Planet Century 19

February 28, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Heathcliff at his diabolical worst

Without a stick of scenery to convey the moorland setting and the two great houses between which the action occurs; and just two actors and a little over an hour, despite the book’s rambling family tree and gradual unfolding over a few hundred pages, the company had a challenge from the start.
They rose to it impressively. Alison Campbell is first class, her great range of expression making her superb in every female part, from middle aged housekeeper to teenage heroine.
Jeremy Fowlds also gave a fine performance, his quick shifts of voice and body language convincing he was everyone from genteel Edgar to Heathcliff at his diabolical worst.
As the programme promised, the production gets you itching to dig out a copy of the book and delve back into the stirring story which not only has so much to say about love and relationships but the time it was written, from industrialisation and religious beliefs to fear of revolution and the shifting class system, the gentry’s position no longer comfortably set in stone but impoverished outsiders like Heathcliff able to come along and stake their claim. (Annabel Britain)
Todmorden News reviews the local Wuthering Heights performances:
Tom Jennings is an expert Heathcliff with a vivid thirst for vengeance and Madeleine Jefferson is a brilliant Catherine who copes well with a challenging role.
When tragic circumstances repeat themselves, Rosie Crowther plays an engaging Cathy and the supporting cast all do a great job, especially those who double up.
Some scenes are very cleverly devised physically and the use of projection, light and sound are inspired and of a professional standard.
This time they get the set spot on too, it serves its purpose simply and is visually very effective. So, even if you know the story or not, this play comes highly recommended.
Even though it is dark, tragic and twisted, it is also brave, surprising and new. Don’t always judge a book by its cover.
The Telegraph explores the growing interest in thrillers by women:
The thriller in a domestic setting has a long history, of course. Think Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’ fantastic reimagining in Wide Sargasso Sea. (Rebecca Whitney)
Jane Eyre, a domestic thriller? Well, not so crazy, after all.

Lapham's Quarterly posts an infographic of day jobs by known writers. Including Charlotte Brontë.

Also in The Telegraph we read an interview with the writer Kazuo Ishiguro:
In the corner of Ishiguro’s sitting room are a number of guitars on stands. He picks one up, a dobro, and starts to play a low blues on his lap. As a teenager, he tells me, he played music, watched a lot of films and barely read anything – though that, he points out, is not unusual for a boy. It wasn’t until his early 20s, when he suddenly discovered Dostoevsky and Charlotte Brontë, that books came into it at all. (He is now 60.) A lot of from writing songs what he learnt about writing he gained. (Gaby Wood)
The Santa Fe New Mexican reviews Samantha Ellis's How to Be a Heroine:
Romance of course plays a key role, prompting quips that would delight Dorothy Parker: “Tornado love,” Ellis writes, referring to Wuthering Heights, “is more appealing than postmodern love.” The author asserts that “unrequited love is delusional, thankless, and boring,” and is therefore inclined to strip female characters of their heroine status if they waste any time and energy on it. (...)
Ellis notes this as she pores over her “frenziedly annotated” copy of Sylvia Plath’s collected journals and her wine- and bathwater-tinted copy of Wuthering Heights. For this reader, by that measure and others, How to Be a Heroine is a smash. (Grace Labatt)
The Times presents the new BBC adaptation of Poldark:
“Ross [Poldark] is such a fascinating combination I think, of a whole host of literary and movie heroes,” says Debbie Horsfield, the new version’s adapter, sitting for shade under a canopy outside the house. “I think of him as being part Rochester, part Heathcliff, part Robin Hood, part Darcy, part Rhett Butler. He’s got elements of all of those great literary and movie-hero rebels.” (Andrew Billen)
The Chicago Tribune recovers a three-years old interview with E.L. James:
But James said the themes go deeper. After the Miami event, where a reported 700 women turned out, "I was talking to a bunch of women," she said. "They said, 'Oh my gosh. We just did "Jane Eyre" in our book group. ("Fifty Shades") is so "Jane Eyre." '
"I just looked at them and said, 'Well, you know, it's 'Beauty and the Beast,' if you want to take it a step further back. I mean, there are universal themes that run through all of these stories. So this is my take on that, really." (Steve Johnson)
Lifehacker demystifies (a little too much) creativity:
This might be in part due to famous artistic families like the Waugh family, who produced three of the greatest writers of the 20th century (Arthur, then Alec and Evelyn) or the Brontës. Nowadays, we've come to expect the children of celebrities and creatives to inherit their parents' talents. (Jory MacKay)
Starts at Sixty! talks about the #ReviewWomen2015 initiative:
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, Mary Ann Evans and Nellie Harper Lee are better known by their male pseudonyms, respectively George Sands, George Elliot, and Harper Lee, rather than their real names. Even the Brontë sisters were originally known as Acton (Anne) Currer (Charlotte) and Ellis (Emily) Bell. Do women need to become men to be appreciated, to be reviewed? (Karen O'Brien Hall)
An exhibition of dolls in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is described in La Nación:
[Gustavo] Tudisco tuvo que ponerse estudiar sobre la muñeca cuando llegó a sus manos esta colección, sobre la cual ya prepara un libro junto con Patricio López Méndez, el otro curador de la muestra. "La costura, la pintura y el piano eran las principales actividades de las damas, todo lo que podemos encontrar en las novelas de las hermanas Brontë o en las de Jane Austen. En ese momento empieza a asomar una conciencia de lo femenino, un ideal de mujer, y surge la idea de la adolescencia, una conciencia de ese período que hasta entonces no existía. (Joaquín Sánchez Mariño) (Translation)
Culturamas (Spain) quotes Virginia Woolf talking about Emily Brontë:
Las ideas de la autora inglesa, en cambio, eran más pròximas a los momentos de visión de Hardy o a la escena significativa de Emily Brönte (sic).Woolf ponía como ejemplo de su idea demomento el fragmento de Cumbres borrascosas, en el cual Catherine saca las plumas de su almohada puesto que “presenta unidos elementos dispares y los integra en una visión divorciada de la trama en sí pero fundidos en la textura poética de toda la trama”. (Anna Maria Iglesia) (Translation)
On The Daily Breeze Reading we read about a Take a Book — Leave a Book share stand created by three local Girl Scouts in San Pedro which includes a copy of Jane Eyre; Garbo (Romania) quotes Emily Brontë about soulmates.

by M. ( at February 28, 2015 01:41 PM

Which is Jane Austen's best-known novel?

A couple of Victorian fellow writers to begin with today. The Wall Street Journal has an article on Anthony Trollope and admits the fact that,
During his lifetime, Trollope was a prolific and popular writer, the author of 47 novels. His literary reputation, however, never soared quite to the heights of that of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and the Brontë sisters. His ranking has been on the rise in recent years, though, and the publication of “The Duke’s Children” in its original text should help keep that momentum going. (Melanie Kirkpatrick)
While Bustle lists '20 Forgotten, Overlooked Classics By Women Writers Everyone Should Read'. One of them is Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell:
Fun fact: Elizabeth Gaskell was good friends with Charlotte Brontë — she even wrote Brontë’s biography. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when those two got to chatting about plot structures and character development. Despite being significantly less well known, Gaskell was a brilliant novelist in her own right. Her ironic, sometimes even mocking, depictions of society’s rigid, often ridiculous, rules, give her work a delicious, unexpected edge, particularly in this novel.
Gaskell definitely had a subversive streak, and it elevates her work from charming and sweet, to grown-up and fascinating. (Erin Enders)
Speaking of subversive streaks, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall makes it into Flavorwrire's staff picks.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë and The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
I am reading books by two writers who rhyme; Anne Brontë and Elena Ferrante. I’m re-reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the third Brontë sister’s blisteringly feminist critique of an abusive marriage, widely seen as a rejoinder to her sisters’ romanticizing of controlling Byronic hero types. The novel is told in nested narrative (letters within journals within letters) which makes the narrative feel really clever and self-aware. Meanwhile, I’ve just begun Book 2 of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels (The Story of a New Name). Everything everyone says is spot-on; the overall story tightens its grip the further you travel with these characters who start to feel like your own friends, enemies, and love interests. — (Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large)
Quoted selects the 'top 10 cars in fiction' and recalls that,
Even before the motor vehicle, we saw vehicles of the time acting as status symbols. Consider Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: Upon deciding he will take a wife, Rochester, the owner of the estate where Jane is a nanny of sorts, goes to buy a carriage for his pursuit, and makes sure it represents him well as a man who comes from money. Seeking Jane’s help, he pleads, “You must see the carriage, Jane, and tell me if you don’t think it will suit Mrs. Rochester exactly.” (Hanne Keiling)
Somewhat remotely related to Jane Eyre as well but sadly missing from the list, we would suggest Thursday Next's (the heroine of Jasper Fforde's series of books) Speedster.

PopMatters reviews Minae Mizumura's A True Novel:
If you have heard of Minae Mizumura’s A True Novel at all, it’s likely for one of two reasons: Either because it has been loosely inspired by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (Mizumura makes a reference in the beginning of the novel to “the desire to emulate being the basis of all art”) or because of its unusual structure. A True Novel is a “nested” novel which, over its 855 pages, unpeels like a giant onion.
There never seems to be a clearly delineated point in this narrative—which centers on a grimly self-made Japanese man, the handsome and Heathcliffian, Taro Azuma—when the story actually “starts”, in the way one expects a traditional novel to begin. In fact, the novel commences with a 165-page prologue by a fictionalized version of the author, who positions the story she is about to tell as “true” and introduces the reader to Taro during the period when she knew him, as a chauffeur working in the US in the ‘60s. [...]
The story that follows, narrated by Fumiko through the filter of Yusuke’s memory, centers on Fumiko, Taro, and Yoko, the Cathy-like young woman with whom Taro grows up, loves, is rejected by, and, after her marriage to someone else, has an affair with. Fumiko’s own relationship with the younger Taro is somewhat ambiguous through most of the story, and while reading those portions of the narrative indirectly narrated by Fumiko, one would do well to bear in mind that, in Japanese novels just as in Western ones, the narrator is not always to be entirely trusted. (Michael Antman)
Télérama (France) remarks on the influence Jane Eyre had on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca while Jolie (Germany) selects the novel as one of the most beautiful love stories.
Jane Eyre von Charlotte Brontë
Noch ein Klassiker, der wirklich das Lesen wert ist. Die Verfasserin dieses Artikels hat "Jane Eyre" von Charlotte Brontë an einem Tag gelesen, weil es sie so fesselte. Heulattacke inklusive. Eine Liebesgeschichte, wie sie heute auch noch geschehen könnte. Junges Mädchen verliebt sich Hals über Kopf in ihren Chef und damit beginnen die Irrungen und Wirrungen. (Nadine Lang) (Translation)
Current interviews Beth Bellemere, who 'is presenting a program on her “Downton Abbey” adventures at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, at the Scarborough Public Library (Maine)'.
Q: What do you plan to talk about during your presentation at the library?
A: I will start with a fun questionnaire focusing on what the castle looks like now and its history, as well as some of the more interesting aspects of the house and grounds, such as the follies placed in many different locations throughout the property.
I’ve also done a lot of reading around the show and will be talking a little bit about why Julian Fellowes chose Yorkshire as the location for the house, even though that’s not where it is in reality.
I think Yorkshire might have been chosen because a lot of the most popular literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the books written by the Brontë sisters, was based in Yorkshire, in the north of England. (Kate Irish Collins)
Now for some fashion. Vanity Fair (Italy) on the 'greasy wave' as shown by several fashion designers.
Tsumori Chisato
Lo styling è dichiaratamente ispirato all'istitutrice Jane Eyre protagonista dell'omonimo romanzo scritto da Charlotte Brontë: raccolto casto con la riga perfettamente nel mezzo ma con un finish più definito e lucido sulle due bande laterali ondulate che incorniciano la fronte. (Eleonora Negri) (Translation)
Vogue (Spain) makes one of those 'never-read-the-novel' kind of comments:
Con una estética juvenil que coge como referencia la estética británica clásica, Gucci actualiza su silueta. Mientras que su predecesora y compañera, Frida Giannini, pretendía continuar en cierto modo el legado sexy de Tom Ford, Michele propone una era con prendas suaves que acarician la piel. Ha sido un desfile interesante y fresco con el que la firma se despide del glamour y abraza una nueva sensibilidad. Pero no hay lugar para la nostalgia (o sí, pero únicamente para la que añorar los años 70 o el allure que envuelve la obra de Jane Eyre). (Beatriz de Asís) (Translation)
But the blunder of the day comes from Vogue UK (EDIT: It has been corrected now). It's not the first time we see it, but it never ever fails to make us laugh out loud:
"I love Jane Eyre," said the designer [Alessandro Michele], referring to the heroine of Jane Austen's best-known novel. (Suzy Menkes)
Finally, the Brontë Parsonage Museum Facebook page surprises us with the fact that Samantha Ellis (author of How To Be A Heroine) is 'doing research for her forthcoming book about Anne Brontë'. CSJL Literary Jewelry and Aanna Greer are discussing Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at February 28, 2015 10:51 AM

Voice and Piano

A new cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights just for voice and piano:

PianoAndRoll YouTube Channel

O canal brasileiro de rock para piano gravou esse mês com a vocalista Lucy Silversong a "Wuthering Heights" no estilo lírico.
A música é mundialmente conhecida em sua versão composta e interpretada por Kate Bush.
A banda brasileira Angra popularizou ainda mais a música no mundo do rock com sua versão contida álbum Angels Cry. Na apresentação no Rock in Rio em 2011, a banda tocou a música com a participação especial da Tarja Tureman. (Everton Soares on Whiplash)

by M. ( at February 28, 2015 10:41 AM

From the great Victorian grandeur to the beauty of the moors

The Telegraph and Argus reports that Brontë Country is one of the destinations selected as part of a new national tourism campaign.
Brontë Country is among destinations across the district being promoted as part of a new initiative.
Visit Bradford is taking part in a national campaign showcasing the region’s heritage.
The venture is part of a VisitEngland project, which will include a series of national radio adverts.
Several itineraries in the district will be spotlighted, including a visit to Haworth and the chance to experience life as a Bronte sister.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for employment, skills and culture, said: “We are delighted to be working with VisitEngland on this campaign to promote our heritage to visitors from near and far.
“Bradford has a rich and fascinating history and this is highlighted by the variety of experiences people can enjoy across the district this spring.
"There’s something for everyone, from the great Victorian grandeur to the beauty of the moors.
“People who wouldn’t normally consider visiting the Bradford district are going to find out about all the wonderful experiences we have to offer.”
If you'd like to see how much tourism has changed in the area, do take a walk down memory lane with Keighley News and reminisce about the local Brontë bus firm.

Flavorwire reviews the play You on the Moors Now, currently on stage in New York City.
Last night I saw You on the Moors Now, an experimental play currently running in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which cannily combines characters and plot points from four novels: Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The story, such as it is, consists of the respective heroines banding together after spurning their various suitors. They end up camping out on the moors. Meanwhile, they are pursued by the rejected men, themselves united in an attempt at revenge, or requited love, or some other concession. The cast features a delightfully queered Mr. Darcy, a manic Jane Eyre who longs to travel in space, a Cathy Earnshaw with unexpectedly pronounced leadership qualities, and sundry twists and gimmicks which wouldn’t have worked if much of the audience didn’t have a basic understanding of at least a few of the four novels.
A cast of jeans-clad secondary characters switch in and out of minor roles, giving pleasure to audience members like me who know lots of inside-baseball (or inside-drawing-room) references: four-and-20 families is the number of people Mrs. Bennet brags she dines with. Nelly Dean is the unreliable narrator of much of Wuthering Heights, and so on and so forth. Amusing as well is the way that writer Jaclyn Backhaus enlists these minor players into espionage, spying for either Team Men or Team Women as the tension heats up. [...]
The idea of remixing and reinventing these classics of “women’s literature” is hardly new. Popular romance and mystery novelist Georgette Heyer traded in books that were sophisticated Austen fan-fiction, while Daphne DuMaurier and Jean Rhys were spinning off the Brontës, offering their own retort to these earlier authors. And still, the echoes of these formative books’ plots in literature are everywhere. Wuthering Heights is the godmother of a lot of YA romance, with its privileging of intense, all-consuming emotion and its angst about sex and the end of childhood’s gender freedom. Jane Eyre is the parent of feminist resistance novels and Gothic romance all at once, while Pride and Prejudice gave birth to the romantic comedy structure and the use of satire and wit to critique a male-driven world. [...]
But for those of us who are influenced by this canon, which is quite a large group of readers of all genders and backgrounds, these texts are foundational due to the way they occupy themselves with the sometimes conflicting ideals of self-actualization and romantic love. In You, on the Moors, for instance, the female characters travel away, finding jobs, even studying organic chemistry. Eventually, in the show’s final scenes, some are able to find love, but only after having “found themselves” first. This isn’t really a new innovation. In fact, it underscores the plot points that all the novels (save the more complicated Wuthering Heights) share: a woman’s journey is first to an understanding of both her limitations and her power. Love comes later, a cherry on top. [...]
At its best, You, on the Moors Now uses canonical characters to provide a cutting commentary on the kind of gender norms that bloggers and personal essays writers are tackling every day. “These men, they grieve,/ They go riding/ Or they travel/ Or they ask someone else to marry them/ Or they take it out on the person nearest them/ Or all of the above,” says Lizzy Bennet. To which Jane Eyre chimes in, sounding decidedly modern: “The world gives them the chance to ‘get over it’/And we climb over hills away from them/ We starve ourselves/ And run away.” (Sarah Seltzer)
More moors as three reviews of the film Catch Me Daddy mention Wuthering Heights.
This tremendous debut feature by British brothers Daniel and Matthew Wolfe opens with a deadened rendition of Ted Hughes’ Heptonstall Old Church. Mist rolls over the shabby roofs of nowhere towns. Most of the film’s characters live in mobile homes surrounded by gorse and heather. They subsist on milkshakes and anything that dulls the pain: prescription pills, weed, alcohol, cocaine and cheap crystallised concoctions.
This is recognisably Hughes’ Yorkshire: its pitiless poetry is ever ready to engulf its unfortunate human inhabitants. But it is equally the tramping ground of Emily Brontë, where the darkest nights harbour and hide runaways and doomed romantics not unlike the youngsters at the heart of this riveting thriller. Neither Brontë nor Hughes knew that their moors would someday host a sizable Asian community. (Tara Brady in The Irish Times)
Critics have likened Catch Me Daddy to the classically British social realism of Ken Loach or Andrea Arnold. Daniel Wolfe objects. "It's too easy, isn't it? Because it's up north, it's got street cast people, [they label it as] Ken Loach," he says. "It's not social realism and it doesn't intend to be. None of our influences were that. I love Andrea Arnold; Wuthering Heights is in one of my favorite films of the last five years. But she wasn't an influence on this." (Rachel Segal Hamilton on Vice)
It’s a British film. The plot is much ado about nothing much. On the Yorkshire moors, six nasty thugs in two separate cars pursue a runaway couple at the beck of the Asian girl’s father. But the direction, by first-timer Daniel Wolfe (co-scripting with brother Matthew), and editing (Dominic Leung, Tom Lindsay) are often dazzling. And the cinephile’s brain — this cinephile’s at least — is starting to boggle at the number of films cinematographer Robbie Ryan is turning to gold, whatever their original element. He did it for Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (same location, almost same plot). He has done it for Ken Loach. In Catch Me Daddy, shooting increasingly at night as the film gathers pace and tension, his work is astonishing. (Nigel Andrews in Financial Times)
Writer Anna Todd picks Wuthering Heights as one of her favourite books for Cosmopolitan.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It took me two reads of this to understand it, but once I did, I was in love with the angsty, destructive relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff.
The Telegraph shares 10 'surprising facts' about John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
• It came out on a Friday
The book was published on Friday April 14, 1939, on the same day that the film Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier, had its premiere in New York. It was also the day that President Roosevelt wrote to Hitler to say: "Are you willing to give assurance that your armed forces will not attack or invade the territory or possessions of the following independent nations?" with a list that included Poland, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Ireland. (Martin Chilton)
Rté's The entertainment network reviews the film The Boy Next Door.
Claire is suitably impressed by the garage door stunt, but spends the next few days trying to figure out what she is really impressed by. She is plunged into a welter of what would be termed ‘hot flushes,’ if we were discussing a Jane Eyre costume drama. (Paddy Kehoe)
That indefatigable fan of Charlotte Brontë's, Santiago Posteguillo, is interviewed by La Razón (Argentina).
Qué hay que leer sí o sí? Todo lo que está sugerido en estas anécdotas. Pero “Jane Eyre”, de Charlotte Brontë, es la más hermosa historia de amor. (Paula Conde) (Translation)
The Lewisville Leader mentions a local student whose favourite books is Jane Eyre while Patheos's Love among the Ruins examines the novel from the 'Theology of the Body' perspective.

The Brontë Society thanks members on Facebook for the wonderful response received when they asked for spare copies of Brontë novels to send to a school in Algeria.

by Cristina ( at February 28, 2015 10:14 AM

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • Little and Wise; Or Rabbi Agur's School (RTS, n.d.).  A ca. 1900 reprint of this 1872 set of moral fables for children, as supposedly taught by Agur ben Jakeh.  Also known as Rabbi Agur's School and Its Four Teachers.  (eBay)
  • William Mallock, Tristram Lacy, or the Individualist (Macmillan, 1899).  Satire of late-Victorian upper-class literary/intellectual circles by the eternally cranky Mallock.  Not well-received at the time (this copy is uncut).  Mallock is arguably best known for being repurposed.  (eBay)
  • Thomas Keneally, Shame and the Captives (Atria, 2015).  Historical novel based on the real escape of Japanese POWs from a camp near Cowra in 1944.  (Amazon)
  • Christopher Moore, The Serpent of Venice (Morrow, 2015).  Another one of Moore's Shakespeare burlesques (with an added dollop of Poe); no points for guessing which play this is based on.  (Lift Bridge)

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 28, 2015 03:17 AM

February 27, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Adopt a Poet

Eckleburg asks you to adopt a writer or artist. One of the, is the poet Rita Maria Martinez, author of Jane-in-the-Box, who contributes with the poem  Jane Eyre Dreams of Laci Peterson:
This work is free and available to read and view below. We do encourage all readers, however, to support our contributors’ and editors’ hard work by participating in the Adopt a Writer program. Your gift through this page will support the participating contributor directly and immediately. 60% of each and every gift goes directly to individual participating contributors within seconds. Please consider gifting whatever is comfortable for you. Every little bit helps. Keep writers and artists fed and off the streets. More information here.

Jane Eyre Dreams of Laci Peterson
by Rita Maria Martinez

Captivated by stories of abusive relationships,
of mysterious deaths and missing persons,
I watched late night programs like Wicked Attraction,The New Detectives, and Deadly Women.Fascinated by blood splatter theory, gunpowder residue,
fingerprint bruises on abandoned female corpses,
I hoped to crack the code behind Bertha’s unabashed cackle,
wondered if I could cope with Eddie’s cockamamie
plan to keep her caged like a gerbil. One evening I caught
a recap on Laci’s fate: The bay slowly erasing her features
as her husband nonchalantly purchased and watched
snuff films, streamed an endless parade of women
on his high def screen, their faces eventually blurring
like his wife’s. He could barely remember what the wifey
looked like—though her photo was plastered everywhere,
so pretty and preggers in that little black cocktail dress.
Finally, the decomposed body surfaced,
limbs drifting like disembodied mannequin parts.
After the baby washed ashore, those at the morgue admired
its perfectly formed fingernails, its golden eyelashes,
which flooded my thoughts, then my dreams, for months.
Always the same image: Conner’s eyelashes dissolving
into a warm, golden light enveloping Laci,
who eternally sleeps on a bed of sand, seashells
nestled and glowing in her hair.

*Laci Denise Peterson (1975–2002) was an American woman who went missing while seven and a half months pregnant with her first child. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted of murder in the first degree for Laci and in the second degree for their prenatal son, Conner.

by M. ( at February 27, 2015 12:30 AM

February 26, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Jane Eyre opens in Birmingham

A new adaptation of Jane Eyre opens today, February 26, in Birmingham, UK:
Blue Orange Theatre presents
Jane Eyre
Adapted by Eric Gracey
26th February -7th March

Charlotte Brontë’s tale of a young woman’s courageous fight through injustice and hardship was a revolution in literary fiction. It is a story that continues to inspire and enthrall over 150 years after its publication.
Jane’s life begins with physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her aunt. During her time at school, her spiritual and moral sensibilities flourish despite continued oppression.
Eventually, Jane is employed as a governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls in love with Edward Rochester, master of the house. Rochester eventually proposes to Jane but the complexities of his past ensure that Jane’s struggles are far from over.
Spring Tour 2015
26th February - 7th MarchBlue Orange Theatre, Birmingham
8th March North Hall, Leamington Spa
11th March Kings Lynn Arts Centre, Norfolk
12th MarchDiss Corn Hall, Norfolk
13th MarchThe Cut, Norfolk
14th MarchTheatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay
15th March Swindon Arts Centre, Swindon
17th-18th March Loughborough Town Hall
19th MarchBierkeller, Bristol
20th MarchQueens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury
21st MarchLichfield Garrick, Lichfield
23rd MarchThe Groundlings, Portsmouth
24th March  The Lights, Andover
25th March  The Hawth, Crawley
26th March Library Theatre, Solihull
27th March The Artrix, Bromsgrove
28th March Leicester Guildhall, Leicester
7th May The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
8th May Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells 

by M. ( at February 26, 2015 12:30 AM

Regency Ramble

Past Thrills for you

Celebrating Historical Romantic Suspense with a Rafflecopter giveaway

Captured Countess by Ann Lethbridge

Never trust a spy!

Nicoletta, the Countess Vilandry, is on a dangerous mission—to lure fellow spy Gabriel D'Arcy into bed and into revealing his true loyalties. With such sensual games at play and such strong sensations awakened, suddenly Nicky's dangerously close to exposing her real identity.
Gabe knows that the countess has been sent to seduce him. The only question is to what end? He's never met such a captivating woman—and he's determined to enjoy every seductive second she spends as his very willing captive!

"Plenty of tension and dangerous excitement blended with poignancy and passion." —RT Book Reviews on Falling for the Highland Rogue

 The de Valery Code by Darcy Burke

Miss Margery Derrington and her dear aunts are in dire straits. Their discovery of a rare medieval manuscript will hopefully stave off their creditors—if it’s worth what they hope. Margery reluctantly allies with a reclusive scholar to use the book to pursue a treasure that could exceed her expectations. Amidst danger, secrets, and an insatiable attraction, is Margery gambling just her financial future . . . or her heart?

 Academic Rhys Bowen can’t believe he has his hands on the elusive de Valery text. Solving its hidden code and unearthing its legendary treasure would establish him as one of Britain’s leading antiquarians, finally casting him out of his brilliant late father’s shadow. But when a centuries-old organization convinces Rhys of the perils of disturbing the past, he must choose between his conscience…and the captivating woman he’s sworn to help.

