Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Space where the soul slips through

Liberty Voice recommends reading to reduce stress:

Looking for ways to relieve stress? Some contemporary stress releases are Ken Follett, Daniel Silva, Walter Isaacson, Sue Grafton and J.K. Rowling or her alter ego Robert Galbraith. Some old tried and true ones are Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë or Fyodor Dostoevsky. Even some chick lit or vampire novels. Research shows someone can improve their concentration and reduce stress levels if they curl up with and read an engrossing book for at least 30 minutes of slow reading enjoyment. (Dyanne Weiss)
The Billings Gazette reviews Little Raw Souls by Steven Schwartz:
The title of the book comes from “The Glass Essay,” Anne Carson’s haunting poem about heartbreak, creativity and Emily Brontë, which finds complex humanity in the unobserved “space where the little raw soul/slips through.” (Danell Jones)
Daily Mail's You Magazine has an article about this year's WellChild awards. The winner of the inspirational Young Person Aged 12-15 award was able to face the most devastating moments with a smile:
Days later, however, Cecilia-Joy was being rushed back to the UK in an air ambulance after being taken ill with excruciating headaches – an emergency scan had shown she was suffering from a brain tumour.
‘It was the biggest shock. We just couldn’t believe it,’ says Jo. ‘But Cecilia-Joy said: “Don’t worry, Mummy, we’ll get through this.” And within half an hour, she was cracking jokes and asking: “Does this mean that I don’t have to read Jane Eyre for my English homework?”’ (Catherine O'Brien)
Nora Robert's Inn BoonsBoro always finds a place in the local press. This time in The Morning Call:
On the other side of the state, the Inn BoonsBoro in Western Maryland is owned by best-selling author Nora Roberts, who undertook a restoration of the historic building. Many of the inn's eight graciously appointed rooms and suites bear the names of literary lovers. Think Elizabeth and Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice," Jane and Rochester from "Jane Eyre," as well as Shakespeare's Titania and Oberon from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (Donna M. Owen)
The Irish Independent interviews the chef Rory O'Connell:
The book that changed my life
Wuthering Heights for my Leaving Cert - I never knew at the age of 15 that such passion existed.
Diario de Cádiz (Spain) interviews the Spanish film director Gonzalo García-Pelayo:
En el imaginario popular la copla siempre ha estado asociada a una época y un régimen político determinado. ¿Cómo va a ser tratada en su película?
-Es un argumento falso porque la copla nace en la República con temas como Ojos verdes que no representan esa ideología. El género tiene gran éxito en la Dictadura y ésta intenta domesticarlo; se hacían coplas como Mi Jaca y se quedaban tranquilos. No pretendo tratarla desde una perspectiva histórica sino desde los elementos universales que se hallan en ella: el amor fou, las perversiones como el sadismo o el masoquismo. Lo que siempre les gustó a los surrealistas, el concepto de volcán, el ambiente de novelas como Cumbres borrascosas. "Ser esclavo por ti" o "Llévame por calles de miel y amargura" son letras que pertenecen a la copla más marginal a la cultura del Régimen, que no tienen que ver con la estética que por entonces imperaba. (Julio Sampalo) (Translation)
Diario Progresista (Spain) considers that Emily Brontë died in poverty (!) and Charlotte Brontë apparently in opulence (!!).
 Volviendo a las escritoras del desván podemos decir que algunas autoras no tuvieron éxito en vida porque eligieron escribir lo que querían a pesar del riesgo de ser malinterpretadas o incluso acusadas de “masculinas”, “soeces” o “poco delicadas” como ocurrió con el que sigue siendo el más célebre libro salido de la familia Brontë, que murió en la semipobreza salvo en el caso de Charlotte. Hablo claro está de Cumbres borrascosas, admirada un año después por los surrealistas y que ha conocido versiones complejas donde se ponen en evidencia algunos de los códigos de género, raza o clase de la época. El héroe romántico Heatchliff es un gitano, la heroína se salta todo lo que la familia patriarcal espera de ella. Y unos y otros no ocultan un odio feroz hacia esas buenas maneras que ocultan la violencia del capitalismo de la época, y las formas cada vez más variadas y complejas de mantener a las mujeres en roles pre-determinados. (Eduardo Nabal Aragón) (Translation)
The Pen & Muse interviews the writer Lin Scheller:
What do you like to read?
I read everything that I consider well written and compelling. Just to mention a few of my favorite books: the Count of Monte Cristo, the Hunger Games, Bonjour la Tristesse (sic) (Hello the Sadness), Pride and Prejudice, David Copperfield, Wuthering Heights, and so on, and so forth.
The Philadelphia Enquirer interviews the interim president of Bryn Mawr College, Kimberly Wright Cassidy who chooses Jane Eyre as her favourite book. A Wuthering Heights reference onan article about the new house of the comedian Alexander Armstrong in The Sunday Times. In the same newspaper we also found an article about the artist Paula Rego where her Jane Eyre-inspired paintings are mentioned.

A Read-Along an a Course

A read-along and a course, both starting next Monday, September 22:
The 2014 Jane Eyre Read-Along
is brought to you by the blogs A Night's Dream of Books & Babbling Books!

When Maria of A Night's Dream of Books and myself began to discuss doing a read - along the first question that came to mind was what book to choose.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte became the apparent choice very early on. Maria and I have been discussing it lately and it is one of her favorites. Thus, this will be reread for her. For my part I have wanted to read this novel for a long time.
We have a schedule planned that will allow ourselves as well as other participants to engage in what I expect to be lively and stimulating posts and discussions. 
Details here.
Madness and the 19th-Century Novel
Bishopsgate Institute
Monday 22 September - Monday 01 December
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Tutor: Sarah Wise
Notes: This course takes place on alternate weeks
Mental illness – real or alleged – is a major theme or plot device in many 19th-century novels. This course examines a number of works, some well known, others less so, and will analyses the variety of Victorian views of insanity. Books include Jane Eyre, The Woman in White and The Fall of the House of Usher. 

For more information about this course and what you will learn, see the course outline

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The courageous Jane at the Wild West (or the kitchen chair at Salvador Dalí's cottage garden)

The Daily Mail gives some curious piece of trivia taken from the TV show QI (Quite Interesting). Apparently:

Charlotte Brontë was the first person to use the terms ‘cottage-garden’, ‘raised eyebrow’, ‘Now, now!’, ‘kitchen chair’ and ‘Wild West’.
To be found in the following novels and chapters:
cottage gardens: Chapter XXXVII Shirley
raised eyebrows: Chapter XIII Jane Eyre
Now, now :Chapter XVIII Jane Eyre
kitchen chair: Chapter  XVIII Jane Eyre  
Wild West: Chapter XXXVI Shirley

The Independent's football section talks about the Burnley Premier League team:
Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers has made a big statement of belief too, of course, and Southampton will probably field four Englishmen at Swansea. But it is in the surrounds of Gawthorpe Hall on the banks of Lancashire’s River Calder, where the Brontë sisters were once regular visitors, and where Sean Dyche’s players now train, that some of the English talents cast aside by billionaire owners are setting out in the top flight with something to prove. (Ian Herbert)
As a matter of fact, it was only Charlotte Brontë who visited Sir James and Lady Kay-Shuttleworth at Gawthorpe Hall. Hardly a regular visitor, though. She was there only twice, in March 1850 and after her marriage in January 1855.

