Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Guardian talks about the recent literary combat between Jane Austen and Emily Brontë that took place at the Royal Geographical Society (with the wrong Brontë sister in the pictures, by the way):
Central to the Women's prize (formerly the Orange prize) co-founder's case was the book's liberation of both sexes – men "allowed to have feelings", women not reduced to husband-hunters. By being more "ambitious", [Kate] Mosse concluded, Brontë "changed what it was possible for women to write, for women and men to be, and for men to write". She turned out to have won the argument on the night, though not quite the vote. An audience poll at the end narrowly elected Austen as queen of English literature (51% to Brontë's 47%), but as the pre-debate split had been 55% to 24% with 21% don't knows, all the swing vote had gone to Brontë. (John Dugdale)
The Times Literary Supplement adds:
The fight got just a little dirtier from here. We heard:
- But Austen had to end her books with marriage, because she wrote comedies.
- Mark Twain wanted to dig up Austen and beat her skull with a shin bone (Erica Wagner).
- He’s in denial!
- Brontë was the first punk.
- Brontë's like Tracey Emin.
- Austen, who was my wife’s great, great, great Aunt ... (that one, the audience).
Sam West proposed that you have to be in the right mood to read Austen, whereas Brontë sets the mood; that aside, he wouldn’t want to be in a world without either – which was a very charming and measured thing to say, but by this stage all heads in the audience were twitching to locate the voting boxes which were being passed around. (Rozalind Dineen)
Allison Pataki lists in The Huffington Post her favorite novels about unforgettable leading ladies. Guess who is number one:
1. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë: One of my favorite books of all-time. I always wonder if I would have the internal fortitude to make it through just one day in Jane's life, let alone an entire lifetime. I love that, after an existence spent in haunted mansions and on ferocious moor lanscapes, Jane does eventually get her "happy ending," but that it's not picture perfect. It's messy and complicated and real. And, best of all, it's on her terms and does not require her to compromise her own scruples.
From time to time someone asks Barbara Taylor Bradford about her favourite novels or authors and Wuthering Heights comes up. This time it is The Independent:
You have been involved in a number of campaigns to increase literacy and are an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, encouraging young people to read. What did books mean to you as a child? (...)
Books were my friends and they've taught me about life and have taken me on adventures. Wuthering Heights is still my favourite – it's one of the greatest novels in English literature. (Oscar Quine)
The Gloucestershire Echo visits some Yorkshire hotels and gives you a Haworth classic typo for free:
The road from Halifax to Bradford offers a scenic drive through Brontë country, with the Brontë Parsonage museum at Howarth a Mecca for literary tourists.
The main street in Howarth is awash with Brontë-themed bookshops and cafes and best enjoyed from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. (Max Hall)
Keighley News reports an exhibition/event related to the Tour de France crossing Yorkshire and the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
A woolly bike project is steering a course to Haworth.
Yarn artist, Cassandra Kilbride, famous for her crochet street art, is holding workshops at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
The sessions, on May 27 and 29, are among 20 being held across Yorkshire to create woolly bikes, inspired by the county’s landscape and literature.
The finished bikes will form part of a trail for the Yorkshire Festival 2014.
“Cassandra is inviting people to join her in creating the bikes – to knit, crochet, sew or weave your own bit of a bike,” said a spokesman. Admission to the workshops is free, but places must be booked at
Scout Magazine makes a field trip around Grouse Mountain (North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges in North Vancouver, British Columbia) but the author of the article cannot hide her Brontëiteness:
Maybe I’ve read too many Brontë novels but I love cycling to Grouse Mountain on a foggy day. The gruelling uphill trial is rewarded with dramatic views and grounded by the delicious pastries at Ambleside’s Savary Island Pie Company. It’s a gothic melodrama that takes place all in one afternoon! (Rebecca Slaven)
Theatre Press reviews the Australian Shakespeare Company production of Wuthering Heights now in Melbourne:
Wuthering Heights is a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment, and if the imposing backdrop of the mansion is disappointingly unacknowledged in this production, there are torrents of drama and intrigue and an excess of love and hatred to keep an audience engaged. Dress warmly though, for the wuthering is highly realistic… (Kim Edwards)
The Sydney Morning Herald reviews the novel Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse:
The story of the hapless bride who innocently marries an older man only to be disillusioned at best and terrorised at worst has steadily worked its way through 19th and 20th-century literature and thence film.
Jane Eyre discovered Rochester's wife going not so quietly mad in the attic, while Daphne du Maurier managed to render the first wife, the eponymous Rebecca, even more threatening from the grave. (Sue Turnbull)
Arlene Schindler tries to convince you in The Huffington Post that if you are over fifty you and a woman you shoud try a bisexual relationship:
You may be sarcastically asking, "Am I supposed to nuzzle up to the serene woman in my book club? Maybe we could read Jane Eyre and exchange foot massages?"
