Sunday, April 24, 2016

The bicentenary celebrations are still very much in the (Brontë) news:

Metro covers the Haworth events:
Charlotte Brontë’s most famous novel Jane Eyre is stocked in almost every library and every school in the country.
Her life with literary sisters Emily and Anne and brother Branwell in West Yorkshire is the stuff of daydreams, with stories of the fantasy worlds they created to amuse each other.
And April 21 might have been the 200th anniversary of her birth (what would have been her 200th birthday) but people still wanted to party in her honour.
They organised a gathering at the Parsonage Museum in Haworth to celebrate with people dressing up as characters from her books. (Jen Mills)
And Keighley News the Thornton ones (with some pictures):
Haworth was not the only place where Charlotte Brontë’s birthday was celebrated last week.
Thornton, where the writer was actually born, and London joined the festivities with special 200th anniversary events.
The Brontë Society’s celebrations began on Thursday at 11am at St James’s Church, Thornton, where Charlotte's father Patrick was the minister.
Charlotte and her sisters were born in the nearby parsonage, now a boutique coffee shop called Emily's.
Barbara Kirkaldy and husband Alan had flown in from France for the occasion, because her father Reggie Lovette had owned the butchers shop in the very same building between 1936 and 1979.
"We are fascinated by all the history and this is such an important day," Mrs Kirkaldy said.
Lyn Glading had travelled from Lancaster and is one of the longest-serving members of the Bronte Society, having joined in 1972 and was on its council for 20 years until 2002.
"The Bronte sisters blazed a trail for women and women writers and Charlotte was their driving force - it was she who urged them to publish," said Miss Glading, accompanied by her springer spaniel, Bronte.
Bronte expert and former TV presenter Christa Ackroyd attended the ceremony where a small bright coloured wreath was laid at the Old Bell Chapel by the the Reverend Gloria Hardisty and another was carried to Haworth by a team of cyclists.
"We must remember Charlotte's passion for equality of class and gender - which is as relevant now as then," Ms Ackroyd said. (Chris Tate)
Sunday Express reviews the reissue of Juliet Barker's Charlotte Brontë. A Life in Letters:
Reissued to mark the centenary of Charlotte’s birth on April 21, 1816, all the letters are freshly transcribed from the original manuscripts and 19 are published for the first time. According to Barker, the fresh transcripts “differ, sometimes considerably, from those in other sources”. (...)
But the book is exhilarating because it is a portrait of six extraordinary people in their own words. Charlotte’s voice rings out the clearest thanks to her extensive correspondence with friends, publishers and literary luminaries such as Elizabeth Gaskell and Harriet Martineau. (...)
Barker’s interpolations are not numerous but pithy and to the point. Movingly, the collection is bookended by letters from Patrick Brontë, the ailing patriarch whose health causes concern throughout yet who outlived his last daughter by six years. (Vanessa Berridge)
LitHub has two other Brontë-related articles. Villette and a personal story:
That was the winter I reread Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, one of my favorite novels, and the one that makes me most lonely. I have always revisited it lovingly, but with trepidation. A conventional devotee, I introduced myself to the Brontë sisterhood through Jane Eyre—and to this day I am more inclined to return it than I am to wade into to any other novel by Charlotte, Emily, or Anne. For I am, admittedly, a hungry-hearted creature; I crave protagonists who seem to welcome my company, whose narration pulsates with our mutual desire: see me, hear me, witness me. Jane demands that we read her according to her own terms—she withholds and confronts, retreats from the novel’s conclusion—but throughout the expanse of her narrative she brushes against our fingers. She reaches for us, and we open our arms. (Read more) (Rachel Vorona Cote)
And Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea:
Jane Eyre’s Bertha Mason does not speak in Brontë’s book, so what we know about her before Wide Sargasso Sea we know from Mr. Rochester and his brother-in-law, Mr. Mason. “The true daughter of an infamous mother,” Bertha is accused of alcoholism and adultery, bad behaviors that have progressed to madness in Jane Eyre. And she is Creole, the term used at the time to describe the white European planting class in Jamaica and other Caribbean colonies, although it could also be a catchall phrase to include people of mixed-race ancestry, too. In Jane Eyre, Rochester tells a pitiful story about being forced to marry Bertha (as a penniless second son, a victim of primogeniture) in Jamaica before taking her back to England, where the marriage devolved. Bertha is continually racialized by Brontë, her face described as dark, and her “blackness” coded in comparisons of her movements to those of a wild animal.
It’s easy to imagine Rhys zeroing in on Bertha when considering Jane Eyre around the time of its first celebratory centennial, when she began writing Wide Sargasso Sea. Rhys was born to Scottish and Welsh parents on the island of Dominica; she spent years roving around France drinking and carrying on with men as a chorus girl and mistress and nude model; she hated England. The first thing she did in her retelling of the novel was to change Bertha Mason’s name to the lyrical, flirtatious “Antoinette Cosway,” before beginning Antoinette’s own bildungsroman, like Brontë did for Jane. (Bridget Read)
The Irish Independent has a reminder of the other Brontë sisters and brother: Maria, Elizabeth and Branwell:
The lives of Charlotte Brontë, author of the immortal Jane Eyre (and other novels), and her dazzling literary sisters, Emily (Wuthering Heights) and Anne (Agnes Grey) are being currently marked for the bi-centennial of Charlotte's birth. But faded into the background - and painted out of the famous group portrait of the three Yorkshire sisters - is their brother, Branwell, who died of drink, dissolution and opium addiction, probably accelerated by tuberculosis, at the age of 30.
It is the Brontë women who are celebrated as a trio of literary geniuses: Branwell, their brother, only exists in relation to them. Yet some biographers have suggested that Branwell had more than a hand in the inspiration and writing of Wuthering Heights and as young children, the Brontë siblings wrote, painted and played music together, creating their own fantasy world, in which Branwell, their only brother, had a dominant role.
Like the girls, Patrick Branwell Brontë - their father, the Rev Patrick Brontë came originally from Co Down, where the family name had been Prunty - was a creative child: by the time he was 18, he had filled up 30 volumes of stories, poetry and plays, imagining an entire world of fiction and fantasy. But the Brontë childhoods were full of tragic loss: Branwell lost his mother when he was four (she died, probably of a form of sepsis, after giving birth in quick succession to six children). (Read more) (Mary Kenny)
L'Arena (Italy) has an article on Charlotte Brontë and her heroines; ABC (Spain) also mentions the bicentenary:
En el bicentenario de Charlotte Brontë, Alba reedita «Jane Eyre» (1847), una de las más turbadoras novelas del XIX: la infancia de una muchacha maltratada en internados y su paso firme en ese piélago de calamidades, hasta llegar a institutriz y concluir su vida en una gótica historia de amor. Dos años después de la muerte de Charlotte, animada por el reverendo Patrick Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, dio a la imprenta la primera biografía su «Vida de Charlotte Brontë». La historia de la saga Brontë es, en sí, una lección de cómo la literatura puede ayudar a soportar las afrentas de la vida. Las hermanas Brontë, ejemplo de la mujer escritora, lectora, protagonista. (Sergi Doria) (Translation)
ABC Radio National (Australia) has a couple of podcasts: one devoted to Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë's biography and a brief comment of Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier. WBUR Here & Now also has a podcast talking to Patricia Park, author of Re Jane. BookRiot lists the best lines from Jane Eyre. Sonia Gensler's Friday Favorite is Charlotte Brontë. A Boat Against the Current also posts about the bicentenary.

