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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

'Cut the Religion and Psychology- Get to the Bonking'

The presentation went very well (I think), and now I am free to write another on a 18th century Derbyshire manuscript my professor stole has, and I'm going to publish for the first time. yay! But in the meantime I took a look around the blogs for Janian news and met quite a lot of bile- bile which I confess that I sympathise with in part.

The disappointment of Bronte fans has been let loose on the recent BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre. I have not entered the debate fully because to be honest I need to think over a few things. Anyway, here are some thoughts:

From the Enthusiast's Guide to Jane Eyre: Beautiful cinematography and music are featured in this BBC miniseries and Ruth Wilson makes a really fantastic Jane- presenting her many emotions in a believable and subtle way. Toby Stephens is not quite the Rochester of the novel, he's more of a charming "rake" and his absolute love for Jane is not as apparent as his absolute love for tail. A thoroughly modern interpretation, sensationalzing the novel and turning it into more of a Gothic/Harlequin romance.

I have to agree that from the first episode it seemed more Harlequin romance than Jane Eyre to me.

From 'Reader, I Adapted Him': "Adapting a 19th century book and expecting the characters to adopt 21st century attitudes is precisely like going on holiday to Spain and insisting on drinking fish and chips and Courage best. There may have been a time when the BBC adapted Great Books in the hope that the Unwashed Masses who hadn't read them would be encouraged to discover the wonderful world of reading; or else they did radical reworkings of the classic to challenge and titillate the people who had. Now, it's just a matter of scouring old books for period love stories. Historical tourism. "

By the way, those huge sentences are not Charlotte's fault- if she were writing this paragraph you might see something like this- she wrote with a lot of dashes because she- she was reflecting the ways that actual speech is often broken- her publishers then went in and replaced most of them with semicolons- so blame them! Also, I think Mr Rochester is the 'thoroughly good Christian' not St.John but that is the topic of a whole other post...

From 'Jane, you ignorant slut': "The second problem is that Jane Eyre walks a fine line between eroticism and morality. Jane herself is a hot little number in a morality-mad age that divides the world into passionless "respectable" women and whores, yet she refuses to fall into either category by denying or yielding wrongly to her desires. By insisting on the right to self-definition, Jane ennobles her own story. A governess marrying the master, for God's sake -- it's the early Victorian social equivalent of being a gold-digger or sleeping with your boss. But Jane Eyre wants to sleep with the boss on her own terms, in a way that allows her to keep her self-respect and her independence. She will not consent to be his lover, but neither will she be content to remain his governess. That's what makes the story so exhilarating, and that's why women love it -- any woman of spirit struggles with sexual self-definition in a society that wants to own her snatch. "


siansaksa said...

LOL! That full post (Reader I adapted him) is really hillarious!
And so are parts of the other two (well, I had read before the guide the various adaptations :)

This is not to say that I agree with everything that's written in the last 2 cited posts; I rather found this new adaptation (or shall I call it fan fiction?) enjoyable and I think the actors in it are very good and did their best with the script they had.

ChrisV said...

I always wondered why St. John was held in such esteem by Jane when he was so selfish and heartless to the people around him. Plus he was always on his high horse about how important his work was - the only work worth doing. Hey, this hyphen thing could be fun!

Watty08 said...

Those are some interesting ideas indeed. The third post was really funny to me because that is a thought that has crossed my mind. (The equivalent of sleeping with your boss.) I think their is an element of love or romance that is forgotten with this kind of cynical thinking. Still fun to read though.

Annamir said...

OMDG! "reader, I adapted him" was funny. OK, so it's not your mother's "Jane Eyre." It was "Jane Eyre" for Bridget Jones's generation. :-) And it was marvelous, absolutely the best TV drama / "chicklit" adaptation in years. They got the gist of it, ok? the heart.

PS, I hate being called a chick. I'm a full-grown HEN for cryin' out loud!

Lost In Translation said...

I wish I read "Reader, I Adapted Him" before I posted my comment on the Memory Lane post... My sentiments and (more importantly!) my thoughts exactly. With one caveat - I've yet to see the mini-series in full having seen only the clips posted on YouTube. From what I did see, it looks to me that most of the "lit" got squeezed right out of it and what's left is all "chick" (or "hen" if you prefer...) So sad, if the book's intent was not dumped - for who needs Christian morality (or any other, for that matter) in the post-modern age of Bridget Jones (incidentally, a much better book than the movie into which it was forced), and replaced by bonnets and stopping rather short of actual on-screen bonking, this could have been a decent screen adaptation. That said, I'm still calling my London relations to get me a copy when it is out on DVD - call it morbid curiosity!
"Lost In Translation"