Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

March 4, 2006

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Filed under: Academic,Books,E-texts,Fan Fiction,Jane Eyre,Paraliterature — by bronteana @ 1:55 pm

Thornycroft Hall (1864) by Emma Jane Worboise

Thanks to reader, Shoshana, I stumbled upon this rewrite of Jane Eyre. A very… interesting one.

Published in 1864, Thornycroft Hall has more than a few echoes of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which appeared some eighteen years earlier. It seems that the evangelical Emma Jane Worboise felt the need to provide a more "Christian" version of the earlier novel, including not only a spirited defence of Rev. William Carus Wilson and "Lowood School", but also repeatedly urging the necessity for immediate acceptance of Christ.

I have not had the time to read much of it, but here are a few more excerpts from literaryheritage.org.uk:

The similarities between the opening chapters of this book and Jane Eyre are striking. An orphaned girl is brought up by uncongenial relations, and a furious (though justified) temper tantrum leads to her being sent away to school. But here the novels diverge: Ellen is very happy at the Clergy Daughters' School, and defends both it and Rev. William Carus Wilson vigorously from Charlotte Bronte's strictures.

And it was no "Do-the-girls Hall," as some people have asserted: I here
solemnly declare that during the whole of my residence–nearly five years–I never saw the table otherwise than plentifully and wholesomely supplied…I confess that sometimes, at the breakfast hour, our olfactory nerves were saluted with a perceptible odour of burnt porridge; but I have known the milk to be burnt now and then at Thornycroft Hall; and certainly our bread and butter was cut in "planks," not slices, and the butter was, perhaps, a little hard to find…but if you had seen the large dishes-full replenished again and again till every girl was satisfied; if you had seen them passing down the long narrow tables in the lofty eating-room, disappearing with astonishing rapidity; if you had counted the number of "planks" each young lady consumed, you would not have imagined any pupil to be badly served.

The pious and slightly priggish Marshall Cleaton is certainly no Mr. Rochester, but he and his mother are surprisingly appealing characters, despite the rather heavy-handed evangelistic fervour they both display.

…Pious and priggish? The full e-text is now listed in the sidebar.

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March 3, 2006

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Filed under: Books,Fan Fiction,Jane Eyre,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 12:56 am

Brontës make Happiest and Most Depressing List

In a previous post we discussed Jane Eyre making the list for books adults should read before they die. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights have also made another sort of World Book Day list- most happiest and most depressing ending lists!

Pride and Prejudice was voted the happiest ending in literature, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird and Jane Eyre.

Only one in fifty readers, it seems, likes to be left tearful at the last page, so the survey also asked which unhappy endings readers would most like to change: Tess of the D’Urbervilles was a clear winner, with readers demanding clemency more than a century after Thomas Hardy sent his tragic heroine to her death. It was also felt that the endings of Wuthering Heights, 1984 and Gone with the Wind were all too depressing, and should be perked up.

The snarky columnist decides to try their hand at refashioning the ending to Jane Eyre, to see how it might be made a little darker:

And since we are making unhappy endings cheerier, for the gloomy 2 per cent there are ways of rendering happy endings a little darker, starting with Jane Eyre: The original “My Edward and I, then, are happy” needs another clause “. . . or we would be, if that bloody Bertha hadn’t found the fire escape.”

The columnist also goes on to note the boom in fan fiction.

The Fanfic.net website has more than 200,000 Harry Potter stories that J. K. Rowling never wrote.

It also contains half a dozen Brontë 'fics'. They don't deserve a category, which is accorded to Jane Austen, and Mindsweeper… yes, the computer game where you click those little boxes and sometimes kill a smiley face. Several of the best stories on the Brontë novels had been 'boojumed' to use a term from Jasper Fforde, because they violated regulations on the use of colons and other punctuation. These were mostly hilarious works, such as a parody in which we find that Mr Rochester has Brittney Spears living in his attic. Another asks the question, what if Jane had gone to India?

