Sunday, October 06, 2013

Sunday, October 06, 2013 1:56 pm by M. in , , ,    No comments
The Yorkshire Post tells the story of Andrew Heaton, a descendant of the Heatons of Haworth who has written a book, Never had a better, tracing his origins:
“My father was a well-respected sheepdog trial enthusiast and was also the first sheepdog trial winner of the new millennium when on January 1, 2000, high on the moors above Brontë country at Moor Lodge Farm, Oakworth he won the New Year’s Day trial with his dog Ben. Ironically I was to return to Brontë country many times in this past year as I uncovered stories that linked my family with both Emily and Patrick Brontë.” (...)
While Andrew has been able to find actual references and dates for over 500 years worth of Heaton family history, none is likely to capture the imagination more than a romantic entwinement with Robert Heaton of Ponden Hall and Emily Brontë. And there is enough conjecture for Andrew to mount an extremely plausible storyline.
The Heatons are inextricably linked with Haworth via the inscription on the bottom of the stained glass window in the Brontë chapel of Haworth Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels. It reads: “In memory of the Heatons of Ponden – Trustees of Haworth.”
While that proves very little, Andrew ventures further that the link between Ponden Hall, three miles west of Haworth, and Thrushcross Grange of Emily’s Wuthering Heights is feasible.
“In the 19th century, not many houses on the desolate moors surrounding Haworth could compare with Ponden. Like Thrushcross, the hall was attractive and well furnished and was inhabited by gentlemen of good standing, the educated Heaton brothers.”
When Emily was writing her book she often visited Ponden and he believes there is plenty of evidence to suggest that she and Robert were more than just friends.
“The plot of her novel concerns an inheritance and from what is known of the Heatons at the time, inheritance was what their 
life revolved around.
“The character of Heathcliff is based around a strange and sinister figure. At the time there was a man called Henry Casson who married into the Heaton family and tried to acquire her wealth.”
Copies of Andrew’s Never Had a Better can be obtained through visiting
Although we also think that classic novels (and Brontë novels in particular) should be taught in schools we don't agree with Joanna Trollope's opinion in The Sunday Times:
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Trollope said she wanted to see novels by 19th-century writers such as Jane Austen, the Brontës and George Elliot taught more widely in schools to counter the "enormous amount of fantasy in children's bestseller lists". (...)
"I feel children are missing out on an enormous amount," said Trollope, who admitted her 12-year-old grandson is engrossed in The Hunger Games. "The consolation to be found in the clasics is absolutely infinite and greater than fantasy novels. Fantasy doesn't really relate to the real world.
Frankly, we are speechless. Metaphor, Allegory, Simile, Parabole... all useless. And, if we are honest, do we really think that a 19th century novel (with a 19th century novel context of course) is more related to the 21st century world than any fantasy world?

More reviews of Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things mentioning the Brontës. Now the Denver Post:
Gilbert, confident in her craft, took obvious pleasure in playing with language here, channeling Dickens here, a Brontë there. It takes nimble reading to catch on, but once the rhythms take hold, pages turn swiftly. (Tucker Shaw)
Penelope Lively talks about old age today in The Guardian:
A recent survey by the Department for Work and Pensions, which is somewhat obsessed with the question of old age, for good reason, found that most believe that old age starts at 59 while youth ends at 41. People over 80, on the other hand, believe 68 to herald old age, while 52 is the end of youth. Of course, of course – it depends where you happen to be standing yourself. And youth has expanded handsomely since Charlotte Brontë wailed, "I am now 32. Youth is gone – gone, – and will never come back; can't help it." It still won't come back, even after a century and a half of scientific advance, but there is plenty of remedial work on offer by way of nipping and tucking for those feeling a bit desperate. The rest of us settle for the inevitable sag and wrinkle, and simply adjust our concept of the climactic points. Actually, I'd step out of line and go for 70 rather than 68 as the brink of old age; I have too many vigorous and active friends in their late 60s and anyway the round number is neater.
Stewart Lee writes in The Observer about the triviality (in these days of so many other interesting stories) of the end of the world:
Later, as I walked back towards the departure lounge, I looked at all the books on the shelves of WH Smith, the classics in a little cluster near the floor. Hardy, Dickens, Eliot, Brontë. It seems trivial I suppose, but it suddenly struck me that all this would be lost too, our finest thoughts, our noblest artistic endeavours.
Also in The Observer Rachel Cooke presents her book Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties. Talking about Muriel and Betty Box:
It was Noël Coward who – following their takeover at Gainsborough – described the Boxes as "the Brontës of Shepherd's Bush". But this was not entirely accurate. Betty Box, the member of the family for whom the Gainsborough years would prove to be most successful, worked not in Shepherd's Bush but at the studio's Islington outpost, where Sydney had appointed her the studio head.
The Irish Independent highlights again Roads Publisher's new editions of classics like Wuthering Heights:
But it's as the founder of Roads – "an Irish lifestyle retail group offering luxury, imagination and design" – that she's now focusing her talents, with a brand of perfume already securing key outlets in the United States.
There's something of the lifestyle accessory about her first batch of classic books, too, as if their chic covers have been designed chiefly as coffee table adornments.
Indeed, the publicity handout recommends them as being "stylish and collectable" and "ideal gifts" – though, at €12.50 each, rather expensive for paperbacks. (John Boland)
DNA (India) reviews Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland:
Anyone who has loved, and loved passionately, will know that great love is not based on how ‘sweet he is’ or how ‘cute she is’ (Wuthering Heights, anyone?). (Anu Prabhakar
Both boodle3 and Nancy Atkins publish recent pictures of Top Withins on flickr.


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