Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

September 13, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 10:10 pm


Okay, so this morning, when the website for the new Jane Eyre series went up, I was too excited to eat breakfast so I spent the morning plundering the website for information and pictures. I didn’t know that it was only a work-in-progress, but since then I haven’t mentioned what isn’t there at the moment (aside from the WSS comment in the previous post). A quick online search shows how futile this is- most of these are already splashed all over message boards online. So, here are some images from the site which will be reappearing there shortly anyway…

Click on the images below to view them full-sized.


And I had time to write to my friends as well… Yes, so I have notes of what I found astonishing about the production. Some of these things already came up in the comments to the original post (I think it was Liz?). So, I will fill in some gaps in a way which shouldn’t spoil anything. (I have heard that people WANT spoilers in order to turn off the purist mode ahead of time. Turn it off anyway, but you won’t get spoilers here.

So, as someone who might have seen more adaptations of Jane Eyre than what is probably healthy, I am delighted to say that I have been surprised at every turn today. If anything else, this will be, in my opinion, the most original adaptation of the novel- ever, of all time. If you want the 1983 or 1973 BBC versions, watch them but don’t expect them to be reproduced. The language is different, other things are changed but there have been some fantastic expansions of other elements in the book which have been completely ignored before. Do I sound excited?

Some things I read this morning pleased my purist heart, and other things thrilled the scholar that I am. When I had an ‘oh, so that’s why-‘ moment it was immediately followed by a ‘but what’s that?’ moment (Questions. Shiny things!). I wouldn’t be keeping this blog if I didn’t think the novel was special, but an adaptation is a text of its own- it isn’t Jane Eyre. I’m sensitive to sensationalism when I view an adaptation or I edit a manuscript. Perhaps it is too soon to stake my claim here, but I really am not getting that feeling- despite the changes made. It seems like a genuinely inspired approach.

So, my advice is to visit that website after the episodes air (starting on the 24th) and read the producer’s diary.

Only one comment I will make about the later section of the diary is about WSS since I already mentioned it. There is going to be an interesting connection between this new version of Jane Eyre and the BBCs new adaptation of Wide Sargasso Sea. If I read the entry correctly, footage from Jane Eyre will be used somehow in the production of WSS.

*a few more pictures will be added shortly.
ETA: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



  1. Sounds fantastic… and the pictures look great.

    I hope that they have not changed the dialogue too radically though? especially the exchanges between Jane and Rochester, as this was one of my favourite aspects of the book!


    Comment by Anonymous — September 14, 2006 @ 5:56 am |Reply

  2. Avast, me hearties, ’tis near piracy this be. 😉

    I love the tiny novel details that are being paid attention to by the production (of course, I’m a stickler to notice them and get excited the rest of the day over, for example, the pic of the bell that wakes young Jane at Lowood :p)…

    One thing I will say is that the scene with Rosamund Oliver, meeting St. John, Jane, and Carl the dog (he was mentioned too!) on the hill was mentioned. A part of the novel I didn’t think of as particularly important per se to a miniseries; and would have thought to be among the first to go as a short, “irrelevant-to-the-storyline” scene.

    I look forward to seeing it. It will probably be my favorite adaptation.

    And I’m glad to have been an unknowing pirate yesterday morning. 😉

    Comment by Vaire — September 14, 2006 @ 8:27 am |Reply

  3. I’m really excited by all of this, but I hope they don’t trim some of the more important scenes to fit in others, especially the proposal scene and the after-the-wedding scene. In the trailer I saw a brief shot of Mr. R holding out his hand and looking distressed, and I’m worried about that moment. I’m hoping that is not how they end the “farewell” scene. I was, however, glad to see the pic of Rochester leaning on Jane as he gets to his horse.