Today's Brighton performance of Peter McMaster's all-male Wuthering Heights adaptation is discussed in Sussex Express:
Spokeswoman Emma Robertson said: “McMaster’s all-male, award-winning interpretation of Emily Brontë’s seminal text re-visits the iconic landscapes and characters from Wuthering Heights and places them alongside the stories of the male performers to consider how, almost 200 years after the book was published, the lives and aspirations of men are now different.
“Featuring overly-high drama, romantic violence, a touch of Yorkshire bleakness and a few alternative endings, the performance focuses particularly on Heathcliff’s mysterious disappearance from the moors, and his subsequent return as a man.
Meira Bienstock lists in The Huffington Post courageous literary characters:
Jane Eyre -- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre always has the odds against her throughout the novel. An orphan living with her tyrant aunt and terrible cousins, she is ridiculed daily. After being sent away to school, she becomes close friends to a girl named Helen. However, when Helen becomes terribly ill, Jane sleeps in the same crib, holding her before/as she dies. Staying strong, Jane takes up a position as a governess to the little Adèle at Thornfield Hall. The novel twists as she falls in love with her employer Mr. Rochester, and throughout the novel, their relationship becomes intimate intellectually.
Only, in comes the stunning and snobby Miss. Ingram, and Jane must watch as Mr. Rochester and Miss. Ingram court one another. To cope with the pain and to keep calm, Jane sketches two portraits with crayons: one of them Miss. Ingram (drawn as a lovely woman) and one of herself with the words written underneath, "Portrait of a governess, disconnected, poor, and plain." (Jane Eyre, page 191) She keeps them as a reminder as how she views herself in the face of Mr. Rochester. With this fierceness to keep her love for Mr. Rochester at bay, she holds her head high and keeps her lips sealed tightly unless spoken too. When the word of Miss. Ingram's and Mr. Rochester's marriage reach Jane's ears, she remains composed.
Daphne Guinness in The Independent recalls her days in Cadaqués:
Guinness grew up between the Midlands and Cadaqués, the Spanish town frequented and immortalised by Salvador Dalí. "We lived in a chapel up the mountain – we still do – and he lived in Port Lligat, which was down by the sea," recalls Guinness. "My mother, her first husband was his only pupil, and he was her great mentor. There was also Man Ray, there was also Duchamp – he died when I was one, I wish I had met him... So, there was this idea of there being a kind of haven, away from the dealers, the galleries, all of these things. It was tough then, it is really tough now. It is a fantastic place because it is very difficult to get to, our house is about... it takes about half an hour up a very, very, very winding dirt track and it is a chapel. No water, no electricity, no toys, nothing. So, it was great. Spanish Wuthering Heights." (Alexander Fury)
Ben Bromley describes his play Fishwrap in the The Dunn County News:
Of course, as my nine loyal readers no doubt suspected, “Fishwrap” is hardly a hard-hitting drama. It’s rife with puns, as well as jokes about booze and sex. Hey, it takes place in a newsroom: What do you think we talk about around here, the Brontë sisters’ collected works? (Ben Bromley)
The Huffington Post UK interviews the author Kate Mosse:
My women, I suppose, are a type of woman – but they are a fictional type, they’re not based upon anybody in the real world. I suppose you could say they’re inspired by characters from Emily Brontë, Daphne du Maurier, H. Rider Haggard – these great adventure and gothic heroes are the people who inspire my women. (Natasha Hinde)
Gawker talks about Daphne du Maurier and Rebecca:
But jealousy, not love, is Rebecca's subject. It’s Jane Eyre if Rochester mattered much less, and the mad wife in the attic much more (and if it turned out that poor Bertha Mason had, in her day, given some amazing dinner parties). (Carrie Frye)
Sheila Kohler insists on the parallelisms between Rebecca and Jane Eyre in Psychology Today:
I was struck too by the similarities between this novel and Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.” Du Maurier’s shy timid young wife simply steps in for the governess, Jane Eyre. The narrator in Rebecca even starts out as a sort of governess or anyway companion when Max de Winter meets her in Monte Carlo. The mad wife in the attic from “Jane Eyre” is portrayed by the dead Rebecca. Or is it rather the housekeeper, Mrs Danforth, who seems particularly and madly obsessed with Rebecca, who terrifies us the way poor Bertha, the wife who is kept hidden in the attic, frightens the reader? The master of the manor, Mr Rochester at Thornfield is played by Max de Winter in Rebecca in his mansion, Manderley. They are both similarly paternalistic and condescending with their young paramours. Both great houses go up in smoke, literally, at the end, burning not only their properties but also the sins of the masters conveniently for both these female authors: Charlotte Brontë and Daphne du Maurier.
Laura Maw complains of the absence of female authors in GCSE set texts in The Huffington Post:
At GCSE, I studied Steinbeck and Priestley. My first year at A-Level, I studied Browning, Auden, Fitzgerald and Hosseini. It was only in the second year that I studied Carter and Brontë as well as Marlowe. Work by female authors took up less than a third of my secondary education space - and unequal gender representation is set to increase.
We read in Hello! Magazine and other news outlets we know how Anne Brontë's Farewell poem was read at the funeral of Dr Antony Kidman (Nicole Kidman's father) yesterday in Sydney, Australia. Book in the Bag reviews The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. nFold posts about Emily Brontë. Finally, Oubliette Magazine (in Italian) posts a life after death interview with the Brontë sisters themselves (who, by the way, could have said something about the arguable choice of portraits used in the post:  the usual spurious suspects and Ann Mary Newton's self portrait passing for Anne Brontë).

