Friday, May 02, 2014

The Yorkshire Post presents the book The Moor. Lives, Landscapes, Literature by William Atkins and discusses the everlasting appeal of the moors:
For writers and artists, too, it has provided a deep well of inspiration. Ashley Jackson has carved out a successful career capturing the spirit of Yorkshire’s moors in his brooding watercolour paintings, while for Ted Hughes the foreboding beauty of the Calder Valley was a lifelong inspiration. Then there are classic novels like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. (...)
The ensuing book is full of the voices of the moors both past and present, from murderers, monks and priests through to poets, ramblers and environmentalists. During his travels he spent several weeks in Yorkshire in places like Haworth, the Calder Valley and the North York Moors.
“I see Yorkshire as the heartland of this book and Ted Hughes as its presiding spirit,” he says. (...)
One of his favourite walks was heading eastwards from Danby towards Fylingdales in North Yorkshire. “One of my ambitions was to find the centre of the moors that Emily Brontë wrote about and I found it there, right on the top surrounded by dense heather and the thick sound of grouse and curlew.”
He admits it was a strange experience. “It can be a very alien place but at the same time I could see the truncated pyramid of the radar base. It was always there in the distance and you realise that despite feeling like you’re miles from anywhere, man’s presence is never too far away.” (...)
Atkins believes that many of our ideas about the moors have been shaped by literature. “When people think of Dartmoor they quite often think about The Hound of the Baskervilles, while writers like Emily Brontë and William Wordsworth are big influences obviously.
“It’s often suggested that for Emily Brontë the moors represented freedom and liberty but I actually think they were more important to her than that, I think they were central to her imagination.” (Chris Bond)
The Star is concerned about Yorkshire and musicians:
From the red-light district of Sheffield to the windy moors of Wuthering Heights fame - the varied landscapes of Yorkshire are etched in Britain’s music history.
The Telegraph chooses the best romantic novels:
3.  Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847)
“I will be myself” the passionate and moral governess tells her saturnine employer. “ Mr Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you.”