Click the above link to participate. Visit

Until next time.

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 26, 2015 12:00 AM

February 25, 2015


Currer Bell's love for Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds

The Guardian reports that a copy of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds (mentioned in Jane Eyre) that belonged to Frances Currer is for sale.
A rare first edition of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds belonging to Frances Currer, the woman believed to have inspired Charlotte Brontë’s pseudonym of Currer Bell, has come to light.
Dubbed “England’s earliest female bibliophile” in Seymour de Ricci’s history of collectors, Frances Mary Richardson Currer’s library in her family home of Eshton Hall, Yorkshire, ran to 15,000 to 20,000 volumes. Among them lay Bewick’s classic of British ornithology - the work Jane Eyre is reading as Charlotte Brontë’s novel opens, and whose “enchanted page[s]” the author also celebrated in poetry. [...]
Currer herself would have been known to the Brontës, said the antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch in its catalogue for the edition: she was the patron of the Cowan Bridge School, attended by Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily, and was known locally as a generous patron.
“It is thought that she was the ‘benevolent individual, a wealthy lady, in the West Riding of Yorkshire’ who gave £50 in 1821 to a fund to aid the impoverished and recently widowed curate of Howarth [sic] – Patrick Brontë,” said the bookseller.
The first page of the manuscript of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, who wrote the novel under the pseudonym Currer Bell – now believed to be taken from local patron Frances Currer.
In an essay, scholar Marianne Thormahlen goes so far as to suggest that “it is not impossible that Charlotte herself had access to Miss Currer’s books at some point”. Winifred Gérin, meanwhile, writes that “while a governess at the Sidgwicks, Charlotte had certainly heard much of their neighbour, Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Skipton, whose property touched Stonegappe, and whose library was famous throughout the north”.
“There are many points of contact between Currer and the Brontë family,” said Mark James at Bernard Quaritch, “but frustratingly, as far as I know, it is not known whether Charlotte and Frances Currer ever met.”
Despite this, the bookseller writes in its catalogue that it is “generally thought” that Frances Currer inspired the Currer Bell pseudonym Charlotte Brontë would go on to adopt. The novelist would later write that she and her sisters Emily and Anne, who took on the pseudonyms Ellis and Acton Bell, made the “ambiguous choice” of names because of a “sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice”.
Bernard Quaritch acquired Currer’s edition of British Birds at auction from the estate of a private collector, and has priced it at £5,000. Just 1,000 volumes were printed of the first volume and 1,750 of the second, and James at the antiquarian bookseller said that “sets in very good contemporary bindings like this are scarce”. [...]
Bewick’s work was popular for its wood engravings depicting birds in their natural habitats. The Brontë children’s own edition was much read and copied, Christine Alexander going so far as to write in The Brontës in the World of the Arts that “the profound effect that Bewick’s two-volume History of British Birds, in particular, had on the creative development of the Brontës cannot be overestimated”. (Alison Flood)
The Huffington Post on 'How To Be Married To A Writer'.
You have a very hard time believing the Brontë sisters sat around the fire every evening and took the piss out of their father and brother. Perhaps you should have married a modern-day equivalent of a Brontë sister, although to be honest, that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, either -- all that depressed scribbling in journals in itty-bitty handwriting and pressure to take part in the parish and whatnot. But still, you believe the Brontë sisters respected their menfolk. At least more than your wife does. (Katherine Heiny)
Vulture has a recap of episode 10 season 19 of The Bachelor in which
 Chris looks longingly to the sea as Becca strolls back and forth aimlessly, like two leads in a tropical Brontë novel. (Ali Barthwell)
Beware of spoilers in this analysis of the second season of Broadchurch on Digital Spy.
By far the most successful additions to the Broadchurch cast in series two were James D'Arcy and Eve Myles as damaged Heathcliff and Cathy wannabes Lee Ashworth and Claire Ripley.
Their relationship was every bit as fascinating as it was toxic and it's been quite a marvel (no pun intended) these past weeks watching D'Arcy simultaneously play out two hugely contrasting performances - as Lee and as mannered gentleman Edwin Jarvis on US series Agent Carter.
Torchwood star Myles meanwhile played wonderfully against type as the troubled Claire - her chemistry with D'Arcy, with David Tennant, with Olivia Colman, was hypnotic and the ambiguity of Claire's relationship with Hardy (did they? didn't they?) was engaging. (Morgan Jeffery)
And finally The Guardian describes Cary Fukunaga's take on Jane Eyre as 'critically adored'.

by Cristina ( at February 25, 2015 11:20 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Johann Wilhelm Preyer (1803-1889), mostly fruit

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A portrait of the artist by Johann Peter Hasenclever

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February 25, 2015 09:26 AM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Readers’ Review for Alice on The Diane Rehm Show

There was a discussion of Alice at 11am ET on February 25 on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR.  Special guests Rosemary Jann – professor of English at George Mason University, John Pfordrescher – professor of English at Georgetown University, and Lizzie Skurnick editor-in-chief Lizzie Skurnick Books.

Also be sure to check out the article on Alice in video on her show page.

by Matt at February 25, 2015 02:46 AM


Wuthering Heights in Todmorden and more

Several alerts for today, February 25:

In Todmorden, UK:
Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society presents
Wuthering Heights
Adapted by Lucy Gough
With Tom Jennings, Madeleine Jefferson, Ben Coup, Rosie Crowther, Emily Coup, Richard Holley and Emma Cook
Hippodrome Theatre, 25th - 28th Feb 2015

Lucy Gough has written a passionate new adaptation of the timeless classic. Emily Brontë's gothic tale of tortured love is brought to the stage in all its turbulent, passionate glory. Long before Twilight stirred the emotions of a generation, Wuthering Heights embodied the eternal pull between good and evil, dark and light, and heaven and hell.
This exhilarating and vibrant adaptation of the literary classic brings to life the all-encompassing love between the taciturn, brooding Heathcliff and the emotionally unstable Catherine. Their destructive relationship is one of the most enduring love stories of English literature. It's terrific theatre which is completely true to the essence of the book.
The Story (in brief for those that don’t know it!) When the orphaned Heathcliff is taken in by the Earnshaw family, the two children of the family, Catherine and Hindley, react very differently – while Cathy and Heathcliff develop a strong bond and affectionate love for one another, Hindley is jealous of his fatherʼs and sisterʼs love of the adopted stray. From this beginning grows a tempestuous and haunting tale about love, revenge and belonging, over several generations. This adaptation is extremely close to the much loved original novel, while exploiting the sheer dramatic potential of the story to the full.
More information in Hebden Bridge Times or Todmorden News.

In Irvine, CA:
Woodbridge High School presents
Jane Eyre. The Musical
by Paul Gordon & John Caird.
WHS Theater February 25-28, 7.00 PM
In Rocky River, OH:
Rocky River Pubic Library
Reel Film and Book Discussion
Start Time: 6:30 PM
 Jane Eyre
Has Valentine’s Day got you in the mood for a little romance? Read Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel and then come to enjoy this 2011 film adaptation starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. After the movie, attendees are encouraged to stay and take part in a short, open discussion comparing the film to the book.
Location: Auditorium + Hauser Room

by M. ( at February 25, 2015 12:23 AM

The Brontë books were safe

The Derby Telegraph tells the story of an avid reader and Brontëite who has won a Kindle after some of her books were damaged by water.
Readers were asked who wrote the classic novel Jane Eyre? Luckily for Charlotte Brontë fan Michelle, she instantly knew the answer. Michelle said: "The Brontë sisters are some of my favourite writers. I couldn't believe it. I entered straight away.
"I never thought I would win, though. I was so surprised when I got the call to say it was me."
Michelle said copies of her Brontë novels were not damaged in the water leak.
But she said she was forced to throw some of her other novels out.
She added: "My bookcase was against the wall which had been damaged by the roof leak.
"My Brontë books were safe, though, because they were in a box that I hadn't unpacked yet."
La Nación (Argentina) features Santiago Posteguillo, a well-known Brontëite.
Cada vez que el profesor Posteguillo cuenta en su clase de literatura inglesa que Charlotte Brönte (sic) tuvo una vida muy triste y que el único hombre al que quiso no le respondió siquiera una carta, sus alumnos no dudan en devorar Jane Ayre [sic], la novela de esa escritora considerada entre las historias de amor más bellas. [...]
5 La historia de amor de Jane Eyre redime la de su autora. Charlotte Brönte [sic] fue testigo de la muerte por tuberculosis de sus hermanas; el hombre del que se enamoró no le correspondió (ni siquiera le contesto una sola de sus numerosas cartas). Frente a estas desventuras, en vez de sumirse en la depresión o quitarse la vida, Brontë escribió Jane Eyre. "Una obra maestra de la literatura -dice Posteguillo- en la que su autora se premia en la ficción con una felicidad que no encontró en su vida real." (Silvina Premat) (Translation)
It's a somewhat 'print-the-legend' version of events, though.

We had never stopped to think about it, but according to Bustle,
the first novel to include first person narration from a child’s perspective was Jane Eyre in 1847, and if that’s how long it took literature to acknowledge the perspectives of young people, it’s no surprise that it took until well into the 20th century to start writing books aimed at young adults. (Emma Cueto)
Página 12 (Argentina) lists fictional characters who may have influenced Christian Grey.
Así, Grey junto al borrascoso y en la cumbre Heathcliff, a Drácula (quien pone a Mina de rodillas), a Rhett Butler (con Scarlett escaleras arriba), al Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks de Annie seguramente pederasta, a Jay Gatsby (sus camisas son las mejores), al Bond-James-Bond de las novelas, al Paul de Ultimo tango en París, al ya mencionado John Gray (James ni se molestó en cambiar la fonética del apellido) de Nueve semanas y media, al Edward Lewis de Pretty Woman, a Patrick “American Psycho” Bateman (¿por qué conformarse con una fusta cuando se tiene una sierra eléctrica?), al chino Lee de El amante, al Brandon Sullivan de Shame y, por supuesto, a Madonna: quien dijo que lo de la James es inverosímil (“porque no hay hombres que practiquen tanto sexo oral”) y para que los ponga a todos en su sitio: sitio muy estrecho, entre correas y cuero rojo y negro. (Rodrigo Fresán) (Translation)
Libération (France) has an article on Janeites.
Il est toutefois surprenant de voir le pays de Voltaire succomber à cette vogue austenienne, faite de mariages de raison et de gentlemen sexy qui débarquent dans le comté. «En France, on a plutôt tendance à aimer le bruit et la fureur, de Byron à Faulkner – ou alors les sœurs Brontë», avance Laurent Folliot, maître de conférences en littérature britannique à la Sorbonne. De fait, l’œuvre d’Austen a longtemps été méconnue en France. Voire considérée comme de la romance améliorée. (Johanna Luyssen) (Translation)
Books with Bite talks about Wuthering Heights and its less than satisfactory adaptations;  Bedlam Magazine 'dissects' both Fifty Shades of Grey and Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at February 25, 2015 12:07 AM

February 24, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The Cat's Meat Shop

Gruel-swollen paupers

GIN TEMPLES – The expense in fitting up gin-shop bars in London is almost incredible, everyone one vieing with his neighbour in convenient arrangements, general display, rich carving, bass work, finely-veined mahogany, gilding, and ornamental painting. The carving at one ornament alone in the Grapes gin-shop, Old-street-road, cost £100; the workmanship was by one of the first carvers in London. Three gin-shops have been lately fitted up in Red Lion-street, at an expense, for the bar alone, of upwards of 2000l. Times was when gin was only to be found in by-lanes and blind-allies – in dirty obscure holes, ‘ycleped dram-shops; but not gin is become a giant demi-god – a mighty spirit, dwelling in gaudy gold-bespattered temples, erected to his honour in every street, and worshipped by countless thousands, who daily sacrifice at his shrine their health, their strength, their money, their minds, their bodies, their wives, children, sacred home, and liberty. Juggernaut is but a fool to him, for the devotees of Juggernaut, though they put themselves into the way of being crushed to death beneath his chariot wheels, are put out of their misery at once; but the devotees of the great spirit Gin devote themselves to lingering misery; for his sake they are content to drag on a degraded nasty existence – to see their children pine, dwindle and famish, to steep themselves in poverty to the very lips, and die at last poor, sneaking, beadle-kicked, gruel-swollen paupers! In these temples of the great spirit Gin may be seen maudlin, unwashed multitudes, the ancient and the infant of a span long, old men and maidens, grandsires and grandams, fathers and mothers, husbands, wives and children, crowding, jostling, and sucking in the pardons of the spirit which the flaunting priestesses dole out to them in return for their copper offerings. – Sunday in London

The Times, 5 February 1834

by Lee Jackson ( at February 24, 2015 04:24 AM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Peanuts Panel & Swag

As part of the fantabulous Peanuts in Wonderland show at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, a panel will be discussing Carroll in the Comics at 1 pm on Saturday, March 7. The panel will consist of cartoon historian Craig Yoe, president emeritus Mark Burstein, and Malcolm Whyte and Andrew Farago of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. Be there!

But if you can’t be there, you can still get in on the swag from the Schulz’s online gift shop!  Sip some Wonderland Blueberry Lemon Tea ($8) from your Disappearing Cheshire Beagle Mug ($18) while wearing the Peanuts in Wonderland T-shirt ($19) and staring at your lovely Bookmark ($3).

by Mark Burstein at February 24, 2015 02:33 AM


A Practical Jane Eyre Reader

This scholar book with Brontë content has been republished:
A Practical Reader in Contemporary Literary Theory
By Peter Brooker, Peter Widdowson
Routledge October 20th 2014

This introduction to practicing literary theory is a reader consisting of extracts from critical analyses, largely by 20th century Anglo-American literary critics, set around major literary texts that undergraduate students are known to be familiar with. It is specifically targeted to present literary criticism through practical examples of essays by literary theorists themselves, on texts both within and outside the literary canon. Four example essays are included for each author/text presented. 
The book contains the chapter:  4. Charlotte Brontë's " Jane Eyre". (Critics): V. Woolf, Marxist-Feminist Collective, S. Gilbert and S. Gubar, G. Spivak

by M. ( at February 24, 2015 12:35 AM

Humourless Satan

We think that writer Ian Weir might be taking things a tad too far when he says in The Province,
“Satan is the character that has defined the modern anti-hero. The Byronic hero is Milton’s Satan, the Brontë sisters, Rochester, Heathcliff, that’s Milton’s Satan, translated into a different form.” (Peter Darbyshire)
Scarsdale's Hamlet Hub reviews Samantha Ellis's How To Be A Heroine.
At the heart of Ellis’ exploration is the belief that reading books can show us how to live. This is a belief I share passionately. I could see, reading “How to Be a Heroine,” that Ellis and I have sought different answers through books. My preoccupation has been more with deepening my capacity for empathy, which seems to come quite naturally to Ellis. She and I also have different taste in books. From the 19th century, I prefer Dickens and Trollope to the Brontës because I must have humor. “Jane Eyre” was a bit overwrought for my liking, and I never have understood the appeal of Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights.” (Sally Allen)
Lima Ohio features a high school student whose favourite book is Wuthering Heights. Rochester is the literary hunk of Feburary in Book Perfume.

by Cristina ( at February 24, 2015 12:24 AM

February 23, 2015

The Little Professor

The Sister of Charity: Unexpected adventures in bizarre Victorian proofreading

There are times when exploring non-canonical fiction opens up all sorts of new intellectual worlds to explore.  New authors! New ideas! New narrative forms! New tropes!

And then, there are times when exploring non-canonical fiction leads you to contemplate a new life as a George Eliot specialist.

This would be one of the latter.

If you're going to study nineteenth-century Catholic fiction, then it's impossible to escape Anna Hanson Dorsey (1815-96), an American novelist who was extremely popular in the USA and enjoyed some measure of transatlantic success.   Unfortunately, "success" does not equate with "remains readable," and the experience of reading Dorsey's work is somewhat akin to being clocked over the head by a never-ending stream of clumsy adjectives and adverbs, then slowly drowned beneath waves of dialogue unlike anything that ever has been or ever will be spoken by mortal tongues.  In The Sister of Charity, characters have a bad habit of declaiming thus:

"I know, I know, that these tumultuous feelings are not natural to me, dearest father; I fear nothing for myself, but oh! some strange, sad presentiment assures me, that human life is struggling in wild agonies with those waves whose loud thunder we hear—that prayers which can only be heard in heaven mingle with the blast—that ere long, the brave, the lion-hearted, the fair and good, will go down to their death, beneath the waters of yon furious ocean; within hearing almost of our sheltered home."  (I.9-10)

In other words, there's a ship out there in a storm.

I managed to get about one hundred pages into Charles Dolman's UK reprinting of The Sister of Charity before reaching peak exasperation.  It's time to defuse my ire by diffusing it, as it were...

I. 96: We're in the midst of an apparently hopeless murder trial--for patricide, no less.  The young and hunky Herbert, a lawyer, has been brought in as part of a last-ditch effort to save the defendant; the defendant is a saintly Catholic, whereas Herbert, while (as I said) young and hunky, is also addicted to laudanum (gulp) and, even, worse...

I.98: ...reads Voltaire.  Shock, horror, &c.

I.103: The prisoner "fell fainting back on some kind breast, which sprang forwards under a momentary impulse, to save him from falling."  Somebody's chest detached itself from their body and took pity on the prisoner?

I.103: The author declines to transcribe the "burning eloquence" of Herbert's speech, which is probably wise, under the circumstances.  Not only is the speech "burning," but it's also akin to "the lightning-fires of heaven" and tinctured with "immortal fire."  It's amazing that the pages haven't scorched.

I.104: Dorsey really likes "lightning," I guess.

I.105: In a fit of guilt, the real murderer shows up and exonerates the prisoner.  Now we have fratricide instead of patricide.

I.110: The murderous uncle, having cleared his nephew, conveniently drops dead right after his confession.  Violent relations can be so aggravating.

I.111: Uncle-the-corpse is "trampled out of all resemblance to humanity," which is presumably some sort of cosmic poetic justice at work.

I.117: Herbert turns out to be terribly anti-Catholic, which means that he is either going to die horribly or convert and die pleasantly.

I.119: "Evelyn Herbert, are you an atheist?"  I will pause a moment to allow all of my readers to recover from this terrible shock.

Moving on.

I.124: Alas, in the wake of Herbert's revelation, the beauteous Corinne is most unsympathetic to his marriage proposal.  You would have thought that Herbert might have noticed the atmosphere growing distinctly icy.

I.126: Also, Herbert apparently needed to use breath mints.

I.132: Herbert resorts to "copious potations" in order to get over the sting of rejection.  

Just taking a drink was not, I gather, sufficiently elegant for Dorsey's tastes.

I.132: When drunk, Herbert has a habit of "declaiming" atheism like "a madman."  He turns out to be a fan of Lucretius, Zeno, and Epicurus, all of whom Dorsey's readers should be careful to avoid.

I.133: Mom charitably wishes that her son had "died" of illness as a boy instead of living to drink alcohol and read Voltaire.  

I.143-48: We pause our drama to explain the life of a sister in the order of St. Vincent de Paul.

I.150: I'm not sure that the name "Father Borgia" would have conjured up the most positive associations...

I.158-59: We pause our drama again in order to demonstrate how to set up a domestic oratory.

I.168: Protestant nations are given not just to all manner of horrors, but also to "fanaticism" and, even worse, "transcendentalism."  Ralph Waldo Emerson, what have you done?

I.176: After expounding on the difference between Catholic nations (good) and Protestant (bad), we move on to explicating the role of images in Catholic worship.  As in a Protestant novel, this is a signal to hit "monologue mode" on the character's control panel.

I.183: What the--Dolman's must have made a printing error and transposed a lot of text, because while the page numbers are correct, the action has skipped mid-word to an entirely different scene.  I am confuzzled.  Is there a Tardis handy? Perhaps we could send a proofreader back in time.

In case you're wondering, Herbert's mother seems to have collapsed.  

I.184: Now we're back to our first speaker, but we're still missing a chunk of his monologue.  I mean, that's probably all for the best, but...

I.185: And now we're back to Herbert (I guess), threatening someone (who?) with a stone pitcher.  This certainly lends a postmodern aura to the proceedings.

I.186: OK, we're back to our first speaker at Elverton Hall, whose monologue apparently concluded while the narrative skipped to this...other thing.  Perhaps the rest of the monologue will show up in Herbert's scene?

I.188: Well, we had about two pages in the same scene, and now we're somewhere else entirely.  This is the most bizarre reading experience I've had in some time.  I can only imagine what some literary theorist, happening upon this book two thousands year from now, will conclude about nineteenth-century narrative form. 

I.190:...And we appear to have jumped to the end of the novel, except that we're not yet at the end of volume one.  I need to find a different copy of this book to inflict upon myself read.  




by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 23, 2015 11:03 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


New Spanish editions

A couple of new Spanish editions/adaptations of Brontë novels:
Cumbres BorrascosasEmily Brontë
Fecha de publicación: 13/01/2015
ISBN: 978-84-233-4917-3
Austral Ediciones
Translation: Juan González-Blanco de Luaces

El caso de la escritora inglesa Emily Brontë es verdaderamente excepcional dentro de la literatura. Falleció muy joven, dejando tan sólo una novela, Cumbres borrascosas, la épica historia de Catherine y Heathcliff, situada en los sombríos y desolados páramos de Yorkshire, constituye una asombrosa visión metafísica del destino, la obsesión, la pasión y la venganza. Publicada por primera vez en 1847, un año antes de morir su autora, esta obra rompía por completo con los cánones del «decoro» que la Inglaterra victoriana exigía a toda novela.
Esta obra es una larga y extraordinaria descripción de los actos y problemas psicológicos de unos seres locos o perversos que arrastran una existencia mísera y maléfica. Con ellos, su autora nos ofrece una visión de estos personajes que actúan demoníacamente por aridez protestante que se diluye en todas y en cada una de sus páginas.
And a Jane Eyre adaptation for young readers:
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
Ediciones Susaeta
Leer con susaeta - nivel 4
Illustrator: José María Rueda
Age: 12
ISBN:  9788467739886

En la novela "Jane Eyre", que logró una gran popularidad sobre todo entre las mujeres, Charlotte Brontë nos presenta a una protagonista huérfana y sin dinero, que gracias a su inteligencia y a su esfuerzo consigue cambiar su destino y convertirse en institutriz. Además, Brontë critica muchos aspectos de la sociedad de la época, como las pésimas condiciones de algunas escuelas e internados, algo que ella misma conoció de primera mano.

by M. ( at February 23, 2015 12:30 AM

February 22, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

M et Mme Riesener

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Léon Riesener as portrayed by Delacroix

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Mme Riesener as portrayed by M Riesener

February 22, 2015 10:59 AM


Revering Charlotte

Screenwriter and actor Will Smith (The Thick of It) writes in The Guardian:
As a teenager, I worshipped John Cleese and Stephen Fry and dreamed of being part of a writing or performing troupe. But I also revered Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, so in tandem with forging a career as a standup, occasional actor and comedy writer, I’ve also been trying to write novels.
Also in The Guardian, a review of These Are the Names by Tommy Wiering:
The opening chapter’s title “The Thing Itself” introduces a sense of timeless, elemental human battles, conjuring King Lear’s unaccommodated man in the pitiless storm. The steppe is a symbolic presence, like Hardy’s Egdon Heath or Emily Brontë’s moors, but without their sense of physical place. This landscape, like Lear’s, is often metaphorical; the migrants pass through “the thicket of horrors”, recalling Dante’s midlife “dark wood”. (Phoebe Taplin)
A reader from the Ilkley Gazette defends the maintenance of the Ilkley Literature Festival (The District Council is proposing to cut completely its annual grant):
Finally, let me point out that the Brontë sisters of Haworth, but a stone’s throw away from Bradford, and J B Priestley, the acclaimed author and playwright of Bradford, bear witness to the literary heritage of the district. (Sylvia Mann)
Lisa A. Phillips writes in Cosmopolitan about a dark phase of her life:
Another thing I wish I'd realized was that my pursuit of him wasn't really about him. It was all about me and my needs. Stalking is narcissistic.
That sounds awful. At times, I was awful. But one of the best things about writing Unrequited was that I discovered women who used the self-centeredness of unrequited love not to stalk but to change their lives for the better. Romantic obsession inspired dancer Isadora Duncan, writer Charlotte Brontë, and Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the founding mothers of feminism, to create their greatest works.
The Independent's Bonus Track features the infamous 1978 Top of the Pops cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Thirty years ago next month, the last of those Top of the Pops compilation albums was released. For those lucky enough to be too young to remember them, the albums had nothing to do with the BBC programme of the same name and could not feature the original versions of hit singles. Anyway, in researching whether this might make an interesting article, I listened to some of the songs covered and was disappointed to find most were reasonably well done. And then I came across the Top of the Pops version of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. Is this the worst cover version ever? Decide for yourself…. (Simmy Richman)
The Boston Herald films listing includes Fifty Shades of Grey:
Part “Cinderella,” part “Beauty and the Beast,” part “Jane Eyre” meets “Story of O,” the film is based on the 2011 fangirl fiction best-selling sensation by pseudonymous Brit E.L. James, and it is a giggle-inducing letdown after all the heavy-breathing build-up in a media desperate for something people want to hear about.
 The South China Morning Post reviews the audiobook release of Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet:
First published in 1997, but new to audiobook download, Kate Atkinson's second novel confirmed what her prize-winning debut, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, boldly announced: she's a major literary talent. Our narrator is Isobel Fairfax, who sounds like a Bronte heroine and speaks like one too: "Francis Fairfax, lately ennobled by the Queen, was in receipt, from the Queen's own hand, of a great swathe of land north of the village, on the edge of what remained of the forest." (James Kidd)
The Independent (Ireland) writes about how movies based on novels dominate the Oscars:
Classic fiction has provided the springboard to Oscar victory for many an adaptation, from Emma Thompson's screenplay for Ang Lee's version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility to the 1940 Best Picture win for Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. (Edel Coffey) lists several graphic adaptations of classic novels:
Emily Brontë's only novel has been adapted into a comic book by John M. Burns and edited by Sean Michael Wilson. This work, like other adaptations by publishers Classical Comics, comes in two versions - abridged 'original text' and paraphrased 'quick text'. The latter is aimed at children, and fans of the novel will most enjoy the former. (Shreya Ila Anasuya)
The St George and Southern Utah Independent reminds us the latest performances of Jane Eyre. The Musical at the Brigham's Playhouse:
Our production of the musical drama Jane Eyre is heading into the final two weeks of its run—that means you only have a few more performances left to see this superb cast in such a heartfelt show. The Brigham’s Playhouse experience is complete with mouth-watering confections, Brigham’s Brew Root Beer, and our famous fudge and fresh baked cookies, not to mention a fabulous live orchestra and Broadway-caliber talent in the best seats Southern Utah has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see the endearing tale all ages will love.
The Mary Sue vindicates the educational potential of videogames:
From pop art to poetry, most art forms have found a foothold on school curriculums. But even as tech advancements allow video games to grow ever more expansive in theme and visuals, it’s unlikely that Child of Light will be knocking the Brontës off the reading list anytime soon. You can study Skyrim in Texas, but while Rice University remains in the minority, it does prove that the tides are turning in gamers’ favour. Trouble is, outsiders looking in rarely get past the gore and misogyny of some of the more infamous exponents. Regardless of media hyperbole surrounding sex and violence in video games, there are plenty of titles willing and able to teach you a thing or two. (Elisabeth O'Neill)
Vozpópuli (Spain) interviews the writer Antonio Aparicio (Buenaventura):
Aunque sus editores le emparentan literariamente con la Jane Eyreo (sic) de Charlotte Brontë, lo cierto es que se trata de una historia que pretende y procura envolver a quien se adentra en ella, para ello, Aparicio se vale de algunos mecanismos, unos más efectivos que otros. “Quería dotarla de esa especie de realismo mágico. Ese halo que tiene de misterio, romántico, pienso que una historia de este tipo en esa época en Asturias tiene una carga emocional muy fuerte”. (Karina Sainz Borgo) (Translation)
El País (Spain) mentions the use of pseudonyms by the Brontës:
La autora de Cumbres Borrascosas, Emily Brontë, publicó la novela, considerada hoy día como un clásico de la literatura inglesa, con el varonil nombre de Ellis Bell (apellido que también utilizaron sus dos hermanas para ocultar su verdadero sexo). (Clara Ferrero) (Translation)
Il Fatto Quotidiano and Firenze Post review Faust Marlowe Burlesque  mentioning Wuthering Heights. Just Another Day in Paradise reviews Wuthering Heights.

