Media Adaptations

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  • Jane Eyre has been the subject of numerous adaptations for other media. During the silent film era, there were at least three silent movie versions. The first talking picture adaptation was released in 1934. Written by Adele Comandini (based on Charlotte Bronte's book) and directed by Christy Cabanne, it starred Virginia Brace, Colin Clive, Beryl Mercer, Aileen Pringle, Jameson Thomas, David Torrence, and Lionel Belmore. Produced by Monogram Studios.
  • The most famous film version of Jane Eyre was adapted by John Houseman Aldous Huxley and Robert Stevenson and released in 1944. Directed by Stevenson, it starred Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles, Margaret O'Brien, Sara Allgood, Agnes Moorehead, and Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Franco Zeffirelli and Hugh Whitemore wrote the script for the 1996 film version of Jane Eyre, directed by Zeffirelli. This version starred Charlotte Gainsbourg, William Hurt, Anna Paquin, Joan Plowright, Billie Whitelaw, Elle Macpherson, Geraldine Chaplin, and John Wood.
  • The first adaptation of Jane Eyre for television was broadcast in 1939 on the NBC network. Produced and directed by Edward Sobol, this version starred Flora Campbell, Dennis Hoey, Effie Shannon, Daisy Belmore, and Ruth Mattheson.
  • While there have been other adaptations of Jane Eyre for television since 1939, critics have noted that the most faithful one is the BBC's television mini-series adaptation of Jane Eyre produced in 1983. Directed by Julian Aymes, it starred Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton.
  • Jane Eyre has lent itself to numerous adaptations for the stage. A recent version included one for a 1996 regional touring production in England, adapted and directed by Charles Vance.
  • The book was recorded, unabridged, in a series of four sound cassettes, read by Juliet Stevenson. Available from BBC Enterprises Ltd., New York, NY, 1994.
  • An abridged recording read by Dame Wendy Hiller is available on two cassettes from Listen for Pleasure, Downsview, Ontario, Canada.

For Further Reference

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Alexander, Christina. The Early Writing of Charlotte Bronte. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1983. Analysis of Bronte's childhood writing and, according to Alexander, the "first attempt at a scholarly survey of the early manuscripts in their entirety."

Crompton, Margaret. Passionate Search: A Life of Charlotte Bronte. 1955. Reprint. Philadelphia: Century Bookbindery, 1982. An analysis of Bronte's relationships with her brother, sisters, friends, and suitors, including Arthur Bell Nicholls.

Gaskell, Elizabeth. The Life of Charlotte Bronte. 1857. Reprint. New York: Penguin, 1975. Written by a nineteenthcentury popular novelist, this was the first biography completed after Bronte's death. Gaskell had the cooperation of both Patrick Bronte and Arthur Bell Nicholls.

Gerin, Winifred. Charlotte Bronte: The Evolution of Genius. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967. A comprehensive study of the "growth of Charlotte Bronte's moral and artistic stature," emphasizing the influence of her environment.

Kirkpatrick, D. L., ed. Twentieth Century Children's Writers. 2d ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983. Contains a bibliography of Kyle's works and brief critical comments.

Knies, Earl A. The Art of Charlotte Bronte. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1969. An analysis of Bronte's novels that emphasizes her artistry and contains an extensive bibliography.

Peters, Margot. Charlotte Bronte: Style in the Novel. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973. A study of Bronte's prose style.

Unquiet Soul: A Bibliography of Charlotte Bronte.Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975. A feminist psychological study.

Ratchford, Fannie Elizabeth. The Brontes' Web of Childhood. New York: Russell and Russell, 1964. An examination of the Brontes' childhood writing that attempts to resolve "most of the long-studied, much discussed Bronte problems."

Vipont, Elfrida. Weaver of Dreams: The Girlhood of Charlotte Bronte. New York: Henry Z. Walck, 1966. An account of the lives of Charlotte and her sisters and brother, from the time the family moved to Haworth until Charlotte and her brother left home to work. Includes a list of suggested readings.

Bibliography

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Blom, Margaret Howard. Charlotte Brontë. Boston: Twayne, 1977. This introductory work asserts that Jane Eyre reflects Brontë’s own contradictory struggle to be both independent and controlled by a man. Using biographical information as a springboard for analysis, the work examines Brontë’s novels in separate chapters, including notes, an index, and a bibliography.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979. This feminist work examines recurrent themes in the works of major nineteenth century female writers. Interprets Jane Eyre as a progress novel tracing Jane’s maturation, emphasizing the complex meaning of Bertha. Although 700 pages long, the book’s extensive index and chapters divided by writer and work make it convenient for research.

Imlay, Elizabeth. Charlotte Brontë and the Mysteries of Love: Myth and Allegory in “Jane Eyre.” New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. Discusses the relationships in the novel, focusing particularly on that between Jane and Rochester. Looks at uses of myth and symbol in Brontë’s depiction of relationships.

Kadish, Doris Y. The Literature of Images: The Narrative Landscape from “Julie” to “Jane Eyre.” New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987. Discusses the web of image and metaphor that governs Jane Eyre and transforms this realist novel.

King, Jeannette. “Jane Eyre.” Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1986. An effective introduction to Jane Eyre, the book is arranged by literary elements with chapter headings such as “Characterization,” “Language,” and “Structure and Theme.” Based on a tutorial approach in which readers are asked to reread certain chapters before reading discussion portions carefully examining the passages.

London, Bette. “The Pleasures of Submission: Jane Eyre and the Production of the Text.” English Literary History 58, no. 1 (Spring, 1991): 195-214. A look at the historical period when the novel was written. Specifically addresses the portrayals of women in nineteenth century fiction by women writers.

