Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 4, 2006

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Today's Brontë News

Emily Brontë will be one of the authors of works available from Spoken Network audiobooks.

Emily Brontë's favourite flower, the bluebell, is under threat of hybridisation with commercial and Spanish varieties of the flower.

We have another use of the term 'Bronte-esque' (we are compiling the uses of this term, and maybe someday it will end up in the OED):

By 15, I had already penned an 800-page tome of Bronte-esque proportions, and I don’t mean that in a good way. It smacked of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele, although I hadn’t (and still haven’t, to this day) ever read a word they‘d written.

Jane Eyre is part of the 'essentials of British and World literature' in new school textbooks.


And Humboldt Light Opera Company's production of Jane Eyre: The Musical is reviewed here. Possibly the production doesn't work entirely on a small stage?

Although “Jane Eyre” may not translate well from 19th century gothic novel to 21st century musical production — at least, not on the small stage — Humboldt Light Opera Company continues its tradition of not settling for the easy out. They continue to take on challenges and provide pleasurable and entertaining theater-going experiences for the North Coast.

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May 2, 2006

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Today's Brontë News


Today we have, thanks to Austenblog, some news about a very creative blog called Knit the Classics, where members read a classic novel for the month and make needlework (of any variety- crochet, knitting, embroidery etc…) inspired by the work! this month's novel is Pride and Prejudice, and for June the novel will be Wuthering Heights. I think this is a marvellous idea, and not just because embroidery is one of my hobbies.

Here's another article about those Bed Books– books designed for reading in bed. Their assortment includes Brontë titles, such as Wuthering Heights.

There's a wrestling racoon named Jane Eyre

Emily Brontë is a 'spinner who did Yorkshire a good turn.'

Emily Brontë's poetry is also a challenge for a poetry recital contest.

I'm not sure what to make of this: For $1.50, there is Madeleine L'Engle's "Circle of Quiet," a biography in which she tells of days when she feels like Emily Bronte or Jane Austen or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. On those days, she signs her checks with their names, and never once has the bank returned one as fraudulent.

And an article on Justine Picardie's My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes, a book which features a discussion of Jane Eyre's 'shades of grey.'

And lastly, communities in Northern Ireland are hoping that Patrick Brontë can help to bring people together, and hope there may eventually be 'a Bronte Day.' This movement is being promoted by relatives of the Brontes. In a previous post, such a relative of the Brontes wrote in to Brontëana and posted her story here.

April 27, 2006

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She's back.

Charlotte Brontë-saurus. First seen here*, but now we have another sighting of this elusive creature. Apparently she now lives in Minnesota and has children in South Dakota. This is clearly not the same Charlotte Brontë-saurus, but you never know. I mean, she's out there somewhere (unless she has been microwaved into action-figure oblivion). A Brontëana reader reports a cartoon dinosaur named Emily, but in our professional opinion we believe we can discount the report as not being a valid sighting of the even more elusive Emily Brontë-saurus, since she is not a cartoon as far as we know.

*Well, not 'seen' per se…

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Digest of Today's Brontë News

Culled from Google News:

In Love with Love:
In a brief historicisation of the Romance novel the Brontës and Jane Austen are lumped together as 'The Gothics.' Characteristics thereof are delinated, while some interesting mental images for those who read this article too carefully provide some amusement.

From Page to Stage:
Humboldt Light Opera Company and College of the Redwoods present the musical drama Jane Eyre, April 28-May 13, at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees on May 7 and 14 at 2 p.m. at the CR Forum Theater. (445-4310.)

More on the above production: A 'Gothic' Love Story. Tickets are $12 for general seating and $9 for students and seniors. (Image above is from this article).

A very odd nostalgic moment indeed, for a news article on violent crime: TODAY'S NOSTALGIA: On April 27, 1961, CBS' Family Classics aired a live production of Jane Eyre, starring Sally Ann Howes, Zachary Scott and Fritz Weaver. (*makes note to track this one down*)

Lucy Ellman's got a vulgar way of retelling Jane Eyre for her book 'Doctors and Nurses.' Read at your own risk.

Chris Rankin talks about his role as Edgar Linton in Wuthering Heights (near the end of the article): Wuthering Heights runs at The Capitol in Horsham from Thursday May 4 to Saturday May 6 at 7.30pm (plus Saturday matin?e, 2.30pm). Tickets start from £15 (concessions available). For more information, call the box office on 01403 750220 or visit the website at www.thecapitolhorsham.com

From an article on a play based on Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451:
Here’s Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights,” and there’s Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” – and is that Aristotle? The Book People have memorized books by heart with the hope of restoring them once out of these dangerous times.

