Home Resources Livejournal Feed Wordpress

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bronte Land: the Place to Be!

From Summit Daily News, the Bronte Land hoax makes second place of best April Fool's day media hoaxes:

2) Bronte Land

My friends in Haworth, Yorkshire, shared this one with me. A few years ago, during the week of April first, one of the weekly newspapers ran a front page cover story claiming that the entire village of Haworth had been sold to an American company - I believe it was Disney - and would be turned into a theme park, to be called "Bronte Land."

(For those of you scratching your heads over this one, the mid-19th century literary Bronte sisters not only put their hometown of Haworth on the map - thanks to the success of novels such as "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" - but also have continued to be the main industry for the village, making it the number-two literary tourist attraction in England, after Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon).

Anyway, the highlight of "Bronte Land" was going to be a huge monorail, stretched out over the entire length of the moors above the village. Every so often, a local will bring up the "Bronte Land" hoax again and, with a profound shudder, show you a copy of the newspaper.

My dear readers, Glaukopis- my Cambridge friend and fellow Classicist- and I had planned an intricate and (hopefully) amusing hoax for you, but since we have gone to grad school, our lives have shrivelled up into pathetic nothings and trips to the library. Our plan was to create a fake audio demo for a musical version of Jane Eyre. We had difficulties... no men were willing to take part, and both of us wanted to play Mr Rochester (although she has by far the best Bertha laugh). We began writing our own songs, in fact, and also modified some pre-existing songs with new lyrics (our favourites were: 'Mawidge is glowious!' from A Perfect Match, and 'Deep in my secret soul, I'm-a kill him!' from Secret Soul, just to give Bertha more than some spooky trilling in the background).

I mention all of this because it is fairly certain that we will never, ever, ever, record it (although I still have recordings of her singing As Good As You). I was writing a ballad for Mr Rochester's 'Nameless Bliss' song. It would have been brilliant, believe me... if I could write music.

You can listen to the original, non-bastardised versions of these songs from the fabulous Toronto cast recording below:

Secret Soul
Perfect Match
(the guilty pleasure. This song is terrible, but so fun- Gilbert and Sullivan meet George Frederick Handel).

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wuthering Heights on Sale

I made another trek to Bayer's Lake today, lured by the siren song of classic literature (so difficult to find in my hometown, where the shelves are stocked instead with home fondue-kits, coffee books, or trashy novels). I finally surrendered to my desire to read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, unabridged, in French (yes, after the thesis...).

I still hate Chapters, but they have Wuthering Heights on sale. They have a special offer of three books for $25.00 including Wuthering Heights and several other classics ranging from Jane Austen to James Joyce.

Speaking of Jane Austen, and of worthwhile purchases, I would recomend purchasing this little edition of Wuthering Heights by the Collectors Library. It's only $5.00 but a quality book- well bound and beautiful. The series also has Jane Eyre, however, they are completely sold out of Charlotte's novel. I purchased their edition of Northanger Abbey today, and am very pleased with it. It is also illustrated, but I cannot say whether or not the Bronte novels are as well. They are pocket-sized and very handy for emergencies (such as long bus rides). NA has gold gilding, burgundy cloth binding, and a matching silk ribbon bookmark. These pages are certainly not going to fall out easily!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Libertine and John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

It has been a long while since I mentioned John Wilmot, earl of Rochester. The notoriously elusive film, The Libertine, has come and gone with hardly any fanfare. Not even the Restoration professors I knew, keen to see a depiction of he life of Rochester on the big screen (and starring Johnny Depp, no less!), confessed that by the time it finally reached Canada, they no longer cared enough to see it.

I thought my readers would be interested to take a glimpse at the production. First, a reminder: John Wilmot has been put forward by a very small circle of critics as the namesake of Mr Rochester. There are some intriguing connections between the two men, however, it is clear that Wilmot is not a model for Mr Rochester; their relationship is more problematic than that. Rochester was the consumate rake. He wrote terrible poetry- despite what the film says about his claims to genius. I refer you to this old post where I discuss some of the connections between Wilmot and Mr Rochester in more depth.

Secondly, I must warn my readers that while the first clip is for general viewing, the second- which is the prologue of the film- contains explicitly sexual language which might not be suitable for younger readers.

