Saturday, January 18, 2020

First of all, don't miss the pictures shared by the Brontë Parsonage Museum on Twitter of last night's Party for Anne Brontë in Thornton. The Yorkshire Post has an article on yesterday's celebrations:
The author of perhaps the first feminist novel in the English language would have enjoyed letting her hair down at her birthday party yesterday, its organisers thought.
Anne Brontë would have been 200, and at the parsonage on the Yorkshire moors that was her family home, they brought out the cake and champagne.
But there was an ulterior motive. The youngest and most physically frail Brontë sister was also, according to legend, the least talented.
It was a myth put about by her sister, Charlotte, and the museum dedicated to their memory would now like to set the record straight.
Its staff used the anniversary to preview a new exhibition on Anne’s life and work, which will open in a fortnight.
“People are going to be surprised. It’s like there’s been a big conspiracy in the past to portray her as gentle and long-suffering when all the evidence suggests a highly intelligent woman – equally talented but determined to do something different with her writing,” said Ann Dinsdale, principal curator at the Parsonage Museum at Haworth.
“She was less hooked on Byron and the romantics. She wanted to have a moral impact, to do some good in the world.”
Anne’s signature novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, concerned a woman trapped in an abusive marriage. When her husband’s drunkenness starts to affect on their young son, she runs away and takes the boy with her – an act that would have been illegal at the time.
Its uncompromising and often violent nature caused one reviewer to remark that it was unfit to be put in the hands of young ladies. Others considered it coarse and brutal,
“It offended upper-class people because they were the ones behaving badly in the book. It wasn’t about poor working people,” Ms Dinsdale said.
In common with the works of her sisters, Anne’s novel was published under an androgynous pseudonym, but the time of her death in May 1849, aged just 29, the Brontës’ identity was starting to become known, and Charlotte considered it her mission to protect her late sister’s reputation, with a carefully written biographical note.
“She was trying to defend Anne by over-emphasising her gentle, quiet nature and trying to suggest that she didn’t really understand what she had done,” Ms Dinsdale said.
“She presented her to the world as nun-like and lacking in originality. That’s the notion we are challenging.”
Charlotte suggested that Anne’s choice of subject had been “a mistake”. In fact, said the curator, she had written about what she knew – the behaviour she had seen in Haworth.
Her sister’s attempt to rewrite her legacy did not end with her eulogy. She withdrew Wildfell Hall from circulation and edited Anne’s poetry, altering the work to fit her new narrative. When the novel reappeared it was in a heavily abridged form.
“Charlotte presented to the world this meek, gentle young sister,” Ms Dinsdale said.
“But I think Anne would have been pleased with the status that Wildfell Hall has now achieved. And I think the exhibition will draw a new audience to her.”
At the time of her death, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was the second best-selling Brontë novel. Only Jane Eyre was more popular. But some of the editions on sale today have not reinstated the original text and retail the wholesale cuts instituted by Charlotte.
The new exhibition, which opens on February 1 and runs all year, presents the manuscript of Anne’s last poem alongside Charlotte’s printed versions. It also includes Anne’s last, poignant letter in which expresses the hope that God will spare her from what is now thought to have been pulmonary tuberculosis.
The Parsonage Museum is closed during January but opened its doors briefly for yesterday’s birthday celebration. (David Behrens)
And now for national and international articles which celebrated Anne Brontë's bicentenary.