The Daily Times (Pakistan) is devoting a series of articles to Muhammad Rafi (1924-1980), one of the more important Indian playback singers of all time:
It was now time to adapt Emily Brontë’s famous novel Wuthering Heights in Indian version as ‘Dil Diya Dard Liya’. Dilip Kumar’s role as the oppressed one later turning into a bully in retaliation to Pran’s tyranny was an excellent piece of acting. Waheeda Rehman played heroine opposite Dilip Kumar with side heroine Shyama. If Lata excelled in ‘Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aai’ and ‘Kaya Rang-e-Mehfil Hei Dildarum’, Rafi excelled in raag Kalawati based song “Koi sagar dil ko behlata nahin” along with “Guzre hain aaj ishq main” with concluding climax lines “O bewafaa tera bhi youn hi toot jaae dil”; excellent piece of poetry by Shakeel. It only matches Saif uddin Saif’s poetry in the Pakistani movie ‘Saath Laakh’ song “Qarar looteney waale” wherein the beloved is given negative entreaty in desperation. Another solo “Dilruba main nei tere pyar main” and duet “Sawen Aei” with Asha are added beauty of this movie’s music. Despite excellent treatment imparted by the director, this movie did not do well commercially. Probably the theme was too serious for the happy-go-lucky cinemagoers of that time. (Dr Amjad Parvez)
Maggie K. Sotos in The Minnesota Post reports an incident in a Glasgow performance of Peter Pan where an actor broke the fourth wall and proposed to his girlfriend on stage:
And thus Sandor Sturbl, the Dutch actor, proposed to his girlfriend during a recent show in Glasgow. The twist? Sturbl was playing Peter Pan, his girlfriend was the actress playing Wendy. Mid-song, this fairy-tale stud busted out of character, professed his real-life adoration for his co-star, and dropped down on one knee.
You can’t help but squeal a little. The unconsummated romance between Peter Pan and Wendy Moira Angela Darling burns on par with Heathcliff and Cathy, or Captain Ahab and his white whale; to see the love play out in reality is undeniably satisfying. 
Los Angeles Times interviews Brannon Braga, executive producer of the new TV series Salem:
I think the thing to know is that “Salem” is a unique animal. If you like being scared and you like horror, it’s a great show. But it’s also a really heartfelt show, not a tongue-in-cheek show. We want the characters to seem real, and at the heart of the show is really an epic romance. To quote myself, it’s like “Wuthering Heights” meets “The Exorcist.” (Jevon Phillips)
Book Reporter interviews the writer Deanna Raybourn:
BRC: While I happen to love novels written in first person, many people seem to dislike them. Why did you choose to write in that tense? Have you heard comments from readers about this?
DR: I never set out to deliberately write in first person; it’s just the viewpoint that feels most natural to me. When I was growing up, all my favorite authors wrote first person at least part of the time --- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte Brontë, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, Dodie Smith. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added more to the list --- Sarah Caudwell, Elizabeth Peters, E. M. Delafield, Rose Macaulay.
Dawn (Pakistan) reports a recent conference on Karachi: ‘Literature and human rights’ by Shamil Shams:
He said when Kishwar Naheed and Fehmida Riaz were associated with movements, but Perveen Shakir was not. However, all the three were equally committed to the cause of human rights.
On the Western front, the classical novels of Jane Austin (sic) and Brontë sisters reflected the problems and status of women in the society of their times. (Hasan Mansoor
Mónica Fernández-Aceytuno writes in República de las Ideas (Spain):
La primera vez que mis ojos leyeron la palabra misántropo, quedándose detenidos como si hubieran tropezado con una piedra, fue en las “Cumbres Borrascosas” de Emily Brontë, esa novela que rezumaba, entre vientos despiadados y brezos florecidos sobre los barrancos, misantropía por los cuatro costados. (Translation)
The Times interviews the psychologist and author Tanya Burton who is concerned about the mental child health and mentions Jane Eyre; Bancrofts from Yorkshire posts an interesting article about George Riley Bancroft and his time farming at Top Withins:
The Bancroft family originally took on leases for all three Withens farms, Top, Middle and Lower, and George remembered that the Middle and Lower Withens were demolished, but Top Withens, which even in those days was a popular tourist site with visitors, was left standing “ for t’ Bronte fans…When I took t' tenancy of it, it were getting middlin’ dilapidated.... well it had got vandals in at it, and you can’t beat them. So I asked 'em what they wanted to do abat it…it was'nt safe, and I didn’t want to be responsible for onyone getting killed. They said they would take that property out of t’agreement, and they’d be responsible for that…but, well it’s more or less tummelled dahn now….and it 'ad bin a grand little place.”He remembers a time 60 years ago, when Top Withens had a peat house, where the stock of winter fuel was kept and also remembers visiting the place lots of times when the last tenant, Ernest Roddy, a tall affable man lived there.
Today's BBC Radio 3 Words and Music will feature an extract of the infamous Quarterly Review 1848 : Review of Jane Eyre and also fragments from the novel itself.

 Lena's InkCage posts about Wuthering Heights; I, MayB reviews Jane Eyre; ConcertKatie posts about its Cozy Classics version; TamzinMerchantfan posts several screencaps of her role as Mary Rivers in Jane Eyre 2011; the burlesque performer Mina Von Vixen uploads to Flickr a Wuthering Heights-inspired photoshoot.


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