Charlotte, recreated

Several websites share the latest creations of the Royalty Now Studios:

Charlotte Brontë (1816 – 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters whose novels became classics of English literature. Charlotte is most famous for her novel Jane Eyre. I greatly enjoyed learning about Charlotte and her strong personality through my research into her looks. She was said to be less than five feet tall with indiscriminate yet enchanting eyes. She was strong-minded, clever, shy (but ready to argue her beliefs), and apparently hated teaching young children. 

I struggled a bit with which portrait to use here. I found a great source about her looks that talks about the confirmed images we have of her. I’ve used this painting by her brother Branwell as my main reference, but pulled in some visual references from others as well. Only three undisputed images of Charlotte exist - this painting by Branwell is one of them and was painted when she was probably 18 years old. It is generally considered an “unflattered” portrait - meaning it doesn’t try to beautify her and the skill of the painter is questionable. The other is a chalk drawing from later in her life by George Richmond, but this is considered to be overly flattering. The third is a possible photo of Charlotte, although this is unconfirmed. The face shape looks correct, but the eyes look far too blue to be her based on other accounts. What do you think?

If you’d like to support my work and help me keep doing what I do, please consider purchasing a print from the Etsy store.

Bank Holiday's Tidbits

The project of a new Jane Eyre adaptation in partnership with China reappears from time to time. Now, in The Telegraph & Argus talking about Bradford:
The award reflects past achievements but also enables future developments. It has enabled Bradford to team up with Qingdao, City of Film in China, home to the world’s fastest growing cinema industry. Here Bradford became the first European city to open a film office; this partnership has prompted collaboration in producing a modernised version of Jane Eyre, with the Charlotte Brontë classic almost as popular in China as in the UK. (Martin Greenwood)
Bon Dia (Andorra) celebrates the publishing of a new Spanish translation of Víctor Català/Caterina Albert's Solitud:
Així que, imbuït d’un esperit redemptor, Arimany es va proposar saldar el deute pendent i publicar una traducció a l’altura de la novel·la. Ho explica sense embuts a la Nota de l’editor que acompanya cada volum de Trotalibros: “Cap novel·la com Solitud i potser La inquilina [de Wildfell Hall], d’Anne Brontë m’ha transmès de forma tan desgarradora i dolorosament real el desempar i la soledat de la dona. No entenc com és possible que el moviment feminista hagi permès que aquesta obra, a l’altura dels grans clàssics de la literatura universal, s’esllanguís i criés pols en un racó, com una relíquia tan bella com inútil”. Es tractava, diu, “de traslladar a l’espanyol el text original amb la màxima fidelitat, i que la mateixa Caterina Albert pogués sentir-se’n orgullosa”.
L’enorme responsabilitat ha recaigut en Nicole d’Amonville, poeta i traductora mallorquina que ja s’havia enfrontat a alguns contes de l’autora. I a partir del 29 de setembre podrem comprovar si el resultat està a l’altura de les altíssimes expectatives de l’editor, convençut que té a les mans una novel·la que juga a la mateixa categoria que Emily (Cumbres borrascosas) i Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre), tot i que a Arimany li sembla més significatiu encara el contrast l’Emilia Pardo Bazán de Los pazos de Ulloa. Totes quatre, sosté, “dones que avui diríem empoderades, que no es van conformar a seguir el camí del matrimoni i la maternitat que la societat de l’època els reservava, i que van reflectir en la novel·la les seves personalitats lluitadores”. (A. Luengo) (Translation)
El País (Colombia) interviews the writer Margarita Cuéllar:
Buscaba mundos con los que me pudiera identificar, en los que pudiera encontrar sentido a mi dolencia. Y quise volver a leer a las que siempre me habían arropado: Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Emily Dickinson, las hermanas Brontë, Frannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, Marvel Moreno, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton; y a las nuevas que iba descubriendo”. (L.C. Bermeo Gamboa) (Translation)
Lo Spazio Bianco (Italy) reviews the comic CenerentolⒶ by FumettiBrutti and Joe1:
Gli occhioni vitrei di Cenerentola contribuiscono a rendere il senso di alienazione della protagonista, il cui corpo, volutamente sgraziato, trasandato eppure armonioso, è al tempo stesso grido di ribellione e strumento per affermare la propria singolarità. E non manca, com’è giusto che sia, una certa ironia dissacrante tale per cui il romanzo Cime tempestose diventa lo strumento per ridurre in polvere lo speed prima dell’assunzione. (Stefano Rapiti) (Translation) posts about Charlotte Brontë and the Bells of Banagher. 

