Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

December 27, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 11:17 pm

Jane Eyre Graphic novels? Or “Up, up, and away!”

As promised, here are a few scans of some of the Jane Eyre comic books I have. Most of them are questionable, as I said. This is the first page of the Classics Illustrated edition- which is by far the most widely known and appreciated one. However, I hope that something seems amiss to you, dear reader… Never fear, this edition I have comes with a brief ‘notes’ section in the back where it explains that, yes, Jane and Mr Rochester are a little glamorised. It doesn’t explain Jane’s super powers though:

To the right we see Jane- barefoot on the beach with St. John Rivers. Clearly seen is her super Jane cape and she is apparently leaping into flight. It isn’t a very good illustration, none of the Classics Illustrated illustrations are very skillful or interesting, but it is one of my favourites just because of how silly it looks.

The runner up for most silly Jane Eyre illustration is, I think, the Mr Rochester doing a Grinch Who Stole Christmas impersonation, from a brief French introduction to the novel:

Above: Mr Rochester (left), Grinch (right).

My own adaptation of the novel was interesting in that the characters all had minimal facial features. Mr Rochester’s large black eyes were tiny indeed, and yet people still remarked on how large and black they were! Also, very very early on someone noticed that my drawings of Mr Rochester all seemed to take on the appearance of actors who had played him in productions I had seen! I was even able to take illustrations and match them up to photographs. It was eerie… I do have a visual sort of memory, being an artist. So I must have stored them all in my head! 😉 I am still trying to find it, but here, in any case is what Mr Rochester and Jane ended up looking like:


December 26, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:14 pm

Jane’s Journey Part Two

More transcripts! This time, I bring you the Broadway Beat 2000 interview with Paul Gordon, composer of the Jane Eyre musical. Part one can be read here- Broadway Beat interview with John Caird (lyrics and co-director for Jane Eyre).

Paul Gordon (composer): It began ten years ago for me. An I was looking for a project to musicalise. And I came across the novel in a bookstore and just decided that I was going to read it. And I got into about page twn and I was in tears and I knew that this was the project that I wanted to do. Then it was just the challenge of waiting until I finished the book before I’d start writing because I was so eager to write.

Richard Ridge: What did you love about the book initially when you read it? I’m sure there are millions of things…

Paul Gordon: There are a lot of things but I was initially attracted to Jane’s journey-Jane’s spiritual journey, the idea of forgiveness- that message. And that, even though it had a lot of darkness to it, and it gets very complicated and very deep in a lot of places, ultimately it is an uplifting journey, an uplifting tale. I was very attracted to that.

Richard Ridge: So, how has the music and lyrics changed since your initial readings at Manhattan Theater Club, to La Jolla, and now to here?

Paul Gordon: It’s changed quite a bit. John Caird has come in and done so much work with me and together, since he became the book writer, he’s really taken it several levels above where I initially started. And I’ve learned so much from him. And, you know, our Toronto production was sort of one concept and it was almost composed-through, not sung-through. And when we went to La Jolla we took a lot of the music, of the underscoring out and the songs sort of stood on their own as songs. So the musical’s been developing in ways like that as we go about our journey.

Clockwise (from left): James Barbour (Mr Rochester), Paul Goron (composer), John Caird (lyrics), Marla Schaffel (Jane Eyre).

You can sample and check out Paul Gordon’s latest work at his website, His current projects include a musicalisation of Emma, which should be very interesting!

December 24, 2005


Filed under: Art,Comic Books,Fan Art,Fun,Illustrations,Jane Eyre,Media,villette — by bronteana @ 1:18 pm

Villette the Comic Book

It seems fitting that today's post should be about this little project of mine. It was begun nearly one year ago. It is the second work of the Brontes that I have attempted to illustrate in this way- the first was Jane Eyre which is complete. The Jane Eyre comic book was only published once online but has since disappeared after I became aware of how easily it could be pirated. Jane Eyre has been used as the subject for many comic books. I have a few of these, all are of questionable quality- one features a likeness of Mr Rochester which I swear is the Grinch who stole Christmas- only less green. Another has the novel packed with beautiful people, and Jane appears to fly at one point (my favourite part). In the frame directly following 'the voice across the moors' she cries "I'm coming!" as she leaps into the air, Wonderwoman-like, her blond hair waving in the wind and her blue super-Jane cape streaming behind her! I will have to scan this, for I don't think my words do it justice… In any case, I have not been able to find a comic book of Villette. It is possible that mine is the first but rather unlikely. If anyone has heard of another, please drop me a line either in the comments or send me an email at bronteana.blogATgmailDOTcom!