Thirdly, the one element of Rochester's life absent from any of these clips is his famous death-bed conversion. In Charlotte's time, he was celebrated for this reformation- which of all things, probably aligns him with Mr Rochester most. From these clips you might get the idea that he was a misunderstood Casanova-type, rebel without a cause, etc, etc... Believe what he says- there's nothing likable about him.

The Trailer:

The Prologue:

Monday, March 26, 2007

How Nancy Drew Saved My Life

Or how to succeed in publishing without really trying. Answer? Copy Jane Eyre.

Not only is Jane Eyre (in a severely stripped form) the official template for some publishing houses specializing in serial romances, but it is a favourite novel to be just plain ripped off. No copyright, no problem.

The following is a summary of 'How Nancy Drew Saved My Life' by Lauren Baratz-Logsted:

In her fourth novel, Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line (2003), offers the charming tale of a literature-loving nanny. At 23, Charlotte Bell has just had her heart broken by the married man she unwisely fell in love with. She decides to take another position, as nanny for the American ambassador in Iceland. Once she takes up residence in the large, creaky house and meets her imperious, forbidding employer, Edgar Rawlings, she can't help but feel like literature's most famous governess, Jane Eyre. But Charlotte turns to Nancy Drew (channeling the girl detective) for help investigating the more puzzling aspects of her situation, such as the silence surrounding Edgar's mysteriously absent wife and the strange laughter she hears coming from behind a closed door. To make matters worse, Charlotte is starting to fall for Edgar, whose engagement to an Icelandic ice queen seems imminent. Readers who appreciate classic love stories will enjoy the old-fashioned dialogue and Charlotte's fanciful imagination. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Old fashioned dialogue stolen directly from Jane Eyre, according to this reader:

I was really enjoying this book when I realized that it was practically an EXACT replica of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Even some of the dialogue is the same!
I was rather shocked when I began reading about where Charlotte goes into the library to meet Mr. Rawlings for the first time (which is actually the second because she met him a few hours earlier when he almost runs her over) and they have the same conversation that is in Jane Eyre; where he asks her if she likes presents and she replies that she has had little experience with them. I shut the book right there!
The names of the characters are extremely parallel too, which is even more annoying! Charlotte Bell is the main heroine=Charlotte Bronte. The hero is Edgar Rawlings=Edward Rochester; the housekeeper is Mrs. Fairly=Mrs Fairfax, the dog is Captain=Pilot....it goes on and on.
I just can't believe that she actually got a publisher to publisher her book with the blatant copying of the the characters and the story-line are amazingly unbelievable!

Not to mention, Jane Eyre was written under a pseudonymn. The full title was: Jane Eyre: An Autobiography Edited by Currer Bell.

ETA: I realise that the wording of this post is stronger than I had intended. I did not mean to imply that the author of this particular book has plagiarised Jane Eyre (ex. 'stolen,' 'rip off.'). In addition, I want to make it clear that I have my information from a third party, and have not read the book myself.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

More on Textmessaging and the Brontes

From the New York Times Sunday Book Review:

They lived happily ever after, and maybe things would have been easier for Emily Brontë too. You can see her, can’t you, mischievously texting her older sister across the garden at Haworth; scholars guess that, many years after Emily’s tragic early death, her sister Charlotte was raising a literary memorial in the text-messaging lingo that plays so crucial a role in “Jane Eyre” (“Hlp! Im in the attc!”).

O.K. Maybe not. I first read “Wuthering Heights” in ninth grade and loathed it; I would have been glad for a hundred pages less of the stuff. Lately I’ve come around — not only to Emily’s queer, savage novel, but also to the realization that cellphones, while they might have their uses in what we are pleased to call “real life” (though I’m still to come to a final verdict on that), are nothing but an albatross around the neck of any writer who wants to tell a story.

Yes, I can see how cellphones would have obliterated Western Literature! Jane would return from the Morton Schoolroom and find her cell phone full of calls and messages from E.Rochester, Cathy would have fired off a message to Heathcliff preventing him from running off before she could marry Edgar Linton.

Related post: Jane Eyre in textspeakOMG! (Do you think me handsome? No sir. LOL OMG WTF?).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When will the hurting stop?...

