Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Wilson connection

Frances Mary Richardson Currer.
Portrait by John James Masquerier (1807)
Private Collection. (Source)

Today, November 1, the Gargrave Heritage Group opens an exhibition with some Brontë connections:
Gargrave Heritage Group has been awarded £8,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The grant – from its Sharing Heritage pot - will be used to stage an exhibition in the village’s St Andrew’s Church.
It will explore tales of old Gargrave through the stories of the people who lived and worked in the village.
The exhibition – which will take place on Saturday, November 1 – will include information on the links between the Brontë sisters and the Wilson family in Gargrave and stories of men from Gargrave who went to fight in World War One and never returned.
There will also be a website and archive covering photographic and documentary records of Gargrave. (Lindsay Moore in Craven Herald)
The connection with the Wilson family comes through Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), daughter of Margaret Clive Wilson and the Rev. Henry Richardson Currer who was born at Eshton Hall in 1785.
According to Robert and Louise Barnard's A Brontë Encylopedia she was a
rich book-collector, heiress to the Richardson family, whose charities and generosity to her tenants were well known. Her library ws famous, and in 1830 she loaned paintings to the Northern Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts Exhibition, in Leeds, including Veronese, Rembrandt, and Poussin.
In November 27, 1821, after the death of his wife, Patrick Brontë wrote to the Rev John Buckworth saying
I received on one day, quite unexpectedly, from a few wealthy friends in B[radford] not less than one hundred and fifty pounds! I received also several pounds from my old and very kind friend at B[radford], fifty pounds as a donation from th Society in London; and what is perhaps not less wonderful than all, a few days ago, I got a letter containing a bank post bill of the value of fifty pounds which was sent to me by a benevolent individual, a wealthy lady, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Juliet Barker in The Brontës (and many other biographers) think that this wealthy lady was no other that Miss Currer of Eshton Hall. She was also the patron of Bierley Chapel, Bradford, William Morgan's (Patrick's fellow curate at Wellington and good friend of the family) previous living). She was also one of the patrons of the Cowan Bridge School and one of the most probable sources of Charlotte's choosing Currer as her pen name.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A literal ghost writer

Although we first posted about this exactly a year ago, we believe the staff at Keighley News have chosen a fitting news story for Halloween.

Emily Brontë’s “lost” novel has been published after she communicated from the grave with a modern-day writer.
This is the claim of Leeds woman Morwenna Holman, who says she collaborated with the ghost of the famous author of Wuthering Heights.
‘Spirit writer’ Morwenna last year published Westerdale after many hours speaking with “real perfectionist” Emily and has gone on to write a sequel entitled Heaton.
Morwenna’s communication with Emily Brontë began when she visited the Parsonage Museum at the age of 10.
She said: “Before then I had been seeing a young girl in period dress in my bedroom, but she never said a word to me.
“She did not frighten me I had been seeing spirits since the age of about eight.”
Morwenna said she recognised Emily from her portrait in the museum, and almost immediately she heard a voice telling her she had to write a special novel when she was older.
She said: “At the age of 18 my psychic powers reached their full strength and Emily told me I had to write her second novel, which was destroyed by Charlotte when she lay dying.”
Westerdale is described as a tragic drama set in the wild landscape of the northern moors, detailing fear, aggression and rivalry between two families.
Morwenna said Westerdale took a year to complete.
She said: “Emily was a real perfectionist and hard to work with, but she brought such an essence of love that it made it enjoyable.”
In 2013, long after it was written by Morwenna, Westerdale was accepted by Olympia Publishers and it is now available on the website Amazon.
Morwenna said that in the intervening years she had worked with many other spirits, writing 10 of their life stories, but she recently collaborated again with Emily to write the famous woman’s third novel, Heaton.
Morwenna said: “For the first time I saw her smile as I unpacked the first precious editions of Heaton and in that smile was the warmth of the most wonderful spirit I have ever encountered.”
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said there was no firm evidence that Emily had written a second novel in her lifetime.
But she said that in 1871, an American author wrote a series of works allegedly dictated through a clairvoyant by famous writers including Charlotte Brontë.
Ann added: “This means Emily wasn’t the first. There’s a precedent for these sisters to write from the grave.” (David Knights)
Still on the Halloween theme, New Republic lists 'The 20 Most Terrifying Non-Horror Books You'll Ever Read'. Villette is a runner-up for the 'You're Convinced You'll Never Find Anyone Who Will Really Love You' category:
Villette by Charlotte Brontë: Lucy Snowe's love for her married fellow teacher is heartbreaking enough before you discover the story is based on Brontë's real-life story of being sent to Belgium alone to earn money to support her family. (Hillary Kelly and Chloe Schama)
The Daily Star on what to expect from Strictly Come Dancing's Halloween special programme:
Alison Hammond will be embracing her inner Kate Bush to dance the American Smooth to Wuthering Heights (along with a lot of fake fog, we presume) (Emma Kelly)
The Herald mentions it as well:
TV presenter Alison Hammond and Aljaz Skorjanec will dance the American Smooth to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, and promised on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two they will be Cathy and Heathcliff "with a twist".
Scary in a way, The Telegraph discusses 'Why Britons only really feel up when they’re down':
One major difference between a middle-aged British woman and her twentysomething self is that the older incarnation is cured of the notion she can make a man happy. By 46 she’ll have realised British males enjoy being harbingers of doom.
In fact, it’s something she should have noted in 1984, when every male she knew had Morrissey’s glumster anthem Heaven knows I’m Miserable Now on a loop. But back then, in her teens, she believed Jane Eyre’s happy fate was to rescue Mr Rochester. Over the course of the next three decades it will dawn on her that Eyre’s sole reward for this supposed rescue is a lifetime shackled to a blind would-be bigamist in his burnt-out mansion. But by then she’ll also realise she prefers stories that end “They all lived unhappily ever after.” Goodbye Charlotte Brontë, hello Val McDermid. (Rowan Pelling)
The Independent interviews writer Deborah Levy, who sounds like a Brontëite:
Describe the room where you usually writeI hire a modest garden shed built under an apple tree. On the wall hangs a microscopic photograph of Charlotte Bronte's quill pen – an artwork by genius Cornelia Parker.
The Huffington Post (Spain) interviews writer Santiago Posteguillo about his book and he of course can't help but also mention Jane Eyre:
¿Qué tres clásicos debería leer todo el mundo antes de morir? El Quijote de Cervantes, Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brönte [sic] y Guerra y Paz de Tolstoi. (Guillermo Rodríguez) (Translation)
Someone who has finally read Jane Eyre is this columnist from the Bennington Banner:
Dear Ms. Fabricatore (my junior year English teacher),
I have completed reading "Jane Eyre" and am ready to discuss the various characteristics portrayed by Jane in respect to her relationships with Mr. Rochester and Saint John. Though I am 19 years late, can you please remove the INCOMPLETE from my assignment?
Sincerely, Jared
P.S. I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner, but c'mon — look at the cover! It doesn't exactly scream "EXCITING READ!" And the first 100 pages does it no favors either. But the book picks up significantly towards the end of Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester, and her dialogue with St. John is phenomenal. I was enraptured over the last 100 pages to see if Brontë would extricate Jane and return her to Rochester. The back-and-forth with St. John over his trip to India was masterful writing, and I was truly surprised how captured I was ... at least as much as Jane! (Jared Della Roca)
Must Reads (Netherlands) reports that Jane Eyre has made it to the longlist of Cobra's survey of favourite books. Optimistic Mandarine posts about the novel.

