In Search of Anne Brontë…
The saga continues. A Brontë scholarling, in a moderate sized Canadian city… trying to find a copy of Agnes Grey. I had to acknowledge that the chain stores will never stock the book, that the same goes for the university store- unless it is ordered for a class. Yes, the easy thing would be to order a copy myself but there's a point to be made here… Why is this so difficult? Today I went to B_______, the most respected rare and used bookstore in town. It is almost an institution among readers. It is located in the old city, and so I had to wind my way there on foot, through a small lane. I stepped into the lovely little shop absolutely stuffed with old books- antique books too. This is what is called book-lust, by the way. But I was on a mission. I had heard the owner speak to us about his passion for books, and heard his complaints of people stopping in only for some book Oprah had recomended- and then leaving. I had to smile to myself, and couldn't help but wonder exactly what he would make of me, then.
"I'm looking for a book by Anne Brontë."
"Which one?" (a good sign!)
"Agnes Grey." He got up and disappeared behind a bookcase.
"We have Tenant of Wildfell Hall…"
"Yes, everyone does…" I smiled to a gentleman there who nodded politely but probably didn't really care that everyone has copies of Tenant of Wildfell Hall– or he didn't believe me.
"We don't have that one."
And so, I bid him good day and left him to shake his head and probably wonder what that was all about and why I didn't want to buy a copy of Dr.Aitkin's newest book or something. And my poor mom, who picked me up, had to hear my ranting all the way home. Looks like I must admit defeat and order one online. I can't feel bad for the bookseller. How often will he have someone run in from the cold demanding a copy of Agnes Grey?
Firstly, long-time readers will notice a slight change to the Brontëana layout. I have been trying to find an efficient way to organise the archives for some time and have finally met with some limited success. This is only a start, but now for the first time you can search the archives from the bottom of the sidebar under 'Brontëana Index'. So far I have only indexed the primary works of the Brontës and the immediate family members themselves- although the archives contain information about the extended family as well. All of that and more will be more readily available in time. But it is a step in the right direction! Check back soon, I intend to keep working on it over the week.
Secondly, I have been following the progression of a musical 'Emma' by Paul Gordon, the composer of the Broadway musical Jane Eyre, for Austenblog. I am not entirely sure what to make of this comment, however:
How plays are born: Central Works' collaborative method is only one of many script development models in use in the Bay Area. TheatreWorks has been attracting increasing national attention in the new musicals field following a more traditional scheme. Its Spring Festival of New Works, expanded to two weeks (April 25 to May 7), features first-time staged readings of four new musicals: "Emma," adapted from Jane Austen by Paul Gordon (moving up the literary ladder from "Jane Eyre")…
Humph! Not that I mean to demean Miss Austen and her works… But humph! all the same!
And thirdly, I don't know what to make of the Mystery of Irma Vep either!
The Mystery of Irma Vep finds two actors performing eight sizable roles in a tale that's a wildly improbable mix of melodramatic literature and film, from Wuthering Heights to The Wolf Man, The Mummy and vampire legends.
The Literary Misfits on BBC Radio 4
From BBC Northern Ireland, a week long radio program called The Literary Misfits will be airing in April. If you like Jasper Fforde, I think you’ll like this.
A week of literary chaos as some of our favourite fictional charactersstumble into the pages of the wrong book!Our favourite books are like old friends: comforting, reassuring, and familiar. We reread them time and time again safe in the knowledge that Elizabeth Bennett will end up with her Mr Darcy and that Sherlock Holmes will, after a pipe or two, solve the baffling mystery and unmask the villain.
But what if there was some huge literary mix up? What if, in a bizarre game of literary musical chairs, some of our favourite characters crept out of the pages of their own book and stumbled into the foreign and anachronistic world of a different book? Would Lizzy still marry Darcy? Would Holmes retain his powers of deduction?
Will a title be enough to impress Oscar Wilde’s most famous matriarch, Lady Bracknell, when she comes face to face with a certain Count Dracula? When the great Victorian detective and Dr. Watson meet the unassuming Jane Eyre will they be able to solve a most puzzling literary mystery? If Gulliver made one final journey, where would his travels take him? What would Middlemarch’s earnest Dorothea make of the life of the irreverent drunkard Riley? And, when the notorious ‘Butcher Boy’ Francie Brady leaves behind the pigs of Cavan to tend those of a certain Bennett family in Longbourn, will Lizzy and Darcy live happily ever after?