I intend to try publishing these as one book, once I have finished illustrating all of the Bronte novels. I began Jane Eyre on a whim late one night when I was tired and silly after studying for too long again. It was posted for my close friends but soon drew the attention of others. Someone suggested that I offer it to the Bronte Society but it is far too long for publication there, I think. Villette has been far less popular although those who do follow it are very enthusiastic (and cheer on their favourites, mostly Monsieur Paul and… Alfred deHamal! But only because he looks very cute as a line drawing- lots of snarky vows of admiration worthy of Miss Snowe herself). So far my reward is in forcing my friends to go out and read more of the Bronte novels. One of these had refused to try them, thinking they would be 'Victorian and dull' but after getting about a third into the Jane Eyre comic book, I recieved the instant message that it was 'all my fault' that she had gone to the library and is now completely conquered. I have complained long about how little known the Brontes are where I live. And it is nice to know that, even in my limited capacity, I am doing my part in changing things.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:32 am

More Bronte-like?

It seems like a lot of current films and novels are being heralded as similar in style to the workds of the Brontes. This time, it is the debut novel of a Yorkshire French teacher. The novel is called The Thirteenth Tale, and the author is Diane Setterfield.

The novel tells the story of a reclusive novelist who recounts the events of her strange life to the young woman she has selected to be her biographer.

It is written in a mysterious, gothic style with resonances of works by the Brontës, Daphne du Maurier and Wilkie Collins, as well as contemporary novels such as Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

The book marks “a return to that rich mine of storytelling that our parents loved and we loved as children”, said Jane Wood, Orion’s editor-in-chief, who has already sold rights to Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Norway and Brazil. “It also satisfies the appetite for narrative-driven fiction that has beginnings, middles and endings, like the great novels of the 19th century. She creates a wonderful fictional world.”

The entire article can be read here.

December 23, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:44 pm

‘The Red Queen’ by Margaret Drabble

I was just speaking of eastern settings for stories with Brontëan resonances (it has certainly been a very exciting 48 hours for Brontëana). This novel has really caught my attention! The review, which can be read here, is also very thoughtful and engaging (except for the odd remark that the book somehow encompasses nearly all literary theories). If the book lives up to these claims, it should certainly be appearing in an intertextual study sometime soon! (please?) Just at a glance I can see a trace of an inverted Bertha/Rochester thread.

From ‘Marrying the Madness of Prince Sado’, an article by Jennifer Anne Waring:

The story of the 18th century Korean crown princess and her marriage at the age of 10 to the insane Prince Sado is a testimony to Korea’s diverse and interesting culture. Based on the princess’s original diaries, “The Red Queen” charts Prince Sado’s descent into debauchery, murder and finally death. The Korean princess’s tale culminates with Prince Sado’s slow and torturous end, at the hands of his own father. Shakespeare himself would have struggled to invent a more dramatic and psychological grueling tale.

The crown princess’s story is juxtaposed with the modern day story of Dr Barbara Halliwell, a medical professor, who happens to read the princess’s diaries on her way to South Korea to speak at a conference. Inspired by the princess, Barbara’s narrative continues the themes of insanity, gender and sickness. It moves between memories of her own suicidal ex-husband; her exploration of the princess’s former palaces; modern day Seoul and a last minute love affair with a dying man.

