Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

April 30, 2006

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Filed under: Books,The Professor — by bronteana @ 1:23 pm

Marketting The Professor

I came across this cover for The Professor by Charlotte Brontë and had to pause over it. To me it seems like an odd choice for the book, and yet I can well understand what motives might have gone into the choice. I am not sure, firstly, who this is supposed to depict. Is this supposed to be William Crimsworth? Is this Mr. Hunsden? Why is Mr. Hunsden on the cover of 'The Professor'? It doesn't seem to be of any particular character, I think. But it does seem to say: "tall, dark, mysterious man + Charlotte Brontë novel." And this will draw attention to an otherwise quite passionless book.

I have the penguin edition of The Professor. The cover depicts a rather studious looking man with round glasses, and an uncertain expression. It is a portrait of the artist's brother. He looks like he might be a school-teacher, or a clerk. In other words, he might be William Crimsworth, the professor. When I look at this cover, I think this is the story of an ordinary man which is what Charlotte had tried to do with The Professor.

This Wildside Press paperback cover reminds me of current advertisements for the 1934 Jane Eyre, which is heralded everywhere as a gothic horror classic. Anyone who has seen this film will find it difficult not to laugh at such a statement. It is like a comedy of manners, with a confused quaker living in one of the rooms ("Oh Edward! My husband! You've decided to get married again? [to Jane] Are you one of the guests?"). Here are some of the other covers for the sake of comparison:

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March 19, 2006

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The Butterfly, by Emily Bronte I've just finished transcribing Sue Lonoff's translation of Emily's Belgian devoir entitled 'Le Papillon' ('The Butterfly'). I've transcribed the translation rather than the original French this time so that the anglophone readers of Bronteana can enjoy some of Emily's work as an essayist as well. I will transcribe the French at a later date. The transcript is available here. I have also begun to scan the rest of the illustration I have for Villette, and these will soon be appearing on the site. Thereafter, I have some for Shirley, The Professor, and Jane Eyre to add in time. Le Papillon is my favourite of Emily's devoirs, at least of those I have read so far. Here are a few excerpts from the transcript: In one of those moods that everyone falls into sometimes, when the world of the imagination suffers a winter that blights its vegetation; when the light of life seems to go out and existence becomes a barren desert where we wander, exposed to all the tempests that blow under heaven, without hope of rest or shelter– in one of these black humors, I was walking one evening at the edge of a forest. It was summer; the sun was still shining high in the west and the air resounded with the songs of birds. All appeared happy, but for me, it was only an appearance. I sat at the foot of an old oak, among whose branches the nightingale had just begun its vespers. "Poor fool," I said to myself, "is it to guide the bullet to your breast or the child to your brood that you sing so loud and clear? Silence that untimely tune, perch yourself on your nest; tomorrow, perhaps, it will be empty." But why address myself to you alone? All creation is equally mad. Behold those flies playing above the brook; the swallows and fish diminish their number every minute. These will become, in their turn, the prey of some tyrant of the air or water; and man for his amusement or his needs will kill their murderers. Nature is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of destruction. Every being must be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself must cease to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, and we praise God for having entered such a world.

November 18, 2005

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'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 🙂

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

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