Monday 17- 21 April 2006 at 3.30pm on Radio 4 (10 episode Book at Bedtime)
Writers : Elizabeth Kostova, Barry Devlin, Anne Haverty, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne and John Morrison Producers:Heather Brennon, Heather Larmour, Oonagh McMullan
A Vampire Vaudeville by Kerry Lee CrabbeProduced by Oonagh McMullan
Pride and Homicide by Barry DevlinProduced by Heather Larmour
Title tbc by Anne HavertyProduced by Heather Larmour
The Case of the Scream in the Night by Eilis Ni DhuibhneProduced by Heather Brennon
The Last Voyage of Gulliver by John Morrison Produced by Heather Brennon
Thanks to Mr Croquet and Thisbeciel for the news.
Jane Eyre: The Musical Downloads and Mr Christi
Now that we’ve all recovered from the news about the casting for JE 2006, we can move on. Several readers notified me today that the links posted last week or so, of video clips from Jane Eyre The Musical, had expired. Lady Branwen has been kind enough to upload them all yet again! She has also thrown in the entire Original demo CD (cast list to be provided once I dig it out of my personal archives).
As always these links will be active for one week or 30 downloads, whichever comes first.
An Icy Lane:http://s58.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=32BCBNVQNWPKL2WNTS53U1TGKI
You Examine Me, Miss Eyre:http://s58.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1KKL0GM3GV0O720C2ULN2LAOVG
Saying Goodnight:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0MRQUREBQD63S2YT304D8755RRI Know Who Heals My Lifet:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0KF9PI05C6BNG0P0R2BK12DWZ4
Wild Boy/Sirens (reprise)/Farewell, Good Angel:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=20QVCZ1LW197J3SDEBJ971087K
Secret Soul, in the studio:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3T6YLXIOV7NIH21I81JRMWYMPJ
Broadway on Broadway – Secret Soul clips:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2K8AZME5NPDK62PZM3JBTTDNQM
Jane Eyre Promo Clips:http://s64.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=30KXEGL0DB05F0NIPAMDTI9O9L
Jane Eyre Original Demo CD:http://s62.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0NCK8Y0XY59UA0PGGBXQK244BX
Also, a little bit of Canadiana to go with this post… I am currently editing and annotating an unpublished novel by a Canadian author from the early 20th century. I have only read a few chapters so far, but I am exceedingly diverted as they say! It is called There Was a Mr Christi. Mrs. Christi runs a boarding house in Toronto. One day a small sort of young lady comes to look at a room. She has just taken a post as governess at a place called Rosedale across a ravine from the house. She is shown a large room which is too expensive so she is led up to the third floor. There’s a nice, small room there but the governess thinks she should take one last look at the larger one.
They entered the hall and began to descend the stairs, and the hush which had embraced the house was suddenly rent by a howl from the room next to the one they had been examining. Though it seemed an involuntary half-laughing screech, the girl looked around nervously. Mrs. Christi chattered gaily and jolted briskly down the stairs.
I wonder where Mr Christi is…!
Cast for BBC Jane Eyre 2006 Hot off of the wire, we have our cast! EXCLUSIVE: BIG ROLE IN EYRE FOR FRAN By Nicola Methven FRANCESCA Annis is getting over her split from partner Ralph Fiennes with a major new TV role. The 62-year-old has landed a starring part in the BBC's production of Jane Eyre. She will play Lady Ingram in the £4million adaptation of the classic Charlotte Bronte novel. Other stars include Toby Stephens, who plays Mr Rochester, Tara Fitzgerald as Mrs Reed and Pam Ferris playing Grace Poole. A BBC insider said: "We hope to bring the novel alive for a whole new generation." Francesca and Fiennes, 43, split this month over his two-year affair with 31-year-old Romanian Cornelia Crisan. My goodness! Helen Graham is Mrs. Reed and Gilbert Markham is Mr Rochester?!! (Both starred in the BBC's 1996 production of Tenant of Wildfell Hall, set for DVD release this April). ETA: Image above is Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald as Gilbert Markham and Helen Graham. The article shockingly neglects Ruth Wilson, who will be playing Jane Eyre (remember her?). Luckily she has her own Brontëana post here. ETA: Speaking of Brontëana posts, here is the original post about the DVD release. There's good news. I forgot the date (have I mentioned that I'm terrible with numbers?). The release is not in April… it's in March! In fact, it's March 13th!
Jane Eyre 1952 Images Continued…
This is the third post in a series of 4 or 5 which contain the only screencaps available of this production from Westinghouse Studio One’s Summer Theater production of Jane Eyre with Katherine Bard as Jane Eyre and Kevin McCarthy as Mr Rochester.
