Thursday, October 24, 2019

Many, many sites are now reporting the story of how Charlotte Brontë's little book will be auctioned in mid-November in Paris and the Brontë Society, with your help, will try to bring it home to Haworth. From The Yorkshire Post:
Its size belies the magnitude of both the author’s standing in the literary world, as well as its value for any fan of one of the world’s most famous families of writers.
Charlotte Brontë was a mere 14 years old when she wrote some of her most prized works, a series of six “little books” that are now sought after by literature aficionados across the globe. [...]
One of the tiny manuscripts, which features three intricately hand-written stories, will now be auctioned next month – and a fundraising campaign has been launched to bring it home to Yorkshire.
The book, which measures less than one-and-a-half inches by two-and-a-half inches, is of immense interest to academics, showing Charlotte’s development as a writer and revealing early themes which carry into her published work, including Jane Eyre.
It came to light when it was auctioned at Sotheby’s eight years ago, although the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth was outbid by a now non-operational investment scheme.
The Brontë Society’s executive director, Kitty Wright, revealed that the book is expected to fetch at least £650,000 and applications for funding to trusts and foundations have been undertaken for months.
She added: “This extraordinary manuscript slipped through our fingers in 2011, so we are especially determined to make the most of this second opportunity to bring it home to Haworth.
“This is the final and public phase of our campaign and we urge lovers of literature everywhere to support us now, so that we can go to the auction with a competitive bid and prevent the little book from disappearing into a private collection.”
Ann Dinsdale, the museum’s principal curator, added: “If we are successful, it would be one of the most important things to happen in the 30 years I’ve worked at the Parsonage – a real highlight.”
The manuscript, called The Young Men’s Magazine, has more than 4,000 hand-written words in a meticulously folded and stitched magazine. It was one of a series of six booklets, of which five are known to survive. It has remained in private ownership since it left Haworth after the deaths of the Brontës.
The book up for auction is the fifth in the sequence, and as the Brontë Parsonage Museum already holds the other four, the acquisition of the unpublished work would complete a world class collection.
Dame Judi Dench, the York-born actor who is the president of the Brontë Society, said: “It’s very moving to think of 14-year-old Charlotte creating this particular little book at home in Haworth Parsonage..
“I hope that everyone will help the Brontë Society to bring it back to Yorkshire where it belongs.”
The book will be sold at Drouot in Paris on November 18. (Paul Jeeves)
Also told by The Telegraph and Argus, BBC News, The Bookseller, Antiques Trade Gazette, Keighley News, etc.

We hope going public will ensure lots of needed donations, but remember that you too can contribute and be part of Brontë history.