From Robert Frost to Mary Wollstonecraft

Brontë scholars in India and Spain:
Prof. (Dr.) Chetan N. Trivedi and Mr. Rohal S. Raval
Towards Excellence, June, 2021. Vol.13. Issue No. 2

The present article argues that Robert Frost’s poem “For Once, Then, Something” (1923) anticipates, by virtue of its latent similarities to them, the theory of Deconstruction propounded by Jacques Derrida, and Reader-Response Criticism which developed through the work of a number of important theorists, one of them being Stanley Fish. The validity of the interpretation is tested by juxtaposing it, in brief, on Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre (1847) and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), a postcolonial, Feminist re-reading or re-writing of Brontë’s work, especially one of literature’s great enigmatic figure – Bertha Antoinetta Rochester/Mason – and one of the novel’s central character – Edward Fairfax Rochester. Indeed, Bertha had been readily interpreted by many lay readers as an obstacle, if not an outright antagonist, in the union of Jane and Edward before the publication of Rhys’ insightful novel that is a prequel to or provides the backstory of crucial characters and events found in Brontë’s work. Moreover, the researchers also launch an enquiry that seeks to understand whether Rochester has been disproportionately or undeservedly demonized, at least since the publication of Rhys’ novel. This inquiry, which stems from both the insight provided by the reading of Frost’s poem and a position put forward by Fish, (re)reads Brontë’s text to see if it provides any clue, opening, or hint for an alternative response by which Rochester can be rescued from critical opprobrium he is often subjected to, whether before or after the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea
Ph.D. Universitat Jaume I, València, Spain (June 2021)

Feminism is often studied through a political lens, focusing on the different feminist theories and their influence on society. Nevertheless, literature can also be a way in which feminism is presented and studied. As Felski (2003) argues in her book Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change, feminism and politics, although not often connected in terms of content, they have social change in common. By examining feminist literature, it is possible to observe influential literature works that strive to cause a change in society and its views by criticising the subordination of women of the time. Consequently, this paper aims to highlight revolutionary feminist literary works from early feminist literature up to the 19thcentury. Moreover, it aims to focus on two authors and their most significant works, Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Studying both authors and works allows for a comparison between the two in terms of feminist traits, female representation, and education. Hence, a connection between a political text and a fictional text will be made, and the similarities of their feminist views will show how two works from different time periods can share common features.

Pacing Anxiously

Western Australia Today interviews the actress Emma MacKay:
A bigger test comes next year when she exchanges her rebellious pink-dyed ends and the hyper-stylised Sex Education set for the Yorkshire moors to play a more historical rebel, writer Emily Brontë, in Emily. It’s this role that Emma hopes will recast her away from Maeve and her frank talks about sex towards the stardom that so obviously lies beyond. (Latika Bourke)
Carolyn Hitt's holidays in Wales Online:
Our itinerary was fairly fluid, but I had expressed a desire to call in on Wordsworth on the way up and the Brontës on the way down.
Sadly Charlotte, Emily and Anne were already inundated with visitors who’d had the foresight to book online weeks in advance, so Haworth was a no-go.
The Independent (Ireland) interviews the writer Carlo Gébler:
The writer who shaped you?
Every writer you read shapes you in some way, but Jean Rhys shaped me the most.
She is best known for her last novel, the best-selling Wide Sargasso Sea, which was Rhys’s answer to another novel I love, the troubling Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre was also the inspiration for a further wonder, The Story of O by Pauline Réage (the pen name of Anne Desclos), a little history that proves (again) that books come out of books.
Jane Eye inspiring The Story of O?  😕

