Thursday, July 08, 2021

Thursday, July 08, 2021 5:48 pm by M. in , , , , , ,    1 comment
National Review publishes a quite conflicting article about Jane Eyre. Because we rather agree with what is being said but we don't really agree at all with what is implied. In other words, we think that critical studies (on gender, race, whatever...) are needed and can illuminate and advance our understanding of, in this case, Charlotte Brontë's novel but we also think that they are only a tool of many. Not the only one, not the definitive one. 
Yesterday I wrote about a recent interaction with employees of Powell’s Books, in Portland, Ore., that left me a little, well, hot.
But it was a conversation I overheard among fellow customers that made me downright depressed.
Hunting down a novel, I found myself a few feet away from a young woman pausing in the same row of the fiction section when a young man came around the corner to join her. They appeared to be college kids.
Young man: Have you read this? It’s, like, a sequel to Jane Eyre. [He was evidently referring to Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s imaginative prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s great novel.] It’s sooooo good. It shows that Jane Eyre was about racism, because Mr. Rochester was hiding his wife in the attic because she was black.
Young woman: Actually I haven’t read Jane Eyre. Should I?
Young man: Well, yeah, I guess so, it’s, like, a classic. It was written in — you know, back in the day. I had to read it for a class.
Young woman: What’s it about?
Young man: It’s about this governess who works for this guy, Mr. Rochester, who keeps his wife in the attic, and it’s about the guy’s power over the women. He’s super-masculine and super-manipulative, and everybody used to love him, but now —
Young woman: Oh now everybody hates him, right?
Young man: Yeah, everybody hates him, cuz he’s, like, so hateable.
Ah, so that’s how Jane Eyre is being taught now. Maybe it’s just too late to rescue literature from the poisonous critical theories that have been eating away at it for the last few decades.
Reader, I looked up and said: Well, I love him.
The kid gave a nervous laugh, clearly regarding me as the madwoman in the fiction aisle, and the couple went their way as I went mine. (Jessica Hornik Evans)
This, somehow, is intimately related with this entirely disconnected question that we read in an article in The Quint about a Hindi film:
Do we bring back classics like Wuthering Heights and take away their acclaim now that society is sensitive to over-romanticization? (Aishwarya Bodke)
RTÉ talks about the Irish writer Elizabeth Shaw:
She attended classes by Hugh Finney, Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore (who praised her illustrations for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, influenced by French and English caricature). (Sabine Egger)
New Statesman reviews the film Black Widow:
The film follows the women’s attempts to liberate the rest of Dreykov’s trafficked female killers from his nerve centre. It’s called the Red Room, either in honour of Twin Peaks or Jane Eyre, or to reflect the practices that go on there: the girls are forced to have hysterectomies, as Yelena explains in grisly detail in response to an offhand joke about her “time of the month”.  (Ryan Gilbey)
In a London Review of Books article on some books by William Empson, the novel Goldengrove by Jill Paton Walsh is mentioned:
Paton Walsh read English at Oxford in the 1950s, and Goldengrove is in many ways a response to the experience. Madge wants to be a character in To the Lighthouse, or a saintly Jane Eyre reading to a blind Mr Rochester. But instead of becoming part of a tradition of English writing by women she ends up uncomprehendingly reading an intricate analysis of a love poem to an emotionally predatory blind professor. (Colin Burrow)
Varsity and Northern accents in Cambridge productions:
It was and is saddening to see the continued use of the northern voice to attach a friendliness or a certain socio-economic status to a character. Or to see people confused when Georgie requested that they perform Jane Eyre with a northern accent despite the fact it is set in the North of England, as their judgement is clouded by the association of classical literature with RP accents. (Emma Robinson)
East Bay Express reviews the animated film 繼園臺七號 (No 7 Cherry Lane) by Yonfan:
 For every reference to Brigitte Bardot or Jane Eyre, the filmmaker throws in a nude all-male shower scene, a cross-dressing joke or a quotation from À la recherche du temps perdu. In perhaps the film’s most curious flight of fancy, we’re treated to a three-way sexual geometry problem featuring Ziming, the Bookworm—his painfully mincing admirer, played by Tiger Wong—and the building’s black cat. In common with most of the movie’s most flamboyant contrivances, that escapade also takes the form of a dream. (Kelly Vance)
Castellón Plaza (Spain) quotes the writer Ángeles Caso:
Para ejemplificar las dificultades a las que se han enfrentado las mujeres a lo largo de la historia, Caso ha comparado, entre otros ejemplos, la facilidad de la vida de William Thackeray y de Tolstoi, con su gran capacidad de vivir experiencias en primera persona, y las múltiples penalidades que sufrieron las tres hermanas Brontë o Jean Austen, que tuvieron que publicar sus obras con pseudónimo. (Translation)
Debate Post's best roles in Michael Fassbender's career includes Jane Eyre 2011:
This adaptation of the classic by Charlotte Brontë plays the trick of its double plot line with a somewhat irregular rhythm that does not serve, at all, to despise its remarkable achievements. Better when posed as a gothic tale, flirting even with terror, ‘Jane Eyre’ meets her heartbreaking romantic message with an uncanny coldness, replete with a singular beauty exemplified in the superb photography work of Adriano Goldman and the soundtrack composed by Dario Marianelli. For his part, director Cary Fukunaga shoots this story ahead of its time with extreme subtlety, finding the best of its reflections in impeccable Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. One of those movies and performances that burn on the skin. (Sandy Richardson)
ABC interviews the writer Silvia Moreno-García:
'Gótico' tiene elementos de 'Jane Eyre', la novela de Charlotte Brontë, no solo por su ambientación sino por el uso abusivo del poder sobre las mujeres. (Miguel Ángel Barroso) (Translation)
Musica361 (Italy) interviews the actress Roberta Turconi:
Un autore o autrice a cui più ami dar voce?
Difficile dire, a loro modo mi piacciono tutti: da Saffo a Emily Brontë, da Maria Luisa Spaziani a Sylvia Plath; la Villoresi e la Pozzi, Ludovico Ariosto, William Wordsworth, Sergio Corazzini, Tagore… Come si fa a scegliere? Sono tutti diversi e ognuno meraviglioso… (Translation)
Finally, Keighley News reports that
A heritage and arts centre at the heart of the Brontë sisters’ birthplace has reopened – following lockdown and a £700,000 refurbishment.
South Square Centre, in Thornton, is welcoming visitors again. (Alistair Shand)

1 comment:

  1. Cue eyeroll. Thanks for illumination what we already dreaded, namely the suggested cancellation of this beautiful classic.