Saturday, March 07, 2015

Saturday, March 07, 2015 2:09 pm by M. in , , , , , , , ,    No comments
The Kansas City Star reviews The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips:
Caryl Phillips hears echoes of Emily Brontë’s melodramatic “Wuthering Heights” in his latest novel, set like Brontë’s in the English moors.
His story, though, is not about the doomed, obsessive love between the wealthy Catherine Earnshaw and the orphan Heathcliff, but instead recalls other Brontë themes: disloyalty, emotional brutality and despair. (...)
Phillips interrupts the family’s story to turn to Brontë, who lay dying just after publication of her one novel. He speaks of her “guilty preoccupation with the worlds of the Grange and the Heights” where she would much prefer to be alone; her mind wandered the moors, “where she pulled the landscape gloriously tight around her like a worn green blanket and hid herself away.”
Brontë’s indelible creation was the lost child, revenge seeker Heathcliff. Here, in his “Wuthering“ reweavings, Phillips imagines him black, the son of a sugar plantation slave taken to England. She dies there in degradation, but rescued by Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff is placed on his strange path marked by love and despair.
Heathcliff was willful, proud and ambitious, the reader is reminded. Ben, who sees education as an escape, could be his literary heir. With Monica increasingly withdrawn and erratic, the 13-year-old angrily realizes that “there was no point in dreaming. About anything.” (...)
So who is “The Lost Child” of the title? Tommy? His brother? His mother? Phillips masterfully etches these marginalized lives — Brontë, Heathcliff, Monica and Ben — as all wrenchingly lost. (Linda Simon)
Christie's The Art People interviews master Printmaker Stanley Jones who talks about his work with Paula Rego:
The artist’s series on Jane Eyre was perhaps the largest she made at Curwen. ‘She bought dresses and set models up in poses,’ recalls Jones. ‘She was eager to make a statement about child cruelty and feminism; that’s evident in this later work.’
Though Rego’s early relationship with lithography had been somewhat difficult, by the time produced the Jane Eyre prints, it had become the form that most convincingly conveyed her intended meaning. ‘In lithography,’ says Jones, ‘she had found a medium that blended with the idea of Jane Eyre as she wanted to express it. People have asked me what makes lithography so special and I think that’s really it: artists get something from it that they can’t get any other way.’
In a few days many of these prints will be auctioned online: Paula Rego. Thirty Years of Print.

