Highlights for the Emily200 anniversary


Keighley News advances some of the highlights of the upcoming Emily  Brontë 200th anniversary in 2018:
Actress and former model Lily Cole is among high-profile figures enlisted to celebrate Emily Brontë’s 200th birthday.
Social entrepreneur Lily will be joined for the Haworth-centred Anniversary by folk group The Unthanks, poet Patience Agbabi and artist Kate Whiteford.
They will all play a part in 12 months of activities organised by the Brontë Society and its Brontë Parsonage Museum to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë.
The programme of special events is part of the five-year Brontë 200 Festival and follows years devoted to the bicentennials of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë in 2016 and 2017.
Lily Cole, actress and social entrepreneur will follow in the footsteps of .. and point Simon Armitage to become creative partner at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
In a new partnership with the Foundling Museum, she will explore the connections between the origins of Emily’s anti-hero Heathcliff and the real foundlings of 1840s London.
She will also consider gender politics and women’s rights, in the year which marks 100 years since women got the vote.
Lily said: “Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books and I have long been fascinated by its enigmatic writer, Emily Bronte. The fact that Emily had to change her name - to Ellis Bell - in order to publish the novel intrigues and inspires me.
“I am excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to work on a project to commemorate the legacy of one of England's most important, and mysterious, writers.”
Poet and performer Patience Agbabi who will be the Haworth museum’s Writer in Residence, land artist Kate Whiteford will explore Emily’s connection to the Yorkshire landscape through her pet hawk Nero, and award-winning band The Unthanks will will compose and perform a song cycle based on Emily’s poems.
Jenna Holmes, who leads the contemporary arts programme at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “We know very little about Emily, but from the work she left behind, we know that she was a talented writer, artist and musician.
“We wanted to celebrate her immense creativity by commissioning exciting new work from artists who we knew would do her legacy justice.”
Also working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum next year is teenage author and vlogger Lucy Powrie, who, in the new role of Brontë Society Young Ambassador, will during 2018 present an online book club via her youtube channel, lucythereader.
Lucy said: “I'm so excited to be working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum on the Brontë Book Club for Emily’s bicentenary celebrations. Hopefully it will encourage lots of young people to read the books for the first time, and fall in love with them just as I have."
Other celebrations include a new exhibition, Making Thunder Roar: Emily Brontë, which will open on February 1, when the Brontë Parsonage Museum reopens after its winter break.
The show invites a number of well-known Emily admirers to share their own fascination with the author’s life and work.
There will be specially-commissioned contributions from Maxine Peake, Sally Wainwright, Caryl Phillips and Helen Oyeyemi, in a thought-provoking selection of Emily’s possessions, writing and artwork as well as some of the well-loved household objects she used daily.
Visitors to the Brontë Parsonage Museum will also have the opportunity to see the iconic portrait of Emily with Charlotte and Anne, The Brontë Sisters, which was painted by her brother, Branwell Brontë.
The painting will return to Haworth for a special three-month loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Brontë Society executive director Kitty Wright said: “Emily’s bicentenary is a particularly exciting chapter in our five-year bicentennial festival and we look forward to celebrating this most enigmatic of the Brontë siblings with audiences in Yorkshire and across the world.
“The year 2018 will also see us enter the Arts Council’s National Portfolio for the first time and we look forward to building on the partnerships we have developed during our celebrations of Charlotte in 2016 and Branwell in 2017.” 
El Comercio (Spain) also features the anniversary:
Una de las principales onomásticas del año entrante es el aniversario de Emily Brontë y se edita, ya en librerías, un texto fundamental y fundacional para entender la fecha: 'El sabor de las penas', (Alianza) de Jude Morgan. ¿Quiénes fueron aquellas tres hermanas solteronas, encerradas en la rectoría Haworth, obsesas textuales hasta la médula, enfrentadas sin compasión a los inhóspitos páramos de Yorkshire y en constante viaje imaginario, hacia dentro, ajenas a lo real y con solo paz y aliento en la escritura? Emoción, desgarro, coraje... todo nos transmite el texto de Morgan: penalidades, sí, pero la fuerza privilegiada de la imaginación como elemento de salida a todas ellas; la vida interior como única vida. (Diego Medrano) (Translation)
The Evening Standard talks about the upcoming London theatre year:
 ‘What we won’t be doing is Dickens and Brontë and Forster because you see it all over the TV and we don’t need to at the Almeida.’ (Rupert Goold, artistic director of the Almeida, quoted by Johanna-Thomas Corr)
The Spectator and Tiny Tim:
Of course, it’s hardly surprising that Dickens — and many other 19th- and early 20th-century novelists — would use Tiny Tim in this way. At that time, any physical or mental impairment was seen as a burden — something that should be hidden and pitied — or a signal of retribution. Just think of Rochester going blind in Jane Eyre, or Louisa M. Alcott ensuring Beth dies of some unknown disease. (Selina Mills)
The Guardian asks writers about the book that made them feminists:
Jeanette Winterson
I was at Oxford in 1980 studying English. There were only four women on the course – the Brontës, George Eliot and Jane Austen. Virginia Woolf was not taught – and because I had been plodding through English Literature in Prose A-Z since I was about 12, at the Accrington public library, I hadn’t reached W.
And The Journal Sentinel lists the best of Wisconsin 2017 theatre:
Jane Shaw (composition and sound design, “Jane Eyre,” Milwaukee Repertory Theater): While covering the waterfront from traditional spirituals to jagged Modernism, Shaw made the set a percussive instrument and utilized some strong cast voices in channeling Jane’s tension, between duty and desire as well as tradition and freedom. (Mike Fischer)
New Seattle bars on Seattle Magazine:
Alchemy (West Seattle). With a candlelit Brontë-ish atmosphere—highlighted by black and white décor, velvet-covered chairs and a giant wooden table—you might expect large glasses of red wine here. ( A.J. Rathbun, Chelsea Lin and Michael Rietmulder)
Did you know that Eminem and Kimberly Ann Scott were the Heathcliff and Cathy of hip hop? According to TheMusic;
But, in marrying and divorcing each other twice, the couple became the Heathcliff and Cathy of hip hop.
Elbakin (in France) reviews The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente.

