Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

December 19, 2005


La Jolla Jane Eyre

Happy Holidays to all! Just in time for Christmas, and thanks to Lillie, Santa's special Jewish helper, I bring you one of my favourite recordings of the Jane Eyre musical. Well, disc one so far. There are two in all. This comes from roughly half-way through it's professional growing pains and just before the Broadway version (confused?). Just enjoy it. It has come to my attention that this has been for sale on ebay recently. My personal feelings on selling these unofficial recordings is that it's not on. I think if they were not professionally released then they should only be shared, as I am doing. It seems only fair, and it helps to spread appreciation for the show. This recording features Marla Schaffel as Jane Eyre and James Barbour as Mr Rochester. The show is substantially different from the earlier Toronto version and the Broadway version, although there are also a lot of material shared between all three. For example, 'The Governess' is a hold over from Toronto, but 'Adele's Opera' is now a spoken scene which continued into Broadway. And lastly, there are parts which are unique only to this recording, such as the song 'Child in the Attic', and the …terrible 'The Chestnut Tree'. One last note, this recording was made from the sound boards so the effects are very loud and sometimes strange to the ear.

As always, these will be available for a week only.

Disc one

track 1
track 2
track 3
track 4
track 5
track 6
track 7
track 8
track 9
track 10
track 11
track 12
track 13
track 14
track 15
track 16
track 17
track 18
track 19
track 20
track 21
track 22
track 23


December 16, 2005


Filed under: Audio Clips,BBC,Downloads,Jane Eyre,Media,Radio — by bronteana @ 12:52 pm

Another Audio Adaptation of Jane Eyre

Yes, I am still here. I have not had a minute to do any transcribing since my last post but I will soon have all the free time I can handle, certainly more than you can shake a stick at if you'd want to try doing something like that. It's finals time, the holidays, and time for the family business to go bankrupt. But the Brontës go on.

Here, for example, is what has been termed 'anything but a decent adaptation' of Jane Eyre, brought to you by Biedroneczka from LERO, who has also provided us with at least two or three other audio adaptations! This time we have Sophie Thompson as Jane Eyre, and Ciaran Hinds as Mr Rochester. I did listen to part one of this when it aired on the BBC. It was awful indeed, but as for the rest, I cannot say. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I heard once that this production predates Mr. Hinds' stint as Mr Rochester in the A&E adaptation. I am bound to express myself… I think his portrayal is terrible but I cannot tell how much blame goes to the director. There is a scene where he actually drags Jane down the stairs after he tries to blame her for the whole thing ("I was prepared to committ bigamy for you because I knew that marriage was important to you!"). Notwithstanding, he still seems to strut and shout his way through nearly all of his scenes without much variation. He reminds me of the kind of Mr Rochester Charlotte feared she might see on the stage, actually. All grimaces and strutting.

Jane Eyre with Sophie Thompson and Ciaran Hinds

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

As always, these will only be available for about a week. I wish I had a copy of their adaptation of Shirley. That one really made me laugh. In fact, I couldn't help writing a parody of each installment! The accent of Mr Moore was very amusing.

November 18, 2005


'Cottage Poems' by Patrick Brontë

At last! The Cottage Poems have been published by Project Gutenburg! Click here to read the full texts. They were released on november 16th. Could 'Maid of Killarney' be far behind? How very exciting! Other Bronte texts available through the Project include:

A, C, and E Brontë: Poems by Currer, Ellis and, Acton Bell
Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey, Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, Villette, The Professor.

Il y a Jane Eyre ou Les mémoires d'une institutrice>>, le roman en Francais aussi. Je ne sais pas qu'est le traducteur de cet roman. C'est tres intéressante. Je pense qu'il est comme lire la roman encore- pour le premier fois. Il a un peu plus …de melodrame. Ou plus de poésie, peut-etre. D'accord. Chacun langue chante son poésie. And, no, there is no text for Shirley! Shame, shame! (Nothing for Branwell either).

Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights.

Also: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Brontë volume one and two.

A friend of mine is responsible for Really Slow productions of Shakespeare. People volunteer to record their lines, and then this is all pasted together with the magic of the internet into… a really slow production of Shakespeare. Some of my other friends and I were then inspired to try a really slow production of Jane Eyre the Musical. The trouble here was that all of my friends are ladies (the ones who sing, at any rate). And so, we had a soprano Rochester and myself who plays St.John Rivers (also a soprano, although I can sing alto as well). I forget how Brocklehurst came out… Our Jane was a certain classicist from Nova Scotia. Alas, before we ever even took our little horrendous productioni seriously, she ran away to a religious order.