This morning I went shopping with a friend of mine. Strolling down an aisle, I noticed the North American release for Jane Eyre 2006. After showing it to my friend, I returned it to its place, then gaped in horror, and snatched it up again...

Absent from this image is an endorsement, and the cause of all my distress.

"...style and substance with just the right amount of heaving bodices.
-The Guardian"

What soul agony was this? And yet, I can't deny that it is a somewhat accurate depiction for this sexed up version. And yet, my response was still, as I said to my friend: "The right amount of heaving bodices, being... none?"

Friday, March 23, 2007

15 Minutes of Jane Eyre a Day?

Lately there has been an outpouring of books and articles against homework. Critics call homework a form of child abuse and say that it prevents children from engaging in wholesome activities. Government surveys say that most students spend an hour a day or less on homework. Yet the campaign against homework never seems to abate.

When do students have time to read a book other than when it is assigned as homework? There is no time in school to read a book. A recent news article about the case against homework cited a high school teacher who said that she would tell her students to read no more than 15 minutes a day in their assigned novel (Jane Eyre). How stupid is that? How can anyone, young or old, get engaged in a novel if he or she spends no more than 15 minutes a day reading? At that pace, it seems like this class will be reading the same novel all year, if they manage to finish it at all.

I wonder what happens if you get caught up in the book and read for 16 minutes. Perhaps I should not be suggesting such things. I wouldn't want to cause headaches, or facial hair- as the 18th century experts would have it (women were said to grow facial hair and develop poor eyesight and cross expressions from reading books). I first read Jane Eyre in less than 24 hours, and you can see what happened.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Jane Eyre: The Musical Classic (Doyle/Harris)

Bronteana reader Claire sent us the link to these clips from the Doyle/Harris Jane Eyre Musical Classic. My little Jewish Helper (Lillie, who so often supplies me with Janery), sent me her copy of the DVD. Neither of us have been able to watch it all the way through. She dared me to make it past intermission, and so I struggled through to that point- but no further.

Bertha's song... 'Pretty, Pretty Fire'

Who can resist the cuckold dance? And Rochester doing the tango with Blanche!

The proposal- 'You Were With Me Then'

More on Mr (Mad Bertha) Brown

This political saga is starting to get amusing, even for a humble Canadian Bronte Scholar like myself:

He's the mad Mrs Rochester. That's what the Blairites call Gordon Brown - Mrs R. They are convinced he is a lunatic, ranting and raving in the attic, desperate to burn down the New Labour estate, determined to wreak revenge for being locked up for so long. Yesterday, Andrew Turnbull seemed to prove them right. On the eve of the Budget, the former Cabinet Secretary accused the Chancellor of running riot.

But Mr Brown is no Mrs Rochester. Nor is he like Mr Rochester, although he does have the windswept hair and damaged eye. The Bronte character whom he most resembles is St John Rivers, the zealous clergyman who rescues Jane Eyre from the moor. Mr Brown is a passionate prophet who wants to save the world. He is on a mission to help the poor, educate the ignorant and reform the wicked. He is almost religious in his fervour, believing passionately that he is the only one who truly understands what Britain needs. In the same way that St John spent his life wanting to go to India as a missionary, Mr Brown, since his teens, has wanted to reach Number 10.

From the Opinion column of the Telegraph.

O Seclum Insapiens et Infacetum!

From This is London:

Dozens of schools have rejected gifts of free classic books because today's pupils find them too 'difficult' to read, it has emerged.

Around 50 schools have refused to stock literary works by the likes of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens after admitting that youngsters also find them boring.


Critics said the figures are a damning indictment of the quality of state education in the UK and come at a time when fewer than half of all teenagers are achieving basic standards in GCSE English.

A total of 4,150 schools have received large packages of books under the scheme, which aims to encourage youngsters to read great literary works.

The titles include Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, George Eliot's Middlemarch, Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist and JR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

But Helena Read, librarian at Cotelands school in Linconshire, said: "The bottom line is getting the pupils to read, whether it's a newspaper, comic novel or magazine.

"In an ideal world, I would love it if the pupils came into my library and requested some of the classics, but the fact of the matter is that pupils today are living in a different world."


Another school, which rejected the free 'Everyman's Library' books, wrote: "The paper jackets are ugly and unattractive and the binding is dull and boring.