Now how many out there think they could manage memorising one of the Brontë novels? Let me rephrase that… How many of you have memorised them?

And, a remarkably short yet informative life of Emily Brontë from the Navhind Times, India.

April 22, 2006

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The Cat by Emily Bronte

Now that exams are over, I can devote more time to blogging and transcribing and all of that good stuff! So, here is the English translation of Le Chat, Emily's Belgian devoir posted back in March. In this piece, Emily defends cats against those who despise them.

Aside from her arguments, there is another reason to like cats. Cats like the Brontës. Well, at least my cat does. She is a maine coon, known for their strange traits and above-average intelligence as well as size. Among other things she will read my books given the chance (unlike a human being, she prefers reading with her nose in my book rather than over my shoulder). Like some other maine coons she eats with her paws as though she had hands. She also sits upright on her tail with her hind legs out like a child, which gives the impression that she at least considers herself to be a little person as she sits thus on the couch.

She watches Brontë adaptations with me. The first time I noticed that she wasn't just spending time with me was when I was watching the musical of Jane Eyre. There's a line where Mr Rochester in Hay Lane describes 'Mr Rochester' as "a thoroughly unpleasant, violent fellow not to be trusted with man nor beast." At this, my cat turned to me and began to paw at my arm until I said: "Yes, I know it isn't true." Her favourite one is the 1973 version of Jane Eyre. It is the only one where she will come from wherever she is to watch it- sitting directly in front of the TV and following it closely (she seems most interested in Mr Rochester, Jane, and Mrs. Fairfax). The very first time she did this I remember her cocking her head to one side just as Jane was saying: "The eccentricity of the proceedings was piquant."

March 19, 2006

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The Butterfly, by Emily Bronte I've just finished transcribing Sue Lonoff's translation of Emily's Belgian devoir entitled 'Le Papillon' ('The Butterfly'). I've transcribed the translation rather than the original French this time so that the anglophone readers of Bronteana can enjoy some of Emily's work as an essayist as well. I will transcribe the French at a later date. The transcript is available here. I have also begun to scan the rest of the illustration I have for Villette, and these will soon be appearing on the site. Thereafter, I have some for Shirley, The Professor, and Jane Eyre to add in time. Le Papillon is my favourite of Emily's devoirs, at least of those I have read so far. Here are a few excerpts from the transcript: In one of those moods that everyone falls into sometimes, when the world of the imagination suffers a winter that blights its vegetation; when the light of life seems to go out and existence becomes a barren desert where we wander, exposed to all the tempests that blow under heaven, without hope of rest or shelter– in one of these black humors, I was walking one evening at the edge of a forest. It was summer; the sun was still shining high in the west and the air resounded with the songs of birds. All appeared happy, but for me, it was only an appearance. I sat at the foot of an old oak, among whose branches the nightingale had just begun its vespers. "Poor fool," I said to myself, "is it to guide the bullet to your breast or the child to your brood that you sing so loud and clear? Silence that untimely tune, perch yourself on your nest; tomorrow, perhaps, it will be empty." But why address myself to you alone? All creation is equally mad. Behold those flies playing above the brook; the swallows and fish diminish their number every minute. These will become, in their turn, the prey of some tyrant of the air or water; and man for his amusement or his needs will kill their murderers. Nature is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of destruction. Every being must be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself must cease to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, and we praise God for having entered such a world.

March 14, 2006

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Filed under: Emily Bronte,The Belgian Essays,The Brontes' Works — by bronteana @ 8:32 pm

Excerpts from Emily Bronte's Devoirs

For the Anglophone readers, here are a few excerpts from Sue Lanoff's translations of Emily's Belgian devoirs. These quotes are more or less random, except that I particularly like Emily's conclusions, so several are from the end of her essays. The first one is from a devoir which is interesting for several reasons. There are several versions of it in this book, showing M. Heger's corrections, and then a rewrite he did for Elizabeth Gaskell- presenting it as emily's work when it clearly has been rewritten in a very different style. The ending is particularly unbalanced by Heger's recasting. Emily's line is full of quiet, natural nobility, while Monsieur's line is artificial and distant- not to mention clumbsy.

From Le Roi Harold (King Harold):

As visible to men as to his Creator, the soul divine shines in his eyes; a multitude of human passions awake at the same time, but they are exalted, sanctified, almost deified. That courage has no rashness, that pride has no arrogance, that indignation no injustice, that assurance has no presumption. He is inwardly convinced that a mortal power will not fell him. The hand of Death, alone, can bear the victory away from his arms, and Harold is ready to succumb before it, because the touch of that hand is, to the hero, what the stroke that gave him liberty was to the slave.

From L'Amour Filial (Filial Love) (about the commandment 'honour thy parents'):

The hour will come when conscience will awake; then there will be a terrible retribution. What mediator will plead then for the criminal? It is God who accuses him. What power will save the wretch? It is God who condemns him. He has rejected happiness in mortal life to assure himself of torment in eternal life.

Let angels and men weep for his fate — he was their brother.

From Le Papillon (The Butterfly):

God is the god of justice and mercy; then surely, every grief that he inflicts on his creatures, be they human or animal, rational or irrational, every suffering of our unhappy nature is only a seed of that divine harvest which will be gathered when, Sin having spent its last drop of venom, Death having launched its final shaft, both will perish on the pyre of a universe in flames and leave their ancient victims to an eternal empire of happiness and glory.

Of the devoirs I have read so far, Le Papillon is the most masterful. There isn't any other way to describe it. I believe Charlotte was right in saying that 'Ellis Bell' was at 'his' best as an essayist! I would also add that she seems to be an expert in sprezzatura. She manages to write in a precise Classical manner with language which is direct, unaffected, and natural. I can imagine these essays being composed in her head before setting them down, rather than working out a structure on paper before hand.

Incidentally Heger's version of the first passage reads as follows:

Harold is no more a man; his passions bubble up, they become exhalted, but shedding their egotism, they are purified; they are sanctified: his courage has no more rashness; his pride has no more arrogance — his assurance is without presumption; his indignation is without injustice.

Let the enemy come! still the victory is Harold's. He feels that all must retreat, fall, before him…..But Death?…–to him who fights in defense of his native soil, the stroke of death is the stroke given to the slave, to liberate him and set him free.

March 13, 2006

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Filed under: Academic,E-texts,Emily Bronte,The Belgian Essays,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 9:39 pm

Le Chat by Emily Bronte


Last night I decided to read some of the Belgian devoirs before I went to sleep. I had read a few of Charlotte's devoirs but none of Emily's. This one, Le Chat (The Cat) is the first. It was composed in 1842. The work is interesting, and I think there is enough of the author's opinion running through it that you wouldn't say she was simply adopting an argument set down by Monsieur Heger. I found it charming, in a sense. The topic might seem trifling at first glance, but she uses the occasion- defending cats- to comment on human hypocrisy, cruelty, and ingratitude. I think she finds her place somewhere towards the end where the narrator argues with the lady who prefers lap dogs to cats. The ending was nicely placed as well: "For, assuredly, the cat was not wicked in Paradise."

The criticism in this edition, however, is somewhat heavy handed. I have looked over a few of Emily's other devoirs. In each, the editor tells us how Emily's French shows her 'resistence' to the very end, in the from of syntax etc, to the domination of M. Heger, or this new language. I think this is absurd. It is very natural for someone learning a language to express themselves for a time in their customary forms. I recieved 13 years of French language training and yet I still prefer using French words which reflect 'English' ideas- I am not 'resisting' French. In fact, despite my preference for maintaining my… 'barbarisms' as M. Heger might say, when I compose in French, I 'think' in French as well. Also, at the moment I am a teaching assistant for a Latin class. In Latin, word order is fluid- quite the opposite from English. Very often students merely use Latin words in English word order on their assignments.

Since it is short, and one did not exist, I have transcribed Le Chat. There is an English translation in this book but I think the French is more vital, and more authentic- obviously since the French is the work of Emily herself and not a translator.

January 4, 2006

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Filed under: Emily Bronte,Media,TV,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:16 pm

A Brontë on History Bites

What is History Bites, you ask, and What does it have to do with the Brontës? History Bites is a brilliant (if I may say so) Canadian skit comedy program which still runs on the History Television channel. This is how they describe themselves- I cannot do better:

History Bites is a skit comedy show that asks, "What if television had been around for the past 5,000 years?"

Each episode explores an important historical event by channel surfing through news, sports, talk shows, commercials, and game shows. The Sports Desk covers Gladiator fights. Martha Stewart plans a Roman orgy. Pharaoh Ramses meets the press. A Mongol barbarian appears on Larry King. The X-Files delves into the latest plague. Cops are Knights.
By viewing ancient events through television parodies, History Bites connects our past to our present. Spoofing popular TV formats makes historical events as urgent as today's news; and it gives today's urgent news stories a historical context. Viewers discover that history does repeat itself and there are lessons to be learned from the past.

