Sunday, May 20, 2018

South China Morning Post discusses why China loves Jane Eyre:
Why China loves Jane Eyre, whether as a feminist manifesto, a history of colonialism or just a simple children’s bedtime story
Charlotte Brontë’s classic 1847 novel Jane Eyre was first published in Chinese as an abridged version in 1925. But it was the secret dubbing of the 1970 film during the Cultural Revolution where its story in China really started.
ane Eyre is huge in China – some say the novel is even more popular there than in its home country of England.
The novel, written by Charlotte Brontë in 1847, has been translated into Chinese multiple times and released in bilingual, illustrated, abridged and simplified editions, as pocket books and e-books, and as children’s bedtime stories.
The book is taught in Chinese schools and has been adapted into a long-running stage play and a Chinese opera. There is even manga inspired by governesses from the book, such as the novel’s eponymous main character, that are popular on the mainland and especially in Hong Kong.
Last month, Brontë’s original hand-written manuscript went on show in Shanghai. The exhibition – which also included other treasures of English literature such as personal letters by T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence, a draft of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and another of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet to Lord Byron – drew 20,000 visitors in a month. The show was part of a three-year programme by the British Library to foster dialogue and connections between China and the UK.
“We would like to enrich and expand our collaboration with China,” says Jamie Andrews, head of culture and learning at the British Library. “Our British collection is known and enjoyed there, and museums and libraries are opening up. There’s a huge demand for exhibitions and partnerships.”
Andrews says their team thought very carefully about which artefacts to put on show at the Shanghai Library.
“The Jane Eyre manuscript is often among the five most popular artefacts for British visitors, but we were also aware that Jane Eyre has a strong pull for Chinese audiences,” he says.
So what makes Jane Eyre so appealing in China?
Shouhua Qi, English professor at Western Connecticut State University and co-editor of the book The Brontë Sisters in Other Wor(l)ds, says the story really begins with the television film of the novel directed by Delbert Mann. Starring Susannah York and George C. Scott, it was released in the UK in 1970.
“The film was dubbed secretly into Chinese in 1975 during the Cultural Revolution by the storied Shanghai Film Dubbing Studio and was finally screened publicly in 1979,” Qi says. “At this time, China was opening to the outside world, and all things Western were gushing in. A renaissance of learning was sweeping the country, with a frenzied reading of books, both Chinese and Western classics, that had been banned during the Cultural Revolution.” (Read more) (Victoria Burrows)
The Sunday Express reviews the Northern Ballet's performances of Jane Eyre in London:
Maybe the subject fits very well into Northern Ballet’s homelands but Marston’s telling is enveloped in the heavy-handed insistence on the unfairness of life for the female of the species. Danced to a commissioned Philip Feeney score, the work is in two doom-laden acts set amid Patrick Kinmouth’s scenery of middle class respectability.
For a change the male corps de ballet changes the set as the action moves between the drawing room, church and moors. And this is where the evening is partly rescued. (...)
Marston has enthusiastically entered Bronte’s world but unfortunately has taken it all too seriously. (Jeffery Taylor)
Darragh McManus in The Irish Independent is enjoying Rachel Joyce's dramatization of Wuthering Heights in BBC Radio 4:
Finally, on a much lighter note, this incorrigible old romantic has been mightily enjoying the adaptation of Wuthering Heights on 15 Minute Drama (BBC Radio 4, Mon-Fri 7.45pm). It continues next week, and Rachel Joyce's adaptation captures the essence of the novel: in all its overwrought, operatic, sepulchral (and faintly ridiculous) glory.
Great stuff, both as a reminder of Emily Brontë's Gothic classic, and as a listening pleasure in its own right.
Brighouse Echo reports the publication of a posthumous novel by Ian M. Emberson:
Moving to Todmorden after meeting his wife-to-be Catherine in 1988, Brontë Society life member Ian’s published works include several volumes of poetry, novel-in-verse Pirouette of Earth, Pilgrims From Loneliness, which is a literary criticism of Charlotte Brontë still sold in the Haworth Parsonage bookshop, the e-book The Zig-Zag Path and evocative autobiographical Yorkshire Lives And Landscapes.
