Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Guardian recommends Wuthering Heights 1939, today on BBC Two:
Wuthering Heights (William Wyler, 1939), 1pm, BBC Two
A wild romance concocted from Emily Brontë’s novel. Having finally stopped sulking over not getting Vivien Leigh as co-star, Laurence Olivier makes a tormented but heroic Heathcliff, and Merle Oberon is a touching Cathy. The real star is Gregg Toland, who won an Oscar for his photography. (Paul Howlett
The Telegraph, too:
There have been countless adaptations of Emily Brontë’s classic 19th-century romance but none of them captures the spirit of her novel quite like William Wyler’s production. Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier play the tragic lovers Cathy and Heathcliff, while David Niven is simply outstanding as the cowardly Edgar Linton. This is pre-War Hollywood at its very best.
and Radio Times:
Laurence Olivier's Heathcliff is even more handsome than the Yorkshire moors across which he howls his doomed love for Cathy (Merle Oberon) in this stirring melodrama of seething, brooding and smouldering passion set in England in the 19th century. Produced by Sam Goldwyn, directed by William Wyler, and also starring David Niven, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Flora Robson, this is still the best by some way of the many big-screen versions of Emily Brontë's novel (including Spanish and Egyptian productions). It garnered eight Oscar nominations, including best picture, but only won one, for Gregg Toland's stunning black-and-white cinematography. Had there also been an Oscar for best smouldering, Olivier would have walked it. (Peter Friedman)
or The Times:
Such were the clashes during the making of this truncated adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel, it’s a wonder it turned out as fine a film as it is. Laurence Olivier, a suitably saturnine Heathcliff, and Merle Oberon, as Cathy, apparently detested each other. During a romantic balcony scene, Olivier called Oberon a “bloody little idiot” after she complained about him letting spit fly from his mouth at her. Oberon was also uncomfortable about David Niven being in the cast (as Edgar) since they had once been lovers, while the director William Wyler’s exacting approach — 72 takes for one scene — exhausted the actors. Olivier later admitted Wyler had a point about the over-theatricality that he initially brought to his role. Gregg Toland’s Oscar-winning photography is striking. (James Jackson)
YorkMix reports the winners of  the York Literature Festival / YorkMix poetry competition 2018:
A gruelling illness during pregnancy was the inspiration for the winning poem in this year’s York Literature Festival / YorkMix Poetry Competition.
Our winner, Hannah Copley, from Hertford, suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, the same rare extreme nausea that first hit the headlines when Kate Middleton was pregnant with Prince George.
Hannah, a lecturer and researcher, became ill when she was pregnant in 2016.
She told the story behind her poem, Haworth, 1855, at the competition awards ceremony at the weekend.
"The illness is sometimes referred to as ‘extreme morning sickness’, but that doesn’t really come close as a description. For me it was nausea, dizziness and migraine and lasted for several weeks. The fatigue that accompanied it made it virtually impossible to move and the exhaustion was overwhelming.
It is now believed that this was the illness which took Charlotte Brontë’s life when she was in the fourth month of pregnancy. The death was recorded at the time as tuberculosis, but many of the symptoms are the same.
I started my poem when I was in the sixth month of pregnancy. But I didn’t finish it immediately, partly because I still wasn’t well enough to write. I kept working on it for a long time.
My starting point for the poem was the quote from The Life of Charlotte Brontë, by her close friend Elizabeth Gaskell." (David Nicholson)
On the same website, you can read the poem.

