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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Film Adaptation of Shirley?

From today's News and Star:

40k Euros to develop screenplay

A CUMBRIAN-educated lecturer has been awarded 40,000 Euros to develop her screenplay of Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley.

Dr Jo Baker, who attended Queen Elizabeth School at Kirby Lonsdale and now lectures in English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, won the funding from the Irish Film Board.

The screenplay is now in development with the independent production company Green Park Films.

Dr Baker said: “It was a great sense of satisfaction to be taken seriously for my screenplay because I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s very exciting.

“I have my own dream wish list of who I’d like to be in the film but it’s early days yet. But the fact that we’ve got investment makes me feel more confident.”

Published in 1849, the novel is set the industrialising England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12.

Illustration from the Bronteana Resource Site. Other illustrations can be found here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Unexplainable

It is true that PBS aired the BBC's Jane Eyre 2006 the other day. I can only tell you that it is also true that this was accompanied by an event so unexpected that it can only be one thing: spookiness. Yes, spookiness. For it is winter and I have seen the Snow Toby. The Snow Toby was not there when I went to my office hours today, it was not there when I returned. Neither was it there when I went to class, but then I returned again that was when I saw it. If only I had brought my camera! Tomorrow I start off early for the class I teach, and then I hope no one has defiled him in my absence.

Okay, enough. What's a Snow Toby? Well, it's rather like a crop circle only in the snow and instead of a circle it is shaped precisely and spookily like "TOBY." It was spooky in an extra spooky way because I could see no footprints leading up to the Snow Toby. Ravens and red squirrels are the only other creatures in the area and they don't get PBS.

So, tomorrow I go hunting for the Snow Toby. If I succeed, I will post a picture of it here. If I don't return it is best not to send a search party unless you direct them into the library somewhere (might want to check in British Lit under 'B').


Jane Eyre (by Polly Teale) Touring Schedule

Belatedly, here is the revised performance schedule for The Acting Company's production of Polly Teale's Jane Eyre.
Thanks to Paula Raymond, design and communications coordinator for sending this in:

Jan 18, 2007 Rockville, MD Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center
Jan 20-22, 2007 Flushing, NY Queens Theatre in the Park
Jan 27, 2007 Purchase, NY Purchase College Foundation-The Performing Arts Center
Jan 30, 2007 Ogdensburg, NY George Hall Auditorium - Ogdensburg Free Academy
Jan 31-Feb 1, 2007 Manchester, NH Dana Humanities Center - St. Anselm College
Feb 2, 2007 Burlington, VT Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
Feb 3, 2007 Durham, NH Johnson Theater - Univ. of New Hampshire
Feb 6-7, 2007 Pittsburgh, PA Byham Theater
Feb 8, 2007 Houghton, NY Houghton College Chapel Auditorium
Feb 10-11, 2007 Hampton, VA Hampton Arts Commission-American Theatre
Feb 13, 2007 Charlottesville, VA The Paramount Theater
Feb 14, 2007 Fairfax, VA Center for the Arts - George Mason University
Feb 16, 2007 Boone, NC Farthing Auditorium - Appalachian State University
Feb 17, 2007 Spindale, NC West Auditorium - Isothermal Comm. College
Feb 20, 2007 Muncie, IN Emens Auditorium - Ball State University
Feb 21-22, 2007 Holland, MI DeWitt Center - Hope College
Feb 23, 2007 Greenville, MI Greenville Area Community Center
Feb 24, 2007 Elyria, OH Stocker Fine Arts Center - Lorain County Comm. College
Feb 26, 2007 Cincinnati, OH Aronoff Center - Jarson-Kaplan Theater
Feb 27, 2007 Notre Dame, IN O'Laughlin Aud. - St. Mary's College
Feb 28, 2007 Flint, MI The Whiting
Mar 2, 2007 Toledo, OH Valentine Theatre
Mar 3, 2007 Windsor, ON Capitol Theatre & Arts Centre
Mar 5, 2007 Decatur, AL
Mar 6, 2007 Starkville, MS McComas Hall Theatre - Miss. State University
Mar 8, 2007 Arkadelphia, AR Arkansas Hall Auditorium - Henderson State Univ.
Mar 9, 2007 Pine Bluff, AR Arts & Science Center - Univ. of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Mar 13, 2007 Natchitoches, LA Northwestern Theatre - Northwestern State Univ. of LA
Mar 15, 2007 Ruston, LA Howard Auditorium - Louisiana Tech. Univ.
Mar 16-17, 2007 Baton Rouge, LA Magnolia Perf. Arts Pavillion - Baton Rouge CC
Mar 19, 2007 Tupelo, MS The Link Centre Concert Hall
Mar 20, 2007 Wesson, MS Rea Auditorium - Copiah-Lincoln Comm. College
Mar 22, 2007 Thomasville, GA Cultural Center Hall
Mar 23, 2007 Jacksonville, FL Wilson Center for the Arts - Florida Comm. College Jacksonville
Mar 25, 2007 Newberry, SC Newberry Opera House
Mar 26-27, 2007 Talladega, AL Antique Talladega - The Ritz Theater
Mar 30-Apr 2, 2007 West Palm Beach, FL Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Apr 10, 2007 Lakeland, FL Florida Southern College-Branscomb Auditorium
Apr 11, 2007 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
Apr 15, 2007 Jefferson City, TN Gentry Auditorium - Carson-Newman College
Apr 17, 2007 State College, PA State Theatre
Apr 18, 2007 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY Bard College - Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Apr 20, 2007 Duxbury MA Duxbury Performing Arts Center
Apr 23-May 5, 2007 New York, NY Baruch Performing Arts Center Full Rep

Saturday, January 13, 2007

And so it begins...

