Saturday, June 18, 2016

National Media Museum presents a panel discussion and Q&A:
On Saturday 9 July, Samira Ahmed will chair a special panel discussion and Q&A to accompany our screening of Jane Eyre, starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles. In this guest post, she reflects on the legacy of the 1943 film and the different ways in which Charlotte Brontë’s iconic story has been told. (...)
Lauren Livesey will be part of our panel discussion, alongside novelist Mick Jackson, who brings a welcome male perspective and the creative insight of having written about the Brontës’ global tourist appeal. 19thcentury literature scholar Dr Amber Regis can help unpick the imagery of books and films and their influence on modern ideas of psychology, romance and feminism. Together we might reflect on the red room, where Jane is locked for punishment; the madwoman in the attic that spawned a thousand feminist theories; the world of slavery and Empire linked to the characters’ backstories in cotton mills, sugar plantations and plans to be missionaries in India.
We’ll reflect on the different screen versions of these much-loved stories – I should declare my favourite Brontë is actually Anne.
Here at the National Media Museum – the home of storytelling through visual images – we will reflect on the future prospects for these stories. Jane Eyre might have gone off to India with St John after she runs away from Thornfield. I love the idea of all these alternative storylines: the multiverse of choices and outcomes that Jane might have, that perhaps a more game-focused narrative could explore. One day might someone create Jane Eyre: the Choose Your Own Adventure immersive video game?
Imagine, too, the atmosphere in which British audiences first saw this film – released on Christmas Eve in 1943. This is not a film of romantic nostalgia for a happier time. It’s about endurance and determination despite the cost of injury and physical destruction. Of making peace, after long years, with cruel and powerful people who have wronged you. But it is also about holding out for victory. I have never seen an onscreen kiss more erotic than the one between Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles in Jane Eyre. It makes me blush every time I see it. Be there to share it with us. (Samira Ahmed)
After the Brontë Society AGM in June the next important event at the Parsonage will be the first-ever Poetry at the Parsonage Festival. The Telegraph & Argus is quite excited about it:
More than 100 poets and performers from across Yorkshire are on the line-up for readings and workshops on July 2 and 3. (...)
Headliner Helen Mort said: “Events like this create a sense of community and encourage poets to support one another.
“Yorkshire has a thriving poetry scene and it’s good to bring everyone together. Performing at Poetry at the Parsonage is a wonderful opportunity.”
Matthew Withey, who has organised the event on behalf of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said Poetry at the Parsonage would be 2016’s biggest gathering of poets anywhere in Britain.
He added: “It is a free-to-enter festival with sets by more than one hundred performers, all coming together on the edge of the moors that inspired some of the finest poetry in the English language.
“The weekend will be fabulous feast of words and we invite people to bring their families and share it with us.”
Charlotte’s Stage, at the Old School Room next to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, will see performances by Mark Connors, Helen Mort and Alan Buckley on Saturday, July 2, and Gaia Holmes, Clare Shaw, James Nash and Kate Fox on the Sunday.
The Saturday line-up for Emily’s Stage at nearby West Lane Baptist Centre includes Ilkley Young Writers and Lorna Faye Dunsire, who appeared as part of Charlotte’s bicentenary celebrations in Haworth in April.
Eddie Lawler, also known as the Bard of Saltaire, will headline Emily’s Stage on the Sunday. The event will be compered by Yorkshire favourites Craig Bradley, Geneviève L Walsh, Winston Plowes and Mark Connors of Word Club.
Performances will begin at noon each day.
Respected poets Char March, James Nash and Charlotte Wetton will run workshops over the weekend. Tickets for each cost £12 and must be booked in advance at
On the Sunday, Glynis Charlton will hold a free family drop-in workshop at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where there is also a pop-performance area for anyone with a point to share. (David Knights)
Talking about the Brontë Society, it really is something to be worried about when the Daily Express turns into the voice of reason:
What on earth is causing such a rumpus in the Brontë Society? The organisation has been in existence for 123 years and its job is to run the Brontë Parsonage Museum in the Yorkshire village of Haworth. I’ve never been there but I’m guessing desks, blotters, oil lamps, leather-bound books and a shop selling Brontë-themed tea towels, flapjacks, pots of jam, Penguin paperbacks, walking guides to the moors, Kate Bush singing Wuthering Heights on a loop, Cathy nightgowns, Jane Eyre biros with “Reader, I married him” printed down the side.
Lovers of the Brontë sisters’ novels would all, you’d think, be mild-mannered types. Well you’d be wrong. The Brontë Society has been in a state of murderous turmoil for years over… well something or other. It’s “modernisers” versus “conservatives” bickering over the Brontë literary legacy. Previous president, writer Bonnie Greer who had to resort to using the heel of her Jimmy Choos as a gavel to keep order, resigned last year and may still be lying down in a darkened room with a damp flannel on her head.
This year’s recent annual general meeting also descended into anarchy. Current president Dame Judi Dench cited filming commitments to excuse her non-attendance. And who would blame her? There have been resignations, screaming matches and accusations that the ruling council is “acting like the Stasi”. Presumably they all enjoy these set-tos enormously.
I’m reminded not of a Brontë novel but of Gulliver’s Travels where the countries of Lilliput and Blefuscu have been at war for years over the question of which end one should open a boiled egg. (Jennifer Selway)
Exeunt Magazine reviews the Northern Ballet Jane Eyre production:
This is a wonderful work; clever, moving and splendidly danced to a score that combines Philip Feeney’s contemporary compositions with works by Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn and his inevitably overlooked sister Fanny, also a virtuoso pianist.
Marston’s choreography is so effective at conveying character, rich in expressive and imaginative detail. (Anna Winter)
Uttoexeter Advertiser also loved the performances.

