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Friday, May 18, 2007

Bronte Birthplace on the Auction Block

The following news is courtesy of Richard Wilcocks, chairman of the Bronte Society and editor of the Bronte Parsonage Blog:

Barbara Whitehead, owner of the Brontë Birthplace in Thornton, wants it
to be known that it is to be auctioned by Eddisons on 21 June. She
apologises for the short notice. The auctioneer's website is at

The auction will be held on 21 June 2007 in the Banqueting Suite of the
Leeds United Football Club at Elland Road in Leeds. I am told that the
catalogue is still being prepared. If you want one, phone Eddisons at
the Leeds office with your details: +44 113 243 0101

The guide price is 200,000 pounds

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bronte's Back...

According to Variety, the 'Bronte' biopic is back on track and due to start filming in September:

Michelle Williams, Bryce Dallas Howard and Evan Rachel Wood are lining up to star in "Bronte," a biopic written and to be directed by Charles Sturridge.
Pic is set to shoot in September.

Icon Entertainment Intl. has picked up foreign sales for "Bronte," with ICM representing the project in North America. Alastair Maclean-Clark and Basil Stephens of AMC Pictures are producing. Sturridge's screenplay is based on an original script by Angela Workman.

The Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell grew up in isolation on the Yorkshire moors and went on to write some of the most enduring novels in the canon of English literature -- Charlotte's "Jane Eyre," Emily's "Wuthering Heights" and Anne's "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall."

As children, they created epic fantasy worlds to entertain themselves, led by the charismatic Branwell, but when he descended into alcohol and opium abuse, the sisters had to find their own way in a world dominated by strict patriarchal conventions. This initially forced them to disguise their identities by publishing under male pseudonyms.

Sturridge commented, "My family comes from Yorkshire, and I grew up with five sisters, so this is a story I have always wanted to tell."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Costume Show at Haddon Hall

From Matlock Today:

HADDON Hall is currently home to an exciting collection of costumes from last year's BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre filmed in the area.

Eight outfits are on display throughout the hall placed in rooms where they would be most appropriate.In the banqueting hall Jane's governess dress takes pride of place next to Rochester's everyday outfit.


Designer Angela Galer said: "The important thing is the script, I look for what will fire me up.

"When you meet the actors you get a better idea of what to do. The actress who played Blanche was very blonde and suited light colours, while Lady Ingram suits darker, more dramatic colours."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Adaptation: the Cage Match

Forgive the silliness of this post but the news today is a little silly, and having just finished the coursework for my master's degree, I am ever so slightly giddy this afternoon. The MA colloquium at Dalhousie University was last friday. I presented a paper on 21st century adaptations of Jane Eyre on a panel about 18th and 19th century constructions of gender, authorship, and identity. It all went well, after the equipment arrived for the video clips... During question period, comments came simultaneously from the Victorian moderator and one of the ph.d's about- of all things- the elements of Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea which they claimed were obvious in the clips I had chosen! This is the beautiful thing about conferences - getting a totally new perspective on your work. I always take notes during question period, but I had to ask them to slow down so I could get everything.

This brings me to a bit of silly from The Herald:

Perhaps TV bosses feared the wrath of Wellsian literary purists, who have consistently complained that Lee Evans, playing the drama's underdog hero, Alfred Polly, is much too much the knockabout prole.

Then again, no TV exec ever paid any heed to literary purists, as the latter are mostly blinkered, vinegar-faced, nit-picking plonkers who do nothing but complain - as I know from having incurred such folks' wrath in reviewing Jane Eyre (at this point, allow me to wave two fingers at all the blinkered, vinegar-faced, nit-picking plonkers who run the website bronteblog).

(You will probably find a retort from said BB here, or at the sidebar link). I am quite glad that I didn't get into criticising critics in this case. I do enough of that as a graduate student. I must say, I'm not enjoying writing academic papers on adaptation simply because most of the critical writings go something like this:

It's unfaithful! It's corrupt, and debased, and sacriledge!!
Hey, adaptations can't be just like the book. In fact, adaptation is a hugely complicated issue which leads absolutely nowhere.
It's the best version evaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!
That means absolutely nothing.
Yeah, well, so does saying that it's hugely complicated.

It might be better if we adopted an American Gladiators sort of forum to settling the matter, at least then it would be entertaining.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Theif Makes off With Tsunami Aid Lace

Last year we were thrilled to learn that the then upcoming BBC production of Jane Eyre was creating jobs for tsunami survivors by helping to rebuild the lace industry. Unfortunately, there are some really low people in this world:

Fashion raiders leave aid project in tatters

Ed Thomas

A FASHION designer from Belsize Park is distraught after thieves stole an entire collection of clothes that were going to raise funds for tsunami survivors.

Andrea Galer, who famously tailored Richard E Grant's overcoat for the film Withnail and I, has lost months of work and thousands of pounds following the break-in at her studio in Haverstock Hill.

Burglars entered on Friday night and made off with unique samples due to be marketed to leading fashion stores and sold to aid Sri Lankan survivors of the 2004 tsunami.

"Every single item in the collection has gone, about 20 pieces of clothing," said Ms Galer, who set up the Power of Hands Foundation to help Sri Lankan lace makers.

"It constitutes everything I have been working on for the past four months. I have financed this entire project by myself and built it up over two years.

"The clothes were just getting ready to be presented to the big fashion stores.

"Now the whole collection is lost. This project was designed to save lives. It makes me very sad."

Ms Galer's clothes have graced the silver screen for productions including Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Spooks.

Having started out her career 30 years ago in a shop in England's Lane, she has become a leading designer highly sought-after by film and television directors.

As well as designing for the big screen, she is also passionate about helping the traditional Sri Lankan lace makers rebuild their lives following the tsunami disaster.

"I am the only person in the world who is helping this group of people," she added.

"The Power of Hands Foundation is a huge project, and these were the first samples aimed at helping the lace makers rebuild their lives.

"The whole collection has been taken by someone who either doesn't know what they've got their hands on or who is deliberately trying to sabotage the project.

"It looks like a professional job. The door wasn't forced open but may have been opened with a special key."

Police have launched an investigation into the burglary.

A spokeswoman said the break-in took place around 11pm, just at the time when the nearby pub would have been closing up.

"Given this was on a Friday night, there is a strong chance that witnesses might have seen something suspicious.

"All the ladies' items were made from Sri Lankan silk. No arrests have been made at this stage and enquiries are continuing."

If you have information which might help the police, call 020-7404 1212.