Charlotte Brontë, who died in 1855 aged 38, might almost have been an Elizabeth Gaskell heroine. Like Margaret Hale in North and South (1855), or Molly Gibson in Wives and Daughters (1864), she’d had to look after a widowed and cantankerous father in very difficult circumstances, facing the grim realities of sickness and death. Perhaps it was this that inspired an extraordinary friendship between two great Victorian writers, which would ultimately blossom into one of the most remarkable literary biographies in English prose. The two novelists first met in the Lake District in the summer of 1850. They were, in many respects, polar opposites. Gaskell was beautiful, worldly and dizzyingly public: a mother of four; familiar with Florence Nightingale, Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, and even Dickens, with whom she did not get on (“If I were Mr G,” exclaimed Dickens, “oh heaven, how I would beat her”). By contrast, Brontë (pseudonymously hiding behind … [Read more...] about The 100 best nonfiction books: No 63 – The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell (1857)
Tides port elizabeth
Damian Hurley was crowned Sexiest Celebrity Offspring in November. And it's no surprise he beat Pamela Anderson and P Diddy's sons to the title voted for by readers when the model made a dashing appearance in Munich, Germany. Damian joined the stars - including Boris Becker's daughter Anna Ermakova - at the dazzling 10th Mon Cheri Barbara Tag at Isarpost on Wednesday. At a glance, the brunette was the double of his model mum Elizabeth Hurley. Damian looked glorious in his snazzy sequinned jacket which jazzed up his black jeans and open neck shirt. Elizabeth's son arranged his luscious and long brunette locks to flow down his shoulders while he styled it out at the event. At the showbiz affair, the model rubbed shoulders with Boris' daughter Anna who sat with him. The redhead was dressed in a beautiful velvet ballgown which caught the eye with its striking violet colour. It comes after Damian was crowned Sexiest Celebrity Offspring by People magazine in their new Sexiest Man Alive issue … [Read more...] about Damian Hurley is spitting image of his model mum Elizabeth in sparkly sequin jacket
Read a book at the right age and it will stay with you for life. For some people it's Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, but for me it is Great Expectations. I first read it at 14 or so and, apart from some infatuations with Orwell, Fitzgerald, Salinger and Hardy, it has remained my favourite novel ever since. By some miracle, a story written in the mid-1850s had captured much of how I felt in a small provincial town at the end of the 1970s. Yet if I saw myself in the book, it wasn't a particularly flattering portrait. It's clear why a young reader might aspire to be Elizabeth Bennet, but who would want to be Pip Pirrip? A singularly un-heroic hero, he's pretentious, pompous, ambitious, in love with the idea of being in love yet tediously masochistic, self-indulgent, self-pitying, all the -selfs except self-knowing. He is abused, tortured, mocked, he rejects the love of others and is in turn rejected, and although he is, finally, capable of courage, decency and … [Read more...] about David Nicholls: Adapting Great Expectations for the screen
Christine Langan, who runs BBC Films, recently felt obliged to defend the latest cinematic adaptations of novels by Charlotte and Emily Brontë – Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre, which opens early next month, and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, due for release in November – against accusations of deja vu. "People," Langan sighed, "will be saying, 'Why the hell are they doing all that over again?'" They are doing it, I'd suggest, because it needs to be done. Certain books – by the Brontës and by Jane Austen and Dickens – are indispensable to us and accompany us through life. When we first read them, they prospectively sketch our quest to discover who we are and our struggle to impose ourselves on the world; in later decades, they remain as markers of our progress or testaments to our disillusionment. In Jane Eyre, a disadvantaged girl prevails by force of will and by the intensity of an uncompromising imagination. Oliver Twist is about an even more … [Read more...] about Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights: do we need new film versions?
Frankie Dettori bounced back from the hurt of last Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes to drive Opinion Poll to victory in the Group 2 Artemis Goodwood Cup. Dettori suffered a toe injury when his mount Rewilding suffered a fatal injury at Ascot - but the Italian doesn't stay down for long. And he was at his best on Ascot Gold Cup second Opinion Poll, who beat fellow Godolphin runner Lost In The Moment by a head. On returning to the winner's enclosure, Dettori apologised to the crowd for the lack of a flying dismount - explaining he still felt a pain in his foot. "The toe's sore - there's nothing you can do," said the jockey. Dettori completed a Pattern-race brace as Meeznah, disqualified after finishing second in last year's Oaks, took the Group 2 I-Shares Fillies' Stakes. Speedball Masamah booked his place in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month after blitzing his rivals in the Group 2 Audi Stakes over five furlongs. There was a dramatic conclusion to the Magnolia … [Read more...] about Frankie Dettori on poll