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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Clips from Jane Eyre: The Musical

And, while I was making the previous post, another Brontëana reader shared these new clips from an old performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical when it was performed on Broadway. These clips are of the songs Sweet Liberty and Painting Her Portrait, both featuring Marla Schaffel. Enjoy! And thank you, AndySpectacular and Bronteana reader Siansaska for sending along the links.

Brontëana Exclusive: Behind the Scenes of Jane Eyre 2006

While I was offline writing a post for today (about an early recording of Jane Eyre: The Musical) Brontëana reader Vairë sent me a most interesting email! She obtained permission to pass along this report from a visitor to Haddon Hall. Louise from Manchester visited the hall on Sunday, during an 'off-shooting day' and had quite a time looking around the set. Here is her full report as passed along to me:

She was invited back for shooting as well. She gave me permission to send this report on to you, which has not been seen on the net so far.

"It's a place called Haddon Hall in Derbyshire which is a Medival/Tudor stately home. The man in the gatehouse was wonderful and showed me a list of all the television and film productions that had used the Hall so far (including last years Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley). He showed me articles from all the local newspapers and recommended that I should speak to one of the staff inside for more information. I went inside and asked a member of staff if she had any photographs she could show me and she showed me a WONDERFUL photograph of the house on fire and explained how it was done with pyrotechnics and she also showed me the huge red sign they have to put up during the week that says BBC PRODUCTION. FILMING IN PROGRESS.

Then I went inside and had a look around the house itself and one of the rooms had been altered by the BBC production team to look like Mr Rochester's library. It was amazing. The right hand wall was simply bookcases FULL of old looking genuine books (except all the books on the bottom two shelves - they're just book fronts). There were two tables in the centre of the room, an large chair in the far corner of the room and what looked like some sort of writing instrument on one of the tables. In a little alcove section of the room where the windows were a round table and chairs stood next a blackboard. Some of the writing had been wiped off but I could make out the words "Miss Grey" and "ettiquete."I then spoke to another member of staff about her experiences on set. She described how the staff were watching the scene where Bertha throws herself from the tower and how the stunt crew set up a giant inflatable and the stunt woman actually threw herself from the tower of Haddon Hall!

She also described what a wonderful group of people the cast were and how "the darling little girl, Georgie, who plays young Jane, is a pleasure to be around". She also mentioned how Haddon Hall was particuarly close to "the young girl fresh out of drama school who plays Jane" because her brother has recently married a local girl from that area.She also mentioned that Pam Ferris' character of Lady Ingrim seems to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And how long and throughly tedious the filming process was and how they were lucky to get 2 scenes shot during a 7 hour day.

"the ruins shot is NOT being digitally remastered. They did indeed film in ruins but I can't remember the name. It's close to Haddon Hall where they are currently filming now and have been for quite some time.I'm not sure how much longer they're shooting for. I think it's going to be quite a while - the English weather isn't being very helpful and it's a very slow filming process."

She also plans to return this week and try to get pictures. Thank you for sharing this with us all, and I think it would be fair to say that a few hundred people are wishing you luck in getting back there and getting some pictures! Great job! And thanks again to Vairë for obtaining publishing permission for me.

Jane Eyre 2006 Courtesy of North and South

Thanks are due to Thisbeciel for the tip that scans from an issue of Peak District Life featuring the BBC's new production of Jane Eyre, complete with these wonderful new pictures:

You can view the scans yourself here.

One excerpt: "Diederick Santer also describes the approach they are using, 'It's extremely passionate and full-blooded. It starts and ends in Jane's head and is about a young woman's physical journey, her sexual journey. It's passionate and beautiful. We're trying to get away from too clichéd a story about the Mills and Boon thing of the governess falling in love with the Lord of the Manor'."

A very special thank you to Monika for posting the article!

ETA: In fact, thanks to Monika for scanning and posting, Christina for finding and linking, Thisbeciel for linking the links and piccing the pics. I think that about covers it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jane Eyre 1973 Available for Pre-Order from Amazon

You can now pre-order the DVD of the BBC's 1973 mini-series of Jane Eyre starring Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston at amazon.com, and amazon.co.uk. The region one edition will not be available at amazon.com until July 25th, but it is cheaper than other online stores including Acorn from whom you can order a copy right now, and get it sooner than expected (their shipping is really fast). The release date for the UK is still June 5th.

I came across some interesting technical specifications for this production for anyone who is interested.

