Jane Eyre on Stage, 1848–1898: An Illustrated Edition of Eight Plays with Contextual Notes, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Jane Eyre on Stage, 1848–1898

An Illustrated Edition of Eight Plays with Contextual Notes, 1st Edition

By Patsy Stoneman


456 pages

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Hardback: 9780754603481
pub: 2007-06-19
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315251639
pub: 2017-03-02
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Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was published in October, 1847, and within three months a version was on stage in London. By 1900, at least eight different stage versions had appeared in England, America and continental Europe. For the first time, all eight plays are available in Patsy Stoneman's critical edition, richly illustrated by facsimile reproductions of manuscripts, unique Victorian playbills, contemporary etchings of theatres, and portraits of playwrights and actors. Stoneman's introduction places the plays' bizarre innovations in the context of theatre history and of contemporary debates on class and gender, while each edited play-text is accompanied by detailed notes, based on original research, on the playwright, theatre(s) and performances, and contemporary reception. Most of these plays existed only in manuscript, and were quickly forgotten, yet they make fascinating reading. Nineteenth-century playwrights had no reverence for a text we regard as canonical, but added to, deleted from and twisted Charlotte Brontë's story to suit their own purposes. One play has a cast of comic servants who follow Jane from Lowood to Thornfield. In another, the madwoman is revealed as the sister-in-law of a blameless Rochester. A third has Blanche Ingram reduced to a fallen woman, seduced and abandoned by John Reed. Jane Eyre on Stage will appeal to readers interested in literary and theatrical history, cultural studies, and the intriguing afterlives of famous books.


'This excellent volume makes available a group of fascinating and hitherto unexplored texts and presents them according to the highest standards of scholarship. It will be an invaluable resource for theatre scholars, Brontë specialists, and those interested in the afterlife of canonical works of literature'. Heather Glen, University of Cambridge, UK ’…a carefully researched book…Everything is presented […] with the highest standards of scholarship…a fascinating account of the history of the 'popular' theatre of the late nineteenth century (especially in London) in general and of how Jane Eyre was perceived and assimilated by Victorian society in particular…studiously researched and interesting.' BrontëBlog ’… Patsy Stoneman has produced a useful and illuminating study… If for no other reason, this book would be welcome simply as an accessible version of plays that exist only in manuscript in the British Library […] or in fairly rare acting editions… These richly rewarding texts have been edited well by Stoneman, with some thoughtful notes on Victorian melodrama in general and specific theatres in particular.’ Times Literary Supplement ’Stoneman is one of the few academics to have written on the subject of adaptations of the Brontë's novels, and her latest work is, as usual, meticulously researched, as well as thought provoking in its analyses… It provides a fascinating read, even for those who are not serious scholars of the subject, and, for those who are, it will be a very welcome addition to the field.’ Brontë Studies ’This important volume is an indispensable resource for scholars interested in Jane Eyre, Victorian melodrama, theatrical adaptation, or nineteenth-century popular culture.’ Nineteenth Century Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: General editor's preface; Introduction; John Courtney's Jane Eyre or The Secrets of Thornfield Manor (1848); John Brougham's Jane Eyre (1849); Anonymous Jane Eyre (1867); Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer's Jane Eyre or The Orphan of Lowood (1870); Mme von Heringen Hering's Jane Eyre (1877); James Willing's Jane Eyre or Poor Relations (1879); T.H. Paul's Jane Eyre (1879); W.G. Wills's Jane Eyre (1882); Works cited; Index.

About the Author

Patsy Stoneman is Emeritus Reader in English at the University of Hull, UK. Her work on the Brontës includes her monograph Brontë Transformations (1996), commissioned articles, and Wuthering Heights: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (2000).

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature