Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 10, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 11:16 pm

The Folly of Adaptation?

Still enjoying the bliss. I asked a favour of Thisbeciel, and it was granted. She has provided this screencap of the filmographies main screen, featuring a great moment from the volume 1 DVD of the BBC’s Jane Eyre 1973:

Only now did I realise that unfortunately, it looks like they have grafted Mr Rochester’s head onto Lord Ingram’s body… just behind Blanche. Oh dear.

So far the folk reviews of the production are very positive. We have young men ‘enthralled’, older married gentlemen in tears, older ladies in giggles (my mom responding to the repartee, which she had me play over again), and several young ladies in stages of excitement and joy (myself included).

In my search for more news on Jane Eyre 2006 today I came across several very interesting discussion threads. When it first became definate that there would be a new production, the reaction was largely positive with only a slight inital disappointment that it wasn’t one of the other novels, one which has not been adapted yet- like Shirley– or one whose adaptation will probably never again see the light of day- such as Villette. I would like to know, now, what you think. How do you feel about another remake of Jane Eyre? Secondly, one of the opinions I came across was not in favour of another adaptation on the grounds that the novel had ‘long since outlived its time’ meaning the modern world has moved on in some way, that Jane Eyre no longer works or speaks to modern human beings. What are your thoughts on this?



  1. ahaha, head transplant!!! XD

    i think it’s great to make remakes. not everyone knows or appreciates old versions. but then, i wouldn’t say no to ‘shirley’ or ‘villette’. 😉

    Comment by le_ssa — May 11, 2006 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  2. Quite an improvement, I think 😉

    This is true. Sometimes people are turned off by when a film was made. I would really like to see one of the other novels done, but see no harm in another JE or WH either. I would like to see if the BBC still have their old version of Villette and the 1968 Tenant of Wildfell Hall! I doubt Villette will be remade. The religious tensions would probably make marketting it a nightmare.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 11, 2006 @ 12:56 am |Reply

  3. “that Jane Eyre no longer works or speaks to modern human beings.”

    This statement is completely ridiculous.
    Dimissing Jane Eyre in such a way is the same as dismissing the essence of what makes us human.
    Can we dismiss Hamlet? NO. Can we dimiss Milton? NO.
    Then how can dare they attempt to make such a claim for Jane Eyre?

    Comment by mysticgypsy — May 11, 2006 @ 1:13 am |Reply

  4. I love any remake. They all have something about them good or bad, and honestly I like what they have to say about the period in which the film was made just as much as what they say about the actual book.

    I would LOVE to see Villette done.

    Comment by Stephanie — May 11, 2006 @ 1:23 am |Reply

  5. to Mysticgypsy:

    Well, I agree. I cannot find any basis for such an opinion. On the contrary, many times I wonder at how important the novel is for issues facing our society, and I lament that we have not come very far since Charlotte’s time. So much for the novel’s intellectual appeal, as for its Romantic appeal this is timeless because it speaks directly to our basic desires. Like all classics it is a book for all times.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 11, 2006 @ 1:25 am |Reply

  6. to Stephanie:

    Agreed! I find a lot of enjoyment just from seeing how each generation reacts to the story.

    I do have posts in the archives about the BBC Villette mini-series including pictures of the actors who played Lucy Snowe and M.Paul but sadly no images from the production itself. I am not even sure that it still exists. Apparently there was a ‘purge’ during the early 1970s in the BBC archives so it is possible that it was destroyed. I have yet to seriously try to track it down, though.

    I have read parts of two screenplays for Villette adaptations and both were excellent. It would make a fantastic film, I think.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 11, 2006 @ 1:30 am |Reply

  7. My dream is to see Villette made into a in a new adapatation.

    Honestly, I don’t see what the problem is that is stopping it from being made into a movie. I think there are ways to get round the religion issue. Besides, Villette isn’t merely about religious tensions. There is so much to explore in that the characters alone that it is a shame it is taking so long for a film to be made!

    Comment by mysticgypsy — May 11, 2006 @ 1:34 am |Reply

  8. to Mysticgypsy:

    I do hope it will be made someday. These screenplays were excellent- truly. Visually very astute, thought-provoking, and capture from the first instant the feeling of the work. One of them begins with a voice over from Lucy and a ship in a bottle which, at the end of the scene falls and shatters.

    Polly Teale’s play seemed to go over well with audiences and critics…

    I’m adapting it as a graphic novel at the moment. It is a tricky business but it can be done. Personally I would want a bold production that would try not to shy away from anything contentious but I realise a lot of what goes into a film has much more to do with profits and how viewers will receive it then artistic value.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 11, 2006 @ 1:46 am |Reply

  9. The more adaptations, the better! Diversity is good!

    Comment by siansaksa — May 11, 2006 @ 2:13 am |Reply

  10. Another JE is always welcome – but the ginormous number of adaptations in the past makes it impossible to catch all of them, which makes me sad!

    An additional problem with Villette is the whole French-speaking thing, IMHO. A major thrust of the story is Lucy being transformed from a speechless stranger in a strange land to an established bourgeoise with property and connections. All that would be lost if everyone was speaking English to her in the beginning – unless it was a bilingual version!

    Comment by Liz — May 11, 2006 @ 3:15 am |Reply

  11. “that Jane Eyre no longer works or speaks to modern human beings.”

    Poppycock!!! Jane is a woman striving to assert her independence and values against the expectations of society – I believe that is still very relevant, and a concept we can all identify with.

    Jane Eyre is still being used as inspiration for more modern novels. Has anyone read Maggie O’Farrell’s My Lovers Lover? It clearly derives, via Rebecca, from Jane Eyre.

    We shouldn’t, by the way, have to choose between another version of Jane Eyre and an adaptation of Shirley or Villette. Can’t we have both?!!


    Comment by Anonymous — May 11, 2006 @ 2:03 pm |Reply

  12. to siansaksa:

    Hear, hear! *stacks my collection*

    Comment by Brontëana — May 12, 2006 @ 12:59 am |Reply

  13. to Liz:

    Impossible? No. Especially with the internet… some of the older ones are bound to turn up sometime… if they are still in existence. Improbable maybe 😉

    I had not considered the language. I think you’re right. One of my professors quipped that Charlotte was toying a little with her English readers by having so much of the story in French. I would like to see it bilingual but you’re right: the BBC would never go for that!

    Comment by Brontëana — May 12, 2006 @ 1:04 am |Reply

  14. to Lynne:

    I feel strongly about how important JE is to the concerns of our society. Everywhere outside of the university (especially) I am shocked by how little we respect ourselves and eachother. Even some of the more particular questions of the book surrounding education and marriage. I am horrified that some of my relations have married because their partners seemed ‘useful’, or friends who are looking for marriage because they feel devalued as a person of single status.

    The idea of choosing one or the other came about only because people immediately thought that the budget for this new JE could have been better spent on a Shirley or Villette. I hope someday we will have films of all the novels because they can also be valuable for stimulating interest in the books themselves.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 12, 2006 @ 1:09 am |Reply

  15. I came across this site as I was researching whether Villette had ever been optioned (as a play or a screenplay). I’m curious about the adaptations that are already out there that you mention. How can I find out more about them?

    Much thanks in advance!

    Comment by Vanessa — June 26, 2006 @ 1:46 pm |Reply

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