4.  Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (1847)
Disdained on publication for its “vulgar depravity” and difficult characters, even the sniffier early critics acknowledge the “rugged power” of the romance between Catherine Earnshaw, and adopted gypsy Heathcliff with whom she feels a love eternal as the rocks beneath the moor. 
And the Irish Times talks about madness in literature:
From Jane Eyre’s madwoman in the attic to Captain Ahab in Moby Dick and Francie in The Butcher Boy, madness is a recurring and compelling theme in literature (...)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847)
The archetypal ‘madwoman in the attic’ is Mr Rochester’s first wife Bertha, locked away from sight and left for heroine Jane to discover after a series of odd happenings during her stint as governess at Thornfield Hall. Animalistic, violent and vociferous, Bertha Antoinetta Mason is madness personified in Charlotte Brontë’s novel and her story can only be related to readers through her husband’s voice. While travelling in the colonies, Edward Rochester is introduced to Bertha, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Jamaican family, and is persuaded to propose without the couple ever spending time alone together. Learning after the marriage of a family history of insanity, he feels cheated but nevertheless brings his bride back to the mother land. Once in England Bertha’s mental health deteriorates quickly, giving lend to numerous post-colonial and feminist readings of her decline into madness. (Sarah Gilmartin)
The Guardian is more sophisticated: novels about keys and padlocks:
Keys and locks are symbolic of many things, often power or sexual desire. Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights jangles with such references. Hindley taunts his adopted brother Heathcliff and locks him out of the house. Later Heathcliff the toys with the overpowered Cathy with a bunch of keys. (Peter Kimpton)
Keighley News informs that the Black Bull has new landlords:
The new landlady of the Black Bull pub in Haworth has promised to “bring the smile back” to the historic pub.
Pub troubleshooter Leanne Forbes aims to revive the historic Main Street hostelry, which was once the haunt of Branwell Bronte.
She was chosen by owners Enterprise Inns to run the famous watering hole with her partner of 17 years, Michael Dewsnap. (...)
“We looked at the Black Bull and it looked so sad. But it’s lovely where it is at the top of Main Street – it’s like a place in a fairytale.
“We want to open up the history of the pub as much as possible. It’s supposed to be haunted!”
Leanne’s plans include putting on live bands, developing the restaurant and reopening the three upstairs bedrooms for visitors.
Leanne plans to continue catering for the many Haworth residents who viewed the Black Bull as their local. (David Knights)
Chicago Tribune describes the curious experience of listening to Jane Eyre while driving with a teenage daughter:
I drive my daughter, almost 17, to school every day on my way into work -- she drives, actually -- and we listen to audio books. We've just started "Jane Eyre,"  which we have it on good authority she's likely to be assigned next year. And, as usual when reading the greatest books in the canon, we're encountering a healthy dose of interesting, sometimes complicated and even confusing word choices.
Here's a passage we listened to this morning:
“Unjust!—unjust!” said my reason, forced by the agonizing stimulus into precocious though transitory power: and Resolve, equally wrought up, instigated some strange expedient to achieve escape from insupportable oppression—as running away, or, if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die.
Pedant that I am I'm wont to pause the recording to make sure she groks the words -- "precocious," "transitory" "wrought" "instigated," "effected" -- which makes it difficult to get into the flow of the story.
But in the end I think, I hope, the mini-lessons increase her appreciation of Charlotte Bronte's craft, instill in her the habit of careful reading and, of course, broaden her vocabulary. Even though, as noted last week, fancy words are disappearing from standardized tests, you do encounter them if you read widely, and it pays to know how to use them with precision should the need arise. (Eric Zorn)
Daily Mail interviews the writer Alice Hoffman:
What book would you take to a desert island?
Wuthering Heights — the most brilliant psychological novel of all time. One can read it at different times and view Heathcliff and Cathy with fresh insight.
The Weekly Standard (May 12, 2014, Vol. 19, no. 33) reviews the book The Art of Thomas Bewick by Diana Donald:
When we first meet Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, she is hiding behind the curtains reading a forbidden book that transports her to the polar tundra:
In these forlorn regions of unknowable dreary space, this reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre the multiplied rigours of extreme cold; even here .  .  . there appears to subsist an abundance of animals, in the air, and in the waters.
Jane is gripped. Her lonely, 10-year-old imagination flies to the extremities of the earth, where still lonelier creatures survive against the odds. She isn’t reading adventure fiction; she is reading Thomas Bewick’s A History of British Birds (1797). For the Brontës, as for many early-19th-century children, these exquisitely illustrated books of natural history were as inspiring as Moby-Dick and The Call of the Wild would be to later generations. Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) became famous for his exceptionally fine wood engravings depicting different species of bird and animal. But to contemporary readers, he was more than an engraver; he was a storyteller, a familiar guide who led the amateur naturalist into new territories that became theirs to explore. (Sara Lodge)
Anne Donovan in The Independent gives reasons to write in Scots:
But why write in Scots? I could answer simply, why not? Numerous wonderful writers have done so, including Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Nancy Brysson Morrison and Tom Leonard; James Kelman's work is internationally recognised. Furth of Scotland, the dialect has been used by writers from Emily Brontë to David Almond, while Samuel Selvon's The Lonely Londoners is a classic. (And, after all, Dante's Divine Comedy is written in Tuscan dialect rather than Latin.)
New Statesman on the importance of being lonely:
It’s always been the case, of course – writers needing to be at one remove. Maybe this was most obvious during the Romantic days of Wordsworth et al, and their wanderings over hills and across moors. “The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself,” declared Jane Eyre – and her creator, Charlotte Brontë, must have known pretty much all there was to know about loneliness. (Ruth Thomas)
Emma Donoghue in The Irish Post seems to be a bit confused about howCharlotte Brontë wrote:
Having just released her latest book Frog Music, she told The Irish Post that when it comes to penning her works of fiction she takes inspiration from Victorian English novelist Charlotte Brontë.
“Trains are particularly good, planes too,” she says. “But when I’m home in Canada, I write on a treadmill. Not metaphorically. Actually on a treadmill.
“So that when I’m writing, I’m also walking. So at least I’m getting a bit of exercise. Apparently Charlotte Brontë used to write standing up.” (Mal Rogers)
Hmmm... everybody knows the story, told by Gaskell, of how the sisters walked around the table exchanging ideas about their works, but writing standing up belongs, as far as we can remember, to Virginia Woolf.

Frontenac Gazette writes about Scarborough:
Beneath the castle walls and overlooking the sea is the grave of novelist Anne Brontë, one of the famed Brontë sisters. She died young (age 29) and is interred in St. Mary's churchyard. (Jeffmaguire)
The Zacatecas Express (México) reviews The Candle Man by Alex Scarrow:
En lo anterior puede uno encontrar la estructura de Cumbres borrascosas, el diálogo entre dos personajes acerca de una tragedia, sólo que mientras Brontë habla ya de esa macabra pérdida del heroísmo positivo en los inicios de la era victoriana en la boca de la narradora, Scarrow lo utiliza más bien como un marco que nos lleva a la leyenda del barco hundido y a sus variadas secuelas, sobre todo la cinematográfica, antes de narrar los diversos ingredientes del caso Jack, el destripador. (Alejandro García) (Translation)
Voz da Rússia (in Portuguese) makes a quite bold (and perplexing) statement:
Há muitos exemplos desses. As adaptações dos dois primeiros volumes de “Harry Potter” de Joanne Rowling conquistaram o público por todo o mundo. O filme "Jane Eyre", baseado no livro de Charlotte Brontë e dirigido por Franco Zeffirelli, se tornou num clássico como o próprio livro. (Anna Fedorova) (Translation)
Jane Eyre 1996, a classic? We don't think so.

The Dragon's Cache posts about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Ink Pellet reviews the Bristol Old Vic performances of Jane Eyre; A Liberated Life tries a curious experiment:
I am investigating how to treat a secular text (Jane Eyre) as a sacred text. So I thought I would try to write a sermon using a verse from Jane Eyre as my central scripture.

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