Saturday, March 08, 2014

A curious event took place yesterday, March 7, in Bridport. Bridfem, a gathering of feminists in the Bridport area, celebrated International Women's Day by 'staging' a pop-up play about the Brontë sisters, hosted by Beth Shaw. More details can be found on their Facebook wall.

The Guardian makes a correction to the article where they published a picture of  the wrong Brontë sister:
We had the wrong Brontë sister in an illustration accompanying an item about a debate on the literary merits of Emily Brontë and Jane Austen (The week in books, 1 March, page 5, Review). The picture showed Charlotte Brontë, not Emily.
The Telegraph thinks that the books on your bookshelves can help you sell your house:
Booklovers with teeming shelves should consider packing the majority away and only leave out the best titles. Hardback classics such as Dickens, Austen and Brontë look particularly good on shelves and add character to a home, she said. (Sarah Beeny
And if the covers matched the paint on the walls it would be even better, we suppose... The things we have to read.

A traveller writes to The Telegraph with an insightful comment:
Culture does not have to depend on the weather. Walking on the moors above Haworth on a January afternoon, with icy winds gusting, truly brings home the beauty of the landscape and the isolation that the Brontë sisters must have felt. (...) There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, and culture is dependent on neither.(Brendon McGuire)
Another interesting comment can be read on the Newsweek coverage of the Lahore Literary Festival:
“Women tend to write sex differently from men,” said [Namita] Gokhale, “as they first need to reclaim their bodies from their husbands, their sons, from their family’s honor.” Muneeza Shamsie observed that when commenting on women’s writing, one too often heard about their private lives and wondered if the Brontës would find their sex lives examined and exist in the collective public imagination as sad, unmarried people living on the Moors as male authors. “Someday,” said [Manju] Kapur, “women’s writing will be writing, and men’s writing will be men’s writing.” Amen. (Faiza S. Khan)
Not living Pakistan, The Express Tribune recommends five pictures for a day like today, Women's Day:
Jane EyreAlthough there have been many versions made of this classic novel, the one I personally love is the latest one, released in 2011. The reason is not just because it has been picturised in a better way than its predecessors; it is the way Mia Wasikowska (the actress in Alice in Wonderland) has portrayed the governess-cum-artist and her struggles to find true love that has made me love the story all the more.
Unlike today’s Bollywood romance flicks, Jane Eyre is not about a damsel in distress who is rescued by her knight in shining armour. Jane works her way towards establishing a name for herself after she is orphaned and is made to study in a horrid, catholic school. After she completes her education, she takes up a job as a governess for a rich family, where she meets Fairfax Rochester, the to-be love of her life.
During the course of the movie, Jane finds out that Rochester is already married (spoiler alert: she gets to know about it at the altar, when she and Rochester are about to get married). Even though Rochester insists that the two of them could get married, Jane upholds her principles and leaves. Her strength of character and resilience to follow her ideals is something which women of today should pay heed to. A boyfriend or ‘their man’ shouldn’t be the only focus of their lives. (Faiq Lodhi)
 The Leeds Student publishes a cheat guide to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:
(...) Ultimately Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a considerably happier and much less melodramatic than anything Brontë’s two older sisters wrote. It has often been hailed as one of the first feminist novels and comments, rather scandalously for the time, on the trials and tribulations of women effectively bound to their husbands legally and socially.
Keighley News reminds readers that the new guidebook to the Brontë Parsonage Museum is already available:
The new guidebook for the Brontë Parsonage Museum is now available.
The 48-page volume, available from the museum in Haworth, is the first to be published since 1998.
It was prepared following last year’s major refurbishment of the historic building, and it has been updated to take into account changes to museum displays of the past 15 years.
The new guidebook also includes the findings from recent research into the history of the Parsonage’s furnishings.
The book, from specialist publisher Scala, includes colour pictures of the building past and present, and the back cover features a painting of a bird of prey by Emily Brontë.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum reopened last month following extensive improvements to its shop and entrance foyer.
And also talks about the half-term holiday activities at the Parsonage:
Events at the Parsonage – which were free with admission to the museum – tied in with a new exhibition, entitled The Brontës and Animals.
This included children made animal finger puppets last Wednesday.
“We got all sorts of creations!” said a Parsonage spokesman.
“Although schools from outside this district were on holiday the previous week, and many of our young visitors tend to be from beyond the local area, we still got quite a few children attend and they seemed to enjoy themselves.”
Other activities included an animal-themed writing event on Thursday and an animal trail.
The Hindu interviews the author Sally Gardner:
Gardner learned to read at 14. She attended a school for children with behavioural problems (long shut now) even though she had a learning disability. She remembers the day when the words on the page suddenly fell into place and sentences grew into stories. “I was in this funny little hut with a tin roof. It was raining very very hard. And there was one boy on the floor screaming. The noise level was beyond anything I could cope with. I just wanted to be gone. To be out of this place. I remember picking up this book (it was Wuthering Heights) and looking at it, and starting to read it with my finger on the words and suddenly realised that everything had gone quiet. I was on the moors, it was snowing, it was very frightening. And I was no longer in the school.” (Nandini Nair)
Colette Bancroft begins an article in the Tampa Bay Times like this:
