August 25th, 2021

Charlotte Brontë’s traveling writing desk to be on display

New York Post (and Fine Books and Collections) announces the swoon-worthy exhibition opening next month (September 24) at the New York Public Library:
Hundreds of incredible treasures and curiosities —  spanning over 4,000 years of history — will be open to the public at an upcoming exhibit at the New York Public Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue.
From Jefferson’s handwritten copy of The Declaration of Independence to a lock of Beethoven’s hair, “The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures” is bound to attract all seeking the unique.
The exhibit, so named for $12 million donor Leonard Polonsky and his foundation, is expected to open on September 24. Tickets to the exhibition — which is free — will be available beginning on Aug. 23, the library announced Monday.
The exhibit will be a permanent fixture in the library’s Gottesman Hall, which has just been newly restored and renovated featuring 250 objects that have changed the course of history.
The objects were handpicked from its personal collection of over 45 million rare books, artwork. manuscripts, maps, newspapers and more that it has amassed over the last 126 at its research centers, NYPL said.
Objects include: [...]
Charlotte Brontë’s traveling writing desk (Patrick Reilly)
More Brontëana on Book Riot as it recommends 'The 5 best libraries to see in Cambridge'.
#5. Katharine Stephen Room, Newnham College
It would be remiss of me to write an article like this and not include my own college library somewhere in the roundup. I won’t say too much, as I’ve already previously written up a virtual tour.
I will, however, go into a little more detail about the Katharine Stephen room, which houses our rare books collection. Named after an old Principal of Newnham who was also the cousin of Virginia Woolf, it was built in 1982 and achieved Grade II listing in 2018. It carries over 6,000 rare books and manuscripts, such as 16th century Shakespeare editions, original 1700s copies of Tatler, and more. I was also particularly surprised to go in once and see that it contains, in a small glass case, a ring with the braided hair of Emily and Charlotte Brontë. (Namera Tanjeem)
This contributor to Book Riot is prepared to perish upon this bookish hill:
Hill #5: Edward Rochester did not deserve Jane Eyre, and most romantic heroes don't deserve the women they conned into marrying them, either.
I said what I said. Jane Eyre deserved better than Rochester; even Jean Rhys thought so, and she wrote a whole damn book about how Bertha Mason nee Antoinette Cosway was wronged. MOST women in literature — and in life — deserve better than the “romantic” heroes who lie, cheat, and otherwise dissemble or worse in order to convince a lady to marry him. I recognize that mending this would make many books a whole lot shorter. I also recognize that the underlying point is generally not that the hero lied, but that he acknowledges and grows from his mistakes — something humans of any gender are generally somewhat reluctant to do. The fantasy fulfilled is growth, not marriage or sex.
And yet. We deserve better. (Tika Viteri)
We may deserve better in real life but as far as fictional stories are concerned Jane Eyre is definitely more than we deserve.

AnOther interviews writer Dominique Barbéris about her latest novel, Un Dimanche à Ville-d’Avray, and we think she has a deeper understanding of Rochester as a creation.
DS: You reference Jane Eyre a lot in the novel, particularly the now legendary love affair between Jane and Mr Rochester. The protagonist seems to be longing for a passion like that, or for a romantic experience like theirs. Why do you think people are always so drawn to these stories; to these unattainable ideals?
DB: I love Jane Eyre for its literary qualities. But I have to admit, I also love it because of Rochester. He’s a fascinating character for women and it’s not surprising: he is a man created by a woman, so he corresponds to what women are waiting for. I think we need these stories to lead us from despair. It is similar to Wuthering Heights and the Brontë sisters: their lives were so terrible, they needed literature as a way to cope with it. But they didn’t just dream about love, they dreamt about the landscape, they dreamt about the night. Sometimes language is so powerful it can help you open up and escape the world you’re living in. Most of my books speak about boredom and the way people try to escape from it. (Dominique Sisley)
Khaleej Times interviews writer Sara Galadari.
Enid Grace Parker: Who are the writers you were most influenced by over the years?
S.G.: JK Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Charlotte Brontë, and LM Montgomery. I love reading their stories because of the way they showcase strong female protagonists who were fuelled by their own ambitions and passions.
Reading their stories, relating to their characters, and watching them as they overcame their obstacles and embarked on exciting adventures of their own, made me feel that I could do the same — that I could do anything I put my mind to, no matter how far away or impossible the goal may seem.
Clarín (Argentina) tells the story of the Honresfeld Collection.

