Friday, June 22, 2007

Jane Eyre on Stage in the Nineteenth Century

Jane Eyre on Stage, 1848-1898 is a a new book by Patsy Stoneman, published this month by Ashgate Press:

Jane Eyre on Stage, 1848–1898
An Illustrated Edition of Eight Plays with Contextual Notes

Patsy Stoneman
Series: The Nineteenth Century Series

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was published in October, 1847, and within three months a version was on stage in London. By 1900, at least eight different stage versions had appeared in England, America and continental Europe. For the first time, all eight plays are available in Patsy Stoneman's critical edition, richly illustrated by facsimile reproductions of manuscripts, unique Victorian playbills, contemporary etchings of theatres, and portraits of playwrights and actors. Stoneman's introduction places the plays' bizarre innovations in the context of theatre history and of contemporary debates on class and gender, while each edited play-text is accompanied by detailed notes, based on original research, on the playwright, theatre(s) and performances, and contemporary reception.

Most of these plays existed only in manuscript, and were quickly forgotten, yet they make fascinating reading. Nineteenth-century playwrights had no reverence for a text we regard as canonical, but added to, deleted from and twisted Charlotte Brontë's story to suit their own purposes. One play has a cast of comic servants who follow Jane from Lowood to Thornfield. In another, the madwoman is revealed as the sister-in-law of a blameless Rochester. A third has Blanche Ingram reduced to a fallen woman, seduced and abandoned by John Reed.

Jane Eyre on Stage will appeal to readers interested in literary and theatrical history, cultural studies, and the intriguing afterlives of famous books.

Contents
General editor's preface; Introduction; John Courtney's Jane Eyre or The Secrets of Thornfield Manor (1848); John Brougham's Jane Eyre (1849); Anonymous Jane Eyre (1867); Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer's Jane Eyre or The Orphan of Lowood (1870); Mme von Heringen Hering's Jane Eyre (1877); James Willing's Jane Eyre or Poor Relations (1879); T.H. Paul's Jane Eyre (1879); W.G. Wills's Jane Eyre (1882); Works cited; Index.

Reviews
'This excellent volume makes available a group of fascinating and hitherto unexplored texts and presents them according to the highest standards of scholarship. It will be an invaluable resource for theatre scholars, Brontë specialists, and those interested in the afterlife of canonical works of literature'.
Heather Glen, University of Cambridge, UK

About the Author/Editor
Patsy Stoneman is Emeritus Reader in English at the University of Hull, UK. Her work on the Brontës includes her monograph Brontë Transformations (1996), commissioned articles, and Wuthering Heights: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (2000).

Further Information
Affiliation: Patsy Stoneman, University of Hull, UK
Illustrations: Includes 21 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 0 7546 0348 2
Publication Date: 06/2007
Number of Pages: 452 pages
Binding: Hardback
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