Macpherson, Pat. Reflecting on “Jane Eyre.” London: Routledge, 1989. The author’s conversational style and humor make this an entertaining work of criticism. Offers extensive character examinations of Jane, Bertha, and St. John and suggests that Brontë is practicing biting social criticism behind the disarming disguise of feminine confession.

Nestor, Pauline. Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.” New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Arguing that Jane does not control her own actions, this work of new feminist criticism rejects previous estimations of Jane as a feminist hero. Offers interesting analyses of the themes of motherhood, sexuality, and identity and surveys the work’s historical background and criticism. Includes an index, notes, and a bibliography.

Peters, Joan D. “Finding a Voice: Toward a Woman’s Discourse of Dialogue in the Narration of Jane Eyre.” Studies in the Novel 23, no. 2 (Summer, 1991): 217-236. Discusses the instabilities, difficulties, and resistances of the narrative voice in the novel.

Pinion, F. B. A Brontë Companion. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1975. A good reference work on all the Brontës, including biographical material, chapter-length analyses of their novels, a section on characters and places, an index, an annotated bibliography, and illustrations.

Bibliography and Further Reading

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Sources
Bentley, Phyllis. The Brontës. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1969.

Blom, Margaret Howard. Charlotte Brontë. Boston: C.K. Hall & Co., 1977.

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: E. M. Hale & Company, 2nd edition.

Cecil, David. Early Victorian Novelists. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1935.

Evans, Barbara and Gareth Lloyd. The Scribner Companion to The Brontës. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982.

Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontes: Charlotte Bronte and Her Family. Crown Publishers, 1988.

Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn. The Life of Charlotte Brontë. London: J. M. Dent, 1960. First published 1857.

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Yale University Press, 1979.

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. Victorian Minds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1968.

Lane, Margaret. Introduction to Jane Eyre. Dent/Dutton, 1969.

Laver, James. Victorian Vista. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1955.

Martin, Robert Bernard. The Accents of Persuasion: Charlotte Brontë’s Novels. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1966.

Moglen, Helen. Charlotte Brontë: The Self Conceived. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1976.

Peters, Margot. Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Brontë. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975.

Scargill, M. H. "All Passion Spent: A Revaluation of 'Jane Eyre'." In University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. XIX, No. 2, January, 1950, pp. 120-25.

Schorer, Mark. "Jane Eyre." In The World We Imagine: Selected Essays. Chatto & Windus, 1969, pp. 80-96.

Further Reading
Allott, Miriam, ed. The Brontes: The Critical Heritage. Routledge, 1974. An excellent resource for studying contemporary reviews and critiques of Charlotte Bronte's works.

Barker, Juliet. The Brontes. St. Martin's Press, 1994. An unusually detailed and comprehensive biography with a wealth of information on Charlotte Bronte, her parents, and her brother and sisters and their writings.

Blom, Margaret Howard. Charlotte Bronte. Twayne, 1977. Includes sections on Bronte's life and on Jane Eyre, and assesses Bronte's achievement in the novel.

deFord, Miriam Allen. "Charlotte Bronte." In British Authors of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft. H. W. Wilson, 1936, pp. 74-6. An overview survey of Bronte and her work, written in a somewhat dated prose style.

Dunn, Richard J., ed. Jane Eyre. Norton, 1971, updated, 1987. Includes important background information, contemporary criticism, and useful interpretive articles on a variety of aspects of the novel.

Gates, Barbara Timm, ed. Critical Essays on Charlotte Bronte. G. K. Hall, 1990. Includes a collection of both contemporary and modern reviews of and critical responses to Bronte's novels.

Gordon, Lyndall. Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life. W. W. Norton, 1995. The definitive biography of Charlotte Bronte.

Leavis, Q. D. "Introduction." In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Penguin Books, 1966, pp. 7-29. An exceptionally insightful discussion of the novel, and an important source for understanding how the novel breaks with Victorian literary tradition.

Lloyd Evans, Barbara, and Gareth Lloyd Evans. Everyman's Companion to the Brontes. J. M. Dent and Sons, 1982. Includes both commentaries and synopses of the Brontes' novels, including Jane Eyre.

MacPherson, Pat. Reflecting on "Jane Eyre." Routledge, 1989. Provides some useful background for a study of the novel, including a discussion of Jane as a governess and a discussion of Jane's personal progress from one stage in her life to another.

Nestor, Pauline. Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre." St. Martin's Press, 1992. Includes material on the historical and cultural context of the novel and an interpretation of its themes of motherhood, sexuality, and identity.

Newman, Beth, ed. "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Bronte. Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996. Contains the text of the novel, an essay on its critical history, and a collection of five insightful critical essays from the perspectives of psychoanalytic, feminist, deconstruction, Marxist, and cultural critics. Includes the article by Sandra Gilbert mentioned in the essay.

Prose, Francine. "The Brilliance of the Brontes." In Victoria, Vol. 11, No. 3, March, 1997. Prose discusses the enduring appeal of Jane Eyre in the context of a general consideration of the Brontes' particular genius. Prose points out that although readers remember the vivid, melodramatic aspects of the novel, much more of the book is devoted to describing the sufferings of children and the poor.

Rosengarten, Herbert J. "Charlotte Bronte." In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 21: Victorian Novelists Before 1885, edited by Ira B. Nadel and William E. Fredeman. Gale Research, 1983, pp 24-54. A comprehensive overview of Bronte's life and works.

Showalter, Elaine. A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. Princeton University Press, 1977. Interprets the novel as an important document for providing a view of the female experience in the mid-nineteenth century.

Smith, Cathy. "Moors and Mansions: Jane Eyre Country." In Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1996, p. L13. Smith identifies real places in Derbyshire, England, believed to be models for some of the locations depicted in Jane Eyre. She also discusses the origin of the name "Eyre" and identifies a historical precedent for Bertha Mason.

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