    Comment by Anonymous — September 14, 2006 @ 8:43 am |Reply

  4. Why is Jane not wearing her apron when she stands on the stool I wonder?

    Comment by mysticgypsy — September 14, 2006 @ 9:54 am |Reply

  5. Arrgh, anyone care to share more specific spoilers from the Producer’s Diary? I didn’t get a chance to read it before it was taken offline. Bronteana, you sure made it sound like the changes aren’t merely superficial. (I’ve also asked for spoilers on the IMDb messageboard, if anyone feels more comfortable posting the spoilers there.)

    (And I’m trying really hard not to sound desperate!)

    Comment by Eyris — September 14, 2006 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

  6. to L:

    There was nothing that specific in what I read. You can tell the language is a little different from the Hay Lane clip we have, and the trailer.

    Comment by Brontëana — September 14, 2006 @ 3:59 pm |Reply

  7. to vaire:

    When I bought a recording of the Jane Eyre Musical from someone in California it took so long that my friends speculated that it might have been intercepted by pirates. The thought of pirates watching MY JANE EYRE was terribly distressing. 😉

    The Rosamond Oliver scene is something I’m really looking forward to. It is one of those really visual scenes and would look gorgeous I think.

    Comment by Brontëana — September 14, 2006 @ 4:02 pm |Reply

  8. to annonymous:

    Try not to be distressed. I’m sure things are only seeming short because all we have seen so far are the trailer and a very short clip when we’re all anxious for some nice long scenes.

    I will say that some sections of the diary discussed paring down scenes which were not necessary, so I’m sure they will give time to crucial scenes.

    Comment by Brontëana — September 14, 2006 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  9. to eyris:

    The diary was not specific enough for comment on what was taken out of the story, or what the over-all approach or interpretation is but there are hints of creative use of motif and visual signification which should be really interesting.

    Comment by Brontëana — September 14, 2006 @ 4:07 pm |Reply

  10. Okay, I haven’t read the book in several years, but I have read it a few times. So, when I read the producer’s diary and noticed the character Rosamund Oliver, that name didn’t ring a bell. She is mentioned in the book for sure? What about the character on the IMDB cast list–Mr. Eshton? I believe I read he is some kind of neighbor at Thornfield in this production. His name didn’t ring a bell either. Is he featured in the book? Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by Anonymous — September 14, 2006 @ 5:14 pm |Reply

  11. to annonymous:

    Yes, both Rosamond Oliver and Mr. Eshton are characters in the novel. Rosamond Oliver is the heiress St.John Rivers is in love with. It is clear that her family approves of their marrying, and that she loves him in return but he will not propose to her because he wants a missionary wife. He cannot see Rosamond as ‘a female aspostle.’

    Mr Eshton has been altered somehow. He is an extremely marginal character in the novel- one of Mr Rochester’s guests. In the novel he is an older gentleman and a magistrate but other than that we know little about him- I don’t believe we are even told his first name. So I am at a loss to explain why he has such high billing. (He is in no way ‘visionary’ so no help there…). He is also played by an actor around the same age as Rochester, I believe so they have made him far younger than in the novel.

    Does that help?

    Comment by Brontëana — September 14, 2006 @ 5:24 pm |Reply

  12. I would definitely consider myself a purist, which is why, already, little deviations like Jane’s “liar” sign and the clip of the Hay Lane & proposal scenes taking place during the daytime are like red flags to me. However, I’m delighted by the fact that Rosamond Oliver (and Carlo!) are going to be included in this version. (The only version I’ve seen that includes Rosamond was the 1983 one, and she was only included on the dvd, not the video set.)

    I think it’s these rarely or never seen scenes that are going to set this version apart from all others. I was pondering this to myself for a while – why has it taken so long to finally get a version that pays attention to the “little” or overlooked scenes? My beloved 1983 version delights me because it stays very true to the book, but it does little to be innovative. If this version manages to please devotees of the novel and actually give the viewer a beautiful and unique production, then what more can I hope for?

    And then of course I realized it – what truly sets (and will set) this version apart from all others: it is adapted and directed by women! Hurray!!

    I’ve seen faithfulness to the novel before. Now I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a version that retains the novel’s heart.

    Comment by starboarder — September 14, 2006 @ 9:37 pm |Reply

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