The Brontes of Haworth… dull?
I am not sure how the topic turned to the course on the Brontes the university offered last year. Someone who was a roomate of one of my classmates told me how she felt as though she had taken the course herself. "Every night my roomate would be lying on the floor reading one of them, and laughing, and telling me 'someone just did this, and now this is happening!" She went on, and I listened, trying to discern which novel she was talking about. My best guess is that she was mocking Wuthering Heights, but I only came to this conclusion hours later, when I had returned home! It was the: "And now she's dying for love- because that's what women do in Victorian novels!" that led me to this conclusion. I know, it isn't very convincing, is it?
This roomate also forced her to watch The Brontes of Haworth. She was under the impression that we were forced to watch it. At first, I didn't think we were talking about the same course. Our professor had the miniseries available if we cared to view it. In any case, they both suffered through it and found it "soooooooooooooo boring!" and "soooooooo English!" Boring? …No. I cannot see it. English? Well, what else?! Although, the example of this 'English'ness is that there are scenes where people are not doing anything.
Monsieur Heger sighting?
As I updated my blog, looking at the image from the UMaryland production of the Jane Eyre musical, a had a vague sense that I had seen this all somewhere before. It didn't really have time to bother me before I realised what was so familiar about the actor playing Mr Rochester- he looks like Constantin Heger. No really. See?
That's M. Constantin Heger on the left, and James Gardiner on the right (from the photo by Stan Barouh). The image on the left is a detail from a large photocopy a friend sent me of a portrait of the Heger family. M.Heger was Charlotte Brontë's teacher while she was studying abroad in Belgium at the Pensionnat Heger. It's my understanding that she based much of Mr Rochester's character on monsieur. They certainly both have a penchant for cigars and bonbons at any rate 😉 And it goes without saying that he is the model for the fabulous Paul Carlos Emmanuel, of Villette. I've always wanted to know more about him, but the books I have on hand have been printed in the 1890s and it looks like there had been some censorship going on. Over and over again it is asserted that Charlotte was never in love with the married Heger, but obviously many believed this was so. What the current evidence for either case is, I don't know not having any more recent works for comparison!
The 1970s Yorkshire TV mini-series The Brontes of Haworth certainly asserts that she was in love with Heger. So my guess is that the letters she wrote to him have been widely published, and I just haven't come in contact with them yet.