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Monday, September 18, 2006

National Trust Article on Jane Eyre 2006

The magazine postings are coming along fast today! Keep an eye out for those RT pics soon but in the meantime, thanks are due to several quarters (namely juicyfruit and chrisv) for these from the National Trust:


14 comments:

ChrisV said...

I really like that portrait of Jane in the library. The lighting is beautiful.

Brontëana said...

Agreed! Bestil my artistic heart! It is a blessing I forgot my watercolour paper in Ontario! Then I would really never get any work done...

mysticgypsy said...

Ruth really loves the Brontes! And the best part is that she used to bring the novel to read before enacting every scene! :)

Hmph..now compare that to Mr. Hinds..*sigh*

Brontëana said...

Hmph indeed. ;) I'm so happy to see how changed is the opinion of her in so short a time. Before we saw her actually act hardly anyone (on the message boards and the like) had much faith in her.

mysticgypsy said...

"Before we saw her actually act hardly anyone (on the message boards and the like) had much faith in her."

What I don't understand is how such fans can contradict themselves so. If they like Jane Eyre, the novel, and believe in what the novel stands for, then they should know that they mustn't judge someone based on mere appearance alone. How could they misjudge Ruth without seeing any ounce of her performance and then claim to be fans at the same time?

Brontëana said...

to Mysticgypsy:

I guess the short answer is that not everyone sees the same things in the novel. To some it is not a story which rejects physical appearances as a legitimate means of judging a person's worth. Others see it as simply a romance, or a buildungsroman, or a horror story... etc. Not everyone sees that it is all of these things.

And actually, I've even encountered a lot of fans of the book who deny that Jane is plain at all (despite the fact that it has to be unlikely that she will be married because she has no 'physical ornaments' as St.John says). They try to claim it is all in her head, or that it was just her sadness that made her ugly, or that 'plain' only means 'ordinary-looking'. I even came across someone who said Jane was pretty when she was a child and then 'aged prematurely.' So, from these POV, the story is about Normal Girl who finds love, not about finding worth in another person regardless of their appearance.

So much for the 'short' answer...

mysticgypsy said...

Ah, I understand that many interpretations could be made.

However, Jane pretty as a child??
Um..didn't they read the "I was a discord at Gateshead" spiel?

Also, don't we have evidence from the writer, Charlotte herself, that Jane didn't possess any, what could be termed conventional "physical charms"?

Brontëana said...

Oh yes, but sometimes readers willingly create a new text too. I remember someone getting really upset when I pointed out that Jane is not 'ordinary' looking. She accused me of trying to force her to see things from my POV. She declared: "I don't care what you say, what the book says or what Bronte says!"

So, that's the end of that!

ChrisV said...

OK, I'll jump in...how do you understand 'plain' in this context?

Its an interesting question because like all things, it depends on a person's interpretation. Also, I think that people tend to assign positive features to characters that they empathize with or appreciate.
Plus I don't know if the term plain back in Charlotte's time would imply something different than the usage of the word today.

So as an honest question, what does plain mean to you?

Brontëana said...

I think because readers identify so much with Jane they tend to unknowingly make her resemble themselves in appearance. Not everyone does this, but many people see her as 'just like me' to the extent that they lose some perspective.

Plain to me is 'unattractive'. Again, it's important to the plot that Jane be unattractive and not merely less-than-stunning or as someone put it 'un-pretty.' Charlotte thought it was morally wrong for her sisters to have beautiful heroines as well. And we know that she refused to illustrate the novel when asked to because she thought that no one would be interested in seeing Jane and Rochester.

So much of the book deals with this issue that it always surprises me to hear people deny it. It makes me wonder if we can't fully accept a love story unless the relationship is based on physical attraction. If so, that's unfortunate. So, in a way, I find it morally wrong to demand either Jane or Rochester be 'unconventionally beautiful/handsome' rather than plain and ugly.

That said, I don't expect actors to be cast merely because they fit the description from the novel. SO long as they can bring the character across I'll be happy.

Laura said...

I always though Ruth Wilson looked very striking in her photographs and not 'plain' at all.

I always thought plain referred to 'nondescript features' - although I know Jane describes her features as 'irregular' at one point.

I love the edition of jane Eyre with the pencil sketch of Charlotte Bronte on the front. I always thought this portait said a lot about the character: http://www.englit.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergrd/honours/timetabs/handouts/images/bb_bronte.jpg

Brontëana said...

Laura, what is it on the page that you wanted me to see?

In my reading of the book, if Jane is only 'ordinary' looking, it would seem really surreal that everyone believes she will never be married. Do the people in the book really believe that only gorgeous women get married? That's a little harsh! But no one has to share my view.

I really love how Ruth looks. From the first I thought she did look a lot like the portrait of Charlotte, especially with that costume with the necktie.

Laura said...

Oooops... sorry. Was trying to link to this:


http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/images/charlotte.jpg

Laura said...

Dammit....

http://www.wwnorton.com/nto/images/victorian/bronte_perm.jpg

(I'm sure everyone has seen this...)