Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 30, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 7:22 pm

New Clips from Jane Eyre: The Musical

And, while I was making the previous post, another Brontëana reader shared these new clips from an old performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical when it was performed on Broadway. These clips are of the songs Sweet Liberty and Painting Her Portrait, both featuring Marla Schaffel. Enjoy! And thank you, AndySpectacular and Bronteana reader Siansaska for sending along the links.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:54 pm

Brontëana Exclusive: Behind the Scenes of Jane Eyre 2006

While I was offline writing a post for today (about an early recording of Jane Eyre: The Musical) Brontëana reader Vairë sent me a most interesting email! She obtained permission to pass along this report from a visitor to Haddon Hall. Louise from Manchester visited the hall on Sunday, during an ‘off-shooting day’ and had quite a time looking around the set. Here is her full report as passed along to me:

She was invited back for shooting as well. She gave me permission to send this report on to you, which has not been seen on the net so far.

“It’s a place called Haddon Hall in Derbyshire which is a Medival/Tudor stately home. The man in the gatehouse was wonderful and showed me a list of all the television and film productions that had used the Hall so far (including last years Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley). He showed me articles from all the local newspapers and recommended that I should speak to one of the staff inside for more information. I went inside and asked a member of staff if she had any photographs she could show me and she showed me a WONDERFUL photograph of the house on fire and explained how it was done with pyrotechnics and she also showed me the huge red sign they have to put up during the week that says BBC PRODUCTION. FILMING IN PROGRESS.

Then I went inside and had a look around the house itself and one of the rooms had been altered by the BBC production team to look like Mr Rochester’s library. It was amazing. The right hand wall was simply bookcases FULL of old looking genuine books (except all the books on the bottom two shelves – they’re just book fronts). There were two tables in the centre of the room, an large chair in the far corner of the room and what looked like some sort of writing instrument on one of the tables. In a little alcove section of the room where the windows were a round table and chairs stood next a blackboard. Some of the writing had been wiped off but I could make out the words “Miss Grey” and “ettiquete.”I then spoke to another member of staff about her experiences on set. She described how the staff were watching the scene where Bertha throws herself from the tower and how the stunt crew set up a giant inflatable and the stunt woman actually threw herself from the tower of Haddon Hall!

She also described what a wonderful group of people the cast were and how “the darling little girl, Georgie, who plays young Jane, is a pleasure to be around”. She also mentioned how Haddon Hall was particuarly close to “the young girl fresh out of drama school who plays Jane” because her brother has recently married a local girl from that area.She also mentioned that Pam Ferris’ character of Lady Ingrim seems to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And how long and throughly tedious the filming process was and how they were lucky to get 2 scenes shot during a 7 hour day.

“the ruins shot is NOT being digitally remastered. They did indeed film in ruins but I can’t remember the name. It’s close to Haddon Hall where they are currently filming now and have been for quite some time.I’m not sure how much longer they’re shooting for. I think it’s going to be quite a while – the English weather isn’t being very helpful and it’s a very slow filming process.”

She also plans to return this week and try to get pictures. Thank you for sharing this with us all, and I think it would be fair to say that a few hundred people are wishing you luck in getting back there and getting some pictures! Great job! And thanks again to Vairë for obtaining publishing permission for me.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:52 am

Jane Eyre 2006 Courtesy of North and South

Thanks are due to Thisbeciel for the tip that scans from an issue of Peak District Life featuring the BBC’s new production of Jane Eyre, complete with these wonderful new pictures:

You can view the scans yourself here.

One excerpt: “Diederick Santer also describes the approach they are using, ‘It’s extremely passionate and full-blooded. It starts and ends in Jane’s head and is about a young woman’s physical journey, her sexual journey. It’s passionate and beautiful. We’re trying to get away from too clichéd a story about the Mills and Boon thing of the governess falling in love with the Lord of the Manor’.”

A very special thank you to Monika for posting the article!

ETA: In fact, thanks to Monika for scanning and posting, Christina for finding and linking, Thisbeciel for linking the links and piccing the pics. I think that about covers it.

May 29, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:59 pm

Jane Eyre 1973 Available for Pre-Order from Amazon

You can now pre-order the DVD of the BBC’s 1973 mini-series of Jane Eyre starring Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston at amazon.com, and amazon.co.uk. The region one edition will not be available at amazon.com until July 25th, but it is cheaper than other online stores including Acorn from whom you can order a copy right now, and get it sooner than expected (their shipping is really fast). The release date for the UK is still June 5th.


I came across some interesting technical specifications for this production for anyone who is interested.

When submitted to the BBFC the work had a running time of 247m 18s. This work was passed with no cuts made. Note that since February 2001 the BBFC has measured each component separately, but older works may not have the exact details, only a list of titles. 00:49:22:02 JANE EYRE – PART ONE00:47:35:14 JANE EYRE – PART TWO00:49:55:02 JANE EYRE – PART THREE00:49:53:03 JANE EYRE – PART FOUR00:50:31:24 JANE EYRE – PART FIVE Details are likely to be more complete and accurate for the version submitted most recently.When a film is transferred to video the running time will be shorter by approximately 4% due to the differing number of frames per second. This does not mean that the video version has been cut or re-edited.

The series recieved a PG rating for “mild violence and distress.”

May 27, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:24 am

Brontës in the Attic- I mean, Tower

A hoard of books are finally being taken down out of the library tower at Cambridge University. The books were put there in a belief that they were not of academic interest because they were ‘too populist’ or as this article puts it, ‘low brow.’ The rumor had been that it was a collection of pornography. Well, no. No, they’re just some first editions of the Bronte novels after all!