Also in The Independent, Boy George is interviewed:
He told the The Frank Skinner Show podcast in 2010 that prison was “quite stinky” and “not a holiday camp” but that he can understand why people become institutionalised. George spent his days inside reading classics such as Wuthering Heights and The Catcher In The Rye and applied himself so well in the prison kitchen that the lady in charge apparently told him “You’re one of the best workers we’ve ever had here.”
Slate takes a look at kudzu, 'the vine that ate the South':
The obsession with kudzu also reveals the long shadow of the Southern Gothic. William Faulkner describes the Mason-Dixie in Absalom, Absalom! as “dead since 1865 and peopled with garrulous outraged baffled ghosts.” Compared with the European variety, our Gothic is earthy. While Emily Brontë has her lovers pace anxiously through the gloomy manor of Wuthering Heights, Flannery O’Connor just drowns people in the river during their attempt at baptism. (Richard Solomon)
Dawn (Pakistan) reviews the novel Of Smokeless Fire by  A.A. Jafri:
I do not wish to mar a reader’s experience of this engaging novel with spoilers; suffice to say that he ends up grappling with the machinations of a villain who is every bit as venal and low as Mansoor is noble-minded and pure of heart. The villain’s ugly murder of Mansoor’s beloved dog rivals that of Isabella’s hapless puppy at the hands of Wuthering Heights’s savage Heathcliff! (Nadya Chishty-Mujahid)
The long-forgotten days of student past in The Khaleej Times (India):
There was once a time when experiencing the unfamiliar was a priority rather than a reason to decline the invite; when different faces represented an opportunity to expand your network rather than obstacles to be avoided in the quest to find the crew squirreled away in some corner with whom you spend all your free moments. What changes? Why, in the space of ten years or so, do you go from the real-world equivalent of Van Wilder to Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff (minus the fierce visage)? (David Light)

Yesterday, on Radio24's Il Cacciatore di Libri (Italy) they discussed a Wuthering Heights audiobook, via Il Sole

Chick, Rogues and Scandals reviews John Eyre by Mimi Matthews.

Imperatives in Jane Eyre

 A new Brontë-related paper just accepted for publication:
A window into interpersonal relations in Jane Eyre from the perspective of imperatives
Yisong Li and Changsong Wang 
Text & Talk,

This paper explores the correlations between imperative sentences and interpersonal relations in Jane Eyre. The imperatives uttered by Rochester, St. John, and Mrs. Reed to Jane are examined from four perspectives: quantity, imperative force, addressing, and Jane’s corresponding responses. It is found that the variation in these aspects matches well with the development of interpersonal relations. Specifically, when the addresser and Jane get more intimate in relationship, the quantities of the imperatives tend to decline, the imperative force tends to soften, the addressing becomes more personal, and Jane’s compliance to the imperatives tends to decrease and her non-compliance tends to increase. It is proposed that new indicators in imperatives (i.e. vocatives, personal pronouns and directional verbs like come and go in imperatives) can be adopted to evaluate interpersonal relations in a literary work.

