Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

July 24, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:09 pm

London Screening for New BBC Jane Eyre

The following information is currently unconfirmed. An anonymous Bronteana reader sends us this tip that the BBC’s new Jane Eyre, starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens will have a screening at the National Film Theatre, London on September 16th, 2006. The first two hours of the production, which we hear is 4 hours long, will be shown at the theatre followed by a question period with the members of the cast and production team. I have been unable to confirm this in any way, the NFT’s September schedule has yet to be posted online. I will keep an eye out for any further references to it.

Thanks, anonymous and bluebell!

ETA: Also, more news on the new Thursday Next novel, here.



Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 2:12 pm

Quint and Nola!

Ages ago I posted a little bit on the Bronte fantasies that appeared in the 1980s soap opera Guiding Light. Slightly before my time, but apparently Nola was fond of literary daydreams. In this clip she has cast herself and Quint as Jane and Rochester. She also had a Wuthering Heights fantasy about Quint. Hopefully a clip of that will turn up as well.

Someone has taken the trouble to make a clip of a fake silent film of Jane Eyre. It’s very cute. The music makes me envision St.John Rivers tying Jane to some railroad tracks until Mr Rochester rides up on Mesrour to save her. Actually, in one of my favourite musical JE clips (from the York/Williams production) the background music sounds precisely like something Snively Whiplash would have in his scenes! And it was the scene when Mr Rochester was trying to convince Jane to stay with him- which was superbly acted but… the music.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:20 am

Bronte-Lite News: New Thursday Next Novel?

There isn’t a whole lot on the wire this weekend, I’m afraid. And thus, ‘Bronte-Lite.’ Last week Bronteana reader Pennyforyourdreams informed us that Jasper Fforde has a fifth book in his Thursday Next series planned! So far there is no further information on the book other than that it is entitled The War of the Words. Mr. Fforde’s website contains no mention of it, however, according to wikipedia the book is listed in the back of his recently published book The Fourth Bear. Now, those of us who read his books know too well how fond he is of textual practical jokes but I think this would be too cruel. I have hopes that we’ll soon be hearing more about it. The book is also listed as being proposed for a July 2007 release. The first book in the series was the best-seller The Eyre Affair in which a literary detective enters the novel to repair the damage when Jane is abducted abruptly by a crazed English professor/evil genius. Mr. Rochester also features in one of the other novels, as do the entire cast of characters in Wuthering Heights (and we have a very interesting explaination for where Heathcliff has been for all those years. My professor wasn’t impressed, but you can never know…). The Bronte references run through all of the books, if only in scenes like this from Lost in a Good Book:

‘Hi!’ squeaked the girl, ‘I’m Adie. So pleased to meet you!’ She grasped my hand and told me repeatedly what a fantastic honour it was.
‘I don’t want to bug you or anything,’ she said shyly, ‘but was Edward Rochester really drop-dead gorgeous to die for?’
‘Not handsome,’ I answered as I watched Flakk slink off down the corridor, ‘but certainly attractive. Tall, deep voice and glowering looks, if you know the type.’
Adie turned a deep shade of pink.

But I think my personal favourite- besides the scenes where the actual characters run amok, would have to be when Thursday is trying to explain to her befuddled partner that she had gone inside Jane Eyre and met Mr Rochester, remarking off-handedly that she has his coat at home (and she discovers that her partner never read Jane Eyre– he had opting for Villette instead). There’s even a Gondal reference if you look sharply!

ETA: From the FAQs of Mr. Fforde’s website, thanks to Pennyforyourdreams (again):

What is your next published book?

The fifth in the Thursday Next series. Yes, she’s back. Facing possibly the greatest danger to the bookworld since the abolition of the Net Book Agreement. And a few grammersites. And the replacement Miss Havisham. And Friday. And Jane Austen. And the end of the world (again). Thursday Next: First Among Sequels will hit the bookshops in July 2007.

Is that really going to be the title of the next Next?

No. We ran it past marketing and they said it might put people off who were new to the series. So I’m calling it War of the Words instead. At least, that’s what we’ve put in the back of The Fourth Bear, so it’s semi-official.

Will we see a new Jasper Fforde book published every year?

Indeed you shall. When I was first published I personally committed myself to a new book every year for ten years, and -publishers willing- this shall be so. If I’m still here in ten years, we’ll see if I can’t commit myself to another ten in another ten.