Fire at Thornfield Plus Emily's Poetry

Two new compilations with Brontë-related content:
Opening Doors to Famous Poetry and Prose. 
Ideas and Resources for Accessing Literary Heritage Works

by Bob Cox
Crown House Publishing
Format: Paperback with CD Rom
Published: September 2014
ISBN 13: 9781845908966

Opening Doors provides 20 units of work covering poetry and prose from our literary heritage. Each unit comes with exciting stimulus material and creative suggestions for ways in which the material can be used for outstanding learning possibilities. Illustrations and innovative ideas to help pupils access the meaning and wonder of the text add to the book’s appeal.
Pupils are encouraged, throughout the units of work, to engage with language, invent questions and write with flair and accuracy, bringing literature from the past to life and opening doors to further reading and exploration.
Also included is an introduction to the concepts used in the book and suggestions for a range of methods and pathways which can lead to language development and literary appreciation. Although the units are diverse and have a range of poetry and prose for teachers to use, the book presents cohesive methods for engaging children with a variety of different literary texts and improving standards of literacy.
Opening Doors both informs and excites. It contains everything you need for outstanding English lessons, including a free CD full of resources for primary English, including extracts from the literary works and activities to get started with. Let’s begin.
For teachers of 7–11 year olds.
Part 2: Opening doors to prose
14. Fire at Thornfield – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
100 Poems To See You Through
by Daisy Goodwin
Published by Ebury Press
ISBN: 9780091958176
Published: 4 Sep 2014

When times are tough - whether because of illness, bereavement or receiving bad news - it can be hard to find the right words. Help comes in the form of this beautifully packaged gift book, comprising 100 life-affirming poems handpicked by an expert on poetry. Grouping the poems by theme - from 'Hearing Bad News' to 'How To Carry On' - this gem of a book features contributions from classical poets such as John Keats, Emily Brontë, W.H. Auden and Christina Rossetti alongside lines from more contemporary poets such as Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Jennings, Raymond Carver, Carol Ann Duffy and Wendy Cope. It adds up to a wonderful pick-me-up - a self-administered drug guaranteed to make a dark day brighter and act as a great lyrical crutch.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Independent Brontës

The Telegraph looks at other parts of the UK wishing to break away such as:

Devolutionary credibility: 7/10
The Yorkshire devolution movement may be fairly small but my, is it feisty. The largest historic county in the United Kingdom has a population the size of Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales – and some residents feel Yorkshire’s identity doesn’t get enough recognition as just one part of Great Britain. A nation state of Yorkshire would already have a national cuisine (Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire puddings), a strong literary culture (the Brontë sisters), and perform well at the Olympics – Yorkshire would have come 12th in 2012 if it had competed as its own country. Geoffrey Boycott could be a strong contender for state figurehead, but let’s not encourage this trend – Yorkshire’s flat caps are at the heart of Britishness, and there they should remain. (Olivia Goldhill)
The Huffington Post lists five books that celebrate Scotland.
The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter ScottIt doesn't get more Scottish than Sir Walter Scott. Although he may be best known for his other works like Ivanhoe and Waverley, the Bride of Lammermoor is one of his more entertainingly bizarre works. It is a Wuthering Heights style story of brooding men and obsessive love and fallen families, but the conclusion is more absurd than anything the Brontës offered. (Lauren Sarner)
The Independent reviews Gwendolen: A Novel by Diana Souhami, which features Gwendolen Harleth out of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. This of course warrants a mention of Wide Sargasso Sea:
The novel re-costumes Gwendolen as the latest in a line of resurrected protagonists. Jean Rhys opened this terrain with Wide Sargasso Sea. Since then, heroines out of the Brontës, Austen and du Maurier have all made comebacks – even Virginia Woolf, if you count Michael Cunningham's The Hours. This sub-genre calls for a tricky blend of pastiche, homage, critique and re-imagining. (Boyd Tonkin)
The Guardian looks at the way some poets have written about death.
Rupert Brooke wanted some part of him to be “forever England”. Keith Douglas asked to be simplified when he was dead. Emily Brontë pleaded for death itself in Death. Emily Dickinson “heard a Fly buzz” when she died. Sylvia Plath assidously courted death in Lady Lazarus, and the poem made a conscious performance of it. (George Szirtes)
The Craven Herald and Pioneer tells its readers about the use of the long s:
Taking the easiest first, part of the answer lies in the use of the "long s", very similar to today’s "f", which was once standard with words that would now use a double "ss".
It went out of favour and fashion in the 1790s, but continued in more formal use for at least another 60 years. Charlotte Brontë writing to a friend in 1848 referred to the novelist Jane Austen as "Mifs Austen". (Lindsey Moore)
France TV Info features Coco Channel's apartment as seen by Sam Taylor-Wood.
De la bergère tendue de satin blanc sur laquelle Chanel fut photographiée par Horst en 1937, des paravents de Coromandel aux miroirs vénitiens, des murs recouverts d’éditions reliées de Shakespeare, Voltaire, Byron et Brontë, aux lustres en cristal de roche du salon sur lesquels un oeil attentif pourra déceler une floraison de camélias, sans oublier le chiffre 5, le double C, et les initiales G pour Gabrielle et W pour Westminster, aucun détail n’a été omis. (Corinne Jeammet) (Translation)
The latest on-screen Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester are mentioned in two different articles today. Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes Mia Wasikowska's portrayal of Jane:
In Cary Fukunaga's screen version of "Jane Eyre," she played Jane with calm, transfixing purity. (Joe Morgenstern)
While Stuff (New Zealand) shares an instagram image of a ferry passenger with Michel Fassbender. The passenger accompanied the pictures with a bit of fangirl gushing:
A-list actor and X-Men star Michael Fassbender is in in Marlborough.
"The Fass", as he is sometimes referred to, was spotted by fans on the ferry from Wellington to Picton yesterday.
One woman took to Instagram, a social media platform where you can share photos, posting a picture of herself with Fassbender on the ferry about noon.
She posted the photo with the caption: "Life is complete, met Michael Fassbender aka Mr Rochester [Jane Eyre] on the Wellington to Picton ferry!! #starstruck #michaelfassbender #newzealand."
People began commenting on the photo, to which the woman said she was "giggling like a school girl" after meeting him. (Chloe Winter)
The Big Issue interviews Amanda Owen, known as the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Her farm is described as
heather moorland – very Wuthering Heights. It’s all drystone walls and barns. The heather has started to flower so it’s got a purple hue. (Vicky Carroll)
An alert from Davis, California:
Jane Eyre,” a 1996 multi-national film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, will be screened Friday, Sept. 19, as part of the International Film Series.
The series is co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of Davis and International House. Doors at I-House, 10 College Park, open at 7:30 p.m. and the film begins promptly at 8 p.m. (The Davis Enterprise)
The two latest screen adaptations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are the subject of two posts: Film Intel gives 3 stars out of 5 to Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights Blu-Ray release and Cinema de novo writes in Portuguese about Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre. 

Finally, via the Brontë Parsonage Twitter, here's a clip of The Secret Life of Books episode on Jane Eyre featuring Ann Dinsdale and Bidisha. The programme is to be broadcast at the end of this month.