The Arts Desk reviews a Tesla coils show by Robbie Thomson at the Brighton Festival which happens to be at The Spire (based in St. Mark's Chapel):
 From 1849, for a century-and-a-half, this venue was a church and attached school, its claim to fame a dismissive mention in Jane Eyre. But this evening the stained glass windows are blacked out, blocking the evening sun. In the centre of the old building is a Faraday cage beside which, on a raised podium, Thomson is ready at his various laptops. (Thomas H. Green)
Erm... according to The Spire website, the 'dismissive mention' is no mention at all:
The construction of the church was completed in 1849 by Henry Venn Elliott, the first incumbent of St Mary’s, Rock Gardens , and Founder of St Mary’s Hall, a school for the daughters of poor clergy. His school in Brighton was inspired by the Clergy Daughters’ School in Casterton, run by his friend, Rev. W Carus Wilson, which had impressed Henry Venn when he visited. Charlotte Brontë described the school – not very flatteringly – in ‘Jane Eyre’. However, Henry Venn must have seen a very different school for he ‘offered up a little prayer that the Brighton School might receive a similar blessing’.
Albany Herald interviews the artist Heather Ashberry:
“In the era that the Brontë sisters wrote, women always used pen names for their work,” Ashberry said. “‘Beatrice Wormwood’ is my ‘pen name,’ so to speak. Beatrice was a popular name during that era, and ‘wormwood’ is part of that bohemian deal.” (Carlton Fletcher)
Yesterday's royal wedding has also a Brontë echo in Time Magazine:
And it wasn’t just the working classes where the father wasn’t involved in the walk. [George Monger in Marriage Customs of the World] also provides many examples (including Charlotte Brontë) of women being given away by some other relative, sometimes a woman, when her father objected or was not available. (Lily Rothman)
The Nassau Guardian talks about the film Sorry, Not Sorry by Alberta Whittle:
Sorry, Not Sorry is coupled with seminal film Handsworth Songs, which is a painful yet revelatory documentary of British civility and colonial “savagery” or incivility. This is a theme that resounds throughout E.M Forster’s “A Passage To India” (1924) and Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” (1847), later re-penned (but really reconstructed from before the story unfolded) by Jean Rhys in “Wide Sargasso Sea” (1966). So much can be said about the un-civilizing of the savage as seen, but when the other story is told, as Rhys does, we see context. (Ian Bethell-Bennett)
Melissa Broder chooses Wide Sargasso Sea as one of her favourite stories of sand and sea in The Week:
This is the luscious prelude to Jane Eyre, in which "Bertha," Mr. Rochester's madwoman in the attic, tells the story of her Jamaican history and relocation to England. It's all gaslight, love potion, and candles before the fire.
Página 12 (Argentina) interviews Laura Ramos, author of Infernales. La hermandad Brontë, a new biography of the Brontës just published in Argentina:
Le llevó casi diez años escribirlo y tres viajes a Haworth, inglaterra, el lugar de los hechos. Allí transcurrió en gran parte la historia que cuenta Laura Ramos en Infernales: la hermandad Brontë. Es la historia de las hermanas Charlotte, Emily, Anne y el rescate de la figura de Branwell, el hermano mayor. Pero Infernales es también una investigación que busca cuestionar el mito romántico para dejar al descubierto a las mujeres reales y la construcción de una identidad: la de las tres hermanas que provenientes de una familia pobre y alejada de los grandes centro culturales se convirtieron en escritoras profesionales avanzadas a su época. (...)
El mito Brontë, entonces. Una familia maldita en el páramo de Yorkshire: el padre excéntrico y violento, el hermano borracho y poeta frustrado, la pobre Charlotte, la salvaje y desdichada Emily, Anne que nunca pudo ser feliz. Las jóvenes que inventaron mundos góticos y convulsos y apasionados sin casi haber salido de su casa. Este mito, famoso y poco disputado por la imaginación popular, fue creado a cuatro manos por Charlotte Brontë y su biógrafa y amiga, Elizabeth Gaskell,también novelista. Gaskell, en su Vida de Charlotte Brontë de 1857 –publicada apenas dos años después de la muerte de la autora de Jane Eyre– sigue los deseos de su biografiada ocultando los aspectos más controversiales de la familia, las mezquindades y las contradicciones, y enalteciendo el mito romántico. Laura Ramos viajó a Haworth, el pueblo de los Brontë, bajo el influjo de la biografía de Gaskell. “Yo me devoré todo el mito, con lágrimas, totalmente poseída. Lloraba frente al sofá donde murió Emily: ahora sé que murió en su cama. Casi todas las biografías tempranas de los Brontë están escritas desde la primera persona, desde la pasión, y muchas son ilegibles por eso: querés saber y no se puede, solo está la emoción. Es que la lectura biográfica suele empezar por Gaskell y su biografía, que es política y sigue los deseos de Charlotte.” (...)
