Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lost Mayan calendar reckons time according to film adaptations of Jane Eyre

Update 12/12/12: If you've landed here because it's the week before the end is nigh, allow us to direct you to the Dresden Codex and the wiki that will attempt to explain the math. Good luck.

Another flick version fades into obscurity -- was it the one with Toby Stephens? Who can ever remember? -- as a new clone takes its place. The NYT reports here.  The money quote from screenwriter Moira Buffini:

Jane spends a whole year [chez Rivers], agonized with longing, and that’s when she begins to see what the alternative to Rochester is: a loveless marriage or spinsterhood.

But I always thought the best part of JE was what the apparently off-putting, spinstery Rivers sisters are reading when pious, straight-laced brother St John is not home, and how Brontë reveals it through an untranslated, unattributed, and very selective quotation.  lmao, as they say in the common parlance.  

Will this detail ever make it into a movie version? Hell no.  And this isn't what affects the gender politics of the piece -- that's always up to the screenwriter and director to emphasize or bury under the novel's own Sturm und Drang. But, for all its obscurity of reference (and it was probably obscure enough in Brontë's time that to get it you had either to be hanging out with shady disreputable Carlyle types or be a governess who could teach German), it's the true subversive element of the novel, sitting there contentedly in its spinsterhood, waiting for the world to change around it. 1848 is coming.

Update: Okay, forget the wiki link.  For an astute analysis of the life of Die Räuber in England during the Napoleonic era, this is the place.  (I would only suggest two alterations, apart from fixing the typos: first, that there is a difference between "carousing with" nuns and raping them. (Seriously, Professor, I'm just going to assume that English isn't your primary language.)  Second, that Goethe and Schiller are spinning in their graves at being mentioned in the same sentence with Kotzebue, that traitorous hack. But never mind. He's no doubt burning in Hell by now.)

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