Wuthering Heights in Brighton

A new chance to catch the Peter McMaster adaptation of Wuthering Heights:

Peter McMaster
Wuthering Heights
Sat 20 Sep, 7pm & 9.15pm
Studio Theatre, Brighton Dome

Four performers explore their experiences of being men in Peter McMaster’s bold, award-winning, all male interpretation of Emily Brontë’s seminal text. As they recall the dark expanses of the Yorkshire moors, they sing together, full-throated, and dance optimistically to the howling tones of Kate Bush.
They ask, almost 200 years after the book was published, are the aspirations of men very different now? The energy of this brave new performance is not to be missed.
Presented by The Arches, Glasgow

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Somewhat recommended Jane Eyre

The Chicago Tribune gives 3 stars to Lifeline Theatre's Jane Eyre.

Charlotte Brontë's best-known novel, as adapted by Christina Calvit, makes its third appearance since 1991 on Lifeline's stage. But this production, directed by Dorothy Milne, marks my first visit to Calvit's version of Thornfield Hall. In Lifeline's hands, Mr. Rochester's gloomy home provides a suitably disquieting environment. While the show could afford to take bigger emotional risks, it succeeds at setting off the original story's Romantic-era notions of psychic duality through some stark but effective staging choices. [...]
Much of Jane's back story before she goes to Thornfield as governess takes the form of a hallucinogenic prelude. We get fragmented visions of her cruel treatment at the hands of her rich Aunt Reed (Kyra Morris) and the Dickensian (or Bronte-ian, really) privations she suffered at Lowood School, run by the vicious Mr. Brocklehurst (Anthony Kayer). Most piteously, Jane's dead school chum, Helen (Maya Lou Hlava), appears and reappears as a hollow-eyed specter in a blood-spattered white shift, repeatedly telling her "You think too much of the love of human beings, Jane."
Given how little of that love Jane has experienced, it's no wonder that she should yearn for it.
Jhenai Mootz's Bertha — Rochester's first wife and the original Madwoman in the Attic — fittingly haunts the upper levels of the stage, foreshadowing Jane's difficulties just as Aunt Reed, Helen and Brocklehurst remind her of her painful past. There is a bit of a steampunk feel to costume designer Jana Anderson's deconstructed corset dresses that works well with the movable stark slats of set designer William Boles' skeletal representation of Thornfield — a world where secrets hide in plain sight and the underlying social structures provide puny support for a new love. Or for a mentally unstable first wife.
Among the adult cast members, only Bhatt and John Henry Roberts as the tormented and sardonic Rochester (more sepulchral than Byronesque) handle solo roles. (Young Hlava is joined on the juvenile team by winsome Ada Grey — Roberts' daughter — as Adele, Rochester's ward.) Clever double-casting underscores the story's dualism, so for example Mootz also plays brittle and haughty Blanche Ingram, the presumptive fiancee of Rochester, and Joshua Moaney is both Bertha's brother, Richard, whose revelations send Jane out in the cold from Thornfield, and St. John Rivers, the stiff-necked clergyman who gives her shelter. [...]
Meantime, Lifeline's production offers us a "Jane Eyre" that streamlines the complicated plot while still providing compelling glimpses of the psychological demons and moral deformities haunting its lovers. (Kerry Reid)
Showbiz Chicago reviews the production as well although not so positively.
For a classical theatre company celebrating 30 years I found this production (as I do many of Lifeline Theatre’s productions) sloppy in dramaturgical and period details. Most glaring were Jana Anderson’s haphazard costumes (they did not have zippers in 1844 England nor rayon). Men did not wear short sleeve button down shirts either. Jane Erye wore one basic costume with a modern stripe patterned skirt and a leather looking top that had a zipper which was definitely not period. I don’t know if they are trying to be hip and give a modern flair to this Jane Eyre but I found it highly distracting and it took me out of the 1844 English world of the play. If you are going to define an era specifically in the program (which Lifeline does) then set it in the era and be consistent with the details.
This may not bother much of the Chicago theatre-going audience as they have been fed this for years but, through this lack of attention to detail me as an audience member, was never transported to Brontë’s England of 1844. What bothers me even more is that they are teaching young kids about the classics and owe it to them to be historically and dramaturgically accurate. I think too many theatre companies play fast and loose with historical accuracy which makes for sloppy and untruthful theatre.
Lastly I wish to address the pros and cons of blind casting with classic theatre. I will admit that I am not a proponent of it as I believe it is the job of a theatre to establish truth on the stage and transport me into the world of the play and casting is paramount in achieving this. The pros are that it provides some very talented African American actors an opportunity with classic text. And I will commend Lifeline in their handling of this with Jane Eyre; I did not find the blind casting in this production to be that distracting. However I found it jolting when two African American actresses voice their excitement about whether or not another African American actor’s character owns a plantation. I found this in bad taste. They also made the comment on several occasions about how pale and flushed Jane is when the actress is not Caucasian. This is an instance where the script should have been altered to accommodate the casting choices. (James Murray)
It is 'somewhat recommended' by Chicago Critic, which seems to take the middle ground:
I can say that I had some issues with the highly theatrical take on the  19th Century Gothic novel. While the color-blind inter-racial casting works fine, the use of such accurate RP British accents was so dominate that the cast got so overwhelmed with their sounds that their characters came off as period-dressed costumes living in their RP speech at the expense of being believable real characters. Add much screaming and, at times, rapid-fire talking and  many important plot details got lost in the over emotional over-the-top performances. The only natural performance that impressed me came form Anu Bhatt as Jane Eyre. She played the title character with a empathetic, determined and focused persona that nicely made the lonely, damaged soul strive for new life purpose as she struggles to free herself from the ghosts from her past.  Along the way, Jane realizes that her only hope is to find love on her own terms. [...]
In the present Lifeline production of Jane Eyre, the characters came off as unreal, almost caricatures,  that became caught up with the stylized movements and revolving patterns that came off as 1960’s avant-garde theatricality that played as puzzling action that did little for the story and only seemed to be the whim of the director. This sprawling epic didn’t need the frantic movements and the long-wooden slab set that moved often also became a mystery element. Sometimes, in search of a fresh concept, creatives get carried away with the theatrics that renders a distraction from the story being told. That was the case here.
But, intimately, Jane Eyre’s journey toward love and independence reaches as a workable stage event once we get over all the clutter. Fans of Charlotte Brontë will have a challenge with this production.
The Seahawk's number one recommendation for the fall is reading classic novels:
Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë and “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger are all excellent choices to read this fall. A book you read as an assignment in high school can take on a completely different feeling now that you’re choosing to read it outside of the academic environment. So try curling up with a classic under a throw blanket on a stormy day. Or perhaps try reading while sitting under a tree that’s just started to turn gold and red. You can even carry a book around like an accessory while wearing a button-down sweater and your tortoiseshell-framed glasses, and see how much smarter it makes you feel. (Autumn Rose Rankin)
Speaking of autumn, this Times Higher Education article might be our first sighting of the year of a quote of Emily Brontë's poem 'Fall, leaves, fall'. We are pretty sure it won't be the last.