Burn it

The most anticipated books for the autumn season in Los Angeles Times:
Mothers, Fathers, and Others by Siri Hustvedt
“We think back through our mothers if we are women,” Virginia Woolf wrote in “A Room of One’s Own.” In this new essay collection, Hustvedt, the incisive novelist and critic, thinks back through her own family to deconstruct the maternal through the work of “artistic mothers” including Jane Austen, Emily Brontë and Louise Bourgeois. (Jessica Ferri)
The highly pernicious combination of the woke+cancellation culture is again in the news with the accusations against Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea! but Hilary Rose in The Times thinks that the promoters have not gone far enough:
And in case you thought the problem was confined to children’s books, it isn’t. Jane Eyre is about attempted bigamy and a man who locks up his wife because she suffers from mental health problems. The fact that it’s also magnificent, and nobody ever came away thinking that bigamy is a good idea, is neither here nor there. Burn it.
El Punt-Avui (in Catalan) reviews the book Cartas olvidadas de Jane Eyre y Anna Karenina by Eugènia Tusquets and Marga Iriarte:
El resultat és un experiment que travessa gèneres entre la ficció i la realitat, un exercici que pren la vida com a principal objecte de reflexió a partir de l’original reficcionat. Les autores sintetitzen que “filar dues societats, l’anglesa i la russa, dos models de protagonistes literàries –la primera simbolitza el coratge davant les injustícies; l’altra, la insatisfacció amorosa i la rebel·lia estèril–, ha exigit una lectura atenta de les dues obres i, el més important, la sintonia mental i emocional amb elles. El personatge de Jane Eyre el va construir Charlotte Brontë i les seves vivències són un artefacte potent que desmunta les aparences de novel·la romàntica; denuncia un sistema social abusiu, el qual sotmet les dones a l’esclavitud econòmica i social. A l’altra banda, Lev Tolstoi s’imagina Anna Karènina i la fa adúltera, perquè vol –i ho aconsegueix– despullar la hipocresia, el cinisme i les desigualtats socials que emergeixen al llarg de la novel·la.” (David Castillo) (Translation)

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, writes in The Telegraph & Argus against the closing of the Haworth Main Street Post Office. Interesting Literature posts about Jane Eyre. Donna Glamour (Italy) lists Autumn quotes (already!) and Emily Brontë is featured.

Finally, an alert for today, January 25, in Goito (Italy): 
Teatro Magro e Charta presents
Biblioteca di Goito, August 25, 9:00 PM
Directed by Flavio Cortellazzi
With Agata Torelli and  Iulian Puscasu.

L’attore conosce a memori
a il libro. Lo conosce bene, benissimo, “a menadito” in ogni sua pagina, in ogni anfratto di ciascuna parola scritta, in ogni suo passaggio – sia anche nascosto o sottinteso. Il pubblico ha la facoltà di aprire il libro ad una pagina casuale e l’attore, dopo una rapida lettura introduttiva delle prime righe della suddetta pagina, comincia a raccontare, da quel punto in poi, cosa accade nel libro. Tutto a memoria. Tutto a menadito. Perché quel libro lo conosce bene, lo conosce in ogni sua increspatura della punteggiatura, in ogni suo approfondimento, in ogni possibile contesto e sotto-testo. Il libro gli appartiene e lui stesso appartiene al libro. E così, da uno stralcio di narrazione si aprono frammenti performativi: aneddoti, collegamenti, rimandi, risposte, epiloghi, immagini e suggestioni. L’atto teatrale continua, si può selezionare ancora, e ancora, e ancora. Davanti a sé il pubblico ha una sorta di wunderkammer – una stanza delle meraviglie dove i collezionisti raccoglievano oggetti straordinari. Il libro non ve lo leggiamo. Ve lo raccontiamo. A memoria. Sia che l’abbiate già letto, sia che non l’abbiate mai sentito nominare nel libro c’è sempre qualcosa da (ri)scoprire. E ve lo dimostriamo: si può rimanere affascinati, ascoltando, in uno stato di meraviglia.

Glass Town in New York

Today, in New York, a special performance of Glass Town:
Pete's Candy Store
August 26, 9:00 PM

Book, music, & lyrics by Miriam Pultro
Directed by Daniella Caggiano
Music direction by Katrien Van Riel

'Charlotte' (vox, keys) - Miriam Pultro
'Branwell' (guitar, vox) - Eddy Marshall
'Emily' (vox, bass) - Katrien Van Riel
'Anne' (vox) - Emma Claye

Drums, keys, guitar - Matt DeMaria
Violin - Laura Zawarski
Cello - Anthime Miller
A rock requiem starring the Brontë siblings -- Anne, most feminist and most faithful, a neosoul star; Emily, melancholy alt-rock prodigy; Branwell, full of the blues; and Charlotte, fiery frontwoman, desperate for recognition and love. A staged concept album that defies traditional musical theatre, Glass Town explores familial bonds, grief, and isolation, using the literary family as archetypal touchstones.