Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Telegraph has an article on why 'The real sexual charge of Jane Austen is far more interesting than Bridgerton bodice-ripping' and we love the description of Bridgerton with which it begins:
It’s best compared to an episode of Hollyoaks directed by Baz Luhrmann, with unfeasibly gorgeous people copping off in interesting settings; in a field, on an ornate staircase, suspended on a ladder in the library, as you do. [...]
As a regency romance, Bridgerton has inevitably invited comparisons with Jane Austen. The sex scenes in Bridgerton, wrote one reviewer, would have “Jane Austen reaching for the smelling salts!” They echo a familiar caricature - that of prudish Aunt Jane, the narrow chronicler of sterile romances - a stereotype that has endured ever since Charlotte Brontë wrote dismissively of Austen “the passions are perfectly unknown to her”. 
Perhaps this is why modern adaptations are so often embellished with extra dollops of concupiscence and lust - even Austen devotee Andrew Davies couldn’t resist inserting some extra-curricular nookie to his Northanger Abbey adaptation; though this was not a patch on the diabolical liberties he took with Sanditon, Austen’s unfinished novel. Who can predict how it would have panned out? But I suspect Austen would probably not have stretched to heavy petting and an incestuous kiss, had she lived. (Madeline Grant)
We can't help but be reminded of that newspaper clipping in the Brontë Parsonage Library: 'In Austen, sex is just a kiss on the back of the hand, whereas in the Brontës everything happens' (which according to Patricia Ingham in her book Authors in Context: The Brontës was said by the producer of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1996 in the Observer Review on August 25th, 1996).

Parade has interviewed The Wife Upstairs author Rachel Hawkins. Her first answer matches what was said above.
For your adult debut, how did you decide upon such a suspenseful domestic thriller? And a retelling of a Brontë classic?
When you reread Jane Eyre, you quickly realize just how many big (and very modern!) ideas Brontë was dealing with. Sex, money, power, class…all these things make for an excellent domestic thriller plot.
And on that note, would you call this a modern retelling of Jane Eyre? Or more of a reimagination?
Definitely a reimagination. Or maybe closer to a remix. I wanted to take those familiar elements of Jane Eyre and spin them a new way.
What was it like writing and developing your Jane? Where did she differ from Bronte’s in your opinion?
I really thought a lot about what a character like Jane might look like in 2021, how her experiences in a more modern setting might turn her into a different person than the Victorian version. She’s definitely a little spikier than Brontë’s Jane, and certainly a good deal more foul-mouthed! [...]
What was the best book you read in 2020?
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Megan O'Neill Melle)
Looper recommends watching I Walked with a Zombie.
Most importantly, I Walked with a Zombie takes Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and adds a welcome, frightful flair. (Eammon Jacobs)
Shemazing offers advice on reading more classics including Wuthering Heights.
Wuthering Heights’ – Emily Brontë
In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere…
As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim Wuthering Heights house. It is a place he will never forget.
There, he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since childhood. How her choice led to  betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. And how love can transgress authority, convention and even death…
This dark, stormy and romantic tale is told in the past and present, moving between two generations of young lovers, showing the past can haunt the present. Romantically gothic, it is a Brontë classic, and always a good one to be able to reference, as well as an absolute gem of a book. I think there was a recent film adaptation that’s on Netflix, starring Kaya Scodeliario of ‘Skins’ and ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ fame as Cathy. A tale of obsession gone wrong, it’s a fantastic read. (Fiona Murphy)
Dominica News Online offers some insight into the owner of Jean Rhys House whose death has given way to the demolition of the house.
Vena McDougall passed away on the 12th of January, 2021.  Her life story is noteworthy, not only from her significant contribution to Dominica’s development, especially in the areas of business, tourism, culture and conservation, but also because it can be a motivational model for today’s and future Dominican women in their struggle… [...]
Jean Rhys House
Many of our elders, historians and literary luminaries, referred to the 150years old, recently demolished wooden building at the corner of Cork St and Independence st, as the Jean Rhys building. And they were not wrong, because Jean Rhys, author of more than two dozen books and short stories, including The Wide Sargasso Sea , lived in that House for the first 16 years of her life. Indeed, Jean Rhys was, a prolific writer who glorified Dominica’s Beauty and culture in her novels.
From Jean Rhys to Vena’s Guest House
My generation however, who referred to this said building as Vena’s Guest House, are also correct.
Vena Mcdougal who was awarded Dominica’s Meritorious Service Award in 2004, lived in the Jean Rys House for many years more than our much acclaimed writer Jean Rhys.
Vena though a small business woman, acquired the Jean Rhys House in the 1980s and held unto it till 2009.
Writes. Polly Patuollo in Repeating Islands, “……on the death of Mr Winston in the early 1980s, the house was sold to an inter-island trader called Vena McDougall, who turned the building into Vena’s Hotel. At that point much of the interior was adapted to accommodate guests: …. the yard, however, retained some of its charm, and in the 1980s it became a pleasant restaurant known as the World of Food. The huge mango tree still provided shade, and at that time a plaque associating Jean Rhys with the house was nailed to its base. It remained the only tribute to the writer. Harry Sealey was the restaurant manager at the time and remembers how people would come there because of its associations with Rhys. (Norris Prevost)


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