When submitted to the BBFC the work had a running time of 247m 18s. This work was passed with no cuts made. Note that since February 2001 the BBFC has measured each component separately, but older works may not have the exact details, only a list of titles. 00:49:22:02 JANE EYRE - PART ONE00:47:35:14 JANE EYRE - PART TWO00:49:55:02 JANE EYRE - PART THREE00:49:53:03 JANE EYRE - PART FOUR00:50:31:24 JANE EYRE - PART FIVE Details are likely to be more complete and accurate for the version submitted most recently.When a film is transferred to video the running time will be shorter by approximately 4% due to the differing number of frames per second. This does not mean that the video version has been cut or re-edited.

The series recieved a PG rating for "mild violence and distress."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Brontës in the Attic- I mean, Tower

A hoard of books are finally being taken down out of the library tower at Cambridge University. The books were put there in a belief that they were not of academic interest because they were 'too populist' or as this article puts it, 'low brow.' The rumor had been that it was a collection of pornography. Well, no. No, they're just some first editions of the Bronte novels after all!

And a few other things besides: first editions by Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "Cookery books including one called Cheap, Nice and Nourishing Cookery, which recommends boiling carrots for two hours, and a Handbook of Domestic Cookery, with a recipe for calf's head and calf's foot soup," Home guides on health and beauty including Dr Foote's Home Cyclopedia of Popular Medical, Social and Sexual Science which recommended married people should not sleep together as the practice led to "uncongeniality", and a collection of penny dreadfuls!

Which works by the Brontes are included in the collection is not disclosed in this article but it implies that works by all three sisters are in the collection. Also, some of the works have not been read and are in pristine condition:

Professor Secord said: "The bulk of it still hasn't been touched. The typical book in there that you order up hasn't really been looked at before.When you go in to use the collection, you put in your slip and have the librarian bring up the paper knife so you can cut open the pages."

Michael Berkeley's Jane Eyre Opera has its American premiere

There have been some changes made to the work which premiered in 2000 at the Cheltenham Festival. The two acts have been combined into one with the addition of transitional music. The changes were suggested by Opera Theatre's artistic director Colin Graham. The reason given here is to make the work 'more dramatically immediate'. The work now runs 80 minutes. The work focuses on the 'kernel' of the drama at Thornfield, 'distilling' the story down to Adele, Jane, Mr Rochester, and Bertha Mason.

"We have walked round the piece and viewed it very much from the terrible predicament of the first Mrs. Rochester up in the attic. Jean Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea,' feminism and the developments in psychology in recent years mean that we necessarily see the scenario with a contemporary eye," Berkeley said. "Jane is a very single-minded girl. Ultimately, it is a timeless story of 'three into two won't go,' and in the effort to make it go, a terrible price is paid. It's not just, 'Reader, I married him,' because we have, at the end, the corpse of the original Mrs. Rochester and Rochester himself burnt and blinded."

Where: Loretto-Hilton Center, Webster University
When: 7 p.m. June 4 and 8 p.m. June 8, 10, 14 and 16.
Should you take the children: Older teens
More info: 314-961-0171 or experienceopera.org

Image is of soprano Kelly Kaduce, with famed costume designer Jane Greenwood and draper Rick Tuckett. (Photo by Ken Howard)

Friday, May 26, 2006

More on the 'Missing Jane Eyre'

This article claims the hunt is on for the revised manuscript of Jane Eyre supposedly written to appease Rev. Carus Wilson, but never published. Thankfully there is one voice of sanity- Alan Bentley from the Bronte Parsonage Museum is also not convinced:

But Alan Bentley from the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth said anyone finding the missing manuscript should not pin their hopes too high on getting a fortune for it.
"We're not entirely convinced. We think the story in the letters has got a bit confused.
"As far as we know there was never any correspondence between Charlotte and the Reverend.
"It's more likely to do with Mrs Gaskell."

The many doubts surrounding the story of Charlotte's revision of Jane Eyre to avoid libel are not bothering the dealers who are placing a £30,000 price on the manuscript.

A correction to my last post on this story: the letters which provide the only evidence for this story of revision were not written by Rev. Carus Wilson but by his grandson in 1912.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lowood Libel?

Splashed all over google news today is the auctioning of letters supposedly revealing a previously unknown court action only barely avoided by Charlotte Brontë. The letters, written in 1912 (when Miss Brontë had long ago been laid to rest), suggest that Charlotte wrote an apology for her depiction of Rev. Carus Wilson as Mr Brocklehurst, confessing to exaggerating the conditions at the school, and re-writing part of Jane Eyre. The 'apology' has never been seen, although the reverend apparently sold it to pay for medical treatment.

