que se van a organizar a la exposición desde las bibliotecas públicas y la Biblioteca Regional.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Several US news outlets cover the American premiere of To Walk Invisible this Sunday:

Gail Pennington in the Saint Louis Dispatch is all for the mumbling-conspiracy (aka the Brontë contribution to the post-truth era: mumblelievers). Regrettably, this is not the only problem with her... erm... peculiar opinions:
Wainwright’s treatment of the subject is eccentric, shifting from surreal childhood scenes to stifled adult life in the claustrophobic parsonage.
The sisters — Finn Atkins as Charlotte, Charlie Murphy as Anne and Chloe Pirre as Emily — are cranky, chilly and generally unlikable.
Much time is spent on brother Branwell (Adam Nagaitis), around whom the women’s lives revolve, making the triumph of their talent even more unlikely. (Jonathan Pryce is sweet but distracted as their father.)
When it aired in England in December, “To Walk Invisible” was acclaimed by critics. But the movie was also sharply criticized by viewers for its sound quality, a problem that will be even more extreme for Americans who watch.
The Yorkshire accents are only the start of the problem. Low-talking and a loud music track conspire to make much of the dialogue unintelligible.
Needless to say, we agree much more with Maria Walley on Verily:
It’s raw; it’s heartbreaking; it’s fresh; it’s poignant; it’s inspiring. In short, dear reader, even if you’ve never picked up Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, this BBC movie is worth your time. (...)
As they hopefully plot out their course for publishing, and go about their daily lives with their brother’s addictions and violence becoming just another thing they live with, I’m struck by how real it all seems. And not just how the actors work together, but of the real Brontë sisters’ descriptions. In particular, Chloe Pirrie plays an incredible eccentric and moody Emily, while Finn Atkins plays her perfect business-minded, earnest counterpart as Charlotte.
But the biggest shout-out goes to Adam Nagaitis, who plays the tormented brother Branwell so well that you’re just as torn as the sisters. Viewers experience half-pity, half-anguish and are entirely blown away by his demise. I was with the sisters: I found myself loving him but also resenting him and the chaos he wrought on upon his family.
So, whatever your Sunday night plans: Consider this. Or watch it later online. Either way, it’s two hours you won’t regret.
Also on TV Insider:
Where would Masterpiece be without the Brontë sisters? Their enduring novels have been prime fodder for the British anthology series for years, with Emily’s Wuthering Heights adapted twice. In To Walk Invisible, from the prolific Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax), the sisters’ own compelling story is the stuff of grand drama. They toil in obscurity in a Yorkshire parsonage (Jonathan Pryce is excellent as their doting, doddering father), the sisters cloaking their identities with male pseudonyms to get their passionate manuscripts published. Finn Atkins is especially memorable as dour, diminutive Charlotte, bristling with ambition and anger over 19th-century gender inequities. Their triumph is laced with tragedy as they cope with a dissolute yet beloved brother whose unhappy fate would inform their works. (Matt Roush)
Mike Hughes in The Lansing State Journal is another mumbleliever:
Here's a fascinating, real-life story – strong enough to overcome poor film-making: Overshadowed by their clergyman dad and alcoholic brother, the Brontë sisters still managed to make literary history.
The problem starts with the script, which gives way too much attention to the brother and too little to the women who mattered. A bigger problem is the direction: “To Walk Invisible” is visually drab and much of its dialog is rushed or mumbled. Despite the flaws, a great story shines through.
Brief reminders in The Georgia Straight, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer...

Corriere della Sera (Italy) reviews Elizabeth Brundage's novel All Things Cease to Appear.
Ma L’apparenza delle cose è anche qualcosa di più di un noir. Ha una forte coloritura letteraria, e prende a modello di stile grandi opere della letteratura. Una fra tutte, Cime tempestose, evocata dalla scelta del nome della signora Clare, Cathy, lo stesso della protagonista del capolavoro di Emily Brontë. (Nel 1978, nelle hit parade mondiali furoreggiava Wuthering Heights di Kate Bush: «Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy, come home, I’m so cold!»). (Ranieri Polese) (Translation)
The Business Desk recommends '6 things to do on Mother’s Day' in Yorkshire, one of which is
Head to a show
There are loads of incredible shows to go and see in the area right now. Even if they’re not on this weekend, we’re sure your mum will love to have something to look forward to. Lord of the Dance and Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine are both taking to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre over the next few weeks and The Full Monty and Jane Eyre are soon to be taking to the stage in Sheffield. (Bethan Tolley)
The Yorkshire Evening Post describes North Yorkshire as
that vast wind-scoured hinterland where the ghosts of the Brontë’s roam amid purple-flecked moorland.
Even though the Brontës lived and wrote in West Yorkshire.