[…] This way of examining the text [having the Queen recreated as a ghost who comments upon her own narrative from a modern, objective viewpoint] is both humorous and thought provoking. It also allows the reader to draw certain parallels between Korea and the Western world through the ages. For example, the Korean princess’s treatment of women, space and illness calls to mind clear similarities between more recent writers such as the Brontes and even Virginia Woolf. It is truly amazing how modern and forward thinking the princess actually was. It also gives the Western reader a valuable link into Korean society.

The princess’ diaries are available in this edition from The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth Century Korea

ETA: Here is the synopsis of the memoirs from

Lady Hyegyong’s memoirs, which recount the chilling murder of her husband by his father, is one of the best known and most popular classics of Korean literature. From 1795 until 1805 Lady Hyegyong composed this masterpiece, which depicts a court life whose drama and pathos is of Shakespearean proportions. Presented in its social, cultural, and historical contexts, this first complete English translation opens a door into a world teeming with conflicting passions, political intrigue, and the daily preoccupations of a deeply intelligent and articulate woman. JaHyun Kim Haboush’s accurate, fluid translation captures the intimate and expressive voice of this consummate storyteller. The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong is a unique exploration of Korean selfhood and of how the genre of autobiography fared in premodern times.

…Can I get dibs on writing a paper about this book? No, I thought not.


Filed under: Bronteana,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:48 am

Memoirs of a Geisha… and Jane Eyre?

Not an obvious comparison in my mind, but one which I have seen come up twice this week, and therefore, deserving of coverage here on Brontëana. Memoirs of a Geisha written by Arthur Golden is the basis for the film currently in theatres.


Based upon the beloved novel by Arthur Golden, director Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha is in theaters now. Ziyi Zhang plays Chiyo, a girl torn from her destitute family who seems fated to live the life of a lowly servant. In spite of her station, Chiyo's great beauty threatens the treacherous, jealous Hatsumomo (Li Gong); it's all the reason she needs to treat her cruelly. Chiyo is aided, however, by Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), who teaches her in the art of being a geisha. Under Mameha's tutelage, Chiyo is transformed into the beautiful geisha Sayuri. Sayuri is desired by countless men but her heart is pledged to "The Chairman" (Ken Watanabe), a man whom she cannot have.

Ziyi Zhang compares her character's story to several sweeping tales of women making their way in the world, including Jane Eyre:

The adult Sayuri is played by Ziyi Zhang. She is eventually sponsored by the famed geisha Mameha, played by Michelle Yeoh. The end of World War II brings the Americans to Japan and eventually the end of geisha as an art form. Zhang compares the story to "Jane Eyre" (poverty to respectability), "Gone With the Wind" (the destruction of one society after defeat in war), "Cinderella" and "Pygmalion" (rags-to-riches fantasies).

The full review of the film, including this reference to Jane Eyre can be found here.


Jane Eyre 1973 Released May 8th, 2006?

First Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and now this! More news on the up coming release of the BBC's 1973 mini-series of Jane Eyre starring Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston. As previously reported on Brontëana, the 5 part mini-series is reportedly to be released by Acorn Media sometime in 2006. Now we have a date! It looks like 2006 will be a very good year for Brontëana- May for Jane Eyre, March for Tenant! Maybe the silent version of Wuthering Heights that the Brontë Parsonage is looking for will turn up as well, and perhaps Brontë will begin filming!

ETA: Just in, some new hints regarding this 'new' film of Jane Eyre mentioned in passing by Newsweek in an article about period films. I had written to the editor to confirm his information regarding this production but have recieved no reply. Brontëblog has been able to turn up the CV of the director of what appears to be a new BBC production slated for production in 2006. The writer is Sandy Welch, the producer is Diederick Santer.

December 22, 2005


Tenant of Wildfell Hall to be Released on DVD

Many thanks to Sarah Barrett for the news! Anne Brontë's Tenant of Wildfell Hall will soon be out on DVD at last! Details on the region 2 DVD can be found here. This is indeed the 1996 version with Tara Fitzgerald as Helen Graham.