"What is needed is the familiar paperback format with attractive jacket and abridged versions."

Another school complained: "The books are so unattractive they are unlikely to tempt any pupil."

The figures came as a new CBI report revealed that many business leaders are complaining that school leavers are lacking in basic literacy, numeracy and other 'employability' skills.

Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts said: "These books are the birthright of every child in our country and schools should not be depriving them of the enjoyment of discovering them.

"These book were not considered too difficult. It is shocking that they are being described in this way and children who have been taught properly should have no problem enjoying them.

"It can only mean that standards of literary are much lower that the government claims."

Dear Reader(s)...

Do not be alarmed if you witness strange phenomena of a pictoral nature in the next few days, perhaps weeks. My friend Thisbeciel and I are working on a new layout for Bronteana and there are a few kinks to work out. These shouldn't be disruptful, but I thought a warning was appropriate.

And feedback on the changes would be very welcome.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Jane Eyre Adaptation at Festival

This September a new adaptation of Jane Eyre will be featured at the Guthrie Theater festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The play will star Stacia Rice as Jane Eyre, and will be directed by John Miller-Stephany. It runs from Sept. 8-Nov. 10.

"We are producing plays on all three of our stages year-round, and the Guthrie will be a constant hub of creativity, discovery and artistry," [artistic director Joe] Dowling said. "There will be very few dark days at the Guthrie this season."

Alan Stanford's new adaptation of "Jane Eyre" opens the season in September. Twin Cities actor Stacia Rice stars in the Charlotte Bronte story.

Charlotte Brontë’s beloved tale of romance and suspense receives a new adaptation by Alan Stanford, whose version of Pride & Prejudice earned rave reviews by subscribers and critics alike. Jane Eyre accepts a position as a governess to a ward at Thornfield Manor and wins the love of her employer Edward Rochester, a kind, yet mysterious man. But soon, Jane’s love, strength and determination are tested as Rochester’s long-kept secrets are unveiled.

New season subscriptions range in price from $60 to $504. On sale May 7, 2007.

Single tickets for Wurtele Thrust Stage and McGuire Proscenium Stage shows (except A Christmas Carol) range from $24 to $69. On sale June 20, 2007. (Jane Eyre will be performed at the Wurtele Thrust Stage).

Victoria Eyre?

And, here we have another odd reference to the Brontes, this time the buzz is over celebrity book clubs:

According to the Star, Vicky’s Hollywood pal Katie Holmes is just dying to learn more about British classics. And with the Bronte sisters dead and Jackie Collins indisposed who better to ask than Victoria Beckham?

A source tells the paper: “Victoria has made plans for five of her female friends, including Katie Holmes and Jennifer Lopez, to meet at each other’s houses to discuss the British canon.

Books on the agenda include Jane Austen’s oeuvre and the works of Charles Dickens and Thomas hardy.

Interesting that this news should come on the same day the fruity-toned thespian Stephen Fry tells Radio Times magazine: “I shouldn’t be saying this but I sometimes wonder if Americans aren’t fooled by our accents into detecting a brilliance that may not really be there.”

Can it be that the great and good have stereotyped Vicky, turning her into a plain Jane Eyre, the girl who grow up Posh and then married her Mr Rochester, aka Day-vid?

The plot thickens…

Old Bear Brewery honours the Brontës and Nelson

Yorkshire brewer’s experiment pays off

Brewers at the Old Bear Brewery in Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK, have taken the wraps of their latest creation – a 12.5% ale that lends more than a nod or two to both the Brontës and Admiral Nelson.

The Duke of Brontë ale was created by Head Brewer Ian Cowling who put together a new brew which was fermented to nine per cent before racking and adding champagne/wine yeast.

The ale was initially brewed as a one off for a beer and music festival at the Flowerpot pub in Derby, but word has spread and it is now set to make an appearance at the Leeds Beer Festival between 15 and 17 March, and the Darlington Beer Festival which falls on the same weekend.

A batch of the special brew will also be bottled and sold at selected off-licences.

The beer’s name comes from Lord Nelson who was given the title of Duke of Brontë by the King of Naples, as a thank you for helping restoring him to his throne in 1799.