Hyde Park Herald reviews The Joffrey Ballet's take on Jane Eyre with Cathy Marston's choreography.
Marston offers an intimate portrait, clearly setting out Jane’s story as well as her inner emotional turmoil. This choreographer’s gift is the ability to communicate a wealth of information with even the smallest set of movements. While she makes fine use of the entire Auditorium Theater stage, she tends to restrict her dancers to much smaller areas during any given scene to highlight the smallness of Jane’s world.
The novel has been beautifully pared into a relatively small number of scenes that span a wide range of places yet knit together naturally and move along at a smart pace. The only conceptual mistake is Marston’s attempt to make the ballet an overt exercise in Jane looking back over her life. This is realized rather clumsily but is easily forgotten as the story gains steam.
Amanda Assucena is winsome and wholly sympathetic as the title character. She displays youthful enthusiasm as well as frustration with all the deprivations she endures. Yet her essential strength of character shines through in Assucena’s expressive movements.
Greig Matthews is one of the most delectable Rochesters you will see in any adaptation. He conveys arrogance without reducing the beauty of the dancing, and he maintains his powerful pull on Jane in an entirely natural performance.
They expertly realize Marston’s sense of romance and danger, with their turbulent courtship punctuated with powerful lifts and long drags.
Marston displays an almost magical touch with many of the minor characters. The housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, portrayed by Lucia Connolly, has an engaging, eccentric nervousness, highlighted with fascinatingly fussy footwork. Blanche, the woman who provokes feelings of jealousy in Jane, is given gentle and genuine femininity by Jeraldine Mendoza, and is alluring right down to her flirty feet. St. John (Edson Barbosa) is a monomaniacal dervish who communicates his rigid Christian views with a single, oft-repeated gesture of the arms.
Every part is realized beautifully, the Joffrey dancers bringing an urgency to the performance as well as raw emotion. Yumi Kanazawa is splendid as young Jane, and other notable performances include April Daly as Jane’s evil aunt, Temur Suluashvili as Reverend Brocklehurst, and Brooke Linford as Helen Burns. Christine Rocas creates a ruckus as Bertha Mason, the mad wife who regularly escapes her attic confines to wreak havoc in Rochester’s house. [...]
The music has been “compiled and composed” by Philip Feeney. His original music is augmented with some music composed by Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, and Fanny Mendelssohn, roughly from the period of the novel. It is to Joffrey’s credit that not only do they use live music (recorded music is sometimes the only way a small company can mount a ballet within its budget), but rather highlight contributors who ensure funding for it. However, I think Joffrey has missed an opportunity to tie in Marston’s interest in the feminist elements of “Jane Eyre” with a brief program plug for Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of Felix. The program doesn’t even give credit to the music by the “compiled” composers.
Even so, Scott Speck leads the Chicago Philharmonic in a strong performance from the pit. Speck conducts with great sensitivity to the dancing and the narrative, offering elasticity when required. The score relies rather heavily on piano, and pianist Grace Kim lives up to her name, with graceful, fluid playing. The strings are agile, moving from romantic, lyrical sound to angular anger as quickly as the dancing on stage takes an emotional turn. The brass offer muscle while the winds contribute delicacy.
The minimal set and costumes are designed by Patrick Kinmouth and while they were dull, bleak, and almost entirely uninteresting they did have the merit of never getting in the way of the story, which at every turn was served beautifully and effectively by the dancing.
The most impressive non-dancing effects were the fires at Thornfield. They are created with only theatrical smoke and intense lighting, predominantly red, and are suitably dramatic and convincing. [...]
This sensitive, romantic story of a young girl who overcomes repeated setbacks to eventually find love, respect, and happiness is portrayed on stage with vigor and vitality, charm and dignity. This fresh and vibrant “Jane Eyre” is a real winner. (M.L. Rantala)
The Guardian recommends the 'Top 10 books about the night' but one of them is not exactly a book:
5. The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë
A poem to share with friends on a dark and stormy night, this is one of the most evocative and menacing verses from my favourite Brontë sister. Its descriptions of the wild, untameable weather and the unexplained tension captured in the repeated phrase “I will not, cannot go” pull the reader right back into the shadowy corners of Wuthering Heights. (Tiffany Francis-Baker)
ArtsHub reviews The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide.
In an essay about the process she follows in her own writing, Adelaide pays homage to the writers she loves. Describing her deep love for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and the unanswered questions about mothers that it evokes, Adelaide says she wrote her own novel The Women’s Pages to interrogate the mystery of absent mothers, and the gaps in the stories of ordinary women in her favourite novel. In another essay she speaks of holding ideas in her head ‘like a migraine’ until the time is right for that idea to become a novel. Quoting novelist Ann Patchett, Adelaide explains that the process of writing down an idea is similar to committing murder because the ‘grim’ act of creation also necessitates destruction. (Rashida Murphy)
ABC News has writer Anna Todd tell all about the writing process for her book After:
For the “After” series, she said, she “basically put everything I’ve ever loved, like ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Vampire Diaries,’ even ‘Cruel Intentions,’ ‘Fifty Shades,’ everything – ‘Twilight.’”
“Everything I loved, I just dumped it in a bowl and stirred it, basically, and I tried to find ways to make it almost even more intense,” she said. (Maggie Rulli and Deborah Kim)
The Daily Star discusses 'Secondary Female Characters in Literature and Cinema'.
Such characters are found in abundance in literature. For instance, while Catherine Earnshaw was one of the two central characters of Wuthering Heights, it was her daughter, Catherine Linton, who left a mark on my heart. After choosing to marry Edgar Linton, the older Catherine spent the rest of her life crying for Heathcliff before succumbing to an early death. Even though the younger Catherine was initially a character I just doted on, my heart was filled with respect for her the moment she stood up to the revengeful Heathcliff, the man responsible for ruining her family. She couldn’t do much in the face of Heathcliff’s wealth and power but defied him anyway, something her parents and relatives had tried to do but failed. (Shounak Reza)
Writing advice from Inc.: 'If You're Serious About Improving Your Writing, Read Jane Eyre'. Childtastic Books tells about reading an extract from Jane Eyre with a group of Year 6 children.

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