Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014 10:49 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
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Harvard Gazette has a lovely article on the Brontës' tiny books and 'the genesis of genius'.
Flames of childhood passion often die. How many astronauts and ballerinas are among us? Yet some talent is so profound that even early efforts signify genius.
The tiny, hand-lettered, hand-bound books Charlotte and Branwell Brontë made as children surely qualify. Measuring about 2.5 by 5 centimeters, page after mini-page brims with poems, stories, songs, illustrations, maps, building plans, and dialogue. The books, lettered in minuscule, even script, tell of the “Glass Town Confederacy,” a fictional world the siblings created for and around Branwell’s toy soldiers, which were both the protagonists of and audience for the little books.
In 1829 and 1830, Charlotte and Branwell cobbled the pages together from printed waste and scrap paper, perhaps cut from margins of discarded pamphlets. They wrote with steel-nibbed pens, which tend to blot, yet the even script demonstrates their practiced hand.
Charlotte, who in adulthood wrote “Jane Eyre,” nested leaves together, then neatly sewed the spine with embroidery thread; it’s evident she constructed her book and planned its content before ever putting pen to paper. Branwell, who would become a painter and poet, stacked folded leaves together, which allowed him to add pages as he needed; clearly not as adept with needle and thread as his sister, he stab-sewed the leaves together with thicker linen yarn.
Children can be rough on their playthings — miniature books created by the younger Brontë siblings Emily and Anne did not survive — but Charlotte kept and stored the “Glass Town” adventures carefully. “They must have been very precious to them, as they are to us today,” said Priscilla Anderson of Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center, who restored the volumes.
Only about 20 volumes of Brontë juvenilia are known to remain. Harvard holds nine, the Brontë Museum at the family home in England owns a few, and the remaining are scattered among museums and private collectors.
Until recently, juvenilia — works produced by an author or artist while still young — were viewed as oddities by scholars and collectors. Today they are understood to provide valuable and rare insight into an author’s development. In the case of the Brontës, experts might trace Gothic influences from the 13-year-old Charlotte’s stories, or identify Branwell’s growth as an artist by comparing his childhood illustrations and his later paintings. Perhaps even more importantly, the books provide a glimpse into the inner lives of children growing up in a society in which they were expected to be seen and not heard. (Kate Kondayen) (Read more)
The Hereford Times announces that the Chapterhouse Theatre Company's stage production of Wuthering Heights is there this weekend.
CHAPTERHOUSE Theatre Company present Wuthering Heights at Hampton Court Castle tomorrow.
A brand new adaptation of Brontë’s unyielding story of love and obsession, Wuthering Heights is a classic love story set on the beautiful, mysterious wilderness of the Yorkshire moors. It has thrilled and entranced for generations and is now brought alive on stage in an adaptation by award winning writer Laura Turner, who says she feels honoured to have had the opportunity to adapt one of her all time favourite romantic novels.
“When Chapterhouse asked me to write an adaptation of Wuthering Heights for this season I was really thrilled because I first read the novel when I was 14 and had a really strong reaction. It’s a bit like Marmite - people either love it or hate it and I fell in love. It’s a challenging story to adapt, spanning two generations, but I hope that I have managed to instil all the passion and wildness of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece and that people fall for Catherine and Heathcliff just as I have.”
Wuthering Heights is at Hampton Court Castle on Friday, June 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets from Hampton Court ticket office on 01568 797777, Leominster Tourist Information Centre (01568 616460) or online at
While the Plymouth Herald reviews the same production.
Wednesday evening was a first for me on two counts; I had never visited Pentillie Castle before or seen a theatre performance of Wuthering Heights. I would quite happily do both again.
I must admit I have not read Emily Bronte’s classic love story but did thoroughly enjoy the 2011 film adaptation. The story has always caused controversy due to the representation of both mental and physical cruelty and the Chapterhouse company portrayed both wonderfully.
Set in the depths of the Yorkshire moors the limited staging and stunning backdrop of rolling Devon hills provided the perfect atmosphere. The speech was accompanied by live violin and the occasional song from the character, Nelly Dean.