Monstrous and divine, like Wuthering Heights

The New York Times features Inseparable a 'never-before published novel' by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Sandra Smith.
Beauvoir remained haunted by the story of her childhood friend Élisabeth Lacoin, a.k.a. “Zaza,” returning in both her memoirs and her fiction to Zaza’s passionate nonconformism, her many gifts, her struggle against the familial and societal obligations that hemmed her in on all sides and her tragic destiny. (She died suddenly, at the age of 21.) There is an ethical, and even political, dimension to Beauvoir’s will to remember this friend, through whose mirror she sought to loosen the silken chains binding them both to outdated ideals of femininity. [...]
The real-life Zaza’s love affair with the angel-faced, future phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty — an eminently suitable match, even by the constricting standards of their milieu — was thwarted by her family. She was on the verge of being sent off to Berlin to study for a year, when in a matter of days she developed a raging fever and died. Viral encephalitis, the doctors said. But in Simone’s view, Zaza fell victim to a society bent on killing off whatever was uniquely alive and precious in her.
One is reminded of the death of Beth March in “Little Women” (a book Beauvoir read and loved), or of the saintly orphan Helen Burns in “Jane Eyre,” who accepts her fate with quiet dignity, eyes on the prize of the world to come. (Leslie Camhi)
ABC News (Australia) has asked several writers about the books the re-read.
Douglas Stuart: As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
The Scottish-American writer — whose heartbreaking semi-autobiographical debut novel Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize — has read Maria McCann's 2001 historical novel As Meat Loves Salt at least seven times. [...]
Set in the 17th century, the book follows Jacob Cullen, a disgraced servant who seeks redemption as a soldier in the English Civil War. While in service he falls in love with a fellow soldier, with disastrous consequences.
"This is actually my pure pleasure read. It's a little bit like my Wuthering Heights in that it's a big, sort of romantic, historical book, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's also an incredibly immersive historical read." (Hannah Reich)
Far Out magazine quotes Patti Smith's explanation of the two types of literary masterpiece:
After a long spell of reading nothing but the novels of Murakami, Smith gave some consideration to the way literary masterpieces can be placed in two categories. In her own words, “There are two kinds of masterpieces. There are the classic works, monstrous and divine, like Moby-Dick or Wuthering Heights or Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus. And then there is the type wherein the writer seems to infuse living energy into words as the reader is spun, wrung, and hung out to dry.” (Sam Kemp)
According to Business Insider, Wuthering Heights is one of the '27 best enemies-to-lovers books to read if you love 'Pride and Prejudice''.
"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before. What unfolds is the tale of the intense love between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. 
Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal are visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
A reporter from Hampshire Live has watched Downton Abbey for the first time.
For some reason, I was expecting the historical drama to be set in the 18th or 19th centuries, around the time of Jane Austen novels like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
It wasn't until the April 1912 title appeared on the screen that I realised the series wasn't set when I thought it was. I have to say this wasn't the first time the opening few minutes took me by surprise. (Daniel Blank)
Perhaps now that he has watched Downton Abbey he should now proceed to read the classics. At least their spines in order to be taken by surprise by the fact that Jane Austen didn't write Jane Eyre.

The Times recommends last-minute staycations:
Brontë Bobbins, West Yorkshire
Only two minutes from Haworth station and the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway, the Brontë Bobbins is a new luxury one-bedroom top-floor apartment in a converted mill. It’s also 15 minutes from the Brontë Parsonage and a four-mile walk from Top Withens, said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw family home in Wuthering Heights. You should take a book to read. (Chris Haslam)

Also in The Times, a list of coastal walks includes one from Scarborough to Robin Hood’s Bay, which includes a visit to Anne Brontë's grave.

Another World

 Currently at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:

Another World

Visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum and step into Another World
Sat 21 Aug - Sun 19 Sep 2021 11:00 to 16:00
Please note - in line with the Museum opening times, Another World is open 11am - 4pm, Wednesday - Sunday.

Creativity, curiosity and landscape come together in this playful installation in Parson’s Field, the meadow behind Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage Museum. We’ve worked with NEON Studio to create an unexpected immersive experience that moves and shifts with the wind. Come and play, picnic, read, reflect, explore or simply lose yourself in an imaginary world on the edge of the moors where the Brontës, Bradford’s most famous literary family, ran wild.

