Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

September 16, 2006

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First Fan-Review of Jane Eyre 2006


Laura wrote in to Bronteblog where she had won tickets to the screening this evening of the first two episodes of the BBC series. There isn’t much that we did not surmise from the preview clips so far, but there are some particular observations of the acting of the leads:

The foremost thing I took away from the preview was that Ruth Wilson was an absolute delight as Jane. She brought a lot of natural charm to the part and although her performance was subtle, the viewer is left in no doubt of what she is feeling in each scene. In my eyes, she has provided the best performance yet for this character. Ruth’s Jane is full of humanity, soul and honesty and she instantly wins your sympathy.

[…]

Mr Rochester is one of my favourite characters; he is enigmatic, charming, unpredictable, outspoken and sometimes even manipulative. As you all know, there are many layers to his persona, but Toby seems to have struggled with capturing all of these idiosyncrasies and instead gives (in the first episode at least) what seems to be quite a black and white account. When not being overly gruff, his manner often seems affected and it even comes across that he is not taking the character very seriously…He improves, however, in the second hour, helped along by the fact that he smirks a lot less and is perhaps not quite so sarcastic. It also doesn’t do any harm that he is, indeed, partially shirtless in one of the scenes… (Mr Darcy, eat your heart out 😉

The rest of the review is available here. The rest of the review harmonises well with my own opinions on what I have seen as well. Rochester is an incredibly complicated character, and I truly pity any actor who takes him on. It doesn’t sound like he fares too badly, however. It sounds like he has given the character scope to develop and probably that would continue into the remaining episodes. I don’t recall coming across a predominantly sarcastic protrayal, but the sarcasm is a part of the character (often describes in the novel as sardonic).

May 8, 2006

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Filed under: BBC,Films,Jane Eyre,Jane Eyre (BBC 2006),Locations,Media,Productions,TV — by bronteana @ 12:09 pm

Filming on Location for Jane Eyre 2006

Last week the BBC were busy filming scenes at Belton House for their new production of Jane Eyre. While this article has very little in new information- it deals almost exclusively with the impact of filming on the house and what a bother it all is- but there are these fabulous new images from the production including a behind the scenes picture, and a trivia note about the Red Room:

Although Belton House has its own red room, opened in March 2004 after two years of restoration work, the red room where Mrs Reed locks Jane is actually being created at Sudbury Hall while Belton's red room is transformed into the grand salon at Gateshead.


Like Belton House, location for Gateshead but also Rosings Park in Pride and Prejudice, Sudbury Hall was also used for interiors in the same 1995 production of Jane Austen's novel.

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Filed under: Art,Books,Bronteana,Patrick Bronte,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 12:46 am

Today's Brontë News

The following items really don't seem to naturally be on the same page with one another, I think you will agree…

Wuthering Heights gets a mention in an article on why people should read the Kama Sutra:

The pundit Vatsyayana, who wrote the Kama Sutra, is blessedly free of physical disgust, but he isn't naïve. He understands lust; he depicts the stages of erotic obsession in great detail. For example, he gives the stages of romance: making eye contact, exchanging longing glances, having erotic images come to mind that won't go away, followed by thinking of the beloved all the time, losing sleep, making excuses to meet, and finally culminating – if sexual contact is denied – with falling sick and dying.

The whole history of the romantic novel is written in those few observations. If you smile at the notion that sexual desire can make someone grow sick and die, you may be correct medically, but millions have wept over the death of Catherine Earnshaw pining for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, not to mention a thousand knights languishing for love in medieval romances.

From the Kama Sutra to…

The hometown of the Rev. Patrick Brontë is one of the stops on musican Eliza Gilkyson's tour of the UK and Ireland:

Tue 9. Bronte Centre Churchill Road Drumballyroney Near Rathfriland, N Ireland. BT32 5IX Box Office 02406 23322 TP £12.00 DO 8.30 p.m.

There's more information on the Centre and the town's Brontë-related sites here.

Bronte Homeland Picnic Site, Knockiveagh:The picnic site at Knockiveagh is an ideal place to stop and see the rolling hills where Patrick Bronte grew up and the mountains of Mourne in the background. The picnic area occupies the ruins of a former shebeen – an illicit drinking house.

Alice McClory's Cottage:This cottage was the childhood home of Patrick's mother, Alice McClory. Alice and Hugh used to court secretly and some say they eloped to their wedding in Magherally Church, near Banbridge.

The Birthplace Cottage:Little now remains of the family's two-roomed cottage in the fairy glen at Emdale. The remains have been in the care of the Bronte Homeland Trust since 1956.

Glascar School:Patrick taught here in the 1790's, although the original schoolhouse was replaced by this more modern building in 1844. He is said to have used enlightened teaching methods to bring out the best in his pupils. He was later dismissed for forming a romantic attachment with one of them.