According to The Hindu,
there is so much in literature about four in the morning…Shakespeare in ‘Measure for Measure’, Leo Tolstoy in ‘War and Peace’, Charlotte Brontë in ‘Jane Eyre’, Emily Brontë in ‘Wuthering Heights’, Mark Twain in ‘Huckleberry Finn’, Vladimir Nabokov in ‘Lolita’, H.G. Wells in ‘The Invisible Man’, Fitzgerald in ‘Great Gatsby’ and the most famous wake up in literature perhaps, Kafka in ‘Metamorphosis’ (Sudhamahi Regunathan)
While The Weekly Standard Book Review looks at slang and its origins.
Charlotte Brontë liked to let her hair down linguistically from time to time. In an unpublished piece of early fiction, she imagines a scene at a horse race in which the owner of the defeated favorite suspects that his horse was doped. Ned Laury introduces an underworld informer, Jerry Sneak—the man who interfered with the horse—but demands: “Who’ll provide the stumpy, the blunt, the cash as it were to pay for the liquor that cousin of mine will require before he peaches?”
This kind of “flash” slang was doubtless not what the Brontë family used at tea in Haworth parsonage; but it was disseminated through magazine articles that offered readers a vicarious taste of vulgar vocabulary. (Sara Lodge)
Via the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page, we discover this illustration of Jane Eyre by Manuela Cappon.

The Gypsy Maiden

A new book and  republished one, both of them recently published:
Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period
Sarah Houghton-Walker
Oxford University Press
16 October 2014

In early eighteenth-century texts, the gypsy is frequently figured as an amusing rogue; by the Victorian period, it has begun to take on a nostalgic, romanticized form, abandoning sublimity in favour of the bucolic fantasy propagated by George Borrow and the founding members of the Gypsy Lore Society. Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period argues that, in the gap between these two situations, the figure of the gypsy is exploited by Romantic-period writers and artists, often in unexpected ways. Drawing attention to prom
inent writers (including Wordsworth, Austen, Clare, Cowper and Brontë) as well as those less well-known, Sarah Houghton-Walker examines representations of gypsies in literature and art from 1780-1830, alongside the contemporary socio-historical events and cultural processes which put pressure on those representations. She argues that, raising troubling questions by its repeated escape from the categories of enlightenment discourses which might seek to 'know' or 'understand' in empirical ways, the gypsy exists both within and outside of conventional English society. The figure of the gypsy is thus available to writers and artists to facilitate the articulation of dilemmas and anxieties taking various forms, and especially as a lens through which questions of knowledge and identity (which is often mutable, and troubling) might be focussed. 
And a republication of a book first published in 1991:
The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Psychology Revivals)
Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind
By Meg Harris Williams, Margot Waddell
October 13th 2014