Big Issue North reviews the Lytham Hall performance of Wuthering Heights by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company:
As with most open-air productions a simplistic set was adequate, but elements of the backdrop (namely an enormous plastic tree) distracted from the beautiful scenery of Lytham Hall. Perhaps more efforts could have been made to adapt the play to its surroundings. There was no shortage of withered and decaying vegetation that could have been harnessed. (...)
Overall the event was a great success for Chapterhouse and Lytham Hall. The beauty and warm welcome into the grounds combined with the whirlwind tale of lost love made for a romantic evening of open-air theatre.
The Blackpool Gazette also has an article about it.

New Republic has an article on the novels of Lois Duncan:
Mysterious forces act on the heroines of Duncan’s books, as their developing adolescent personalities become the ideal vessels for ghosts, specters, and otherworldly phenomena. Kit, the heroine Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall (1974), is isolated in a spooky, Gothic boarding school by phantoms real and imagined, compelled beyond control to act as amanuensis for dead authors such as Emily Brontë. (Sarah Weinman)
The Irish Times argues against Brexit:
The great cultural appeal of nationalism – we need independence or our culture will die – doesn’t wash. And besides, take immigrants out of English culture and what do you have left? From The Smiths to Zadie Smith, from the Brontës to Simon Schama, it is very hard to imagine an “English” culture that is not also Afro-Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and so on. (Fintan O'Toole)
Anonymity and the Southey incident in an article on Verve Magazine:
Anonymity or pseudonyms have long been useful devices for writers. In previous centuries it certainly empowered women writers. Their pens were powerless without anonymity or a masculine pen name. Male publishers believed and proclaimed that literature was not the business of women. Poet laureate Robert Southey wrote to Charlotte Brontë a decade before the publication of Jane Eyre, urging her not to become a writer: ‘Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be’. Had she signed the novel with her name and not the pen name Currer Bell, it may never have seen the light of day during her lifetime.
Similarly, many other writers, including her sisters Emily and Anne would not have been published while still living. Emily’s nom de plume was Ellis Bell, and her sister Anne’s was Acton Bell. (Madhu Jain)
The same topic on Bergamo Post (Italy):
Come lei, anche le sorelle Brontë, il famoso trio di scrittrici vittoriane, siglarono le loro opere con uno pseudonimo maschile per sfuggire ai preconcetti che accompagnavano la scrittura femminile. Charlotte divenne Currer Bell, Emily, Ellis Bell, ed Anne, Acton Bell. Nello stesso anno, il 1847, le tre sorelle pubblicarono sotto mentite spoglie tre romanzi che entrarono a far parte della storia della letteratura: Jane Eyre , Cime tempestose e Agnes Grey. (Translation)
Wicked Local Natick reviews the Boston performances of the musical Matilda:
But luckily Matilda turns out to truly be a remarkably gifted child with resilience and pluck. By the time she’s 5 she’s taught herself to read books by Austen, Brontë, Melville and Tolstoy, no thanks to her ignorant, neglectful and verbally abusive parents who, along with teenage brother Michael (Darren Burkett) seem to have been lobotomized by watching too much “telly.” Mrs. Wormwood would rather be off ballroom dancing with her Latin lover and Mr. Wormwood, a dandy of a used car salesman who wears a garish green plaid suit, has all his attention on a deal to sell used cars to a group Russian mobsters. (Nancy Olesin)
Reykjavík Grapevine covers the Secret Solstice Festival:
Many large party palaces precariously balanced in the gusting wind next to multicolored tents and discarded beer cans. I was instantly reminded of the moors in Wuthering Heights, not that I’ve been there, but you know, fantasies and stuff. (Hannah Jane Cohen)
Masturbation and Jane Eyre linked by Caitlin Moran in The Times:
Female masturbation, by way of contrast, might as well not exist. As a teenage girl, I read about the masturbatory habits of Adrian Mole, Portnoy and Leopold Bloom – then wondered, in vain, where my girls were at. After all, Jane Eyre is up at Rochester Hall, mooning after Mr Rochester, for years – and yet never once retreats to a quiet turret to take the edge off.