Global Post (via Reuters) finds a Brontëite in writer Jessie Burton.
Q; Who are your three favorite authors?
A: Of all time? Charlotte Brontë, Hilary Mantel, and Margaret Atwood. (Verity Watkins)
Seven Days goes off on a tangent while reviewing the book Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian.
Caulfield-inflected narrators have not been exactly rare (see CJ Hauser's The From-Aways for another recent spirited Caulfield exemplar). They are legion in young-adult fiction, whether well realized or not — but that is exactly the thing about Holden, isn't it? He's a character whose incarnations always were bound to multiply, his enduring popularity prefigured by his belief, similar to Jane Eyre's, in an audience who will see his actions and rationalizations as making perfect sense, the embodiment of a certain moral integrity widely extinguished from a fallen world. Well, Holden was right. Regardless of whether we conflate him with author J.D. Salinger (tempting but misguided), the number of people who saw themselves in the runaway teen was evinced by the near-constant stream of enraptured pilgrims to Salinger's wooded driveway, minds set aglow by the novel. (J.T. Price)
Flavorwire complains that jealousy and envy just aren't what they used to.
And why is envy so dry these days? It’s a topic that’s had resonance in the history of 19th- and early-20th-century literature — the works of Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth in particular; Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; even Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and her specific brutality in depicting the dynamic between Jo and the youngest March, Amy. It’s the driver for so many great literary plots. (Elisabeth Donnelly)
PopMatters lists '12 Essential Songs for the Kate Bush Novice'. You can guess the first one:
1. “Wuthering Heights
(The Kick Inside, 1978)
Bush’s first hit single, “Wuthering Heights“ is an ode to the famous novel of the same name by Emily Brontë. In the BBC documentary, Bush said she got the idea for the song while catching the last five minutes of the 1967 TV series based on the book, in which the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw stood outside the window of Wuthering Heights, begging to be let in. Bush then read the novel to capture the mood of the song. Her efforts, after reportedly only a few hours of writing, earned her a number one hit that stayed at the top of the British charts for almost a month during the spring of 1978. The song takes quotes directly from the novel, including “It’s me, I’m so cold“, and is the first Bush tune to make references to literature, which she does again on later albums. Bush’s haunting vocals float over the twinkling piano and a guitar solo by Ian Bairnson (who worked with Alan Parsons), making the song a splendid example of Bush’s sonic wizardry. (Jennifer Makowsky)
Polskie Radio (Poland) has a podcast by Eryk Ostrowski, author of the controversial book on Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte Brontë i jej siostry śpiące. Andra reviews Jane Eyre (in Portuguese).

Brontë Society Gazette. Issue 64

The latest issue of The Brontë Society Gazette is now out (Issue 64. September 2014. ISSN 1344-5940).

Letter from the Editor by Helen Krispien
Letter from the Chairman by Sally McDonald, Retiring Chairman,The Brontë Society Council
Members June Weekend 2014
     A transantlantic treat for the annual church service by Christine Went
     Thornton to Haworth Walk by Susan Aykroyd
     A night at The Old White Lion by Sally McDonald
     Excursion to Liverpool by Sally McDonald
Marigold, to his friends by Alexandra Lesley, ALS representative for the Brontë Society Council
Miss Brontë, why don't you ... by Christine Went
Poetry Corner: Emily's Moorland Ghost by Carolyne Van Der Meer; Miscellany of Thoughts on Brontëana by Marilyn Nickelsburg; The Crows by Yvonne THomas
A Bassompierre link restored by Akiko Higuchi
Review of The Professor by Claire Blanchard
Membership News: Brontës in Brussels by Helen MacEwan; Announcement; In Memoriam.
Letter to the Editor: In defence of Heathcliff by Bernice Rippingale
The Merlin by Andy Mydellton
Shirley in context. Nicholas Shrimpton at the Brussels Brontë Group, 29 March 2014 by Charlotte Mathieson
The Brontë Birthplace by Angela Crow-Woods.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

South of Scotland, North of Wuthering Heights

The Huffington Post wonders, 'Why Do Women Read More Novels Than Men?'