Literature is recognised as having significantly influenced the development of modern psychoanalytic thought. In recent years psychoanalysis has drawn increasingly on the literary and artistic traditions of western culture and moved away from its original medical-scientific context. Originally published in 1991 The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Keats's metaphor for 'the awakening of the thinking principle') is an original and revealing exploration of the seminal role of literature in forming the modern psychoanalytic model of the mind. The crux of the 'post-Kleinian' psychoanalytic view of personality development lies in the internal relations between the self and the mind's 'objects'. Meg Harris Williams and Margot Waddell show that these relations have their origins in the drama of identifications which we can see played out metaphorically and figuratively in literature, which presents the self-creative process in aesthetic terms. They argue that psychoanalysis is a true child of literature rather than merely the interpreter or explainer of literature, illustrating this with some examples from clinical experience, but drawing above all on close scrutiny of the dynamic mental processes presented in the work of Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantic poets, Emily Brontë and George Eliot. The Chamber of Maiden Thought will encourage psychoanalytic workers to respond to the influence of literature in exploring symbolic mental processes. By bringing psychoanalysis into creative conjunction with the arts, it enables practitioners to tap a cultural potential whose insights into the human mind are of immense value.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Charlotte's windfall

The Telegraph and Argus explains why nothing has been said about the Brontë Society's recent extraordinary general meeting:

Despite the EGM taking place on Saturday, October 18, the decision apparently cannot be revealed: minutes from the meeting have still to be agreed.
A spokesman for the Brontë Society confirmed that the minutes of the EGM were being circulated to members, adding that details would be made public in the near future.
The Telegraph and Argus also has good news concerning the celebration of Charlotte Brontë's bicentenary in 2016:
Plans to celebrate 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth in 2016 have been given a major cash boost of nearly £100,000.
The Brontë Society’s contemporary arts programme has been awarded a grant of £99,178 by the Arts Council of England.
As well as its museum role, Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage is home to a contemporary arts programme which celebrates the radical nature of the Brontës and the ways in which they have inspired successive generations of artists and writers.
The grant has come from The Arts Council’s Lottery-funded programme Grants for the Arts.
Across the ocean, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reviews the Jackson Hole High School stage production of Jane Eyre:
The actors’ lines are nailed down, and their blocking is tight.
“It’s got good pacing, and this incredible, amazing story is filled with romance and mystery,” Lewis said.
Go any night to find out who the lunatic is that stalks the shadows and sets fire to Thornfield Hall. Let these students take you back in time to find out if the champion of early feminism does find love. It costs only $12. (Jason Suder)
The Fairfield Mirror finds a Brontëite in writer Sarah Daltry.
GW:  What are you reading now and who are some of your favorite authors?
SD: (...) My favorite classical authors are Hemingway, the Brontës and Salinger.  My favorite contemporary authors include Courtney Summers, Lauren DeStefano, Jodi Picoult and Tom Perrotta. I like to read realistic contemporary and young adult fiction. A lot of adult fiction tends to have a certain focus, genre or literary. Sometimes I just want to read a story that isn’t genre, just realistic, but also not trying too hard to be literary. (Georgina White)
Dread Central interviews Axelle Carolyn about her debut as a film director with the movie Soulmate:
I think people enjoy it most when they know not to expect a conventional ghost story. Nowadays ‘ghost story’ seems to imply fast-paced, jump scare, nonstop terrifying situations, but while we have a couple of good jump scares here, the movie takes you in a very different direction. It’s a supernatural drama, but selling it as a horror is a bit misleading. It’s very much character-based, psychological; I often describe it as a spooky Jane Eyre. If you’re open to that, you’ll enjoy the different directions it takes you into. (Staci Layne Wilson)
The Huffington Post discusses sex in fiction:
Our sexuality is naturally (and I do mean naturally) a part of what we are. So fiction has to deal with it in one way or another (and I do mean one way or another). The spinsterly Jane Austen hints of 'intimate attachments'. Charlotte Brontë permits Jane Eyre more freedom of expression with her 'bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh' allusion to intercourse with Mr Rochester. (Richard Masefield)
What Mr Masefield seems to have overlooked is the fact that Charlotte Brontë wasn't coining a euphemism but quoting from Genesis:
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Paris Match has a 'dime a dozen' set of Brontë references in an article on the Clooney-Amal marriage:
Un mois après de luxueuses noces vénitiennes, l’acteur américain est présenté à la bonne société libanaise et à ses plus hauts dignitaires, dans un décor emprunté au romantisme des sœurs Brontë.
On croit voir Jane Eyre dans chaque recoin tapissé de ce manoir à la Hurlevent, sur les pelouses du parc qui borde la Tamise et sous les lambris de la salle de réception. (Pauline Delassus) (Translation)
The Wall Street Journal instructs readers on 'How to Make a Unique Fall Bouquet' and 'Embrace the darker side of the season with a Brontë-esque arrangement'.
The colors we most associate with fall are the warm tones of red and amber—hues that jostle alongside each other on trees and bushes as they burst into flame. But this time of year, with its grayer skies and longer nights, can put you in a mood that’s more Brontë than Binchy. Why not unleash your own creative force with an arrangement that uses flowers in mysterious dark plummy shades that are a little less obvious but no less autumnal?
To create a hauntingly beautiful Brontë-esque bouquet that wouldn’t seem out of place in that well-known household of English literature, you’ll want to look for brooding shades.
Taking inspiration from the sweeping Yorkshire moors covered in deep purple heather and expanses of silvery foliage contrasting against a dusky sky streaked with pale pink, I chose velvety chocolate Dahlias, chocolate Cosmos (which, delightfully, actually smell like chocolate), plum Astrantia, deep-red Black Baccara roses and dark Cotinus foliage. To offset these dark colors, I added some silvery purple-tipped Acacia, full-blown palest pink Sweet Avalanche roses and, for a final flourish, bunches of charming pink-flushed snowberry. (Robbie Honey)
The Motley Mind posts about Jane Eyre. The Brontë Parsonage website has a post on how the garden looks like in September.