Of special interest to us is one episode in particular:

Episode 59
When Irish Eyes Are Starvin'
IRISH POTATO FAMINE 1840'S AD

The great Irish Potato famine that caused a huge wave of immigrants to leave the old world for Canada. It's a story of immigration and economics done as a telethon to raise money for food, or money to ship the Irish off to the new world. There are also on-the-street interviews with apathetic English citizens, and Larry King grills the politicians who did too little, too late. Other parodies include Dennis Miller offering his thoughts, Martha Stewart on how to cook for a famine, and the game show "Who Wants To Have A Wee Bit Of Potato?"

And who has generously decided to sponsor an Irishman but our very own Emily Brontë! Sadly, I don't have any pictures of her from this episode. I have drawn some, however! Not really accurate, since the last time I saw this show was more than 5 years ago… nevertheless, better than nothing! She starts off, in the field reporting for the telethon. It's a bit damp in Ireland.

She there interviews a miserable man named 'Murphy.' Emily "Brontie", despite the rain, is inspired on the spot and asks him if nothing does grow "on those hills, surely something… something must flower in that verdant heath?" "Naw, t' hap o' dairt's good fur nothin'," replies 'Murphy'. "..How awful." She will not let her spirits down, for this Emily- this blond ringletted and very sprightly Emily, is as I said 'sprightly' and cheerful. But considering the other people involved in the telethon it's alright- at least she isn't trying to slip in promos for Wuthering Heights. Some of the composers involved in the charity are obviously only there to spin their operas (hmph).

Sometime later we return to Emily. She has sponsored Murphy's immigration to America and she has just recieved a letter from him. After excitedly opening it, she reads. "Alas, the streets here are not paved with gold. They are, in fact, not paved at all. And they seem to expect me to pave them," she smiles weakly before reviving. "I finally got a chance to read your book, Wuthering Heights! While the characters were most intriguing, I felt that the conclusion extends far beyond the natural ending… and the… *mumble* …contrived…"

Poor Emily.

(As you see only one was inked. I just began applying for grad programs, and I am so anxious/excited that my hand is unsteady a mite- as you can see from the first illustration and my inky fingers which you cannot see. The joys of dip pen sketching!)

The photos in this post are from other History Bites episodes and feature fans of 'The Greekles,' and Ivan the Terrible on Oprah with Dr.Phil.

November 18, 2005

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'Cottage Poems' by Patrick Brontë

At last! The Cottage Poems have been published by Project Gutenburg! Click here to read the full texts. They were released on november 16th. Could 'Maid of Killarney' be far behind? How very exciting! Other Bronte texts available through the Project include:

A, C, and E Brontë: Poems by Currer, Ellis and, Acton Bell
Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey, Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, Villette, The Professor.

Il y a Jane Eyre ou Les mémoires d'une institutrice>>, le roman en Francais aussi. Je ne sais pas qu'est le traducteur de cet roman. C'est tres intéressante. Je pense qu'il est comme lire la roman encore- pour le premier fois. Il a un peu plus …de melodrame. Ou plus de poésie, peut-etre. D'accord. Chacun langue chante son poésie. And, no, there is no text for Shirley! Shame, shame! (Nothing for Branwell either).

Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights.

Also: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Brontë volume one and two.

A friend of mine is responsible for Really Slow productions of Shakespeare. People volunteer to record their lines, and then this is all pasted together with the magic of the internet into… a really slow production of Shakespeare. Some of my other friends and I were then inspired to try a really slow production of Jane Eyre the Musical. The trouble here was that all of my friends are ladies (the ones who sing, at any rate). And so, we had a soprano Rochester and myself who plays St.John Rivers (also a soprano, although I can sing alto as well). I forget how Brocklehurst came out… Our Jane was a certain classicist from Nova Scotia. Alas, before we ever even took our little horrendous productioni seriously, she ran away to a religious order.

And now, she's back! And she's not a nun. She found true love… in the religious order. I am astounded and amazed, and it is beautiful. She is no longer my soon-to be nun friend who despaired of leaving behind her copy of Villette. I now have a deliriously happy non-nun friend who can have as many books as she likes- and the true love thing is rather nice too.

ps. Don't worry, Martha- I got your email! I think this deserves a post of its own 🙂

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