"I don't remember that"
To quote Charlotte in a letter wherein she remarks that she doesn't remember Mr Rochester being repulsive. I thought of this immediately after reading this recent review of Polly Teale's Jane Eyre:
"A memory unsoiled is an exquisite treasure," muses the intolerable Mr Rochester of his "poor and obscure" Jane Eyre.
I am puzzled by other things in this review:
Unable to escape from the horrors of her own miserable childhood, Bronte's heroine finds herself reliving her nightmares as an adult when she finds herself back living in a house with a secret attic room sullied by tormented cries of madness and drawing rooms dominated by stern men. Clinging to her faith and somewhat limited education, she works tirelessly to bury her innermost desires and elude her she-devil alter ego.
I obviously have not seen this production but I think I am becoming very weary of this treatment of the story. I really do not find the concept innovative. I might say I find it hackneyed, in fact. Scarcely three adaptations of the novel do not turn the story into something far darker and tormented than it reads- with all of its humour and wit. After viewing nearly a century of such adaptations, I'm truly weary of it. And I'm tired of hearing that Jane is emotionally repressed when she is one of the most expressive heroines of literature. She struggles with convention, she does not surrender to it- the poor dear.
Need I add that Jane Eyre has been used as a template for cheap, awful Romance novels for... who knows how many years? And that they tend to follow the same trend of oppressing the young woman, and turning the man into something formidable and stern- even sadistic? In fact, minus mad-woman alter-ego, the template sounds... exactly like this description of the play. (A professor I studied with affirms that there actually is a template which authors of these 'novels' use. A sort of 'quick-e-plot' which is a horridly bastardised version of Jane Eyre).
There is nothing that appears out-dated or immaterial. Who would have thought stiff corsets, ringlets, breeches and proper Queen's English (albeit spoken with a Yorkshire drawl) could sit so comfortably in today's society of iPods and PSPs? Shared Experience proves that they do.
'Stiff corsets, ringlets, breeches and proper Queen's English' are things that I have never thought typified the work. But it's a snappy ending to the article... I also don't know what a PSP is, so who am I to say?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
"I don't remember that"