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A perennial favourite of teenage girls, Jane Eyre had been an inspiration for the self-described "baby novelist" when she published her first book, aged just 18. Now in her thirties, Bidisha is no longer so impressed by the hunky Mr Rochester's "considerable breadth of chest" and moody temperament. "I now see the relationship between Rochester and Jane as an extremely abusive one," she told us. Bidisha and Brontë biographer Rebecca Fraser had a fiery disagreement about the "masochistic" undertones of Eyre's love story. What better way to remind us of the continued vitality of a classic than nearly coming to blows over rival interpretations? Love letters Brontë wrote to her Belgian teacher Constantin Héger, said to be a model for the character of Mr Rochester, were enough of a hint at the novelist's own passionate nature to set us imagining at other biographical parallels.ElyNews talks about the programme.
Who was Charlotte Brontë, really? That was the question that also underpinned Bidisha's other concern, with the descriptions of "madwoman in the attic", Bertha Mason, which can strike a modern reader as both racist and sexist. For some reason, Bidisha never referenced Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys's famous post-colonial take on Mason's untold story, but she did meet up with literary theorist Professor Terry Eagleton on a boat in the old slavers' port of Liverpool. It was his suggestion that gave Bidisha and any other uneasy Jane Eyre fans a new way into loving their controversial favourite. Charlotte Brontë was the Tory daughter of an Anglican clergyman, but perhaps a novel can be radical despite the conservative background of its author? (Ellen E Jones)
It works very well, in fact, in part because those familiar with Jane Eyre will fill in the blanks themselves, and in part because it sets its own terms from the get-go. Leading lady Anu Bhatt crisply holds attention, conveying Jane's moods with eyes darting or downturned as required, and sometimes somehow both at once. John Henry Roberts' Rochester is not the usual dark, athletic figure but fare and lithe, and yet he easily conveys Rochester's unsettled heart and edginess. As is necessary, his Rochester is a man you wouldn't wish to cross. This Jane Eyre suggests the dangers of the contemporary world, with ignited passions among those dangers. (Jonathan Abarbanel)The Skinny video interviews the writer Linda Cracknell:
We spoke to Linda Cracknell at the Edinburgh International Book Festival about the presence of voice in literature and the writing process.A reader of The Times makes a pertinent commentary on one of the Brontë most repeated clichés:
Cracknell also reveals the early influence of Emily Brontë on her literary career.
Sir, Susan Hill (Thunderer, Sept 27) repeats the canard about the Brontës using aliases “in order to be published”. Charlotte Brontë — in her foreword to her sister’s novel Wuthering Heights — explains that she and her sisters were trying to avoid the prejudicial comments of critics. Publishers had for many years been happy to publish female writers under their own names, for example, Jane Austen, Ann Radcliffe and Maria Edgeworth. (Andrew Dickens)Vulture reviews the latest episode of the TV series Sleepy Hollow:
Meanwhile, Abbie achieves Wuthering Heights levels of mushiness in some of her dialogue. Like when she tells Crane about seeing his demon double in Purgatory, “I’ve never been so happy to see anyone in my life.” And then later tells him, “My faith in you is my greatest weakness.” Coming from Abbie, this sounds almost creepy. (Rose Maura Lorre)Aargauer Zeitung (Switzerland) talks about a local series of screenings of British films:
Liest man Filmtitel wie «Jane Eyre», «Ladies in Lavender» oder «Sense and Sensibility» denkt man automatisch an eine Welt der Vergangenheit. Die 18-jährige Jane Eyre tritt beispielsweise eine Stelle als Gouvernante auf einem entlegenen Landsitz an. (Elisabeth Feller) (Translation)Bibliofreak, Claire Thinking and Push to Talk review Jane Eyre; The Frugal Chariot in is second week Jane Eyre readalong.