In the murky definition where the literary crosses swords with the popular, note the names of these authors: Dickens, Balzac, Brontë, Tolstoy, Lessing, Hemingway, Sands, Eliot, Austen, Proust, Shelly, Faulkner, Joyce, McCullers, Fitzgerald, Cather, Stowe, Wharton, etc. -- some female and some male. Their stories have been told from the point of view of both genders; stories that are about the human species and not confined merely to an isolated gender.
The gender of a novelist is irrelevant to their creativity. The criterion is talent, a mysterious and extraordinary gift that does not discriminate. A talented female author can find her way into the mind and heart of her male characters just as a male writer can do the same with his female characters. If there is some mythical dividing line between the insight, wisdom, and literary skill between men and women, it is not apparent to me. As for the reasons women dominate the reading market or perhaps the writing profession, I don't have the answers -- I can understand economic and opportunity parity, but not intellectual and artistic parity. (Warren Adler)
This made us think of Charlotte Brontë's own words, from an 1849 letter to William Smith Williams.
I am reminded of the 'Economist'. The literary critic of that paper praised the book if written by a man--and pronounced it 'odious' if the work of a woman.
To such critics I would say--'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 judgement'.
The Economist separates what belongs to Scotland from what belongs to the rest of the United Kingdom. So:
A less great Britain loses a quarter of its territory and almost all of its mountains. Scotland lays claim to the ski resorts (and, sadly, a bit more of the rain). It gets some of the oil in the North Sea. But for actors, athletes, tourism and treasure, the kingdom comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland holds a generous lead. Among inventors, Scotland gets John Logie Baird who devised the first television, while England lays rights on Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. The 18th century poet Robert Burns goes north, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontë sisters and others stay south. Among politicians, the Scots can claim Gordon Brown; the rest of Blighty gets Churchill. In music, Annie Lennox and the Bay City Rollers have to hold their own against England’s Bowie, Beatles and Stones. (P.K., D.D.M. and K.N.C)
Bustle also uses a north-south example to explain where actor Charlie Hunman comes from in England:
Not only is Charlie Hunnam a Secret Brit like Andrew Lincoln, Damien Lewis, and Michael Sheen, he comes from a small town in the North of England. He’s from lake country like… north of Yorkshire, meaning north of Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden and Downton Abbey. (Leah Thomas)
Jarvis Cocker scans the letter B in bookshops, but apparently skips the Brontës, as he writes in an article for The Independent:
Whenever I'm in a bookshop, I go to the "B" section and compulsively scan the shelves murmuring "Bradbury… Brontë… Burroughs…' I am, of course, looking for the name Richard Brautigan. I seldom find it. It's a nervous habit that dates back to the time when all his writing was out of print and the only places to find his novels and poetry were second-hand booksellers and charity shops.
The Deccan Chronicle, however, does find a Brontë reader in writer Rasleen Syal.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have grown up reading classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, which define love as pure, everlasting and all consuming. With time, I realised that in this age of technology, the old world love has lost its charm. The invariable link-ups, break-ups, betrayals, crumbling marriages, is the truth of today. India has witnessed so many cases of love gone awry, resulting in acid attacks, rapes, murders and other such heinous crimes. My book reflects this techno-crazy society we live in and the sham world of romantic love it endorses. (Garima Nagpal)
Female First interviews another writer: Kate Horsley.
The book has been compared to Jean Rhys and Valerie Martin, so how does this make you feel?
It’s lovely to hear comparisons like that, because I’m a huge fan of Wide Sargasso Sea and Mary Reilly. The former is the classic example of a literary response. Rhys takes a marginal character who is blamed and hidden away in Jane Eyre and pushes her into the centre of the narrative. She rewrites the book from the perspective of the 'madwoman', giving her a story so compelling that it's impossible to go back to the original in the same light. In Mary Reilly, Martin rewrites Jekyll and Hyde from a maidservant's perspective and my novel is very much in that tradition. Like Mary Reilly, Oona is female and working class. She's an intense person, a brave one too, and feels equal to the tasks of tackling the doctor and unraveling the island's mysteries. A lot of the gothic elements of Frankenstein are still there in The Monster's Wife, but I think my focus was on emotion more than on science, psychology more than philosophy. If Rhys's book is told from the perspective of the 'mad', then mine is from the perspective of the 'monsters', people whose experience of illness and disfigurement has made them outcasts. To me the monster and his bride represent everyone who is rejected by society for being different. The so-called 'normal' people are the ones who create all the horror in the book. (Lucy Walton)
Breathless Blog interviews yet another writer, A.J. Llewellyn.
I’m guessing that like most writers you’re also a passionate reader.  What is you favourite book?
Of all time? Oh my goodness, how do I answer that? I’d have to say Jane Eyre. It was the first romance novel I ever read, and I still worship it. [...]
Here’s a nice simple one - your favourite hero and why?
Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. He was so proud and loved her so deeply he was willing to let her go. Sob! And when she did come back and found he was blind, he was humbled by her love. And love gave him his eyesight back. Aaahhh…I love this story. (Domino Lane)
The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses some paper topics:
Back when I was in grad school, though, I found myself going nuts. You want me to write a dissertation on Victorian literature? Just Victorian literature? Why?
I’d just spent five years studying Victorian literature, creative writing, composition and rhetoric, multicultural theory and pedagogy. The idea of suddenly developing a laser-thin focus on some esoteric topic—Brontë’s use of the word “hitherto,” say, or Charles Dickens’s obsession with his sister-in-law’s big toe—seemed peculiar to me. Wasn’t the point of the study of literature to jump from idea to idea, following connections, discovering distinctions, unwinding the strands of thought to see where they took you?
Apparently not. Following the oral defense for my three qualifying exams, I was left standing in the hall for an uncomfortably long period while my three area professors debated with each other. (Paul Hanstedt)
Neil Turner's Blog features the new Brontë Garden at Sowerby Bridge Station.

The Brontë Season

One of the highlights of the Brontë year begins tomorrow, September 17. The West Country-based Live Wire Theatre and Butterfly Psyche Theatre Companies begin a Brontë Season:

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland
Directed by Jazz Hazelwood
Starring Alison Campbell

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland
Directed by Jazz Hazelwood
Starring Alison Campbell and Jeremy Fowlds

Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Adapted by Alison Farina
Directed by Shane Morgan
Starring Madelaine Ryan and Tom Turner.

The theatre performances consist of the three adaptations created to work as a whole. The idea is to feature each of the Brontë sister’s work to show their differences in tone, style, and storytelling as well as support their literary value as individual female writers as well as that of a collective (“The Brontës”).
Performed in rep, with only one and two actors, there’s a chance to mix-and-match an old favourite along with a new acquaintance as well as the chance to see all three (with breaks, obviously!) at Omnibus Performances on the Saturdays.
More information on The Fine Times Recorder.
Dates and venues:

RONDO THEATRE, BATH: (More info and booking)
Weds 17th Sept: Wuthering Heights
Thurs 18th Sept: Jane Eyre
Fri 19th Sept The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 20th Sept: Wuthering Heights / Jane Eyre / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Weds 24th Sept Wuthering Heights
Thurs 25th Sept: Jane Eyre
Fri 26th Sept: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 27th Sept: Wuthering Heights / Jane Eyre / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

VICTORIA HALL, RADSTOCK: (More info and booking)
Sat 4th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall / Wuthering Heights
Sun 5th Oct: Jane Eyre

ARNOS VALE CEMETRY, BRISTOL (More info and booking)
Weds 8th Oct: Jane Eyre
Thurs 9th Oct: Wuthering Heights
Fri 10th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 11th Oct: Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights / The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

REDMAIDS, BRISTOL (More info and booking)
Weds 22nd Oct: Jane Eyre
Thurs 23rd Oct: Wuthering Heights
Fri 24th Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 25th Oct: Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights

BARNFIELD, EXETER (More info and booking)
Thurs 30th Oct: Jane Eyre
Friday 31st Oct: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Sat 1st Nov: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall / Wuthering Heights

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Reader, I did not marry him."