Tea with Mrs Brontë at Ponden Hall

A very interesting alert from the heart of Brontë Country for today, October 30:
If you ever wanted to know more about the mysterious mother of the talented sisters, this is your chance. Ponden Hall, near Stanbury, inspiration for Emily's Wuthering Heights, is the venue for this talk about Mrs Brontë by local lecturer Angela Crow - and it's followed by high tea in the Regency style, with a definite Cornish flavour. Visitors will also have a chance to tour Ponden Hall and learn about its history with the current own. (Brontë Parsonage Museum website)

Date: Thursday October 30, 3pm. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wuthering Halloween

Chicago Now offers readers tips on how to sync their Halloween costume to the local weather forecast:

Maybe it's time to rethink that skimpy costume, anyway. Now you have a good excuse to go for a more  creative  and weather-appropriate option.  Embrace the cold and wind.  Here's your chance to  be a  Wuthering Heights romantic,  a sweater girl, a lineman for the county, or  maybe even the football hero  you  wish you could be (we sure could use one, now...). (Weather Girl)
And if you want more than just a costume, here's what's happening on Halloween on the other side of the pond (in London), as listed by The Telegraph.
Kate Bush and Wuthering Frights. For an unusual Halloween twist, try this Kate Bush-themed party where the best Kate Bush costume and re-enactment of Cathy at Heathcliff’s window (a scene from the book Wuthering Heights) and the best drawing of a horse will be awarded. There will be DJs playing songs from Kate Bush and others as well as a retro smoke machine.
When: October 31-November 1; 8pm-1am
Where: The Three Compasses, Dalston
Price: Free
Details: (Soo Kim)
And speaking of Kate Bush we can't overlook the fact that China Drum's take on her Wuthering Heights has made it to number 15 on the list of Greatest Covers compiled by BBC Music. This is what Metro says about it:
Wuthering Heights – China Drum
A scarily rousing version of the Kate Bush masterpiece from the US rock band. What would Emily Brontë say? (Chris Hallam)
New Republic comments on Michel Faber's latest (last?) book.
But there's nothing wrong with recognizing that the circumstances of an author's life can make a work more poignant. Henry James’s desperate love for his cousin Minnie Temple is the lifeblood that keeps The Wings of the Dove—a famously dense novel—alive. The torment Charlotte Brontë suffered over unrequited love pulses through Villette, the pseudo-biographical story of a teacher at a girls school in Belgium who falls passionately in love with a married fellow teacher. Understanding the isolation and despair Brontë felt when she was sent to teach (and send home money) at a similar school—and then the devastation of her own attachment to a certain M. Héger—elevates Villette from a middling novel to a fascinating, if problematic, one. Similarly, knowing that this was to be "the saddest thing I’d ever written," as Faber told the Times, and that Faber inserted the married couple's storyline after learning of his wife's terminal diagnosis, grants the epistles an added richness. (Hillary Kelly)
 The Times of India asks writer Suchita Malik about her literary influences.
Literary works that have influenced you.
I grew up reading the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot and many others. Later, I fell in love with and admired the novels of Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James and other great American novelists. Their technique of writing, choice of universal themes as well as an emphasis on realistic portrayal of characters and circumstances influenced me a great deal. (Ipshita Mitra)
Grazia (Italy) considers Jane Eyre the revolutionary type and Cathy the free spirit. Escritoras Inglesas writes in Portuguese about Villette. Flavorwire interviews Mallory Ortberg, author of the upcoming Texts from Jane Eyre.

Emily's Portrait

A new novel with the Brontës as characters has just been published in Norway:

Emilys Porträtt
Margareta Lindholm
Kabusa Books
Release: August 2014
ISBN: 978 91 7355 366 7
Cover of: Anna Henriksson
Malin Lindroth in Göteborgs-Posten gives more details:
Ungefär halvvägs in i Margareta Lindholms roman Emilys porträttbörjar jag tänka Hollywood och storfilm. Med sina djuplodande, minimalistiska romaner är Lindholm inte precis en författare som jag brukar förknippa med hollywoodproduktion, men här är ju intrigen så storslaget filmisk! En berättelse om frihetssökande, klassklyftor och vänskap, kretsande kring de ikoniserade författarsystrarna Brontë – nog låter det som maffigt storfilmsmaterial?
Ramberättelsen är effektivt enkel: porträttmålaren Erin i sin ateljé ser tillbaka på sin tid som tjänsteflicka i Brontës prästgård där hon, i mötet med de skrivande systrarna, kom att upptäcka sig själv som skapande, normbrytande människa.
Porträttet av den världsfrånvända Emily, som snabbt blir Erins vän, hör till romanens höjdpunkter och jag tycker mycket om hur Lindholm låter ikonerna ta ett steg tillbaka och underdogen Erin träda fram. Samtidigt blir det som har varit Lindholms styrka allt sedan debuten 1997 – det vackra, avskalade språket – efterhand lite av ett problem.
När Emily börjar stjäla material ur Erins liv för litterära syften introduceras en intressant konflikt som det hemingwayska språket inte riktigt förmår att fördjupa och det samma gäller resonemangen om det konstnärliga seendet, som blir lite väl romantiserande för min smak.
Orden är för vackra för att nå ned i konfliktdjupen och jag ser för lite av Erins inre kamp för att jag riktigt ska tro på hennes transformation.
På film hade man kommit långt med antydda konflikter och repliker av typen: ”Erin! Har du någon gång älskat? Har någon älskat dig?” I romanens form blir Emilys porträtt mer av en språklig skönhetsupplevelse där jag inte ser tillräckligt av det berömda isberget under ytan – det outsagda som Hemingway pratade om – för att jag ska lita på att det finns där. (Translation)
A good review can be read on Unt.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vaccinations for the Brontës