Kazuo Ishiguro, interviewed today in Financial Times, is not as explicit as yesterday in the NYT, but he also mentions the Brontës:
Ishiguro is part of a generation of novelists whose achievements have often been measured against one another. Thinking back to that 1983 group photograph of him alongside Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie and other members of Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists” list, I wonder what the 60-year-old writer makes now of his theory, formulated a quarter of a century ago, that most in his profession peak before 45. Ishiguro smiles, obligingly reeling off a list of greats to whom this applies: Austen, the Brontës, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, Kerouac, Mailer.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch in The Huffington Post asks a pertinent question in the International Women's Day:
Here's a question: can you name me five female writers from history? Of course you can: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf...
OK, next question. Can you name me five female composers?
Not so easy, right? Because it turns out that the history of classical music is populated entirely by dead white men.
Channel 4 Press talks with Caitlin Moran:
There seems to be a strong intellectual strain in your family. What do you put that down to?
Our parents did a really clever thing. I was the oldest, and when I was about five they showed me a huge suitcase they had under the bed and went, ‘When you’re older, you can have this.’ And they’d open it up and show all the books inside, all the children’s classics and adult classics, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, The Brontës, Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland. 
The Hindu opens an article about the IWD with a quote by Charlotte Brontë. And Librópatas (Spain) lists novels about working women:
Agnes Grey, de Anne Brontë. Tanto Charlotte como Anne Brontë escribieron sobre institutrices, quizás porque ellas mismas lo habían sido. La novela sigue a la protagonista en las dos familias con las que tiene que tratar y muestra como se debe enfrentar a los niños mimados que tiene que cuidar. Publicada en 1847, es una historia que funciona muy bien para ver la precaria situación a la que estaban abocadas las mujeres sin recursos en la época. (Raquel C. Pino) (Translation)
Also in The Huffington Post, baby girl names inspired by groundbreaking women:
The eldest of the three writing Brontë sisters, the author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë was an independent spirit who invented male pen names for herself and her sisters to fight literary gender bias, and created characters who were modern women, relying on their own self-esteem and intellect to find their place in the world: Jane Eyre is considered by some to be the earliest major feminist novel. (Pamela Redmond Satran & Linda Rosenkrantz)
Bustle recommends Jane Eyre to young people:
Brontë’s description of the Jane’s early years brought us one of the most revolutionary characters of its time: Helen Burns. A fellow orphan at Jane’s school, Helen educates herself with a constant consumption of books, becoming a scholar in her own right despite the limitations imposed on women of her era. Helen proves that by believing in yourself and confronting the fear of being different, you can be anyone you want — and it doesn’t get more feminist than that. (Marissa Dubecky)
Hello! talks with the chef Marco Pierre White:
"It was the brilliant late photographer, Bob Carlos Clarke, who created the idea of me being a Heathcliff type through his pictures. He made dirt and hard work look good. But when you work hard you neglect yourself; you don’t think about shaving or combing your hair.
Not everybody is so thrilled with Charlotte, the writer Elena Ferrante says in The Paris Review:
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing? (Sandro and Sandra Ferri)
Ferrante: I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. 
This reader of the Bennington Banner is a bit rude in this answer to a previous column which was a bit critical (not really too much) with Jane Austen or Brontë novels:
Oh my, Jared Della Rocca (The Librarian Who Reads Everything, Feb. 5), if Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte "plotlines" are too much for you, perhaps you should stick with Jody Picoult or J.K. Rowling. But, actually, no, that wouldn't work because those two are all about "plotlines." In fact, Austen and Bronte focus on characters, their interactions and relationships, with Austen, especially, being a novelist of "manners." (Anne Cormier)
Sarah Hughes talks about the new Poldark (versus the old one) series in The Guardian:
By the time I finally got my sweaty hands on it I was 20 and Captain Poldark was no longer my lodestar. I’d read Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights and could see where Graham had drawn his inspiration from, plus time had given me new historical heroes from Dorothy Dunnett’s sharp-tongued Francis Crawford to Bernard Cornwell’s rather more monosyllabic Richard Sharpe.
El Heraldo (Spain) presents the new novel by Menchu Gutiérrez, Araña, cisne, caballo:
Con el ritmo que como poeta ha logrado (premio Ricardo Molina), con el acierto en la palabra que como traductora ha obtenido (Faulkner, Brontë, Poe y el indeleble trabajo en ‘Marca de agua’ de Joseph Brodsky), con la historia escrita que como novelista ha demostrado y con los ensayos que como la biografía literaria de San Juan de la Cruz ha confirmado. (Pedro Bosqued) (Translation)
An alert for today, March 7 in Bologna (Italy)
7 marzo alle 16 in Auditorium Enzo Biagi
Donne da Romanzo In un viaggio letterario attraverso le epoche e i generi più diversi, Licia Giaquinto, Camilla Ghedini, Alessandra Sarchi e Simona Vinci, coordinate da Marilù Oliva parleranno dei personaggi femminili per loro più belli della letteratura. Un pomeriggio per approfondire, confrontarsi e divertirsi con il racconto delle donne narrate da Maria Bellonci, le sorelle Brontë, Simone De Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Gabriel Garcia Marquez e Giovanni Verga. Ma visto che la letteratura non è un esercizio di genere, a chiudere l'incontro sarà Marcello Fois che leggerà un brano sul personaggio letterario femminile da lui più amato.Ingresso libero fino ad esaurimento dei posti. (Ilaria Ventura) (Translation)
Loudvision (Italy) talks about the #DearMe initiative and lists some movies where younger and older versions of female characters can be seen:
Il racconto di formazione ha però origine letteraria, e può esserci un’eroina migliore, per l’8 marzo, dell’ottocentesca Jane Eyre? Il romanzo di Charlotte Brontë è stato adattato per il grande schermo più di una volta: qui vogliamo ricordare la trasposizione diretta da Franco Zeffirelli nel 1996, dove Jane era interpretata da Anna Paquin (al tempo una piccola star fresca di Oscar, vinto per “Lezioni di piano” due anni prima) e, nella seconda parte, da una Charlotte Gainsbourg davvero impeccabile. (Valentina Alfonsi) (Translation)
We had to read this a couple of times to believe it. Apparently not only Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were romance novels (à la Mills & Boon) but also non-controversial in their time:
Menos controvertidas fueron Cumbres Borrascosas, Jane Eyre o Anna Karenina, dándole vida a la novela rosa. (Dionisio Salas Astorga in Mendoza Online) (Translation)
Read more here:
The Western Daily Press announces an upcoming performance of Jane Eyre by Livewire Theatre and Butterfly Psyche Theatre in Somerset.


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