For those of us who are mad for books, that love most likely first struck in childhood.
Whether it was a picture book lovingly (and repeatedly) read to us by parents or the first books we read ourselves that expanded our minds into other times, places and lives (for me: Little Women and Jane Eyre), the beloved books of our childhood can have memorable and lasting impact.
Manchester Evening News lists inspirational Greater Manchester women. Including Elizabeth Gaskell:
One of the most famous writers of her era, Gaskell penned the rollicking Victorian novels North and South, Cranford and Mary Barton as well as the biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë. She spent most of her childhood in Knutsford before settling in Ardwick. (Emily Heward)
The Globe and Mail on characters that outlive their authors:
The author is dead – which is darned convenient if you’re planning to muck with his characters.
In 1967, the French critic Roland Barthes published his now-famous essay The Death of the Author, calling for literary criticism freed from considerations of the author’s biography and intentions. The same year, Jean Rhys won the W.H. Smith Award for her newly published novel Wide Sargasso Sea. A prequel to Jane Eyre, it revealed Mr. Rochester’s mad wife to be a Creole heiress caught between black Jamaica and white Europe, and driven insane by the domineering Englishman she is forced to marry.
Today, Wide Sargasso Sea is considered a quintessential example of the literary riches that can be generated when you liberate a text from its author. It’s a post-modern classic.Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, not so much. (Kate Taylor)
Tim Lott writes in The Guardian about class mobility:
Now my children have completed the pincer movement, for they are dyed–in-the-wool middle class. They correct me on my improper emphases in words such as "piano" and "theatre". Their accents are elegantly classless – a profoundly middle-class trait. They were improperly smuggled into church schools, brought up on a diet of Wuthering Heights and virgin olive oil. They will visit an art gallery as naturally as I would have visited a council estate in the hope of scoring speed.
7NewsDenver mentions the Brontë pseudonyms:
Louisa May Alcott published as A.M. Barnard, Mary Ann Evans under the name of George Eliot, and the Brontë sisters (Ann (sic), Charlotte and Emily) under the names Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell. (Katie Leone)
Bustle includes Virginia Woolf's comment on Emily Brontë in A Room of One's Own in an article about women writers on womanhood:
When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman. (Molly Labell)
We don't know if Wuthering Heights is a maudit novel. We'd rather think not. But Doracino Naves on Diário da Manhã (Brazil) disagrees:
Na literatura existem algumas obras consideradas malditas. A gente poderia falar sobre dezenas delas. Lembro-me de uma: O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes, história de amor criada por Emile Jane Brontë, que chocou a sociedade inglesa da metade do século dezenove. Essa obra prima contém romance e suspense numa história instigante. Uma poesia de Dickinson para compreender a alma da autora: “Suaves caem os sons do Éden/Em seu ouvido absorto/Ó que entardecer no céu/Quando Brontë lá chegou!”. Sombrio! (Translation)
La Bottega di Hamlin (Italy) lists ten literary heroines:
Eroina femminile per eccellenza, Jane Eyre rappresenta il trionfo del buon senso e dell'intelligenza femminili, da preferire al lato estetico. Orfana, educata in un istituto, trova lavoro a Thornfield Hall, dimora del conte di Rochester, di cui s'innamora, ricambiata. Diversi gli adattamenti cinematografici, tra cui ricordiamo quello di Franco Zeffirelli nel '96, con protagonisti Charlotte Gainsbourg e William Hunt, e quello del 2011 di Cary Fukunaga con Mia Wasikowska e Michael Fassbender. (Translation)
Faenza Notizie (Italy) reports an event celebrating International Women's Day with a Brontë connection:
Per celebrare la Festa della Donna, oggi sabato 8 marzo, il Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza, alle 21, all'interno del percorso espositivo dedicato ad "Arturo Martini. Armonie, figure tra mito e realtà" in allestimento al MIC fino al 30 marzo, le dedica una sorta di visita guidata commentata dalla lettura di poesie. (...)
Per "corrispondenza di amorosi sensi" la visita ad alcuni selezionati pezzi di Arturo Marini sarà abbinata ad una poesia, da Jacques Prévert ad Alda Merini, da Anne Brontë ad Aldo Palazzeschi, da Wislawa Szymborska a Pablo Neruda, dalla quasi sconosciuta Drita Como fino ai giapponesi Racconti di Ise (IX - XII secolo). (Translation)
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) reviews the theatre piece Svarta djuret sorg by Anja Hilling which apparently uses Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Den form Hilling valt gör att såväl roller som skådespelare blir anonyma. Skeendet återberättas men gestaltas inte psykologiskt. Ensemblen blir ett galleri röster men aldrig personer. Sofia Pekkaris Miranda berör dock starkt när hon fantastiskt och känsligt sjunger Kate Bushs ”Wuthering heights”. Thomas Hanzon gör skickligt sin Paul som en man som flyr till det praktiska men till slut konfronterar bristen på mening. (Lars Ring) (Translation)
Le Figaro (France) describes like this the Alexander McQueen collection at the Paris Fashion Week:
Au moment où la - très belle - saison parisienne semblait se satisfaire de vêtements chics et subversifs, arrive Alexander McQueen et sa mélancolie gracieuse. Dans une atmosphère de lande brumeuse digne des Hauts de Hurlevent, où se tiendrait un concours de beauté entre jolies jeunes filles et vilaines sorcières, ce défilé s’inscrit d’emblée comme un moment de poésie à part. Avec Sarah Burton, la sensualité couture de McQueen demeure en tout point remarquable. (Godfrey Deeny) (Translation)
Exactly the same as New York Magazine:
Sara Burton's collection for Alexander McQueen moved through a wild, mossy lonely landscape inspired by the moorlands of Wuthering Heights. This dress, with its emerald frayed flocking and emerald fur underskirt, seemed to blend indestinguishably with the mossy runway. (Veronica Misako Gledhill and Rebecca Ramsey)
A former copy-editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel and Brontëite; Literature Frenzy! reviews Wuthering Heights; Quattro passi sulle nuvole (in Italian) reviews Jane Eyre.


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