It appears that court action was only avoided when Bronte wrote an apology, pointing out that she had exaggerated the details.
The story of the dispute is disclosed in three letters by Mr Carus-Wilson's grandson, Edward Carus-Wilson, which have been put up for auction by an anonymous London book dealer and are due to be sold at Ludlow racecourse on June 21.
The letters were written in 1912 when Mr Carus-Wilson sold the manuscript of Bronte's retraction to an autograph collector to pay for his child's medical treatment.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, a documents expert for the auctioneers Mullock Madeley, in Shropshire, who decided to investigate the contents of the letters further, said: "The Bronte experts at the Parsonage Museum in Haworth were unaware of any kerfuffle involving Jane Eyre at the time it was published."

It seems very strange to me, especially since these articles claim that no one knew that there was any controversy over the Lowood passages of the novel. If I knew about it, I am sure others did. In fact, many of the books written about the Brontes cover the furor that errupted over the depictions of Lowood. Even after Charlotte's death, there were constant wrangling over it in the public press, even involving Charlotte's husband who broke his silence to defend his wife's depictions with perhaps too much passion. It is true that I've never heard of this crucial piece of evidence being presented- which begs the question of why it wasn't brought up at the time. It also seems quite out of character for Charlotte to choose to retract something she has written, when she was so often passionate about the truth of her depictions taken from her own experience.

Image is of the Rev. Carus Wilson.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Professor in 10 parts!

This is the only adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's The Professor, that I have ever come across. It is not a beloved work. But someone thought it was worthy of a ten part adaptation! Here are the radio BBC episodes, courtesy of Thisbeciel:

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten

Kate Bush... Again!

I've found clips for probably all of the performances of Kate Bush's song, Wuthering Heights. I had already posted 'the white dress' video. Here are the red dress, top of the pops and a live concert version for your viewing pleasure. It looks like she performs the same piece of choreography (which isn't simply 'crazy' dancing. To me it looks like classical modern dance but it has been awhile since I have seen dancing in the style of Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan).

The Red Dress clip, Top of the Pops, live concert.

We're All Mad Here

In an article about what is scribbled in the margins, the author mentions his own copy of Jane Eyre:

It seems, in fact, that mad scribblings are more common than sane ones. I was once shown a copy of Jane Eyre that was thick with the bile of a woman scorned. Every instance of a male character being brought to book or receiving any kind of comeuppance was heavily annotated, sometimes with "Ha!" added as an afterthought.

I had to smile when I read this. It reminded me of one of my professors and several of my classmates- I wonder if this is one of their copies. I recall the professor's glee at the thought of Bertha's attempts at murdering her husband, and then at burning down his house. On the last day of class, the class wrote Bronte-inspired limericks, one of them in praise of Bertha's 'burning the poor bastard.' My copy bears no such annotations. In fact, I am still horrified by the idea of writing in a book. I have a special copy which already had writing in it, so I feel less guilty about adding my own. It didn't come with any interesting notes. There are a few really ridiculous 'insights', though- for example, the deep symbolic ottomon. You know the one I mean, the one which is an allusion to Turkey. Don't remember it? Hm. Oh, and I've corrected it for punctuation, spelling, and grammar. I'm sure that you would correct it to if every time Mr Rochester proposed he would begin with offering to send Jane to 'Bittemutt Lodge'!

And I like mad scribblings! I would rather have mad ones. But most of my books are marginalia free. When I corrected exams, I did often find that people had annotated their own essays! This was an endless source of fun. Does anyone have any mad scribblings in the margins of their Bronte novels?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Brontes on BBC Radio

Thanks to Thisbeciel and Biedroneczka for the tip that Tea with Mr Rochester by Frances Towers is playing on BBC Radio (which you can listen to online). Tea with Mr Rochester. A schoolgirl comes face to face with her literary idol. Read by Romola Garai.

More traditional fare is available as well. There's a production of Charlotte Bronte's Shirley, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

For about a week you may also download these three radio adaptations of Jane Eyre (not from the BBC). Thisbeciel just cracked into a pile of these things, apparently:

Matinee Theatre- Gertrude Warner, Victor Jory (reported to be hilariously bad and heavily influenced by Rebecca.)
Favorite Story- Peggy Webber, William Conrad
Radio Hall of Fame- Joan Fontaine, Frederic March
Playhouse of Famous Authors- actors unknown

There's also the complete Shirley adaptation: Episode one, two, three, four, five, and six.

