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Jane Eyre: Bronte vs. Hollywood

Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
$40 (Includes British high tea)

This class will look at various versions of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre (1848).  We will identify some key themes and features of the novel, and ask how they translate into film.  Why has this novel been filmed so many times?  Are there inherent limitations to this process?  Why is it so difficult for films to give us the “plain Jane” that Bronte described?  We’ll talk about novel form, film form, and Victorian feminism too.  We’ll look at examples from various film adaptations, from Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine in 1944, to Zeffirelli’s 1996 film with William Hurt.  And of course there are the various BBC television serials.  Just to let you know, my favorite is George C. Scott and Susannah York (1970; it’s a little hard to find).  Finally, what do we learn about Bronte’s great story?

George Butte

 George Butte has taught in the English department at Colorado College since 1974. He specializes in the 18th and 19th century British novel, and teaches many film theory courses, with special interests in Hitchcock and film comedy. His most recent book is “I Know That You Know That I Know: Narrating Subjects from Moll Flanders to Marnie” (Ohio State Press, 2004). Professor Butte received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from 1967-1968 and Rhodes Scholar from 1968-1970.