2018 is gone. Admittedly, we were not expecting too much after the horrific 2017, but 2018 has not surprised us in any positive way. The post-truth era has come to stay and this year we have seen a few more examples in all around the world: Italy, Hungary, Poland, Brazil, Mexico... have joined the new world order that goes under the populist/nationalist/MAGA/Brexit labels... barely hiding what we already knew: a serpent's egg by any other name would smell as rotten. We end 2018 on the edge of the abyss: UK and Europe facing Brexit with no plausible deal in sight, the US government shutdown not showing signs of ending. It seems as if the possibility of dialogue and agreement have been wiped out by the winds of self-righteousness and bigotry. Bad times for rationality and humanism when anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, climate change deniers and all other types of hoax cults demand the same exposition to defend their views as the scientific 'establishment'. It really seems that looking into the abyss we have decided to go blind and accelerate as fast as possible James Dean-style with a twist: Live fast, die young and leave a not very good-looking corpse.
Fortunately for us, the Brontë year doesn't feel so desperate. After Charlotte, Branwell and Emily's years and before Anne's year, 2019 is a sort of impasse year. The Brontë Parsonage will focus its celebrations on the father of the Brontës trying to maintain the momentum of the Brontë200 celebrations. The Museum's new exhibition will celebrate the Rev Patrick Brontë, 200 years after he was invited to take up the role of parson in Haworth. Hopefully more details will be available soon.
After the 'excesses' of three years of bicentenaries, the world of Brontë books will go quieter, but not silent:
In The Brontës and the Idea of the Human. Science, Ethics, and the Victorian Imagination (January), Alexandra Lewis will edit a collection of essays on how the Brontës responded to scientific, legal, political, theological, literary, and cultural concerns in ways that redraw the boundaries of the human for the nineteenth century. In Anglican Women Novelists From Charlotte Brontë to P.D. James (June), Sarah L. Pearson will explore Charlotte Brontë's Anglican imagination. Palgrave/Springer announces for this year the publication of Emma Butcher's The Brontës and War which explores the representations of militarism and masculinity in Charlotte and Branwell's juvenilia. Also announced for 2019 (but somehow most probably in 2020) is Melissa Hardie exploration of the Cornwall origins of the Brontë family: Brontë Territories: Cornwall and the Unexplored Maternal Legacy, 1760-1870.
Catherine Rayner continues her Brontë books spree with a new volume co-authored with David F. Walford: Literary Trails: Haworth and the Brontës (January) a 'light-hearted but deeply researched book offers interest and guidance to walkers, social historians and lovers of the Bronte family; their lives and works'.
Bella Ellis (aka Rowan Coleman) will publish the first of a series of books with the (pre-writing career) Brontës as amateur sleuths: The Vanished Bride (The Brontë Mysteries) will be published in November. The editors sell it as 'a mystery with a literary twist, as Coleman imagines the well-known Brontë sisters finding themselves embroiled in the disappearance of a young woman, whom they suspect has been murdered by her wealthy husband'.
Young readers will have The Brontës. The Fantastically Feminist (and Totally True) Story of the Astonishing Authors (March) by Anna Doherty, 'an inspiring, empowering story perfect for fans of Little People, Big Dreams and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls! Young and not-so-young maybe will enjoy in 2019 the graphic novel by Isabel Greenberg, Glass Town based on the Brontës juvenilia but also covering their real childhood on the Yorkshire Moors
The Brontës will be, as usual, very much present on the stages of the whole world.
In New York, the American Irish Historical Society will host a couple of performances of The Art of Sisters: Tales and Letters by the Brontës, directed by Miriam Canfield. Tone Schunnesson premieres a new Swedish adaptation of Jane Eyre in Göteborg in April. A new production of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights will be premiere in Nancy, France in May. With the musical direction of Jacques Lacombe and stage direction of Orpha Phelan. The Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre choreography will be performed by the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in June.
The Willis Hall adaptation of Jane Eyre will be performed in Southport, UK and a brand new adaptation by Nick Lane will tour the UK performed by the Blackeyed Theatre Company. Teatre Lliure production of Jane Eyre will return to Barcelona in Spain. The one-woman-show of Adelheid Bräu, Sturmhöhe will be performed in Ingelstadt (Germany). The Hotbuckle Theatre production of Jane Eyre will return to the UK stages. The Little Theatre Co will perform Polly Teale's Jane Eyre in Leicester. And, as in previous seasons, Publick Transport's We Are Brontë, will tour the UK. Jennifer Silverman' s The Moors will be produced in Colorado. The Gordon & Caird musical will be performed around (in Newberg (OR), Wimberley (TX), San Antonio (TX), Hamilton (OH)... )
And the films? Well, there are two independent Wuthering Heights productions that may or may not be premiered in 2019. We don't know the exact the status of the Elizaveta Abhrahall production that should have been premiered in late 2018. The other production is by Interwoven Studios, directed by Brian Ferriter and announced for 2019.
But we are pretty sure that this won't be all. Probably not even the best Brontë events of the year. As other Brontë years before, the best Brontë will be among the surprises and the unexpected events that hopefully will turn 2019 into a very Brontë year.