Friday, May 18, 2018

The Telegraph and Argus looks forward to the events surrounding Emily Brontë's birthday celebrations, which now include writer Kate Mosse.
Bestselling writer Kate Mosse is joining the existing roster of big names celebrating Emily Brontë’s 200 birthday.
Poet Patience Agbabi, activist and model Lily Cole and musicians The Unthanks are already involved in events this year to mark the bicentennial.
But for the big bash to mark the actual birthday, the Brontë Society has added the writer of novels like Labyrinth.
High-profile figures from literature and contemporary culture will descend on Haworth for a four-day festival in and around the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Between July 27 and 30 there will be a series of performances, film, walks and new commissions from in the-days leading up to Emily’s actual birthday, Monday, July 30.
Kitty Wright, executive director of the Brontë Society, said: “It’s impossible to say exactly what it is about Emily Brontë that captures the imagination and heart of so many people so long after she lived and died.
“Emily is perhaps the Brontë sibling most associated with the dramatic, bleak and beautiful moorland surrounding their home, and as such her birthday will be marked by guided walks and outdoor sketching workshops as well as poetry performances, literary discussions and free activities for all the family.
“We look forward to sharing Emily’s executive director of the Brontë Society, legacy with international audiences old and new.”
Visit bronte.org.uk or call 01535 642323 for further information about the July 27-30 events and how to book tickets.
Kate Mosse OBE has curated I Am Heathcliff, a new commission of 16 short stories about the anti-hero of Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights.
anthology, which re-examining is the unforgettable and polarising character, will be launched in Haworth on July 27.
Poet and performer Patience Agbabi is due to present new work created during her time as 2018 Writer in Residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum this September.
During the 200th birthday weekend, on July 28, she will be joined by other wordsmiths to respond to themes of the outsider and identity raised in Emily’s writing through readings and performance poetry. The event is entitled. This, That, and ‘The Other’.
Making Your Mark Online is the title of two workshops for burgeoning writers on July 28 and 29, led by Brontë Society Young Ambassador, book blogger, booktuber and Brontë aficionado Lucy Powrie.
Blogging since the age of 12, Lucy will discuss how and why she started writing and why she considers Emily Brontë to be a relevant inspiration for young people today.
Lily Cole, the Brontë Society’s creative partner for 2018, will present the world premiere of her latest film ‘Balls’ on July 29 at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
The short film will examine the stories of young, unmarried mothers and the babies they gave up to the Foundling Hospital in the 19th century, the inspiration for Emily’s foundling anti-hero Heathcliff.
Cole, with co-writer Stacey Gregg (‘Riviera’, ‘The Innocents’), has taken two personal accounts from the original hospital records and transposed them into the present day.
The resulting film, shot entirely in location in Liverpool, emphasises the dramatic changes seen in women’s rights over the last 200 years. [...]
Marking Emily’s actual birthday will be two events paying pay tribute to the woman and her work, through her own words and those of her devotees.
On July 30, they are entitled Emily Speaks and What Emily Means To Us.
An afternoon of readings offers personal responses to Emily’s independence and self-determination in relation to the broader racial, cultural and social histories of the 19th century.
The day culminates in a celebration with live readings from Lily Cole, Patience Agbabi and a performance from The Unthanks, who themselves will be marking the bicentenary later in 2018 with new, specifically commissioned work. (Jim Seton)
In The Canberra Times, writer Sandra Leigh Price tells about her history with Emily Brontë.
The first time I read Wuthering Heights a whole world opened up to me: the language – the words steeped in weather landscape, the structure an intricate clockwork of intergenerational trauma, and there was Emily Brontë herself – an astute observer of the natural world around her. The book was like a storm-glass in my imagination – large, wondrous and wild. But when I looked for Emily, she was lost. Her creation had eaten her identity, she had become a monster made of moors.
When I made my way to Haworth as a 21-year-old, I had the palpable feeling of having been there before, but I'd only travelled there before in the pages of Emily's book. The Brontë Parsonage Museum felt somehow smaller on the inside than the outside with the children's study no bigger than a linen closet. This was Emily's bedroom as an adult and I imagined her, looking at her stars, thoughts tapping at her mind like the ghost of Cathy tapping at the window.
In the gift shop, I bought a porcelain bust of Emily in a naive attempt to take something of Emily's spirit home with me. But over the years as I revisited the novel and poems, beginning to write myself, I grew haunted by the fact that Emily's life as a writer was made elusive by acts of erasure. Charlotte Brontë blurred the lines between Emily and her creation – reducing her sister to a natural phenomenon, a freak, a force of nature – denying her accomplishment as a writer of astounding force and originality. (Read more)
The Sydney Morning Herald on fashion weeks:
There are times at fashion week when one can reasonably be left wondering, "What were they thinking?"
Luckily for the guests at shows, there is usually a piece of paper on the chairs known as the show notes, which outlines the designer's vision.
Sometimes, they read like an Emily Brontë novel, and other times, more like the musings of an ex at 3am after a bender. (Melissa Singer)
More on fashion as The Hamilton Spectator features Glamour in the Hammer, which 'showcases a broad range of homegrown talent on the runway'.
This year's collection [by The Eye of Faith] takes inspiration from the classic Wuthering Heights, and will feature references to Victorian styles "with a bit more of a rock 'n' roll kind of grunge edge," says Heaton.
