Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:35 am by Cristina in , , , , , , ,    1 comment
Samantha Ellis has written an insightful article about Anne Brontë for iNews.
I used to think Anne was the least interesting Brontë – a sweet, stoic, selfless spinster. I was more interested in Charlotte’s rage, in Emily’s passion, even in their brother Branwell’s carousing. But watching the BBC’s drama To Walk Invisible over Christmas, in which the writer and director Sally Wainwright brilliantly captured their extraordinary family struggles, I was struck by just how different it was to every other portrayal of the Brontës I have seen or read. Wainwright’s Anne was tough, clever and self-assured – and this made me cheer, because after researching the true Anne Brontë for my new book on her life, I too have come to believe that she was the most radical of the sisters. That is not how she is usually described or portrayed. Indeed, during my research I worked my way through a cabinet at the Brontë Parsonage archive full of plays, screenplays and novels that always reveal far more about what we want from the Brontës than about who they actually might have been. Previously, I would not have protested had I been in the audience at John Davison’s 1934 play The Brontës of Haworth Parsonage, where Anne’s lines are so boring and spoken so “timidly” or “fearfully” (according to the stage directions) that it’s a relief when she is cut off by her own tubercular cough. Nor would I have minded that in Clemence Dane’s 1932 play Wild Decembers even her coughs are “piteous”. And I would have nodded at Anne stepping forward in Polly Teale’s 2005 play Brontë to tell the audience “I am not so interesting to you … My works will be read as background to [Charlotte and Emily’s] great works”. I might not even have objected to the animated sitcom Family Guy where Charlotte and Emily gloat (in RP) about their literary prowess, Anne interrupts (in a Cockney accent) to say she’s started her period, and Charlotte congratulates her on finally having achieved something. Now that I’ve properly re-read and investigated Anne, all this makes me boil with rage. Because when I went back to her life and work – to what she’d written herself, not what was written about her – I felt like I was meeting a completely different woman. (Read more)
In Keighley News, another writer, Peggy Hewitt, is not so enthusiastic about To Walk Invisible, although we must say we disagree with her.
Author and broadcaster Peggy Hewitt said she could not recognise the real Brontë family members from their fictional versions in To Walk Invisible.
She blasted screenwriter Sally Wainwright’s efforts – much praised by Brontë enthusiasts and local councillors – to portray the Brontë story as gritty reality rather than chocolate box nostalgia.
Peggy Hewitt wrote These Lonely Mountains, widely regarded as the definitive book about the Haworth moors and their links to the Brontës, in the 1980s.
She went on to become a successful TV, radio and children’s book writer, and These Lonely Mountains was republished in 2004 and last year as Brontë Country: Lives and Landscape. [...]
Like millions of viewers Peggy sat down to watch To Walk Invisible, filmed last summer at Haworth locations, during the Christmas break.
She said “When Sally Wainwright described the Brontës as the 'ultimate dysfunctional family' it was clear what we were in for, but even so To Walk Invisible was a shock.”
Peggy was also displeased with Charlotte’s portrayal in the film as a woman with a “constant pinched mean look”.
She said: “I wondered how Ellen Nussey, a welcome streak of life in this film, could have formed a close relationship with this apparently dried-old woman.
“Emily was a free spirit, but why did she have to look like a corpse? The true genius of the family, her rapport with Branwell came a bit late in the film.
“And what about that moment on the moors when Emily was reading her sublime points [sic] to Anne? It could have been very moving, but background mood music was far too loud.”
Peggy accepted the Brontë family did suffer, with no mother and coping with their brother’s problems, but added: “Branwell was vastly overplayed.
“No doubt they had their ups and downs, as families do, but this bound them together, not sundered them, as appeared in the film.
“The Brontës were, against all odds, a brave family, a functional family, and the real story is as fascinating as any of their books.”
Peggy also blasted the “mild and ineffectual” screen version of the writers’ father, the Rev Patrick Brontë, who she claimed was a fiery Irishman, Cambridge graduate, forward-looking social reformer and keen supporter of his children. (David Knights)
This is, in our opinion, a very Gaskell-like take on the Brontë family and To Walk Invisible. A brief read through Charlotte's correspondence at the time would show that Branwell's last months didn't bind the family together but rather the opposite, as portrayed in To Walk Invisible.