And now, she's back! And she's not a nun. She found true love… in the religious order. I am astounded and amazed, and it is beautiful. She is no longer my soon-to be nun friend who despaired of leaving behind her copy of Villette. I now have a deliriously happy non-nun friend who can have as many books as she likes- and the true love thing is rather nice too.

ps. Don't worry, Martha- I got your email! I think this deserves a post of its own ๐Ÿ™‚

November 6, 2005


Filed under: Audiobooks,BBC,Brussels,Charlotte Bronte,Downloads,Media,Productions,villette — by bronteana @ 4:46 pm

Villette Audio Adaptation

Right here: starring Catherine McCormack as Lucy Snowe, James Laurenson as Monsieur Paul Emanuel and Joseph Fiennes as Graham Bretton! Thanks to Biedroneczka! However am I going to study for the Classics midterm now?Life is good, notwithstanding that distressing review of Polly Teale's Bronte. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

October 14, 2005


Wuthering Heights in 5 Parts and more news for Jane Eyre: The Musical

*NB: It has been brought to my attention that part two of WH had been omitted by mistake. I've tried to correct this. Please let me know if there are any problems.

Biedroneczka, who brought us Mystery Theatre Jane Eyre, has also kindly posted a five-part BBC radio adaptation with Amanda Root as Cathy and John Duttine as Heathcliff! I haven't listened to this particular version. My computer really cannot handle large downloads.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

ETA: "'Jane Eyre' failed on Broadway because the economics of musicals do not allow for maturity." An article on article about a current production of the show:

JANE EYRE: THE MUSICAL. By John Caird and Paul Gordon. At CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale, through Oct.23. Tickets $16-$28. Call 631-218-2810.

October 1, 2005


Limited time offer!

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the addition to our links list of which is always posting astonishing news about everything from new publications to moon craters! Check it out.

Since this is a student blog, part academic enquiry, part personal testament, I should note that yesterday I took the first step towards my dream of Brontë studies. The professor I studied the Brontës with has agreed to help edit my program of study. I have a comprehensive project already laid out, and this I sent to her yesterday while I put together something which will adequately show my range of interests without seeming diffuse… I’m interested in an awful lot of areas: religion, intertexts, construction of gender, folklore, classics, arts (as in painting, needlework, singing etc in literary texts)–and a lot more… Blindness and poetic creation, and prophecy as well… One small step for me, speaking of moon craters ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope this will lead to something ‘Brontëful’ as a friend of mine says.

The ‘limited time offer’ is two radio adaptations of Jane Eyre which have turned up amongst my friends at L.E.R.O. (League of the Extraordinarily Rochester Obsessed). They can be found here, for a very short time (less than a week now). There’s Loretta Young and Orson Welles: and Patricia Elliot and Arnold Moss (a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre production)
I have only heard the beginning of the second one so far. It sounds very interesting–the introduction claims that the story is interesting because Charlotte ‘hardly ever left her house’ and goes on to mention Branwell being the model for characters in his sisters’ novels! Thisbeciel, who shared this with me after biedroneczka was kind enough to post them for us, says that there’s a lot of “excessive scary dramatic music.

Jane: "I am going to go for a walk" (DA DA DUM!!!!)
Mr. Rochester: "Let's go into the garden" (DA DA DUM!!!!!)”

And apparently Bertha sounds exactly like a dinosaur. I guess that explains the strange noise at the start. It sounded very like a tyrannosaurus rex. Poor Mr Rochester, things just get worse for that man.

Speaking of adaptations of Jane Eyre, Bronteblog informs us that a new version of the 1970 film with Susannah York and George C. Scott is due for release. This is a good thing, in my opinion, only because it probably will fix that gap which appears in one of the scenes between Jane and Rochester. There’s obviously a scene missing in the current release. And yet, this is the only version that I loathe… And I’ve tried to overcome this, but I can hardly bear watching it. Jane really seems to be a broken down woman with no self-respect, to want to be with a man like Scott’s Mr Rochester. I managed to get my Brontëphobic mom to see it, and she and I ended up laughing through the second half (after the infamous: “Have you ever been to an asylum, Jane?… Jane?” *everyone has left*) He’s about as witty as something that isn’t witty at all, with such gems as “life’s an idiot” which even confuses Blanche. So there you go… And St. John is more moved by Jane’s piano playing than Mr Rochester is in the entire film.

