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[personal profile] gillpolack
It's about time I saw the Orson Welles Jane Eyre, so that's my viewing this afternoon when I need a break from work. I can only watch it in segments, because the pathos was not something I enjoyed in the book and so, of course, I have limited tolerance for it in the film. I'd avoided watching it for years, simply because Jane Eyre is my least favourite Bronte work and I was watching new versions as released (not all of them - I maybe ought to catch up on the others one day, but that means braving the pathos!) and I had somehow forgotten this one. I was a tad stupid, for it's a good film. Pathos in the early sections notwithstanding, it's an amazing cast (Elizabeth Taylor is Helen, which I did not realise - this means the film has three of the best child actors of the 40s) and astonishing writers (Houseman and Huxley adapting Bronte!).

I borrowed the DVD from the library because I was curious to compare Jane Eyre's Gothic to the Gothic tropes in The Secret Garden. I love the way Hodgson Burnett undermines Gothicness, bit by bit, and it struck me that it would be good to see how a well-made film built did precisely the opposite.

This morning I was analysing a local editor (because I discovered a gap in my understanding for a section of my history and fiction analysis - and it was an easy and quick and very productive analysis to do, to fill in that hole), and I realised that this editor has a problem with getting their writers to break down the tropes and to understand how those tropes work. When I read a dozen stories edited by this person, it was quite clear that they see each story as itself and do not have a wider context for it*. This means that some stories were wholly predictable and others were less thoughtful than they could be. Not understanding the mechanics behind genre has an interesting effect over a range of stories, but not a good one. I found this sad, and shifted my own tropeishness to today, as happiness creation.

Right now, however, I believe I'm to spend an hour with the rocks and trees and agricultural practices of the Middle Ages. More Jane Eyre when I'm finished!

*I need to do more of this analysis of patterns in works produced by a single editor. It's very illuminating and surprisingly straightforward. I didn't realise just how much of the editor's attitudes to fiction show through when one has enough examples on the same theme. I'd love to know what shows through of my attitudes and limitations in Baggage!

May 2013

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