January 12, 2006

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More Video Clips from JE the Musical and Transvestism in CB

This is sure to please Esther! Thanks once again to Thisbeciel for these clips from the Jane Eyre Musical! Some of these are repeats from the last time, but I don't think anyone will mind too much?

An Icy Lane
You examine me
Waking Rochester
I know who heals my life
the Gypsy
the Proposal
Wild Boy/Farewell Good Angel

Thisbeciel also came across this interesting poem, 'Transvestism in the Novels of Charlotte Bronte' by Patricia Beer

1 When reading Villette, Shirley and Jane Eyre,
2 Though never somehow The Professor
3 Which was all too clear,
4 I used to overlook
5 The principal point of each book
6 As it now seems to me: what the characters wore.

7 Mr Rochester dressed up as the old crone
8 That perhaps he should have been,
9 De Hamal as a nun.
10 There was no need
11 For this. Each of them could
12 Have approached his woman without becoming one.

13 Not all heroines were as forthright.
14 Shirley in particular was a cheat.
15 With rakish hat
16 She strode like a man
17 But always down the lane
18 Where the handsome mill-owner lived celibate.

19 Lucy, however, knew just what she was doing.
20 And cast herself as a human being.
21 Strutting and wooing
22 In the school play
23 She put on a man's gilet,
24 Kept her own skirt, for fear of simplifying.

25 Their lonely begetter was both sister and brother.
26 In her dark wood trees do not scan each other
27 Yet foregather,
28 Branched or split,
29 Whichever they are not,
30 Whichever they are, and rise up together.

November 1, 2005

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At last! JE 1973 to be released! (and Nanowrimo).

Thisbeciel's work to spread the word on the BBC version of Jane Eyre from 1973 has finally paid off. She recieved this unsolicited email today, which answers all of our hopes:

Greetings,

I’m writing to let you know that Acorn Media is finalizing an agreement with the BBC to release the 1973 adaptation of Jane Eyre on DVD for both North America and the UK. No firm release date has been set as that will depend on the details that are being finalized, but it will most likely happen in 2006.

Best regards.
Donald Klees
Director of Program Planning
Acorn Media
U.S.

I am informed that Acorn Media often include extras on their DVDs- dare I hope for such things? Considering how acurate the production is, relative to the text (for example, we finally get to see little Julia Severn at Lowood) and in other respects (Rochester actually rides off from Hay Lane with his injured foot hanging out of the stirrup!) any little bit more would be appreciated. There are two surviving homemade copies of the show- one made in America and one in Canada. The Canadian version includes the first episode which was sliced off of the American broadcast for whatever reason. Part of the dialogue in the Hay Lane scene was also cut (in this production Rochester says 'the deuce' even more than in the novel!). In short, this version makes me giddy and blissful, and this is very very very very very good news.

(The first scene of the American version: "Hitherto I have narrated…" Adult Jane is about to break away from her life at Lowood.)

More information on the 1973 production can be found here, from the Internet Movie Database, and there are lots of images, sound clips, and information at Thisbeciel's website, which is listed on the side bar.

It's that time of year again… nanowrimo: national novel writing month. During the month of Novemeber, thousands of insane people around the world attempt to write a 50 000 word novel. I have attempted to write a "nanovel" twice, and both times I very nearly lost my mind. It caused me to resort to speaking in very short sentences. It is not for the faint of heart… nor anyone who would be pained by writing truly awful prose. This is relevant for the Brontëverse because my last year's attempt was a reworking of The Professor. It didn't get beyond two chapters, but parts of it were pleasing. Strangely my 'OC's (Original Characters) took over the story. One of them was a governess named Miss Smyth(e). She was supposed to be entirely incidental, but the moment I said so, she suddenly stole the plot entirely and I had to send her away into the backstory before she did something crazy like marry one of the main characters (or that tutor… I don't know what he was up to). She wasn't the favourite amongst my readers… It was an interesting experiment because my readers had not read The Professor and didn't know which characters were entirely mine, and which were my imitations of Charlotte's. The favourite character by far ended up being the poor 'shuffling' little spinster Miss Sedler! (I conjured her up to work for Mr.Hunsden).

