In Northangerland Andrew Taylor has taken the black sheep of the Brontë family and pushed him centre-stage, repurposing Branwell’s pseudonym as a title. ‘Re-versioning’, as Taylor dubs his process, is not so much offering a parallel text or a commentary on the original, but effects a distillation of it, isolating its essence, updating. He resembles Basil Bunting deleting and scribbling his way through Shakespeare’s sonnets, as he exchanges Brontë’s rhetoric for sculpted lines and deft sound-shapes (the rhymes chiming internally across their precise new line-breaks). Taylor is like an architect decluttering the Brontë Parsonage into a modern minimalist and open plan living space: ‘forms refuse the real/ & unreal to confuse phantom/ paths of joy’. For all its careful acknowledgement of sources, this is an assured work for our times.
United Kingdom - £10.95