'Tis the season of all things Gothic and so Chris Priestley shares his 'top ten tips for Gothic writing' over at The Guardian's Children's Books section.

4. Mad, bad and dangerous to know
Why not have a Byronic anti-hero? Mean and moody like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights or Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. Or perhaps the most Byronic anti-hero of all: the creature in Frankenstein.
Meanwhile, the Leicester Mercury looks at the current temporary exhibition at the British Library: Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination where
Manuscripts by the Brontës, Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker rub shoulders with a letter from Byron and antiquarian works such as Nathaniel Spencer’s Complete English Traveller, an 18th century travelogue which pictures a druids’ wicker colossus, “wherein malefactors, prisoners of war and sometimes innocent people (where there was a deficiency of the former) were burnt as sacrifices”.
USA Today's Happy Ever After interviews writer Karen Atkins and asks her,
If you could "accidentally" snatch someone from time, who would it be? Karen: [...] I'd go back and bring either Jane Austen or one of the Brontë sisters back with me. They all died tragically young, and I'm sure each of those women had so many words still stuck in her, waiting to get out. I'd want to show them the enduring impact their stories have had on readers for generations. I'd also probably be tempted to send them back with a few handfuls of penicillin and a vaccine or two. (Jessie Potts)
Spanish writer Santiago Posteguillo continues promoting Jane Eyre his book. From Diario Siglo XXI (Spain)
Si nos atenemos a un sentido más metafórico de la palabra sangre del título y la interpretamos como esfuerzo, me atrevo a preguntarte: ¿detrás de un libro escrito hay mucho esfuerzo? Normalmente, detrás de una obra maestra de la Literatura sí hay un gran esfuerzo, pero no detrás de todos los libros, porque los hay buenos y malos. El título hace referencia a la sangre física, como se refleja en algunos relatos, por ejemplo el del duelo entre Pushkin y el francés Georges d’Anthès o el de los vampiros de Drácula, y también a la sangre en el sentido metafórico al que aludías en tu pregunta. En este caso pienso en Charlotte Brontë, que vio morir a todas sus hermanas, mientras que a ella sólo le quedó el amor de un hombre casado, algo que en la época victoriana estaba muy mal visto. Brontë, sin embargo, recogió su sufrimiento y lo recreó escribiendo Jane Eyre, a la que imprimió un toque feliz que no pudo disfrutar en su vida real. Es lo que se llama justicia poéti(Herme Cerezo) (Translation)
The Times of India looks at the inspiration/influences behind some Indian TV programmes such as
Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi. A complex love story that revolves around a rich and beautiful girl Ishani (Radhika Madaan) and her poor admirer, the son of the domestic help Ranveer (Shakti Arora) has an uncanny resemblance to Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. This classic novel got adapted thrice into movies and now it finds an Indian soapy version. The current love-hate drama and complications — which is Ekta Kapoor's forte is gaining a lot of interest via TRPs. (Shruti Jambhekar)
Entertainment Weekly's The Community also finds traces of Wuthering Heights while writing about episode 3 of season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: School Hard.
This interaction between Marsters and Juliet Landau is perfect, setting up their deranged-romantic Wuthering Heights–meets–Sid and Nancy partnership. (Wendy Hathaway)
The Nation reviews the docudrama The Golden Era by Ann Hui which
 tells the story of Xiao Hong, a woman writer known for depictions of hunger and poverty in China during the 1920s and '30s. [Director Ann] Hui compares her works with those of Emily Brontë, who also focuses on unpleasant realities. (Liu Wei)
Did you like the Brontë Tote we posted about yesterday? Well, here's a giveaway of one. iheardin posts about Wuthering Heights. Frugal Chariot continues its Jane Eyre readalong.

Jane Eyre Connell Guide

A new Jane Eyre guide just published:

The Connell Guide to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
by Josie Billington (Author)
Jolyon Connell, Katie Sanderson, Pierre Smith-Khanna and Paul Woodward (Editors)
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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Petrifying attraction

A.V. Club considers Andrea Arnold a natural-born thrillers and one of '18 directors who haven’t made a horror film, but should'.