Greenwich Time also looks North in a description of the view from a local house.
Looking out over the red roof tiles, the kind that Jane Eyre might have gazed over in northern England, Kencel said, “There’s so much value here. And the architecture is so right.” (Robert Marchant)
DesiMartini reviews the Hindi film Phillauri:
I like the fact that Anoushka as a producer uses her movies to also talk a bit about women’s roles in society. Here, Shashi is a widely-read poet but she writes under a pen name as girls from good families don’t do such things to entertain audiences. History is replete with exams of women who used pen names to gain wider readerships, such as Emily Brontë, Jane Austen and J.K Rowling. All the female characters here are strong and sensible and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and I like to think this is Anoushka’s stamp as a producer. (smitavkumar)
The Ecologist mentions Anne Brontë's reference to wild pansies in Agnes Grey:
The mention of flowers in literature gives some indication of their decline. In the 1930s, the canal enthusiast and author of Narrow Boat, LTC Rolt, records ‘a boatman's wife, Mrs Hone', telling him: ‘In the Spring up ‘leven mile pound you can smell the violets in the banks something lovely as you goes along.' That eleven mile pound (a distance between locks) is not far from here. I wonder if it still smells of violets in the spring?
In the 19th century, Anne Brontë, in Agnes Grey, writes about wild pansies. Like wild crocus, I wondered if there really were such plants. It turns out the wild pansy, Viola tricolor, has a starring role in Shakespeare's A midsummer night's dream. "The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid will make man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees." I will look out for wild pansies more keenly now I know this magical association with the flower commonly known as Love-in-Idleness. (Paul Miles)
StarNews Online reports that 'Local author Karen Bender was added to the New York Public Library's list of women authors', joining the ranks of writers like Charlotte Brontë. English LiTeaRature posts about Jane Eyre as does Random Thoughts of a Girl in NairobiBritMums has compiled readers' suggestions of '40 ideas for family getaways inspired by books', one of which is 'Howarth' (sic).  Critics at Large posts about the recent exhibition Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. The York Press presents the York Literature Festival performances of Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Scriven Books reviews Wide Sargasso Sea. Eloise is Reading posts about the Emily Brontë poetry compilation, The Night is Darkening Around Me.
1:08 am by M. in    No comments
Quite literally:
It was a great event at the De Ruyterkade in Amsterdam! After a stormy day, the weather improved and we were ready, together with tour operator Riviera Travel, for the christening of our two new ships, MS THOMAS HARDY and MS EMILY BRONTË.
It does not happen very often that two ships are christened at the same time. The MS THOMAS HARDY was completed in November 2016, but because of the start of the new season, which is usually around the end of March, it was decided to wait to christen MS THOMAS HARDY until MS EMILY BRONTË was also ready, so that they could be christened together. It was a great sight, the two 135-metre long sister ships moored nose to nose on the same quay in the glistening water.
Both ships are 135 metres long and sleep 176 people. They are both luxuriously fitted out to ensure that the guests have the most comfortable journey possible. The ships include a wellness area, a fitness room and a hairdressing salon/nail salon. Four of the suites even have a balcony! (...)
The names of the two ships have been chosen by tour operator Riviera Travel. From the start, Riviera has chosen figures related to English and Irish literature. The next two ships are going to be named Oscar Wilde (July 2017) and Robert Burns (December 2017). (...)
The two sister ships start their first cruise season at the end of March: MS THOMAS HARDY mainly on the Danube and MS EMILY BRONTË on the Rhine. (Scylla)
The ship was built at the Vahali Shipyards in Serbia and is to be operated by the Riviera Travel Company:

MS Emily Brontë - NEW
Built: 2017 Crew: 44 Passengers: 169 Rating: Five Stars Cruises Available: 7

After years of painstaking research to create the most perfect vessels afloat, a new era in river cruising dawns as we introduce our brand new, state of the art, ‘all suite’ ships. Swiss operated and truly world-class, we are absolutely delighted to present the five-star MS Emily Brontë.
It is extremely difficult to convey just how extraordinary this outstanding ship really is and exactly what distinguishes it from similar vessels. It would be very easy to just say ‘luxurious’ but it’s much more than that; we have deliberately avoided the current trend for a minimalist style where you could be anywhere in the world, creating instead a unique yet exquisite blend of understated taste, style and elegance at the highest level. Immediately striking is just how exceptionally spacious this new vessel is as you enter a gleaming, richly coloured marble-floored lobby flooded with natural light from a stunning atrium above. Moving inside, exceptional creativity from Europe’s finest design studio has produced a superbly balanced masterpiece of onboard style, utilising sustainable rich hardwoods, gleaming brass and polished copper, sparkling glass and intricate wrought iron. The ship is beautifully illuminated throughout – including the exterior and imaginatively furnished with harmonious colour schemes, all designed to create the serene atmosphere reflective of the golden age of cruising which time after time you tell us you adore.

