Editor | Peter Bowen
Brontë vs Austen: Get Ready to Rumble
Posted March 17, 2011
Monica Hesse in her piece for the Washington Post’s article "Jane Eyre movie rekindles Austen vs. Bronte, the battle of the bonnets” speaks of the unspeakable—a potential rumble between the “Janeites” and the “Charlottans.” If Austen ruled the ‘90s and the ‘00s, with a complete BBC revamping of her novels, such innovative adaptations as Clueless, and Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice for Focus Features perhaps Brontë’s time has come. In addition to the popular support for Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, Hesse notes that “director Andrea Arnold is finishing up edits for a new version of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights — the first version to cast a black actor in the role of Heathcliff.” But why now? Hesse offers one possible answer:
Some analysts have wondered if the Brontes are built for economic downturn — that difficult times draw us to difficult stories. The Bronte heroes find happiness, but not without losing a hand or their eyesight, or having their manor burned down. It’s a bruised happiness, one that might appeal to the foreclosed modern viewer.