I have an outline. Thus begins the Jane Eyre adaptation MA thesis. I'm very excited about finally getting to work on this piece which has been at least a year or two in the making. Thanks to my many minions and un-paid research assistants I have a ridiclously huge number of Jane Eyre adaptations to choose from. This thesis can only be the size of a small book, so I've had to leave out a few dozen adaptations, notably all of the radio adaptations and audiobooks, foreign works, and novels, paintings, illustrations, squirky spin-offs and a large amount of etcetera.

The winning adaptations are as follows:

Mad, mad, mad, and dancing farmers. Wohoo!

Slightly less mad, slap-stick, and 'uncle Edward.'

The classic. Highly aestheticised.

Westinghouse elecronic clarifiers and Charleton Heston.

Letchery, kinkiness, and more letchery- and Patrick MacNee.

Rather bizarre, aesthetic and restrained.


Kinda perfection and 'the handsome Mr Rochester.'

Very aesthetic, unusual interpretation.

Barking mad Mr Rochester- literally.

Jane (and everyone else) sings!

Very aesthetic, fanfic-y.

One last note. I hope to get around to answering the increasing backlog of emails. Now that I'm settled in here I feel much better, more myself and less like a soul-less drudge. Ahem. I'll also try to get to answer all of the comments from the previous posts.

ps. Before I get any hate mail, bear in mind that I am only kidding and that it's almost 2:30 AM.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Return of Jane Eyre

With the American premiere of the BBC's newest version of Jane Eyre imminent, the wires are again buzzing (slightly) with news. Not exactly news, but articles of some interest. I especially like this one which includes a few snarky comments about adaptions:

That's Edward Rochester. Bronte uses such words as "dark," "stern," "heavy brow" and "ireful and thwarted"; filmmakers prefer cute.

There's also this odd little tidbit from Matlock Today:

The shop has also bought the bed featured in the recent television series Jane Eyre. The bed is burnt during one heart stopping scene and will be displayed at the shop too.

Remember, it may be all well and good to watch Jane douce the raging inferno on Rochester's bed but please do not try it at home.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Commercialism of the Local Library

In a new cost-savings measure the local libraries of Fairfax county, Virginia are using computers to target books which have not been circulating in the last two years. One of the victims of this 'purge' which has taken a heavy toll on classic literature, is Jane Eyre:

The Fairfax libraries are now using new computer software programs to identify titles that have not been checked out in 24 months. Victims, to date, include the speeches and writings of Abraham Lincoln, The Education of Henry Adams, poems of Emily Dickinson, and, according to the Washington Post's Lisa Rein, "thousands of novels and nonfiction works" that were swept up in the computer vacuuming.

Other books that have been "weeded" from the shelves of various branches of the Fairfax County Public Library system or haven't been checked out in 24 months and could be discarded include: The Works of Aristotle, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

Other selections expunged from various branch libraries are Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and Virgil's The Aeneid.

Among the more contemporary authors excluded from some libraries are the likes of Kate Millett, Jack Kerouac, and Maya Angelou.

The top 25 books checked out in December, from Fairfax County libraries, were best-sellers by John Grisham, David Baldacci, James Patterson, Nelson DeMille, Stephen King and Alice McDermott, among others. Most are entertaining, but only a few will be considered classics in 25 years.

I have mentioned here before that the school board in my hometown (in southern Ontario) had a policy of destroying books which had not circulated in the last four years. The librarians covertly ignored or otherwise circumvented these rules. They were appalled, but also had practical reasons for not complying. Circulation of books in these libraries does not rely on interest alone. Knowing that bookstores are increasingly slashing their stock (Chapters cut 3 000 titles from their catalogue this year while they have all but obliterated independent bookstores across the country where readers might otherwise obtain the books they want), it is especially alarming to hear that another venue for reading less popular works might be closing. Remember my quest to find a copy of Agnes Grey? I eventually had to order it online. It was not in the library system for the entire county- and my hometown, while not a major city, is still larger than Halifax which is a provincial capital! None of the bookstores carried it: neither Chapters nor the poor remnants we have of second-hand and independent shops.

What if I had been unable to afford such a luxury? What if I had not been computer literate?

Back at Last?

I hit a wee snag a few days ago. I've moved three times in as many days. Moving back to my old dorm room I found the ceiling had suffered serious water damage and had sprouted black mold. I moved back to my lovely little Annex, then here:

The interior is very fine too:

Hopefully I can now get back to my normal schedule of bloggery and graduate toils. Speaking of which, the time has come for me to begin work on my Bronte thesis!