Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 11:00 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    3 comments
A.V. Club suggests which adaptations of the classics you need to see in order to 'cheat English Lit 205'.
Jane Eyre (1997): Anyone in search of exacting fidelity regarding Charlotte Brontë’s definitive character study should turn to the 1983 series, in which an entire episode is spent in Lowood and Timothy Dalton pretends not to be handsome. A&E’s 1997 outing is short on time and low on budget: Scenes fade awkwardly to make room for commercial breaks, and whole subplots—like Jane’s journey to settle accounts with dying Aunt Reed—happen entirely offscreen. But this also means an Eyre tightly focused on its leads (Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton), who nail crucial and difficult characterizations of the plucky, introspective governess and the asshole who loves her. Hinds’ Rochester is every inch the abusive blowhard who manipulates Jane for his amusement, and a viewer has zero trouble believing he would stash a wife in the attic. It’s no wonder Morton’s Jane—whose steely gaze barely disguises her temper—often seems intrigued by him despite her better instincts. Backed by a score overwrought enough to make Brontë proud, these two duke it out for the best-earned codependent happy ending of the 19th century.
The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall (1996): Of all the Brontë novels, this might be the trickiest to adapt. Its prickly heroine, Helen Graham, is the most determinedly feminist Brontë heroine, feet planted firmly in a suffragette future: disregarding unfair laws, resenting men’s legal control, and shunning the behind-the-scenes support network of women. But she lacks the relatability of plucky Jane Eyre—Helen’s the wife that’s been locked in the attic. And Wildfell Hall’s plot, which parallels a slowly unspooling tale of marital abuse with a slowly unspooling tale of Helen being harangued to open up in her new life, could feel stagnant on the screen. Instead, director Mike Barker imbues the frame with the cool illumination of a Vermeer, and shows Helen as a natural fit among the scrub trees that have twisted and toughened to survive. There’s even the occasional grace note of uncomfortable sensuality, as Toby Stephens’ Gilbert becomes romantically entitled about her in a way the series suggests makes him a questionable improvement on the last guy. It’s a largely uncompromising adaptation of an uncompromising novel. [...]
Wuthering Heights (1998): Emily Brontë was the most openly Gothic of the sisters whose work came to define the Romantic era. Wuthering Heights, though often described as a dark love story, is actually a two-person horror story that catches a generation of innocent parties in its terrifying wake—which makes it awfully tricky to adapt, since a successful one will have to acknowledge their mutual monstrousness, and most versions softball Cathy. The 1998 miniseries is no exception; Orla Brady’s Cathy is mildly determined rather than poisonous. But Robert Cavanah is as cruel a Heathcliff as the small screen’s ever seen; he’s more bombastic than Tom Hardy’s quietly sinister sociopath in the 2009 iteration, but Cavanah’s right at home in a wholeheartedly Gothic take. (Heathcliff digging up Cathy’s coffin to embrace her bones is a succinct encapsulation of the entire novel.) It’s not perfect—the dated effects mark this as distinctly ’90s, and Polly Hemingway isn’t as compelling a Nelly as she could be. But this version comes closer than most to capturing the psychological sinkhole at the novel’s center. (Genevieve Valentine)
We are sorry but we don't really agree with the versions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights that have been selected.

We doubt they were there for the cheating, but the Irish Independent carries the story of the celebrities who were there for the opening night of Wuthering Heights at the Gate Theatre.
It has been 70 years since Emily Brontë's haunting romance 'Wuthering Heights' was last staged at Dublin's Gate Theatre.
So there was plenty of excitement in the foyer of the theatre as broadcasters Pat Kenny, Marty Whelan and Gay Byrne crowded through the doors to watch Cathy and Heathcliff's love story play out on the Yorkshire Moors.
"It's a classic book," Whelan said. "And we all love a bit of high drama and romance in the build up to Christmas don't we?"
Actresses Cathy Belton, Ingrid Craigie, and author Joseph O'Connor also attended the opening night as did Master of the National Maternity Hospital Holles Street, Dr Rhona Mahony.
Directed by Michael Barker-Caven the production has been adapted by acclaimed playwright Anne-Marie Casey.
Tom Canton takes on the brooding lead role of Heathcliff while Kate Brennan - daughter of thespian Stephen Brennan and 'Fair City' actress Martina Stanley - plays Catherine.
"It's like a ghost story," Brennan said. "I really connected to the raw passion. I never really do stuff in this period so it's fun to wear corsets and dresses with big skirts for a change." (Kirsty Blake Knox)
Jane Eyre is one of seven life-changing books for MyDaily:
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë. This gothic novel tells the story of Jane Eyre, one of the most independent female protagonists in literary history. The story follows her journey from her loveless home to the grand Thornfield Hall where she works as a governess. She finds herself falling in love with her employer Rochester only to face the ultimate dilemma. Jane Eyre was written in 1847 and dazzled readers with its intimate voice and portrayal of a young woman's search for equality and freedom. (Tara King)
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) reviews Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries:
Men till skillnad från den viktorianska romanen à la Brontë eller Dickens – på vilken ”Himlakroppar” får sägas vara en pastisch – finns hos Catton ingen moraliserande slutsats att hämta. Det tycks i slutändan framför allt vara en postmodern berättelse om verklighetsåtergivningens svårigheter, ett slags genreparodi på den realistiska roman som vill synliggöra tillvaron från alla dess skilda perspektiv. (Viola Bao) (Translation)
This is how Vulture describes the song Chocolate by Giraffage:
Damn, this song is pleasant. It sounds like the soundtrack of a video game about a polar bear who just drifts lazily down an icy, yet calm, river. Periodically, fish jump into her mouth, and she eats them clean, pulling out the bones (Heathcliff-style). (JDF
Eloquent Codex posts about Wuthering Heights.


  1. Which adaptations of Jane and Wuthering Heights do you recommend? I watched most of the Jane adaptations last year, and liked the most recent best, with MIa Wasikowska. I've watched 3 Wuthering Heights so far, with Olivier, McShane, and Fiennes as Heathcliff. I'm not sure I've met my favorite adaptation yet. Only 7 yet to go, ha! Which ones should I not miss if I have to skip any before my book discussion on 11/30?

  2. We are not sure we have a favourite either, but be sure not to miss Luis Buñuel's Abismos de pasión and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights. Their approaches are completely different and yet the spirit of the novel is clearly there, more so than in many more word-by-word adaptations.

  3. The more adaptations I watch, the more I like the 1939 Oberon/Olivier. I've had trouble laying hands on the Bunuel.My library system doesn't have it, my librarian friends were only able to locate a VHS copy I would have to go somewhere and watch. 5/6 of it are available on Youtube but without subtitles. I did watch the mostly wordless final scene, and found it more compelling than most of the "Heathcliff runs around dazed" endings of the other adaptations.

    My librarian friends found me a DVD of the 1978 miniseries, but not for Region 1, so I may not be able to watch that one, either. But I've watched seven, with three more to go, including the Arnold.