What Hasn't Been Done to Wuthering Heights?

I have a few Wuthering Heights clips today. First, the infamous The Semaphore version of Wuthering Heights from Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Keeping with the parody theme, there's also a sequel- part of a student English project: Wuthering Heights 2: Lock and Load starring Steven Segal as Lockwood. The premise? Wuthering Heights has turned into 'a protal to HELL!!!' and only one man can close it is Mr. Lockwood. There are lots of machine guns and demons. You can view the... trailer.. here.

And lastly, thanks to RuggedClause I bring you a 1978 music video of Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights,' which has to be one of the most bizarre things I've seen today.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bronte News

Jane Eyre: The Musical is playing in Washington state: "Jane Eyre: The Musical": Edmonds Homeschool Resource Center presents a musical version of the classic Charlotte Bronte novel, 7 p.m. May 19 and 20, 2 p.m. May 20 and 21, $4. 23200 100th Ave. W., Edmonds; 425-670-7840.

One of the earliest known manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë will be on display at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and also featured on a BBC programme displaying 'quirky' items from British museums. Richard Wilcox from the Brontë Society Gazette has much more to say about the piece, on his blog- the Brontë Parsonage E-Magazine Blog. There is also a post about Clare Boyland, author of Emma Brown.

The Haworth Arts Festival will feature an outdoor screening of Wuthering Heights (and some... Bulgarian singing and Flamenco dancing!). For more infomation contact www.haworthartsgroup.co.uk or by phoning 01535 642329.

Wuthering Heights gets (very briefly) compared with Moulin Rouge. In fact, the comparison amount to the 'device' of having one lover die, leaving the other alone and doomed to a life of emptiness without that person who remains crystallized in the mind as the romantic ideal..'

The Bronte Project is reviewed again. This time there is a little more information about its plot but also some extremely vague statements that leave some awkward impressions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jane Eyre 1949 with Mary Sinclair and Charleton Heston

Imdb lists Mary Malone as playing Jane Eyre, however, the credits from the production list Sinclair. I have no explaination for this. Once again, Thisbeciel has some screencaps for us, and another video clip from the 1957 Jane Eyre with Joan Elam and Patrick McNee. This production is in most respects identical to the 1952 version with Katherine Bard and Kevin McCarthy. The sets are the very same sets, the story has many of the same changes, and even some of the camera angles and direction are identical. There are a few differences, and some of them are quite interesting while others are very silly indeed. So, let's get started. Here are a few selections from the screencaps:

There's no Hay Lane scene. Mrs. Fairfax calls Jane to meet the master. He makes shadow puppets for her- actually, for a few moments this is all we see of Rochester while Mrs. Fairfax keeps repeating how strange he is.

Rochester meets up with Jane and Adele in the garden with Bertha looking on.

I don't know what it is about these second interviews... this is the 'look at my leg, Jane' shot which also appears in the 1952 version. Then, as in the 1952 version, Bertha sets his chair on fire.

Rochester roughs Jane up to keep her quiet about the fire. This is the 'you're depressed' scene moved into the garden.
Jane decides to leave, then Rochester proposes.
Mr. Mason, and Briggs decide to visit Grace Poole.
Miss Eyre! Pst! Pst! Miss Eyre! Oh, so that strange woman watching the wedding was his wife all along!
We think this is a first- Bertha lunges at Jane.

Rochester begs Jane to stay, then throws himself on the stairs (looks a little like he has fallen asleep on the stairs with his security blanket. Oh, the depth of symbolism in this production is very great indeed).

And you know how the rest goes. This production starred Mary Sinclair as Jane Eyre, Charlton Heston as Mr Rochester. And also starred Viola Roache, Ethel Everett,Joan Wetmore. It was adapted by Sumner Locke-Elliot, produced by Worthington Miner, and directed by Franklin Schaffner.

Bronte News

Clare Boyland, author of Emma Brown- a novel based on Charlotte Bronte's Emma- has died of cancer.