So many horror movies focus on young female characters, and so few of them connect to those characters in a meaningful way. One of the best adolescent heroines in recent film appears in Andrea Arnold’s drama Fish Tank, about an impoverished, standoffish English girl who aspires to be a hip-hop dancer. Arnold followed that up with a stripped-down, de-aged Wuthering Heights, continuing to show unsentimental sensitivity to her young subjects. Both movies also generate a lot of tension from grounded stories, a quality that would serve Arnold well in any number of horror subgenres, from the psychological to the supernatural (preferably shot in the old-fashioned 1.37 aspect ratio she used for Tank and Heights). Any Final Girl of hers would kick ass in believable and boxily framed ways. (Jesse Hassenger)
Writer Santiago Posteguillo keeps on mentioning Jane Eyre in his promotional interviews. From Culturamas (Spain):
P.- ¿Cuál de estas historias le resulta más atractiva e interesante? ¿Por qué? A mí me emociona enormemente la de Cartas rotas donde se ve como Charlotte Brönte (sic), que sufrió una vida llena de padecimientos, en lugar de quedarse sola en una esquina de su casa, llorando y sintiendo lástima de sí misma, reconvierte todo ese horror vivido y lo transforma en Jane Eyre, una de las obras maestras de la literatura universal: entretenida, enigmática, misteriosa, moral y donde la justicia y el amor triunfan y pueden con todo. Una lección de técnica literaria y de resistencia vital ante la adversidad. Creo que el relato conmoverá a mucha gente. (Benito Garrido) (Translation)
Pathfinder (Greece) wonders about the connection between skin colour and attraction:
Τα παραδείγματα των γυναικείων προτιμήσεων ξεκινούν από τον ρομαντικό ήρωα του μυθιστορήματος, “Ανεμοδαρμένα Ύψη” της Emily Brontë, Heathcliff, και καταλήγουν στον Χαβιέ Μπαρδέμ. (Έλενα Κρητικού)(TranslationThe Courier Online
considers Jane Eyre a 'Petrifying Page Turner'. Female Arts reviews the Butterfly Psyche adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Edie Faulkner posts about Cowan Bridge and the Brontës. A Night's Dream of Books and Babbling Books continues posting on their Jane Eyre.

Skirt & Tote

A skirt from with, literally, quotes from Jane Eyre among others:
The Jane-Quotes Skirt
At BOB by Dawn O'Porter

Have you ever sat alone in the bar and had nothing to read? May that never be the case again. This Karen Mabon print is awash with inspirational female quotes from three of Dawns favourite books, all set onto a navy background. The books are: ‘A room of ones own’ Virginia Woolfe ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ Jeanette Winterson, and ‘Jane Eyre’ Charlotte Brontë. Be inspired, never be bored.
 The 1950s were awash with fun patterns and novelty prints, and 'The Jane' skirts play homage to that. Made from stretch cotton with a fused waistband, the skirts boast pockets and a metal zip. The designs are fun, flirty and just on the right side of bonkers...Just.
And well, this has probably nothing to do with our Brontës. But, we it seems fair to, after women's fashion it's men's turn:

Whills & Gunn - Bronte Tote
At W.G. Trunk Co.
This basic tote by Whillas & Gunn is your go-to kick around bag. Carry a laptop and some books through customs or fill it with fruit and vegetables on the way home from the office. Although it is made from a rugged cotton twill it is also lightweight which allows you to pack it into you suitcase or backpack when it's not needed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shadowy Regions

Austin Daily Herald has a sad-but-true realisation:

Try as you might, you’re never going to read all of the classic books everyone recommends. It’s physically impossible to read the all-time greats we celebrate in literature, from Leo Tolstoy, Fydor Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens to Emily Brontë, Tzu, Homer and Dante Aligheri. (Trey Mewes)
San Francisco Classical Voice reviews the latest symphony by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho,  Earth Shadows (Maan varjot):
The second movement, which Saariaho refers to as “the heart of the composition,” is more elegiac and spectral in nature. The organ and orchestral lines glisten in ghostly phrases as if we listening to the lingering spirit voices at Miss Havisham’s wedding. The music, though perhaps not literally intended, takes on a gothic quality reminiscent of the shadowy regions of Edgar Alan Poe or Emily Brontë. (Jim Farber)
Calgary Herald talks about the play Victor and Victoria’s Terrifying Tale of Terrible Things:
Victoria on the other hand, is a bit of a fantasy witch. She likes to get lost inside her mythical worlds, where she usually plays a version of Olivia de Havilland in Wuthering Heights, perched on the precipice of some cliff scanning the horizon for her Heathcliff. (Stephen Hunt)
Is this a blunder? Olivia de Havilland never was in any Wuthering Heights movie...  although she played Charlotte Brontë in Devotion 1946.

Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) explores several of the costume recreations inspired by the Brontës and their contemporaries. Escritoras Inglesas (in Portuguese) reviews Syrie James's The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë. Idiot Box reviews Wuthering Heights 1992.