by M. ( at February 22, 2015 10:50 AM

Haworth History Tour

Amberley Publishing has just published a new book about Haworth:
Haworth History Tour
Steven Wood, Ian Palmer
Amberley Publishing
ISBN: 9781445646275
168 x 124 mm | Paperback | 96 pages | 120 illustrations | February 2015

Haworth is a picturesque Pennine village that is now famed for the Brontë family and the steam railway. Behind the tourist village of today lies a long history of people making a living from the uncompromising moorland of this area. Haworth History Tour takes the reader on a journey through the many changes the village has undergone in its long history. While some areas will seem relatively unchanged, many are now unrecognisable. The curious and nostalgic alike will delight in uncovering or rediscovering the roots of Haworth with the help of this wonderfully illustrated guide.

by M. ( at February 22, 2015 12:05 AM

February 21, 2015


Extraordinary passion

Daily Express asks Judy Finningan (of Richard and Judy fame) about her favourite books. One of them is
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Penguin, £6.99)
Almost the perfect prototype as a woman’s novel. Jane is a poor orphaned child but she’s not a victim. She eventually becomes a governess and the romance starts with Mr Rochester, the archetypal sexy hero. Then you get the drama of his mad wife. The passion is extraordinary. I try to read it once a year. (Caroline Rees)
The Wall Street Journal asks Samantha Ellis to share her favourite novels about spinsters. She connects a couple of them to Jane Eyre.
South Riding
By Winifred Holtby (1936)
4. ‘I was born to be a spinster, and by God, I’m going to spin” is the mantra of Sarah Burton, who moves to Yorkshire determined to dedicate herself to her new job as the progressive headmistress of a girls’ school. Of course it doesn’t quite work out that way. Holtby throws brooding local landowner Robert Carne into Sarah’s path, and heartache ensues. This big, bold book riffs on “Jane Eyre” (Robert even has a mad wife), but it is painted on a much bigger canvas than Charlotte Brontë’s novel; Sarah has come to Yorkshire with an agenda. “I want my girls to know they can do anything,” she says, as she encourages Lydia Holly, a clever girl from the slums, to pursue her ambitions, and Sarah finds her own mentor in inspiring, invincible Mrs. Beddows, the first female alderman on the local council, who shows her that there are many ways to live passionately, that she can become an altruist and an activist and make the world a better place. The novel works toward her realization that “we are not only single individuals, each face to face with eternity and our separate spirits; we are members one of another.”
Excellent Women
By Barbara Pym (1952)
5. Pym is often called the patron saint of spinsters, and this novel is full of them. Its wry, mordant heroine, Mildred Lathbury, warns the reader early on, “I am not at all like Jane Eyre, who must have given hope to so many plain women who tell their stories in the first person.” Her life in grimy, postwar Britain is drab, and her prospects are bleak. She ekes out tins of baked beans over meal after meal, wears ugly but serviceable clothes and sometimes stays up late at night ravenously reading tips on stain removal. She notices everything; the novel hums with her sour, hilarious social commentary. And she thinks hard about what makes “a full life”; does it have to involve romance? And why do men reject “excellent women” like her in favor of feckless, debonair women who don’t know how to wash lettuce? Mildred flirts with the idea of change—even, wildly, buying a new lipstick called Hawaiian Fire—but she isn’t sure she wants it. After one exciting evening, she reflects: “Love was rather a terrible thing. . . . Not perhaps my cup of tea.”
Somewhat belatedly given that the Valentine's Day rush is over and done with, but LifeHacker (India) has selected 'Top 10 Romantic Books That Inspire You To Fall In Love' and one of them is
Jane Eyre
'Jane Eyre' by English novelist Charlotte Brontë explores the emotions and experiences of the protagonist and her love for her employer Mr. Edward Rochester of the fictitious Thornfield Hall. Her reunion with her beloved is sure to bring tears of joy. There is a film adaptation of the novel. (Surela Mukherjee)
Redbrick interviews singer Rae Morris:
Bit of a cliché question, but who are the main artists that have inspired you? Mostly female singers and songwriters. I’d not really heard female voices being used in a certain way before with power; Joanna Newsom is one of my favourites and I was so confused by her music but in a really “I can’t believe this is happening” way when I first heard it. Then there’s Kate Bush, Wuthering Heights etc.
As she says this, Rae notices that my notebook is Wuthering Heights themed and pointed out her love for it…I saw that, it’s amazing. You know, I’ve not actually read Wuthering Heights but I’m so bad at reading, it just takes me ages. I’ve just got one of those minds that doesn’t concentrate very well. I’ve been reading a book called The Fountain Head, it’s incredible and like *that big* [Rae visualises the book. It’s pretty chunky by the sounds of it]. And I’m *that* far away from the end [a significantly smaller wedge is now reciprocated] but it's taking me weeks. (Dean Eastmond)
Wuthering Heights has also made it onto number 48 of The Sunday Times' list of 'books to change your life'.

After of an original Sherlock Holmes short story, Bustle has declared 2015 'the Year of 'Discovered' Manuscripts'.
So now that we have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harper Lee, and Dr. Seuss, who’s [sic] secret, lost manuscript will be unearthed next? Shakespeare? Hemingway? I’m pushing for Zora Neale Hurston’s or Emily Brontë’s never-before-seen sequel to Wuthering Heights. Hey ,maybe we can find that elusive first edition of The Iliad. (Caitlin White)
This columnist from El Subjetivo (Spain) argues that she doesn't want Christian Grey.
Mujeres como Cleopatra, Juana de Arco, Hipatia de Alejandría, Olympe de Gourges, Marie Curie, Emily Brontë y Coco Chanel, lograron cada una en su época revolucionar el mundo y demostrar la importancia y capacidad en diferentes circunstancias que tiene el género femenino. (Kelly Jhoana Mejía) (Translation)
The New York Times features Marc Jacobs's latest collection:
Then he dropped the skirts long, à la Jane Eyre, and topped them with sequin-hemmed capes; tailored it down to a militaristic jersey shell skirt suit decorated with metal grommets; brought in dull plaids and voluminous mohair-striped sleeves, rose-print satins and sequin-swirled columns; and ended in body-skimming plunge-neck crepes studded with nailheads like so many stars. (Vanessa Friedman)
The Blog of Amangela compares Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights; Films Classiques reviews Wuthering Heights (in French); You, and Me, and a Cup of Tea posts about Wuthering Heights.

by M. ( at February 21, 2015 11:56 PM

William Morris Unbound

Consider this and in our time: on W.H. Auden's birthday

Makiko and I will be opening a bottle of red wine tonight to celebrate the birthday of W.H. Auden (on whom I shall be teaching undergraduate seminars in a few weeks time). Auden’s attempt at a politically committed poetry in the 1930s still seems worth our attention, even if he never achieved anything quite as forceful as Hugh McDiarmid’s first ‘Hymn to Lenin’. Even so, ‘A Summer Night’ still strikes me as an effective attempt to break out of the narrow enclosures of traditional English poetry – that middle-class ‘garden’ of so many 30s poems – and to range illuminatingly across the ‘European sky’ of contemporary class politics. ‘A Communist to Others’ certainly has problems, but I none the less admire the poetic project underlying it. And the famous ‘Consider this and in our time’ remains, in its terse Freudo-Marxist authority, both enigmatic and diagnostically impressive.

It’s sadly true that Auden ends up, poetically and politically, somewhere else altogether. ‘In Praise of Limestone’, beautiful though it is, returns to the meditative tradition of English landscape poetry he began by rejecting; and ‘The Shield of Achilles’, which so powerfully registers the traumas of twentieth-century history – Stalinism, Nazism, US nuclear bombing of Japan - ends up somewhere beyond politics altogether. But still, for that brief moment of engagement in the 1930s, and the poems it produced, a bottle of red wine seems apt enough – though for the poetic career as a whole, perhaps it’s a Forsterian two cheers rather than three.

by Tony Pinkney ( at February 21, 2015 11:29 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

[Your Honor, I have no idea how all these volumes from the "Novels of Faith and Doubt" series got into my mailbox.]

  • Eliza Lynn Linton, Sowing the Wind, ed. Deborah T. Meem and Kate Holterhoff (Victorian Secrets, 2015).  Marriages gone sour, madness, and female journalists in Victorian England.  First published in 1867.  More about Linton here.  (Amazon)
  • Guy Boothby, A Prince of Swindlers, ed. Gary Hoppenstad (Penguin, 2015).  New edition of this novel about a Raffles-esque criminal-detective, by the ultra-prolific Australian novelist Guy Boothby.  Boothby is better known for his Dr. Nikola novels.    First appeared in 1900.  (Amazon)
  • Leonard Merrick, Mr. Bazalgette's Agent (British Library, 2013).  A detective novel with a female protagonist, Miriam Lea.  First published in 1888.  (Amazon)
  • Frederick William Robinson, No Church (Garland, 1976) and Beyond the Church (Garland, 1977).  Two of the three novels Robinson published exploring contemporary church controversies (the third is High Church).  In Beyond the Church (1866), characters representing various theological "types" (High Churchmen, freethinkers, etc.) seek spiritual homes; in No Church (1861), a young woman born in a prison experiences both Methodist and worldly life.  (eBay)
  • Robert Buchanan, Foxglove Manor (Garland, 1975).  A seriously oversexed Anglican priest conducts an adulterous affair with one woman while he impregnates another.  Needless to say, he converts to Roman Catholicism in the final sentence.  First published in 1884.  Buchanan is now primarily remembered for his attack on D. G. Rossetti.  (eBay)
  • Thomas de Longueville, The Life of a Prig (Garland, 1975).  Satirical account of a very self-satisfied religious seeker.  De Longueville, a Catholic author, was best known for this book and its sequels.  First published in 1885.  (eBay)
  • Winwood Reade, The Outcast (Garland, 1975).  A young clergyman is slowly beset by doubts about both his religion and his vocation.  First published in 1875.  Reade is better known for The Martyrdom of Man.  (eBay)
  • Lady Gertrude Douglas, Linked Lives (Garland, 1975).  Anglican girl meets impoverished Catholic servant, eventually converts (along with her fiance); everyone dies unpleasantly (except the servant).  First published in 1876.  (eBay)
  • Mrs. Desmond Humphreys, Sheba: A Study of Girlhood (Garland, 1976).  Set in Australia.  A young woman matures, finds love (and sex), and is betrayed.  First published in 1889. (eBay)
  • Charles Maurice Davies, Broad Church (Garland, 1975).  Satire of late-Victorian trends in the C of E by the somewhat, ah, quirky clergyman-cum-ethnographer-cum-novelist.  First published in 1875.  (eBay)
  • William Howitt, Woodburn Grange: A Story of English Country Life (Garland, 1975).  Clash between old and new money in the countryside.  Published in 1867 (one of Howitt's last works).  More on Howitt (an ex-Quaker) here and here.  (eBay)
  • Edmund Randolph, Mostly Fools: A Romance of Civilization (Garland, 1976).  Rather dystopian Catholic novel (set in the near future) about a young man's attempt to save England from its own degradation.  First published in 1886.  (eBay)
  • Edward Heneage Dering, Sherborne (Garland, 1975).  Young man wrestles with his anxieties about and attraction to Catholicism.  Originally serialized in the Catholic periodical The Lamp; published in volume form in 1875.  (eBay)
  • Lucy Ribchester, The Hourglass Factory (Simon & Schuster, 2015).  Intrepid female reporter tries to figure out what happened to a suffragette circus performer.  (Amazon [UK])
  • Frances Knight, The Church in the Nineteenth Century (Tauris, 2008).  General history of Christianity, mostly focused on Europe but with some attention to the global context.  (Amazon [secondhand])

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 21, 2015 01:39 AM


Worlds Apart at the Red House

An intereting proposal for today, February 21, at the Red House Museum:
Kirklees Creative Scene presents
Worlds Apart
Written by Aisha Zia
Directed by Evie Manning

A lot has changed since Charlotte Brontë visited her friend Mary Taylor at Red House.
Join a talented group of young South Asian women as they explore what it's like to be young, brave, determined and challenge popular misconceptions... Just as the Brontë sisters did before them.
A Chol Theatre production in collaboration with Common Wealth.

Brough to you by Creative Scene
Saturday 21st February
Red House Museum
Performances at 1:00pm, 2:00pm & 3:00pm

by M. ( at February 21, 2015 12:30 AM

February 20, 2015


Heathcliff and Waterloo

Brontë Parsonage Museum intern Alana Clague writes an article on this year's exhibition for Keighley News.
The title of the new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum is The Brontës, War and Waterloo.
At first the connection between these may not be immediately apparent, however with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo upon us this exhibition intends to bring to light the importance of war and the Battle of Waterloo on the Brontë family.
Haworth sits at the top of a hill in the Worth Valley surrounded by the Pennine moors.
The Main Street of the village looks much as it ever did; it is a captured moment in time that has altered little. While there have been some changes, photographs show that it would not be unrecognisable to the Brontë family who moved there in 1820.
Post-War Britain is most often used to describe the period after 1945 at the end of World War Two. It is a period commemorated in Haworth every year with the 1940s weekend, a time that takes in both during and after the war.
Whilst this is the first image that would come to our modern mind, it is not the only Post-War Britain to have existed. In 1815 the Battle of Waterloo was fought and won, the following year Charlotte Brontë was born and was swiftly followed by her brother and two younger sisters.
The eldest Brontë children, Maria and Elizabeth, had been born in 1814 and 1815 which was during the Napoleonic Wars.
Though Haworth may seem now to be a quiet place, certainly far away from these battles on the European continent, it was not completely isolated as it was near the industrial Bradford.
Despite the end of the Napoleonic wars, conflict and warfare were a part of society and Wellington was a family hero for the Brontës.
It is with this information that the new exhibition has been shaped, recognising the role of their heroes in their Juvenilia and later writings, and the role of war in life of the Brontës.
It takes a great deal of time and effort to get an exhibition off the ground and this concept was just the starting point. From this idea themes were decided and the text panels were written.
Usually this is a job that would be completed by the Collections team at the museum but this exhibition had a unique opportunity to work in conjunction with an academic studying the Brontës and their writing.
Once the panel copy has been collated, the text has to be edited and transferred to the text panels. These panels will have images and currently we are investigating options for these.
At the same time objects are being picked, making sure each one fits in with the case and text panel theme.
It is from there that the object labels will be written and printed, the Brontës and Animals exhibition will be removed and The Brontës, War and Waterloo will take its place on March 16. (David Knights)
Still in the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Keighley News also features the temporary exhibition Heathcliff Adrift.
What did Emily Brontë’s wild anti-hero Heathcliff do after storming away from Wuthering Heights?
A possible answer is portrayed in a new collection of poetry on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.
In Heathcliff Adrift, award-winning writer, Benjamin Myers, explores what the famous fictional character might have done during his ‘missing’ three years.
Accompanying the poems is a selection of stunning landscape photographs by Yorkshire photographer, Nick Small.
Heathcliff Adrift forms part of this year’s contemporary arts programme at the museum. The work, conceived by Benjamin, asks where Heathcliff went and what he saw.
His journey came when the industrial revolution was in its earliest days, and the ragged beauty of the landscape was under threat from the arrival of mechanisation.
Jenna Holmes, the museum’s arts officer, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Benjamin and Nick for this fantastic exhibition.”
Heathcliff Adrift runs until June. Visit or call 01535 642323 for more details about the exhibition and museum opening times.
Vanguard Dahlonega reviews The Selection Series by Kiera Cass.
Overall the book had great potential. It was definitely a good concept, so much that the CW almost put it on nighttime television. Is it as good as Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte? Well no, but it’s an easy read and people need to pick up a quick trashy read every now and then. (Molly Morelock)
Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden) reviews the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Hur erotisk är E L James erotik överhuvudtaget? Min första tanke när jag ser Dakota Johnson i rollen som Anastasia ramla in på Christian Greys kontor – otymplig, stammande, i flickig blus – är att hon är väldigt lik Jane Eyre när hon anländer till godset Thornfield Hall och strax därefter faller för den rike godsherren. Hemma hos miljardären Grey finns visserligen ingen galen fru på vinden. Däremot skuggan av en misshandlande mamma ruvande i barndomen. När nycklarna så småningom vrids om till de hemliga rummen i båda världarna blir förlösningen dubbel.
Den klumpiga oskulden får sex och maktmännen förlöses från den onda kvinnan i det förflutna: kontrollen återställd!
Om E L James hade skrivit en kinky version på Charlotte Brontës roman hade jag inte klagat. (Malin Lindroth) (Translation)
SF Weekly has a recap of this week's Great British Bake-Off:
Then there was my favorite, little sweet Martha, who reminds me of Jane Eyre's best friend at the orphanage... you know, the delicate one that dies from that 19th century grand combo, consumption and purity. (Katy St. Clair)
Reno Gazette-Journal reports that,
Wooster High School student Whitney Reyes has landed the top spot in Washoe County's Poetry Out Loud semi-finals.
She recited "Cartoon Physics, Part 1" by Massachusetts poet Nick Flynn and "Ah! Why Because the Dazzling Sun" by Emily Brontë in the competition where students learn about, memorize and present poetry "out loud" to an audience. (Susan Skorupa) 

by Cristina ( at February 20, 2015 11:52 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Anne's Pets

New scholar books with Brontë-related content:
Pets and Domesticity in Victorian Literature and CultureAnimality, Queer Relations, and the Victorian FamilyBy Monica Flegel
Routledge – 2015 – 204 pages
January 27th 2015

Addressing the significance of the pet in the Victorian period, this book examines the role played by the domestic pet in delineating relations for each member of the "natural" family home. Flegel explores the pet in relation to the couple at the head of the house, to the children who make up the family’s dependents, and to the common familial "outcasts" who populate Victorian literature and culture: the orphan, the spinster, the bachelor, and the same-sex couple. Drawing upon both animal studies and queer theory, this study stresses the importance of the domestic pet in elucidating normative sexuality and (re)productivity within the familial home, and reveals how the family pet operates as a means of identifying aberrant, failed, or perverse familial and gender performances. The family pet, that is, was an important signifier in Victorian familial ideology of the individual family unit’s ability to support or threaten the health and morality of the nation in the Victorian period. Texts by authors such as Clara Balfour, Juliana Horatia Ewing, E. Burrows, Bessie Rayner Parkes, Anne Brontë, George Eliot, Frederick Marryat, and Charles Dickens speak to the centrality of the domestic pet to negotiations of gender, power, and sexuality within the home that both reify and challenge the imaginary structure known as the natural family in the Victorian period. This book highlights the possibilities for a familial elsewhere outside of normative and restrictive models of heterosexuality, reproduction, and the natural family, and will be of interest to those studying Victorian literature and culture, animal studies, queer studies, and beyond.

by M. ( at February 20, 2015 12:30 AM

February 19, 2015


'Teenagers and young people still read Brontë'

USA Today's Happy Ever After asks writer Shannon McKenna about her favourite books.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
I've read these over 20 times.
All three shaped me, as a writer and a person. I'd trust Anne, or Jane, or Frodo Baggins with my life. I'm happy inviting them into my head, my memories, my personality makeup. I can't wait to read those books to my own kids.
It may seem an odd lineup, for a writer of sizzling romantic suspense — except perhaps Jane Eyre, a Gothic romance featuring a hot and problematic hero! But there is a common thread. Anne taught me what I wanted to be, and modeled kindness and positivity. Same with valiant Frodo and his Fellowship, whose hearts never faltered. Jane's moral compass never wavers, even when she's begging for scraps. I love these characters, trust them, want to hang out with them, to BE them. Books like that are true friends, a sure font of strength, comfort and courage.
I need that ray of light, sense of opening, a progression toward love and peace, in any story. If I don't get it, I feel let down. What's the point? I could feel depressed all on my own, with no help from a book. I've been told that's simplistic, banal, unsophisticated. That's OK. I'm a better person for having Anne, Frodo and Jane to trust, and look up to. It's what I aspire to achieve with my own characters.
And that sets the bar very high!
BlogCritics leads us to another Brontëite writer: Marly Youmans.
Favorite novel of all time? Tom Jones? Bleak House? Pride and Prejudice? Jane Eyre? (Suzanne Brazil)
Film director, writer and actor Taika Waititi also sounds like a Brontë fan in this interview from Now Toronto.
How much of you is in Viago? He seems like a sweetheart. One of my favourite books when I was young was Wuthering Heights. I just really loved the idea of dressing up. I remember watching the Laurence Olivier version, and I just loved the idea of wearing one of those frilly shirts with a tight jacket. I kind of mixed that sort of thing with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt from Interview With The Vampire. And a bit of it’s also my mum, just the way that growing up she’d always make me do housework and do the dishes and keep a really clean house. And then also some people, flatmates who created [chore] wheels and were really anal about that sort of shit. Characters I create are just mixtures of the people I know. It’s a fun process for me, and sometimes it’s just easier: “Oh, I’m just playing my cousin.” (Norman Wilner)
The Huffington Post interviews Charlotte Eyre, Children's Editor at The Bookseller about their Young Adult Book Prize.
How do you view the future of YA literature? I think it's got a great future and I think British writers will start to get a bit more recognition. In terms of trends, I think feminist YA is going to go from strength to strength and there is going to be a lot more diversity in terms of ethnicity and LGBT characters.
Authors aren't afraid of hard-hitting plots and that won't change any time soon.
In terms of what I would like to see, it would be nice if certain adults stopped being snotty about YA and saying things like "well I was reading Charlotte Brontë when I was fourteen". Teenagers and young people still read Brontë, Dickens, Tolstoy and any other literary author you can think of. They are reading YA in addition to, not instead of, classic novels. Plus they are perfectly capable of deciding what they want to read, they're not three years old. (Alix Long)
Poet Beatriz Villacañas mentions in ABC (Spain) Emily Brontë's so-called 'reclusive life'.
Hay diferentes formas de pasar el tiempo intensamente, ya que la intensidad de la vida depende, sobre todo, de la capacidad emocional del individuo más que de la acción propiamente dicha. La recluida vida de Emily Brontë, pongamos por caso, vivida en la vieja rectoría sita en los agrestes páramos de Yorkshire, fue sin duda intensa, y ahí está su novela Cumbres Borrascosas para demostrarlo, y pudo serlo más que la de algunos personajes de frenética y resplandeciente actividad pública. (Translation)
It was reclusive in a way, yes, but let's not forget that she got to go to London and travel abroad in a time when not that many people did so.

According to The Independent,
The characterisation [in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey] is flimsy in the extreme. Jamie Dornan’s Christian Grey, the reclusive billionaire with the “singular” tastes, is like a cross between Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre and a Chippendale dancer. (Geoffrey Macnab)
Eclectic Tales and The Book Taught review Jane Eyre. And Bored To Death is consistent with the name of the blog and explains how it's not a good idea to read Jane Eyre.

by Cristina ( at February 19, 2015 11:06 PM

The Little Professor

For the record

While a graduate student at the University of Chicago, I once walked the complete works of Charles Reade (thanks, AMS Press) several blocks from the South Loop branch of Powell's to the bus stop, and several blocks again from the bus stop to my apartment.  The weather that day was warm and sunny.  Yesterday, I managed to walk eleven volumes of the "Novels of Faith and Doubt" series (thanks, Garland Press) from my office to the car, which was not as impressive an achievement, but did involve negotiating an unexpected snow storm.  And here people thought that buying books had nothing to do with upper body exercise.  

2015-02-19 11.05.17

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 19, 2015 04:18 PM

Regency Ramble

Regency Fashion February 2015

Evening Dress from Ackermann's Repository February 1815

My first thought when I saw this was "sumptuous".  I love this. I have to use it in a book. This is a very sophisticated dress and the neckline is very daring. It is certainly not the gown for the shy debutante, I am thinking.

Here is the description from the magazine.

Pale pink or primrose-coloured crape petticoat over white satin, ornamented at the feet with a deep border of tull, trimmed with blond lace and pink, or primrose-coloured ribband, festooned and decorated with roses; 

short full sleeve, composed of tull and crape, with a border of French embroidery; and back drawn nearly to a point, corresponding to the cape front of the dress, and trimmed round with blond lace; 

the waist very short, and an easy fullness in the petticoat, carried entirely round.

Necklace and drop of pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond. 

Hair in irregular curls, confined in the Eastern style, and blended with flowers. French scarf, fancifully disposed on the figure. 

Slippers of pink or primrose-coloured kid; gloves to correspond.

For the fashions for this month we are indebted to the tasteful and elegant designs of Mrs. Bean of Albemarle-street.

Until next time…….