This might explain a few things about the education system in Canada, and the lack of Bronte-appreciation:

The first area of expertise was very specific: theatre lighting. While this in itself did not seem very strange to me, the fact that he was teaching me English literature did. It turns out, the reason that he was teaching outside his element is because he doesn't actually have an element anymore: Apparently there have been many recent advancements in the area of lighting technology, and as a result my professor's knowledge and skill have become completely obsolete. That's right, he has joined the ranks of horse-drawn carriages, video cassettes, and cell phones with no camera feature! And just as jamming a cassette into a DVD player because you're too cheap to update your technology doesn't work, this man was not successful in his English-teaching endeavor. We would be talking about 19th Century literature, and then he would suddenly go off on some abstract tangent and start talking about the weather (that's an actual example, I didn't just make it up). One time he played a Rolling Stones song during a lecture because he claimed it had enormous relevance to what we were doing, although he never did manage to adequately explain the connection between rock music and Jane Eyre.

Well, actually there is a rock band called 'Jane Eyre' but somehow I don't think that's what he was getting at... Hmn. This could be why some of my professors are so fond of tangents... I had a philosophy teacher for one of my early literature courses. "Just read the damn thing! [Paradise Lost]" and "this isn't a satanic mass, you know! Honest!" and "Grendel eats people because Grendel is Grendel!" (fabulous bit of insight there), and lastly he demanded that all 130 of us 'howl' at him; we did not. The poor man. He was teaching English lit from Caedmon to the Enlightenment when he violently detested anything written before the 20th century and... wasn't an English professor.

Polly Teale's Jane Eyre is reviewed again here. I haven't seen the production but the reviews are having the effect of disappointing me. This one is a little strange. Why does the critic not seem concerned that an actor is playing Pilot? And that this actor also plays Mr Brocklehurst? I had heard, in other reviews that the doubling is actually Pilot and St.John Rivers. The production is hailed as 'one of the most searching stage adaptations' the critic has ever seen. Well, I guess so... And here's another review. It sounds a bit like they are taking the approach that Jane is neurotic from repressing her emotions- which of course she does a lot in the novel...

Myriam Acharki’s Bertha occasionally emerges to tug at the skirts or to wrap herself round the body of Monica Dolan’s Jane, but mostly she’s stuck in her jagged eyrie, writhing and wailing, screeching and banging at moments of special emotion. But this doesn’t mean that Dolan herself must become totally mask-like when her innards are smouldering in the presence of James Clyde’s wild, raffish Rochester. Her cheeks twitch, her eyes pucker and squint, her hands nervously scratch at her face or knead each other. Again and again you see the stress of a woman who has, in effect, locked fierce and fiery passions in her personal attic to survive.
Does Teale somewhat labour the point? Well, there were moments of such emotional pressure that both Bertha and Jane looked as if they themselves might go into labour. But that would be a serious objection only if the result were to sully or distort the narrative. As it is, the Shared Experience style — pacy, informal, inventive, physically expressive — keeps you gripped by what’s still Jane Eyre.

The American premiere of Michael Berkeley's opera 'Jane Eyre' for this summer.

It seems that every time Jane Eyre: The Musical is produced it is a 'premiere' this time, the Baltimore-Area premiere!

The South African production of Wuthering Heights is reviewed here.

Wuthering Heights is also rather strangely drawn into a religious debate over The Da Vinci Code, of all things. The argument boils down to this: that the idea of unbounded secular love was once (in the 12th century) a greater threat to Christianity than the idea that Christ was not divine, and that 'today, few Christians will be found violently protesting the idea of secular love, even of the passionate, all-consuming, defiant (of heaven or hell) variety, although many of them will still be found violently protesting that kind of love between people of the same sex.' [...] 'But Christianity and “Wuthering Heights” are no longer oil and water, vampire and crucifix. They are, well, lovers.'

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jane Eyre 1957 With Joan Elam and Patrick McNee

We're all in for a treat today! Thisbeciel has found the 1957 Jane Eyre with Joan Elam as Jane Eyre and Patrick McNee as Mr Rochester, and it is really very 'interesting' and... interesting. Yes, I think interesting or 'scary' might describe this well if not just plain funny. Here are a few selected screencaps:

Our plain heroine arrives at Thornfield and hears a terrible scream. ha! Crazy wind you have here, Mrs. Fairfax! Sometime later Mr Rochester gets drunk and frisky.

Missing his Boy Scout days, he built a little campfire on his bed then fell asleep.

And Jane is so devastated here, being preferred to Blanche at the party and all- oh, and she is so sad about being plain.
Mr Mason stumbles down with a knife but it's okay, absolutely nothing is going on.

I know how you all must be anxious to see this version. Thankfully Thisbeciel also uploaded a clip from the scary little second interview (when Rochester gets drunk and frisky).