Anyway, 2017 is Branwell's bicentenary and Keighley News also has an article on what we may expect from it.
The spotlight turns on Branwell this year as the Brontë Parsonage Museum continues five years of bicentennial celebrations. [...]
Rebecca Yorke, the museum’s Head of Communications and Marketing , said the museum team was really proud of its programme to mark Branwell’s year.
She said: “As well as building on some of 2016’s successes, we’ve seized the opportunities offered by Sally Wainwright’s BBC film To Walk Invisible and have planned events that we hope will bring new audiences to Haworth and the museum throughout 2017.”
Grant Montgomery, production designer for To Walk Invisible, will speak about his work on the recent Brontë biopic in West Lane Baptist Centre on January 21 at 2pm.
Branwell steps into the limelight on January 28 for a storytelling walk led by Ursula Holden-Gill, setting off from the Black Bull, Main Street, at noon, 2pm and 4pm.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum reopens on February 1 with two new exhibitions which will run throughout 2017.
Mansions In The Sky, curated by poet Simon Armitage, the Brontë Society’s 2017 creative partner, will take visitors inside the mind, and work of the notorious Brontë brother Branwell.
From Parsonage To Production is a display of costumes, props and stills from the BBC drama To Walk Invisible.
Popular talks will continue on some Tuesdays at 2pm, including: Dispelling The Myth, An Exploration Of Branwell’s Juvenilia (February 7), Mary Taylor – An Exceptional Life (February 26), Bad Beyond Expression (March 7), Branwell And His Chequered Career (May 2) and Branwell The Artist (June 6).
Brontë Treasures will be on display on the last Friday of each month at 2pm, with facts and stories about carefully-selected objects.
There will be family events during the February, Easter and Spring Bank school holidays.
Yorkshire born writer Blake Morrison explores the complex family dynamic of the Brontë family in the annual Brontë Society lecture on June 10.
Parsonage Unwrapped will continue during the year with themed behind-the-scenes tours, including Filming The Brontës (February 24), Branwell And His Travels (March 31), Branwell’s Artistic Circle (April 28) and Playing House Detectives (may 26),
To coincide with the Flying Scotsman’s visit to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the museum will give repeated presentations of a talk about Branwell Brontë and his time as a railway clerk.
Winston Plowes will visit Main Street and the museum with his random Poetry Generating Bicycle on April 30.
Simon Armitage will read his latest poetry on March 18. (David Knights)
Bustle lists '13 Badass Feminist Baby Names From Books' and one of them is
Jane, 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë
Mr. Rochester's kind of the worst, but Jane is a stone cold badass from day one. She's intelligent, passionate, and refuses to put up with anyone's B.S. (you'd better believe she's going to walk out on you if you have a secret wife hidden in the attic). (Charlotte Ahlin)
Literatur Kritik (Germany) reviews the book Primero estaba el mar by Tomás González.
Der Kampf des Vaters mit den Fischen wirkt wie eine Hommage bzw. Persiflage auf Hemingways Der alte Mann und das Meer und gleicht in gewisser Weise Ahabs Kampf mit dem weißen Wal in Melvilles Moby Dick. Die Mordgedanken auf der See erinnern an Highsmiths Der talentierte Mr. Ripley und die Idee zu der verrückten Erstfrau, die durch eine Zweitfrau ersetzt wird, könnte González bei der Lektüre von Jane Eyre gekommen sein. Damit schreibt González, der zu den wichtigsten zeitgenössischen Autoren Kolumbiens zählt und von dem bereits einige ins Deutsche übersetzte Werke vorliegen, sich regelrecht in die Weltliteratur ein. (Martina Kopf) (Translation)
Entorno Inteligente (Spain) features the recent publication in Spanish of a selection of short stories by Rhoda Broughton.
*La artífice de la selección ha sido María Elena Soto, también autora del prólogo de la edición. Lo primero y más importante fue querer dar visibilidad en nuestra época a una escritora victoriana a la que el paso de los años y la "competencia" con otras escritoras de su época de gran renombre (Jane Austen, las hermanas Brontë, George Elliot…) la han dejado en la más profunda oscuridad. Los siete relatos elegidos responden a las características del género que se llamó winter stories y de manera más especial las ghost stories que marcaron su estilo literario. El período en el que fueron escritas y sobre todo publicadas inicialmente (1868-1893) y su importancia en este período ha servido también para seleccionar estos siete relatos. (Translation)
This writer from Daily O (India) tells about how she came to read the Brontës:
When we would venture around padas, our favourite haunt was the Goalpark pavements that sold second-hand books. The dusty pavements had an incredible collection of Mills and Boon novels. For a whole week of escaping into a dream world in the chateau or villa with the proverbial TDH (tall, dark and handsome), we had to pay only five rupees.
The M&B years gave way to serious stuff - Hardy, Brontë sisters, Joyce and Graham Greene came along. No more phuchkas or ice cream. We would spend all our pocket money on the literary treasure troves. (Romita Datta)
The Star (Malaysia) thinks a good dose of classic authors and their books is what's needed:
That is why we have to go back to our fiction writers to remind us that greed, vanity and being corrupt, among many other “sins”, are bad for us and the country.
We need Usman Awang, A. Samad Said, Abdullah Hussein, Adibah Amin, Lloyd Fernando, Tan Twan Eng and Tash Aw, among others, to remind us of our destiny and the pages of our past and present. We need Miguel de Cervantes, Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë and Mario Puzo too. We need them all. (Johan Jaaffar)
The New York Times looks at fashion at the Golden Globes and claims that,
Pink was a dominant color, as seen on Felicity Jones, doing a kind of sexy Jane Eyre impersonation in trompe l’oeil Gucci (Vanessa Friedman)
But honestly, this doesn't at all remind us of Jane Eyre, sexy or not.

Entertainment weekly describes the latest instalment of The Bachelor as follows:
Think Wuthering Heights meets Casablanca. (Samantha Highfill)

1 comment:

  1. Plays, screenplays and novels that always reveal far more about what we want from the Brontës than about who they actually might have been

    Truer than true... and speaking as a Bronte fan of 50 years duration , the obsession begins being about oneself and it ends being about them.