I meant to copy out the entire tribute Thackeray wrote on the death of Charlotte Bronte. This is the anniversary of her death, and these are some of Thackeray’s remembrances:
Of the multitude that has read her books, who has not known and deplored the tragedy of her family, her own most sad and untimely fate? Which of her readers has not become her friend? who that has known her books has not admired the artist’s noble English, the burning love of truth, the bravery, the simplicity, the indignation at wrong, the eager sympathy, the pious love and reverence, the passionate honor, so to speak, of the woman?
I remember the trembling little frame, the little hand, the great honest eyes. An impetuous honesty seemed to me to characterize the woman. Twice I recollect she took me to task for what she held to be errors in doctrine. Once about Fielding we had a disputation. She spoke her mind out. She jumped too rapidly to conclusions. (I have smiled at one or two passages in the Biography in which my own disposition or behaviour forms the subject of talk.) She formed conclusions that might be wrong, and built up whole theories of character upon them. New to the London world, she entered it with an independent, indomitable spirit of her own; and judged of contemporaries, and especially spied out arrogance or affectation, with extraordinary keenness of vision.
She gave me the impression of being a very pure, and lofty, and high-minded person. A great and holy reverence of right and truth seemed to be with her always. Such, in our brief interview, she appeared to me.
From ‘The Last Sketch’ by Thackeray, the preface to the Emma fragment found in my volume.
Update on Bronte Studies…
Well… I did get accepted to the Dalhousie program. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to go. My mother and I live below the poverty line, and even getting to the school, several provinces away, is not within our means- not to mention housing and tuition. They’ve given me an unfunded offer, which effectively cuts any hope I had of being able to get something worked out to cover the cost. I will be remaining here, then, to continue my work for another year. There are several advantages, although my heart isn’t here… It is very likely that I will be assisting our Victorian specialist with a bibliography on the female gothic which would include Jane Eyre, I imagine. The publisher I am studying with may try to fight her over this- he wants me on his editorial staff. The school is also offering me funding, and I can stay at home. This province also would cover my living expenses if things should go from bad to worse.
I …would have prefered a rejection.
LibriVox– "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain." The site publishes audio books in the public domain, recorded by volunteers. Thanks to Heather, a co-ordinator for writing in to tell us about Villette, the first collaborative LibriVox Bronte work. There are no finished Bronte works yet although Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are being recited by two people attempting solo recordings. Most pressingly, under 20% of the chapters are claimed as of yet and they still need volunteers to recite chapters.
Aw, no Vanity Fair? … Well, I do think that book just might kill anyone attempting a solo recitation.
A friend of mine has a similar project on hand. Very slow productions of Shakespeare, which each part recorded separately online and then pasted together. It is very very slow work. And, I myself have a project which, from the start, was doomed to never actually be done- to put together a similar performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical. The trouble (…one of the troubles) is that all of my friends willing to entertain the idea are young ladies, so our Rochester is a soprano and I'm playing St.John Rivers (I am likewise a soprano, but this isn't quite so bad in St.John's case. No, really, some of his demo songs are very high! It's creepy…). It doesn't matter that I have dark hair and dark eyes, but I do burst out laughing at inappropriate times. Very out of charater.It will never, ever, ever be recorded (although I do have one clip of our (Miss) Rochester singing 'As Good As You').
More Casting and News on Jane Eyre 2006
It looks like we have our young Jane, as well! The delightful Georgie Henley (Lucy Pevensie in the latest film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) is going to play Jane in the new BBC production- and, it looks like we can expect a Christmas release!
It has been confirmed to me personally by Georgie's management and agency that she will indeed be appearing in a new role: The BBC's (UK), "Jane Eyre" at Christmas time.
The website indeed also claims the production will be airing in December.
Bronteblog also informs us that the imdb.com page for the production now lists Derbyshire as a filming locale so perhaps the earlier report on filming taking place last week at Haddon Hall is spot on.
I was surprised by the casting choice, but not at all displeased! I think she is a talented young actress and resembles Ruth Wilson's rather elfish look. Miss Henley's second Narnia film is also scheduled to come out in December. The picture is from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
This is yet another personal testamony of a Brontephile in the land that forgot the Brontes. Today, in the very room where last week I had heard a tirade against all three sisters, someone began to talk to me about them, knowing of this blog. I was delighted, and surprised when he assumed that of the three Anne was my favourite. She is not, in fact, but it made me feel strangely happy nevertheless.
And, I did finally break down and order a copy of Agnes Grey. It should be arriving next week.
Some related Bronte news from the homefront- I did convince two people to read Jane Eyre this week. This is astonishing progress, believe me. Although I think the first person will not be pleased with the book… After rejoicing, I remembered that this particular person loathes and despises anything even remotely religious. I brought in a Bible once, to prepare for a medieval lit seminar I had to give, and she hissed at it. So… I'm not sure what she'll make of Jane Eyre! Alas. And the second is the fellow mentioned above who hasn't read the book, "but I saw the movie and that was enough." The minx. But anyway, he was only kidding. He also said he wanted to give "Violet… Violette… that V one, you know," a try. Oh bliss- I don't think many of you will comprehend this, but I had to get a copy of Villette from a friend in Iowa…
Lastly, blame me who will, I was alone in an auditorium room for several hours today so I worked on a short story (based on JE), talked out loud to Charlotte while I did so, then sang Amarilli, Mia Bella. No one else will ever know!
