Thursday, January 05, 2017

Another good review of the new Anne Brontë biography by Samantha Ellis that will be published next week. In The Independent:
Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis, book review: A deeply sympathetic and interesting re-evaluation of a woman ahead of her time.
Samantha Ellis turns her attention to the youngest of the Brontë sisters, Anne, in her latest book, and realises she wasn't as meek as she was presented, after reading a sprightly letter the author wrote five weeks before she died, aged 29. (...)
As such, Take Courage is as much an account of Ellis’s own discovery of Anne's work as it is that of her subject’s life, and herein lies the book's unique appeal. Ellis – who is, it should be noted, as intelligent and perceptive a reader as she is an evocative storyteller – truly writes from the heart, which isn’t to say she hasn’t done her research. She has. But if you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill scholarly biography heavy with footnotes, this isn’t what Take Courage is.  (Lucy Scholes)
This Guardian article on the severe weather warnings for Yorkshire and Humber is illustrated with a snowy picture of the path to the Brontë Falls in Haworth.

The NewsWheel has an article on how to 'improve' classic novels with cars:
5) Wuthering Heights (Brontë): I like the Gothic nature of this twisted romance, but too many pages are spent describing characters’ treks on foot through the desolate moors. The novel’s tedious length could easily be cut in half if the characters simply drove their station wagons (Subarus, if they want to remain angsty and outdoorsy). (Aaron Widmar)
RadioTimes interviews the author Jilly Cooper:
Mount! took her six years to write and Leo, who had Parkinson’s for 13 years, died three years ago. Several of the characters in the book are based on carers who looked after them. “God, they were wonderful, they were such friends. It’s so brave because they come over from South Africa or Zimbabwe and send their money back home. It must be frightening looking after a slightly crazy old lady in a big house – like Jane Eyre, really – but they’re just brilliant.” (Liz Hoggard)
Bookbub recommends winter reads:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The young orphan Jane Eyre inhabits a fragile position. Born to a good family but with no wealth of her own, Jane is sent to live with her uncle’s family — an arrangement that turns sour when he dies — and then to Lowood, a punitive and tyrannically run boarding school for girls. As she matures into adulthood, Jane’s fiery spirit and independence grow more acute, as does her sensitivity to the world around her. Now governess of the secluded Thornfield Hall, the first place she has ever really felt at home, Jane falls in love with the passionate and impulsive Edward Rochester, master of the house. Just when it seems her luck has finally changed, Jane discovers the secret of the attic — a terrible revelation that threatens to destroy her dreams of happiness forever.
Narrated in the unforgettable voice of its remarkable heroine, Jane Eyre is a timeless tale of heartbreak, mystery, and romance that shines a brilliant light into the dark corners of Victorian society. (Amy Brady)
Cuddlebuggery reviews the recent Jane Eyre audiobook read by Thandie Newton:
Thandie Newton’s narration was even better than I expected. Her voice brought the novel to life and at times, I could have sworn several different people narrated instead of just her. It was very apparent that she had a healthy amount of respect for the novel, and her reading, imparted the same into me. It felt like her voice said, “These words are amazing, this prose is magic, this story enchanting. I’m thrilled to be reading them to you. Let’s bask in in Brontë’s brilliance together.”  Who could say no to that? I was very impressed and believe listening to this version was the best decision for me. I never was once bored because Newton demanded all my attention. (Steph Sinclair)
The Spectator reviews  Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature by  Shelley DeWees:
Shelley DeWees has written a book about the lives of ‘seven amazing women writers who transformed British literature’. She ingenuously confesses that when she started out, she only really knew of five female British authors between 1800 and 1940: Jane Austen, two Brontës, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf. (I suppose she had heard of a third Brontë, but still…). 
By the way, we don't agree with the title of the article. No writer is justly 'forgotten'. In any case, there are writers who are not worth a vindication.

South China Post Magazine reviews the novel Lotus by Lijia Zhang:
According to “Socialism is Great!”, Nanjing-born Zhang spent political study sessions reading a copy of Jane Eyre hidden inside a People’s Daily, in order to learn English and in a wry comment on the usefulness of these meetings. But one longs for the judicious brevity of, say, Chuck Palahniuk, rather than a Victorian sensibility that can seem rather too much in love with novel-writing. (Mike Cormack)
Fresh Fiction interviews the author Barbara Claypole White:
Yona Zeldis McDonough: Which authors have influenced you most?
BCW: That’s a tough question because every novel I read influences me. The three writers who’ve had the greatest impact are probably Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes, and Denyse Devlin. Jodi Picoult pushes me outside my comfort zone as a reader, which is where I want to be as a writer. Plus, who doesn’t want to write like Jodi? Marian Keyes taught me you could tackle dark subjects with humor, and Denyse Devlin showed me how to peel back the layers of a relationship. Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to Charlotte Brontë, because in my opinion you can learn everything you need to know about writing fiction by reading Jane Eyre Best. Novel. Ever.
Fairy Folklore talks about changelings in literature:
Likewise, in literature, a sinister note may intrude. The tempestuous Heathcliff, in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, is often accused of being a changeling. When he is first brought home, Ellen Dean is inclined to put him out on the landing in the hope he will have vanished by morning. Ideas springing from an older, darker mythology of fairies still lingered.
Bahnreads recommends reading Jane Eyre. Charlotte Fiehn posts a positive review of To Walk Invisible. The last Christmas of the Red House Museum can be revisited in this post by Vesna Armstrong Photography. So nice as it is sad (and bitter, thinking in the stupid short sight of some local governments).

And finally, who can resist a good test on the Brontës? Check your literary knowledge of the works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne on OpenLearn.


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