Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 8, 2006

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Filed under: Art,Books,Bronteana,Patrick Bronte,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 12:46 am

Today's Brontë News

The following items really don't seem to naturally be on the same page with one another, I think you will agree…

Wuthering Heights gets a mention in an article on why people should read the Kama Sutra:

The pundit Vatsyayana, who wrote the Kama Sutra, is blessedly free of physical disgust, but he isn't naïve. He understands lust; he depicts the stages of erotic obsession in great detail. For example, he gives the stages of romance: making eye contact, exchanging longing glances, having erotic images come to mind that won't go away, followed by thinking of the beloved all the time, losing sleep, making excuses to meet, and finally culminating – if sexual contact is denied – with falling sick and dying.

The whole history of the romantic novel is written in those few observations. If you smile at the notion that sexual desire can make someone grow sick and die, you may be correct medically, but millions have wept over the death of Catherine Earnshaw pining for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, not to mention a thousand knights languishing for love in medieval romances.

From the Kama Sutra to…

The hometown of the Rev. Patrick Brontë is one of the stops on musican Eliza Gilkyson's tour of the UK and Ireland:

Tue 9. Bronte Centre Churchill Road Drumballyroney Near Rathfriland, N Ireland. BT32 5IX Box Office 02406 23322 TP £12.00 DO 8.30 p.m.

There's more information on the Centre and the town's Brontë-related sites here.

Bronte Homeland Picnic Site, Knockiveagh:The picnic site at Knockiveagh is an ideal place to stop and see the rolling hills where Patrick Bronte grew up and the mountains of Mourne in the background. The picnic area occupies the ruins of a former shebeen – an illicit drinking house.

Alice McClory's Cottage:This cottage was the childhood home of Patrick's mother, Alice McClory. Alice and Hugh used to court secretly and some say they eloped to their wedding in Magherally Church, near Banbridge.

The Birthplace Cottage:Little now remains of the family's two-roomed cottage in the fairy glen at Emdale. The remains have been in the care of the Bronte Homeland Trust since 1956.

Glascar School:Patrick taught here in the 1790's, although the original schoolhouse was replaced by this more modern building in 1844. He is said to have used enlightened teaching methods to bring out the best in his pupils. He was later dismissed for forming a romantic attachment with one of them.

Lastly, tulips and Brontë fan art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Image is of the Mourne Mountains as seen from near Rathfriland.

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May 4, 2006

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Filed under: Crafts,Fun,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 11:43 am

Stitching Wuthering Heights

For those of you thinking about joining in on Knit the Classics' reading of Wuthering Heights next month, I bring you some useful links that have turned up which might give you some ideas for your needlework project.

Victoriana.com might be a good place to start, and get some general ideas.

These are a few illustrations from The Beeton's Book of Needlework, published in 1870, showing a few Victorian embroidery stitches. Wuthering Heights is a great book from an embroiderer's point of view, because you might choose to work with older 18th and 17th century styles- which are a lot more fun in my opinion! Such embroidery is known as Jacobean or Crewel embroidery. This is also the kind of embroidery Jane Eyre probably saw, the 'strange' birds and people on the hangings tucked away on the third floor. I would suggest photocopying instructions from books at the library, or try going to used bookstores for comprehensive guides. I learned through some wonderful books I picked up second hand. Then, get a hoop a needle and some embroidery floss.

So, you can guess what I'll be doing this June!

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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.

April 29, 2006

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Filed under: Bronteana,Technology,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 10:35 am

Heathcliff Unplugged

I came across this interesting thought this morning:

I can’t wait for Claire’s next installment at the eatery. It’s none of my business, but I am going to try to find out a few things. When, if ever, did they take their iPods out of their ears? Who did it first? Did their eyes meet? Did they ever talk? Was it all they could handle to experience four out of five senses on the first date? Will they go iPod-less next time?

In the meantime I’m going to spend some time wondering about the iconic characters in Wuthering Heights. If iPods were part of their furtive meetings, would the world-famous passion of that story have been worth writing about?

I'm not sure about Heathcliff and Cathy with their ipods out on the moors. It would make things difficult for Jane to hear Mr Rochester, though- unless this explains for once and for all just what 'the voice' was!