And a few other things besides: first editions by Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Cookery books including one called Cheap, Nice and Nourishing Cookery, which recommends boiling carrots for two hours, and a Handbook of Domestic Cookery, with a recipe for calf’s head and calf’s foot soup,” Home guides on health and beauty including Dr Foote’s Home Cyclopedia of Popular Medical, Social and Sexual Science which recommended married people should not sleep together as the practice led to “uncongeniality”, and a collection of penny dreadfuls!

Which works by the Brontes are included in the collection is not disclosed in this article but it implies that works by all three sisters are in the collection. Also, some of the works have not been read and are in pristine condition:

Professor Secord said: “The bulk of it still hasn’t been touched. The typical book in there that you order up hasn’t really been looked at before.When you go in to use the collection, you put in your slip and have the librarian bring up the paper knife so you can cut open the pages.”

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:13 am

Michael Berkeley’s Jane Eyre Opera has its American premiere

There have been some changes made to the work which premiered in 2000 at the Cheltenham Festival. The two acts have been combined into one with the addition of transitional music. The changes were suggested by Opera Theatre’s artistic director Colin Graham. The reason given here is to make the work ‘more dramatically immediate’. The work now runs 80 minutes. The work focuses on the ‘kernel’ of the drama at Thornfield, ‘distilling’ the story down to Adele, Jane, Mr Rochester, and Bertha Mason.

“We have walked round the piece and viewed it very much from the terrible predicament of the first Mrs. Rochester up in the attic. Jean Rhys’ ‘Wide Sargasso Sea,’ feminism and the developments in psychology in recent years mean that we necessarily see the scenario with a contemporary eye,” Berkeley said. “Jane is a very single-minded girl. Ultimately, it is a timeless story of ‘three into two won’t go,’ and in the effort to make it go, a terrible price is paid. It’s not just, ‘Reader, I married him,’ because we have, at the end, the corpse of the original Mrs. Rochester and Rochester himself burnt and blinded.”

Where: Loretto-Hilton Center, Webster University
When: 7 p.m. June 4 and 8 p.m. June 8, 10, 14 and 16.
Should you take the children: Older teens
More info: 314-961-0171 or experienceopera.org

Image is of soprano Kelly Kaduce, with famed costume designer Jane Greenwood and draper Rick Tuckett. (Photo by Ken Howard)

May 26, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 2:22 pm

More on the ‘Missing Jane Eyre’

This article claims the hunt is on for the revised manuscript of Jane Eyre supposedly written to appease Rev. Carus Wilson, but never published. Thankfully there is one voice of sanity- Alan Bentley from the Bronte Parsonage Museum is also not convinced:

But Alan Bentley from the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth said anyone finding the missing manuscript should not pin their hopes too high on getting a fortune for it.
“We’re not entirely convinced. We think the story in the letters has got a bit confused.
“As far as we know there was never any correspondence between Charlotte and the Reverend.
“It’s more likely to do with Mrs Gaskell.”


The many doubts surrounding the story of Charlotte’s revision of Jane Eyre to avoid libel are not bothering the dealers who are placing a £30,000 price on the manuscript.

A correction to my last post on this story: the letters which provide the only evidence for this story of revision were not written by Rev. Carus Wilson but by his grandson in 1912.

May 25, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:11 am

Lowood Libel?

Splashed all over google news today is the auctioning of letters supposedly revealing a previously unknown court action only barely avoided by Charlotte Brontë. The letters, written in 1912 (when Miss Brontë had long ago been laid to rest), suggest that Charlotte wrote an apology for her depiction of Rev. Carus Wilson as Mr Brocklehurst, confessing to exaggerating the conditions at the school, and re-writing part of Jane Eyre. The ‘apology’ has never been seen, although the reverend apparently sold it to pay for medical treatment.

It appears that court action was only avoided when Bronte wrote an apology, pointing out that she had exaggerated the details.
The story of the dispute is disclosed in three letters by Mr Carus-Wilson’s grandson, Edward Carus-Wilson, which have been put up for auction by an anonymous London book dealer and are due to be sold at Ludlow racecourse on June 21.
The letters were written in 1912 when Mr Carus-Wilson sold the manuscript of Bronte’s retraction to an autograph collector to pay for his child’s medical treatment.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, a documents expert for the auctioneers Mullock Madeley, in Shropshire, who decided to investigate the contents of the letters further, said: “The Bronte experts at the Parsonage Museum in Haworth were unaware of any kerfuffle involving Jane Eyre at the time it was published.”

It seems very strange to me, especially since these articles claim that no one knew that there was any controversy over the Lowood passages of the novel. If I knew about it, I am sure others did. In fact, many of the books written about the Brontes cover the furor that errupted over the depictions of Lowood. Even after Charlotte’s death, there were constant wrangling over it in the public press, even involving Charlotte’s husband who broke his silence to defend his wife’s depictions with perhaps too much passion. It is true that I’ve never heard of this crucial piece of evidence being presented- which begs the question of why it wasn’t brought up at the time. It also seems quite out of character for Charlotte to choose to retract something she has written, when she was so often passionate about the truth of her depictions taken from her own experience.

Image is of the Rev. Carus Wilson.

May 23, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 2:25 am

The Professor in 10 parts!

This is the only adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s The Professor, that I have ever come across. It is not a beloved work. But someone thought it was worthy of a ten part adaptation! Here are the radio BBC episodes, courtesy of Thisbeciel:

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:56 am

Kate Bush… Again!


I’ve found clips for probably all of the performances of Kate Bush’s song, Wuthering Heights. I had already posted ‘the white dress’ video. Here are the red dress, top of the pops and a live concert version for your viewing pleasure. It looks like she performs the same piece of choreography (which isn’t simply ‘crazy’ dancing. To me it looks like classical modern dance but it has been awhile since I have seen dancing in the style of Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan).

The Red Dress clip, Top of the Pops, live concert.

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