Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Good news! It looks as if the Brontë Society will be bidding for Patrick Brontë's recently-rediscovered photograph after all according to The Telegraph and Argus.
A miniature photograph of the father of the three most famous author sisters in English literature – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte – should return to the place he made his home.
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, would like to see the framed picture of the Rev Patrick Bronte back in the Parsonage, now a world-famous museum to the family.
The oval-shaped sepia image is being sold by auctioneers Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers on June 24, and they expect it to fetch up to £600.
The lot also includes the original Sotheby’s sale catalogue, now dog-eared, which includes details of the miniature when it was first sold in 1898. Global interest could push up the price of the picture and catalogue, which was found at a Midlands antique fair hidden in an old box of papers.
Mr McCarthy said: “Later this week we will be sitting down to see how we should approach the sale – this is where the photograph belongs.
“It’s a lovely item which would enhance the museum, and we would like to acquire it, and support from the public would be appreciated.
“It is not a new image – copies are known to exist – but it is a new item on the market, and we will be reviewing our financial position.”
He stressed that with the exposure it would get in the media, the price could be inflated beyond the estimate.
The museum was the world custodian of Bronte material, he said, but in reality as a small organisation it was not possible to acquire everything without generous support, from the Bronte Society and the public.
The Brontes’ father was an enlighted and forward-thinking man who believed in equality of education.
The photograph was once proudly displayed alongside other Bronte mementoes in the Museum of Bronte Relics housed in the Temperance tea rooms in Haworth.
It was eventually auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1898 when the museum closed and sold everything off.
The Bronte Society was set up in 1893 and opened its first museum in the upper floor of the Yorkshire Penny Bank, now Haworth Tourist Information Centre.
The society acquired the Parsonage in 1928, thanks to the generosity of Sir James Roberts, a Haworth man and member of the society.
Patrick Bronte died in 1861, aged 84, outliving his wife and all his children.
Anyone interested in supporting any bid by the Bronte Society should contact the museum on (01535) 642323. (Clive White) (our bold)
We know two things for sure: 1) that any help will be appreciated and 2) that the portrait would look gorgeous anywhere in the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

What you can see right now at the Brontë Parsonage Museum is their brand-new exhibition on Branwell Brontë. As we posted previously, you can read a complete account on the Brontë Parsonage Blog.

Onto something else now. Remember all those plays on words with classic novels and sci-fi creatures triggered by Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Well, apparently at one point the Wuthering Heights 'joke' was closer to reality than we might have thought. From The National:
But in the spring of 2008, Grahame-Smith received a phone call from his editor, Jason Rekulak. Already keen on the idea of a literary remix, Rekulak had been compiling lists with pop-cultural trends on one side and classic works of literature on the other. Wuthering Heights and Werewolves was considered and rejected. As was War and Peace and Pirates.
“Jason called me up excitedly, which he almost never does, and said: ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’. I started to laugh and instantly knew how fun it would be to write these ultra-violent, ultra-gratuitous scenes of gore and mayhem in the style of Jane Austen. (Oliver Good)
Incidentally, Flickr user Paxton Holley has created and written a synopsis for quite a different version of Jane Eyre. It is hilarious.

Anyway, as you might know, the werewolf-less TV adaptation of 2009 will be broadcast in New Zealand this Sunday, and Stuff's television critic Philip Wakefield picks it among the best shows of the week.
3. Wuthering Heights: This two-part dramatisation of the novel that topped a 2007 British poll of greatest love stories widens the scope of the original to include the key characters’ heirs. Cape Wrath’s Tom Hardy stars as Heathcliffe [sic].
TV One, 8.30pm Sunday
Talking about screen adaptations of Wuthering Heights: Movieline interviews - on video - Ed Westwick and asks him about his forthcoming role as Heathcliff. He says again that it is his mother's favourite book but goes a bit further and also talks about reading it for school and Yorkshire accents.

And as is usual at this time of the year, summer reading is starting to be a very prominent topic. The Phoenix takes a quick glance at new releases we can look forward to.
Love is complicated: just ask the Brontës. Emily discovers passion with her father's curate in DENISE GIARDINA's Emily's Ghost: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters (Norton, July 27). (Barbara Hoffert)
A senior-year student at The Huntsville Times:
Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" made my list simply because a friend suggested I would enjoy it.
And there's of course room as well for the sexist, ignorant kind of reading choices, as seen on Wicked Local Norwood:
Girls wanting more than Trixie Belden and Cherry Ames moved quickly to the deeper and more sophisticated romances of Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. (Charlotte Canelli)
We can almost hear how that sentence would have gone on: '... before moving on to romance queens Barbara Cartland and Danielle Steel'. *sigh*

Anyway, as always, we are glad to hear new people will be discovering these classic novels, but we also hope that their minds will be 'sophisticated' enough to see that they are far more than just romances. Our war cry applies here as well: boys can - and do - read and enjoy the Brontës too!!

One more summer-reading book comes from Projo, although the flimsy Brontë connection is made by the reviewer:
2. In the Kitchen, by Monica Ali. The turbulent life in the kitchen of London’s Imperial Hotel, overseen by a culinary version of Heathcliff. A great, long overdue idea for a novel that may just have perfect timing. Nothing says cocooning like cooking, and every restaurant kitchen is chock full of combustible personality types. Mix well and stir. (June) (Scott Eyman)
Culinary version of Heathcliff? It honestly defies our imagination.

Around the blogs: The Rachek Blog writes about Jane Eyre, the novel, and A Ceremony of Words posts about the 1985 adaptation. Peakwalks has uploaded a few pictures taken in the Peak District, a few of which will be familiar to lovers of the 2006 Jane Eyre miniseries. Eclectic Indulgence discusses Wuthering Heights.

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  1. Any reviews from New Zealand about Wuthering Heights?

  2. We have only come across one so far: http://bronteblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/lot-104-and-other-news.html

    Other reviewers might be waiting for the series to conclude this Sunday.