Thursday, July 30, 2015

Alice Spawls in the London Review of Books has a strong opinion about the recent claim that this photograph represents the Brontës:
Apart from anything else, it looks nothing like them. When Anne was four she told her father she wanted ‘age and experience’ but the women in the photograph are closer to middle age than the sisters would have been (Anne was 28 when she died). They’re too cross-looking, too – the Brontës weren’t called pretty but were ‘of pleasing appearance’ and would have worn their hair in spaniel curls, defying the likes of Mr Brocklehurst, who in Jane Eyre threatens to have Julia Severn’s naturally curly hair cut off for ‘conforming to the world so openly’. They were too young (and unmarried) to have donned a cap for the occasion like the woman on the far left, and would have worn their finest dresses – a wide-necked gown with a pelerine or collar for modesty perhaps. In the painting by Branwell known as the Gun Group Portrait, of which only one figure remains, they went bare-shouldered, though later engravers added chemisettes. 
Incidentally, Keighley News also published again Ann Dinsdale's opinion on the subject:
 “When Emily died no one knew who she was, so why would anyone take pictures of three obscure clergymen’s daughters?
“And why would they want to have their photos taken? Charlotte was very shy about her appearance. She sat for a portrait in 1850, and it’s clear it was an ordeal for her.
“A photograph would have been such a big thing because it was so unusual. It would have been documented somewhere.”
Ann said the women in the photograph did not resemble those in Branwell’s famous portrait, which is believed to show a good likeness to the real-life Charlotte, Anne and Emily.
Ann added: “We have three portraits of Anne painted by Charlotte and they all show a woman with small, sharp features and curly hair, and it’s not a likeness to the women in the picture.
“In my years at the Parsonage, I’ve lost count of how the pictures we’ve received that purported to be of one or more of the Brontës.” (David Knights)
The Brooklyn Rail reviews Caryl Phillips's The Lost Child:
Most students of literature know Emily Brontë, or at least we think we do: brilliant, passionate, undisciplined, even feral, yet at the same time wan, reclusive, depressive, diminished. Her sister Charlotte wrote that Emily’s sole novelWuthering Heights “was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials.” Though she credits Emily with a greater mastery, Virginia Woolf’s praise for the novel infers a similarly alien energy: “It is as if she could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparences with such a gust of life that they transcend reality.” Elizabeth Hardwick confidently conjures a familiar portrait of all three Brontë sisters in the single sentence, “They are very serious, wounded, longing women, conscious of all the romance of literature and of their own fragility and suffering.”
Or perhaps we simply accept how little of substance we can hope to know of her. In the same essay Hardwick backpedals, “No one and no amount of fact can give flesh to Emily Brontë's character. She is almost impossible to come to terms with, to visualize.” She is one of literature’s great unknowables. How incredible, then, that when she appears midway through Caryl Phillips’s new novel The Lost Child, she is at once bracingly unfamiliar—that is to say, human—and unquestionably alive. Sickly and introspective, yes, but also alternately stolid, independent, tender, ambivalent. Like all of Phillips’s characters, she is in and of the world: “Again she lifted her head to the skies. Let those who need shelter seek it out. She whispered,Go, seek it out.”
Though the book jacket frames his novel as a reworking of Wuthering Heights“written in the tradition of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea,” Phillips has undertaken no neat retelling. The overt engagements with Brontë and her masterpiece are brief interludes, though they do much to establish the themes and tone of the novel as a whole. (Read more) (Sam Huber)
The Daily Mail has an article about a Lord of the Rings themed wedding. Curiously enough it seems that the couple a few days ago celebrated the 'legal' wedding and it was Brontë-related:
On July 10 the couple had their legal wedding which channelled the Emily Brontë novel, Wuthering Heights.
Amy [the bride] added: 'I'm not originally a Lord of the Rings fan that was Will's day.
'I love reading Thomas Hardy, Daphne Du Maurier and authors like that so Friday was more the day for me.
'But both weddings followed a literary theme.' (Sadie Whitelocks)
Which links quite bizarrely with this other piece of news. Maybe you have read about this Little Women project (reboot, rewrite, The Washington Post gives more ideas for this new wtf-rewriting genre:
Writer: No um. Look. I can’t be like “so i’m adapting ‘Jane Eyre’ . . . there’s a girl named Jane and she meets a guy named Mr. Rochester, and they’re both wizards fighting a dark power that rises in the east and is threatening to draw all the rings of power unto itself, and there is another wizard named St. John who is lame.”
Exec: You are a fountain of great ideas. (Alexandra Petri)
100 Swoon-worthy romances on NPR Books:
Jane Eyre
A poor, mistreated heroine, a dour, misunderstood hero, and a mad wife locked in the attic — if that's not romance, we don't know what is! Reader, she did indeed marry him, and they lived happily ever after. 
Another list in the Manchester Evening News. This one is an introduction to Gothic fiction:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Heathcliffe (sic)!!! Who doesn't know this dark and desperate love story - a battle of class, survival, prejudice and, ultimately, the heart? If not, it's time to get Brontë's 1847 novel in your life - published a year before Emily's untimely death and later re-edited by her sister Charlotte. (Sarah Walters)
And BlogHer has another one. "Ten fictions worth seeing as much as they are worth reading":
Jane Eyre (2011)— This passionate, chilling and charmingly British film is based on Charlotte Brontë’s autobiographical tale of woe. The film explores every emotion to the depth by spinning the story line on a wheel of anticipation. (Alesya Izoita)
Tri-City News has also something to say about adaptations of novels:
If your tastes are more English, there seems to be a recent mini-industry in making films based on Jane Austin’s romantic fictions about the landed gentry of 19th century England; check out Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, or Emma. A more wildly romantic treatment of English life can be found in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and also in any of the movie adaptations based on Jane’s love for the tragic Mr. Rochester.
It's always a good idea to recover this Brontës meet Power Rangers 1998 video. ActuaLitté does is and adds something more. Do you remembered that it was directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord?
Des années avant de réaliser The Lego Movie, Chris Miller et Phil Lord jouaient déjà avec des personnages de plastique. Pour cette parodie publicitaire de 1998, les compères se sont emparés des sœurs Brontë — Charlotte, Emily et Anne — pour en faire des sortes de Power Rangers féministes.
Aidées par les fillettes, elles devront lutter contre les abominables phallocrates, qui refusent de concevoir qu'un livre, et plusieurs encore moins, puisse être écrit par une femme. À l'époque, les ouvrages des trois sœurs, et notamment Les Hauts de Hurlevent, de Charlotte Brontë, avaient largement participé à la disparition de certains tabous littéraires.
La vidéo faisait partie d'une série de fausses publicités, qui mettaient toutes en scène des personnages réels sous forme de jouets fictifs, mais cette courte série ne fut finalement jamais diffusée. (Antoine Oury) (Translation)
Jane Eyre 2006 is going to be available on the Korean video streaming service DramaFever and Miaoaoao presents the cast here. The New York Times has an article on buying properties in Yorkshire (and Brontë country, of course);  shihtzubookreviews fancasts Wuthering Heights; Dresses and Travels visits Haworth; David Johnson uploads to Flickr pictures of North Lees Hall; Surgabukuku posts about some new Jane Eyre additions to his/her book collection.


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