The Moor, the Merrier

Ten facts you should know about the Brontës on Bookriot:
Who were the Brontës?
Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë are three Victorian authors with whom you’re probably already somewhat familiar. You probably know Charlotte Brontë and her novel Jane Eyre. And yes, you’ve definitely heard of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Perhaps you’ve perused Anne Brontë’s works, like Agnes Grey. Heck, you might even know about their artist brother Branwell Brontë.
But the Brontë family’s life was so rich and fascinating that there’s probably plenty about literature’s most interesting family that you don’t yet know. And I’m here to tell you about it. So grab a cup of tea and settle in for story time.
I studied the Brontës — specifically Emily Brontë — for my PhD in English, so a lot of the facts listed below are from my trusty brain bank. But since brain banks aren’t always so reliable…For confirmation on specific dates, names, etc., I primarily referenced The Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller, which I discuss more at the end of this article! (...) (Emily Martin)
Manchester's Finest recommends a weekend walk through Brontë Country:
Taking inspiration from the dramatic landscape right on their doorstep, the Brontë sisters penned some of the world’s most famous literary classics – from Jaye Eyre to Wuthering Heights – while living in the area.
The wild Pennine moors and deep valleys of the area provide for walks that are sometimes as challenging as they are stunning, with the addition of many Brontë-related sights and landmarks along the way.
Your main base of operations should be the little village of Haworth, where the Brontë family lived and which is now home to the excellent Brontë Parsonage Museum – where you can take a tour of their old house and learn what life was like in the area all those years ago. (...) (Ben Brown)
Playbill announces that Emma Rice's production of Wuthering Heights that will open in Bristol next October (and eventually will be premiered at the National Theatre next year) has completed the casting process:
A co-production with the National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, and York Theatre Royal, the stage adaptation will begin previews at the Bristol Old Vic October 11. An official opening is set for October 20, with performances running through November 6. Performances November 3–6 will be live-streamed. The play will subsequently transfer to the York Theatre Royal November 9–20 and play the National in February and March 2022.
The cast will be led by Lucy McCormick as Cathy with Sam Archer as Lockwood/Edgar Linton, Nandi Bhebhe as The Moor, TJ Holmes as Robert, Ash Hunter as Heathcliff, Craig Johnson as Mr. Earnshaw/Dr. Kenneth, Jordan Laviniere as John, Kandaka Moore as Zillah, Katy Owen as Isabella Linton/Linton Heathcliff, Tama Phethean as Hindley Earnshaw/Hareton Earnshaw, and Witney White Frances Earnshaw/Young Cathy. Mirabelle Gremaud is the swing. (Andrew Gans)
The Wall Street Journal talks about how the fans influence series developments. Did you know that this behaviour is more universal than you thought?
'Jane Eyre' started out as 'The Moor, the Merrier.' ”  (Joe Queenan)

Jezebel talks about Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Bold material for a woman writer in Victorian England; as bold in its way as putting her own name on the title page. Barrett Browning always did so, although most of her distinguished women contemporaries preferred a male pseudonym (the Brontë sisters as the Bell brothers, George Eliot, George Sand) or anonymity (“the author of Frankenstein” or, in Jane Austen’s case, “a lady”).  (Fiona Sampson)
The Times publishes the obituary of the Italian writer and publisher Roberto Calasso (1941-2021):
His grandfather’s extensive library was a formative influence. Calasso recalled stealing from it a copy of Les fleurs du mal, the poems by Baudelaire, while his encounter with Wuthering Heights made him appreciate what passion was.
El Imparcial (Spain) compares the situation in Afghanistan to Wuthering Heights:
En esta cuestión de formación nacional racional, principalmente, lo que hay que tomar en consideración es la fuerza persistente del pasado en los estados, que al final, se quiera o no, es lo que acaba triunfando y esto se puede ilustrar mejor con Cumbres Borrascosas (Wuthering Heights) de Emily Brontë, parodia gótica de amor, donde desde el principio está anunciado cual va a ser el resultado, con fecha, nombre y apellidos grabados en el muro principal del lugar, entremezclados “entre una selva de animales mitológicos hechos pedazos y angelitos juguetones”. (...)
Total, que, a final, Heathcliff termina arrastrado por la corriente telúrica de aquel sitio tan ventilado, la cual no discurre de frente ni de lado sino que va para atrás, como en Afganistán, de vuelta otra vez al pasado. (Juan Carlos Barros) (Translation)
The love gothic parody still hurts when we re-read it.

