August 19th, 2021

Young Misfit

Tara Bandman in The Boston Globe considers that the depiction of the death of Helen Burns in Jane Eyre is misleading and thinks that Charlotte Brontë should know better.
Consider the case of “Jane Eyre,” a novel that otherwise tunnels unflinchingly into dark spaces but in which Charlotte Brontë, in writing the deathbed scene of Jane’s beloved friend Helen Burns, indulges the “died peacefully in her sleep” fallacy full on.
Lowood, the dreadful school Jane attends, is ravaged by typhus — 45 of the school’s 80 girls fall ill. Jane, by good fortune, is spared. So is Helen Burns. Smart, kind, and slow to anger, Helen embodies the 19th-century good-girl ideal, which also means that she’s the irresistible candidate for sacrifice for a novelist committed to the dark turn. Rather than hurling typhus at her, Brontë fells Helen with consumption, a rather romantic-sounding disease that, in Brontë’s telling, affords the victim the honor of wasting beautifully away, a fitting death for the angelic friend of a Victorian heroine.
Today we know consumption as tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs that gradually suffocates its victim to death. Not so romantic. (...)
So what was Charlotte Brontë thinking? By the time she wrote “Jane Eyre,” at age 30, she knew death. At five she lost her mother, and at nine she lost two sisters to tuberculosis at the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, upon which Lowood is based. Is Helen Burns’s deathbed scene a fantasy for Charlotte, a dream of what she wishes her sisters’ deathbeds had been? Is Helen’s death a gift to all of us from Charlotte Brontë, granting us an image of a good death? Or is it a gift to herself, a delusion she created to ease her fears about her sisters’ deaths and her anxiety about her own inevitable one?
Mental Floss lists several classic books adapted as graphic novels:
Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramón K. Pérez
In 2017, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) teamed up with Eisner Award-winning illustrator Ramón K. Pérez (Tale of Sand) to create this charming modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre. In this version, Jane leaves her small town to go to art school in New York City, but she soon realizes that her dream isn’t as glamorous as she imagined. To afford the expensive city, she takes a job as a nanny for a little girl named Adele. When Jane falls in love with Adele’s father, she is introduced to the dark world of the city's elite and the secrets that lay in the shadow. McKenna's sharp script is perfectly paired with the lush colors and cartoony vibe of Pérez's artwork. (Tasia Bass)
The Times's Quiz has the following question:
Which Charlotte Brontë title heroine says: “I am a free human being with an independent will”? (Olav Bjortomt)

The Daily Illini explores bildungstroman:

The 50-cent specimen staring back at us from our word-of-the-day calendar this fine morning is “bildungsroman.” It is the literary term for a coming-of-age story — more specifically one where mental and emotional maturity takes place. Think “Jane Eyre,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars.” (Samuel Rahman)
The Peterborough Today announces an upcoming performance of Jane Eyre by Dot Productions:
Dot Productions brings two contrasting shows – a musical version of the well-loved Robin Hood and Jane Eyre, Brontë’s classic about a girl who suffers a cruel childhood before becoming an adult, guarding passionate and mysterious secrets.  (Brad Barnes)
The Australian makes a reference to Emma Mackey being cast as Emily Brontë in Emily:
She has since been cast in her first leading role as Emily Brontë in the upcoming Emily, the directing (and writing) debut of Australian actor Frances O'Connor and co-produced by Robert Connelly (The Dry)  (...) in the Yorkshire-set film that follows the uplifting story of a young misfit who went on to write Wuthering Heights
The presenter James Cavanagh shares his musical preferences in The Irish Times:
My friends would say my palate for music isn’t very diverse. I enjoy bangers and the main A-side songs only, and I’m okay with that. Like, I’m a fan of Kate Bush and love Wuthering Heights, but I don’t dig into her back catalogue. I’m happy to be lowbrow in my music choices. (Shipla Ganatra)
The Spectator mentions W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz
The novel — though you can’t really call it that, as it features so many non-fiction digressions, including into architectural history — narrates his quest to recover his past and his true identity, but at a tangent. Sebald himself, rather like Lockwood in Wuthering Heights, is the primary yet recessive ‘I’ of the story, to whom Austerlitz recounts his tale. (Lucasta Miller)

Cult Following reviews Jane Eyre 1944. The Fiction Addiction reviews The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. John C. Adams reviews posts about Wuthering Heights as a ghost story.

Le Palais de la Mort

 Last June 14th, took place the world premiere of Ian Pace composition Le Palais de la Mort:

City Pierrot Ensemble
Concert 14 June 2021, City Summer Sounds Festival
City, University of London

Nancy Ruffer, flute
David Campbell, clarinet
Emma Arden, percussion
Ian Pace, piano
Ben Smith, electric organ
Madeleine Mitchell, violin
Bridget Carey, viola
Joseph Spooner, cello

Georgia Mae Bishop, voice
Among other pieces, the concert included the world premiere of 

Ian Pace, Matière: Le Palais de la mort (2021) [World Premiere]
1. A very untidy state
2. Cannot go
3. Cold, selfish, animal and inferior
4. And pleasures banish pain
5. Le Palais de la mort

This piece began to form in my mind at the time of a visit to Haworth Parsonage in summer 2019, looking around the house and in particular the square piano in one of the front rooms, and collections of music owned by Emily and Anne Brontë in particular. After reading further about the musical dimensions to the Brontë family, I began to form fantasies in my mind of a certain bombastic playing on the part of Emily (the most talented pianist of the siblings), incorporating some of the (then) popular pieces which she and Anne had in her collection, and developed an interest in creating a work of music which would be unquestionably from the present day, but incorporated aspects of the music which would have been heard in the Brontë household. (...)
Check the programme notes of the concert here or a more detailed account by the composer himself, here.

