Melissa and I were delighted to be featured in The Barnstable Enterprise last week, essentially spotlighting our intense interest in the works of the Bronte sisters. Which we all know perfectly well is just a polite way of saying “our undying obsession with Jane Eyre.”
If you’re just joining our program, here’s how that all came about.
It all started when I showed Melissa the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre, almost exactly one year ago now. Now, Jane Eyre has always been my favorite book of all time, and I absolutely loved the treatment it got in this latest version on the Beeb. I blogged about this version, and my long-standing love of sweeping gothic romance novels, when it first aired in the States, in early 2007.
But when you know something so well, and you have lived with the story and its characters in your heart for so long, it’s hard to know how it seems to somebody who is encountering it for the first time. When I showed it to Melissa, she had never really delved into the world of British costume drama before, and I was really just trying to give her an idea of what the inside of my head looked like. Basically, I was used to other people not really seeing the appeal of these things, and was glad that she was simply willing to check it out and humor me.
Let’s just say she liked it. A lot.
In short, it grabbed her by the throat and would not let go. It was an awesome thing to watch. She became utterly and completely obsessed.
This obsession eventually grew into an online love-fest of Jane Eyre, which we expanded to include other works by the Bronte family, including Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. We called it BronteAlong, and tons of other folks joined in. The idea was that we would all together read (or watch a film version of) each book, and then create something based on the book. Melissa had been churning out drawings and sketches and paintings based on the characters in Jane Eyre since she first got hooked, and I had been knitting and writing patterns for things that some of the character wore, more or less continuously since the movie had first aired on PBS, so we wanted to see what other creative types produced when they were caught in full swoon, too.
Here’s just a small sampling of what BronteAlong produced, with over 40 participants online:
You can check out the whole list of participants, with links to their creations, on the BronteAlong page on Melissa’s blog.
The BronteAlong Flickr pool is pretty rad, too.
One of the folks who joined in the fun was Barbara Oliver, a local friend who also happens to write for The Barnstable Enterprise. She was so intrigued by the way this international book club got started and blossomed — all using the magic of blogs and social networks like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter — that she decided to write up a story about it.
Unfortunately, the full story isn’t available online, but you can read it here if you don’t mind panning across a scanned copy. If you like it, why not tell Barbara herself on Twitter — I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!
And of course, we’ll have new fodder for BronteAlong soon, with the 2011 movie version of Jane Eyre looking so very promising…