A Bold New Timeless Classic: Fukunaga’s Partial Reading of Jane Eyre

Abstract : With its first person narrator, radical tonal changes, and wild blend of genres (autobiography, romance, Gothic melodrama, Christian exemplum, etc.), Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a case study in the difficulties of cinematic adaptation, as the filmmaker attempts to balance "fidelity" with contemporary relevance and entertainment value. This article examines Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 version, and in particular certain orientations animating his necessarily "partial" reading of the novel. Chief among these is the decision to begin the film when Jane leaves Thornfield; recounting much of the story in discontinuous flashback, the film manages simultaneously to admit Jane’s narrative voice while eliminating its potentially distracting nature. Fukunaga’s other choices include the toning down of the novel’s lurid Gothic quality, its overt romanticism, and—today an overly familiar romantic comedy stereotype—the teasing interplay between the two protagonists. Communicating in a compact language of visual symbol, he also uses the original’s "religious plot" as a tool for modern character analysis.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 6, 2016 - 10:40:00 AM
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John Engle. A Bold New Timeless Classic: Fukunaga’s Partial Reading of Jane Eyre. Babel : Littératures plurielles, La Garde : Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines - Université de Toulon et du Var, 2011, pp.43--59. ⟨10.4000/babel.146⟩. ⟨hal-01326919⟩

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