More news! (I’m trying to catch up on some things I’ve simply not had the time to report on here). A few months ago, now, I participated in a “literary role playing game”. The idea sounded absolutely awful, so of course I gave it a try. The concept is all of the famous authors of history born before 1900 are reincarnated in the present and are all going to same high school! It’s a lot more fun than it sounds. Reading the different journals had me laughing for hours. Chaucer does rap now, and doesn’t seem to get on well with Marlowe… Anyway, I created a journal for Anne. And it has gone well, although by a cruel twist of fate the people playing Charlotte and Emily have been too busy to keep up theirs. Emily exited in style by, uhm, …going on a trip with T.E. Lawrence on his time machine. Charlotte just slipped away while no one was paying attention (I hear Jane Austen had been trying to get her to go out with Alexander Pope). Anne is doing well, made a few friends including Wordsworth and P.G. Wodehouse. I’m glad to say that there was a lot of joy when she turned up, and that people not in the game have been following her (limited) adventures so far.

As an aside, has anyone else noted how common ‘huzzah!’ is nowadays? How in the world did that happen?… Or is it just me?

August 27, 2005


Jane Eyre the Musical to make its UK Premiere, and the Wierd Circle.

Finally there is news about my favourite musical! Details can be found here: Jane Eyre the Musical's UK Premiere.

I've been very busy lately, preparing to return to school, but I have also been at a loss to decide exactly what to post about- there's so much to choose from. Firstly, just as July was our impromptu Villette month, August is Jane Eyre month. I usually read the novel all at once in a day, or two at most. I picked up on a lot of things that I usually gloss over while reading it slowly over the month. Probably my most interesting 'discovery' was that Helen Burns doesn't have a grave marker for a certain number of years. It seemed very odd that this time frame would be given. After thinking about it, and tallying the passage of time based on the events in the novel I believe that it's plausible to assume that Jane returned to Lowood with her son and Mr Rochester- because it would have to have been when her child was 3 years old. There might be another explaination, but I found this one intriguing!

I love to do inter-textual analysis, and so I also made a list of each and every book mentioned in the novel. ๐Ÿ™‚ That will keep me busy for quite some time in the distant future. My wonderful friend Thisbeciel has also overwhelmed me with her Brontean bounty! I now have full texts of The Cottage Poems by Patrick Bronte! And many terrific images, and illustrations such as… This picture of the madwoman's room at Norton Conyers! I think that if I was shown such a room I'd probably write a novel as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

I ALSO got to hear a strange little adaptations of Jane Eyre and of Wuthering Heights. I believe these date to the 1950s- which is even more interesting to me because I haven't been able to see any of the films of Jane Eyre from that decade (yet). The group was called Wierd Circle. Imagine, if you will, Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights performed in half an hour. Does it make you smile? Yes, it was awful- but awfully funny. Jane Eyre was especially terrible and has now become the source of many jokes among my friends.

Wierd Circle Jane Eyre included such interesting elements as:
-The landscape being terrifying in and of itself.
-No Mrs. Fairfax. The housekeeper is now a Mrs. Campbell who has a really creepy voice and is always saying things like: "You think you'll be happy here? ha ha ha Really, Miss Eyre? Happy? ha ha. You'll see… yes, you'll see. Ha ha ha". That isn't a direct quote, but this is: "We've had other governesses come before but they never stayed. No. Never…" And she tells poor Adele that she's "a child of the devil".

-Mr Rochester is really not that bad. But he's a few leaves short of a chestnut tree sometimes. During his first chat with Jane he says that he has learned a lot about Jane: that she's an orphan, likes children, and that he loves her: "You're an orphan, like children, and I love you." They sort of pretend that didn't happen, because she is still surprised by his proposal! When Jane asks him why no one is allowed upstairs he replies glibly that "it saves fuel." When Jane points out how this doesn't make sense he says: "Let's say it saves fuel and go with that." When asked about the articulate voice shouting threats in the distance he says: "It's the wind". When Jane objects he replies: "Let's say it's the wind and leave it at that."

-Mrs. Campbell: "You won't be married for another three days, and there's a lot I can do in three days!"

-I will now spoil the ending. Bertha is revealled- and this part really was creepy, I must say. But it still suceeded in ruining the effect of Bertha's demonic cries and laughter. While she laughs and cries out that she likes to see death, Mr Rochester informs us that he adopted Adele because he was lonely and needed something to love- which, you know, inevitably makes me think that a cat would have probably been a better idea. And so that really ruined the moment. But it was very funny. Bertha's death is also comically undermined. Mr Rochester tells her to not jump, and we hear her do a "la la la- whoop!" and hear Jane inform us that Bertha has slipped off of the roof (Jane witnesses the fire- I forgot to say… Thornfield bursts into flames as soon as she leaves). And lastly, the framing device of Jane's diary is reintroduced. Jane is at Mr Rochester's bedside in the hospital. He's alive but IN A COMA. He's been in a coma for the last few months. And since Jane has begun to speak in a slow creepy Mrs. Campbell sort of way, we are left with the knowledge that he won't ever wake up- probably.

I know how much you must have enjoyed that- and so, next time I'll have Wierd Circle Wuthering Heights to discuss!

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