Wuthering Heights back in Warsaw

A new chance to see the Wuthering Heights "adults-only" adaptation by Julia Holewińska and Kuba Kowalski, first premiered in Warsow, Poland in 2012:

Wichrowe Wzgórza
Teatr Studio im. St. I. Witkiewicza

26.10.2014 19:00
27.10.2014 19:00
28.10.2014 19:30

Adapted by  Julia Holewińska and Kuba Kowalski
Directed by  Kuba Kowalski
With Monika Obara / Lena Frankiewicz , Natalia Rybicka, Anna Smołowik, Miron Jagniewski,  Marcin Januszkiewicz, Krzysztof Koła , Wojciech Solarz, Wojciech Żołądkowicz and Lena Frankiewicz

Hollywood zobaczyło w Wichrowych wzgórzach materiał na wielki melodramat, opowieść o tragicznej miłości w efektownej scenerii ponurych wrzosowisk. Adaptując powieść na potrzeby filmu uproszczano jej wymowę, uładzano bohaterów, wreszcie amputowano jej kluczową drugą część – banalizując w ten sposób arcydzieło Emily Brontë. (...) Próbujemy z Julią Holewińską spojrzeć na Wichrowe Wzgórza jak na swoistą „encyklopedię miłości”. Brontë zawarła w swojej powieści niezliczoną ilość wzorców miłosnych relacji, od tych bratersko-siostrzanych, poprzez miłość rodzicielską i synowską, koncentrując się wreszcie na związkach kochanków. Dokonując wiwisekcji uczuć stawia swoją główną bohaterkę Katarzynę przed fundamentalnym wyborem między tym, co racjonalne, kontrolowane, gwarantujące rozwój, ale i stawiające wzajemne ograniczenia, a tym, co irracjonalne, niebezpieczne, twórcze, ale i autodestrukcyjne. Relacja Katarzyny i Heathcliffa, najistotniejsza zarówno w powieści jak i naszej adaptacji, to utopijna wizja miłosnego związku funkcjonującego poza jakimkolwiek kontekstem kulturowym: uczucie łączące przybrane rodzeństwo wymyka się klasyfikacji, istnieje poza językiem czy konwenansem, jest gwałtowne, nie uznaje kompromisów, jest wreszcie niebezpieczne i destrukcyjne.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wuthering Heights in the market

The Telegraph reports that Kate Bush's former home in Eltham, London is on the market. If you don't remember its name, is easy to imagine: Wuthering Heights.