July 21, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 7:39 pm

Win Tickets to Polly Teale’s Jane Eyre

From Hampstead and Highgate:

THE Ham&High has five pairs of tickets to give away to Shared Experience’s acclaimed production of Jane Eyre.Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale of a plain governess, her volatile employer Mr Rochester, and his mad wife Bertha, runs at Trafalgar Studios 1 in Whitehall until August 26.Directed by Polly Teale, and hailed by critics as “a masterpiece” and “wildly rich and unexpectedly funny”, it draws subconscious links between Jane’s repressed passion and the imprisoned Bertha.

Teale’s theatrically potent production has toured internationally since it originated at The Young Vicin 1997.To win a pair of tickets, simply send your name, address and telephone number to or write to Bridget Galton, 100A Avenue Road, NW3 3HF, by August 4.

Those unlucky enough not to win a pair of tickets can buy the best available seats for all performances of Jane Eyre – except Saturday nights – for £20, a potential saving of £17.50 on top ticket prices.Best available seats can be booked by calling the box office on 0870 0606 632 quoting “Jane Eyre Offer”.A booking fee of £2.50 will be taken for each transaction.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 5:22 pm

The BBC Has Been Holding Out on Us

Just like I told you! There are more pictures from Jane Eyre 1973. Bronteana reader Thisbeciel stumbled across this one today- it is not included in the photo gallery on the recently released DVD:

The 1973 series was evidently very popular at the time as I have come across no less than three books which use stills from it as cover art, and one (which I have at home) is illustrated with stills as well. Some of these stills were also not included in the photo gallery (which is only available on the region 2 DVD). I believe, all of the stills Thisbeciel and I have gathered over the years are available on her website here.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 5:11 pm

Free Day at the Bronte Parsonage Museum

This article is also by Bronte Society PR consultant Diane Benn:


The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth were delighted to welcome the 7th millionth visitor through its doors on Saturday 24 June 2006 and plan to celebrate with an open day which will be free to local people.
The lucky visitors were Mr. & Mrs. Derek Stringer from Bowness-on-Windermere who were visiting Haworth to take in the atmospheric home of the talented Brontë family whose novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights won them international acclaim.
Alan Bentley, Brontë Parsonage Museum Director, surprised the couple with a bag containing a selection of Brontë gifts, including a collection of the Brontë novels. The couple also received a year’s free membership to the Brontë Society and were invited to be guests of honour at an open day at the Museum on Saturday 29 July 2006.
The Parsonage Museum has enjoyed buoyant visitor figures over the years with the highest visitor figures of 221,000 recorded in 1974. This figure was attributed at the time to the popularity of a TV mini series, The Brontes of Haworth, and the recent success of the Wuthering Heights film staring Timothy Dalton. Soon after it was decided that the large numbers of visitors were damaging the 200 year old building .
Alan Bentley said “to celebrate the 7th millionth visitor is a real honour for the Parsonage Museum. Although there have been many additions and alterations to the Museum since 1928, it remains a place of pilgrimage for thousands of UK and overseas visitors. Our aim at the Parsonage is to extend a warm welcome to all and to provide an authentic interpretation of what life was like for the Brontës in the 1800s”. He added “I would like to extend a personal invitation to all members of the public to come and join us on the 29th July and to learn a little more about the world’s most famous literary family”.
The planned open day on Saturday 29 July 2006 will be free to local residents within the BD20, BD21 and BD22 postcode areas with normal admission charges applicable to other visitors. Some form of identification will be required for local people to gain access. The fun-filled day will include drama, free guided walks, short talks on the Brontës and a chance to visit the house where the Brontës lived and worked.


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

New Chairman Has Strong Opinions

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The following is an article by Diane Benn, PR consultant of the Bronte Society who kindly sent us the release:

Richard Wilcocks, the new Chairman of the Brontë Society, has strong opinions on the way that classic literature is taught in English schools.
Recently-elected by the Council of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, Yorkshire, Richard Wilcocks said, “Young people are given insufficient time in the classroom for in-depth study of texts. This is often in spite of the best efforts of teachers.”
Mr Wilcocks should know what he is talking about, because for many years he worked in the world of education, as a teacher and as an examiner with the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. He has also been a journalist, has lectured for the British Council at the University of Poznan in Poland and, amongst other qualifications, possesses a Master’s in Drama and Theatre Arts.
Strong interests apart from the Brontës include the theatre and music – he sings with the Leeds Festival Chorus. A family man, he lives in Leeds. He continued:
“Many more people are drawn towards the Brontës by forces outside schools, for example by new adaptations of novels like Jane Eyre by the BBC.
“A series of Government initiatives in schools – with the admirable objective of improving standards of literacy – has led to a situation in which love of reading and literature generally is being rather neglected in favour of a rigid ‘framework’ approach.
“For at least the last decade the definition of English as a subject has been increasingly prescribed. The emphasis on capital L Literacy is becoming a significant encroachment on English as a creative and humanistic domain, because it does not appear to give more than a token acknowledgement for the value of literature.
“I believe in the sharing of ‘real’ texts, whether described as classic or popular. This enables personal growth and the study of literature to come together. This sharing – through reading, creative writing and improvised drama – was the feature of the Brontë children’s early educational experiences which led to the great works which followed later.
“The forces which drove them in a nineteenth century parsonage are universal, and can be harnessed in many other environments including that of a twenty-first century classroom.
“Currently-prescribed practices in the official literacy strategy require pupils to focus on fragments of text, seldom on whole texts which might elicit a ‘whole’ response. This discourages the formation of a profound personal relationship with a work of literature.
“The best teaching is based on the stimulation of the imagination, of course, and teachers can get plenty of advice on that from the Parsonage, which is rapidly developing into a regional centre for the Arts.”

