The Full Brontë


Mr. Rochester is a hard role for an actor to play. He must be, in equal parts, fearsome, winsome, tormented, provocative, intimidating and charming. The perfect Byronic hero, riddled with secrets and doubts, a living portrait of frustrated idealism.

If I may say so, Toby Stephens has proven himself up to the task.

This week we watched the most beautiful movie version of Jane Eyre I’ve ever seen. It was a BBC production starring not only Toby Stephens as the enigmatic Mr. Rochester, but Ruth Wilson as a richly nuanced Jane. Her performance really captured Jane’s moral courage, her passionate nature, and her evolution from an intimidated child to a confident and empowered woman.

“They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamoured wildly. ‘Oh, comply!’ it said. ‘. . . soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?’

Still indomitable was the reply: ‘I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation . . . They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs.”

Is it any wonder that I’m feeling so swoon-y lately?

12 responses »

  1. Thanks for pointing out another version. The one that sticks with me is the George C. Scott/Susannah York one. It may have been made for T.V. We reread this book a few years ago in my book group. It does make you feel swoon-y!

  2. Um, ok, my only question is: How did you get the dots to appear in your title? I have codes for doing that, but they never work in the title bar. What is your secret? I MUST know!

  3. I love BBC versions… they are so well done and so worth the sometimes extra time that they take to watch (Pride and Prejudice – 6 hours and worth every minute!)

  4. Jules–go to “run” on your computer and type in charmap.exe. It will give you a “map” for how to do lotsa fun stuff.

    (sign me the over-eager to help librarian, SL)

  5. Sorry to leave you wondering, Jennifer! Thanks for checking on me. 🙂 All is well–the past couple of weeks I haven’t been on the computer much at all. I’ll return to my blog soon, though!

  6. There has been a Katrina sighting. She was spotted along with her husband and children at a school/church bbq yesterday evening. She was smiling, eating and visiting with various other carbon based lifeforms, all good signs that she is doing well. Most notably, though, is that both she and her geeky husband were completely de-electrified. No handheld, i-pod or even a cell phone was to be spotted on either of them. It was reported that Paul was spotted holding a (gasp) pencil and paper, although this outrageous detail has yet to be confirmed. This has been a report of the Emergency Katrina Sighting System.

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