Lastly, tulips and Brontë fan art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Image is of the Mourne Mountains as seen from near Rathfriland.

May 6, 2006

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"Faithfulness to the novel and a perfect cast make this BBC adaptation the ONE"

-From the DVD for Jane Eyre 1973.

About a dozen readers have now recieved their copies of the BBC's 1973 Jane Eyre out on DVD. This is the American edition, of course, although the UK edition should be along shortly. I think we have answers to all of our questions now. The slight time difference might be the result of there being no photo gallery in the US edition. The 'lost' first episode, however, is all there. This is all coming in now from reader reports, since my copy is probably on a nice week-long trip to Toronto at the moment. The smaller edits also have been restored, so those who saw the tape which was run in Canada and New York will still have a treat seeing these deleted bits, like the slightly extended Hay Lane scene.

Thisbeciel has made screencaps from the DVD's filmographies. It looks beautiful! If you click on the images you can see them full-sized.*

*I have removed the images because the demand was so great that Thisbeciel's website crashed a few times today.

May 5, 2006

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Filed under: Books,Bronteana,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 7:01 pm

Reader, I Married Him by Michèle Roberts

Review from Monsters and Critics:

Echoes of Brontë and du Maurier reverberate in this black comedy from prolific Franco-British novelist Roberts (The Mistressclass, 2003, etc.) about a thrice-widowed British woman visiting Italy. Aurora, a 50-year-old lapsed Catholic, has bad luck with husbands. Her first died while traveling with a rock band in the 1960s. Her second, an architectural historian, drowned in the Grand Canal. She`s just buried her third, a devoutly Catholic tax collector who fell off a cliff.

After spending a few stultifying days with her overbearing stepmother Maude (who insists on calling her Dawn), Aurora decides to visit her Italian friend Leonora. When they met 20 years earlier, Leonora was a feminist activist. She is now the abbess of a convent in Padenza, but not like any abbess the Church wants to claim. At Leonora`s request, Aurora brings to Italy the pistol her father bought her mother for protection 50 years ago. (The ease with which she gets it through customs is scary.)

Maude also ends up in Padenza with members of her parish, including the disconcertingly handsome Father Michael, a proponent of Jungian synchronicity who plans to attend a conference Leonora has organized. Because there is no room for her at the convent, Aurora stays in an apartment run by another old friend, Frederico, whom she has always assumed is gay.

While Aurora battles mosquitoes and other inconveniences (there is no hot water), intrigues ensue concerning convent relics, Church politics and secrets of both sex and identity. Aurora finds herself in bed with Father Michael, who may not be a priest, and romantically pursued by Frederico, who may not be gay. How she finds her happy ending is a bit of a shock. Aurora is not to be trusted as a narrator, but she is mordantly funny.
Junk food for spiritually oriented intellectuals.


I think I've missed the echoes. You may purchase the book from Amazon.com, here.

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Filed under: Bronteana,Drama,Fun,Jane Eyre,Media,Reviews,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:22 am

Brontë News

Jane Eyre is playing London: "Jane Eyre'' plays from May 9 through July 9 at Trafalgar Studios. Tel. (44) (870) 060-6632 or click http://www.theambassadors.com.

'Bookslut' has another review of The Brontë Project: A Novel of Passion, Desire, and Good PR.

This is probably a better idea than encouraging your children to write fictional thank you letters for fictional gifts of Jane Eyre: a mother-daughter book club!

The Chocolate War, The Outsiders, and The Secret Life of Bees are novels written by contemporary writers, but the group has tackled classics that include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Jane Eyre, as well.

"It's not hard to read a book each month," said Katie [aged 11], "but Jane Eyre was so long."

Author Sara Paretsky talks about her attraction to a certain breed of heroine: Women like Jo March of "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and the title characters of "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre"
"Heroines who engage me had to suffer before they succeeded," said Paretsky.

And lastly, Yorkshire has the dubious destinction of being #4 on a list of places to avoid visiting
Lovely scenery, but there are people in the West Riding who have lived there since 1106 but are still not accepted as true Yorkshiremen because rumour has it that their mother bought clogs from a pedlar who had a cousin in Prestbury, thereby blighting the bloodline forever. They make Londoners look like Hawaiian greeter girls. Plus you can't stray within 50 miles of Haworth sodding Parsonage without being assailed on all sides by Bronte bilge. The Branwell Tea Shoppe. The Helen Burns Sunbed Centre. Mr Rochester Opticians. Grace Moon Loft Conversions. What a load of Wuthering Shite.