Friday, March 24, 2017

As expected, there's more on the US broadcast of To Walk Invisible. Variety reviews it:
To Walk Invisible” will no doubt be catnip to a few different subcategories of TV fans: Those who enjoy costume dramas, those who can’t get enough of films about creative types, those who simply appreciate well-made films with strong but subtly conveyed points of view, and those who enjoy the work of Sally Wainwright, the creator of “Happy Valley.”
For those who fall into all four groups, “To Walk Invisible,” which serves up an intense glimpse into the lives of the Brontë sisters, will fly by. [...]
My only substantive complaint is that it’s not a miniseries; certainly the lives of the Brontës could fill up several seasons of TV (and maybe someday they will). [...]
To Walk Invisible” may be about a group of artists, but it is flinty in its realism and quite unsentimental about what Branwell’s decline was like to witness. The Brontës were far from rich, but they had a larger house than most, and somehow Branwell and his unstoppable decline managed to invade almost all of it. Even in the rooms he does not occupy, the sadness and tragedy of his situation is unavoidable, and the sisters’ glances at each other are enough to convey the weight of what they’re bearing. They love him, but everything he puts them through is not only painful, it takes them away from their life’s work (and the household tasks they were still expected to perform). Their ferocious frustration comes through in the fiction and poetry they did manage to finish before the untimely deaths of two of the sisters.
Wainwright expertly explores the idea that while the expectations for Branwell just about crushed him, the fact that nothing was expected of his sisters goaded them into acts of creation that burn with a fire that readers can still sense today.
To Walk Invisible” also sketches a beautiful portrait of the sisters’ connection to the wild landscape around them; a love for the natural world of their beloved Haworth fed into the yearning richness of their work. The film makes it easy to wish for more stories about each sister and the individual experiences she went through before and after all three were finally published. At least we still have their poetry and novels, which allow us to be impressed, as Wainwright clearly is, by what these driven and compassionate women accomplished in such a short amount of time. (Maureen Ryan)
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed it as well:
In this darkly acerbic, and riveting, Masterpiece drama, written and directed by Sally Wainwright (writer of the wonderful “Last Tango in Halifax”), it is the struggle to survive, not literary ambition—though that ambition is a strong one—that takes precedence in the lives of these sisters. (...)
A flamboyant sort, Branwell continues to harbor dreams of literary achievement, with no hope of fulfilling them. He’s a drinker and can’t stop, the chief cause of the somberness that sits heavily on life at the Yorkshire parsonage where the Brontës lived.
He’s not, however the only cause of the gloom and tension that hang in the atmosphere, that seems to touch every conversation between the sisters, each with literary ambitions, each secretly—at least at first—trying her hand at writing. Their ultimate triumph arrives with the emergence of their actual identities after writing wildly successful works, all under male-sounding pseudonyms. (Dorothy Rabinowitz)
 The Californian considers it 'Sunday's must-try' and goes with the (again: non-existent) mumbling trend.
Here’s a fascinating real-life story – strong enough to overcome poor filmmaking: Overshadowed by their clergyman dad and alcoholic brother, the Brontë sisters still managed to make literary history.
The problem starts with the script, which gives way too much attention to the brother and too little to the women who mattered. A bigger problem is the direction: “To Walk Invisible” is visually drab and much of its dialog is rushed or mumbled. Despite its flaws, a great story shines through. (Mike Hughes)
WKAR describes it as 'a beautifully filmed and acted two-hour drama'. WOUB Digital recommends it too.