Wreath Making at the Parsonage


A Christmas workshop at the Parsonage:
Wreath Making WorkshopMake traditional Christmas decorations
16/12/17 and 17/12/17 02:00PM

Make a festive wreath for your front door inspired by the  traditional Christmas decorations at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. All materials will be provided, and the workshop includes mince pies and mulled wine to get you in the festive mood! Please allow your own time to look around the Museum before your workshop.
Tickets £30 (includes festive refreshment and Museum admission). Please book in advance at www.bronte.org.uk/whats-on or by calling 01535 642323.

Jane Birkin wanted to play Branwell Brontë


Vogue (France) interviews Jane Birkin, who so wanted to be in Téchiné's Les Soeurs Brontës that she even asked to play Branwell.
Quand Téchiné tournait Les Soeurs Brontë, je lui avais demandé de jouer dans le film. Il m’a dit qu’il y avait déjà Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert et Marie – France Pisier, qu’il ne voyait pas de rôle pour moi. Je  voulais jouer le frère et les Brontë étaient anglais. Ce à quoi il m’a répondu :“Certes, mais je fais un film français.” Voilà, je n’ai pas toujours collé, je n’ai pas pu tout jouer. (Olivier Lalanne) (Translation)
Cumbria Crack reports a visit of MP Tim Farron to Sedbergh School Foundation.
In February Sedbergh School Foundation were awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to preserve and provide access to the archive collection of Casterton School. As part of this December’s National Lottery #thankyou Week, the National Lottery invited Tim Farron to visit one of the ongoing projects in his constituency and it is a great honour that he chose to visit the Casterton School archive in Sedbergh.
The collection includes original documents recording the education of the Bronte sisters who were educated at the school in 1824 as well more recent items kindly donated by former staff and pupils of the school. Tim said; “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit at the Sedbergh School Archives. It was fascinating to see the history of this school, whose forward-looking approach gave girls, including the Brontë sisters, a greater opportunity to reach their potential at a time when they would be treated as second-class citizens. This exhibition plays an important role in keeping the school’s history alive and I’d encourage local people to pay a visit to explore how the school transformed the lives of young women in our area.” (Kirsty Stock)
This columnist from Journal Review writes about National Underdog Day, which is on Sunday.
There’s nothing more inspirational than a good book or movie about an underdog who rises to victory despite the odds stacked against them. They give us hope.
We have oodles of examples at our fingertips. Perhaps revisit “Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Brontë; John Steinbeck’s, “Of Mice and Men,” or “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. If you prefer movies, we have an abundance of choices there as well. Check out Rocky (1976); Remember the Titans and Erin Brochovich (2000); or Cinderella Man (2005) to name just a few. (Gloria Wall)
Jewish Exponent reveals why writer Lynn Rosen usually reads books by women.´
“I tend to read books by women,” she said, recalling a moment in her freshman seminar in college in 1979 when her professor said they were going to only read books by women. She asked her students to think of the books they read in high school and how many of those were written by women (hint: with the exception of maybe some works by Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, there probably weren’t many). (Marissa Stern)
InfoLibre (Spain) features poet Fernando Valverde, who has a poem inspired by Anne Brontë:
Hay dos poemas de Valverde que identifican la muerte con este proceso de viaje descendente. Uno es «La joven de Scarborough», inspirado en la figura de Ana Brontë (1820-1849), que relata el proceso de agonía de la poeta británica durante su tuberculosis fatal: «El blanco de su cuerpo en el abismo/ es amor y es deseo,/ el vuelo de los pájaros/ y también su caída». (Marisa Martínez Pérsico) (Translation)
You can read the whole poem here.