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 19, 2015 02:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


 photo Hayez gabrini siters 1835.jpg

FRancesco Hayez, the Gabrini Sisters

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Rembrandt peale, Eleanor and Rosalba Peale

February 19, 2015 10:11 AM

Albert Julius Olsson (British, 1864-1942), Seascapes

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 photo juliusollsonseascapeoffislewight.jpg

Seascape off the Isle of Wight

 photo Albert Julius Olsson The White Squall.jpg

The White Squall

 photo AlbertJulius Olsson Silver Moonlight St Ives Bay.jpg

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February 19, 2015 09:35 AM


Jane Eyre in Concord

An alert from Contra Costa County, CA:
Concord Library Book Club
Date: 2/19/2015
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 7:45 PM

A group of adults who meet the third Thursday of each month to discuss books together. The books for the first half of the year are:

February 19, 2015: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

by M. ( at February 19, 2015 12:20 AM

A couple of investments and other news

Art Daily reports that some of Paula Rego's Jane Eyre works will be going under the hammer soon.
Christie’s announced the online only auction of one of the largest private collections of prints by the eminent contemporary artist and printmaker Paula Rego, open for bidding from 10-19 March 2015. Coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday this year, the sale includes all of her most important graphic series, with many sold-out editions and rarities spanning over 30 years of her highly acclaimed oeuvre. [...]
In her famous series of lithographs inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, 2001-2002, Rego highlights the social constraints imposed upon women and their capacity for great power and rebellion. In Come to Me (estimate: £2,500-3,500), Rego’s Jane is depicted in the throes of doubt and suspicion as she tries to make up her mind whether or not to return to Rochester. ‘She [Jane] hears his voice calling and when she calls him in the book she runs to him. But she’d better have her doubts of course. It’s not such a good deal. But she goes to him and that is supposed to be a happy ending. It is. But here I put her doubting.’ (The artist, quoted in: T.G. Rosenthal, Paula Rego – The Complete Graphic Work, Thames & Hudson, London, p. 176). Rego’s model for Jane was Lila Nunes, the artist’s long term assistant and muse.
More things worth investing into. The Times recommends the 'six best-value membership deals'. Among them is
2. National Art Pass
This gets you half-price entry to many major exhibitions and free entry to more than 200 museums, galleries and historic homes across the UK. Organisations giving 50 per cent off shows include the British Museum, Royal Academy, National Gallery and National Gallery for Scotland. Those providing free entry include Apsley House and the Jewish Museum in London, the Ruskin Museum at Coniston, the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth and Florence Court in County Fermanagh. Membership costs £45 a year for individuals and £67.50 for two, when paid by direct debit. Blockbuster exhibitions that you could visit on the cheap this year include Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery from March 4. (Mark Bridge)
CBC Books features author Kamal Al-Solaylee and the books that mean the most to him.
The first crush he had on a fictional character
I started reading children's books in Arabic, but surprisingly - or not given my colonial upbringing - my earliest memory of reading an adult book is of staying up until the early hours of the morning reading Jane Eyre for the first time in Cairo and being blown away. Even if my English wasn't fluent enough at that point to get the full impact of Charlotte Brontë's writing, I still felt its raw emotions. And what young gay boy wouldn't fantasize about the vigour and mysteriousness of Mr. Rochester?, that fine sample of masculinity. I, too, wanted to marry him. Or at least sleep with him. In the crowded Cairo I grew up in, the idea of such an the isolated and sparsely populated English countryside might as well have been another planet. I carry that juxtaposition between what I was born into and what I've moved to later in life in my head and in my heart all that time.
And speaking of Mr Rochester, Entertainment Weekly's The Community warns TV-viewers about 'the dangerous soap-opera widower', mentioning the fact that
Days of Our Lives’ Hope isn’t the first character in history to come face-to-face (-to-axe-to-knife) with the pitfalls of falling in love with a mysterious, grieving widower.
Back in 1847, Jane Eyre taught aspiring young governesses to always check the attic, in case your beloved’s insane “dead” first wife just might be living there. (Alina Adams)
While The New York Daily News republishes a 1996 review of the film adaptation of The English Patient.
Fiennes is the emotionally damaged, furrow-browed hunk, in a tradition that goes back to Brontës. (Dave Kehr)
The same newspaper also republishes a 1940 review of the film adaptation of Rebecca.
David O. Selznick has given this well-read story the high production values that he showered on his famous production “Gone With The Wind.” Nothing, apparently, was left undone to enhance the entertainment qualities of the melodrama. Something of the wild romantic quality of “Wuthering Heights” and the mystery of “Jane Eyre” pervade “Rebecca.” (Kate Cameron)
Unfortunately, this movie talk leads us to Fifty Shades of Grey. According to Flagpole,
Fifty Shades of Grey is not the abysmal train wreck assumed by the pre-movie buzz regarding the leads’ dislike for one another. Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier hated each other (legend has it Oberon ate garlic prior to filming the climactic kiss on the moors), and Wuthering Heights worked out all right. I am not comparing Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan to Oberon and Olivier or E.L. James’ BDSM bestseller to Emily Brontë’s classic of English-Gothic romanticism. (Drew Wheeler)
And according to The Cavalier Daily,
Fifty Shades of Grey” allows us not only to be saved, but also to be the savior, restoring our hope in happy endings. We see the same formula in “Twilight” but also “Pride and Prejudice” and “Jane Eyre.” It is a theme that has extended across time and cultures — and while “Fifty Shades” may have a heavy dose of eroticism, the storyline plays along similar lines. To be loved is our ultimate wish. (Peyton Williams)
The Star Democrat recalls that
[Lucille] Fletcher adapted the first part of the Emily Brontë novel “Wuthering Heights” into a libretto for Herrmann's opera of the same name.
Seattle Weekly reviews the play The Explorers Club:
Under the direction of Karen Lund, this even ensemble expertly executes goofy gags, even if the blocking is often problematic. Strikingly silly is their spontaneously singing a snippet from H.M.S. Pinafore. Lass’ stainless performance couples the spiritedness of Jane Eyre and the accomplishment of Margaret Mead. (Alyssa Dyksterhouse)
The Warrington Guardian sums up a recent meeting at a local Women's Institute where
After tea we were transported back to the private lives of Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen.
Elizabeth Williams gave us an insight into how the loves of these great women had shaped the characters of Edward Rochester and Mr Darcy in their novels, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.
The Atlantic looks into why 'some people feel nauseous on cars, boats, buses, and carnival rides, while others don't' so that
If two people are reading in a car, one person might spew all over his copy of Jane Eyre, while the other’s stomach stays stable enough for her to find out Mr. Rochester’s been keeping Bertha in the attic. Both people, theoretically, are experiencing the same mismatch between visual input and inner ear sensation, and the same confusion between motion and muscle movement. But some people can read in the car, and some can’t. Further complicating things, some people get car/bus/plane-sick when they’re young, and then get better with age. (Julie Beck)
The Washington Post discusses Alex Rodriguez's handwritten apology:
It wouldn’t be enough for Alex Rodriguez to say he’s sorry in person, or even to take that well-worn path for celebrities and trot out a statement through a team of publicists. This had to be in his own hand, in cursive, as if he were Heathcliff and the fans his Catherine. Forget that nearly no one communicates this way anymore (and lament that if you will). A hand-written note would seem more genuine, more heartfelt, more personal. (Barry Svrluga)
Two Teens in Morocco posts about Wuthering Heights.

by Cristina ( at February 19, 2015 12:05 AM

February 18, 2015

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Stairway to Heaven?

What your stairway, car, or room needs most: a collection of 14 vinyl stickers purporting to be quotes from Wonderland. Well, many of them are, but scattered throughout are quotes from the 1951 Disney movie, paraphrases, things attributed to Carroll that he never said, and what seem to be random utterances (“I become what I believe”?). Anyway, you can buy the set from Amazon here.

by Mark Burstein at February 18, 2015 11:30 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Learn to Love

A new Italian book with Brontë content:
Imparare ad amareGiuseppe Ferraro
Castelvecchi Editore
ISBN: 9788869440021

Riprendendo fin dal titolo la celebre sentenza della Gaia scienza di Nietzsche «si deve imparare ad amare», l’autore ripercorre la storia del rapporto tra ethos ed eros in filosofia, del sogno d’amore in psicanalisi fino ai legami di separazione. «Amare» non è un imperativo morale, l’impersonale «si deve» non è lo stesso del «tu devi»: imparare ad amare è ciò che impone la vita al mondo, non si può sfuggire, è un obbligo d’esistenza. La riflessione di Giuseppe Ferraro, tra i più attenti studiosi contemporanei dei rapporti tra filosofia, etica e pedagogia, si articola attraverso l’analisi di alcuni capolavori della letteratura, come Anna Karenina e Cime tempestose, e prosegue con l’interpretazione di diversi passi fondamentali dei dialoghi platonici, senza tralasciare uno sguardo attento al tema dell’eros nella psicanalisi freudiana. Imparare ad amare è un saggio intenso e rigoroso, scritto con piglio divulgativo, che interroga la verità della filosofia sui legami di desiderio, amore e amicizia.
Corriere della Sera publishes a review:
Il saggio, dopo un’iniziale parte teorica, procede con l’analisi di alcuni capolavori della letteratura da Anna Karenina a Cime Tempestose, passando per Platone e Sant’Agostino. Centrale è il discorso sul «corpo». (Natascia Festa) (Translation)

by M. ( at February 18, 2015 12:30 AM

February 17, 2015


A 'blind guy who’s toasted his wife in the attic'

The Royal Gazette reviews Aquila Theatre's version of Wuthering Heights.
There were some powerful performances, not least by Tara Crabbe, encapsulating the difficult, tempestuous female lead Cathy Earnshaw, and Michael Ring as the scathing Hindley. Joseph Cappellazzi fell a little short as Heathcliffe [sic], appearing more gent than gypsy. His soft voice and scrubbed-up good looks do not match with the imposing, rugged man that the gypsy boy grows into.
Cappellazzi is a confident actor and the issue may have been more with casting. Film actors Timothy Dalton and Lawrence Olivier were much closer to the mark.
Although James Lavender’s role as the staunchly religious Joseph was brief, he excelled, causing ripples of laughter to spread throughout the theatre, while Carys Lewis made a tame but likeable narrator in Nelly. Lewis also had a beautifully soothing singing voice when she sang a lullaby for Hindley’s son, Hareton.
A casting limitation landed Michael Ring in the role of Linton’s sister, Isabella. Draped in a baby blue gown and floppy lace bonnet, the lanky actor appeared to curl himself over to hide his height, while his masculine voice and flat chest were comical. Isabella’s character was supposed to bring some fun to the original story, her juvenile infatuation for Heathcliff being fuelled by a love of trashy romance novels, but the comedy was never meant to be on a par with Monty Python.
As is the case with so many film and theatre adaptations, much of the story had to be either eluded to or omitted for the sake of fitting it all in. Aquila had to cut out the last part of the story, ending tidily before Heathcliff’s great revenge took root. (Sarah Lagan)
More stage news concerning Wuthering Heights as The Yorkshire Post reports that,
From Egyptian god, to monsters of horror to romantic hero, there are few shoes Kenneth Tindall has not stepped into during his illustrious on-stage career.
But after 14 years with Leeds-based Northern Ballet, its premier male dancer has decided to bow out to allow his creative juices to flow.
Mr Tindall’s departure signals the end of a professional partnership with his wife Hannah Bateman, the company’s leading soloist, who he has danced alongside in several productions.
Before he embarks on a new path as a freelance choreographer, the star will reprise his role as Heathcliff in Claude-Michel Schönberg and David Nixon OBE’s acclaimed adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights at the Milton Keynes Theatre in May. Performing opposite as Heathcliff’s love interest, Cathy, will be former colleague Julie Charlet, who left Northern Ballet in 2013.
And The Star reviews the Ecclesfield Priory Players' take on Polly Teale's Brontë:
Genisia Kalsi is most effective as both Cathy and Bertha from Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre.
Angela Platts as brooding Emily is the pick of the sisters. Julia Preston is the more outspoken elder sister Charlotte. Chelsea Pearson is the youngest sister, Anne. Alan Frith plays their father, a poor clergyman who nevertheless stocks their library with the finest literary giants. They read Shakespeare, Milton and Byron in addition to the Bible.
The most interesting segment of the play is when all three sisters use the pseudonyms of the Bell brothers. Eventually Charlotte and Anne spill the beans to the publishers who claim that the Bell brothers are one man. The publisher nearly falls off his chair when he learns that the Bell brothers are three different women.
The Buffalo News thinks that 'books are a lucrative source for Hollywood movies':
You can trace the evolution back more than 100 years to see how books have been the inspiration and source material for movies from a 10-minute silent short based on “Alice in Wonderland” in 1903 to multiple versions of stories by the Brontës and Jane Austen; JRR Tolkien’s epic tales of Middle-Earth in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”; adult best-sellers like “The Godfather” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” to pretty much everything written by Stephen King or found in the Young Adult section of your favorite book store. (Toni Ruberto)
Fusion shares '5 lessons from a week of watching kinky films':
The French also had a hand in Lars Von Trier’s lengthy sex compendium, Nymphomaniac, which follows the sexual evolution of a nymphomaniac. Okay, I’ll admit, I did fall asleep a few times while watching, but there was something absolutely and startlingly fascinating about Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) whipping Jane Eyre (Charlotte Gainsbourg). (Isha Aran)
Bustle selects '12 Fictional Writers Whose Lives Can Teach Us Lessons About The Literary Life, Because It Isn't Just 7-Figure Book Deals'. One of which is Ted Swenson from Blue Angel who considers that
What I love is how pissed off Jane Eyre is. She’s in a rage for the whole novel and the payoff is she gets to marry this blind guy who’s toasted his wife in the attic. (Erin Enders)
Writer Fanny Blake picks her top books on revenge for Express. Among them is
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
A driving force in the novel and one of the most classic revenges in literature has to be Heathcliffe’s [sic] revenge on Hindley, the brother of Cathy Earnshaw.
Realising that Cathy, his soul mate, will never be his, Heathcliffe channels his thwarted love into ruining Hindley’s life.
Throughout their childhood, Hindley has consistently demeaned Heathcliffe, getting his own back for the favour shown to Heathcliffe by his father, Mr Earnshaw.
As an adult, Heathcliffe turns the tables by corrupting Hindley’s son, Hareton, turning him into a drunken good-for-nothing.
Even better, by marrying Isobel Linton, Heathcliffe becomes, first, the owner of Wuthering Heights and, subsequently, Thrushcross Grange. (Stefan Kyriazis)
The Independent has an obituary for actor Louis Jourdan and recalls that,
One of the most interesting moments in his career came when Philip Saville cast him as the lead in Count Dracula (1977), a weighty BBC dramatisation that remains one of the most faithful imaginings of the source material, coming just after Hammer Films had given up the ghost. Jourdan's casting surprised the critics, but, speaking to the Radio Times in 1977, Saville explained that he saw Dracula as "a romantic, sexually dashing anti-hero in the tradition of those figures usually dreamed up by women... Rochester, Heathcliff... figures that can overpower a strong heroine, inhuman figures that can't be civilised." Ahead of the game in finding romanticism in vampirism, the drama occasionally lacks bite – but Jourdan remains one of the most interesting and original Draculas in screen history. (Simon Farquhar)
DagBlog discusses Fifty Shades of Grey and romance fiction.
I can't help comparing Fifty Shades to that perennial favorite, Pride and Prejudice. The comparison is obviously lopsided, because Jane Austen is one of the best novelists who's ever written in English and E. L. James is nowhere close. Austen is basically putting on a master-class in writing on the sentence-by-sentence level; reviewers have fun with James by picking out some of her clumsy, amateur-hour sentences for quotation. But Pride and Prejudice is one of the distant models on which Fifty Shades is built, because its influence (like the Brontë sisters' influence) is shot through all of romance fiction. Even if E. L. James has never read any Austen, all of the writers she imitates (such as the writer of the Twilight series) imitate Pride and Prejudice in various ways. And Christian Grey has distant but obvious resemblances to Austen's Mr. Darcy; both are aloof, emotionally-stunted but fabulously-wealthy guys deeply invested in their alpha-male status. (Grey also owes debts to characters like Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester, of course.) Darcy is part of romance fiction's DNA. (Doctor Cleveland)
The Guardian reviews the book Accidence Will Happen by Oliver Kamm and recalls that,
Jane Austen had a weakness for the supposedly improper double genitive, Coleridge split infinitives, and Charlotte Brontë described one thing as “different than” another, not different from. (Peter Conrad)
 Buzzfeed has selected '10 Kitchen Accessories For The Literary Foodie' and among them is the
1. Wuthering Heights Quote Plate
Featuring fragments of literature handwritten on porcelain, these plates are almost too lovely to store in a cupboard. Whether you choose to display them on your walls, or save them for a romantic dinner for two, no literary kitchen should be without Wuthering Heights plates if you ask us. Other book quotes are available, too. (Novelicious)
Wuthering Heights is obviously mentioned in an article about 'Literature as Musical Muse' on Word & Film. Lord Still Loves Me reviews Jane Eyre. The Mantle posts about Minae Mizumura's A True Novel. Finally, Quadrapheme posts about racism in Wuthering Heights and Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.

by Cristina ( at February 17, 2015 11:09 PM

Emily and friends in Psychobitches

A bit late, but we were not aware of the return of the foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed Brontë sisters from the Psychobitches team. It was in the second episode of the second season sharing therapist time with the likes of Carmen Miranda, Katherine Hepburn and Little Miss Muffet. Including a musical number and the presence of Branwell Brontë (in his best laudanum-consuming portrayal) and even a preaching Patrick Brontë. We have been unable to locate reviews or even clips, though:
Episode 2 (November 24, 2014)
Rebecca Front ... Therapist
Guest Cast
Katy Brand ... Emily Brontë
Selina Griffiths ... Charlotte Brontë
Sarah Solemani ... Anne Brontë
Jeremy Dyson ... Branwell Brontë
Writing Team
Jeremy Dyson ... Writer
Ali Crockatt ... Writer
Lucy Montgomery ... Writer
David Scott ... Writer
Seb Cardinal ... Writer
Dustin Demri-Burns ... Writer
Toby Davies ... Writer
Pippa Brown ... Writer (Additional Material)
Dan Swimer ... Script Editor
Production Team
Jeremy Dyson ... Director
Pippa Brown ... Producer
Saskia Schuster ... Exec Producer
Ben Cavey ... Exec Producer
Lucy Lumsden ... Exec Producer
Sophie Clarke-Jervoise ... Exec Producer
Mo Holden ... Production Design
Jeremy Holland-Smith ... Composer
Peter Hallworth ... Editor
Ian Masterson ... Composer
Gary Dollner ... Editor

by M. ( at February 17, 2015 10:52 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Round Two of Litograph’s Wonderland Chain

The “world’s longest tattoo” is comprised of over 5,000 individual phrases from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Backers receive a temporary tattoo bearing a unique phrase from one of the stories along with instructions on uploading a photo of themselves (or anyone else) wearing their phrase. Litographs first attempted this last year, but only a proportion of the respondents actually uploaded pictures. After many tries to contact the missing souls, they have decided to re-sell those phrases in hopes that the chain may at last be completed. It’s only $5 for a set of two: one to keep and one to use! Let’s help them out! Be creative! Go to Litographs and join the chain!! Do it now; they sell out very quickly.

(The example at left is tattoo #1558, from Chapter 8: “and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near.” The arm is Llisa’s; Alice is portrayed by Sonja; the white-and-red roses are from our garden.)

by Mark Burstein at February 17, 2015 10:50 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

February 16, 2015

The Little Professor

Unsophisticated utterances provoked by today's weather

1.  Tiptoeing across an icy kitchen floor, thanks to my heater's inability to deal well with subzero temperatures:



2.  Moving quickly from the parking lot to the office building in aforementioned subzero temperatures:



3.  Trudging back and forth across campus to attend a faculty senate meeting:


by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 16, 2015 10:37 PM

Regency Ramble

Sneak Peek

Coming Soon

Vampires are showing up in Vauxhall Gardens and dying in droves on London's streets. Watch this space for more information.

This is part of the multi author series "A Most Peculiar Season"

For the earlier books check out the author's websites:

Michelle Willingham A Viking for the Viscountess

Deborah Hale  Scandal on his Doorstep 

Barbara Monajem The Lady of Flames - March 2015

Until next time…..

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 16, 2015 02:00 PM


Fire, Skirts and Pedants

Following the Brontë-mention fest that is the time surrounding Valentine's Day, The Cambridge Student wonders whether literature relies too heavily on love.
Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby; literary classics that have become synonymous with the word ‘masterpiece’, have been culturally idolised and incessantly referenced, they are novels that skilfully weave together the social and the political, rendering them timeless.
Yet ask a stranger on the street, and they will fawn over the Adonis-in-breeches that is Mr. Darcy emerging from the lake to Elizabeth Bennett, in a scene actually absent from the novel. They may whimper at how misunderstood Heathcliff and Cathy were, or how tragic it is that Gatsby will never possess his Daisy. The novels and their characters are have been immortalised, but not because of their commentary upon social class and gender inequality, but because they have become pin-ups for the most used theme of all: love. (Sarah-Jane Tollan)
One-book authors are discussed in El País (Spain) and a new novel project (in Spanish) about the Brontës is revealed:
Y tras él, otros como Emily Brontë con Cumbres borrascosas. La publicó en 1847 bajo el seudónimo de Ellis Bell, ya usado para el poemario conjunto con sus hermanas. Denostada al principio, esta obra clásica surgió después de que en 1846 Charlotte la animara a ella y a Anne a escribir una novela. Era un paso más dentro de la costumbre que tenían de escribir poemas y comentarlos mutuamente, e intentar una carrera literaria que les permitiera ganar dinero y dejar de trabajar como institutrices y maestras. Lo recuerda Ángeles Caso, que pronto publicará la vida novelada de las hermanas Brontë en Todo ese fuego. “Emily era la más reticente a editar esa novela”, añade Ángeles Caso, “desconfiaba de la recensión que pudiera tener. Tras las críticas salvajes que recibió, al no ser entendida, se reafirmó en su idea de que iban a ensuciar su creación y se negó a escribir más”. Dos años después de la publicación, y con 30 años, moría de tuberculosis sin ver su paso a la gloria literaria. (Winston Manrique Sabogal) (Translation)
The Chronicle of Higher Education's weekly book list includes
Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture by Deborah Lutz (Cambridge University Press; 260 pages; $90). Uses Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Dickens's Great Expectations, Tennyson's "In Memoriam," Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, and other works to explore Victorians' practice of treasuring locks of hair and other objects associated with their dead. (Nina C. Ayoub)
More on Suno's Brontësque influence in The New York Times:
Black socks have had an image problem since the Eliot Spitzer scandal, but they were emphatically rehabilitated on the Feb. 13 runway of Suno, the brand of Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty that is named, in the pattern of today’s shrinking-violet young designers, after Mr. Osterweis’s mother.
Above the socks fluttered carwash hems and slits cut up to “yikes” territory but made modest with mesh. The designers said they were inspired by the madwoman of the attic in “Jane Eyre”; it would seem she tripped over a trunk containing 1970s ribbed turtlenecks and Fair Isle sweaters.
There was also a series of skirts and dresses with large abstract blooms that apparently stemmed from “Wide Sargasso Sea,” Jean Rhys’s post-colonialist prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and these looked like Marimekko prints shot with poison. (Alexandra Jacobs)
Oliver Kamm writes in The Times about the A to Z of non-pedantic grammar:
Fluent speakers of English rarely make grammatical mistakes. The complaints of the sticklers aren't supported by the historical and literary evidence of usage, as recorded in the dictionaries. Writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Byron and the Brontës have all uses constructions that violate the pedants "rules". We can do it too.
Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb interviews the writer Lauren Francis-Sharma:
Q: Which authors have inspired you?
A: I think I’ve always been really captivated by Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eyemade me sit up and say, Oh my God.
I think because my parents came from a former British colony and my mother is a huge reader of British literature, I keep coming back to the old English classics. Very often they don’t seem to be in favor all the time, unless you’re in an English department at a university, [but] Wuthering Heights is still one of my favorite books. I read it every single year.

by M. ( at February 16, 2015 10:37 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Jane Eyre: Read, Watch, Experience

A very nice initiative begins today, February 16, at the Hay Library at Western Wyoming Community College:
Western Wyoming Community College and the Hay Library are partnering with the Sweetwater County Libraries and the Sweetwater County Library Foundation this spring to promote a multi-format exploration of author Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 classic Jane Eyre, in a series of programs and events entitled Jane Eyre: Read, Watch, Experience. Readers, film buffs, and patrons of the performing arts all will find something to enjoy in this series, which invites participants to immerse themselves in Brontë’s tale of mystery and woe.

The event officially kicks off Monday, Feb. 16, when “pass-it-on” books will be made available at several library locations. Participants are encouraged to read the books and then attend several film and discussion programs, including:
Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m. at the White Mountain Library
Wide Sargasso Sea 2006
Saturday, March 28, at 2 p.m. at Sweetwater County Library’s Green River
Jane Eyre 2011
Saturday, April 4, at 2 p.m. at the Rock Springs Library
I Walked With a Zombie 1944

And, the WWCC Performing Arts Department’s stage production “Jane Eyre,” which runs April 17, 18, 23, 24, and 25. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. each evening, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. No children under 5 admitted.

WWCC Hay Library Director Janice Grover-Roosa credited Associate Professor of Musical Theatre and Voice Eric DeLora, MFA, with the idea of encouraging the community to read Jane Eyre prior to the Performing Arts Department’s spring stage production, which DeLora is directing. That idea eventually morphed into the series of multimedia presentations scheduled for March and April.

“Eric came to the Hay Library full of energy and excitement about the upcoming production of ‘Jane Eyre’ and suggested the local libraries host a county-wide book club to create interest in the work,” Grover-Roosa said. “We agreed with him completely! We’ve been working to coordinate funding and schedule programs from the moment Prof. DeLora spoke to us. We can’t wait to see the event series begin!”

In order to facilitate lively discussions about the novel and its film and theater adaptations, one hundred pass-it-on books will be made available at the Hay Library and throughout the Sweetwater County Library System in the next month, allowing for plenty of time to read the novel before the screening and discussion programs begin. Community members are invited to pick up a copy at their local library branch or at the College, read it, and then pass the book on to neighbors, co-workers and friends.