Die Welt reviews the new German translation of Wuthering Heights recently published. We have found particularly fascinating the account of how to translate Joseph's vernacular Yorkshire talk into German:
Die Aufgabe, die phonetisch wiedergegebene Yorkshire-Mundart in irgendein real existierendes Zielsprachenidiom zu übertragen, stellt fraglos eine schier unbewältigbare Herausforderung dar. Aber muss das bigotte Faktotum Joseph wirklich in diesem angeblich wienerischen, tatsächlich aber bizarren austro-bajuwarischen Kunstdialekt daherreden: "Naa, 's weng der do: dem läufischen, hundsföttischen Sauluader, die was unsern Buam b'hext hot mit ihrm Äugln & Duttelnwackln"?!
Nicht nur die arnoschmidtsche Afferei, das "und" durch ein "&" zu ersetzen, nervt gehörig, ganz generell erweist sich die selbstherrliche Maniriertheit dieser Übersetzung als echte Spaßbremse. Schlüter will ständig beweisen, dass er den 19.-Jahrhundert-Sound besser beherrscht als irgendwer (inklusive der Autorin). Ein schlichtes "I answered" wird dann schon einmal zu "hielt ich darwider" und "a bird of bad omen" ist selbstverständlich "ein Vogel, der schlimme Auspizien birgt". Zugleich ist von einem "Verwöhnungsprogramm" die Rede, grad so, als handelte es sich bei "Sturmhöhe" um den Prospekt eines Thermenhotels. Irgendwann hätte sich der Übersetzer aber schon entscheiden müssen, ob wir es in diesem Roman mit einem "starrköpfichten Wesen" oder einem "Vollkoffer" zu tun haben. (Translation
NDR also recommends this translation as a summer read:
Ein Klassiker beim "Gemischten Doppel": Emily Brontës einziger Roman "Sturmhöhe" um die unglückliche Liebe zwischen Cathy Earnshaw und ihrem Stiefbruder Heathcliff wurde neu übersetzt. Wolfgang Schlüter hat das Bedrohliche, Leidenschaftliche, Ausdrucksstarke des Romans in seiner Übersetzung stärker herausgearbeitet. (Translation)
Le Devoir (France) reviews the film Sunset Song by Terence Davies and thinks that
le long métrage de Davies rappelle l’univers des soeurs Brontë tel que visité par Téchiné en 1979. (Manon Dumais) (Translation)
Several Spanish newspapers (La Vanguardia, Ara, El País, El Periódico ... ) present the new season of Teatre Lliure (Barcelona) which includes a new adaptation of Jane Eyre:
Además, Carme Portaceli celebrará los 200 años del nacimiento de Charlotte Brontë con Jane Eyre. Una autobiografia, con Clara Segura y Ramon Madaula. (Justo Barranco) (Translation) 
Libération (France) talks about the work and short life of the photographer Francesca Woodman:
Ils fréquentent des artistes, David Hockney est un ami. Richard Serra habite un temps chez eux, en Italie. Chez les Woodman, on ne regarde pas la télévision. Francesca lit Jane Eyre et Marcel Proust. (Clémentine Mercier) (Translation)
Mondo Sonoro (Spain) interviews the band Garbage about their last album Strange Little Birds:
He leído también que Shirley [Manson] quería que este disco sonase como una novela romántica y decadente, porque lleva ya algún tiempo escribiendo textos que van en esa dirección, y que incluso podrían concretarse en un libro. ¿Es eso cierto? (Carlos Pérez de Ziriza)
Algunos de sus textos están pensados desde ese punto de vista de novela romántica y gótica. “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed” está concebida como una especie de “Cumbres Borrascosas”. (Translation)
Metronews (France) has a belated review of Miss You Already:
Flashbacks des héroïnes à l’adolescence, polas de leurs bringues de célibataires, annonce du diagnostic, séances de chimio main dans la main, road trip au pays des Hauts de Hurlevent, leur roman préféré ( cliché là encore), essais de perruques après rasage de la tête, effusions d’amour sur le lit de mort... (Translation)
Ivory Owl Reviews and Handheld Dream post about Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye; Around the World in 80 Books lists several Jane Eyre derivatives; The Newtown Review of Books reviews Wuthering Heights; Brighton & Hove Independent talks about Lynne Reid Banks's Dark Quartet.

Finally, Sophie Franklin, author of Charlotte Brontë Revisited, suggests the five unexpected ways in which we can see her ongoing influence on and relevance to culture today on Research in English at Durham.


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