I’m re-reading Jane Eyre.
The girls and I went to see the new film with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender last weekend. We had all seen a repeat run of the most recent TV serial with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson - both too good looking really. I’ve also watched versions starring Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles, Sorcha Cusack/David Jayston and Samantha Morton/Ciarán Hinds at the very least! Eldest had devoured the book on the promise of the trip to the pictures. I think it was too close together: she seemed bored by a film that Youngest and I thoroughly enjoyed. It was atmospheric, gothic, got the story about right, had outstanding costumes and had appropriate actors. Eldest's chief complaint was that St. John wasn’t a looker, though she thought Jane and Rochester suitably plain – helped by their unattractive hair cuts!
I read the book in English lessons in 1973 according to my reading list. For me that’s damming: if I liked a book I read it in advance of reading in class as I generally found the round the room method put me off completely. I know Youngest feels the same – though she’s been told off for reading ahead! (What do you think of that, Fran?)
Because I know the story I found myself paying great attention to the awfulness of Victorian style, even the pretty women looked faintly ridiculous in their dolly styling. If you saw Young Victoria you will recognise the fashions, though what looked sumptuous and appropriate on Victoria and Albert was less stylish on the ordinary folk – perhaps that’s always true about those of us copying the fashion setters?!
I read somewhere that Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (which I haven’t read) are best appreciated read pre 14; read later you are liable to find the characters a bit silly… Dear Reader, for me this seems to be true. How about you?
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