Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stuart Evers talks about homecoming novels in The Guardian. Heathcliff's homecoming is mentioned:
Returning to where you once belonged, but changed, is a recurrent and consistently fascinating trope in fiction. It gives both reader and writer an opportunity to examine characters, place and memory almost like no other. Take Heathcliff's momentous homecoming in Wuthering Heights. The Heights and Thrushcross Grange remain almost entirely the same, but the atmosphere is immediately altered by his brooding presence. The events that follow and his vengeful schemes are heightened by our already deep understanding of the setting and the fact that as readers we still have no clues as to where Heathcliff has been, nor how he has become so wealthy.
With Heathcliff in mind, I went to my bookshelves to find other examples of nostos – and soon found myself lost in a quite different novel, Philip Roth's Exit Ghost. The last book to feature his alter ego Nathan Zuckerman is perhaps not the best of Roth's late work. But its depictions of returning to a much-changed Manhattan, a city where he lived out his writerly prime, are exemplary. (...)
And this is the power of the homecoming: it can never be without interest. Even if someone is slinking home under sufferance, like Karin Schluter in Richard Powers' The Echo Maker, there is a story to be told which has as much drama as a grand return such as Lewis Aldridge in Sadie Jones's The Outcast, or that of Heathcliff himself.
IndyWeek recommends Denise Giardina's reading of her novel Emily's Ghost today at Quail Ridge Books & Music (Raleigh, NC, 7:30 PM):
Wuthering Heights, one of the greatest English novels of the 19th century, depicts a stormy love affair among the moors, with all the gothic hallmarks of the Romantic genre (violence! forced marriage! ghosts!). After writing a string of novels set in locales from medieval England to Nazi Germany, author Denise Giardina decided to try her hand at depicting England at the time Emily Brontë wrote her sole novel. "I immersed myself in the culture of the time, the literature, the music, the economic and political situation," Giardina said of her novel Emily's Ghost: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters in a recent telephone interview. She succeeds. In Giardina's rendering, Yorkshire's moors come alive for Emily Brontë, as they later would for the fictional Catherine and Heathcliff. The book's main concern is Brontë's relationship with curate William Weightman. "He was the only man outside her family that Emily grew close to," Giardina said. Asked why she wrote about Emily rather than her sister-authors Charlotte or Anne, Giardina said, "I find Emily to be by far the most interesting. I was interested in her independence, her disinterest in traditional marriage and Charlotte's declaration that freedom was important to Emily above all else." The event is sure to intrigue literature and history buffs alike. (Sarah Ewald)
The Telegraph & Argus publishes a reminder of Sam Taylor-Wood's Ghosts exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
An exhibition of landscape photographs inspired by Wuthering Heights has gone on display at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth.
The photographs, by Sam Taylor-Wood, are titled Ghosts and were shot on the moors which inspired Emily Bronte to write her masterpiece. The classic novel serves as a backdrop to Sam’s photographs.
The landscape in Ghosts is bleak and unremitting, echoing the brutal portrayal of heightened passion and suffering found in Wuthering Heights.
Traces of the novel are found in a photograph of solitary leafless trees, twisted towards each other, embodying Cathy and Heathcliff. Throughout the series, Sam’s response to the book has been to photograph the wildness of air that inspired the novel.
The series was originally exhibited as part of Sam’s recent show, Yes I No, in London. The photographs have been resized to fit the Parsonage and are exhibited in the period rooms as part of the museum’s Contemporary Arts Programme.
“Exhibiting such powerful work by such a prominent artist is tremendously exciting,” says arts officer Jenna Holmes. “As well as showcasing the ways in which the Brontes continue to influence contemporary culture, Ghosts is also an important addition to the strong legacy of landscape photography in the area.
“We hope that by exhibiting Ghosts in the place that inspired it, new layers and connections will be drawn between the work and the Parsonage, as well as offering the public a unique opportunity to see important contemporary art in an unusual setting.”(...)
Ghosts runs at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth until November 2. For more information ring (01535) 640188. (Emma Clayton)
The Cleveland Literature Examiner continues its detailed review of Edward Mendelson's The Things That Matter. Now it's George Elliot's turn with Middlemarch and it brings a Charlotte Brontë reference:
“The sober realism of much of Middlemarch –its claim to refuse the emotional temptations of fantasies and myths –is George Eliot’s way of affirming that the ideas about marriage and morals propounded by the book’s worldy-wise narrator are verifiably true and not merely driven by a wish that they might be true, unlike the passionate wish-fulfillments that so excited Charlotte Bronte and almost everyone else who had written about marriage and love.” (Quoted by Bailey Shoemaker Richards)
The Brontë Parsonage Blog posts a complete account of the recent Brontë Society Conference Weekend:
The combination of the theme of this year's conference, Men in the Brontës' Lives, encompassing so many fascinating figures, with the setting of York made it an irresistible event. We heard ten talks in two days by some of the people best qualified to tell us about the men in question. Thus we heard about Patrick Brontë from his most recent biographer, and about Arthur Nicholls from the husband and wife team who have dedicated their retirement to researching this sometimes maligned and sidelined figure. And who better to tell us about M. Heger, Charlotte's inspirational Belgian teacher, than the translator and editor of Charlotte and Emily's "Belgian Essays"? (Helen MacEwan) (Read more)
Canadian tourists visiting Haworth in The Daily Gleaner, Philippa Fioretti selects several stills from Wuthering Heights adaptations, Mariakäfer reviews Jane Eyre 1983 (in German), Piece Recall doesn't like the ending of Jane Eyre but These are a few of my favorite things... has enjoyed the novel ending and all, Neil and Rachel's Wisconsin Adventure has read Wuthering Heights (6.5/10) and now goes for Jane Eyre, and i think i can, i think i can... talks about a different kind of Brontë sisters.

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