The concert was live-streamed on YouTube. Le Palais de la Mort can be listened some 36 minutes into the concert.

"I resisted all the way"

 Some recommended historical mystery series in The Garden City News:
The Brontë Sisters series by Bella Ellis – Ellis sets this series in the years before the three Brontë sisters were novelists themselves. The sisters and their brother Branwell lived together as adults for a short few years, and this series casts them as detectors (the term detective had not yet been invented) during this time frame. The mysteries are highly entertaining, and the personalities of each sister shine through, hinting at their future potential and careers. First book – The Vanished Bride. (Laura Flanagan)
The Penobscot Bay Observer lists some of the upcoming courses at the local Coastal Senior College:
Participants in “It’s the Message, not the Medium: Adventures in the Gothic” will discuss how the Bronte sisters used the gothic form in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights to comment on social, political and ecological issues.
Republic World (India) talks about the actress, singer and film producer Priyanka Chopra:
Reportedly, her book Unfinished shows her love for poetry and novels, as all of the chapters in her memoir begin with epigraphs and quotes by several celebrated personalities, including Rabindranath Tagore, Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare and Kahlil Gibran. (Aditi Rahti)
The Smithsonian Magazine pays tribute to the arguably first female English novelist, Lady Mary Wroth:
Later women novelists, such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, owed a historical debt to Mary Wroth’s 17th-century struggle to be heard.  (V.M. Braganza)
NRC (Netherlands) interviews Vanessa Zoltan on her book Praying with Jane Eyre:
Eva Peek: ‘Jane Eyre’ is niet een boek dat je snel met de Holocaust associeert. Hoe werkt die combinatie? 
V.Z.: (...)„Het andere thema van Jane Eyre is overleven. Ik denk dat een mijn favoriete passages het moment is waarop Mr. Brocklehurst, symbool voor de kerk, Jane vraagt: ‘Waar gaan de goddelozen heen als ze sterven?’ Ze antwoordt: ‘De hel.’ Hij zegt: ‘En wat moet je doen om niet naar de hel te gaan?’ Antwoord: ‘Ik moet in goede gezondheid blijven en niet doodgaan.’ Het is haar statement: ‘Ik zal overleven.’ Toen ik jonger was keek ik neer op mijn grootouders, ik zag geen heldendom maar vond dat ze gewoon geluk hadden. En ergens geloofde ik ook dat er misschien iets vreemds met ze moest zijn dat ze het hadden overleefd. Met zo veel doden kon overleven niet deugdzaam zijn. Ik denk nog steeds niet dat overleven een deugd is, maar ik wil veerkracht vieren. En Jane is zo veerkrachtig. Ze is zo vastbesloten om te overleven. Overleven is een daad van hoop. Het is geloven dat de wereld beter kan worden.” (...)
E.P::Als je bepaalde lessen uit ‘Jane Eyre’ op een kritische manier afwijst, en andere juist omarmt, bevestig het lezen dan niet gewoon wat je zelf altijd al vond?
V.Z.:„Mijn regel is dat zolang je interpretatie je niet beter maakt in liefhebben, je terug moet gaan naar de tekst en opnieuw moet gaan lezen. Als je eenmaal een lezing hebt gevonden die je beter maakt in liefhebben, heb je een juiste lezing gedaan, een van de vele juiste lezingen. Maar ik heb zeker dingen geleerd door Jane Eyre die voor mijzelf helemaal tegen-intuïtief waren.”
V.Z.: „Het waarderen van overleven. Maar ook het idee dat een deugd als vriendelijkheid actief moet zijn. Ik vond mezelf altijd heel aardig, want als een dakloze geld vroeg gaf ik het, en als een caissière me ‘een fijne dag nog’ wenste, zei ik het gemeend terug. Maar dat is gewoon beleefdheid. Vriendelijkheid moet proactief zijn, dat zien we in het personage van ms. Temple. ‘I came on purpose to find you, Jane Eyre,’ zegt ze, als ze het weesmeisje Jane opzoekt. Vriendelijkheid is geen toeval, maar opzet.” (Translation)
El País (Spain) quotes the singer Shirley Davis:
Tenía apenas cinco años cuando me di cuenta de que vivía obsesionada con Kate Bush”, reconoce divertida. Eran los tiempos en que aquella turbadora posadolescente de voz agudísima desplegaba el hechizo de Wuthering heights o Wow, canciones raras y muy bellas, distintas a cualquier otra cosa antes conocida. (Fernando Neira) (Translation)

Michigan Live recommends Manuela Santoni's Brontë graphic novel. Audible lists a 'swoon-worth' quote from Jane Eyre.