El Nacional (Venezuela) interiews the writer Jorge Sánchez López:
Mariela Días Romero: ¿Cuáles han sido los escritores que le han dejado una huella tanto como lector y escritor?
J.S.L.: (...) También debo de tener una influencia, más o menos consciente, de la literatura gótica y del Romanticismo, incluyendo a Charlotte Brontë, a Mary Shelley o a Edgar Allan Poe, muy presentes en Nunca debiste atravesar esos parajes y Hielo seco.
Le Soir (Belgium) interviews the author Cécile Coulon: 
Mais dans une dimension de thriller à la Daphné du Maurier et de nature oppressante comme chez les sœurs Brontë. Et c'est très réussi. (Jean-Claude Vantroyen) (Translation)

Not surprisingly, Bookriot lists the most translated books from all countries, and Dominica's is Wide Sargasso Sea. Inspiremore includes a Charlotte Brontë quote on a list of powerful women's quotes. I Had the Write Idea posts about Wuthering Heights. Let's Fox About It reviews an audiobook copy of Rose Lerner's The Wife at the Attic.

Finally, let us introduce you to Emily Brontë, a cat for adoption listed on petfinder

Star of the Day

She was born Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson, but we all remember her as Merle Oberon and today, August 27, she is the star of the day on TCM's Summer Under the Stars:

August 27, 8:00 PM (EST)

Oberon returned to England for her most famous screen assignment as Cathy Earnshaw in William Wyler's lush adaptation of Emily Brontë's "W
uthering Heights
" (1939) - the most beloved film adaptation of the tragic novel. But while the finished film went over very well with critics and the public, the production was a less than happy experience. Co-star Laurence Olivier's relationship with the actress on-set was soured by his disappointment over Oberon being chosen for the part instead of his off-screen paramour, Vivien Leigh. The pettiness and pointless bad behavior that ensued from Olivier, fortunately, did not come across in the leads' performances and they display wonderful romantic chemistry, making "Wuthering Heights" the penultimate romantic tragedy.

Brontë’s fervid feminist statement

Writer Lucy Ellmann shares her 'Top 10 gripes in literature' in The Guardian.
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Driven to distraction by Rochester’s cavorting with a gold-digger and dressing up in drag as a fortune teller, Jane finally erupts. “Do you think I am an automaton? – a machine without feelings? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!” Like Sojourner Truth’s real-life speech a few years after the novel was written, Ain’t I a woman? Brontë’s fervid feminist statement refutes the Victorian gridlock imposed on womanhood. But after Jane and Rochester retreat triumphantly indoors, lightning blights the tree they were just sitting under: you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs.
Northern Life announces a couple of forthcoming events in Haworth:
Sat 25th [September]
The Brontë Interactive Ghost Walk
Haworth, West Yorkshire. Join Haunting Nights as they take you back in time at this historic village in Yorkshire. The Black Bull is known to be one of most haunted inns in the UK. This 300-year-old public house was Patrick Branwell Brontë’s (brother of Charlotte, Emily & Anne Brontë) favourite place to drink. The Kings Arms Haworth Built on three storeys of local millstone grit, it is a typical, dark Yorkshire building from the early 18th century. Over the years, there have been consistent reports of at least three different men dressed in black Victorian style suits haunting the Kings Arms. 7.30pm £10 [...]
Fri 8th [October]
Haworth Steampunk Weekend 2021
Main Street, Haworth. You will see Steampunk, Victorian and Edwardian fashion. Steampunk vehicles, dancers, tea duelling, best dressed, steampunk accessories and Steampunk traders. Steampunks gather to socialise, shop and be enter-tained whilst taking in the lovely atmosphere and the pretty surroundings. This is an annual charity event for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. (Yazmin Cawood)