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Charlotte Brontë’s romance Jane Eyre (PG: Universal) has been adapted for the screen many times,the most memorable being the 1943 version starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine.And the Washington and Lee University blog looks into 'what constitutes teen lit':
In the latest, the title role is played by Mia Wasikowska, who made a good impression in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland.
Though looking as fragile as porcelain, she stands firm against Michael Fassbender’s fiery Mr Rochester, who employs her to be a governess at his gloomy mansion.
At times, the noticeable age difference casts him as a predator rather than a potential lover, although Fassbender cleverly conveys a deeper yearning for something pure and wholesome to cherish.
Above all, it’s a very respectful treatment, even if a little more wild abandon that originally draws Jane to Rochester would have helped. (Geoff Cox)
In this case, the questions posed to [English professor Suzanne Keen] were these: Is Oliver Twist a YA publication? Is Jane Eyre "teen lit"?The Spenborough Guardian alerts readers to the forthcoming Brontë-related event at St Peter's Church (Hartshead) on March 31st. Ax.The.Universe posts briefly about Jane Eyre and What Party? and Kul Kul Kul write about the 2011 adaptation while Una solitaria como yo writes in Spanish about the 1944 adaptation. La professora d'inglese thinks Jane's clothes reveal her personality.
Her response? No and yes.
From the historical perspective, her answer was no, and she wrote:
The earliest form of “teen lit” or “YA” in the English novel tradition is boys’ adventure fiction, often thought to have been initiated by Robert Louis Stevenson with Treasure Island (1883). (Though there are a few earlier precursors.) In the 1880s and 1890s, adventure fiction took off as a separate mode of fiction aimed at a younger audience. It always had adult readers–this is not a new phenomenon!But, she adds, “In subsequent marketing/pedagogy: yes. Both the books [Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist] become 'teen books' when they are frequently taught to teens. This happens even today. Both Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time have migrated into the YA canon (taught in middle schools and high schools) after initial publications aimed at serious adult literary readerships.” (Jeff Hanna)
Jane Eyre (1847) and Oliver Twist (1837) predate that development. They were aimed at an adult readership that included children. Dickens especially wrote with his read-aloud audience in mind. Children and illiterates heard his stories read aloud by literate friends or parents.