The purchase of pass-it-on books was made possible by generous contributions from Western Wyoming Community College’s Cultural Affairs Committee and the Sweetwater County Library Foundation.

by M. ( at February 16, 2015 12:30 AM

February 15, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Rochester and Lycra

This is a self-published poetry book with a Jane Eyre twist:
Mr. Rochester Wears Lycra: and other poems by Liz Keeley
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (12 Feb. 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1502335074

Liz Keeley has lived in Derbyshire for over thirty years, and the imagery of the Peak District in particular is strongly reflected in many of her poems. Her longstanding interest in nineteenth century history and literature, sparked by reading Jane Eyre as a child, has also been a significant source of inspiration over the years. In this collection, Liz focuses on the themes of love and loss, using a mixture of traditional forms and free verse to question and comment upon relationships from beginning to end.

by M. ( at February 15, 2015 12:30 AM

February 14, 2015


A Very Unique Nightmare

The daily dose of Brontë sightings in Fifty Shades of Grey film reviews (thanks to alert reader Michael K.):
Is this really better? If being rescued by the equivalent of Prince Charming is an enduring theme in literature, then capturing and reforming the Bad Boy is its dark twin refrain. Heathcliff, Hamlet, Mr. Rochester, James Dean, Dylan McKay. The Bad Boy, or Demon Lover, brings out a woman’s nurturing and empathetic side and, well, other sides of her, too. As Taylor Swift has said, “I think every girl’s dream is to find a bad boy at the right time, when he wants to not be bad anymore.” (Allison Elliott in The National Review)
Fate lands her an interview with Christian Grey (Dornan) but what could possibly attract her to this billionaire businessman with the looks of a model and the physique of an athlete? Jane Eyre's Mr Rochester was never so glowering or mysterious. (Allan Hunter in The Daily Express)
She may be virginal, but she's not naive, and her defiant back-and-forth with Christian successfully evokes the literary heroines Ana idolises. Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester are clear forebears, but James's barely-literate prose made this tough to notice. (Emma Dibdin in Digital Spy)
She literally falls into his office. He stares at her without blinking for 10 straight minutes. She asks him if he’s gay. He says something about “harnessing people.” She admits to being an English lit student; he asks if it was Hardy, Austen or Brontë that attracted her. She says Hardy. Nope, he says, you are a lady — definitely Austin (sic). She gets up to leave. He steals her paperwork. She is intimidated by him. Boom. Romance. (Rebecca Tucker in National Post)
Christian Grey, the billionaire at the center of "Fifty Shades," isn't a vampire like Edward from "Twilight." He doesn't have a crazy wife locked up in his attic like Mr. Rochester in "Jane Eyre." But like both of them, Grey's relationship puts the woman he is involved with in danger, physically and emotionally. (George Covanis in Detroit Free Press)
Here, that magical force is Christian’s shady kink. He’s not into love. He’s into contractual relationships where pleasure is derived from a kind of pain and sense of control, and virginal Anastasia, who seems to have spent her college years reading Jane Austen and Emily Brontë while avoiding Marquis de Sade’s more descriptive writings, prefers even just the littlest bit of emotional bond while in bondage. (Oggs Cruz in Rappler)
So the fantasy of learning about a man’s true nature became the center of almost all erotic literature (not to mention classic literature as well, from Jane Eyre to Gone With the Wind.)  (Eliana Dockterman in Time Magazine)
We're told early on that Anastasia is an English major, with a particular love of Hardy. Too bad. What the movie really needs is a good dose of Brontë - a tall dark lover with a scowl like a thundercloud, and lots of passionate back-and-forths on the edge of rough cliffs. (Stephen Whitty in New Jersey Star-Ledger)
A “9 1/2 Weeks” for a new generation, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is an attempt to make multiplexes safe for soft-core. Thank heavens, it isn’t in 3-D. Part “Cinderella,” part “Beauty and the Beast,” part “Jane Eyre” meets “Story of O,” the film is based on the 2011 best-selling fangirl fiction sensation by pseudonymous Brit E. L. James, and it is a giggle-inducing letdown after all the heavy-breathing buildup in a media desperate for something people want to hear about. (James Verniere in Boston Herald)
Take away the sex and the story is as archetypal as they come. Anastasia (Dakota Johnson, who’s really good) is the beauty; Christian (Jamie Dornan) is the beast. Or Anastasia is a pretty woman; Christian is Richard Gere with issues. Or Anastasia is Jane Eyre; Christian is the brooding, Byronic Mr. Rochester. Or Heathcliff – but with a twist. She wants a ring on her finger. He’d rather see her hands in a knot. (Baradwaj Rangan in The Hindu)
But even the sex stuff is absurd! Dude has a "playroom" full of whips and handcuffs that looks like the haunted red room from Jane Eyre. Not to mention their S&M stuff, which is supposed to be so intense it requires written consent, amounts to him tying her to a bed, blindfolding her, and kiss-swapping some white wine into her mouth.
Lauren, you're forgetting about the peacock feather. (Lauren Bans in GQ)
At heart this is another story of an inexperienced young woman feeling drawn to a dangerous man. Like Beauty and the Beast, Wuthering Heights, and Bella and Edward, whose Twilight story and the spontaneous fan-writing that followed led to this one. It’s porn but delivered in high style and much softened from the book. (Volkmar Richter in Vancouver Observer)
Il giovanotto non è solo un guru della finanza, ma deve aver letto molto se, ribaltando i ruoli, chiede all'intervistatrice: «Lei è stata conquistata da Emily Brontë, Jane Austen o Thomas Hardy?». (Massimo Bertarelli in Il Giornale) (Translation)
Y sin embargo Fifty Shades of Grey, despreocupada del lastre de todo realismo, casi consigue hacer con todo eso una historia divertida, sin culpas, un juego donde fantasear con lo más recalcitrante de los estereotipos que además conecta con el cuento del hombre poderoso que consumimos desde la infancia en Austen, en Brontë y tantas otras historias, ese que no quiere sentir pero cae rendido ante una chica a pesar de sí mismo. Lástima que a Anastasia, formateada para la monogamia, nos quiera aguar la fiesta con demasiados reclamos de pareja. (Marina Yuszczuk in Página 12) (Translation)
The Wall Street Journal reviews The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville:
Katherine Coville very sensibly does not pretend that Jane Austen shared in writing “The Cottage in the Woods” (Knopf, 389 pages, $16.99), though she is indebted to her and to Charlotte Brontë, the Grimm Brothers and Mother Goose too, for this surprisingly persuasive novel of one young lady’s coming of age at a time of unrest.
Financial Times reviews another novel, Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhury:
Ananda has been reading Keats and other Romantics, while trying to write poetry himself. He thinks he may be one of the greats. He admires Larkin and laments the poet’s sparse output. His tutor is kind about his poetry but Ananda has doubts about his mixed praise. When pressed, Davidson says his favourite book is Sons and Lovers, and Ananda takes it up eagerly: he has heard that it has nothing to do with antiquity and is full of sex. He is fed up with Jane Eyre and all the Brontës. (Justin Cartwright)
Style talks about Suno's last collection:
Appropriately enough, the starting point for this collection was Bertha Mason, the "madwoman in the attic" in Jane Eyre and in Jean Rhys' sultry Jamaica-set prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea. With those precepts in mind, Beatty and Osterweis moved between tropical floridity and haute bourgeoise formality, a dialogue expressed most vividly in the collection's varied florals, but also communicated via the trade between lean, constricted shapes and those soft and fluid. A few of the looks, such as a black printed silk dress with racy sheer panels, merged both tones in a striking way: The sheer lace seemed to have broken through the dress's decorous facade. Elsewhere, a prim shirtdress with an embroidered floral effusion gave a similar effect. (Maya Singer)
The Washington Post talks about the first romance fiction conference held at the Library of Congress:
A remarkable number of the passionate readers and writers in attendance possess not only an unwieldy number of paperbacks whose covers are graced with leo­nine-tressed lovers (their own Libraries of Romantic Congress) but also doctorates, often in English literature. Jane Austen and the Brontes are apparently the gateway drugs to a lifetime of HEA yearning. (Karen Heller)
Den of Geek! presents the Crimson Peak trailer:
As one of our must see horror movies of 2015, Crimson Peak offers the prospect of a genre master attempting to summon some of the decadent dread of a bygone era. With a premise that could be pulling just as much from the writings of either Brontë sister as it could be from pulp magazines, Crimson Peak stands poised to be Guillermo del Toro’s ode to the gothic literature that birthed modern horror. (David Crow)
The trailer is also described on Cines (Spain):
El tráiler enfoca en gran medida en el romance gótico al estilo Jane Eyre, algo causado por ser una película de época con Mia Wasikowska interpretando a un personaje que se enamora de un señor de mayor edad. (Antonio Orrán) (Translation)
And What Culture finds similarities with... Fifty Shades of Grey (!):
Crimson Peak is set for release this October, but this trailer was launched now to play alongside 50 Shades of Grey. It makes a certain kind of sense, and not just because of the quick flashes of bedroom action. They’re both fantasy stories, in their ways, that can be traced back to Wuthering Heights. (Brendon Connelly)
More mentions in Dark HorizonsScreenRant and Collider.

Jamie Laing reminisces about his student days and one particular teacher on TES:
I guess the highest compliment I can pay Mr Hindley is that we didn’t want to miss his lessons. We respected him, he made us laugh and he made us learn. Jane Eyre, Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, The Color Purple: I have great memories of learning these works, all taught by him.
The Oxford Student describes a recent Samantha Shannon and Andy Serkis public talk:
In person, Shannon demonstrates her talent for worldbuilding in her quick, thoughtful answers. It’s clear that she knows her creation inside and out, from its international politics to its cinema culture. Her enthusiasm for literary homage is also evident- she mentions Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist as her two primary inspirations, along with references to everything from the Brontës to Old and Middle English dream poetry. She’s also incredibly willing to discuss her creative process. (Yashwina Canter)
Stuff (New Zealand) tries to find the most sexiest cities in the world:
The top 10 often goes like this: Venice, Paris, Prague, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Seville, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Marrakesh. Other cities considered world-class romantic include Amsterdam, Lisbon, Kyoto, Bruges, Monte Carlo, Savannah, Sydney, Verona. I don't think any list like this is complete without Istanbul and Budapest.
It's all a matter of what you think is romantic – the chocolate box idea of it, or the wild, windswept Wuthering Heights view. (...)
I find Venice, Paris and Prague melancholy. There's a sadness and weariness under the beauty that makes them romantic, especially in the misty, moody greyness of their winters. You see, I'm a Wuthering Heights kind of gal. (Lee Tulloch)
Christianity Today discusses romance:
I have to agree with the literary crowd; and perhaps, as a writer, I am inclined to be a romantic at heart, but I think Emily Brontë said it best when she wrote pithily: “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” (Briana Meade)
Nassau News recommends readings for winter and cold nights:
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
As any 16-year-old knows, there’s nothing hotter than a forbidden romance. As every Brontë sister knew, the temperature rises substantially with the combination of a broody anti-hero and bad weather on the moors. Cathy and Heathcliff’s doomed love still warms our nightstands because of its sheer intensity — and, like all the best bad choices we make in love, it is a source of “little visible delight, but necessary.” That B- essay on class ambiguity in Brontë’s novel may not have stood the test of time, but Cathy+Heathcliff? 4ever.
BuzzFeed lists several 'grammar mistakes' that are not really mistakes at all. And quotes the Brontës three times to prove it:
Anticipate: Oliver Kamm, author of the newly released Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage, says that “anticipate has long had the sense of ‘expect’ as well as ‘forestall’”, and points out that Charlotte Brontë (“Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and reverie?”) and H.G. Wells both used it like that. (...)
Decimate: As it happens, “decimate” has been used to mean “devastate” for centuries: “Typhus fever decimated the school periodically,” Charlotte Brontë wrote in a letter in 1848.  (...)
Very Unique: “Absolute adjectives” such as “perfect”, “unique”, and “eternal” cannot be modified, according to some pedants, notably Nevile Gwynne, author of Gwynne’s Grammar. But – and you’ll have got the hang of this by now – no one gets to say that except for actual users of the language, who, as it happens, do exactly this, and have done for a while (Kamm points to Brontë again: “‘A very unique child,’ thought I”, she wrote in Villette). (Tom Chivers)
Calaveras Enterprise interviews a local video store owner:
And there are a couple of movies he said he won’t watch alone: “Somewhere in Time” and “Wuthering Heights” – two love stories that made him weep. (Alicia Castro)
Same thing as Kwit Koji:
[Barrie] HARDYMON: But, you know, also stuffed in my backpack was my assigned reading, "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre." And the prose is very hot, but it's actually not explicit. And, you know, in that way it is actually still kind of sizzling.
[Rachel] MARTIN: All right. So let's put this to the test. Let's hear a little bit of all the hotness happening in "Wuthering Heights."
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Reading) My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath, a source of little visible delight but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff. He's always, always in my mind. Not as a pleasure any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don't talk of our separation again.
MARTIN: OK. Am I allowed to push back on you a little bit? My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods?
HARDYMON: Well, he's the one that's she's not really that into. But Heathcliff - Nelly, I am Heathcliff. I mean there are these crazy gothic obstacles to overcome. And when you're teenager who regards, you know, everything as a crazy, gothic obstacle - everything is "Romeo and Juliet" - it's not, like, a long way from - I have to get off the phone at 9, my mother is coming, to - oh my God, I have a lunatic wife in the attic.
GazetteXtra on how to make your relationship better:
That first year of marriage, I thought Charlotte Bronte and Mina Loy might have been wrong. Why bother with all that self-knowledge if you were only going end up as a cliché? 
Sex lessons to be found in classical literature according to Bustle:
As I sat down to write this list, I realized that although many of the lessons that literature has to teach us about love still apply perfectly well to our own time—don’t let pride cloud your judgment (Pride and Prejudice),make sure your boyfriend doesn’t have a crazy wife hidden on the third floor before you get engaged (Jane Eyre)—the lessons that classic lit has to teach us about sex are a little more problematic. (...)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
It’s unclear if the poisonous, obsessive relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff is ever consummated in Wuthering Heights; my own feeling is that it isn’t. Regardless, many years after Cathy’s death, Heathcliff has the side of her coffin removed, so that, when he’s buried next to her following his own death, the side of his coffin can also be removed and their rotting corpses can mingle in the ground forever after. Heathcliff describes his dream of “dissolving with her, and being more happy still!” Sexy, right?
Sex Lesson: If you don’t manage to hit it while your lover’s alive, don’t worry: You can still bone in in the afterlife. (Lara Rutherford-Morrison)
MinnPost interviews the author Rachel L. Coyne:
MP: You’ve written that Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” has been a big part of your life as a writer. (Amy Goetzman)
RC: Books can change people. That book changed me so entirely, and even today impacts the way I write. I think I read it in seventh grade and it must have been the only book I read that year; I read it over and over and over. That’s an age where people are figuring themselves out and deciding: I’m either going to repeat my family rhythms or find my own way in life.
There are lines in each of my novels that echo lines from "Jane Eyre." The very structure and pacing of my books follow from Brontë. The movie version really fails to capture how grim and brutal that book really, is. The stark, persistent darkness, the violence, especially against children, the threads of madness, the sense of trying to save yourself from your own childhood. That scene where Jane Eyre wakes up with little Helen Burns dead in her bed? That’s so incredibly grim. There’s dynamite hidden in that book. It’s in my emotional wiring. It sings in me. I love it.
Kölner Stadt-Unzeiger talks about Anna Todd's After:
Eigentlich sehnt er sich natürlich auch nur nach Liebe, weil er eine schwere Kindheit hatte, man kennt das. Dabei liebt er Literaturklassiker wie „Sturmhöhe“, trinkt kaum Alkohol und ist im Grunde seines Herzens ein netter Kerl. (Anne Burgmer) (Translation)
And, well, today is February 14th. You know what that means, right? Let's take a deep breath and begin the list of (almost) neverending mentions and lists with Brontës on them:
Need a read? [Katy] Madison’s recommendations focus on books she loves to rediscover, including “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. It’s probably why she sometimes skews Gothic.  (Edward M. Eveld in The Kansas City Star)
Wuthering Heights: A total eclipse of the heart.
In one of the oldest heart-wrenching classics in the "lost love can turn a good man evil" scenario, Emily Brontë's novel takes us back to 1802 at the Wuthering Heights estate. In this timeless love story, our leading man Heathcliff grows to become best friends with his adopted sister, Catherine, his life-long crush. But an offhand comment, overheard at the Heights, changes the course of both of their lives.
“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” (The Daily Star)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. The evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature. (The Times of India)
Mr. Rochester of “Jane Eyre
Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” features the classic gothic romantic elements of the theologically sound girl, the man with a damaged soul and the bat-crazy wife hidden in an attic.
Mr. Rochester is a prime example of a rebel heart calmed by the sweet musings of the “poor, obscure, plain and little” heroine, Jane Eyre. He desired every bit of Jane, but he didn’t pursue her solely as another notch on his bedpost — and not just because his bed post had burned to a crisp.
Jane’s naivete wasn’t sought after in the same perverse way the “maidenhood” of a young woman is purchased the night before her life as a Geisha. Today, Jane refusing sexual intimacy with Rochester is viewed as repressed and anti-feminist.
However, if Jane had submitted to the married man’s efforts, would she be any better than a modern woman convincing herself that her married boyfriend’s wife “doesn’t treat him right”?
In the end, Jane’s resolve to run away from his tempting offer resulted in their lawfully binding marriage. (Anna Mae Ludlum in The Daily Wildcat)
Valentine's Day | Music that'll make your heart smile: (...) "Awaken," Dario Marianelli: Purposelessness and apathy scare me most in life. This soundtrack (from "Jane Eyre") causes me to feel, not allowing me to remain detached from life. (Teresa Totheroh, violin from The Last Bison in Hampton Roads)
MOVIE REVIEW: Happy Valentine's Day: (...) Jane Eyre (TV, 2006): OK this is a miniseries, but stay with me. Anastasia Steele’s an English Lit major and references classic heroines often, namely Tess Durbeyfield, but she should be looking at Jane for direction. There have been about 10 adaptations of the film, but this one is the bee’s knees for capturing Jane’s spirit and self-composure against her love for a man consumed by regret. Her battle is uphill from birth, first as an unwanted orphan, then as a decade-long resident at an abusive boarding school, but a glint of light appears when she gets a position of governess at the imposing Thornfield Hall, owned by the dark and mysterious Edward Rochester (aren’t they always Edward?) who harbors past secrets and scars of his own. As their relationship moves from professional to a mutual understanding to romantic, author Charlotte Bronte achieved the rare feat of taking a potentially scandalous situation and injecting her heroine with enough intelligence and self-respect to know what she wants and what she is worth. Proof that a story can be passionate without being lascivious, Jane’s test comes as she is given the opportunity to live happily as a mistress and she chooses to live honestly and alone, though not without torment. This version features recent Golden Globe-winner Ruth Wilson (The Affair) as Jane and Toby Stephens (Black Sails) as Edward, and though Stephens is too attractive for the character, he displays all his temper and wit and obsession for the little bird under his care.  (Brooke Corso in The Monitor)
The BAM's Blog 8th annual Valentine's Day movie list: (...)"Jane Eyre" (2011): Director Cary Fukunaga ("Sin Nombre") and his talented young cast, including Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell, bring fresh energy to the often-adapted gothic tale. Every aspect of the narrative is heightened: The mystery crackles with suspense, the romance smolders with sensuality, and the coming-of-age story flares with intensity. (Brandy McDonnell in NewsOK)
We aren’t Miss Havisham, burying ourselves in a mouldering mansion, shrouded in yellowing wedding wear and bitterness. Nor are we Heathcliff, destined to spend a lifetime railing against thwarted love, destroying all who were instrumental in its thwarting. And no, I do not believe true love’s kiss will awaken anyone from the sleep of death, unless perhaps your Prince has halitosis. (Preeti Zachariah in The Hindu)
Tác phẩm của Charlotte Brontë lại mang một màu sắc trầm lắng, kiềm chế hơn rất nhiều lời văn tươi sáng, vui vẻ của Jane Austen.
Lời văn và cách kể chuyện của Charlotte Brontë cũng đơn giản, trầm mặc như chính nhân vật chính của bà, cô Jane Eyre. Nhưng nó chỉ là vẻ bề ngoài, ẩn sâu bên trong đó là tình yêu thương mãnh liệt, đam mê nồng cháy, và một niềm tin tưởng không thể lay chuyển vào lẽ phải.
Cuộc sống của cô gái gia sư bình dị Jane Eyre tưởng đã sang trang mới hạnh phúc khi ông chủ Roschard cầu hôn với cô, nhưng một bí mật đen tối trong quá khứ ông chủ đã chia cách hai người.
Cuối cùng, Jane Eyre đã tìm ra con đường để tự trưởng thành và có thể yêu Roschard bằng cả trái tim vô tư, không làm gì trái với lòng mình. (Phan Lê in Dan Viêt) (Translation)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë). L’histoire d’amour impossible entre Jane Eyre et Mr. Rochester, grand classique anglais, est d’un lyrisme délicieux avec ses dialogues polis et ses rebondissements de circonstance. Bien dosée en espoir et en tourments, la saga fait renaître direct la grandiloquence de l’Angleterre victorienne. (Geneviève Tremblay in Le Devoir) (Translation)
Dla odmiany można sięgnąć po miłość z XIX wieku, po "Emmę" (2009), "Dumę i uprzedzenie" (1995) czy "Rozważną i romantyczną" (1995 lub 2008) na podstawie powieści Jane Austen; albo zboczyć na wrzosowiska i zagłębić się w "Wichrowe Wzgórza" (2009) i "Jane Eyre" (2006) sióstr Brontë. (Sonia Miniewicz in Gazeta) (Translation)
El amor de Cumbres Borrascosas es como deberían serlo todos en teoría: intenso, salvaje, incondicional. Pero eso solo sería bueno si ese amor fuera entre dos personas sanas y equilibradas y en condiciones que permitieran dar rienda suelta al amor. No es el caso aquí, y no suele serlo en ningún libro. Las pasiones devastadoras son de lo más destructivo. (Cristina Domínguez in Librópatas) (Translation)
I protagonisti di “Orgoglio e pregiudizio” di Jane Austen sono risultati la coppia piu’ votata dalla community di Libreriamo, scelta da quasi un amante dei libri su 3 (29%) all'interno di uno specifico sondaggio. (...)
Le coppie piu' romantiche della letteratura
6. Edward Rochester e Jane Eyre (Libreriamo) (Translation) 
Kilkenny People has a local proposal for tonight:
If you are looking for a novel way to spend Valentine’s night then pop down to the Hole in the Wall where the Barn Owl’s Players will present their latest production - What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Songs, poetry, drama and limericks will be performed in the stunning setting of the upstairs space of the old tavern with the common theme of love and indeed anti-love running throughout the evening.
“Whether you are in love, in hate, a hopeless romantic or sickened by the sight of hearts, What’s Love got to do with it? has something for everyone. The Hole In The Wall is a great venue for us to present an informal, relaxed night of entertainment. We have had a great response to these type of shows in the past and we hope that the audience will join in with us and bring along some limericks about love,” said BOP chairperson, Cara O’Doherty.
Literary stalwarts including Oscar Wilde, Emily Brontë, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Paul Durcan are all included in the programme.
The Voice and The Chattanoogan quote from Wuthering Heights.

Finally, a Brontë mention in a Times article about The Royal Scotsman.

by M. ( at February 14, 2015 01:31 PM

Half-term at the Brontë Parsonage Museum

Half-term activities at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
Fun for all the family is promised at the Brontë Parsonage Museum during next week's half-term holidays.
The History Mystery Family Trail will last all week at the Haworth museum, offering a fact-finding trail around the parsonage.
Families can join a member of the museum's staff for short walks around Haworth to discover the turbulent side of the village's history.
There promise to be some surprising anecdotes, like why the washer women of Haworth were up in arms against the curate, and why Patrick Bronte’s predecessor kept a horsewhip by his side in church.
The walks will run on Monday and Thursday at both 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Touching the Past, which runs on Wednesday from 11.30am to 4pm, will allow museum visitors to get their hands on history.
There will be a selection of Victorian artefacts to handle including a dress, a parasol and some household objects.
Visitors can try looking through some Victorian spectacles and see the world through their eyes, or make a spark with a tinder box.
There will also be the opportunity to stretch creative muscles and make a sampler.
All events are free with admission to the museum. (David Knights in Keighley News)

by Cristina ( at February 14, 2015 12:43 AM

Jane Eyre with ropes and Wuthering Heights with whips

Keighley News announces that a fragment of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights opera will be performed at Haworth on April 18.
A Brontë museum worker is arranging a rare performance of a little-known opera version of Wuthering Heights.
Charissa Hutchins will stage a large extract from the epic adaptation of Emily Bronte’s famous novel in Haworth this spring.
She and her team of young professional opera singers are focusing on the final act of Bernard Herrmann’s 1951 work. They will portray the dramatic return of Heathcliff to the Haworth moors where he discovers Cathy, the love of his life, has married Edgar Linton.
The performance, on April 18, will be only yards from the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Proceeds will be split between Manorlands and the museum’s acquisitions fund.
Charissa is a museum assistant at the parsonage and believes it will be the first time such a large amount of Herrmann’s opera has been performed in the UK.
Herrmann, born in 1911, was an American composer best-known for writing music for Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles movies, Psycho, North By Northwest and Citizen Kane.
Charissa wanted to organise a charity opera evening in Haworth, and while looking for material discovered the score of Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights in the Brontë Parsonage Museum library.
She said: “I read the whole of it and thought ‘this is amazing’. I got hold of the soundtrack and I was inspired to do a huge chunk. It’s only been performed in America and Germany. Herrmann was a huge Brontë fan and wrote music for Orson Welles’s film of Jane Eyre in 1946. He visited Haworth.”
Charrissa, a soprano, will be joined on stage by opera singers Sally Mitchell, Leon Waksberg and Phil Wilcox, plus local rock singer Yvonne Gillson. With Yorkshire pianist Gordon Balmforth, the group will perform light opera classics before the final act of Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights.
“It’s the most dramatic part of the opera and will make the most sense to an audience. Cathy has married Edgar, and Heathcliff walks into a scene of domestic tranquillity and causes uproar.”
Everyone is giving services for free. “Fifty per cent of proceeds will go to the museum in memory of Bernard.”
Wuthering Heights is at the Old School Rooms, Haworth, on April 18, at 7.30pm. E-mail to book tickets. (David Knights)
New Statesman reviews the novel Sanctuary by Robert Edric.
At the heart of the myth that surrounds the Brontës is Branwell’s painting of his three porcelain-skinned sisters, their unflinching gazes locked on another world. Branwell – the failed artist, poet and scholar of Greek; the sacked railwayman, dismissed tutor, disgraced debtor and local drunk – initially included his own likeness and then painted himself out with a pillar.
His outline, standing between the figures of Emily and Charlotte, glimmers on the canvas like a ghost, turning the image into a striking self-portrait. The Brontës’ feckless brother, with his childlike frame and carrot-coloured hair, started fading away in his own lifetime and has remained spectral ever since. “I know only,” Branwell wrote the year before he died, “that it is time for me to be something when I am nothing.” There was, recorded Charlotte, an “emptiness” to his “whole existence”.
Sanctuary is a noble if not altogether successful attempt to bring Branwell back into focus, to imagine what it is for a vivid imagination to lose its power. Set in 1848, when he was 31 and in the last year of his life, the novel falls into 50 brief chapters in which, speaking in the first person, Branwell gives us minutely observed scenes. He discusses social “progress” with packmen on the hills (“People like you and me, we are the men pushed aside”); he drinks with his friends; he is ticked-off by his family (“Father blames your drinking”); he debates European politics with Emily (“The French never settle. One thing always leads to another”); he dodges his creditors; beds down in inns and fields and on the kitchen floor; he dreams of the time he visited Hartley Coleridge; he fantasises about his (unconfirmed) affair with Lydia Robinson, the wife of his employer; and he sets alight the bed he shares with his father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë. (Frances Wilson) (Read more)
The Independent realises that Emily Brontë may not have intended to write just one novel.
What seems to me more extraordinary is that [Harper] Lee has published just one novel until now. How many others have done this? Even Homer wrote two. Oscar Wilde with Dorian Gray, but he wrote plays and poems. Emily Brontë with Wuthering Heights but she probably intended to write more had she not died so young. (Arifa Akbar)
Well, now for all the Valentine's mentions you were waiting for. The Cache Valley Daily argues that 'love sucks' and draws this conclusion from 'four lessons from History'.
1847: How depressing would it have been to get drunk with the Brontë sisters? I have a great fondness for Charlotte Brontë’s book, “Jane Eyre”. But it is her younger sister Emily who gave the world the ultimate story of love gone bad, “Wuthering Heights”.
The story revolves around Heathcliff and Catherine. They love each other, but Heathcliff is poor and Cathy does not have the fortitude to love a stable boy---a damn shame she never saw “The Princess Bride”. Catherine agrees to marry the wishy-washy Edgar Linton. Heathcliff runs away.
When Heathcliff returns, he is wealthy. Edgar and Catherine are married and have a daughter, Cathy. Edgar’s younger sister Isabella falls in love with Heathcliff, who marries her only to exact revenge on Edgar and Catherine. Ain’t love grand?
Cathy dies. Isabella goes into hiding with her and Heathcliff’s son, Linton. Years later, Heathcliff, still angry at being slighted, kidnaps Cathy and forces her to marry the weak-willed but sadistic Linton, who is her first cousin.
There is a very thin line between love and hate. Have we not all been tempted with revenge o’er a former lover who wounded us? But, really, Heathcliff is sociopathic monster. All of that pain and anguish because of a shallow, spineless girl who wanted to move up socially. But that is the real face of love: rejection and regret. (Harry Caines)
A novel is not exactly 'History', though.