Monday, May 15, 2006

A look at the new Lowood

This article from Yorkshire Today has very very little news about the new BBC production of Jane Eyre, but we do have one new location and another image to share. This is an image of The Riding House at Bolsover Castle, serving as the interior of Lowood School. We also have one new cast member to add: Hester Rodgers will play Helen Burns.

Now the BBC has lined up another all-star cast to take the gothic romance to the next generation.Part of the four-part drama, to be screened on BBC-1 in the autumn, has been shot in north Derbyshire.The crew were at Bolsover Castle, near Chesterfield, where they transformed the Riding House into the interior of Lowood School, complete with false floor and dressed with furniture and wall hangings from the period.The filming at Bolsover Castle features the young Jane's life at Lowood School.Ten-year-old Georgie Henley, of Ilkley, who recently starred in the Christmas blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia, plays young Jane and Hester Rodgers her best friend Helen Burns.Children from the Ripley Academy in Derbyshire play other Lowood pupils.

The production will be filming in Derbyshire until June.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Feb. 16th, 1850, writing to one of her friends, Charlotte Bronte wrote:

'A few days since, a little incident happened which curiously touched me. Papa put into my hands a little packet of letters and papers, telling me that they were mamma's, and that I might read them. I did read them, in a frame of mind I cannot describe. The papers were yellow with time, all having been written before I was born. It was strange now to peruse, for the first time, the records of a mind whence my own sprang; and most strange, and at once sad and sweet, to find that mind of a truly fine, pure, and elevated order. They were written to papa before they were married. There is a rectitude, a refinement, a constancy, a modesty, a sense, a gentleness about them indescribable. I wish she had lived, and that I had known her.'

Here is one of them:

'Wood House GROVE, September 18, 1812.

'How readily do I comply with my dear Mr. B's request! You see, you have only to express your wishes and as far as my power extends I hesitate not to fulfil them. My heart tells me that it will always be my pride and pleasure to contribute to your happiness, nor do I fear that this will ever be inconsistent with my duty as a Christian. My esteem for you and my confidence in you is so great, that I firmly believe you will never exact anything from me which I could not conscientiously perform. I shall in future look to you for assistance and instruction whenever I may need them, and hope you will never withhold from me any advice or caution you may see necessary.
'For some years I have been perfectly my own mistress, subject to no control whatever-- so far from it, that my sisters who are many years older than myself, and even my dear mother, used to consult me in every case of importance, and scarcely ever doubted the propriety of my opinions and actions. Perhaps you will be ready to accuse me of vanity in mentioning this, but you must consider that I do not boast of it, I have many times felt it a disadvantage; and although, I thank God, it never led me into error, yet in circumstances of perplexity and doubt, I have deeply felt the want of a guide and instructor.
'At such times I have seen and felt the necessity of supernatural aid, and by fervent applications to the throne of grace I have experienced that my heavenly Father is able and willing to supply the place of every earthly friend. I shall now no longer feel this want, this sense of helpless weakness, for I believe a kind Providence has intended that I shall find in you ever earthly friend united; nor do I fear to trust myself under your protection, or shrink from your control. It is pleasant to be subject to those we love, especially when they never exert their authority but for the good of the subject. How few would write in this way! But I do not fear that you will make a bad use of it. You tell me to write my thoughts, and thus as they occur I freely let my pen run away with them.
'Sat. Morn. -- I do not know whether you dare show your face here again or not after the blunder you have committed. When we got to the house on Thursday evening, even before we were within doors, we found that Mr. and Mrs. Bedford had been there, and that they had requested you to mention their intention of coming-- a single hint of which you never gave! Poor I too came in for a share in the had words which were bestowed upon you, for they all agreed that I was the cause of it. Mr. Fennell said you were certainly mazed, and talked of sending you to York, etc. And even I begin to think that this, together with the note, bears some marks of insanity! However, I shall suspend my judgement until I hear what excuse you can make for yourself, I suppose you will be quite ready to make one of some kind or another.
'Yesterday I performed a difficult and yet pleasing task in writing to my sisters. I thought I never should accomplish the end for which the letter was designed; but after a good deal of perambulation I gave them to understand the nature of my engagement with you, with the motives and inducements which led me to form such an engagement, and that in consequence of it I should not see them again so soon as I had intended. I concluded by expressing a hope that they would not be less pleased with the information than wew my friends here. I think they will not suspect me to have made a wrong step, their partiality for me is so great. And their affection for me will lead them to rejoice in my welfare, even though it should diminish somewhat of their own. I shall think the time tedious till I hear from you, and must beg you will write as soon as possible. Pardon me, my dear friend, if I again caution you against giving way to a weakness of which I have heard you complain. When you find your heart oppressed and your thoughts too much engrossed by one subject, let prayer be your refuge-- this you no doubt know by experience to be a sure remedy, and a relief from every care and error. Oh, that we had more of the spirit in prayer! I feel that I need it much.
'Breakfast time is near, I must bid you farewell for the time, but rest assured you will always share in the prayers and heart of your own
'Mr. Fennell has crossed my letter to my sisters. With his usual goodness he has supplied my deficiencies and spoken of me in terms of commendation of which I wish I were more worthy. Your character he has likewise displayed in the most favourable light; and I am sure they will not fail to love and esteem you though unknown.
'All here unite in kind regards. Adieu.'