What is a house called Wuthering Heights doing in Eltham, a genteel suburb of south-east London?
By rights, it should be on the Yorkshire moors, covered in dark clouds, with gales rattling the window-frames and a woman in the distance screaming: “Heathcliff! Heathcliff!”
The explanation is quite simple once you remember that Emily Brontë is not the only celebrated author of Wuthering Heights.
A song of that name launched the musical career of that reclusive genius Kate Bush in 1978. And it is her old house, on Court Road, Eltham, that has just come on the market for £3 million. (Julia Flynn)
Herts and Essex Observer reminds us of the broadcast tonight (Channel 4, 8pm) of the new season of Walking Through History. The first episode will feature Haworth and the Brontës:
Walking Through History first came to our screens last year, a pleasing addition to the schedules for amblers and history buffs alike, as Sir Tony Robinson and the team tackled a series of visually spectacular walks through some of our most historic landscapes - all the better if they can stumble upon some stories from Britain's past to boot.
Now in its fourth series, for those who've yet to catch it, in each episode Tony follows a bespoke route which allows him to explore the history behind certain events or period, as well as take in the landscape. This series; well, it's much of the same.
Tony's first walk of the new series takes in the dramatic moors and valleys of West Yorkshire, the home of, and inspiration for, the Brontës, the literary family behind classics Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
Our presenter has four days of walking ahead of him, and starts out in the Victorian wool capital of Bradford and treks the giant loop around what is known as Brontë Country. Cha rlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell were born in the suburb of Thornton, and Tony traces their childhood to the much-romanticised Brontë hub of Haworth.
Alison Graham adds in Radio Times:
Tony Robinson walks that well-trodden literary path along the south Pennine moors to Haworth in West Yorkshire, home of the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
There can’t be a northerner who has never run across those very tussocks on school trips yelling “HEATHCLIFF!” but Robinson is admirably restrained. Though it’s been told so many times, there’s still something fantastically, tragically winning, something that calls to anyone who loves literature, in the story of the girls, their brother Branwell, and their home, the Parsonage.
Along the way Robinson meets Brontë experts and reads apposite excerpts from Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, though he’s not a fan of the latter. It’s too “overwrought and complex”. Really?
New Statesman talks about the latest exhibition of Paula Rego's works in London and sums  up her work:
Not all artists are good at explaining their work but Paula Rego knows just what her pictures are about: they deal, she says, with “the beautiful grotesque”. It is a neat encapsulation of psychologically complex works that illustrate nursery rhymes, fairy tales and the folk stories of her native Portugal, that show women as dogs or sexual avengers and that reimagine classic novels such as Jane Eyre and The Metamorphosis. (Michael Prodger)
The Greenfield Recorder reviews The Hawley Book of the Dead  by Chrysler Szarlan:
She began to write at that young age—mostly stories about horses, animals she loved and still loves.
“And then when I was 12 I got my hands on a copy of ‘Jane Eyre,’” she added. “So that took me to a whole other level of reading and writing and thinking about writing.”
She laughed at the juxtaposition of “Virginia Woolf” and “Jane Eyre.” “No wonder I write New England gothicky stuff!” (Tinky Weisblat)
The Sydney Morning Herald publishes another review: David Malouf's The Writing Life:
He describes how, as a child, the ending of Dumas' La Reine Margot prompted "hysterical weeping". His vivid memory of reading Jane Eyre on the beach leads him to reflect on the way the imaginative space of a novel can allow us to inhabit two very different environments simultaneously. An essay on the influence of Walt Whitman on D.H. Lawrence describes the shock of encountering the subversive ideas in Lawrence's poem Snake in a school reader. (James Ley)
Cosmopolitan lists some of the literary classics revisited in Anna Todd's After:
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
When it first appears in the series: Hardin mentions Rochester and Jane in an attempt to dissuade Tessa from marriage in book one.
What it reveals about Hessa: Hardin readily admits that Jane and Rochester's relationship isn't the best counterexample of marriage, but "I just love hearing you ramble about literary heroes." He also loves reminding her of tortured protagonists. Wonder why.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
When it first appears in the series: Tessa wanders into Hardin's room during a party at the frat house in book one and discovers his extensive collection of classics. "I grab Wuthering Heights and pull it off the shelf," she says. "It is in bad shape, the pages showing how many times it has been read."
What it reveals about Hessa: Hardin uses Wuthering Heights as a means to discuss his and Tessa's relationship in literature class: "Catherine and Heathcliff were just so similar that it was hard for them to get along, but if Catherine wasn't so stubborn they could have lived a long and happy life together." The specter of Heathcliff hangs around Hessa throughout the story. And yet, they remain inexplicably drawn to each other, making Heathcliff-esque Hardin determined to make sure they end up together at the end.
Bonus: Tessa says, "Catherine Earnshaw and Elizabeth Bennet are much better company than my mother." #Burn. (Heeseung Kim)
Once again the Spanish writer Santiago Posteguillo makes a Brontë reference. He talks in Las Provincias (Spain) about his new project:
Avanzó que está preparando un relato corto sobre los perros literarios y citó los casos de Argos de 'La odisea' o Pilot de 'Jane Eyre'. Estos canes sólo están infectados por el «virus de la literatura» y sugirió que 'Cujo', de Stephen King, no sería un mal relato «para una persona que no ha aprendido a amar a los perros» (en referencia a las autoridades sanitarias). (Carmen Velasco) (Translation)
Kölner Stadt-Unzeiger gives voice to the scholar Friederike Danebrock:
Das kam bei den Zeitgenossen zum Teil nicht gut an. „Sturmhöhe“ etwa, die tragische Liebesgeschichte von Heathcliff und Catherine, geschrieben von Emily Brontë, stieß zur Zeit ihrer Veröffentlichung auf blanke Ablehnung, weil die Protagonisten für den damaligen Geschmack gar zu leidenschaftlich ans Werk gingen. (Translation)
Culturamas (Spain) has an article about the Brontës with some usual blunders (Brönte, some dubious portraits...) and some unusual ones (Brandwell?):
La que hoy me trae aquí, sentada en mi escritorio y aporreando las teclas del ordenador, es la familia Brönte (sic), quienes tomaron como pilar uno de los más bellos artes que todos conocemos, la escritura.
Ninguno de sus antepasados podía presagiar los dones que desde ya temprana edad se empezaron a manifestar en los pequeños hermanos Brönte (sic), Charlotte, Emily , Anne y el a veces relegado a un segundo plano, Brandwell (sic). La extremada educación de su padre junto con el vertiginoso desarrollo de su imaginación, hicieron que su capacidad para la construcción de historias cada vez más complejas, aumentara de una manera casi sin precedentes. A pesar de la temprana felicidad que dio este talento en un primer momento oculto, las desgracias al igual que en otras familias, no se hicieron esperar. La muerte se convirtió en un invitado de honor en los primeros años de los Brönte (sic), el fallecimiento en primer lugar de su madre y posteriormente de sus dos hermanas mayores fueron los hechos que más marcaron todas y cada una de sus obras. (Pilar Martínez) (Translation)
Caitriona Doherty talks about being a superfan in Wessex Scene:
Accept that no work made by human hands will ever be perfect. But you can like a thing, flaws and all. For example, you might love Jane Eyre with all of your heart, but you have to admit that it has some pretty questionable sexual and racial politics. The novel is still brilliantly written, and still makes a powerful feminist statement, especially for the time period. But it does have flaws that don’t deserve to be ignored.
Gina Barreca lists movies that can "make a guy go into a panic" in Psychology Today. Needless to say, we don't agree at all:
Tie: "Wuthering Heights" or "Jane Eyre" — any adaptation, any director, any time period.
Business Standard (India) has an article on the actor Dilip Kumar, one of the few actors who played both Heathcliff and Rochester in the big screen. Groruddalen (Norway) talks with an inmate at the Bredtveit prison who aptly quotes from Charlotte Brontë's ("I am no bird...").

Creative Writing and Auditions

Two very different Brontë alerts for today, October 25:

A Day of Creative Writing at Ponden Hall with Anne Caldwell
Saturday 25 October 2014, 10.30am - 3.30pm

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is hosting a one-day workshop with us here this October -  ‘A Day of Creative Writing at Ponden Hall’ with poet Anne Caldwell on Saturday October 25 (10.30am-3.30pm).
Tickets are available from the Parsonage (email Sue Newby at, or phone her on 01535 640185) on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets cost £50 and include a soup and sandwich lunch, afternoon tea and cake, and a tour of the Hall.
And in Washington City, Utah, auditions for a Jane Eyre.The Musical production:
 AUDITION NOTICE: Jane Eyre, the musical
Saturday October 25th 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and
Wednesday, October 29th 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: Brigham’s Playhouse
25 N. 300 W.
Washington Utah, 84780
(In Cottontown Village, next to the Red Barn)