List Price: £15.99 Our Price: £11.99 You Save: £4.00 (25%)
Release date: March 13, 2006.
Not yet available: you may still order this title. We will dispatch it to you when it is released by the studio.
Edition Details: • Region 2 encoding (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt). Read more about DVD formats.• PAL•
Catalogue Number: BBCDVD1922

ETA: Here is the DVD's synopsis:

Synopsis: Based on a little known 1848 novel by Anne Bronte, Tara Fitzgerald stars as an enigmatic young woman who moves to 19th Century Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone in the village and their prying questions, she remains totally aloof until a charming neighbor farmer gets her to reveal her past through his persistence. Only then does she reveal she is hiding away from a womanizing, belittling husband. – This three-part BBC adaptation of author Anne Brontë's novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall features Tara Fitzgerald as Helen Graham, a pensive woman seeking a way out of her miserable marriage to Arthur Huntingdon (Rupert Graves), a rakish alcoholic who tricked Helen into marrying him before his bad behavior became outwardly evident. Meanwhile, farmer Gilbert Markham (Toby Stephens) becomes increasingly attracted to Helen, whom he is led to believe is a widow.

December 21, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 5:45 pm

Branwell: A Novel of the Bronte Brother

Last night, quite unexpectedly, I recieved an email from Mr Richard Nash, publisher from the Soft Skull Press in Brooklyn, announcing the publication of Branwell: A Novel of the Bronte Brother by Douglas A. Martin. In addition, I have some news about the Canadian distribution of the novel. Mr. Nash informs me that Torontonians should look to This Ain’t The Rosedale Library for plenty of copies, and for those interested in the latest, look out for a review in the Eye Weekly.

I was more surprised to find a lengthy excerpt attached to the email- the first 24 pages of ‘Branwell’. Although it does appear to be the first 24 pages, I cannot believe that this is so. It is a strange excerpt and rather difficult to describe. It is not the beginning of a novel, it is not the introduction to one, and it is not a synopsis but it appears to be something leaning towards all and none of these things. I believe it is a rough work, whatever it may be. I suspect that I may have been sent something else by mistake. It resembles a verbal depiction of images in a trailer for a film, more than anything else.

From what I can tell from this, the novel should wrestle with the fill spectrum of Branwell’s history. I cannot say much more than this. The text is a series of observations, in various tenses and sometimes bad grammar (hense my belief that this is not actually the finished work). The sections nearer to Branwell’s adulthood seem to become quite interesting. Overall, there’s not much to glean from this. I do have one comment to make, however, and it is a troubling one. It appears that Anne comes in for some rough treatment of some kind or another. She is mentioned twice, I believe, and both times it is only to mention her ‘lisp’ or ‘lisping’ and ‘trying to catch up’ to Branwell and Charlotte:

Ah, now all seriousness would disappear from the magazine now that Charlotte’s taken over. They’ll have smiling faces everywhere.
She says it’s not true.
Charlotte is going to write a story about the Little King.
He is spoilt and lazy, imperious, unreliable.
He commits violent, unpredictable acts.
And Branwell leaves his shirt open at the neck, to show how he’s a poet. Anne only lisps and stutters trying to keep up with him and Charlotte and the fights they have over their little Town.

The text excerpt ends, in fact:

Young Soult could be melodramatic, like Byron, Charlotte says.
Branwell and Charlotte love Byron. And Emily loves him, too.
He drinks too much. And he gambles.
Captain Budd gambles, and it would be the end of his brilliant career.
The Glass Town poet’s clothes hung off him, his socks had holes, his shoes were all worn out.
Does Branwell know how to spell the lisp Anne talks with. [sic]
Does he have any idea. [sic]

I am definately interested in seeing what comes of all of this, but I cannot believe that this is actually the way the novel is written.

December 19, 2005


La Jolla Jane Eyre Part Two

And here's the rest of the show! I hope you all enjoy it.

Disc Two

track 1
track 2
track 3
track 4
track 5
track 6
track 7
track 8
track 9
track 10
track 11
track 12
track 13
track 14
track 15
track 16
track 17


Disc Three*

track 1
track 2
track 3

*I remember one of my friends trimmed a few tracks so that the whole thing fit onto 2 discs. If anyone would like the trimmed version let me know. I think it cut off the applause and things like that.

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