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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Which I Reveal Myself an Academic

One of my readers told me to look out for this BBC radio broadcast, and I apologise but I cannot remember who it was! Here we have a short clip from the 'Do you think me handsome?' scene, as well as a pretty long discussion of the novel and then adaptations in general. The beginning and end of the show deal with the new series. The last few minutes are interesting for those who are desperate to hear about the interpretation of the novel.

For the most part the show is about literary criticism of the novel with some mention of its history in adaptation. If you are familar with criticism of Jane Eyre not much will be new. And a few very silly statements are made (again, if you're familiar with scholarly approaches to the novel, this won't be a surprise). Among the things which amused me is the reading of the scene where Rochester attempts to overpay Jane's wages as an example of the ways in which he repeatedly attempts to 'buy Jane's sexual favours and get her into bed'. Makes it sound like Pamela, it really does! 'She keeps saying 'no'.' One of those speaking on the beginning of the production mentioned how she had seen many adaptations and that people always expect one to begin with a carriage on the snowy wind-swept moors. I think she might mean Wuthering Heights (minus the carriage).

What truly baffles me, regarding the discussion of previous adaptations is their astonishment that Rochester is a wit, that he actually speaks in the novel and doesn't just sit in a corner brooding silently. They must have missed every major adaptation of the novel to date. And that is surprising since the reason they are on the show is to talk about where the new series fits in terms of these previous adaptation, and yet they must not have been paying attention to at least the two major BBCs series preceeding this one. Then again, perhaps it is also a sign of how almost all of the adaptations so far have neglected the simple idea that Jane falls in love with his intellect first: 'I have talked face to face with what I reverence and delight in: an original, a vigorous and expanded mind,' (and not 'I stared at this silent broody hunk,' or 'I put up with this mysogynistic jerk-' to sum up the apparent cause of Rochester's attraction in nearly all adaptations I have seen).

After the long discussion of how Jane Eyre has been seen from Freudian and Feminist angles, the question is asked if these perspectives are apparent in the production. The panel erupts in a unanimous 'Yes!'

I have made an mp3 of the show which may be downloaded here.


mysticgypsy said...

Yes, I think it was just an overview of current (and past) trens in Jane Eyre criticism. The bits on including the desert scene was interesting though..especially as Young Jane had imagined the arctic instead of the 'heat' ;)

Brontëana said...

I thought it was more interesting to hear what they thought the book was like- and also what they thought adaptations of the book are like. They both differ substantially from the texts (including films as texts).

Did you think it was at all patronising that they mention the Gilbert and Gubar scholarship as being 'obvious' today?

mysticgypsy said...

"Did you think it was at all patronising that they mention the Gilbert and Gubar scholarship as being 'obvious' today?"

It is rather obvious in some circles, primarily academia. I think this comment addressed the scholars and students amongst the audience, who would most likely be familiar with the theory.

Brontëana said...

But they contrasted how the theory is viewed now with when Madwoman in the Attic was published. I don't think Jane's doubling is anymore obvious than it was then...

mysticgypsy said...

"I don't think Jane's doubling is anymore obvious than it was then... "

I think it depends on who we talk to. Also, it is just a theory ;)