Vogue India summarises both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights:
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
A cancelled wedding, preexisting marriage, and possible illegitimate child seem like reasons enough to keep away from a man--but not for Jane Eyre. [...]
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
Catherine and Heathcliff's is the ultimate story of a love doomed to fail.
Your Tango suggests '8 Valentine's Day Gifts For Everyone In Your Life'.
1. Mom
It's hard to go wrong with a gorgeous scarf, especially a creative one. This particular scarf is printed with a passage from Jane Eyre.
Find it at Uncommon Goods. (Kristen Droesch)
BBC Culture asks several bookish people about the best way to express love.
Damian Barr, author and host of The Literary Salon
I always cry at Wuthering Heights.
Libreriamo (Italy) interviews Beatrice Dogo e Massimo Minuti, authors of L’amore si impara leggendo.
Nel vostro libro citate una pluralità di autori che magari possono anche sembrare molto distanti tra loro (Jane Austen e Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk e Charlotte Brontë, per fare qualche esempio): cosa possono avere in comune?
B: Secondo me hanno in comune l’abilità a raccontare una storia: ognuno di loro, con uno stile diversissimo, mette in piedi un mondo immaginario che funziona, che avvince. I loro personaggi sono credibili, hanno fatto scattare in noi un’empatia - da lettori, prima di tutto. Li abbiamo scelti anche perché crediamo nella pluralità delle voci, nel fatto che uno stesso messaggio può arrivare con più o meno facilità a seconda di come è comunicato. Gli autori che abbiamo scelto, per me, hanno proprio questa bravura nel comunicare sensazioni e narrazioni. Hanno una bella “voce”, distinguibile dalle altre.
M: La capacità di creare quel rapporto unico e personale che si ha tra autore e chi legge (lettore/lettrice). Appunto. Questo è anche uno dei principi alla base della libroterapia. Certo, noi abbiamo fatto scelte specifiche, filtrate attraverso il nostro gusto personale, che proponiamo alle lettrici de "L'amore si impara leggendo" proprio per seguire un percorso di lettura. La nostra è una proposta che può anche stupire, ma se ci si pone in maniera aperta e disponibile, si possono trovare molti punti in comune tra King e la Austen. Al di là del gusto personale e dell'imprinting letterario. Leggere è anche sinonimo di libertà e "concedersi" di rompere alcuni meccanismi autolimitanti, proprio in questo ambito, favorisce un percorso di cambiamento. Anche per questo io e Beatrice non facciamo distinzione tra Letteratura di seria A e B, Pop o Classica. (Translation)
Biography has selected '10 Sexy Films Before 50 Shades of Grey'. One of which is
Wuthering Heights, 1992
There are several film versions of Emily Brontë’s book, but this one captures all the drama and darkness of the original story. Well-born Cathy (Juliette Binoche) and orphaned servant Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) share a wild, tormented passion on the English moors, and Heathcliff just might be the original jealous, brooding leading man in romance fiction. (Jessica Murphy)
A few days ago, we read the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey was described as 'Charlotte Brontë with a peacock feather'. Well, here are a couple more descriptions of the film:
It’s Jane Eyre with ropes. (David Edelstein, from Vulture)
It’s Wuthering Heights with whips (Johanna Schneller, from The Globe and Mail)
ABC (Spain) comments on a recent party given by football player Cristiano Ronaldo after his team lost a match.
Y le vituperan aficionados que se quedaron esa noche en casa bordando escudos de «petit point» como si fueran las hermanas Brontë. (Hughes) (Translation)
The Vine jokes about the fact that 'BitTorrent [will] release its own TV series with BitTorrent Originals'.
Watch this space for Pirate Bay's new webseries based on the novels of the Brontë sisters and set in an undersea lab in the 1960s.

by Cristina ( at February 14, 2015 12:28 AM

February 13, 2015

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

  • Thomas Longueville, A Romance of the Recusants (British Library, n.d.).  Facsimile reprint of Longueville's Catholic historical novel, originally published in 1888, set during the early reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Longueville (or de Longueville) was best known as a satirist on matters religious, especially The Life of a Prig and its sequels.  (Amazon)
  • Stephanie Forward, ed., Dreams, Visions and Realities (Birmingham, 2003).  Anthology of mostly feminist fiction from around the turn of the twentieth century, both English and American.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • Anne Markey, ed., Children's Fiction 1765-1808 (Four Courts, 2011).  Anthology of early Irish children's fiction.   Includes two short novels by John Carey and Margaret King Moore, and three short stories by Henry Brooke, John Clowes, and an anonymous author.  (Amazon [secondhand])
  • George Turnbull, Education for Life: Correspondence and Writings on Religion and Practical Philosophy, ed. M. A. Stewart and Paul Wood (Liberty Fund, 2015).  Yet another volume in the Liberty Fund's verrrry long-running "Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics" series, collecting an assortment of Turnbull's print and MS writings on modern Christianity and its practice.  (Liberty Fund)
  • Anne M. Boylan, Sunday School: The Formation of an American Institution, 1790-1880 (Yale, 1990).  Discusses the roots and functions (religious and civic) of the Protestant Sunday School movement.  (eBay)

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 13, 2015 11:48 PM

Victorian Poetry Network

The Little Professor

Horror, writing (I)

By sheer chance, I recently found myself reading two horror novels in which the act of writing played a significant part: Patrick Senecal's 5150, rue des Ormes and Alan Judd's Faustian The Devil's Own Work.  5150, rue des Ormes juxtaposes the journals of Yannick (being held hostage in the titular house) and Maude (the fervently Catholic wife of the man doing the hostage-holding) against an intermittent third-person objective narrator; The Devil's Own Work's first-person narrator tells the story of the fate of his friend, a bestselling novelist, in thrall to a strange manuscript and the woman (or demon) who guards it.  Both novels produce some of their skin-crawling effects from the increasingly obvious discrepancy between the hopes vested in writing (to keep oneself sane, to impose order on chaos, to create art, to express the secret self...) and the actual outcomes for the ever more beleaguered writers.  Initially, I was going to write about the two novels together, but 5150, rue des Ormes decided to take over this blog post.  

Spoilers ahoy, so the rest goes below the fold.  Beware! Long entry ahead! 

Perhaps because I'm a UCI alum, my (inappropriately) amused response to 5150, rue des Ormes was "Wow! A deconstructionist's dream!"  Jacques Beaulieu, the paterfamilias, is a moral absolutist who charts the world in terms of the "juste" and "injuste"--a binary opposition symbolically manifested in the black/white pieces in chess, a game Jacques plays obsessively.   His subjectivity is bound up fully in his identification with absolute justice, which he both channels and is: "Tu vas mourir parce que la Justice l'a décidé," Jacques screams during his first execution. "Parce que je l'ai décidé! Moi! Moi! Moi!" (184) Or, even more bluntly, "N'implore pas Dieu! C'est moi, Dieu, ici!" (183)  Although many can be "juste," only Jacques and his literal or intellectual progeny are privileged to embody and enact the rule of justice on earth.  This, for Jacques, is quite literally the Law of the Father (has anyone seen my Lacan?): it is his father who teaches him to value justice above all else (39-40), and it is as a father that Jacques seeks to pass his ritual practices to the next generation.  He tips over into murder after his first son is stillborn, which he blames on the doctor; like his Catholic wife, Jacques is heavily invested in causality, with the added fillip that all causes are embodied in persons.  (That is, something must have caused his son, an "innocent" [182], to die; that something must be a someone.)  At the same time, Jacques professes to loathe physical violence, so that his executions (as well as his abusive assaults on his wife) are accompanied by acts of extreme mortification that clearly parody saintly asceticism (he slashes his fingers, walks on broken glass, and so forth).  As the arbiter of all justice, who can ordain punishment for his own transgressions but himself? Jacques' repeated bloodying of his own body, however, also recurs in his attempts to reinvent his daughter Michelle as the son he failed to have (signaled by the untranslatable use of masculine pronouns and adjectives) and, ultimately, in the taxidermy chess set he constructs in the basement, with the dead "juste" (e.g., Maude's parents) as White and the "injuste" as Black.  That is, Jacques transforms Justice from the metaphysical to the physical--the personification becomes a person (himself), just as good/evil demand their own embodiment.  And Jacques' creepy chess set suggests the extent and limit of his power: he can repurpose corpses to represent the powers of Justice and Injustice warring against each other, but the results are still grotesque and inanimate; for Jacques, all people are potential objects instead of potential selves.  He deforms, instead of forms.  

The reader only accesses Jacques through the third person or the diaries, however, so that he is always mediated to us via another voice (and thus never gets to be the supreme "I" he claims to be); Maude and Yannick narrate themselves through their journals, both of which prove deeply inadequate to the task at hand.  Maude's journal is as much spiritual self-examination as it is a secular diary, and whereas her husband fully asserts his selfhood in the act of delivering "justice," Maude does so by reflecting on her precise role in the divine plan.  For her, the diary is initially an unmediated mode of speaking to God in private; later, as she becomes more and more aware of Jacques' projects, the diary substitutes for the confessional.  But as she concludes her first entry, she begs for a sign: "Envoie-moi un signe, Seigneur, un signe qui me dira ce que je dois faire, un signe qui révélera la pureté ou la noirceur de cette éventuelle rencontre" (35).  This moment anticipates later revelations about Jacques' binary world view ("purity" and "blackness"); it also suggests her willing subordination to a divine power whose "signs" she must decode before she can choose.   It is perhaps no accident that she is a passionate reader, for her universe is composed entirely of potentially momentous signs.  At the same time, where her husband seeks to claim God's ultimate subject position for himself, Maude can understand herself only in relational terms--in relation to God, to her husband, to children.  Excited by her first (and ultimately tragic) pregnancy, Maude declares that "une femme n'est pas vraiment femme tant qu'elle n'a pas d'enfant" (85)--to be a woman is not, by her very definition, to exist in and of herself, but to reproduce.  As a bemused Yannick realizes, Jacques and Maude are virtually parodies of the stereotypical dominant patriarch and subordinate woman (Yannick repeatedly wonders at how out of time Maude seems)--yet another unstable binary.  

The difficulty for Maude, then, turns out to be the sheer proliferation of uncertain and self-contradictory signs, none of which can be reliably decoded.  In her final journal entry, a suicide note addressed to God but read by both Yannick and Jacques, she records that Yannick's presence led her finally to full self-awareness--the continuation of her theme--but when he offers help and then, succumbing to Jacques' game, retracts it, she finds her initial belief that he was heaven-sent to be in error.  "[I]l était l'envoyé du Diable" (329) she scrawls, suggesting her ongoing entrapment in the world of yes/no, good/evil, God/Demon, and so on.  Yannick's instability is the last straw that breaks the camel's back of her patriarchal world-view: abandoned by both men and her male God, and unable to maintain her one-way devotion to her mentally disabled daughter Anne, her sole self-motivated choice in the narrative is suicide.    Once her narrative system collapses, she cannot reconstruct the fragments into any coherent alternative that would escape the trap of either/or.   She opts, that is, for silence--a choice that anticipates the fates of both Jacques and Yannick.  

If this were a deconstructionist exercise, then, Yannick at first seem to be a disruptive third term unsettling the characters' belief in a stable world of opposites.  Significantly, Yannick is entrapped by sheer chance: he falls off his bicycle when he swerves to avoid a cat, asks Jacques for help, and then accidentally discovers Jacques' latest execution-in-process.  Yannick is understandably bewildered when Jacques denies that he has any intention of killing him (17), but accident is what saves him: "Hein, que c'est pas de ta faute, le jeune?" (17) In other words, Yannick is a problem, but because he did nothing wrong, he remains on the side of le juste.  Nevertheless, Yannick's accidental presence automatically troubles both Jacques' and Maude's worldviews, which rely heavily on intentional causes in order to remain operative.  It is no accident--so to speak--that the accidental Yannick is also the character who most explicitly turns to writing in order to self-consciously impose narrative order on otherwise inexplicable events.  As he reflects, rereading his own text, "Je me sens plus maitre de moi, plus en paix, comme un homme perdu dans le désert qui a trouvé un oasis" (81).  In that sense, Yannick at first appears to be the only character aware that his selfhood depends on a system--the act of writing up his experiences in confinement--that he has created for himself. And yet, this self-consciousness is also his weakness; where Jacques and Maude craft their worldviews out of transcendent absolutes, Yannick can only turn to films--whether classics like The Seventh Seal or contemporary horror--as the best analogies for his situation.   Eventually, his own prose begins to erupt in disorder, whether by recording his own maniacal outbursts (175), decaying into repetition (204), or, when he finally discovers what's in the basement, momentarily collapsing into fragments (213-16, 226).  (At one point, his words separate out into their component letters [253].) Ultimately, it should come as no surprise to the reader that Yannick is seduced by the logic of Jacques' own game, to the point that he manages to leave the house and yet chooses to return: "Je vais le battre," Yannick tells himself, "Pour lui montrer que j'ai raison" (253).  Yannick, the supposedly disruptive third term, succumbs to the allure of the fixed oppositions (here, between reason and irrationality); beating Jacques Beaulieu at chess means not subverting Jacques' system, but proving its rightness.  The game's ritual repetitions overload his ability to master himself through the act of writing--now, he can master himself only by mastering Jacques.

In fact, the truly disruptive figures in the novel are not the men at all, but Jacques' two daughters, Michelle and Anne.  Michelle, who will go on to become the Red Queen of Senécal's Aliss (which I discussed a few years ago), already disrupts her father's scheme by her gender: instead of passing down the lessons of justice to a son, he must make do with the daughter whose gender he literally attempts to reword.  The Law of the Father must give way to something else entirely, and that something else, she tells Yannick, is "[l]e pouvoir d'etre libre" (199)--free, as she goes on to say, of absolutely everything.  Grasping that her father's rules are merely fictions in their own right, Michelle embraces the possibility of absolute amorality: instead of good/evil, there is merely action without any greater meaning than the joys of action itself and the advantages action brings.  For obvious reasons, this makes Michelle far more dangerous than her father, as her penchant for violence is entirely unrestrained (she breaks Yannick's leg, murders two men, and is responsible for the death of a third).  As Yannick anxiously reflects, she emanates "[l]e noir du vide" (199), of the empty abyss; his fear of/desire for Michelle prompts him to sexualized fantasies of control which eventually result in attempted but utterly failed rape (303).   Whereas her mother embodies one end of the stereotypical feminine continuum (the Good Mother, the Angel in the House, the utterly passive wife, etc.), Michelle is at the other (the ungoverned and ungovernable female monster).  The deadliness of moral absolutism explodes into an even deadlier amorality.  

Jacques thinks he can slot Michelle into his own projects, but neither he nor Yannick can make sense of Anne--indeed, both men are terrified of her.  Anne is, to some unknown degree, developmentally disabled as the result of one of her father's brutally abusive moments (he attacks Maude while she is pregnant), and therefore a walking reminder of the violence he enacts but also rejects.  Anne is all the more frightening because so entirely unresponsive; on the rare occasions when she does do something, the characters are left scrambling to interpret her behavior.  What does it mean that she watches Yannick steal a knife? Or that she leaves dead animals on her sleeping father? Her apparently empty gaze, which seems to look without intention and to witness without understanding--or, again does, it?--calls both Jacques' and Yannick's sense of self into question.  Michelle's moral abyss reappears in Anne as what initially seems to be perfect emptiness, embodiment with no subjectivity whatsoever.  And yet, when she sees her dead mother transformed into one of Jacques' chess pieces, she finally erupts into some kind of nascent identity: "je comprends qu'elle hurle," Yannick writes, "dans un abominable silence" (351).  Shrieking (silently) as she attacks her father, Anne manifests an elemental, nonverbal understanding of wrong that she cannot systematize.  By the same token,  Anne's silence and unreadable emptiness, which resist any attempt to ascribe definite intentions or motives to her actions, make her, like Michelle, a figure for that which cannot be assimilated to the father's (or Father's) absolutism.  (One could put Yannick and Jacques on one side, Michelle and Anne on another, and Maude as the "cross" between the two--the woman who awakens to the impossibility of moral absolutism, yet cannot reject the system in the end.)  

Significantly, the only character who survives the novel with the ability to use language is Michelle, who regards all systems as manmade and therefore contingent. Jacques, in terror, murders Anne, only to realize that he has murdered an "innocente" (353) and, therefore, has violated his own system; he collapses into total silence, destroyed by the implosion of his supreme position.  (God is, apparently, quite dead.)   Yannick, entrapped in turn by the logic of the chess game that he can no longer finish, is himself silenced quite gorily by Michelle, who castrates him.  Even the non-psychoanalytical critic can't help noting the implications: without his phallus, the once-obsessive writer seems shut out from language altogether.  The absolutists collapse into the emptiness that both had feared in Michelle and Anne, reduced to empty mirror images of each other (the last we see of them).  Only Michelle is left capable of making a move, figuratively speaking: the oddly-positioned, bloodied chess queen she leaves as her signature on the chessboard tells the psychoanalyst that she knows the rules, "mais qu'elle ne les suit pas" (364).  

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 13, 2015 01:46 AM


You On the Moors Now

Today, February 13, opens in New York a new play with links to both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights:
You on the Moors Nowcreated by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble
written by Jaclyn Backhaus​
directed by John Kurzynowski

February 13 - 28, 2015 at
HERE 145 Sixth Ave. (enter on Dominick Street one block south of Spring), NY, NY 10013

Ensemble | Harlan Alford, Michael Barringer, Nathaniel Basch-Gould, Sam Corbin, Eben Hoffer, Lena Hudson, Emily Marro, Preston Martin, Anastasia Olowin, Jon Riddleberger*, Kelly Rogers, Claire Rothrock, Patrick Scheid, Lauren Swan-Potras

Produced by Reed Whitney

Sound Design | Alex Hawthorn
Lighting Design | Marika Kent
Scenic and Costume Design | Joseph Wolfslau
Stage Manager | Kristy Bodall
Technical Director | Markus Paminger
Production Assistant | Emily Crayton-Kane
Asst. Sound Designer | Adrianna Brannon
Asst. Lighting Designer | Brian Abbott
Press Rep | David Gibbs / DARR Publicity

You On The Moors Now is a grand theatrical examination of four well-known literary heroines of the 19th-century and their shocking rejection of the men who so ardently loved them. What results is a confluence of love, anger, grief, haunting, bloody battles and single tears shed by an ensemble of actors struggling to reconcile the romantic confines of the past with their own contemporary ideas of courtship. You On The Moors Now takes everything you’ve ever learned about love, gleaned from the pages of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Little Women, and puts it somewhere in the tall grasses, hidden from view, where only the truly brave will ever traverse to earn it.

Post-Performance Discussions:

February 21, following the 4pm performance with Kate Scelsa | Novelist and company member of Elevator Repair Service

February 27, following the 8:30pm performance with Caleb Hammons | Associate Producer for the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College

by M. ( at February 13, 2015 12:30 AM

February 12, 2015

Regency Ramble

Lullworth Castle 1

Our next visit to a Great Country House is to Lullworth Castle near the coast of Dorset.

At first view, this is a magnificent building built in the seventeenth century by Lord Binden as a hunting lodge and later became a country house, is as as tempting as chocolate cake.

Sadly the chocolate is more bitter than sweet. But I get a head of myself.

Here are some of the views we saw on our approach from the car park.  This first one were it not for the paved road could have been just as it ws in the Regency.

The trees are old and the park is vast.
 One can quite imagine ascending these magnificent steps in a regency ball gown.

What comes next is a completely different experience, but these outer views are to be enjoyed in their own right.  I believe I have more later from other angles, but let us start here.

Until next time...…

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada


by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 12, 2015 02:00 PM

Celebrating Valentines week

Join me and other harlequin authors and readers as we celebrate Valentines.

Should be a fun fun week, I'll be hanging out at the Historical board

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 12, 2015 10:32 AM


From Henry Rider Haggard to Anne Rice

Brontë-related theses and essays recently published:
Domestic imperialism in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Henry Rider Haggard’s She, a history of adventure Ataya, Nabila Adel, American University of Beirut, Department of English, 2013

This thesis aims to discuss the Victorian understanding of gender politics through Imperial thought and discourse in both Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and in Rider Haggard’s She: a History of Adventure. In both novels, the “woman question” was a source of anxiety for patriarchal Victorian society as it was detrimental to the progress of Imperial Britain. Dimensions of gender interplay constituted fundamental aspects to the definition of domesticity and in turn to the security and maintenance of imperial power. For Haggard, the “woman question” is addressed in his imperialist novel not only as problematic but also as a means to question the success of male sovereignty over Imperial Britain. As for Brontë the “woman question” is answered through Jane Eyre’s manipulation of society in Victorian England. Jane Eyre is the embodiment of the “New woman” who rises in the novel as the subject and the object of the patriarchal society which cleverly empowers her to move independently through the Victorian milieu. Using a feminist-imperial theory to reinterpret the social advancement of women in the Victorian age, this thesis studies the anxieties presented by the “woman question” and its implications that reshaped the positioning of women in society and the understanding of imperialism in Victorian Britain. After having read the works of various feminist-imperialist critics on the representation of female roles in Victorian novels, I have decided to exclude biographical interpretations of Charlotte Brontë’s orphaned life and of Rider Haggard’s disappointment with British politics in South Africa. Moreover, I have steered away from the traditional psychoanalytical and feminist interpretation of Jane Eyre through the studies of Freud, Gilbert and Gubar respectively. Instead, to understand the “woman question” in a new light I focus on interpreting the progress of women through domestic agency as a performa...
A Lost Collection of Robert Burns Manuscripts: Sir Alfred Law, Davidson Cook, and the Honresfield CollectionPatrick G. Scot
University of South Carolina
Scholar Commons, Faculty Publications, Department of English Language and Literatures

This essay traces the formation by William Law of Littlesborough, Lancashire, of a major collection of literary manuscripts and books, including works by Robert Burns, the Brontes, and Walter Scott; recounts the unlikely role in the 1920s of Davidson Cook, a cooperative society manager from Barnsley, in encouraging the then-owner Sir Alfred Law, M.P., of Honresfield House, to make the collections available for scholarly use; summarizes available information on the partial dispersal of the collection in the late 20s and early 1930s, and the disappearance after Sir Alfred's death in 1939 of much of the collection, including major items; and reviews in detail the current state of knowledge about the Honresfield Burns manuscripts, based on the scholarly access that was provided nearly a hundred years ago.
Influence and Legacy: The Brontë Sisters and Anne RiceAlexandru-Ionuţ Micu, PhD Student, ”Al. Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi

“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture”, said Allen Ginsberg. Those born in the 20th century have the luck to enrich their minds with literary masterpieces belonging to their predecessors. A novel or a poem is worth reading when it boosts one’s imagination, leading to introspection. I pause, while reading, to ponder over an idea that impressed me; at the same time I’m thrown back to various states and memories. It’s unbelievable what we discover about ourselves by simply reading. Great writers have been inspired especially by classics. In the gothic genre we run across Matthew Lewis, Anne Radcliffe or Edgar Allan Poe; at first, one would be surprised to learn that novels “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” include elements of the gothic. Ill tempered characters wight for their loved ones and for their principles. Women silence men, supporting their points of view; an image unbearable in the first half of the 19th century. Novels belonging to the Brontë sisters hold the same energy as they did a century ago. No wonder they are avant-la-lettre and thought provoking. Horror writer Anne Rice admits she was influenced by the Brontës; her vampires possess the same force and cruelty like negative characters Heathcliff and Mr. Brocklehurst. They owe
supernatural powers, destroying everything around them. Moreover, misfit Catherine
Earnshaw resembles Rice’s creatures. They cannot find inner peace, struggling with dual
personalities. Catherine’s volcanic temper ends in no spiritual reconciliation; she’s stuck
between her nature and patriarchal pressures. She belongs to Heathcliff for eternity, but marries Linton. Jane Eyre fights for freedom of speech, trying to win over man’s authority; stubborn, smart, she rejects St.John’s marriage proposal or Helen’s spiritual limits. Like Lestat (“Interview with the Vampire”), she is willing to enforce her status in society in order to be accepted by the mob. Thus, mentalities can be shaped slowly but surely in order to reach that particular aim.

by M. ( at February 12, 2015 09:28 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

February 11, 2015


Christian Grey 'is not a misunderstood, romantic Heathcliff'

The Boar has selected the 'Top Five Romantic Reads for Valentine’s Day' and one of them is
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A plucky young heroine, a mysterious older man, a moonlit proposal in an Eden-like orchard. What’s not to love? It’s not hard to see the appeal of life in a grand house with the man of your dreams. It’s a story of unconditional love that reveals how even the most unlikely couples can make it work. (Sara Gregory)
The Fashion Spot would rather watch the film and includes it on a list of '11 Romantic Netflix Movies to Watch This Valentine’s Day'.
Unrequited Love: Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre taught us everything we need to know about playing hard to get, and if you’re looking for a story of unrequited love—filled with enough gray misty moors to satisfy anyone feeling dark-hearted this Valentine’s Day—this reinvention of a classic starring Mia Wasikowska will be the perfect match. (Ellen Freeman)
A confession from a St. Helena Star columnist:
Be they Harlequin, Regency or teenage vampire-themed, I’ve never enjoyed romances as much as I probably should. The formula seems so pat and predictable. The few I do appreciate tend toward the tragic (“Romeo & Juliet”), the dark (“Wuthering Heights”) and the slyly unconventional (“Silver Linings Playbook” and “Punch-Drunk Love” -- showing the latter film to a former significant other who’d been expecting the standard boy-meets-girl pablum precipitated a negative reaction of such vociferousness that I resolved to keep my subsequent date night movie selections firmly within Nicholas Sparks territory). But that being said (at some considerable length, I admit), I love Valentine’s Day, in large part because our community always gets into the spirit of the holiday, as you are about to see. (Aunt Helena)
The Huffington Post also mentions the novel in an article about relationships that don't work.
Most of us have loved and lost. Most of us have chosen foolishly. Good novels are full of such mad heroes and heroines. The unrequited, the impossible, the unsolvable dilemmas of status or distance or plain old bad timing. But love perseveres in these books; it perseveres to the point of lasting art. This essay is about these pierced ones, the ones whose paths were warped by love. Was Cupid somehow right to mark them in this way? Should they thank him for giving them a kind of majesty?
I think they should. Yes, we have the Bovaries, the Kareninas, the Montagues and the Capulets as cautionary tales. But do these works really caution us to avoid passion? Hardly, when it's the hunger for passion that makes us such avid readers and voyeurs. For many women, in fact, the "tragic" Wuthering Heights is nothing less than an amorous bible. Heathcliff had no game and he had no shades of grey. He was coal black and bloody red, thundering and stomping without the least ambiguity. When Catherine memorably says, "I am Heathcliff" - confessing this while married to a sensible man, no one throws the book across the room. (Sonia Taitz)
Similarly, Catherine Johnson writes in The Guardian about 'why love hurts'.
When I was the right age I never expected to see someone like me in a book. Books and stories, film and TV were all for white people. The romances I loved included Jane Eyre (Mr Rochester was a bit ooky but Jane’s heartache was utterly relatable).
Catholic Online selects a quote from Wuthering Heights as part of its '40 beautiful quotes about love that will ignite the flame in your heart'.