It is also the name of an Italian estate in eastern Sicily, close to Mount Etna, which was granted to Nelson by the King.

Old Bear’s Head Brewer Ian Cowling, said: “Patrick Brontë, or Brunty as he was originally called, was a huge fan of Nelson who at the time was this great national hero.

“So when he arrived in England from his native Ireland in the early 1800s, he opted to change his surname to Brontë in honour of him.

“We racked our brains for ages, looking for a name for our special beer that on one hand would have a good Yorkshire connection, but on the other would be relevant in other parts of the country, and Duke of Brontë fitted the bill perfectly.”

From Blue Sky PR. You can also visit the Old Bear Brewery homepage, here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bronteana in the News

My Cornish correspondent, Aidan Brack, has just informed me that Bronteana has been voted 29th in a BBC poll for Best Drama Website of 2006! (The homepage for Jane Eyre 2006 came in 6th). I am very grateful to my readers for this totally unexpected honour. Bronteana came in just after 24, and ahead of Emmerdale, Judge John Deed, The Line of Beauty, Monarch of the Glen, New Tricks, Outpost Gallifrey, Sea of Souls, Silent Witness, and Waterloo Road.

Since coming to Halifax, I have not had the time to keep up to date on how Bronteana is being recieved, but it did come to my attention that the mirror blog I constructed on Wordpress has been a featured site for quite some time! The site is meant only to be a backup archive, but it is still very gratifying to know that my work is appreciated by the staff at Wordpress.

To all of my readers, thank you for your continued support!

ETA: While we're at it, Jane Eyre 2006 has won a top spot in all of the other categories: the production placed 3rd as overal most popular drama, Ruth Wilson has placed 2nd for best actress, Toby Stephens has placed 3rd for best actor, and the reunion of Jane and Rochester placed 2nd for favourite moment.

First Among Sequels

There is more news about the newest installment of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series which began with the best-selling 'Eyre Affair.' Most of the books incorporate some Bronte references, although this one doesn't seem to focus on the Bronte novels. He sometimes will slip Mr Rochester into a book without fanfare, so we will have to keep a lookout:

It is fourteen years since Thursday Next pegged out at the 1988 SuperHoop, and the Special Operations Network has been disbanded. Using Swindon's Acme Carpets as a front, Thursday and her colleagues Bowden, Stig and Spike continue their same professions, but illegally.

Of course, this front is itself a front for Thursday's continued work at Jurisfiction, the Policing agency within the bookworld, and she is soon grappling with a recalcitrant new apprentice, an inter-genre war or two, and the inexplicable departure of comedy from the once-hilarious Thomas Hardy books.

As the Council of Genres decree that making books interactive will boost flagging readership levels and Goliath attempt to perfect a trans-fictional tourist coach, Thursday find herself in the onerous position of having to side with the enemy to destroy a greater evil that threatens the very fabric of the reading experience.

With Aornis Hades once again on the prowl, an idle sixteen-year-old son who would rather sleep in than save the world from the end of time, a government with a dangerously high stupidity surplus and the Swindon Stiltonistas trying to muscle in on her cheese-smuggling business, Thursday must once again travel to the very outer limits of acceptable narrative possibilities to triumph against increasing odds.

For more information, be sure to visit Jasper Fforde's website!

Jane's too Tough for KISS' Students?

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently spoke to WizardUniverse.com about all things comic, the status of KISS today and whether he's ever turned down sex to read a comic. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

And here is the relevant exchange:

Wizard: Was it just Spider-Man, or were there other titles?

Simmons: No, just Spider-Man. [My students] didn't want to read Jane Eyre. Their mom was on crack, their dad was out pimping or whatever and there was drugs and violence, and so they couldn't relate to anything. So I was trying to just get them to be literate. Here was a guy who was hunted by the cops, but he was really a good guy and that's what they felt like, you know?

He speaks as through there is no drugs and violence in Jane Eyre! Perhaps they would have enjoyed Villette a bit more (although it is light on violence... but the drugs are there!). Actually I had a similar problem when I read Wuthering Heights. My family were a very angry lot. When I finished the book, I vividly remember putting it down slowly, and wondering why anyone would write such a book 'full of angry people.' Thankfully I read it again in university.

