Friday, July 28, 2017

Daily JSTOR posts today an article about Branwell Brontë, quoting from Katherine Frank's 1979 paper The Brontë Biographies: Romance, Reality, and Revision (Biography, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 1979), pp. 141-156) :
This summer marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Branwell Brontë—you know, the not-famous one. There he isn’t in his own painting of the surviving Brontë children, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne (two other sisters died before their teens). He painted over himself—sort of. The result is ghostly, a perfect Gothic touch for the Brontë mythos and the ne’er-do-well Branwell.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne get all the attention, quite justifiably, because of their vivid poetry and fiction. But what attention! Katherine Frank points out that no literary family has been as written about as the Brontës. (Father Patrick was born in Ireland with the family name “Brunty” or maybe “Prunty” and changed the spelling and added a dieresis as he made himself a Yorkshire curate.) (...)
Of course, lives are hard to turn into narratives. Perhaps this is why Brontë biography has lurched between the scholarly and the lurid.  The Brontës “wrote too little, lived too unhappily, and died too soon,” Frank says, so their biographers write “acts of resuscitation,” moved by “an underlying impulse of restoration” to make “their subjects live once again on their pages.” The underlying spirit is a protest against a story that “possesses an inherent tragic simplicity and unity, but it sorely lacks a cathartic resolution.” (Matthew Wills)
A list of the 'most anticipated' children books in Publishers Weekly includes:
The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente (S&S/McElderry, Sept.) - Valente closed out her five-book Fairyland series last fall with The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home, so the timing is just right for this standalone adventure. It’s based on the imaginary world concocted (and written about) by the real-life Brontë siblings—only in Valente’s novel, the cockeyed and unpredictable world of Glass Town comes to dazzling life for the children.
Today we have an upturn in Austen vs Brontë articles:
Before one reflects on Austen’s notable books, it will be relevant to pause and digress to another literary family of three sisters, who also lived in the 19th century. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë comprised the three sisters, and the similarity with Austen was that both their fathers served the church. Like Austen, the Brontës were not readily accepted into England’s literary world.
That compelled them to publish their writing under male pseudonyms. It was Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which first witnessed success, similar to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Equally interesting, as a comparison of Austen and the Brontë sisters, is that they initially wrote narratives to read out to their parents and siblings, at home. That was a prelude to their respective literary careers. (Deepak Rikhyie in The Statesman)
Austen's naturalism meant that she captured daily life in 18th-century England and human nature in the middle and upper classes both accurately and strikingly. Dramatic events are few and far between, limited to an elopement or two. Austen had none of the supernatural of Charlotte Brontë. But she did have the ability to relate to readers with wit and humour, with her word choices for one, her keenly intelligent perceptions on human nature. (Maliha Khan in The Daily Star)
The pseudonyms affair continues to generate articles. Like this in the Evening Standard:
 It’s a small moment of triumph, said Allison Pearson yesterday, speculating that “up in the great library in the sky, Currer Bell and George Eliot are exchanging a wry glance of satisfaction”.
For the tables have been turned. There has been such a long tradition of women writers being forced to use either male pseudonyms, like George Eliot and George Sand, or neutral signatures such as Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell (the Brontë sisters) and, most recently, JK Rowling, that it seems a reversal to celebrate. (...)
Charlotte Brontë believed so: “To such critics I would say, ‘To you I am neither man nor woman, I come before you as an author only — it is the sole standard by which you have a right to judge me, the sole ground on which I accept your judgment’.” (David Sexton)
Glasgow Live has an article about Scottish football which begins with an unusual quote:
“Oh, I am very weary, though tears no longer flow; My eyes are tired of weeping, my heart is sick of woe”.
Not in fact a Joey Barton tweet, but a quotation from Anne Brontë’s 1846 poem ‘Appeal’. Brontë may have had to endure tragedy, illness and heartbreak, but she never had to cope with being dropped for a trip to Caley Thistle. (Old Firm Facts)
Just a precision here: 1846 is the date of publication. The manuscript version (dated August 28th, 1840) of this poem is titled "Lines Written at Thorp Green".

The Economist on being childless:
The childless also do everyone else a favour by creating wonderful works of art. British novelists have been especially likely to have no progeny: think of Hilary Mantel, P.G. Wodehouse and the Brontë sisters.
The Brontës are a poor choice, as being childless was not exactly a deliberate choice of theirs. As a matter of fact, Charlotte is believed to be pregnant when she died.

Los Angeles Times reviews the English translation of Black Moses (Petit Piment) by Alain Mabanckou:
Our heroes tend to be orphans,” Zinzi Clemmons writes in her debut novel “What We Lose,” and the more you look the more the literary universe seems all but built by them. They stretch from Beowulf to Batman, from Tom Sawyer to Harry Potter, Pip to Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre to Anne of Green Gables. Writers love imagining literary orphans because they arrive in the story pre-conflicted; they’re carrying something that’s tested their mettle early. But they’re also heroic figures because they’re blank slates. Free of parental baggage, their stories are usually about how they come to acquire identities all their own. They’re one part loss, one part liberation. (Mark Athitakis)
The New York Times and NPR review the film Mal de Pierres by Nicole Garcia:
In her youth, she chases after a teacher with an almost feral abandon, privately licking his copy of “Wuthering Heights. It’s not clear whether she’s mad, as some think, or whether her longings result from a repressive upbringing. The movie barely seems to decide. (Ben Kenigsberg)
At her youngest, Gabrielle is a deeply frustrated small-town romantic, nursing a crush on the local schoolteacher. He makes the mistake of lending her a copy of Wuthering Heights, which Gabrielle sees as a token of the married man's interest in her. "It's a book!" he protests after she hands him a sexually explicit love letter at a communal village dinner. (Mark Jenkins)
And a newsround couldn't be a newsround without reviews of Lady Macbeth. This time in The Salt Lake Tribune and CTV:
The only other company on Alexander's estate are the servants, and Katherine's time is occupied by two of them. One, Anna (Naomi Ackie), is her maid, observing her every move and, she suspects, reporting them to Boris. The other is Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), a handsome groomsman with whom Katherine embarks on a torrid love affair that makes "Wuthering Heights" look chaste. (Sean P. Means)
More “The Making of a Murderer” than “Wuthering Heights,” ice runs through the veins of “Lady Macbeth.” Cold and austere, the story of sexual rebellion is given life by Pugh’s mesmerizing performance. (Richard Crouse)
BBC News talks about the second season of Top of the Lake (China Girl) and quotes the director, Jane Campion:
"It's just so important to have women story-tellers," muses Campion. "If you think what it would be like without Jane Austen, without the Brontë sisters, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot - there wouldn't be any understanding from that female point of view." (Lauren Turner)
The Philippines Inquirer quotes from Charlotte Brontë:
Reflecting on the exercise, I thought a possible name could be “Hidden Treasures.” Not what some of you are thinking of now, although they are treasures, too, even crown jewels. Listen instead to the poet Charlotte Bronte: “The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed.” (Michael L. Tan)
Fodor's Travels says about Yorkshire:
Most people associate Yorkshire with the Brontë sisters’ novels or the windswept dales and farming villages depicted in the stories of James Herriot. But this rugged region, anchored by the ancient cathedral city of York, is also home to country homes imposing enough to stand in for two of the country’s best-known palaces. (Jennifer DePrima)
Two different Paula Rego exhibitions (in Lisboa and Barcelona, containing pieces related with her Jane Eyre series) are reviewed in Correio da Manhã  and Loff.it. Flight & Scarlet gives reasons to read Jane Eyre.

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