Times Live (South Africa) goes straight to the point:
Ahead of Valentine's Day, the international condom manufacturer is encouraging couples to put down their copy of Emily Brontë and reach wuthering heights of physical passion instead. (Andile Ndlovu)
And this of course leads to Fifty Shades of Grey. Variety reviews the film adaptation:
Relying on the performances of two appealing, fresh-faced leads with little prior onscreen baggage, the filmmakers have turned their version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” into a sly tragicomedy of manners — Jane Austen with a riding crop, if you will, or perhaps Charlotte Brontë with a peacock feather — that extracts no shortage of laughs from the nervous tension between Ana’s romantic dream come true and the psychosexual nightmare raging just beneath the surface. (Justin Chang)
This Women's Agenda columnist discusses Christian Grey:
He is not a hero. He is not a misunderstood, romantic Heathcliff who needs to be tamed by the right woman. He is controlling, abusive and manipulative - which would be fine if he were the villain of the story. But he’s not; he is glorified. And he is dangerous. (Corina Thorose)
The Guardian reviews the play Boa by Clara Brennan,
a two-hander featuring real-life husband-and-wife team Harriet Walter and Guy Paul, a second edition of Jane Eyre gets a savaging. (Lyn Gardner)
And another play, Murder by the Book, is reviewed by Green Bay Press Gazette:
In the script, the Raven Society is holding its annual meeting to select the best mystery book of the year. The membership in this sacred club is secret, even amongst themselves. Each member attends the three-day meeting, cut off from the rest of the world at the Dickens House, disguised as a famous author.
This year, a new member is being introduced to the club — William Shakespeare. Spouting poetry, he instantly captures the hearts of Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë and Louisa May Alcott. But romance is interrupted when Edgar Allan Poe reads a nasty bit of correspondence announcing that each member of the society will die. Only mystery maven Agatha Christie takes the message seriously, but, alas, it’s too late. Emily Dickinson is the first to die, quickly followed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Terror stalks the meeting as even the indomitable Mark Twain disappears. Only one thing is for sure — one of the famous authors is trying to kill the competition.
The Southern Utah Independent features Brigham's Playhouse take on Jane Eyre. The Musical:
Our production of the musical drama "Jane Eyre" is heading into its final weeks of the run—that means you only have three weeks left to see this superb cast in such a heartfelt show. And what better time to see the classic story of true love than a holiday to celebrate all that is romance?
Luna Station Quarterly reviews Ironskin by Tina Connolly;  Little House on the Circle posts an improbable The Cat in the Hat meets Jane Eyre situation.

by Cristina ( at February 11, 2015 11:22 PM

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Victorian History

The "Sewer" or the early days of the London Underground

To understand the development of the London Underground, or “Tube,” one has to look at both the growth and sprawl of the metropolis and the existing modes of transport in the middle years of the nineteenth century. As the population of London expanded from one million in 1800 to more than 2,350,000 by mid-century modes of transport became increasingly mechanised and the movement of the

by (Dr Bruce Rosen) at February 11, 2015 03:52 AM


The Brontë Season back on Tour

The Butterfly Psyche Theatre & Livewire Theatre Brontë season productions begin a new British tour this Spring:
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland and Alison Farina
Directed by Jazz Hazelwood, Ian McGlynn and Shane Morgan
Tour dates:
The Gazette Series adds:
Performed in rep, with only one and two actors, there's a chance to mix-and-match an old favourite along with a new acquaintance, as well as the chance to see all three in omnibus performances at most venues.
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the Gothic story of a penniless young governess, met with immediate success when first published. The eponymous Jane takes up service in creepy Haddon Hall and soon finds herself at the centre of a haunted cover-up-conspiracy with the dashing-yet-devilish, Mr Rochester. Will they live happily ever after? Will their worlds come crashing down around them? It’s a Brontë, so be prepared for both...
Emily Brontë’s emotionally gripping Wuthering Heights is, without a doubt, one of the most tragic and infamous love stories ever told. As the most introverted and reclusive of the sisters, Emily’s personality remains a mystery. But as they say, ‘still waters run deep’ and even if you've never read a word of the Brontës in your life, you will have at least heard of Heathcliff and Cathy and their passionate-yet-destructive love that transcended even death. This production will leave you covered in Goosebumps and reaching for the nearest copy.
Anne Brontë, the least well-known (and vastly under-appreciated) of the sisters wrote the most shocking of all the Bronte novels put together, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Telling the story of Helen Graham, a reclusive artist who has mysteriously taken up residence at the dilapidated Wildfell Hall, Anne’s multi-layered masterpiece aims to show both the brutality and consequences of life choices along with hope and happiness through redemption, forgiveness and truth. When The Tenant was first published it sold out within six weeks and is widely considered to be the first ‘sustained’ feminist novels. (Jayne Bennett)

by M. ( at February 11, 2015 12:30 AM

Strong, brilliant women

With only a few days left until Valentine's Day, more 'romantic' allusions to the Brontës are cropping up. Bustle includes Wuthering Heights on a list of '10 Steamy Stories That Are Also Total Aphrodisiacs, Perfect To Get You In The Mood For Valentine's Day'.
Tracing star-crossed love through generations of moody mistakes on the English moors, Wuthering Heights mixes torment and treachery with passion and penitence. If nothing turns you on more than howling wind and a brooding stare, Wuthering Heights might be just what you need to settle into the right state of mind for a truly steamy Valentine’s Day. (Hannah Nelson-Teutsch)
The Irish Times has a philosophical discussion about love.
How can love be both imaginary and real?
Noel Kavanagh: “We have created two ideas of love within the western philosophical tradition. One is the idea of love as external metaphysical force that descends on us, bringing together two lovers destined to be with each other through space and time. This is thought through from Plato’s Theory of Forms to the idea of the Christian loving god.
“I also think we have created the idea of ‘true’ love as inherently tragic to ameliorate the fact that we can never achieve this idealisation of love we have created for ourselves. We find this first, I think, in Aristophanes account of love in the Symposium.
“From Michael Bublé telling us that he and his intended are going to have a great life together but he just hasn’t met [that person] yet, to Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Tristan and Isolde, and back to most great popular love songs, these two ideas counterpoint one another.
“So, along with Tom Cruise telling René Zellweger that she ‘completes him’, we also get Adele singing Someone Like You. Our lot is to bounce back and forward between these two ideas of love, from unachievable idealised, perfect love to the value of love as tragic, one to cure the other: the appearance and reality of love.” (Joe Humphreys)
The Independent reviews The Lightning Tree by Emily Woof.
Woof's cyclical themes flit between seeming clever and tiresome. The start and the close of the novel veer on the cringe-worthy when an unnamed narrator pops up to introduce the story, addressing the reader directly as if it were the beginning of a Jane Eyre parody. (Rachael Pells)
And Expansión (Spain) reviews Pompa y circunstancia by Ignacio Peyró:
De la A a la Y, esta enciclopedia de la realidad inglesa se detiene en personalidades tan memorables como el comandante Nelson, las hermanas Brontë y Alfred Hitchcock. (C. Ruiz de Gauna)
The Canadian Jewish News features actress Caity Quinn, who
participated in the Paprika Festival – a Toronto-based, theatre training program for emerging artists. There, she worked on her original play titled Ties of Blood: The Brontës, about the ill-fated literary family. The show, which she also brought to the ARTS Project in London, Ont., combines elements of folk music and Japanese kabuki theatre.
Quinn was inspired by the mystery surrounding the Brontë sisters, but for her, the play also touched on issues of sexual and domestic violence – areas that she’s passionate about addressing. (Amy Grief)
Actress and singer Maxine Linehan is also quite the Brontëite. Irish Central asks her:
If you could spend an afternoon with a person from any time in history, who would it be and what would you do?
No contest: Charlotte Brontë. I played her in a solo off-Broadway play in 2012 and I submersed myself in her life. The Brontës were such an incredibly fascinating family, all of them, but Charlotte was an early feminist, a strong, brilliant woman who would not conform to what society expected of her. Because of that strength, she gave us one of the most timeless love stories in Jane Eyre. (Eileen Murphy)
Digital Spy has a recap of Broadchurch series 2 episode 6 (beware of spoilers):
Their meeting, to put it politely, in the abandoned brick house has a Wuthering Heights vibe (out on the moor, etc.) and their murky and physical double act (the violent sex between the two is particularly disturbing) also looks like it's crumbling. "What do we do?" Claire asks Lee mournfully. What indeed. (Cameron K McEwan)

by Cristina ( at February 11, 2015 12:14 AM

February 10, 2015

Lewis Carroll Society of North America

New Picture Book Retelling of Alice

AliceInWonderlandIn celebration of the 150th anniversary, Imagine! Publishing (an imprint of Charlesbridge) is publishing a picture book edition called Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole. Fashioned as an introduction to the classic for younger readers, the story is retold by Charles Nurnberg and Joe Rhatigan with luminous paintings by bestselling French illustrator Eric Puybaret.


by Matt at February 10, 2015 05:00 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Brontë in Sheffield

An amateur production of Polly Teale's Brontë opens today, February 10, in Sheffield:
Ecclesfield Priory Players present
by Polly Teale
Tuesday 10th - Saturday 14th February 2015
Ecclesfield Priory Players
Curtain at 7.30pm
E.P.P.i.C Theatre, Well Lane, High Street, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, S35 9TP

The play depicts the lives of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Bramwell (sic) Brontë.
Without a chronological structure, the characters move back and forth in time recounting scenes from their lives both as documented and as imagined by the author. Throughout the play, the story of the three women and their brother is entwined with appearances from the characters from their writing. The play also shows the difficulties the writers had in their private and literary lives, not least of which was the inherent chauvinism entrenched in Victorian society, the hardship of life as an unmarried woman and the poor health of all four of them which lead to their untimely deaths.

by M. ( at February 10, 2015 12:25 AM

February 09, 2015


Delicious heartache

Romance writer Kristan Higgins recommends her favourite love stories in USA Today. One of them is:
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Reader, I loved it! From the time I was 12, this 19th century classic has stayed solidly in my heart. Strong, loyal Jane knows how to speak her mind, and the taciturn Mr. Rochester hardly knows what to do with her. Filled with wonderful longing and delicious heartache … and that ending … oh, that ending! (Grabs tissues, dabs eyes.)
The Irish Times also includes the novel in a tongue-in-cheek guide on surviving Valentine's Day.
3. Enjoy yourself
I asked a middle-aged man what his ultimate turn-on was. Actually, this guy was only 28 years old, but he was a morbidly obese chain-smoking tree surgeon so I’m guessing he’s at his own special middle age right now. What he told me, between delicate bites of a Whopper, was that he loved nothing more than a woman who knew how to have a great time in bed. So don’t be afraid to go with what your body wants; perhaps that’s curling up into a tiny ball and humming tunelessly as you read Jane Eyre for the fifth time? Do it – it will drive him wild. (Maeve Higgins)
Unfortunately Lancaster Online isn't joking when it says,
The romance novel genre began with Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre" and is going still going strong, [Holly Bush, literary salon organiser] says. (Joan Kern)
Svenska Dagbladet mentions the equally accurate Facebook tests such as 'which literary character are you?', etc.
På Facebook är det sedan länge populärt med tester av typen ”Vilken litterär karaktär är du?” Även detta har jag irriterat mig på, delvis av samma skäl som ovan. Bror duktig-aspekten, ständigt närvarande på i synnerhet Facebook, når här kvävande nivåer.
Det är tänkt att testresultaten ska publiceras på Facebook till vännernas beskådan, även om det ofta går att stänga av den funktionen (vilket har inneburit en viss lättnad under arbetet med denna artikel). Det som tillkännages är givetvis främst att användaren är svårt litteraturintresserad. Huruvida man blev Heathcliff eller Huckleberry Finn är liksom inte huvudsaken – poängen är att man var så inkörd i det litterära landskapet att man hade roligt när man gjorde testet. (Thomas Engström) (Translation)
El imparcial (Spain) interviews writer Espido Freire.
¿Había investigado antes sobre ella o ha aprovechado la ocasión del centenario para hacerlo?
Es innegable el hecho de que habrá más gente que se vaya a interesar por ella coincidiendo con el centenario, así que era un buen momento para escribir este libro. Pero, igual que escribí sobre las hermanas Brontë o sobre Jane Austen, mi interés por los personajes femeninos viene de le (Elena Viñas) (Translation)
jos porque las mujeres tenemos una carencia histórica y psicológica de figuras de referencia.
Women's Wear Daily on the inspiration behind the New York Fall 2015 collections:
“Bertha Mason, the insane character in Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre,’ and Antoinette Cosway, Bertha’s original name.” — Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, Suno (Kelsi Zimmerman)
The Lancashire Evening Post suggests a trip to Yorkshire:
From Beechwood Grange alone, we were just around the corner from Rievaulx Abbey, Ryedale’s market towns, the famous Yorkshire Moors and the beauty of historic Brontë country. Travelling a little further afield we could have checked out Scarborough or headed to Malton, known as Yorkshire’s food capital. 

by M. ( at February 09, 2015 11:48 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Regency Ramble

Regency Morning Dress February 1815

I would call this young lady lachrymose, what do you think?

I'm glad we don't feel obligated to wear these caps anymore.  To me this dress looks a bit like a dressing gown, something to float around in after you get out of bed but not for anyone to see.

From Ackermann's Repository

A ROUND robe of fine Cambric jaconot muslin, fastened down the front with cotton ball tassels; 
a flounce of lace or needle-work at the feet, appliqued with a narrow border of embroidery; 
long full sleeve, confined at the hand with needle-work or French embroidery; 
a falling collar and cape, trimmed with blond lace; full back, drawn to the shape. 
A French mob cap, composed of white satin and blond lace, tied under the chin with celestial blue satin ribband, and ornamented with a wreath of flowers. 
Necklace and cross of satin bead or pearl. Slippers of blue kid. Gloves of Limerick or York tan.

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo CanadaUntil next time…….

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 09, 2015 08:31 AM

Athelhampton Part 4

I cannot believe I have left you hanging around in the King's antechamber since November. Where did those last few weeks go. Thanksgiving and Christmas eating it all up. So let us return to our wanderings around this lovely old house, parts of which I used in Captured Countess.

We have moved on to the Great Chamber or drawing room, used in earlier times as a granery - hard to imagine.  Recall that only things that would have been around in the regency are covered in this blog, so despite the many beautiful artifacts to be found in each house, I focus on only a few.

 Here we have yet another heraldic window commemorating the owners of Athelhampton and their alliances.  If this is your thing, go on line and find out more. For me this would be a way of presenting the backdrop to my characters.

The panelling is seventeenth century and has Elizabethan carved panel over the fireplace in the "Italian" manner.  Something about all the wood makes it quite cosy.

A few pieces of furniture stuck out for me. The George I walnut bureau and desk from around 1720

 and the George II mahogany breakfront bookcase after the style of William Kent. The latter now displaying china. Each side of it leads back to the antechamber

 And this William and Mary japanned cabinet.

Until next time......

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 09, 2015 08:31 AM

Athelhampton Part VI

I am going to leave you with some external views of Athelhampton before we move on in our tour of Britain and some of its great country houses.

 These views show just how worth a visit to this lovely old house is.
And last but not least the River Piddle.

One cannot make this stuff up.

Until next time....

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 09, 2015 08:30 AM

William Morris Unbound

Gossip on an Old Barn

We all enjoy Morris’s genial account of Kelmscott Manor in his ‘Gossip on an Old House on the Upper Thames’, published in The Quest in November 1895 and reprinted by May Morris in 1936. But this appears not to have been the article he originally intended to write. For in Edmund New’s ‘diary’ of his visit to Kelmscott in October 1895 he notes, on Wednesday 9th, that ‘much rain had fallen during the night; we therefore decided not to drive to the Coxwell barn as we had intended, but that I should draw inside the house and Mr M. should write an article on it instead of on the barn’. To the long list of Morris’s unwritten works we can therefore add his ‘Gossip on an Old Barn near the upper Thames’.

I have often argued in this blog that in the case of works that Morris intended to write but either didn’t start or couldn’t finish, we should now write or complete them for him – or at least speculate in some detail as to how they might go. Could we do this, then, with the non-existent Coxwell Barn piece? We certainly have much testimony as to his intense admiration for this thirteenth-century structure; and we also have what I regard as May Morris’s own attempt to reconstruct the unwritten article, which she does by quoting Thomas Hardy’s evocation of the Shearing-barn in Far from the Madding Crowd in volume XVIII of the Morris Collected Works: ‘I know no writer’, she there remarks, ‘who has understood and interpreted so keenly the past and present spirit of these majestic buildings’ (p.xxix). We might also note that critics have occasionally been so irate that we don’t have a detailed Morrisian account of Great Coxwell Barn that they have even proposed a trip there as a desirable new episode in News from Nowhere itself!

by Tony Pinkney ( at February 09, 2015 03:13 AM


A Bit of Brontës

If you are a fan of Elliot Engel, this new audiobook could be on your list:
A Bit of Brontës, a Dollop of Dickinson, an Offering of Austen: A Dab of Dickens, Vol. 2
Elliot Engel, PhD
A Skyboat Road Company production
Produced and directed by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir
Read by: various narrators
Runtime: 6.2 Hours
Recording: Unabridged
Release date: 12.16.2014
Publisher: Skyboat Media

They are icons of the literary world whose soaring works have been discussed and analyzed in countless classrooms, homes, and pubs. Yet for most readers, the living, breathing human beings behind the classics have remained unknown—until now. In this utterly captivating book, Dr. Elliot Engel, a leading authority on the lives of great authors, illuminates the fascinating and flawed members of literature’s elite. In lieu of stuffy biographical sketches, Engel provides fascinating anecdotes.
You’ll never look at these literary giants the same way again.

by M. ( at February 09, 2015 12:30 AM

February 08, 2015

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Charles Cottet, Les Feux de St Jean

 photo charlescottetlesfeuxdestjean.jpg

Cottet painted scenes of life in Brittany in a rough and ready style that seems to suit the subject matter. On this festival:

February 08, 2015 09:03 AM


Tortured Souls

DNA (India) remembers a personal experience:
A few years ago, I dragged my own two brats around the Van Gogh museum. True to type, they were non-cooperative and therefore banished to a café to resuscitate their flagging spirits, I walked the halls, tears streaming down my cheeks at the sheer beauty and tragedy of it all. Tortured souls have a special place in my heart; my favourite literary character is Brontë’s Heathcliff, go figure. (Shweta Bachchan Nanda)
British Weekly interviews the writer Martine Bailey:
Bailey says her most unexpected praise was from the author Fay Weldon. “She said I had created a new genre, Culinary Gothic,” says Bailey. “As my twin loves are historical food and the Gothic atmosphere of novels such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca, I am over the moon.” (Gabrielle Pantera)
Vicky Allan in The Herald on Sunday didn't like the Fifty Shades phenomena at all:
As a teenager I went through a phase of reading Mills & Boon, initially for a laugh, but also later a little compulsively, and I don't think it did me any good. They so often seemed to follow the same old pattern of distant, arrogant, controlling male, whose heart, like Christian Grey's in Fifty Shades Of Grey, is heavily-armoured, finally falling for the charms of a passive but warm-hearted selfless female. I don't just blame Mills & Boon, I also blame some of the classics. My appreciation of the sweet agonies of Jane Eyre's relationship with Mr Rochester, probably helped shaped my sense of the power dynamics of romance. We learn from the books we read, the films we watch, as much as from our parents and those around us, what romance and desire are. 
The Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail discusses romance novels:
Then came the Gothic one-two punch of “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre,” both published in 1847 by the romantically ill-fated but talented Brontë sisters. Like “Pride and Prejudice,” “Jane Eyre” has never gone out of print.  (Suzy McGinley)

by M. ( at February 08, 2015 09:00 AM

Heathcliff Adrift at the Parsonage

In the Brontë Parsonage Museum and until June a not-to-be missed exhibition:
Heathcliff Adrift
An exhibition of poetry and photographs
February 07th 2015  - June 08th 2015

Heathcliff Adrift is a poetry collection by award-winning writer Benjamin Myers that follows the ‘missing’ three years of Emily Brontë’s enduring hero from Wuthering Heights. The poetry is accompanied by stunning landscape photography by Nick Small.