Interview with Ruth Wilson, and Tony performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical

Thanks to Pennyforyourdreams, here's a BBC Breakfast interview with Ruth Wilson to go with the Toby Stephens interview we posted months back.

Here is also a much better quality clip of the Tony Award performance of 'Sirens' from Jane Eyre: The Musical, featuring Marla Schaffel and James Barbour.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jane Eyre illustrations 1890 (part two)

Thanks go out to Bronteana reader ChrisV for pointing out that a copy of the illustrated 1890 edition of Jane Eyre mentioned a few days ago is for sale on ebay until thursday. The ebay page features seval additional illustrations, some of which are stunning:

Brussels Bronte Group Website

We have a new addition to the links list at left: the Brussels Bronte Group website, associated with the Brussels Bronte Blog. This website is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the Brontes, and particularly with the city Charlotte and Emily studied in. Their time in Brussels was crucial, especially for Charlotte who went on to include her experiences there in most of her novels. The site boasts what is probably the most extensive collection of information on Monsieur Constantin Heger (who was her inspiration for Mr Rochester), and the pensionat available online, including some fascinating images, such as these of the pensionnat gardens Charlotte immortalises in Villette. Below is an image of the gardens Charlotte refers to in Villette as the allee defendue.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Book Releases and More on Chapters

We have a few new editions and other books to look forward to next year. But first, there are a few new editions available today including:

The Bloomsbury Editions, reported here back in June, and known for their quirky marketting to teen readers.

Villette by Dover publications. And another edition by Oberon Books.

New editions of Shirley, and a 3 CD audio book of Jane Eyre will be available March 15th and August 1st, 2007.

Alas, Chapters, when will you believe that Charlotte Bronte did not, ever, write In Her Nature, a novel about werewolf sex. How it even got on their catalogue is baffling, but why it has stayed there... Here is original post from when it first came to our attention.

I Have Failed You

Yesterday I travelled north with a friend of mine to do a little shopping. There is a shopping centre in Bayer's Lake which has several 'big box' stores and the like. There is a branch of Chapters there. Chapters is the only major mainstream bookstore left in Canada, if I'm not mistaken. Long time readers will know my feelings about them and their practices, but I went all the same. To my relief, their selection was a slight improvement on the one back home (although an entire section on poop was unnecessary... It was called 'the scoop on poop.' What the deuce...)

Anyway, to my delight, I kept bushing up against Bronte novels. Back in my part of the country, it took me months to find a copy of Agnes Grey, and the Chapters stocked a grand total of one copy of Villette, three of Jane Eyre and two of Wuthering Heights. They had some very nice editions of the collected works.

And here is where I have failed you all. As my eyes glittered with the book lust, I neglected to note any information on the publisher or other details. Priced at about $30 was a hardcover edition of the Bronte novels- illustrated. Illustrated with images from turn of the century editions of the novels. My only complaint was that the book was laid out in the same way as the editions of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, with the text in two columns on the page.

I also had the chance to personally handle one of those Jane Eyre journals I reported last year. The journal is made to look like bugundy, aged leather with a page from the Jane Eyre manuscript embossed in gold on the front. Interestingly, the page chosen for the journal is from the interrupted wedding scene and begins somewhere near Mr. Brigg's first lines about the 'impediment.' Not exactly what I expected. Also, the signature they chose was probably one of Charlotte's messiest, but messy is in. In fact, at first glance I could not even read it... I would suspect that it was fabricated, but that the cross on the T is very high. Yes, I may be just a little too methodical.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jane Eyre Illustrations - 1890

These really are extraordinary illustrations. These are from the Thomas Crowell 1890 edition of Jane Eyre. I have often wondered when the first illustrations appeared. Charlotte Bronte was approached by her publishers to illustrate the novel herself, but she refused saying that her characters were so unattractive that she could not think there would be any interest in illustration. I don't think that I have come across older representations. They form part of an online project at the University of Nebraska called Love and Seduction, part of the Nineteeth Century Studies Resources for an Interdisciplinary Curriculum.

"You do not hesitate to take a place at my side, do you?"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bowling down the Drive

One of my dearest friends has allowed me to post her license plate, sans number. It is a tribute to Bronteism, is it not?