Picture source
The Independent (Ireland) reports that,
Five leading Irish authors have put a twist on some of the world's best-known novels to raise awareness of a medical condition that can lead to blindness.[...]
Bestselling authors such as Sheila O'Flanagan, Sinead Moriarty and Colm O'Regan have reworked the endings of famous classic novels for AMD Awareness Week 2014.
Ms O'Flanagan turned 'Jane Eyre' on her head while Ms Moriarty gave 'Little Women' a more satisfactory ending. [...]
Ms O'Flanagan's reimagining of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' was inspired by her first impressions of the book as a younger woman.
"I always felt that it ended badly. I thought that Jane was far too good for Mr Rochester and she should never have married, so in my version she doesn't," she said.
She said she found the task of writing in somebody else's voice a "really interesting challenge".
"It is completely different but it was really enjoyable; hopefully if you read my ending it still sounds like it is the same voice and not like somebody has just tacked on something different." (Michael Staines)
The Irish Times carries the story as well, written by Sheila O'Flanagan herself:
When I first read Jane Eyre I remember disliking the character of Mr Rochester intensely and hoping – despite Jane’s obvious feelings for him – that she’d come to her senses and get over him. He’s vain, arrogant and self-centred (as well as being the kind of man who shut his mad wife away in an attic) and definitely not good enough for Jane.
On re-reading it recently, I took a slightly less belligerent view towards him, but I still thought Jane was far too clever and smart to have spent the rest of her life with him, and I liked having the opportunity to change her story.
She goes on to share her new ending for the novel:
Jane Eyre: Reimagined by Sheila O’Flanagan.
Reader, I did not marry him. I said yes when he asked me but my assent was based on a surfeit of emotion brought on by our conversation. I knew that I had been mistaken in yielding to him. My regard for him remained warm, but I was a very different woman from the Jane who had slipped out of Thornfield Hall on what should have been my wedding night, penniless and bereft.
Then I had nothing except the excessive embarrassment that Mr Rochester had caused me for asking me to be his wife when he had another still living, although quite mad. But he had not seen fit to share that information with me and he had allowed me to think that we would have a happy and lawful life together.
And although I forgave him, because the heart behaves differently to the head and because his circumstances had been changed by the actions of that same wife in nearly burning him to death, I had changed too. When I left, I had neither family nor money. And although I had some fortitude borne from a life first with aunt Reed and then at Lowood School, such fortitude was only augmented by having to sleep in the open air and go without food, but still survive.
And, God giving me reward for such fortitude, also rewarded me by bringing me to my family. There can be no luckier person in her cousins than I. My Maker rewarded me too with my fortune, which every woman knows will make her free.
And so, Reader, I was a free woman with means of her own who had survived an ill-fated start to life and the trials and tribulations visited on me. (Read more)
Lotta Olsson in Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) defends the reinterpretation of the classics:
Man ska absolut omtolka litterära klassiker. Självklart! Annars skulle ju till exempel inte Jean Rhys ”Sargassohavet/Den första hustrun” ha blivit skriven, om den galna kvinnan på vinden i Charlotte Brontës ”Jane Eyre”. Det finns massor av begåvade, underbara omtolkningar där man utgår från det litterära verket men vänder på perspektiven. Som Jo Bakers ”Huset Longbourn” som kom på svenska i våras, en version av Jane Austens ”Stolthet och fördom” sedd ur tjänstefolkets synvinkel.
Varken Jean Rhys eller Jo Baker låtsas skriva en spännande fortsättning, och de påstår sig inte skriva som vare sig Charlotte Brontë eller Jane Austen. De skriver som sig själva, och de skriver inte ”Jane Eyre – återkomsten” eller ”Systrarna Bennets senare öden”. Snarare vill de få oss att läsa en redan högt älskad roman med andra ögon. (Translation)
However, a February 18, 1991 article now republished by New Republic argues that, 'You Should Absolutely, Positively Read the Canon in College'.
Your list of classics includes only dead, white males, all tied in to notions and values of Western hegemony. Doesn't this narrow excessively the horizons of education?
All depends on how far forward you go to compose your list of classics. If you do not come closer to the present than the mid-eighteenth century, then of course there will not be many, or even any, women in your roster. If you go past the mid-eighteenth century to reach the present, it's not at all true that only "dead, while males" are to be included. For example—and this must hold for hundreds of other teachers also—I have taught and written about Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Katherine Anne Porter, Doris Lessing, and Flannery O'Connor. I could easily add a comparable list of black writers. Did this, in itself, make me a better teacher? I doubt it. Did it make me a better person? We still lack modes of evaluation subtle enough to say for sure. (Irving Howe
If you want to work out how long reading the canon will take, you may want to take a look at this infographic shared by Bustle.
It also reveals quite a few unexpected details, like the fact that George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is now longer than the Bible, or that Little Women and Jane Eyre are almost the exact same length. (Emma Cueto)
Fast Company takes a look at the 15 most-highlighted passages from classic novels on Kindle. Jane Eyre has made it to number 14 with
"It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.”
Ebook Friendly shares another infographic, this one on the 'love DNA of famous classic novels'.

And more for bookworms, as The Millions has an article by writer Chloe Benjamin 'on fiction and sleep'.
Charlotte Brontë had so powerful an imagination that she referred to her characters as her “inmates.” 
Here's the actual quote she is thinking of. 

A columnist from The Plainsman shares some of the items of her very own  'museum of wonder'.
There are snatches of quotes from great books and lyrics from all the songs I’ve ever heard. There are movie stills and paintings and faces and buildings — Versailles, Harold and Maude, The Clash and Jane Eyre are all on equal footing. (Becky Sheehan)
The Good Men Project mentions seeing Peter McMaster's all-male take on Wuthering Heights. Jessica Rules the Universe posts about Luis Buñuel's film version of the novel. Un libro entre mis manos writes in Spanish about Agnes Grey. 

You on the Moors Now

A Kickstarter project with Brontë-related content you can be interested on. A new theatre play You on The Moors Now by John Kurzynowski

An original Off-Off Broadway play that draws on the works of Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and Louisa May Alcott.

In a 19th-century world where marriage is the only acceptable path, four women refuse proposals from the men who love them. Why do they do it? What will become of them?
For the past two years, Theater Reconstruction Ensemble has been developing You On The Moors Now, a grand theatrical experiment that draws inspiration from the characters and romantic plots of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Little Women. We're giving these incredible characters the contemporary theatrical life they deserve. After numerous work-in-progress showings and private workshops with the cast and creative team, we are thrilled to announce that You On The Moors Now will premiere February 13th - 28th, 2015 at HERE Arts Center in Lower Manhattan as part of their SubletSeries@HERE.
Your pledge funds the full theatrical production of You On The Moors Now. Pledge now and ensure the growth of one of the most promising and exciting young companies producing work in New York today. Pledge now and become a part of our family of supporters and audience members. Pledge now and join us on the MOORS.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jane survives

