Wednesday, May 13, 2020

ArtNews reviews Warhol, Blake Gopnik’s new biography of the artist and gives us an insight into of of Warhol's 'failed' projects.
A failed Jane Eyre adaptation got Warhol into a two-year-long legal battle.
In the late ’60s, after Warhol moved on from Pop, he undertook a number of bizarre film projects, including an adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë novel Jane Eyre. Titled Jane Heir, Warhol’s adaptation was to be set on the estate of supermarket heir Huntington Hartford II, and it was meant to be a true feature film, with period clothes to be recycled from a failed Broadway version of the story. After a casting director complained that the film’s screenplay called for no dialogue, Warhol brought on his poet friend Ronald Tavel to do a rewrite, which now featured Mr. Rochester recast as a black man. A tangle involving financing grew too complicated, and the project was canned. But the struggles over it did not end there: Phillip “Fufu” Van Scoy Smith, an investor in the project, later sued Warhol for $80,000 in 1968, and the legal battle stretched on for more than two years, only ending after the backer failed to show up in court. (Alex Greenberger)
The Guardian shares a British Library initiative after our own heart:
Two hundred years ago, the Brontë children stitched together brown paper sugar packets, strips of wallpaper and old writing paper to create postage stamp-sized books for their toy soldiers to read. Today the British Library is calling on the nation’s children to follow in their footsteps and write their own small books, which will form part of an online “National Library of Miniature Books for the toy world”.
Inspired by the library’s collection of “miniature gems”, which ranges from the 600 miniature volumes in Queen Mary’s dolls’ house to publisher John Marshall’s matchbox-sized Infant’s Library, the project is backed by authors and illustrators including Axel Scheffler and Jacqueline Wilson, each of whom has created their own book for the library. [...]Other contributors to the British Library’s new project include Katherine Rundell and Philip Ardagh. The latter’s book, about a boy called Tim Little who has very little time to get to the library, includes a stamped British Library “Miniature Book Loans” form in the front cover.
“They’ve all told me they loved making the books,” said the library’s Anna Lobbenberg.
She said that the tiny books created by the Brontës “provided a kind of literary workshop for the children, allowing them to experiment with different genres and styles and thus to evolve their own extraordinary writing style”, while the “playful approach to scale” of Marshall’s miniature books from 1800 “allowed his young readers to expand into responsible, wise teachers”, taking charge by explaining the world to their toys. [...]
The library is asking children to share their homemade miniature books with its Twitter account @BL_Learning using the hashtag #DiscoveringChildrensBooks, or send them by email to It will commission an illustrator to create a virtual bookshelf to display the work. (Alison Flood)
A contributor to The New Yorker gives a list of 'Updated Possibilities for This Year’s October Surprise, Given 2020 So Far'.
The nine-year-old recipient of a surprise party dismisses a caravan of well-wishers in cars who lined up along her block to honk and sing “Happy Birthday,” instead opting to attend her online Social Studies class, surprising and depressing millions of viewers and, ultimately, leading to the eradication of schools—remote and otherwise—in America. This leads to the rise of online governesses, which reminds people of “Jane Eyre” and books, but then they forget, because of Twitter. (Alicia Oltuski)
Tages Anzeiger (Switzerland) mentions the fact that Charlotte Brontë described TB as 'a flattering malady' (in a letter to William Smith Williams dated 1st February 1849).
Geradezu als weibliches Schönheitsideal galten eine Zeit lang die Symptome einer Tuberkulose-Erkrankung: der ausgemergelte Körper, die durch Blässe sichtbaren Venen, die durch das Fieber leicht geröteten Lippen. Charlotte Brontë beschrieb die Krankheit als «flattering», und es gibt eine Vielzahl Porträts aus dem späten 18. Jahrhundert, die schöne, aber kranke Frauen zeigen. (Annik Hosmann) (Translation)
Express has some literary questions 'for your home pub quiz' such as this one:
3) The Bronte sisters’ first publication was a poetry anthology for which they used masculine names, what is it called? (Jenny Desborough)
Several sites such as OperaWire and ForumOpéra (in French) mourn the death of Metropolitan Opera Bass John Macurdy, who was well-known for starring in a number of world premieres including Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights at the Santa Fe Opera.

The Eyre Guide reviews the production of Jane Eyre shared by BlackEyed Theatre online. BiblioBlog (in French) posts about Laura El Makki's Les soeurs Brontë.


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