El País (Spain) features Venezuelan writer Yolanda Pantin, who loved Wuthering Heights in her teenage years.
Pantin, que confiesa que suspira y se sonroja con frecuencia, habla de Catalina Linton y de Heathcliff, de Cumbres borrascosas, cuando se le pregunta por sus lecturas de infancia. Y añade una sentencia envuelta en sombra: “Pero aquellas eran pasiones adolescentes. De cuando estaba viva la literatura”. ¿Ya no está viva la literatura? “Ahora no es literatura, es otra cosa. Pasó a ser parte de mi vida, pasó a ser algo más. (Jorge Morla) (Translation)
Elite Daily shares '26 Romantic Instagram Captions For Your First Anniversary Together' (sic!!), including a quote from Wuthering Heights.

Jane Eyre in Ho Chi Minh


An alert for today, December 15 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam:
Students of English at the Ho Chi Minh City Open University will perform dramas in English adapted from American literary works at the HCMC Drama Theater in downtown HCMC (Vietnam.net).

Jane Eyre
Nhà hát Kịch Thành Phố
30 Trần Hưng Đạo Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City
December 15, 20.30 h

Based on the famous novel written by Charlotte Brontë, a whole new version of Jane Eyre will be in the theater. An inhumane society causing a tragic death, a fortitude and full of yearning girl fighting for her true love, and dangerous secret being encountered, everything will engage and provoke you to it. 

A mono-opera for Emily


Operawire has an announcement:
Tenri Cultural Institute has announced the world premiere of “Emily Brontë – Through Life and Death, A Chainless Soul,” a poetic mono-opera in one act based on selected poems of Emily Brontë by composer Akemi Naito.
The opera is set to make its world premiere on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, followed by a second performance on Jan. 6. The work will honor the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë in 2018. The work is a collaboration with mezzo-soprano Jessica Bowers, pianist Marilyn Nonken, actor Robert Ian Mackenzie, and visual artist Toshihiro Sakuma., whose “Healing” exhibition will be on view. Each of the performances will also include a pre-performance reading of the seven poems by the actor Robert Ian Mackenzie.
Composer Naito, whose work has been featured all over the world noted, noted, “I wanted to express Emily Brontë herself in this work, using her poetry as the text. Because of the extraordinarily powerful inner voice that resonates in her poetry and the root of her creativity coming from deep within her spirit, I felt it would make a perfect libretto. I have felt a deep connection with her poetry for decades, and knowing that the year 2018 is the bicentennial of her birth, the idea of this composition seemed a natural way to celebrate her, and hopefully expand the audience and venue for new music.” (Francisco Salazar)
And more Emily Brontë-related music as NPR has chosen 'The 100 Best Songs Of 2017' and among them is
15. Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
"Fall Leaves Fall"The tightly-wound emotions and windswept moors of Emily Brontë's poetry shimmer and soar in brilliant writing for chorus and string orchestra by Tõnu Kõrvitz, one of Estonia's rising composers. "Fall Leaves Fall," with its nocturnal themes, begs for long nights and short, dreary days. Like Van Gogh's "Starry Night," the music swirls in bold, dark strokes for the strings (especially cellos), which entwine with female voices, radiant as moonlight, from the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. (Tom Huizenga)
According to KCRW, Wuthering Heights is one of several books 'to restore your faith in the human spirit'.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Any Edition)
I stayed away from this classic for years until I read about it in Bataille’s Literature and Evil. Evil? Yes, absolutely. The poetic and dark Brontë has written one of the scariest books about passion in literature. (Michael Silverblatt)
And another list, this one compiled by Bustle, of '13 Unexpectedly Creepy Books That Will Keep You Up All Night Long', which includes
'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë's famous novel is known for being an early feminist milestone, or for being an emblem of British colonialist thinking, but it's not usually remembered as creepy. But boy is it creepy. Most of the novel is a haunted house tale, as Jane wonders who could be walking the dim halls of Thornfield in the dead of night. (Charlotte Ahlin)
Los Angeles Review of Books interviews Sarah Mesle and Sarah Blackwood, creators of Avidly, who are about to launch a new book imprint, Avidly Reads.
So then why a book series? Partly, some more time opened up for us, and we wanted to fill it by giving some of our writers a chance to explore something bigger than just a single song or movie or even TV show. Our tagline for the Avidly Reads series is: “a series of short books about how culture makes us feel,” and each book will get after not just a particular event, but rather what we’re calling a cultural phenomenon. (So like: not Jane Eyre, but rather, “Girl Books” or “Madwomen,” or even “Empire Waists.”) (Evan Kindley)
Los Angeles Review of Books also features Elizabeth Hardwick’s Essays:
Women writers — and women in literature more generally — were the focus of Hardwick’s most influential collection of essays, Seduction and Betrayal, published in 1974. (Regrettably, and a little ill-advisedly, it is not included in The Collected Essays; it was reissued separately, in 2001, also by NYRB Classics.) These stirring, evocative portraits — of the Brontë sisters, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Wordsworth, and others — have sometimes been viewed as a veiled response to Lowell’s betrayal, though this notion seems reductive, as if Hardwick needed Lowell to betray her in order to challenge perceived truths about literary history. Seduction and Betrayal was a challenge to precisely such notions: the romantic view that women writers are either victims or heroines (or both). [...]
She was not a romantic of the self; living with Robert Lowell and witnessing the self-destruction of so many of her contemporaries (Randall Jarrell, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman) probably inoculated her against the myths of the mad genius. Thus what she admired in the Brontë sisters was not the romantic notion of them having managed to write any novels at all but rather “the practical, industrious, ambitious cast of mind too little stressed. Necessity, dependence, discipline drove them hard; being a writer was a way of living, surviving, literally keeping alive.” (Morten Høi Jensen)
Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) has a selection of gifts for Brontë fans.