The London Economics reviews The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson:
I simply marveled at the deftness of that paragraph. It is both horizontally time linear in terms of work followed by inner distraction followed by error; yet also vertically linear as Mary starts to burrow into herself. A metaphorical oil drill (Petroleum anyone?) spurred by a briefly upsetting conversation is bringing feelings to the surface which in turn literally spoil the appearance of the life she has known. There aren’t more than a dozen writers I can think of who could have written that paragraph and the Bronte sisters, Theodore Dreiser and George Eliot are all still quite dead. (Hubert O'Hearn)
Psychology Today on daydreaming:
It's quite common for creative people—writers, for example—to have conjured imaginary friends or fantasy worlds as children, the most famous example being the Brontë sisters, who created the make-believe worlds of Gondal and Angria while living in their parsonage on the Yorkshire moors. Daydreams are most vivid in adolescence, when they are often sexual in nature. (Josie Glasiusz)
Melissa Kite in The Spectator complains about drones:
I kind of liked the groaning. It was company. But I still had the wailing of the wind through the cracks in the front door, huge ceiling to floor gaps where the brickwork of the porch isn’t tied on to the house.
‘Heathcliff! I’ve come home now! So cold…’ says the front door most days and especially when the Beast from the East blows across the common.
The keeper tried to stop that too, with injector foam, but I was pleased when it didn’t work.
As for the upstairs window, I was enjoying having Cathy banging on that until I realised all my money was flying through it in the form of lost heating. I taped a clear plastic dress bag over it with gaffer.
It filled with air like a balloon and has been straining at the quadruple thick tape ever since. The bag crackles, which is not as good company as Cathy, but it’s warm.
But this wasn’t Cathy, or the groaning man from the dining room. It was a
whirring, mechanical sound.
Il Corriere della Sera (Italy) interviews the writer Matteo Strukul:
Alessandro Zangrando: La letteratura si è allontanata dal lettore? Matteo Strukul: Temo di sì. La letteratura è del pubblico, non dei salotti. Oggi, a volte, sembra il contrario. Gli autori devono consegnare ai lettori storie avvincenti. La grande letteratura è intrattenimento, divulgazione e educazione al bello. Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Charlotte e Emily Brontë, Friedrich Schiller, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Umberto Eco sono giganti della letteratura perché tengono incollati i lettori fino all’ultima pagina. (Translation)
Infobae (Argentina) interviews the singer and songwriter Julieta Venegas:
Milena Heinrich: ¿Y cuáles crees que fueron libros fundamentales en ese proceso?
J.V.: Es algo que va cambiando todo el tiempo y nunca acaba de completarse. Siempre han sido las novelas. Me di cuenta de que me gustan mucho las obras bien desarrolladas y los libros que no te resuelven todo. Soy muy lectora de narrativa. Jane Eyre de Charlotte Brönte (sic) fue una novela muy importante. Lo mismo me pasó cuando leí a Rosario Castellanos, Juan Rulfo y Elena Garro. Dostoyevski también ha sido muy importante. (Translation)
Dagsavisen (Norway) interviews the TV presenter Gunhild Dahlberg:
Oda Rygh:Hvilken bok har betydd mest for deg?
G.D.: «Wuthering Heights». Folk må ikke la seg avskrekke av at det er en gammel bok, den handler om kjærlighet, den brutale altoppslukende kjærligheten. Selv det går litt over stokk og stein. Den handler om naturkrefter inni folk og naturkrefter utenfor. (Translation)
Actualidad 21 (Spain) announces some of the Book Day celebrations in Alcobendas:
Este año Alcobendas se une a las conmemoraciones bicentenarias del nacimiento de la escritora Emily Brontë y de la publicación de ‘Frankenstein’ de la autora Mary Shelley. La obra más importante de Brontë es ‘Cumbres borrascosas’, un clásico de la literatura inglesa, que fue publicado bajo seudónimo para sortear las dificultades de las mujeres del siglo XIX en su trabajo literario. La novela de Shelley es considerada como la primera historia moderna de ciencia ficción, que surgió tras un reto durante una visita a su amigo Lord Byron. (Translation)
Tips (Austria) publishes some info on the Jane Eyre. The Musical performances in Gmunden (Austria). ReginaExLibris (on 20 Minutos) reviews Damas Oscuras. Cafef (Vietnam) includes a Charlotte Brontë quote. Paseando entre páginas (Spain) reviews Wuthering Heights. Francesca Santucci reviews the Italian translation of Agnes Mary Robinson's Emily Brontë.


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