Is a third attempt in store for me? Will Miss Sedler get her own novel or will Miss Smyth strike again? Well, I'll give it a try. Anyone else up for a Brontë-inspired nanovel? If I can survive until I reach chapter three, I think I will count it a great victory!

Details on Nanowrimo can be found here: http://www.nanowrimo.com

October 24, 2005

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Filed under: Bronteana,Comic Books,Fan Fiction,Fun,Games,Jane Eyre,Parodies,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 9:37 pm

Jane Eyre by Telegram.

Yes! You read correctly. Jane Eyre by telegram… I am being buried now, beneath piles of exams. I marked a good many today, and I have an exam to proctor tomorrow as well as one to sit! I will take the time now, while I can catch my breath and save for future reference, some of the more amusing pastimes of a few Brontephiles- namely me, and my friends. Projects like Jane Eyre by Telegram, but other projects suggested include a blogged version of Wuthering Heights (with journal entries by each of the characters), and there's also a huge Jane Eyre comic book that I made, and half of one of Villette.

Jane Eyre by Telegram was first proposed by Aidan, on august 18th 2005 at 2:56 PM. We didn't get very far because we all got so excited! But there was one telegram that arrived far too early:

"Jane stop Jane stop Jane stop Mr Rochester stop."

Others never made it at all:

{This telegram was never sent- having slipped into a crack of the post office floor.}jane eyre stop i love you stop mr rochester stop

Here's a selection of my favourites from all parties:

dear doll stop i am here at school stop i have met a very nice girl who does not despise me stop i am sending you a telegram because i am so cold i can not speak stop i hope we have something good to eat this morning stop love jane

dear God stop kill me know or let me at least run away stop sob sob sob stop yes i will run away and live again in europe stop i know that i'm not crazy even though i am sending a telegram to God stop it's better than carrying out this suicide attempt stop speaking of which i should put these pistols away now before wife gets them stop again stop yours agonisingly edward

"God is currently busy and cannot take your call please hold *sounds of Greensleeves*"Dear St John,We're writing in regard to your latest shipment of beef. It never showed up and we're running low on supplies. We need fresh meat otherwise we will surely go out of business. Please provide some.Yours sincerely,Rhajid Bhaskar,Manager of The Calcutta Grilling Co.

Hahahahaha stop Thornfield is mine all mine stop Hahahahha stop have died suddenly stop Rowland Rochester

mamma stop i am having a frightfully good time here in town stop everybody likes me and they are always getting up gambling parties just for me stop i need more money though stop send me by wire stop your own rapscallion john

dear god stop your favourite son here stop all these children are dying and people are blaming me stop help stop they are actually going to start feeding them stop please strike down the unbelievers stop awaiting your divine wrath stop brocklehurst stop

dear jane stop my husband's great stop however I just won't ever write to you again stop he doesn't let me have contact with any of my close friends stop send help stop i mean i am perfectly happy with married life stop the former miss temple

0948 stop a woman came in and said the code word stop but not the rest of it stop she did not seem to know anything stop however there really was a letter for J.E. stop can not be a coincidence stop advise following the woman who headed towards lowood stop postmistress stop

Agnes Grey stop thank you for your reply stop but we have already secured a governess stop have a nice life stop mrs. fairfax stop

dear mademoiselle jeanette arrete je suis very happy to have a governante arrete i mean governess stop i have stopped jumping on the matresses in the third story stop may i now have some cake stop Adella Varens

what the deuce is to do now stop mr rochester stop

for once i wish someone would care about my welfare in these situations stop mesrour stop

To Theatrical Equipment Proprieters, Millcote sir stop you have sent me the wrong costume stop i wanted a female gypsy outfit stop the skirt must have a wide waistband stop nevermind what it is for stop just send it to me stop mr. rochester

john stop please get the gardner to fix up the lawns stop miss eyre has created ruts in the grass with all of her pacing stop it looks awful stop mrs. fairfax stop

john stop go out and purchase a doll and a dress or whatever for adele stop i could not be bothered to get anything for her when i was abroad and now she is bugging me stop mr rochester stop

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