Infernales es, entonces, el viaje que va desde el mito romántico hasta las mujeres reales y el destino inesperado del hermano, a partir de investigaciones recientes, en su mayor parte no traducidas. “Mi libro está escrito para gente hispanoparlante, para nosotros”, dice Ramos. “No es de crítica, no es académico, no analiza en profundidad la obra. Es como una novela, solo que todo lo que se dice está documentado. Es para que lo leamos los que leímos Jane Eyre en la colección amarilla de Robin Hood y decíamos Carlota Brontë. Y para que otros lectores descubran a estas mujeres cuyas vidas rivalizan con sus novelas”. (Read more) (Mariana Enriquez) (Translation)
A library's 35th anniversary library is celebrated in La Depeche:
Du coup, avec son employée Valérie, Nicole a commencé de recevoir les «incontournables» de ses clients qui ont pris place dans la vitrine. On y trouve des grands classiques bien entendu «Cent ans de solitude» ou «La nuit et le silence» ou «Jane Eyre» mais aussi des choses étonnantes comme un «Psion» ou la BD «Le diable des rochers». (Place Pélisson) (Translation)
Alessandria News (in Italian) interviews the author Rafella Romagnolo:
Fra i tanti testi che la Romagnolo ama ha scelto per noi cinque libri che hanno contribuito alla sua formazione: “Jane Eyre” di Charlotte Brontë, “Il Conte di Montecristo” di Alexandre Dumas, “L'amore ai tempi del colera” di Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Una questione privata” di Beppe Fenoglio. E, a sorpresa, la saga di Harry Potter. Con “Jane Eyre” della Brontë siamo nell'Ottocento inglese, a colpire la Romagnolo oltre la forza del personaggio è la tecnica descrittiva: “in quel tempo non c'era il cinema e le minuziose descrizioni, ormai in disuso, servivano a creare una tela su cui proiettare le immagini facendoti vedere ciò che leggevi. Oltre alla Brontë, anche le opere di Dickens hanno la stessa forza narrativa”. (Translation)
El Diario Vasco (Spain) talks about El bosque sabe tu nombre by Alaitz Leceaga:
'El bosque sabe tu nombre' es lo que la editora Carmen Romero, enamorada de esta historia de amor y pasión, venganza y miedo, mujeres fuertes y grandes momentos históricos -desde la década de los 20 del siglo pasado hasta la Segunda Guerra Mundial- llama «un clásico que se podría haber escrito hace veinte años o que podría escribirse dentro de diez». Hace referencia a una voz narrativa que conecta con 'Cumbres borrascosas', 'La casa de los espíritus', 'Rebeca', por no citar las de García Márquez. Leceaga (1982) lo reconoce: «Yo era la típica niña que estaba siempre leyendo y he escrito la novela que me hubiera gustado leer». (Elena Sierra) (Translation)
An alert in Ravenna, Italy:
Alle 17 “Vite che sono la tua” in cui Paolo Di Paolo, scrittore e firma di Repubblica parlerà racconterà il fascino dei personaggi letterari da Tom Sawyer al giovane Holden, da Jane Eyre a Raskòl'nikov partendo dal suo ultimo libro edito da Laterza. Di Paolo dialogherà con Nicoletta Bacco. (Ravenna Notizie) (Translation)
Click Americana apparently thinks that 'Emily Brontë ringlets' is a 60s thing.  Minha Velha Estante (in Portuguese) reviews the Jane Eyre Manga adaptation. My Jane Eyre continues exploring copies of Jane Eyre in libraries.

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