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tons of Bronte News

It is all over the place. To start with, there is this fascinating article on mother-daughter psychology, Sins of the Mother, which references the Brontes as well as briefly mentioning Jane Austen and... 'chick lit':

The difficulties of falling in love, and falling out of love, can be similarly uncomfortable for daughters to hear about: "I tried to tell my daughter how it felt when someone important fell out of love with me. She was sympathetic, but I think she felt it wasn't something that a mother should be sharing. Daughters want parents to be coping and to be bulwarks against the world rather than people who will fall apart when something happens."
On the other hand, in Kirkman's study there was a woman who blamed her teenage promiscuity on the fact that her mother did not talk to her about sex or relationships and failed to educate her "that you don't just throw yourself into a sexual relationship without thinking of the consequences".
In the world of classic "chick lit" - Jane Austen, the Brontes, even the light-hearted Regency romances of Georgette Heyer - it has always been the task of the mother to guide a daughter in the proprieties and protect her from sexual predations. Often in these authors' stories the mother is absent or inadequate (a contrivance to give their heroines greater trials and greater freedoms), but even then, she symbolises protection or restraint. In her book, Beyond the Myths: Mother-Daughter Relationships in Psychology, History, Literature and Everyday Life, Sydney researcher and psychologist Shelley Phillips points out that when Rochester begs Jane Eyre to be his mistress, it is the ghost of her long-dead mother who tells her to flee temptation and leave Rochester and Thornfield.

Jane Eyre is opening today in London. The London production is Polly Teale's adaptation. From the trailer, provided by siansaska, I'd say it ought to be titled 'Bertha Mason' rather than 'Jane Eyre'. At least that's the impression I get from the captions and the images.

Wuthering Heights (by 'Emily Brente') is opening today in Muizenberg South Africa: Adapted for the stage by Charles Vance, opens at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg, tomorrow. As Wuthering Heights is a school setwork and special rates are offered for block bookings. Tickets: R45 evenings; R35 matinees (Masque Theatre Club members get R5 discount). To book call 021-788-1898.

A young woman, Susan Holle, is lauded today for overcoming prejudice and attaining her goals despite her cerebral palsy. She has always been quite capable, contrary to what the education system may have thought, and one example of her capability sited here is her childhood voracious reading habits:

When she started school as a child, her parents said, they had to have her tested to prove she should be placed in mainstream classes rather than in the school's special education program. Holle always has been a voracious reader, her sister said. She was reading Jane Eyre in elementary school and always loved Shakespeare.

There is a brief article here about Sophie Worsley who will be playing Adele in Jane Eyre playing at the Blackpool Grand Theatre. Although...

Sophie is currently combining her studies with twice weekly rehearsals for the Premier Theatre Company production of Jane Eyre, as the spoilt daughter of James Rochester.

Jane Eyre: The Musical is playing Washington State at Edmonds Homeschool Resource Center, 7 p.m. May 18 through 20, 2 p.m. May 20 and 21, $4. 23200 100th Ave. W., Edmonds; 425-670-7840.

The India Times has a thorough travel guide article to Bronte Country.

Wuthering Heights is opening at the Crewe Lyceum next week. This articles has interiews with the actress playing Catherine Earnshaw. Wuthering Heights is playing from Monday, May 15-Saturday, May 20 call 01270 537 333. Tickets from £7.50-15.50.

Image is of Sophie Worsley.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Michelle Williams will star in Angela Workman's biopic: 'Bronte' ?