Jane Eyre the really Big Musical

I don't know how else to title this post. It is not easy to conceive a mental image of a production from a sound track alone, but there is one song from this... 'Jane Eyre: The Musical' (v. 4? 5?) the Skousen, Thompson, Kilpatrick version, that is. There is a song called 'Morton,' which consists of stanzas ending with the cry: "MORTON!" It is all very cheery, as all Jane Eyre musicals before Paul Gordon seem to be. It is entertaining enough to be enjoyable, however, which is the main thing.


Mr Rochester's song 'It Takes a Woman' strongly recalls Victorian ideals of 'The Angel in the House': "Why are some women always right- those that are pure like an angel of light?"

Bertha has her own song: 'Sever Them.' Of all such songs, there's probably the most character development. Parts of it have a surrealness to them, but the hag-like voice ruins most of the effect.

This production has its own homepage, here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Day in the Life of a Bronte Scholar

I have received some mail asking for updates on how my thesis is progressing. A few weeks ago I submitted a proposal to the graduate committee at Dalhousie University, and received the approval letter and comments today. So far everything seems to be going well.

I am very nearly finished the coursework section of the master's degree, then I will spend the next few months writing the thesis, and probably watching Jane Eyre many many times.

In other news, my novel is very near completion. Using my rough plan, there ought to be five to six more chapters. It will not be following the plan. There could be another ten but we will see how the plot unfolds and go from there. I'm very excited because this is the section I have been looking forward to since I started. This would be my Jane Eyre experiment. A few of my readers will remember that I set out last year to explore a question about the novel by writing one of my own. I will soon have results. I hope that I have proved myself wrong!

I am also preparing a poetry manuscript, hopefully, for publication (if you are wondering when I sleep, the answer is that I don't. It's difficult to sleep when a hoard of drunken teenagers charge past your door at three in the morning so one might as well be productive. At the moment I am going on four hour's sleep!). I have been published before but only in anthologies. I hope this will be my first 'real' work.

I neglected to mention, last night I wrote two chapters of my novel which explains the four hours' sleep. I can't sleep when I am inspired. If I don't write, I will just lie there visualising or hearing it until it is all worked out anyway.

Lastly, my good friend Thisbeciel has again supplied me with an adaptation of Jane Eyre. It says something about the state of my collections when I could not tell if I had heard this one before. Hopefully I can provide a review this evening or tomorrow. She tells me that it is horrible but fun to listen to. I like that almost better than a work of art.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jane Eyre Finally gets to See 'Jane Eyre'

From the ToledoBlade:

Seventy years ago, a little girl named Jane Eyre was looking forward to a big treat.

Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Eyre, who lived on Walbridge Avenue, had promised to take their daughter to see a production of Jane Eyre, starring Katharine Hepburn and Orson Welles, which was coming to the Paramounton March 4, 1937. But young Jane never got there.

As Jane Eyre Kittle recalls, her sister came down with whooping cough, and the entire household was quarantined.

"At that time, they posted a big red ticket on your door, meaning no one could go out or in," she said in a telephone interview from her home in Hillsdale, Mich.

Learning of the child's disappointment, Hepburn sent Jane a large autographed photo, which she hung in her bedroom.

Seven decades later, almost to the day, Jane Eyre is returning to Toledo, and Mrs. Kittle will be attending the show in the Valentine Theatre with her husband, two daughters, and sister Donna, the one who had whooping cough.

They won't be seeing Katharine Hepburn, but Mrs. Kittle doesn't really care. "I just love the book so much," she said. "And I'll probably even enjoy it more now than I would have when I was 6. I probably wouldn't have understood much, then."

As for Hepburn's photograph, "Somehow it got lost," Mrs. Kittle recalled, so she wrote to both Hepburn and Welles, in hopes of getting another one. Hepburn never answered, but Welles did, and Mrs. Kittle still has his gift.

Mrs. Rochester, MP?

From The Guardian:

Mrs Rochester

Mr Brown came under fire from shadow chancellor George Osborne who claimed his "personal pollster" had pointed to "public dissatisfaction" over the government performance on the environment.

And Mr Brown was again mocked as "Mrs Rochester", the mad first wife imprisoned in an attic in the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

But Mr Brown hit back, highlighting differences in the Tory leadership over tax breaks for married couples.