by M. ( at February 08, 2015 12:30 AM

February 07, 2015


Emily Brontë carries Yorkshire

The cast of “Jane Eyre” at Brigham’s Playhouse,
Washington, Utah, Feb. 4, 2015 |
 Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
St George News reviews the current performances of Jane Eyre. The Musical at Brigham's Playhouse in Washington, Utah:
The quality of the production – from the sets to the singing – was superb. Some very talented singers and actors have come out of the woodwork of Southern Utah to grace the stage at Brigham’s Playhouse.
A musical adaptation of Brontë’s novel, “Jane Eyre” is double-cast – meaning different performers appear in the roles on different nights. Wednesday night’s show was led by husband-wife team Tamera Merkley and Tim Merkley in the starring roles of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. I was utterly charmed by the Merkleys. The couple filled their roles with strong dramatic presence – and they filled the theater with their absolutely gorgeous singing voices.
The collective vocal quality of the cast members blew me away. From start to finish, the characters brought professional-quality musicianship to the stage – just gorgeous vocals throughout the show. There were many standout vocalists. With the double-casting issue, I don’t dare name names for fear of naming the wrong performers, but, to the cast: Just know you truly impressed and delighted me.
Everything about “Jane Eyre” screamed polish and professionalism. For my money, the Brigham’s Playhouse thespians rival the likes of the Utah Shakespeare Festival in quality and poise. (...)
I heartily recommend Brigham’s Playhouse and its ongoing lineup of family-friendly shows for every Southern Utah theatergoer. If you miss Brigham’s Playhouse, you’re missing a theatrical treat. (Cami Cox Jim)
Valley News talks about the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird that will be published by the author Harper Lee this year:
Devoted readers of, say, Emily Brontë, Margaret Mitchell, Oscar Wilde and J.D. Salinger know the feeling — that impossible yearning for more. Wuthering Heights was Brontë’s one and only novel — she died shortly after its publication. Gone With the Wind was apparently all Mitchell had to say about antebellum society and the Civil War, or anything else, for that matter. Wilde turned to poetry and plays after The Picture of Dorian Gray, which critics called “unclean.” Fans of J.D. Salinger, who died in 2010, hold out hope that Catcher in the Rye wasn’t the writer’s only novel: his literary estate is said to possess another.
Winnipeg Free Press is concerned about one-novel authors, now that Harper Lee has left the list:
The lone novel: Wuthering Heights (1847)
The one-hit wonder: Emily Brontë
The singular story: Writing was definitely in the blood for Emily, the second-oldest of the famed Brontë sisters, including authors Charlotte and Anne. As the website Flavorwire noted: "If you're going to be the Brontë sister with just one book to your name, that book might as well be one of the 19th century's greatest." Thanks to her reclusive nature, Emily remains a mysterious literary figure. When Wuthering Heights was published in 1847, it appeared under the androgynous pen name of Ellis Bell. It was published in the wake of the success of Charlotte's famed novel, Jane Eyre. Set in Yorkshire, it revolves around the tragic love story of Heathcliff and Catherine, whose love consumes and eventually destroys them. Chronicling the volatile love affair over the course of two generations, its theme is the destructive effect of jealousy and vengefulness. Now considered one of the most iconic novels of all time, it was met with mixed reviews from critics, who found it scandalous and hard to believe because of its stark depictions of physical and mental cruelty. One critic, the English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, branded it: "A fiend of a book -- an incredible monster... The action is laid in hell." Emily died of tuberculosis at age 30 one year after the novel was published. In 1850, a new edition was published with a preface written by sister Charlotte, who defended her sister's work. History has done the same. (Doug Speirs)
The Vancouver Sun discusses today's Google Doodle  and finds a Brontë connection:
Vancouver-based author and illustrator Holman Wang and his brother Jack have made small work out of some big projects.
They’ve shrunk classic tales like Moby Dick, Jane Eyre and War and Peace into 12-word books illustrated with needle-felted characters, and a short time from now in a galaxy very, very nearby, the brothers will release tiny takes on each film in the original Star Wars trilogy. (...)
But no mistake had been made. [Jennifer] Hom had stumbled upon the brothers’ take on Jane Eyre a couple of years ago and thought of their work when the Ingalls Wilder project came up. (Matthew Robinson)
Andrew O'Hagan discusses poetry in The Guardian:
The question of landscape was crucial. The world of Wessex was a thing of language, and it wasn’t borne on air or planted with trees but fully figured by the mind of the writer, in words and images. In some sense, great poets are the landscape they magic into being. The place isn’t quite there – not imaginatively – without them. Wordsworth carries the Lakes, Emily Brontë carries Yorkshire, Heaney is Ireland and Pope is the difficult London of his day.
The Irish Times opens an article in the Religion section with a quote from Jane Eyre (from Chapter XXVIII):
“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel his presence most when his works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is the unclouded night-sky, where his worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest his infinitude, his omnipotence, his omniscience.” These words from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre provide an interesting backdrop to tomorrow’s Old Testament readings. They emphasise the magnitude of the claim we make every time we say “I believe in God . . . maker of heaven and earth”, especially given today’s understanding of the vastness and complexity of the universe. (Gordon Linney)
A reader of The Southern Daily Echo didn't like at all the Wuthering Heights performances at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton:
This stuttering version of the Brontë masterpiece was a disaster, a shallow interpretation that made no attempt to capture the psychological depth of the original.
The complex character Heathcliff was reduced to a bullying brute and Cathy was seen simply as a screaming shrew.
Its young actors struggled throughout to make sense of the director’s demands, while the audience struggled to make sense of their diction, which was either mumbled or shouted.
The set, which featured a fireplace in the middle of a moor, was simply laughable.
And to think I travelled 40 miles to see this pathetic offering, which sadly undermined the reputation of the usually first-class Maskers Theatre Company. (Alan Bartley)
TES News reminds us of
Jekyll and Hyde is one of only three texts to appear on all the exam boards’ lists of 19th century novels, the others being Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.
But John Yandell, head of the English secondary PGCE team at the UCL Institute of Education, said the choices open to teachers were “disappointingly limited”. (Nick Morrison)
The Arkansas Traveler publishes some poetry to love (or not) in Valentine's day:
Love and Friendship” by Emile Brontë: This poem turns friendship and love into two different plants and then juxtaposes the two to show the true lasting beauty of friendship. Tender and inspiring, Brontë’s poem proves the value of having a best friend worth celebrating on Valentine’s Day. (Michele Dobbins)
Amy Jenkins discusses the 'toxicity' of Fifty Shades of Grey in The Independent:
Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca comes to mind. Or Jane Eyre – sort of. Taming the beast. And it’s true, big Hollywood romantic fantasies – such as Pretty Woman – have always been pretty toxic, but this one surely crosses into a whole new territory of dodgy relationship advice.
Kate Bartolotta and Sara Crolick in The Huffington Post thinks that girls who drink whiskey:
know that Twilight is overrated; it was better the first time around when it was called Wuthering Heights. She wants to write her own story, and if you're lucky, she'll invite you along.
Jane Eyre in the information age would have a few changes according to The Advocate:
Victorian novels are famous for such intrigue. In “Jane Eyre,” we learn that Jane’s amorous employer, Mr. Rochester, has a wife. Furthermore, said wife is living on an upper floor of the grand house, insane and chained.
Suffice it to say, these heroines weren’t living in the information age. It’s really hard these days to hide a shady past or a living spouse. (Froma Harrop)
A teen publishes a eulogy of her dog in The Huffington Post:
There's an Emily Brontë quote that goes "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." That really makes me think of Satchmo. We were both always at lightning speed: getting stoked for dinner or stroked the wrong way by a simple noise from upstairs. (Kamrin Baker)
Cihan (Turkey) talks about the film Black or White and quotes from Charlotte Brontë:
I raise here something I bring up from time to time: The question we face for the future is what will we do with the prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination that hinder us from improving relations and current situations and what steps can be taken to pave the way for a better future?
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: They grow there, firm as weeds among stones.” -- Charlotte Brontë, “Jane Eyre” (Charlotte McPherson)
Scrigno (Italy) interviews the writer Chiara Giacobelli:
Il suo modus scribendi è influenzato da qualche autore o corrente in particolare?
No, perché non ho un modus scribendi, sono eclettica a 360 gradi. Mi piace cambiare totalmente stile, mi diverto quando le stesse persone leggono testi scritti da me e non immaginano neppure lontanamente che la scrittrice sia sempre la stessa. Sono curiosa nei confronti del mondo in generale e questo mio modo di essere si rispecchia anche nella scrittura, che per me è una continua sperimentazione. Ci sono comuque autori che prediligo in particolar modo, ma a questa domanda mi viene sempre inevitabilmente da rispondere citando i classici: Flaubert, Dickens, Emily Bronte, Coleridge, Goethe, Mann, Shakespeare e tutta una serie di altri defunti da cui traggo ispirazione per sognare. (Raffaele Cecoro) (Translation)
Diario de Jerez (Spain) interviews another writer, Espido Freire:
-¿Cómo se acerca una no creyente a una figura como Teresa de Ávila?
-La vengo leyendo desde muy pequeñita. Tengo una tía que es monja carmelita y desde pequeña me contaba cosas fascinantes de Teresa de Jesús. En lo literario entronca con mi interés por las hermanas Brontë, Jane Austen… Tenemos que esperar varios siglos hasta encontrar a escritoras como ella. He estado con Santa Teresa muchos meses de estudio, antes de esta conmemoración. (Francisco Andrés Gallardo) (Translation)

by M. ( at February 07, 2015 11:40 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii


Oakwell Hall on film

An alert for today, February 7, from Oakwell Hall:
Oakwell Hall on film

It has become a familiar scene-setter for television productions and now visitors to Oakwell Hall in Birstall are being given the opportunity to explore its television profiles in a series of Saturday afternoon tours starting on January 10.
Recently used as a location for the forthcoming BBC drama 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell,' the museum and country park in Nutter Lane, Birstall, played host to a star-studded cast when filming took place last year. (...)

But it isn't the first time the venue has Wuthering Heights and The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister.
featured on the small screen. Oakwell Hall appeared in ITV's adaptation of
The tours run from 2pm until 3pm and also take place on February 7 and March 7. Pre-booking is essential. For more information visit or call (01924) 326240. (The Telegraph & Argus)

by M. ( at February 07, 2015 01:23 AM

Serious concerns about the mental health of Heathcliff fans

The New York Times interviews writer Anne Tyler about books and this is her opinion on the romantic-hero vision of Heathcliff.
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing? I somehow made it to adulthood without ever reading “Wuthering Heights,” but then I found out that several of my women friends considered Heathcliff their all-time favorite romantic hero. So I read about three-quarters of it as a grown-up, and immediately developed some serious concerns about the mental health of my friends.
El Espectador (Colombia) interviews another writer: Santiago Posteguillo.
¿Qué personajes se metieron en su piel al escribir este libro? Muchos, pero un Pessoa a quien no le quieren publicar sus poemas o una Charlotte Brontë sola, abandonada por todos y que pese a ello se rehace y nos regala Jane Eyre son personajes que estarán conmigo para siempre. (Jorge Consuegra) (Translation)
For some reason, The Telegraph needs to explain 'why men aren't excited about the new Fifty Shades movie' (and may we just add that some women aren't at all excited either? Thanks).
And just because something is targeted at a certain demographic, it doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t enjoy it – as is the case with Percy Pigs and the Sidebar of Shame. However, films seem to be different. Generally speaking, I rate a movie’s quality in relation to its levels of graphic murder; it’s safe to say very, very few women I know do the same.
That said, I can sit down quite happily with Sense and Sensibility or Jane Eyre in between my spree killings on GTA, and not feel any of the this-is-really-not-for-you-ness that strikes when I see a poster in which a pre-rebirth Matthew McConaughey is leaning against Kate Hudson. Why is this? (Andrew Lowry)
Tribu (Spain) lists 10 women who challenged the conventions of the Gothic novel.
Los máximos exponentes de su influencia, en cambio, fueron tres hermanas que llevaron el gótico femenino al siguiente nivel: Charlotte, Emily y Ann [sic] Brontë.
Muy a mi pesar, no encuentro influencia alguna del gótico en Ann, que más bien se dedica a la novela costumbrista con “Agnes Grey”, pero es manifiesto en sus dos hermanas mayores. Tanto “Jane Eyre” como “Cumbres Borrascosas” son dos maneras diferentes de trasladar esa atmósfera al lector. En el primer caso, la lectura de Radcliffe caló muy hondo en Charlotte, quien escogió a una mujer de carácter que va a parar como institutriz a una casona con un hombre misterioso y sombrío por dueño, cargado de pecados y arrepentimiento.
Uno diría que el lugar lo habitan fantasmas tormentosos del pasado del señor, pero la realidad es todavía más escalofriante. Curiosamente, el libro podría dividirse en dos partes: la costumbrista, en la que Jane Eyre se enfrenta a un internado abusivo, inspirado en el que las propias hermanas Brontë convivieron siendo unas niñas, y la gótica, en el momento en el que la dulce pero decidida Jane pone un pie en los dominios de Mr. Rochester.
Su hermana, autora de “Cumbres Borrascosas”, tiene otra visión. En su interés de contrastar la luz con la oscuridad, la maldad con la bondad y los puntos débiles y fuertes que tiene cada comportamiento, Emily Brontë crea una atmósfera asfixiante, con fantasmas pasados, presentes y futuros muy reales para los personajes que protagonizan el entorno de la casona por la que se nombró la novela.
Ya no hablamos de una muchachita que se enfrenta a una mansión encantada, sino de algo mucho más profundo, de la desesperación romántica del amor perdido, del interés de un alma condenada por salvarse, o por morir condenada sin remisión. Incluso de la fragilidad de un corazón puro y de lo que provoca negar a uno mismo la naturaleza y las consecuencias de sus actos, no siendo lo suficientemente fuerte para poderlo soportar.
Es una novela profundamente romántica pero en su variante más trágica y oscura, transformando el gótico en una historia de amor acechada por las sombras pero no necesariamente con final feliz. El interés de la escritora no es simplemente contar una historia de género, sino hacernos reflexionar sobre la naturaleza humana en un entorno hostil; de que toda acción tiene una causa y consecuencia arrastrada con el paso del tiempo. (Cristina Díaz de Alda) (Translation)
This is how Knack (Belgium) describes the Luis Buñuel film Journal d'une femme de chambre 1964:
De gelijknamige roman van Octave Mirbeau werd in het verleden door onder andere Jean Renoir en Luis Buñuel (met Jeanne Moreau) in een filmjasje gegoten en werd wereldwijd vrijwel vaker onder regisseurshanden genomen dan Charlotte Brontës Jane Eyre. (Jarno Bertho) (Translation)
Io Donna (Italy) shares 13 lessons in love taught by romantic heroines.
5. Jane di Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë: uno spazio per sè.
L'eroina (immortale) uscita dalla penna di Charlotte Brontë è una donna moderna e indipendente, che segue il suo sogno – insegnare – arrivando a conquistare quello che non ha mai avuto: una casa tutta per sé. L'autonomia serve anche per attirare gli uomini giusti. (Marzia Nicolini) (Translation)
This is how EDP24 helps us date an 1855 envelope sent to Bungay in England from the Caribbean island of Nevis:
Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte died at the age of 38 on March 31, 1855, just 18 days before the envelope reached Bungay.
El Mundo (Spain) quotes Charlotte Brontë on hypochondria. The Tornado Times reviews Wuthering Heights; The Mantle posts about Minae Mizumura's A Real Novel.

by Cristina ( at February 07, 2015 01:16 AM

February 06, 2015

The Little Professor

This Week's Acquisitions

by Miriam Elizabeth Burstein at February 06, 2015 11:21 PM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Victorian Poetry Network

Teaching Victorian Poetry and Print Culture

Currently, in my undergraduate Victorian poetry class, students are beginning to devise research essays based on print holdings in the library. And by research essay I really mean research. Students are required to devise a research question based on the syllabus, and then conduct library research that relates to the contemporary print publication of the poem.

At the University of Victoria, students are lucky to have wonderful examples of a variety of nineteenth-century print: first editions of poetry books and Victorian anthologies, as well as many full runs of annuals, magazines, and other periodicals. The richness of the library’s holdings is what inspired the Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry, which is based on indexing print copies where possible; in fact, it was during a class in Special Collections, on periodical poetry, where the germ of the idea for the Database emerged. There are now a variety of digital platforms with which to discover Victorian primary print: databases, indexes, digitized serials and books. But it makes a huge difference to the students when they see, handle, and read poems in primary print, when they compare different kinds of publications side by side, and notice aspects of the book that a digitized version would not tell. Digitized poems are wonderful in many ways, not least the search-and-find function that allows quick discoverability and comparison. But the digital it not a substitute for print. I want my students to go to the library and look at books. And, when they do, magic happens.

Our classes in Special Collections always begin with an “audit” of the poem in print, as a way to notice, describe, and examine the book as a material object (I owe this term to Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, by way of a TEI class given by her former colleague Constance Crompton). We train students as critical thinkers, and so they are quick to interpret and close read material. But I like my students to back up a little first when they meet poems in print, and to think first about describing the material object in front of them (this is an exercise that my student-authored wikispaces project also encourages) before engaging in analysis. I notice a dramatic shift in student engagement when they work with primary print, an engagement which builds into their research projects as the students become producers of knowledge.

One of the best kinds of projects for a research essay in my class is periodical poetry. Examining the poem in its original Victorian print context is a focused and yet complex task, and my students thrive with this kind of challenge. In seminars I try to spark ideas by talking about primary print culture contexts for poems we study; today, for example, the class examined Thomas Hood’s “The Song of the Shirt” as a periodical poem deeply engaged in print debate about labour and especially the seamstress (see a student wiki post about the contexts here). How, we wondered, did the magazine publication complicate the poem’s class affiliations? Did the Punch publication make the poem more effective as a class critique and as a performative poem? What did it mean that the poem was unsigned? And hope does the poem work in terms of the Christmas seasonal resonances of this Punch issue for 16 December 1843?

As a follow-up to the seminar, students researching Hood’s “Song of the Shirt” could trace the poem’s affiliations with other forms of journalism on the seamstress (for example in The Times), or compare other periodical poems from the same month to examine how the print culture of poetry is intrinsically networked, topical, and dialogic (the Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry allows for this kind of search). As I say frequently to my students, as wonderful as our teaching anthologies of Victorian poetry are, the experience of the Victorian reader was very different. I find making that distinction is a good first step to hooking the student into the exciting potential of print culture. Although they are now indispensable resources, no scholarly anthology or digital index can replicate it.

by Alison Chapman at February 06, 2015 03:46 AM

February 05, 2015


"You’re going to do the right thing. You’re going to brush away a tear"

A few thoughts on tables in The Telegraph and Argus inspired by the recent arrival of the Brontës' table at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
If the walls of Haworth's Brontë Parsonage could talk, there'd be enough material to rival any novel written by the famous literary family.
Encouraged by their father, the siblings devoured poetry, novels and newspapers which fired their imaginations, turning their draughty moorside home into a hotbed of creativity.
Inspired by charismatic figures from history, literature and their present, the sisters wrote about the human condition far beyond their own experiences. Their diaries reveal that they wrote at a drop-leaf table which they walked around each evening, reading out what they'd written that day. It was a significant part of their daily routine, which Charlotte is said to have continued after surviving her sisters.
Now that drop-leaf table is back at the Parsonage, 150 years after it was sold following Patrick Brontë's death. The table came home after the Brontë Society secured a £580,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and is on show to visitors following the museum's winter break.
Nothing tells a story quite like a table where generations of families have gathered to share food, discussions and snippets of their lives.
Around the time the Brontës were walking around their table, reading handwritten versions of what were to become world-famous classics, a family in a corner of the East Midlands was gathering around another Victorian table. This was a dining-table passed down generations of my maternal family until the 1970s, when it was given to my parents by my gran. It's the table we used for special occasions, such as Christmas dinners, and in between it was strewn with the paraphernalia of family life, such as my mum's arts and crafts clutter, my brother's Subbuteo set and my homework. (Emma Clayton) (Read more)
Harper Lee's comeback is still  sparking discussions. Such as this one on 'elusive manuscripts' in The Guardian:
This game of hunt the lost MS (manuscript) is great fun. Antiquarian booksellers I’ve spoke to would love to unearth a lost Austen (the unfinished Sanditon doesn’t count, as it has already been published), a book by one of the Brontës, a Dickens (did he leave anything unpublished apart from The Mystery of Edwin Drood?) or an Ian Fleming – the real thing, not one of those literary lookalikes that keep being knocked off. (Stephen Moss)
Speaking of Dickens, The Herald (Scotland) picks ten books to mark his birthday (7 February 1812).
Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë
The romantic plot is gothic and mawkish in the extreme, but the writing lifts this tale of a hard-pressed mill owner who cannot marry for love from the banal to something deeply atmospheric and memorable. Its popularity led to Shirley becoming a girl's and not a boy's name. (Susan Barr)
More book selections as Bustle recommends '14 Books To Read During Rush Hour To Keep You Engrossed, Because You Need A Distraction'. Among them is Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, which the columnist
was sure [...] would be a bland imitation of Jane Eyre. (Mariana Zepeda)
Bustle also has 'Valentine's Day Dates For 12 Literary Couples, Because Why Shouldn't Everyone Get In On the February 14 Fun?'
Cathy and Heathcliffe (sic) from Wuthering Heights
Neither of these two is what could even remotely be described as “romantic,” and their relationship is frankly terrible. So it’s a safe bet that no stage of their twisted relationship would have involved dinner reservations, roses, or chocolates. If anything, they most likely would have used the day as an excuse to play more head games with each other and odds are decent that the evening would have exploded into verbal, emotional, or physical violence by the end of the night. So, that’s cheerful. [...]
Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day when you live in a creepy gothic mansion where there once literally was a madwoman in the attic? Jane would probably be much to practical to want some sort of grand Valentine’s Day affair, but secretly, she would have wanted Mr. Rochester to plan something, and he undoubtedly would have obliged — probably with something that would allow them to have long, in depth conversations the whole time. (Emma Cueto)
BlogHer suggests '15 Valentine's Day Gifts for your Bookworm'.
3. Romantic bookish jewelry - $19.51
This adorable necklace from BookFiend has an engraving of one of my favourite romantic quotes ("Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same") from the author of Wuthering Heights. The chevron pattern is replaceable (there are six other options), and you can even pick the colour of the Swarovski accent. (Chasingwords)
The Denver Post writes about the fact that 'online daters' are hiring private detectives.
Of course, romantic partners with secret second lives well predate the Internet, though largely in fiction. In "Downton Abbey," Anna learns that her beloved Mr. Bates is still married and spent time in prison (for a crime his wife committed) -- not from Bates but from his mother.
Victorian novels are famous for such intrigue. In "Jane Eyre," we learn that Jane's amorous employer, Mr. Rochester, has a wife. Furthermore, said wife is living on an upper floor of the grand house, insane and chained.
Suffice it to say, these heroines weren't living in the information age. It's really hard these days to hide a shady past or a living spouse. (Froma Harrop)
The Smart Set discusses reading and crying:
Let’s say you’ve decided to reread Jane Eyre 20 years after first encountering it in an undergraduate survey course. You vaguely recall the outlines of the plot (sorely oppressed orphan girl lets rich guy fall in love with her but only after he’s symbolically emasculated) and you remember some of the critical arguments about it. You might still have that term paper you wrote about Charlotte Brontë lying around somewhere. “The Triumph of Gendered Identity: Symbolic Emasculation in Jane Eyre,” it was called. But here you are, working your way through this canonical “text” (as you would have called it back then) and finding it a lot odder but also somehow more majestic than you had remembered. And in fact some of the critical debates come back to you with a certain force. Maybe you see more clearly the similarities rather than the differences between put-upon Jane and murderous Bertha, the original madwoman in the attic. Or maybe — if your professor was really old school — you finally see how those image clusters of warmth and cold, of plain versus rich fabrics, reinforce thematic intensities. So now you’re reaching the end and you find yourself getting more out of this reading than your 20-year-old self did. This time around you have a deeper awareness of cultural and intellectual history, not to mention a heightened sensitivity brought about by more life experience, alas, than you ever bargained for. And as you turn the page from chapter 37 to 38, you come upon these words: “Reader, I married him.” What are you going to do — carefully weigh Brontë’s critique of patriarchy against her acceptance of assorted Victorian bigotries or scribble a note about the abrasion of a second-person address disrupting a first-person narrative? No, you’re going to do the right thing. You’re going to brush away a tear.
Well, we all read differently, but I can’t help thinking that if you fail to choke up at least a little over chapter 38 of Jane Eyre, you’re reading the wrong book. The issues in that novel that require the deepest thought — for example, the achievement against considerable odds of a marriage that allows for autonomy and growth — are refracted through emotional storm and stress. Jane Eyre is a very smart book, one much concerned with other books and how and why we read them. One of the things it understands is that, in literature, the way to the brain is through the heart.
And what’s wrong with the heart? Why shouldn’t a novel as daring as this be experienced viscerally as well as intellectually? To read Jane Eyre with studious dispassion would be to refuse the experience it offers. Surely reading itself is one of the primary experiences of life. Jane Eyre isn’t merely about experience; it is experience, namely, your own while you’re reading it. And Charlotte Brontë isn’t just a name. She’s the other half of that uniquely intimate relationship known as author and reader. Anyway, she’s still harrowing my soul 160 years after she died. Even after I’ve properly “contextualized” Jane Eyre with all the critical acumen I can bring to bear on a novel carrying cultural assumptions alien to my own, I still feel as if the book has been reading me. And if I had to choose between a hardheaded appraisal of Brontë’s contribution to the English Bildungsroman and an instinctive involvement with Jane’s existential struggles, well, I think I'd have a good cry. (Stephen Akey)
Grazia (France) interviews writer Augustin Trapenard and asks him about a book he has never returned:
Emily Brontë, expérience spirituelle et création poétique de Jacques Blondel. Etrangement, on ne me l’a jamais réclamé. (Patrick Thévenin) (Translation)
IndieWire's Women and Hollywood discusses 'Hollywood’s Current Female Troubles' and suggests looking at the past.
Also competing: Bette Davis at her redemptive peak in Dark Victory; Greta Garbo doing comedy with rare flair in Ninotchka; and the stunning Merle Oberon as Emily Brontë’s gothic heroine Cathy in Wuthering Heights. (Susan Wloszczyna)
Now, this is intriguing and something to actually look forward to, as reported by Atlanta In Town:
7 Stages [Theatre] has also been working with Theatre du Rêve and their production of Jane, The Fox and Me, an adaptation of a graphic novel about bullying behavior, inspired by another classic, Jane Eyre. (Collin)
Another play, Book Club, is reviewed by Times-Standard:
A newbie to the book club, Alex (Alonso Yabar) a comparative literature professor drunk on the pop culture canon dares to challenge Ana's insistence on masterpieces over mass appeal. Alex argues cogently that "Twilight" is simply "Wuthering Heights" with vampires and that only a snob would ignore the world unfolding right now in favor of some 19th-century narrative ideal. (Karen D'Souza)
The Spectator looks into the success of BBC Arabic.
[Tarik Kafala, the current head of BBC Arabic] recalls, ‘We grew up listening to the BBC in Arabic,’ not just for its news but also for the music and the programmes devoted to medieval Arabic poetry and science. When he first came to work at Bush House, the iconic building on the Aldwych in London that for 70 years was home to the BBC World Service, he was involved in recording classic dramas by Shakespeare, an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, a version of Look Back in Anger, all in Arabic. (Kate Chisholm)
Beware of spoilers in this recap of season 3, episode 2 of The Americans made by The New York Times' ArtsBeat.
Does anyone believe Oleg had planned to pull the trigger? Was he tempted when Stan declared his love for Nina? Surely killing an F.B.I. agent would be a bad career move for someone like who must daily balance his inner Heathcliff with his need to win approval from his apparatchik Papa. (Helen T. Verongos)

by M. ( at February 05, 2015 11:32 PM


The Colored Conventions Project

The NINES office was just sent the following press release about Transcribe Minutes, an exciting crowdsourcing initiative out of the University of Delaware. The initiative focuses on crowdsourcing efforts to transcribe entries on The Colored Conventions Project, an exciting project that aims to make more widely available records from the nineteenth-century African American convention movement. Be sure to take part after you read more below!

The Colored Conventions Project Launches a Crowdsourcing Initiative

The Colored Conventions Project at the University of Delaware is delighted to announce the launch of a crowdsourcing project, Transcribe Minutes. This initiative invites people to visit to transcribe records of the nineteenth-century African American convention movement. The first batch of available documents includes some of the most exciting conventions, featuring well-known leaders such as Frederick Douglass and Henry Highland Garnet from the 1840s with other batches to follow in 2015.

The movement began in 1830 in response to the violence and expulsion faced by Blacks in the “free” states. First held at Philadelphia’s Bethel A.M.E. Church, conventions soon spread across North America. “African American leaders and lay people organized for decades to fight against educational inequities, voting and political disenfranchisement as well as job and labor discrimination,” says P. Gabrielle Foreman, faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project and Ned B. Allen Professor of English and Black Studies. “As critical as the anti-slavery movement was, their broader vision continues to speak to this country’s ongoing racial challenges.”

The Colored Conventions Project is an interdisciplinary digital humanities project that aims to bring the history of the convention movement—and the many leaders and places involved in it—to digital life. “Transcribe Minutes uses crowd-sourcing technologies to promote online access to these historical records,” says Jim Casey, project co-coordinator and a Ph.D. candidate in UD’s English department. “These technologies open up new possibilities for our research and teaching beyond college classrooms.” houses the first digital collection of these minutes, many of which were previously out of print and hard to find. It features more than 65 national and state minutes from 1830 to well beyond the Civil War—–with more being uncovered and added regularly. “Attention to African American experience in the nineteenth century is usually focused on the efforts of Northern white abolitionists to end the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery,” says Carol A. Rudisell, UD Reference and Instructional Services librarian. “Having accurate, searchable texts should significantly change our understanding of this important period.” Transcribing and making these records more usable requires collective efforts. Volunteers will help give new life to a vital chapter of American history.

“The more people involved, the more we can preserve and call attention to one of the major ignored chapters of American history,” says Curtis Smalls, a Special Collections librarian and member of CCP. The project is an exciting collaboration between faculty, students and librarians,” he continues. “The Colored Convention Project is important for its method as well as its results,” says John Ernest, Chair of the English Department at UD. “It’s an inspiring and instructive model of collaborative research,“ Ernest adds. “This is a historical recovery project that will teach us volumes about African American communities of the past while strengthening numerous and diverse communities in the present.”

This work is the product of an ongoing partnership between the Colored Conventions Project and the University of Delaware Library.


The Colored Conventions Project

by Brandon Walsh at February 05, 2015 10:30 PM

Regency Ramble

Susana's Parlour - It's all True

Drop by for a visit and learn more than you ever wanted to know about me at Susana's Parlour, writing, about research and other fun stuff.

We all know how shy we writers are but when someone asks us friendly questions, there's no stopping the words pouring forth. I wold love to see you over there.

We will return to our regular program next week, until then

by Ann Lethbridge ( at February 05, 2015 11:00 AM

Pinacotheca Petri Plancii

Paul Fischer

 photo paulfischeratgallery.jpg

 photo Paulfischer.jpg

A Danish painter of Jewish Polish descent, best remembered for his street scenes.

February 05, 2015 10:17 AM