The words of Catherine Earnshaw shocked the audience while the humour of Nelly Dean had the crowd laughing in parts. One particular scene which stood out was when Frances gave birth to her son, Hareton. The slightly chaotic scene of Nelly putting down blankets and Catherine shocked with the whole ordeal certainly had the audience chuckling away. The whole scene was performed with backs to the audience but the sound effects and dramatic movements made for a brilliant adaptation.
The accents of the whole cast were well practised and fluent throughout. The costumes were perfectly dated and the very little props made you feel as if you were all living in 1789.
The whole performance was played by just six actors and actresses but at not one point were the audience confused as who was who, and the slight change of costume made it clear who the new character was.
Pentillie Castle offers a stunning location and Wuthering Heights was a perfect choice of performance. (Emily Smith)
The Independent interviews writer Joanna Briscoe.
Which fictional character most resembles you?That is the hardest question. I have most empathy with Charlotte Brontë's anxious, over-thinking but determined women. Jane Eyre used to have me in paroxysms of identification but I'm not sure I quite grew into the adult Mrs Rochester...
The columnist at Le devoir (Canada) also compares herself to Jane Eyre.
Combien de fois ai-je arpenté cette splendide cité-jardin comme simple marcheuse, et même à titre de « mairesse » durant les quelques mois où j’ai été admise au château ? Je n’ai pas abusé de mes pouvoirs restreints ; je ne suis même pas allée jouer au boulingrin en bas blancs à l’heure du thé, j’ai simplement rigolé en dévalant tantôt l’escalier des maîtres, tantôt celui des valets, en me prenant pour Jane Eyre. (Josée Blanchette) (Translation)
Another article in French. Le Point (France) recommends a trip to Yorkshire now that the Tour de France is going there as well.
Parmi les landes rousses et mauves de bruyère apparaît Haworth, le berceau de la famille Brontë, au fond d'une vallée. Qu'importe si sur ses hauteurs inspiratrices des "Hauts de Hurlevent" ont germé quelques éoliennes. Elles se font oublier dès l'entrée dans l'émouvante maison-musée où ont été écrits des chefs-d'oeuvre de la littérature. (Marie-Christine Morosi) (Translation)
A columnist at Pekin Daily Times recalls when she first read Jane Eyre.
I felt so grown-up and proud, and soon was working my way through the classics. Before I entered high school I’d read “Little Women,” “Jane Eyre,” and “Wuthering Heights,” to name but a few. I can also remember the surprise on my English teacher’s face when she told us we’d be reading “The Scarlet Letter,” and asked if any of us had heard of it — and I replied that I’d already read it and could attest to how good it was. (Amy Gehrt)
Donna Glamour (Italy) looks at the books that 'must absolutely be read'.
Tra la letteratura femminile troviamo Cime tempestose e Jane Eyre delle sorelle Brontë, sicuramente classici senza tempo. (Translation)
While Very lists Wuthering Heights as one of their 'fashionable reads'.
Wuthering Heights
This Gothic novel is the story of tempestuous love that descends into resentment and revenge, making it one of my all time favourite reads. The love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff is all consuming, creating plenty of drama on the ghosty moors. This drama can easily influence your wardrobe, without making you look like an 18th century throwback. Use layers to create movement, with a flowing maxi skirt and an oversized cardigan. Opt for greys and deep purples, along with ankle boots and a slick of purple lipstick to complete the brooding appeal. (Aimee Q)
The Rochester City Newspaper looks at a recent performance by Ian Shaw where he asked
if the audience knew Kate Bush and then launched into a spot-on falsetto rendition of “Wuthering Heights.” (Ron Netsky)
Biblio Curio shows a lovely set of Brontë sisters novels published in 1905. We Sat Down posts about Wide Sargasso Sea and Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks is reading Minae Mizumura's A True Novel. Transfixment and Jane Eyre on Louise Wareham Leonard.


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