Lettera Donna (Italy) discusses why Anne is the biggest feminist of the three Brontë sisters.
Per quanto femministe (postume) Charlotte ed Emily avevano abbracciato nei loro romanzi l’uomo potremmo dire byroniano, in preda ai propri istinti e spesso violento. Esattamente come Branwell, di cui si era occupata negli anni della dipendenza proprio Anne (e non le sorelle maggiori), che si dimostrò dunque poco incline a dare un allure romantico alla sua condizione. L’autrice di Agnes Grey e La signora di Wildfell Hall negò in modo assoluto il fascino di certi ‘eroi’, esaltando al contrario gli uomini ‘comuni’, capaci di non sovrastare (e tantomeno sottomettere) le loro amate. Insomma, più Anne Brontë per tutt*. (Translation)
Laura Ramos, author of the recent Brontë biography in Spanish Infernales, wrote an article on Anne for Clarín's Revista Ñ (Argentina).
Pero Anne no era la “retirada e inexperta” escritora de Charlotte. Había empezado a escribir a los diez años junto a sus hermanos poemas, cuentos, obras teatrales y unas historias fantásticas que transcurrían en África, pobladas de reinos corruptos, guerreros lujuriosos y amores sacrílegos. Cuando tenía trece, junto a Emily, de quince, abandonó el mundo imaginario de Charlotte y Branwell para fundar Gondal, una isla en el Pacífico. Su soberana, Augusta Geraldine Almeda, era tan caprichosa, cruel y disoluta como los personajes de Lord Byron, cuya biografía los cuatro hermanos habían leído con devoción. Anne y sus hermanos lo leían con pasión, como a los clásicos de su padre y de la biblioteca circulante de Keighley, el pueblo vecino.
Anne Brontë era dulce, callada y casi bella: su pelo castaño ensortijado, algo muy preciado en esa época, caía con gracia sobre su cuello, y unos ojos color azul violeta sobresalían de su tez pálida. (Translation)
More general, informative sort of articles on: LiveUniCT (Italy), El periódico (Spain), Impressio (Bulgaria). Both BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and L'intellettuale dissidente (Italy) focus on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. AnneBrontë.org also celebrated Anne's bicentenary.

Let's move onto regular news items now. Acoustic Guitar features the work of guitarist and composer Charlie Rauh, who says,
“My preference for slowness and free pacing has a lot to do with the influence of poetry, particularly Emily and Anne Brontë’s work, on my music,” Rauh says. “I try to compose music in the same way I would write a poem: brief but not rushed; distilled but very much complete.” (Adam Perlmutter)
Infobae (Argentina) interviews writer Mariana Enríquez.
Es gusto. Vos llegas estéticamente a ciertos textos yo diría casi por casualidad. Y la edad que tenés cuando llegás es muy formadora. Entonces, antes de llegar a María Elena Walsh, ponele, que me gustaba, llegué a Emily Brontë. (Hinde Pomeraniec) (Translation)
Linkiesta (Italy) interviews writer Nicola Lagioia, who claims that you don't have to be something in order to be able to write about it.
Si può arrivare per questa strada a sostenere (in realtà lo si è fatto) che un bianco non possa scrivere di afroamericani (e Faulkner?), che un aristocratico non possa scrivere di poveri (e Tolstoj?), che solo una vittima possa scrivere di condizioni vittimarie (e il caso titanico di Victor Hugo?), che un maschio non possa scrivere di una donna e dunque una donna di un maschio (e Flaubert con madame Bovary? E Emily Brontë con Heatcliff?), che un eterosessuale non possa dunque scrivere di omosessuali e così via, mandando in frantumi quello che è il principio stesso della finzione narrativa. [...]
Quello che fa Proust con la Ricerca del tempo perduto, o Malcolm Lowry con Sotto il vulcano, o Emily Brontë con il suo meraviglioso romanzo non riesce a farlo nessuna altra forma di racconto. (Gianmarco Aimi) (Translation)
Hindustan Times discusses Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women.
The idea that women could do something with their lives besides marry was new to America even though in another continent Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and George Eliot had already debated these issues. Greta Gerwig’s recent film mentions the Brontës just as it incorporates contemporary feminist terms and expressions into its script, but in Alcott’s own time the choices allowed women were few and far from easy. (Vrinda Nabar)
Ideal Home cites a recent study which claimed that,
living near the parsonage where the Brontës lived and wrote could boost property value by 24 per cent. (Rebecca Knight)
Oggi's My Cup of Books (Italy) posts briefly about Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon K. Perez.


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