And then, reader, I remembered that I had neglected to remove my ipod and this explained the mysterious voice in my head.

April 27, 2006

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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.

March 30, 2006

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Librivox Villette

LibriVox– "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain." The site publishes audio books in the public domain, recorded by volunteers. Thanks to Heather, a co-ordinator for writing in to tell us about Villette, the first collaborative LibriVox Bronte work. There are no finished Bronte works yet although Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are being recited by two people attempting solo recordings. Most pressingly, under 20% of the chapters are claimed as of yet and they still need volunteers to recite chapters.

Aw, no Vanity Fair? … Well, I do think that book just might kill anyone attempting a solo recitation.

A friend of mine has a similar project on hand. Very slow productions of Shakespeare, which each part recorded separately online and then pasted together. It is very very slow work. And, I myself have a project which, from the start, was doomed to never actually be done- to put together a similar performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical. The trouble (…one of the troubles) is that all of my friends willing to entertain the idea are young ladies, so our Rochester is a soprano and I'm playing St.John Rivers (I am likewise a soprano, but this isn't quite so bad in St.John's case. No, really, some of his demo songs are very high! It's creepy…). It doesn't matter that I have dark hair and dark eyes, but I do burst out laughing at inappropriate times. Very out of charater.It will never, ever, ever be recorded (although I do have one clip of our (Miss) Rochester singing 'As Good As You').

March 4, 2006

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Filed under: Articles,Blogs,Criticism,Jane Eyre,Uncategorized,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 5:12 pm

"Who am I"?: The many faces of women's identity in Victorian Literature.

This a really interesting excerpt from an essay by Bronteana reader, and fellow Bronte-scholarling, mysticgypsy. She compares several answers to the question 'who am I' as a woman in Victorian literature, two of which are from Bronte heroines:

I am my beloved: Catherine Linton (Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights)For Catherine, who she is as an individual depends on how much she is a part of her soulmate, Heathcliff. As long as she was free to be with Heathcliff, she could be herself, but the moment she goes against her nature, i.e. try to "better" her self by marrying Linton, and thereby breaking her relationship with Heathcliff, she loses a part of herself. After her marriage to Linton, Cathy takes on another persona. She is no longer the girl who would roam wild and free in the moors. Instead, she is confined to the suffocating gradure and Victorian sense of propriety in Thruschcross Grange. Cathy even acknowledges to Nelly that she and Heathcliff were one when she says "I am Heathcliff". Hence, in this case, the woman takes the identity of her beloved.

I am his equal: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre)For Jane, her identity as an intelligent, independent woman is resolved through ties with Edward Rochester, her imposing employer and master of Thornfield. Although Jane does seek her own independence (and thereby her identity as a single woman), in the end, she finds she does need Rochester to be complete. Firstly, there is the telepathic relationship that she shared with Rochester, which I believe was a strong indicator (from the author) that as long as that supernatural connection was there between Jane and Rochester, they could not be entirely happy without each other. They needed each other to be whole because they were "equals" and complemented each other. Jane needed Rochester during moments of her insecurity (when Rochester was more controlling of her), and by the end of the story Rochester needed Jane when he was (phsycially) found wanting (thus Jane controls Rochester). This kind of relationship is differnet from that of Cathy and Heathcliff in that this is a relationship of equals, where only each will do for the other, but each keeps their own identies. Jane is NOT Rochester in the manner as Cathy affirms she IS Heathcliff.

The rest of the post (although not the rest of the essay) can be found here.

March 3, 2006

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Filed under: Books,Fan Fiction,Jane Eyre,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 12:56 am

Brontës make Happiest and Most Depressing List

In a previous post we discussed Jane Eyre making the list for books adults should read before they die. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights have also made another sort of World Book Day list- most happiest and most depressing ending lists!

Pride and Prejudice was voted the happiest ending in literature, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird and Jane Eyre.

Only one in fifty readers, it seems, likes to be left tearful at the last page, so the survey also asked which unhappy endings readers would most like to change: Tess of the D’Urbervilles was a clear winner, with readers demanding clemency more than a century after Thomas Hardy sent his tragic heroine to her death. It was also felt that the endings of Wuthering Heights, 1984 and Gone with the Wind were all too depressing, and should be perked up.