Picture source
The Sheffield Star reports that artist Sarah Sharpe 'has received award-winning recognition at the 2014 Great North Art Show'.
Narrative artist Sarah Sharpe’s exploration of the orphan child Jane Eyre, entitled ‘The Red Room’, has scooped the prestigious ‘best in show’ title.
The Great North Art Show, which is held at Ripon Cathedral, is an annual exhibition of contemporary art featuring the work of around 50 painters, etchers, printmakers and photographers.
Sarah, who is also a long-standing member of Peak District Artisans, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this recognition for a series of paintings that emerged from a set of etchings which I first created exploring the significance of Jane’s doll.
“This work is my interpretation of a very lonely, motherless child, emotionally neglected, who very much has to rely on her own inner resources to survive.
“Jane does survive, but not without being marked psychologically.”
The judges said the piece was a ‘deeply felt and meditative painting’.
The Great North Art Show runs until September 21.
All the artwork is for sale, and entry is free.
The exhibition is open seven days a week from 9.30am until 4.30pm.
Here's something else you can do not far from there, as read in an article in The Telegraph and Argus.
Visitors and locals can now raise their glasses to a new Ale Trail.
Nearly 30 real-ale pubs across Keighley and the Worth Valley are featured in a guide.
The booklet – produced by Visit Bradford, in association with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) – also spotlights breweries, beer festivals and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. [...]
The Ale Trail guide and map are available from the visitor information centres at Bradford, Saltaire, Ilkley and Haworth, and can be downloaded from [...]
In the section titled Haworth and the Worth Valley, pubs mentioned include the Cross Roads Inn, The Bronte Hotel, Haworth Old Hall, Fleece Inn, Black Bull, Kings Arms, Gascoigne's Haworth Steam Brewery, Old White Lion, Old Sun Hotel, Dog and Gun, Lamb, Bay Horse, Wuthering Heights, Friendly, Old Silent, Grouse Inn, and the Golden Fleece. (Alistair Shand)
A columnist from The Age discusses helping your children with their exams and claims that,
Personally, I feel more comfortable with the novels of Jane Austen, and a good round of symbolism in Wuthering Heights. I am certainly relieved that my own child has chosen English literature for final year. (Margaret McCaffrey)
The Brontë Parsonage Blog has a post on Poet Simon Zonenblick's video on Branwell Brontë, a preview of which was shown yesterday afternoon at Thornton. Finally, an alert from Milford, IN:
North Webster Library - Monday, Sept. 15, followed by R.E.A.D. Book Club, discussing Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, at 5:30 p.m. Lose It @ The Library will also meet at 5:30 p.m. for weigh-in and walking.

Connell's Jane

New academic year, new guides are published:

The Connell Guide to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre  by Josie Billington (Author), Jolyon Connell (Editor), Katie Sanderson (Editor), Pierre Smith-Khanna (Editor), Paul Woodward (Editor)
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Connell Guides (1 Sep 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1907776175

An instant popular success when first published in 1847, Jane Eyre was everywhere praised for its riveting power. But, says Josie Billington, it is easy to forget just how shocking the novel was to its 19th century readers. One of the most romantic of stories, it also challenges at every turn the stereotypes on which it rests, not simply in having a plain, rebellious heroine and a hero who is neither young nor handsome nor chivalrous, but in the way it suggests sensual love can be a force for good and in its passionate commitment to depicting the struggle of an individual towards fulfillment.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brontë's soap opera

The Telegraph's Fashion section has an article about the designer Sarah Burton:

In her autumn/winter show for Alexander McQueen, Burton set all this to life. A strange, misty moorland - not unconnected to the landscape of her childhood - was the setting for the combination of beautiful tailoring and wild imaginings that characterise the house. There was a sense of romanticism-in-crisis, of the Brontë sisters, of Heathcliff haunted by the cold hand of death scratching at his window, of owls, dreams and the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom Burton cites. The dresses came with capes, fur hoods, bell sleeves and delicate, small embroidery, frilled and frayed hemlines.
Also in The Telegraph a story about morning sickness, aka hyperemesis gravidarum:
Sufferers, who typically lose up to five per cent of their body weight (at 16 weeks, first time round, Burner had lost a stone and a half and at term she’d only gained a stone, though in her second pregnancy steroids made her “balloon”), are at increased risk of dehydration and malnutrition, a severe build-up of toxins in the blood and urine and even kidney or heart failure. The condition killed the novelist Charlotte Brontë in 1855. In her letters, she described how she had “strained until my vomit was mixed with blood.” (Julia Llewellyn Smith)
The Raleigh News Observer traces a profile of the Professor Elliot Engel and his English literature lectures:
Elliot Engel spins a tale of England’s Brontë sisters that feels more like a soap opera than a lecture on 19th century literature.
Emily’s long hours staring at drawn window shades. Charlotte’s unfortunate homeliness. Anne’s short career as a governess, ended by her brother’s affair with the child’s mother. Their improbable success as female authors and tragic early deaths.
By the end of the talk last week at N.C. State University, some of the hundreds of freshmen in attendance lined up to buy a $20 DVD of Engel’s lectures – thanks in part to a sales pitch as effective as his talk is engaging. (Marti Maguire)
The Sunday Express interviews the actress Hermione Norris:
The first record I ever bought was… Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. I thought she was magnificent. It was actually a record, too – one of those seven-inch vinyl singles that would scratch if you danced to it – so we’re going back some years. (Rachel Corcoran)
Another cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights was performed at Portmeirion's Festival No 6 in The National Student:
Laid-back vibes with the gypsy jazz of the Gypsies of Bohemia set the day up nicely with swinging versions of Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. In the first instance number six throws out an unexpected, and delightful musical highlight. (James Thornbill)
mid day lists several not very well paid actor roles:
When James Howson became the first black actor to be cast in the role of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (2011), he was commended for his work. But he took home only $13,036 for his role. (Shakti Shetty)
Ohmynews (South Korea) reviews the performances of the Hangzhou Theatre production of Jane Eyre as a Yue Opera at the Sejong Center in Seoul:
지난 9일부터 11일까지 세종문화회관 M시어티에서 공연한 '제인 에어'는 소설을 원작으로 중국에서 제작된 창작 뮤지컬이 국내 첫 선을 보였다는 점이 큰 의미로 다가왔다. 현재 '별에서 온 그대' 등 드라마와 연기자, 드라마세트장 등이 중국 관광객들에게 선풍적인 인기를 끌고 있는 이때, 중국의 뮤지컬의 국내 공연이 앞으로 양국 간 문화예술 교류를 더욱 활발하게 할 것이라는 전망도 나오고 있다.
중국 국가 1급 감독인 왕쇼우잉이 총감독을 맡았고, 왕제난 중국연극원 감독이 연출을 한 대형 창작 뮤지컬 '제인 에어' 공연 마지막 날인 11일 저녁 한국인터넷기자협회 임원과 동료 가족들이 함께 관람을 했다. 전통적인 시나리오 서사구조인 기승전결 구조에다 도입 발단 절정 순을 따랐다. 먼저 뮤지컬 첫 장르 도입(발단)부문을 보면서 언어 문제에 부딪치기도 했다. 모든 출연 배우들의 중국어 대사가 중국어에 익숙하지 않은 나에게 문화적 충격으로 나가왔기 때문이다.
물론 무대 양 옆에는 한국어 자막을 사용한 번역 프로그램이 있었다. 중국 영화는 화면 안에 나타나 그런대로 익숙한 편인데 공연은 번역프로그램이 따로 떨어져 있어 익숙하지 않았다.
차츰 뮤지컬 공연이 절정부분으로 향하면서 주인공과 조연 배우들의 열정적인 연기에 몰입이 됐고, 차츰 번역을 읽고 무대를 보는 것이 자연스레 해 졌다. (김철관) (Translation)
The Buffalo News reviews The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, The Brontës and the Importance of Handbags by Daphne Merkin; The Times interviews the author Jacqueline Wilson who mentions Jane Eyre as one of her heroines; Pusat Sumber Seseri and beckiedoyle post about Jane Eyre.