Keighley News has an article about the rehearsals of the new Northern Ballet Production, Jane Eyre:
The celebrated Leeds dance company is staging its adaptation of the novel to mark the 200th anniversary of author Charlotte Brontë’s birth.
The production of Jane Eyre, described as a journey of courage, romance and tragedy, will receive its world premiere at the Cast theatre in Doncaster from May 19 to 21.
It will then begin a national tour taking in Richmond, Aylesbury, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Leicester.
Jane Eyre is choreographed by internationally acclaimed British dance maker Cathy Marston who previously created the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities for Northern Ballet.
Composer Philip Feeney has compiled and arranged a score for Jane Eyre made up of original compositions and existing work.
Cathy said: “Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was a novel far ahead of its time.
“When I think of Jane I feel inspired by images of her passionate but 'impossible' relationship with Mr Rochester; the fire and emotional destruction symbolised by Bertha Mason, the infamous 'woman in the attic'; the contrasting icy moorland through which she seems to run from one chapter of her life to another; and of course her final reunion with Rochester.
A restaurant review in the Daily Mail begins like this:
Spring may have sprung, but no one’s given Cambridge the news. It’s a damp, dismally dyspeptic April day, the meteorological equivalent of man flu.
An ill wind splutters off the Fens, while the city glowers under a dour, half-hearted drizzle. We take a taxi through town, and cross the Cam twice, once on wheels, then back across on foot, just by Midsummer Common.
Which, despite its sun-dappled name, looks as bleak as any Brontë moor. Except with more Tesco bags. And find eventual solace in Midsummer House, a neat Victorian villa that sits between river and ancient common land. (Tom Parker Bowles)
Another passing reference is in The Telegraph in an article about sleep patterns:
During daylight hours, we are perfectly compatible. But by night, the cracks emerge, and I’m despondently forced to conclude – to quote Emily Brontë – that our souls are as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. (Anna Hart)
Bustle lists feminist quotes from the 1800s still relevant today:
3. “I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” (Charlotte Brontë) (Selection by Suzanna Weiss)
The Jamaica Gleaner reviews the book  Caribbean Irish Connection: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Alison Donnell, Maria McGarrity and Evelyn O'Callaghan:
The contributions of Richard McGuire's "Two Tunes (Settler-Colonist Worlds)," Elizabeth Bowen's "The Last September," Jean Rhy's "Voyage in the Dark," Jean Antoine-Dunne's "Mutual Obsessions," and Emily Taylor's "Rewriting Heathcliff (Irishness, Creolization, and Constructions of Race in Brontë and Condé)," explore the rudiments of Caribbean and Irish literary artists who are caged by their own experiences, yet artistically free by their unique sensitivity to time and space. (Dr Glenville Ashby)
The Herald Times has a quiz with some Brontës on it; Useless Things Need Love Too posts about Wuhtering Heights 1939. El borde de la realidad (in Spanish) reviews Todo ese fuego by Ángeles Caso. posts about Shakespeare and the Brontës.


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