The snarky columnist decides to try their hand at refashioning the ending to Jane Eyre, to see how it might be made a little darker:

And since we are making unhappy endings cheerier, for the gloomy 2 per cent there are ways of rendering happy endings a little darker, starting with Jane Eyre: The original “My Edward and I, then, are happy” needs another clause “. . . or we would be, if that bloody Bertha hadn’t found the fire escape.”

The columnist also goes on to note the boom in fan fiction.

The Fanfic.net website has more than 200,000 Harry Potter stories that J. K. Rowling never wrote.

It also contains half a dozen Brontë 'fics'. They don't deserve a category, which is accorded to Jane Austen, and Mindsweeper… yes, the computer game where you click those little boxes and sometimes kill a smiley face. Several of the best stories on the Brontë novels had been 'boojumed' to use a term from Jasper Fforde, because they violated regulations on the use of colons and other punctuation. These were mostly hilarious works, such as a parody in which we find that Mr Rochester has Brittney Spears living in his attic. Another asks the question, what if Jane had gone to India?

February 28, 2006

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Filed under: Jane Eyre,Jane Eyre: The Musical,Media,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 1:26 pm

Brontëana Index

Firstly, long-time readers will notice a slight change to the Brontëana layout. I have been trying to find an efficient way to organise the archives for some time and have finally met with some limited success. This is only a start, but now for the first time you can search the archives from the bottom of the sidebar under 'Brontëana Index'. So far I have only indexed the primary works of the Brontës and the immediate family members themselves- although the archives contain information about the extended family as well. All of that and more will be more readily available in time. But it is a step in the right direction! Check back soon, I intend to keep working on it over the week.

Secondly, I have been following the progression of a musical 'Emma' by Paul Gordon, the composer of the Broadway musical Jane Eyre, for Austenblog. I am not entirely sure what to make of this comment, however:

How plays are born: Central Works' collaborative method is only one of many script development models in use in the Bay Area. TheatreWorks has been attracting increasing national attention in the new musicals field following a more traditional scheme. Its Spring Festival of New Works, expanded to two weeks (April 25 to May 7), features first-time staged readings of four new musicals: "Emma," adapted from Jane Austen by Paul Gordon (moving up the literary ladder from "Jane Eyre")…

Humph! Not that I mean to demean Miss Austen and her works… But humph! all the same!

And thirdly, I don't know what to make of the Mystery of Irma Vep either!

The Mystery of Irma Vep finds two actors performing eight sizable roles in a tale that's a wildly improbable mix of melodramatic literature and film, from Wuthering Heights to The Wolf Man, The Mummy and vampire legends.

February 23, 2006

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Filed under: Academic,Articles,Books,Intertexts,Jane Eyre,Uncategorized,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 2:05 pm

'Wuthering Heights for Children: Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden'


Today I came across this interesting article, hosted by the Universität Tübingen seeking to draw comparisons between The Secret Garden and Wuthering Heights. When I read The Secret Garden for a course on Children's Literature, I did not pick up on most of its resonances with Wuthering Heights, possibly because the influence of Jane Eyre seemed to be closer to the surface, and it seems that other readers have been similarly inclined:


As they had on other impressionable young girls, the romances of the sisters Brontë had a tremendous impact on Burnett. As one of her biographers noted: “Principal themes in the fiction of Frances Hodgson Burnett were forecast in seven books published within two years of her birth . . . (and) the authors of these works would be among the most important in shaping her fiction—[these included] Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), and Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (1849-50) . . . .” Born during Charlotte Brontë’s lifetime to parents keenly aware of the contemporary literary scene, daughter of father who may have been related to one of Patrick Brontë’s curates, young Frances spent the first fifteen years of her life less than thirty miles from Haworth reading romances. More than one scholar has identified and described “the echoes of Jane Eyre in The Secret Garden” but the contribution of Wuthering Heights has been less recognized.


Susan E. James draws comparisons here between Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden.

Since I will not get another opportunity to point this out, The Secret Garden (from 1991) happens to be one of the two musicals constantly compared with Jane Eyre: The Musical (the other musical is Les Miserables). Two recordings are available on amazon.com- such as the Broadway Cast, and the Royal Shakespeare CompanyRevival/London recordings.

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