The Gossip on JE 2006
Let me make this clear that this is purely gossip at this point. Someone in Derbyshire writes to say they believe that they witnessed filming of the BBC’s new Jane Eyre this weekend at Haddon Hall. It may well be a baseless rumor, but it does look like an ideal Thornfield, does it not?
Haddon Hall is a fortified medieval manor house dating from the 12 th Century, and is the home of Lord and Lady Edward Manners whose family have owned it since 1567.
Described by Simon Jenkins in 1000 Best houses as “the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages”, this remarkable old house is surrounded by terraced Elizabethan gardens and is set amongst the rolling countryside of the Peak District National Park.
Haddon has featured in many films and TV programmes including, most recently Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly, Mathew MacFadeyn, and Dame Judy Dench.
Should you wish to stay locally we can offer accommodation either at our award winning hotel, The Peacock at Rowsley or in our holiday cottage.
I hope you find this site informative and look forward to welcoming you to Haddon Hall.
Lord Edward Manners
The hall was also used in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1996 Jane Eyre. I have a soft spot for this hall, so I do hope it will be Thornfield again! It was also Prince Humperdink’s castle in The Princess Bride!
At Last! Jane Eyre 1973 Available for Pre-Ordering
Let the stampede begin, for all of you Britishers- ">pre-order the DVD from the BBC here. The rest of us will now look on broodingly until it comes out in region one. I would like to remind those who will likely be disturbed by the delay that from the start we had assurances that it will be coming out in region one, so never fear. I have emailed BBC America this morning, hoping to hear news of when it will be available here as well as Tenant of Wildfell Hall which is still unavailable in region one.
Jane Eyre 1973 costs £19.99
Product Ref: 877564
Official release date for region 2: 08/05/2006
Duration: 4 hours, 35 minutes
Starring Sorcha Cusack (Tame) and Michael Jayston (Flesh And Blood), this 1973 BBC television adaption of the classics novel follows the fortunes of heroine Jane Eyre who begins her life as an orphan without a penny to her name.
Jane Eyre is a poor orphan, brought up by a wealthy Aunt who is determined she should never forget her impoverished background. Surviving the cruelty of an oppressive boarding school, she becomes the governess of Thornfield Hall, owned by the enigmatic and rarely seen Mr Rochester. When Jane finally meets Mr Rochester in the flesh, she is consumed by an overwhelming attraction towards him that soon becomes mutual, however, their hopes for happiness will soon be jeopardized by a terrible secret.
New Theories of Love? Passion is Passé.
Are we Addicted to Love? is a very interesting artcle I found this morning: “Theories of intimate relationships in the modern world view passionate love as a problem to be managed.”
At the very end we hear that Jane and Rochester, Cathy and Heathcliff are out of style but, perhaps, ultimately their passions are better for us all as human beings:
Forget Jane Eyre and Rochester, or Heathcliff and Cathy – the emotionally-correct coupling today is Harry Met Sally, only more self-aware. Which is fine when it comes to amicable discussions about work-life balance or avoiding inheritance tax, but quite a few steps removed from the passions that make us human.
Dear Jane… Austen
I came across this little Brontë reference this morning. It caught my attention, not because it is yet another comparison between the Brontes and Jane Austen, but because it seems like a peculiar way to make the distinction between the two.
Patrice Hannon, English literature professor, is 'jumpstarting' her career as a novelist by writing a self-help manual on love written with the voice of Jane Austen. The book is called 'Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love.' The idea for the book came from her students who were commenting on how realistically Austen depicts relationships. This is where the Bronte reference comes in:
As opposed to unrealistic romantic notions often found in novels like “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre,” Austen championed cynicism and lifelike dialogue, according to Hannon.
I know that Charlotte's portrayal of Mr Rochester was attacked when the book was published as being unrealistic, but as a whole it both books seem remarkably lifelike in their dialogue- for the period, of course. Both books also delve in the depths of the human psyche, rather than those parts which are most readily accessable. What Charlotte was more blunt in saying, it is in a sense superficial in comparison. I don't often trust Austen's good natured characters (not implying that all of them are good natured). I suspect what I don't know about them might show they are not what they seem to be. I can conceed some ground on the dialogue but cynicism seems a strange way of distinguishing the two. I have not read much of Jane Austen, however, so I may be unwittingly saying something foolish here. In conclusion, I believe neither Charlotte, Emily, not Jane are less realistic than the other. If this is heresy, I cannot help it.
Austenite readers of Brontëana will no doubt find this a little unsettling:
“When I was merely twenty, I fell in love with a young Irishman. We knew very little of one another — far too little, indeed, to have fallen so deeply in love,” Hannon writes in Austen’s voice. Convinced that Austen’s life was not as plain as legend might have it, Hannon hopes readers will pick up on the subtle drama that unfolds behind the love advice.
BBC Jane Eyre 1973 Available for Pre-Order
Thanks to Bronteana reader, Liz, we have confirmation that the DVD of the BBC’s 1973 production of Jane Eyre with Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston will be available for pre-order from their online store as of next week!
Good work, Liz!