Victorian notions


In The Spectator, Selina Mills argues that we should get rid of our Victorian 'notions of disability'.
Of course, it’s hardly surprising that Dickens — and many other 19th- and early 20th-century novelists — would use Tiny Tim in this way. At that time, any physical or mental impairment was seen as a burden — something that should be hidden and pitied — or a signal of retribution. Just think of Rochester going blind in Jane Eyre, or Louisa M. Alcott ensuring Beth dies of some unknown disease. Victorians defined disability as something that prevented you from participating in the new industrialised society or, more importantly, from working and contributing to society. Just think of workhouses. But this is exactly my point. We are not in the Victorian age, and it is time to update our notions of disability.
The Independent also looks back on Victorian times in a review of the screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace.
Alias Grace thus differs from the standard format of female-led and orientated costume drama in two significant ways. First, reflecting their basis in the novels of 19th century authors such as Jane Austen, George Eliot or the Brontës, mainstream costume dramas rarely feature women below the lower middle-class. By contrast, Alias Grace focuses throughout on the grim lives of domestic servants. Perhaps more significantly, it presents them as intelligent characters who resent their “betters” and perceive class and gender inequality as arbitrary and unfair. (Roberta Garrett)
Seacoast Online recommends A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney.
While male literary friendships are the stuff of legend, from Byron and Shelley to Hemingway and Fitzgerald, the collaborations of female authors have received much less attention. This book redresses that, shedding light on a range of creative friendships between Austen, Brontë, Eliot, and Woolf and other women writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Katherine Mansfield. Woolf and Mansfield had a particularly complex relationship, exchanging brutal barbs and compliments in a prolonged literary cat and mouse game. Drawing on previously unpublished diaries and letters, this is a marvelous telling of the lost stories of these women writers. (Frank Dehler)
WPSU has selected the '50 Best Albums Of 2017' and we are surprised to find this:
33. Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Moorland Elegies (Kõrvits)
In this stunning album, a rising star among Estonian composers, Tõnu Kõrvits, transforms the poetry of English novelist Emily Brontë into cinematically vivid postcards for choir and strings from the windswept moors of the 19th century. Like her novel Wuthering Heights, these nine poems are haunted by restless moonlit nights, lost lovers and coiled emotions. Kõrvits' musical palette is uncommonly wide, pushing the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir into luminous murmurs, swooping cries and swirling colors. His nuanced treatment of Tallinn Chamber Orchestra strings amounts to creating an entirely separate dramatic character. And at times it's hard to tell the string choirs from the real choristers. Anyone who thinks choral music is a fusty relic of the church needs to hear this album. (Tom Huizenga)
City A.M. uses the hilarious sketch by Monty Python, Wuthering Heights in semaphore, to make a point:
 A famous Monty Python sketch depicts the novel Wuthering Heights, not in words but in semaphore, a nineteenth century technology. Many senior managers seem to remain stuck at this level of communications technology. (Paul Ormerod)
If you are interested in the subject, the Haworth public toilet saga continues in Keighley News. Also in Keighley News, we find a local young singer whose publicists have described as 'a modern Heathcliff'. She Reads Novels posts about Sarah Shoemaker's Mr Rochester. Monologue Blogger discusses 'The Reincarnations of Jane Eyre Throughout Cinema History' while Marissa Danielsen focuses on the 1996 adaptation.