Mr. Wilcocks is also the editor of the Bronte Parsonage Blog.

July 20, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 8:56 pm

The Voice of Fandom or ‘The Handsome Mr. Rochester’

Well, now that the new pictures from the BBC have rolled in and everyone has had a chance to take it all in, the reactions are starting to crop up all over the internet. Yesterday I had some thoughts about a very swift change in the direction of some of the internet discussion on this 2006 production. Now, a news source is hinting a the issue. From The Stage:

Jane Eyre. A nicely lavish BBC costume drama ticks several boxes before it’s even in the can, but the spectre of the hit-and-miss Toby Stephens as Rochester has me furrowing my brow in consternation.

I think this means it looks good. I don’t quite understand the can imagery. Anyway, Toby Stephens. I have never seen him act before. I have said so in the comments, and some kind soul sent me a link so that I could see him play Hamlet but I thought better of doing that. I don’t want to have any expectations. That said, I was very disappointed when I heard that he had been cast because I knew that he had already been in a Bronte film before, and also I really wished to see an unknown actor play the part. Several of my friends, on the other hand (who really really wanted Richard Armitage to play Mr. R…) were less than impressed as well for the same reason cited by the author above. In fact, the vast majority of discussion on the topic was centered around a feeling that he was an odd, perhaps a bad choice.

And then… two days ago, the BBC release this picture (posted earlier) and it all changed. Suddenly, one photograph convinced more and more people that not only could he play the part, why, he would be the very best! I am surprised there aren’t bets out there for whether or not he can act better than Timothy Dalton… And this really surprises me, because I am naive and believe that, surely, we would have to see his performance first before we made claims like that.

Some time ago, Bronteana reader Mysticgypsy began a discussion about how we judge actors on their performance as Rochester, whether or not a large part of our decision is based on their appearance. Those who spoke up were unanimous that appearance should not be a factor. But, I think that we now have to admit that quite a lot of it is based on appearance- in practice.

July 19, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:53 pm

Highlights of Upcoming Productions of Jane Eyre

Thanks to Mrs. Dionysius O’Gall for the tip. These are highlights of upcoming productions of Jane Eyre: The Musical.

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC CA From 12/15/2006
Until 12/15/2006

OBERLIN, OH US From 7/18/2006
Until 7/22/2006

BALTIMORE, MD US From 11/3/2006
Until 11/12/2006

EDMONDTON, AB CA From 8/18/2006
Until 8/26/2006

PITTSBURGH, PA US From 11/30/2006
Until 12/23/2006

BALTIMORE, MD US From 11/17/2006
Until 11/19/2006

SEATTLE, WA US From 8/25/2006
Until 8/26/2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:43 pm

Anne Bronte is a Work of Art

A project is underway to establish the Bronte Parsonage Museum as a site for contemporary art. The project has been lauched with an exhibition by Cornelia Parker called Bronte Abstracts. The image below- an image of Anne Bronte’s hair- is part of the exhibit.

She has been exploring the Museum’s collection, viewing original Brontë manuscripts in the British Library and working with the University of Bradford analysing samples of Brontë hair, using electron microscope imaging technology. The exhibition will include a series of images of Brontë artefacts, including samples of hair produced using this method.

“By capturing images of the Brontës’ relics through a microscope,” she explained, “I have been using the tools of science to try to understand the power of the myth. Whether it is a split end of Anne’s hair or pinholes made by Charlotte or the tines of a comb burnt by Emily, they are abstractions made by them, unconsciously.”

To learn more about this exhibit read this fascinating and informative article by Diane Benn, on the Bronte Parsonage Blog. The exhibit runs Saturday 16 September to Sunday 31 December 2006

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