The Brontës and Language- a brief rant.
I don't usually bother with Brontë references such as this, but I felt comment was necessary in this case, if only to relieve a little frustration. The Editrix at AustenBlog– a lovelyblog for all things Jane Austen- knows my pain well only, unlike herself I do not have anything equivalent to her 'Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness.' Here lies the ever torturing pain: that the Brontës are criticised for writing in 'old English' or at least a more difficult kind of archaic English.
From what appears to be either a tongue in cheek list of satistical favourites or a account executive's list of favourites:
What book should everyone read? "Wuthering Heights" — just so they understand that the English language is much easier today.
I am very confused by this one. Has she actually read Wuthering Heights? At least with Jane Eyre I might point to words such as 'anathematized' and acknowledge that some readers of today not inclined to get a dictionary might find the book 'difficult' (not that you have to know what 'anathematized' means to get through or enjoy it…), I cannot find an equivalent in Wuthering Heights.
This is by no means the first time I've heard the sentiment expressed but it is usually referring to Jane Eyre. In fact, I came across a certain review on amazon.com for yet another Brontë spin-off novel. This one was, in fact, a retelling of Jane Eyre– not a prequel or sequel. It was Jane Eyre as a science fiction novel, set in outer space. It is called Jenna Starborn and I mean to read it someday, really I do. And I've heard that it is rather good for being Jane Eyre in outer space… I don't remember all of the details at the moment but the basic plot is the same only Jane- I mean Jenna is some sort of reactor technician who goes out on a call to repair one at the complex of some incredibly wealthy person with a very silly name…
Even fans of the author's work say the prose is not very good at least, and that at best it is an entertaining way to pass the time. However, there was a review declaring it is better than Jane Eyre because the language is simpler and easy to understand. It hurt my soul to hear such things… It is also ridiculous because I know people who speak this 'old English' on a regular basis and in casual company. In fact, I have a friend who so admires Samuel Jonson (going back a bit further than the Brontës now…) that he strives to perfect his speech and prose to what he feels is the richest means of expression (I once remarked the use of 'locupletate' in a book I was reading and he replied that it is in Jonson's dictionary- from which he can quote). And I was quoting Jane Eyre in casual company when I was 14.
They should all be reading Chaucer, that's what I say. Or better still, Caedmon. See how they like that. /endbitterness.
Jane Eyre 1952 Images Continued..
This post is a post of pictures and snark (teasing, witty commentary), just to keep things lively. Hopefully I will actually see this version and be able to report in full.
Thornfield sans les battlements… Miss Adella with black hair…
Jane with very very blond hair. Jane with some man who has just walked into the garden.
Aw, his poor pooty tootens!* Ah, cigar and brandy. that’s more like it.
* See, Miss Mix– a 19th century parody of Jane Eyre, Brontëana, Monday January 30th, 2006.
Wait, wasn’t he favoring his left leg before? … Looks shifty to me!
Jane’s not concerned. His strange ways are rather piquant.
To be continued…
Jane Eyre 1952 (with Katharine Bard and Kevin McCarthy)
This is the only one of the films known to be extant which I have not yet seen, but thanks (again!) to Thisbeciel, this will soon no longer be the case. In fact, I come bearing gifts of very rare screencaps (as far as I know, these are the only screencaps). I came to know of the existence of this version through ‘The Pleasure of Intertextuality: Reading television and film adaptations of Jane Eyre‘ by Donna Marie Nudd, an article specially written for the Norton edition of Jane Eyre. Here is an excerpt from her brief discussion of the production:
Structural norms change for commercial television, where the director, adapter, and editors also have to contemplate exactly where the corporate sponsors’ ads will appear. Westinghouse Studio One: Summer Theater produced Jane Eyre in 1952. This production appears to be primarily one or two cameras capturing a live theater production, a production with very limited sets. During intermissions, an actress comes out and informs us of the glories of Westinghouse’s self-defrosting refrigerator and later of the technical wonder of the “electronic clarifier” that stops the flutters on its all-new twenty-one inch, television. The structure of this adaptation is definately informed by the need to stop the action at the appropriate moment for Westinghouse commercials.
Another strong, nonliterary influence on this particular Westinghouse adaptation was undeniably the budget. Early in this production, for example, jane is situated in one of the five or so standard, theatrical stage sets–a garden. The audience and Jane hear the neighing of a horse and then a crash. Then, with fake blood on his chin, Rochester limps into the garden and tells the new governess stationed there that his confounded horse has thrown him and run off.
More images will be posted later (I am having trouble getting them all to post at the moment).