Wuthering Heights new audiobook


Amazon's Audible has published a new Wuthering Heights audiobook:
Wuthering Heights: An Audible Exclusive Performance 
Audiobook – Unabridged
Published by Audible (12 h, 21 min)
Emily Brontë (Author),‎ Joanne Froggatt (Narrator),‎
Introduction by Ann Dinsdale. Read by Rachel Atkins

In an Audible Exclusive production, Golden Globe winner Joanne Froggatt gives a powerhouse performance of Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë's only published novel. This edition features an exclusive introduction written by Ann Dinsdale, Chief Curator of the Brontë Museum.

Song and dance melodrama with the Brontës


Giles Coren writes about his film I Hate Jane Austen (sic) in The Times:
John Mullan, professor of English at University College London and the greatest Austen scholar of our day, admitted that I was in good company in mistrusting her, alongside Charlotte Brontë, Joseph Conrad, Henry James and Mark Twain. He explained that their problem was that “they didn’t get any of the jokes. They just didn’t see how funny she was.” Well, them and me both. Mullan spoke of the beautiful “Swiss watch” mechanics of the novels, the “miracle” of the plots, and he placed her, without appearing to jest, alongside Shakespeare. What a clown!
By the way, New Statesman has already replied to Giles Coren's boutade in Why I Hate Giles Coren.

The Guardian is looking at the best films of 2017 in the US and Lady Macbeth is one of them:
Katherine is to excite the kind of unjust punitive outrage that Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre triggers in her relations and at her boarding school for orphaned girls. (Peter Bradshaw)
FilmFare lists the most memorable performances of Indian actor Dilip Kumar.
Sangdil (1952)
Jane Eyre, anybody? Sangdil is an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. Dilip plays a brooding Rochester to Madhubala’s spirited Jane. Charlotte would have enjoyed watching this song and dance melodrama with her sisters. The two actors looked made for each other and it’s said that their romance first blossomed on the sets of Sangdil. (Devesh Sharma)
La Stampa (Italy) features Branwell Brontë.
Sfortunato in amore e in poesia il fratello cancellato delle Brontë
In mostra nella casa di famiglia nel West Yorkshire i dipinti di Patrick Bramwell, che nella pittura trovò rifugio dai dispiaceri
È velata dal mistero la vita di Patrick Branwell. Di sicuro, il quarto dei fratelli Brontë, di cui il Parsonage Museum, allestito nella casa di famiglia nel West Yorkshire, celebra (sino al 31 dicembre) il bicentenario della nascita con una mostra dei suoi dipinti e disegni, era più timido delle sorelle Charlotte, Emily e Anne. (Luca Bergamin) (Translation)
El colombiano (Colombia) discusses women writers and mentions the Brontës' use of pseudonyms.  On Facebook, the Brontë Parsonage Museum posts about opening times in the coming weeks.

Un)Masked Author to Mythic Woman


A new scholar book with Brontë-related content:
Biographical Misrepresentations of British Women WritersA Hall of Mirrors and the Long Nineteenth Century
Editors: Ayres, Brenda (Ed.)
Palgrave MacMillan
ISBN 978-3-319-56750-1

This book is an investigation of the biases, contradictions, errors, ambiguities, gaps, and historical contexts in biographies of controversial British women who published during the long nineteenth century, many of them left unchecked and perpetuated from publication to publication. Fourteen scholars analyze the agenda, problems, and strengths of biographical material, highlighting the flaws, deficiencies, and influences that have distorted the portraits of women such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Sydney Owenson, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Felicia Hemans, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Caroline Norton, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë, Lady Florence Dixie, George Eliot, and Edith Simcox. Through exposing distortions, this fascinating study demonstrates that biographies are often more about the biographer than they are about the biographee and that they are products of the time in which they are written.
Contains the chapters:  The Biographer as Biographee: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865) by Anna Koustinoudi and Charlotte Brontë (1816–1855): (Un)Masked Author to Mythic Woman by Sarah E. Maier