Writer Sara Flannery Murphy has selected the 'Top 10 stories of obsession' for The Guardian. Wuthering Heights had to be there:
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
Heathcliff and Catherine are the poster children for unhealthy romance, the train-wreck kind of love that’s hard to look away from. Sure, the love affair goes quickly downhill, a destructive passion that never finds a healthy outlet and has damaging implications for their families. But it’s fascinating to encounter someone so obsessed that he’ll alter his lover’s coffin to bring her closer after death.
The Bolton News features the forthcoming stage adaptation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The Brontë sisters are a viewed by many as the royal family of the writing world.
But the next production at the Octagon Theatre will be bring to life the works of the youngest of the literary lineage, Anne Brontë.
Award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew is hoping her new adaption of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall will spread the love for the lesser-known Brontë.
She said: “I don’t think 'Tenant' is quite as well known as say Emily’s Wuthering Heights or Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, so there’s an opportunity to bring this story to an audience unfamiliar with it.
“Hopefully people will go away to read the book after seeing the play. There’s so much more in the book.”
Deborah was approached by the Octagon’s artistic director Elizabeth Newman to bring a classic to the stage.
She has adapted numerous stories, as well as writing original plays, and her 2014 play An August Bank Holiday Lark won best Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards.
Born in Huddersfield, she admits to have an affinity with the Brontes, with the woman appearing on her grandfather’s wall alongside family pictures.
Many scholars, biographers and feminist literary critics have praised Anne for her forward-thinking, creative talent, and ability to genuinely write about issues that affected the everyday lives of women. [...]
Told in first person, then through Helen’s diary, Deborah has had the challenge of adapting the intense story for the stage.
She explains: "There is still a flashback but the first person becomes more of an equal perspective between Markham and Helen.
"Fundamentally it is a love story, that's what makes us care. It is a really satisfying piece of work to work with.
"It has got everything you want from a Brontë story, from brooding handsome men to intelligent serious women.
"I can't wait to see it on the stage." (Rosalind Saul)
ConcertoNet mentions the music of the film Devotion and a recent concert at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bower in New York:
If this concert had one other star is was soprano Ariadne Greif. The vocal works here were more suitable constellations around Mr. Schoenberg. But the selections were, with few exceptions echt-Romantic, music which was pulling at the yokes of the diatonic scale, sometimes breaking through, but always retaining its passion.
And she was the soprano to essay each one. Coming near to the hysteria of the poems, but always, always keeping hold of her stunning voice.
That was simple enough in Erich Korngold’s song–which he plagiarized for his own music to the Warner Brothers movie Devotion. (Believe it or not, this was a 1946 weepie with Olivia de Havilland and Ida Lupino as the Brontë sisters!) Ms. Greif was not afraid to pull out the Romantic steps from Mr. Korngold, a Schoenberg student whose own genius was in opera and film. Nor did she hold back in the first version of Alban Berg’s Close Both My Eyes. He had written this as a 19th Century passionate song–arranging it much later as a tone-row. (Harry Rolnick)
The Yorkshire Evening Post reviews The Fleece Inn in Haworth.
A visit to lovely Haworth is always a treat. The legacy of the Brontës underpins the long-term survival of its cobbled streets and quintessentially Yorkshire stone buildings, insulating the community against the careless ravages of redevelopment.
The Fleece sits alongside Haworth’s dramatically sloping main street, offering a welcome haven for those in search of decent pub food and traditional hand-pulled beer. The name Timothy Taylor above the inn sign and picked out in gold lettering on the windows is a reliable guarantee of quality.
Legend has it that Branwell Brontë drank here too; some say the ghost of the sisters’ ill-starred artist brother lingers here still. [...]
This hearty dining is a hallmark of Taylor’s pubs and here a menu of pies, steaks, sausage and burgers – as well as plenty of vegetarian choices – should please most people.
It certainly helps to draw in the tourists in a town which attracts thousands, chiefly those who are drawn by their love of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.
The Brontës and fashion. Financial Times discusses sleeves:
Simone Rocha’s frothy taffeta shoulders drew on fashion’s current romance with the 19th century, when sleeve shapes fluctuated wildly from elaborate whalebone creations to straitjacket-esque “imbecile sleeves” (Emily Brontë was mocked for clinging on to the Romantic gigot sleeves long after they had fallen out of fashion in the 1840s). (Johanna Thomas-Corr)
Drapers features the new collection by Alistair James:
The autumn collection was inspired by the novels of the Brontë sisters, known for their haunting narratives in wild settings, and historical references appear as wispy white dresses and structured, almost corseted gowns. (Harriet Brown)
The Sydney Morning Herald talks about Your Always: Letter of Longing:
The exquisite irony of longing is that it feeds on rejection, denial and silence. If the writers of these letters had not been rebuffed, we would not have these intense, eloquent testaments to unrequited and barely contained passion. Charlotte Brontë's increasingly ardent letters to her former teacher, Professor Heger, are a case study in the agony of trying to master overwhelming feelings. "…one pays for eternal calm with an internal struggle that is almost unbearable." (Fiona Capp)
20 Minutos (Spain) describes - rather mistakenly - a street terrace in Madrid:
Obra del estudio Proyecto Singular. Fue sede bancaria y conseva en su interior la puerta del búnker de la caja fuerte. La zona de entrada es una bonita terraza acristalada digna de una novela de Emily Brontë. (Translation)
Pseudonyms in Le Monde (France). Impressions In Ink reviews Wide Sargasso Sea. Nick Holland writes about Anne Brontë in London on AnneBrontë.org.