I cannot but laugh at the thought: who the deuce is 'Grace Moon'? They… did at least inadvertently promote two other places associated with the Brontës: The Peak District, home to at least one of the halls said to have inspired Charlotte's description of Thornfield, not to mention the location for now two version of Jane Eyre. Also, the Mourne Mountains, in Northern Ireland. Visible from Patrick Brontë's birthplace. So, it's not all so bad? …

ETA: These this a better link for the London Jane Eyre production: http://www.theambassadors.com/trafalgarstudios/sp_p2702.html

Adapted and Directed by Polly Tealefrom the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is poor, plain and unloved. But locked up in the attic of her imagination lives a woman so passionate and so full of longing she must be guarded night and day for fear of the havoc she would wreck. Who is this woman who threatens to destroy Janes's orderly world? A world where Jane has, for the first time, fallen in love.

Last seen in the West End with its award winning play After Mrs Rochester, Shared Experience is one of the country's most successful and inventive theatre companies, making a long awaited return to London with its heartbreaking, utterly compelling and unique interpretation of a great novel.

'You feel you are looking into the heart of Bronte herself' The Times
'Brilliant. A big, stormy play' Sunday Times
'Keeps making me cry in the street. Startling intelligence, passion and humour.' Daily Telegraph

May 4, 2006

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Filed under: Crafts,Fun,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 11:43 am

Stitching Wuthering Heights

For those of you thinking about joining in on Knit the Classics' reading of Wuthering Heights next month, I bring you some useful links that have turned up which might give you some ideas for your needlework project.

Victoriana.com might be a good place to start, and get some general ideas.

These are a few illustrations from The Beeton's Book of Needlework, published in 1870, showing a few Victorian embroidery stitches. Wuthering Heights is a great book from an embroiderer's point of view, because you might choose to work with older 18th and 17th century styles- which are a lot more fun in my opinion! Such embroidery is known as Jacobean or Crewel embroidery. This is also the kind of embroidery Jane Eyre probably saw, the 'strange' birds and people on the hangings tucked away on the third floor. I would suggest photocopying instructions from books at the library, or try going to used bookstores for comprehensive guides. I learned through some wonderful books I picked up second hand. Then, get a hoop a needle and some embroidery floss.

So, you can guess what I'll be doing this June!

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Today's Brontë News

Emily Brontë will be one of the authors of works available from Spoken Network audiobooks.

Emily Brontë's favourite flower, the bluebell, is under threat of hybridisation with commercial and Spanish varieties of the flower.

We have another use of the term 'Bronte-esque' (we are compiling the uses of this term, and maybe someday it will end up in the OED):

By 15, I had already penned an 800-page tome of Bronte-esque proportions, and I don’t mean that in a good way. It smacked of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele, although I hadn’t (and still haven’t, to this day) ever read a word they‘d written.

Jane Eyre is part of the 'essentials of British and World literature' in new school textbooks.


And Humboldt Light Opera Company's production of Jane Eyre: The Musical is reviewed here. Possibly the production doesn't work entirely on a small stage?

Although “Jane Eyre” may not translate well from 19th century gothic novel to 21st century musical production — at least, not on the small stage — Humboldt Light Opera Company continues its tradition of not settling for the easy out. They continue to take on challenges and provide pleasurable and entertaining theater-going experiences for the North Coast.

May 2, 2006

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Today's Brontë News


Today we have, thanks to Austenblog, some news about a very creative blog called Knit the Classics, where members read a classic novel for the month and make needlework (of any variety- crochet, knitting, embroidery etc…) inspired by the work! this month's novel is Pride and Prejudice, and for June the novel will be Wuthering Heights. I think this is a marvellous idea, and not just because embroidery is one of my hobbies.

Here's another article about those Bed Books– books designed for reading in bed. Their assortment includes Brontë titles, such as Wuthering Heights.

There's a wrestling racoon named Jane Eyre

Emily Brontë is a 'spinner who did Yorkshire a good turn.'

Emily Brontë's poetry is also a challenge for a poetry recital contest.

I'm not sure what to make of this: For $1.50, there is Madeleine L'Engle's "Circle of Quiet," a biography in which she tells of days when she feels like Emily Bronte or Jane Austen or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. On those days, she signs her checks with their names, and never once has the bank returned one as fraudulent.

And an article on Justine Picardie's My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes, a book which features a discussion of Jane Eyre's 'shades of grey.'

And lastly, communities in Northern Ireland are hoping that Patrick Brontë can help to bring people together, and hope there may eventually be 'a Bronte Day.' This movement is being promoted by relatives of the Brontes. In a previous post, such a relative of the Brontes wrote in to Brontëana and posted her story here.

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Two More Clips for Musical Fans

Thanks again to Thisbeciel, here are two clips from promotions for Jane Eyre: The Musical. One is the performance of the song 'Secret Soul' from the Rosie O'Donnel show, and the other is a performance of the same song from Bway on Bway. Enjoy!

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