"It's very different because we're going to try to have even more romance than usually we've shown previously," says Duarte. "Just more flounciness, more femininity, more … lace and embellishments and beading." (Sheryl Nadler)
Here's a writing tip from The Writing Cooperative:
Wuthering Heights is full of storms crashing and raging across the moors, underscoring the turbulent mood of its main characters. Your signs and seers don’t have to be cataclysmic or quite as intense. Not every storm must rage for a reader to get the effect; sometimes drizzle works just as well.
The Guardian has an article on Tom Wolfe.
There they were in my copy of The New Journalism, his greatest hits: from Radical Chic, the sound of Leonard Bernstein eating a piece of cheese (“mmmmmmmmm”). From the Flak Catchers, phonetically spelled dialect that would give Wuthering Heights a run for its money. (Emma Brockes)
The Guardian picks up the fake story that Charlotte Brontë was a regular visitor at Eshton Hall. However, she was indeed a visitor at Gawthorpe Hall, featured on BBC News.
A Grade I-listed hall that hosted Charlotte Brontë could become a wedding venue to help a council plug a £144m funding gap.
Renting out 17th Century Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham is among proposals by a taskforce set up to generate cash from Lancashire County Council's assets.
The council will also consider building wind and solar farms to raise money.
Other suggestions include turning an outdoor education centre into a luxury hotel.
According to a report due to go before councillors on Friday, the council will face a £144m shortfall in finances by 2021-22 unless it identifies new streams of revenue. [...]
Gawthorpe Hall is owned by the National Trust but operated by Lancashire County Council, which is responsible for its upkeep.
Built between 1600 and 1605, the hall reopened in April 2016 after undergoing £500,000 renovation work.
Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte stayed at the property in 1850 and 1855.
Los Angeles Times has published a rare interview with writer Elena Ferrante.
Have you been influenced by women writers (possibly French, like Colette, Duras, etc.)? As a girl, I read all kinds of things, in no particular order, and I didn’t pay attention to the names of the authors — whether they were male or female didn’t interest me. I was enthralled by [the characters] Moll Flanders, by the Marquise de Merteuil, by Elizabeth Bennet, by Jane Eyre, by Anna Karenina, and I didn’t care about the sex of the writer. Later, in the late ’70s, I began to be interested in writing by women. If I stick with French writers, I read almost all of Marguerite Duras. But the book of hers that I’ve spent the most time with, studied most closely, is “The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein”; it’s her most complex book, but the one you can learn the most from. (Didier Jacob)
Seeing Dance reviews Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre.
Clever and interesting choreography, combined with Philip Feeney’s wonderful original score and apt selection of insertions are sufficiently distracting from the inescapable fact that the plot is riddled with as many holes as a leaky colander. Although Charlotte Brontë was 31 when she wrote it, it is more like a teenage novel of sentimental romance, its continuing popularity possibly having more to do with her positioning as a female literary pioneer than any inherent credibility in character or storyline.
Whilst there isn’t much that Dreda Blow can do to undercut Jane’s intrinsic vapidity, she suggests enough inner turmoil, expressed through physicality, to make her eminently watchable, not least because she is provided with four shadowing men who embody her inner demons, dancing in canon as if to stress the repetitive nature of mental anguish running around her head.
Marston provides her with simple yet effective gestures: standing on a chair when punished at home and at school, for instance. There is a sense that her body is in a whirl of protest against her situation, limbs flinging wildly and torso almost thrown at other characters.
Alonso-trained Torres could have been born to play Edward Rochester. He utterly embodies the English aristocratic cad right down to the self-pity when he is blinded after the fire. His Rochester has all the stillness that aristocratic arrogance demands. He prevents Jane from leaving the room by languorously extending a leg as if he is too idle to move and too lofty to touch a mere girl, or rather, he controls how and when he chooses to touch her. Of course, it is much more likely that he would have married Blanche Ingram for her money and status (as he had Bertha) and just had his wicked way by consent or otherwise with Jane, who is after all, only a governess and apparently alone in the world. Torres and Blow do of course execute passionate and dramatic pas de deux with the only fault being that they are a little repetitive and do not carry the narrative along.
Victoria Sibson’s Bertha, whilst not conveying the racial dimension of the character, is a marvellous mad woman in the attic. Her ragged red dress suggests that she has been tearing frantically at her clothing and echoes the flames of her pyromania which, without the unlikely intervention of Jane wandering round in her nightie to douse them, eventually consume both house and Bertha.
Marston sensibly makes Bertha more central to the action than Brontë, enabling her to appear and snatch Jane’s bridal veil away. Whilst not exactly The Wild Sargasso Sea, it does at does at least provide an opportunity to consider Bertha’s point of view.
Ailen Ramos Betancourt is a splendid Grace Poole, her mob cap nodding furiously as she struggles to contain Bertha, collude with Rochester and placate Jane.
Patrick Kinmoth’s set and Alastair Wests’s lighting combine to evoke a sense of place rather than an elaborate setting. The ever-present moor underlines the isolation of both place and characters and the two fires are especially well-imaged. The huge back of the chair reminds of the master of the house even when he is not present and Torres positively owns it as the only piece of furniture on the stage.
Philip Feeney has written another glorious score and inserted works contemporary with the novel to contrast period with the mental turmoil of the characters. The clarinet takes the lead almost as the vice of madness, ably played by Joanne Rozario. Northern Ballet Sinfonia gave an excellent account of the score under the baton of John Pryce-Jones. (Charlotte Kasner)
My Jane Eyre Collection looks at several Jane Eyre illustrations.

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