Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

January 12, 2006


More Video Clips from JE the Musical and Transvestism in CB

This is sure to please Esther! Thanks once again to Thisbeciel for these clips from the Jane Eyre Musical! Some of these are repeats from the last time, but I don't think anyone will mind too much?

An Icy Lane
You examine me
Waking Rochester
I know who heals my life
the Gypsy
the Proposal
Wild Boy/Farewell Good Angel

Thisbeciel also came across this interesting poem, 'Transvestism in the Novels of Charlotte Bronte' by Patricia Beer

1 When reading Villette, Shirley and Jane Eyre,
2 Though never somehow The Professor
3 Which was all too clear,
4 I used to overlook
5 The principal point of each book
6 As it now seems to me: what the characters wore.

7 Mr Rochester dressed up as the old crone
8 That perhaps he should have been,
9 De Hamal as a nun.
10 There was no need
11 For this. Each of them could
12 Have approached his woman without becoming one.

13 Not all heroines were as forthright.
14 Shirley in particular was a cheat.
15 With rakish hat
16 She strode like a man
17 But always down the lane
18 Where the handsome mill-owner lived celibate.

19 Lucy, however, knew just what she was doing.
20 And cast herself as a human being.
21 Strutting and wooing
22 In the school play
23 She put on a man's gilet,
24 Kept her own skirt, for fear of simplifying.

25 Their lonely begetter was both sister and brother.
26 In her dark wood trees do not scan each other
27 Yet foregather,
28 Branched or split,
29 Whichever they are not,
30 Whichever they are, and rise up together.



  1. hmm toying with gender roles is interesting and prevalent in Charlotte Bronte’s novels (I haven’t read The Professor yet though). Also could the same be said of Helen Huntingdon in Tenant of Wildfell Hall who decides to live a life on her own terms?

    Comment by mysticgypsy — January 12, 2006 @ 1:32 pm |Reply

  2. The professor is an odd novel when you look at the rest of Charlotte’s work. She uses a male narrator, which might be significant. Maybe they transvestism has something to do with her alias?

    Comment by Brontëana — January 12, 2006 @ 5:50 pm |Reply

  3. In respect to The Professor – it makes sense to me as a first novel. (I have more trouble with Shirley since it comes after JE!) But as a first, the Professor mirrors CB’s own former student/teacher relationship (and so, like a lot of first novels, it’s awkwardly autobiographical, but pretends not to be!).

    Yes! I’m guessing the transvestism does have something to do with CB’s alias. She disguises her own sex; hides behind a male voice. I suspect she wasn’t quite brave enough yet to speak in her “own” voice (and might have been still developing it).

    A lot of women writers (even today!) use a male narrator in order to pull in a male audience (particularly in male-dominant genres such as science fiction).


    Comment by frankengirl — January 12, 2006 @ 6:20 pm |Reply

  4. oh yes!! OMG that is so true!!! The Professor does have a male Charlotte the writer is putting herself in the shoes of a man..
    Also, did she not take such stances in the Angria tales or in her juvenilia? I remembered reading an article a while back that mentioned how Charlotte took on the roles of men in her stories (or games she played with Branwell).
    Even the fact that she did choose to go by Currer Bell could show that she was either hiding her identity as a woman behind that of man, or that a part of her felt the only way to be validated was to actually take on the idenity of a man. Her alter-ego perhaps?

    Comment by mysticgypsy — January 12, 2006 @ 7:04 pm |Reply

  5. Yes, I loved the new clips! They are already on my iPOD. SPeaking of which, did you get any of the emails with the iPOD links? Your gmail address seemed to bomb for me…

    Comment by Esther — January 13, 2006 @ 1:03 am |Reply

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