Where once we heard for several months that Lynn Collins would be playing Charlotte Bronte, now another source is claiming Michelle Williams will be playing CB, the 'title character' in 'Bronte'. The article is short so I will repost it here:

Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) is set to play the title character in Angela Workman's Bronte, according to Production Weekly.The big screen biopic will be based upon the life of Charlotte Bronte, author of the classic novel 'Jane Eyre'. The cast also includes Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Imelda Staunton, Brian Cox and Ben Chaplin. Workman has already written the screenplay and is set to direct the film, which is slated to begin filming later this year.

I believe this information has already been circulating from the project's main page, but the casting of this project has been an issue for some time. I'll wait and see on this one.

Orson Welles and some Housekeeping

I was stranded at the university today. So after the committee meeting I fixed many of the index links on the side bar. All of the links will now, hopefully, take you to pages in the archives. There is a big 'however', however. I still have not made considerable progress in indexing all of the posts so many of the pages still only contain a handful of posts. Give it some time and I'll be up to date... but it will take a considerable amount of time to tag hundreds of posts. If anyone notices a broken link please inform me as soon as possible.

And, now for something familiar. As thisbeciel says, 'Orson Welles will play Mr Rochester at the drop of a hat' for, indeed, we now have at least four versions of Jane Eyre starring Mr. Welles: one film, and three radio adaptations. Here are two of them:

Campbell Playhouse
Mercury Summer Theater

Campbell Playhouse is an hour long production of Jane Eyre, the Mercury Summer Theater production is half an hour. At the beginning of the first one he has some sorry comments on Patrick Bronte, alas. These are both courtesy of Thisbeciel.

ETA: AppleJax writes that there is another, lost, radio adaptation of Jane Eyre with Orson Welles: Mercury Theatre on the Air, which aired September 18, 1938.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Folly of Adaptation?

Still enjoying the bliss. I asked a favour of Thisbeciel, and it was granted. She has provided this screencap of the filmographies main screen, featuring a great moment from the volume 1 DVD of the BBC's Jane Eyre 1973:

Only now did I realise that unfortunately, it looks like they have grafted Mr Rochester's head onto Lord Ingram's body... just behind Blanche. Oh dear.

So far the folk reviews of the production are very positive. We have young men 'enthralled', older married gentlemen in tears, older ladies in giggles (my mom responding to the repartee, which she had me play over again), and several young ladies in stages of excitement and joy (myself included).

In my search for more news on Jane Eyre 2006 today I came across several very interesting discussion threads. When it first became definate that there would be a new production, the reaction was largely positive with only a slight inital disappointment that it wasn't one of the other novels, one which has not been adapted yet- like Shirley- or one whose adaptation will probably never again see the light of day- such as Villette. I would like to know, now, what you think. How do you feel about another remake of Jane Eyre? Secondly, one of the opinions I came across was not in favour of another adaptation on the grounds that the novel had 'long since outlived its time' meaning the modern world has moved on in some way, that Jane Eyre no longer works or speaks to modern human beings. What are your thoughts on this?

JE '73 Scans

I've scanned the covers and an insert from the US edition DVDs of Jane Eyre 1973 for you all. It is much easier for me than transcribing it, for on the back of each case there is a synopsis for each episode. The synopses are amusing because it is clear they are trying very hard to avoid letting several important plot points out. This leads to some strange wording such as this from episodes 2 and 3:

Part Two: Jane discovers that the prickly fallen horseman she helped on the road is none other than the master of the house. She thinks him even stranger after he quizzes her bluntly and blames her for spooking his horse. But strangest of all, Jane begins to hear maniac laughter and scratching noises that seem to be coming from the upper recesses of the house.

Part Three: Jane awakens the morning after the fire...

Wait, fire? What fire? ;) If you click on the images in this post you can see them full-sized and read each for yourself.

On the cover design: My first thought was that I know some people won't even buy this because it looks like Jane has red hair. This is ridiculous, but I think some of my readers know what I am talking about. In any case, Sorcha Cusack doesn't have red hair either, but they've decided to play with the saturation levels on her image for some reason (although Michael Jayston is as he should be). The power of this piece is still working its charm in my house. My mother, who refuses to read the book, and finds all of the adaptations difficult to concentrate on came over to watch some of it during the first episode. When John Reed confronts Jane she turned from across the room and kept saying: "What did he do? What is he doing?"

The inset images are of Jane meeting Mr Brocklehurst, Jane trying to sneak away before Mr Rochester sees her in the garden, and Jane with St. John Rivers.