Jane Eyre: Diary, 3/20 to 3/21/22

The world and money; from Sanditon to Jane Eyre; fecal transplants; blog views; three hours on the phone; War and Peace and Constance Garnett; dirty old men.

Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{3/20/22} continued.

America is being flushed down the toilet by the vile repugliKKKans, for money.  The Democrats will not stop them, because money, and our Attorney General looks like not stopping them, who knows why.  Meanwhile, the climate catastrophe, because money, will show us that Malthus was an optimist.  “The End is Near.”  Just had to say all this one more time, perhaps because Sanditon has soured my mood, or perhaps because Truthout.org (i.e., “the news”) has.  Now I guess I’ll deaden my fears with Cheetos and mindless entertainment.  At least my sildenafil pills are on the way.  Maybe they’ll kill me and I’ll never have to wrestle with MS Word or WordPress again.  That would seem to be an appropriate “end of Rico.”  (“Masturbation ruined my life, and made it worth living.”)

Mia Wasikowska again
“luminous, radiant, or whatever” Freya Parks in Jane Eyre

After the disappointment of Sanditon, I put on the Middlemarch miniseries, but recognized within fifteen minutes that it wasn’t what I wanted; so I put on the 2011 Jane Eyre so I could get to a “happy ending” in a couple of hours instead of six or so.  This Jane has some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen, particularly in the use of light:  candles, firelight, morning light, and so on, exceedingly natural (though the featurette suggests some augmentation).  Some very good scenery, too.  I’ve adored Mia Wasikowska ever since her starring role in Alice in Wonderland (2010), and she does not disappoint here.  For me the disappointment was the whiny, needy Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester.  I liked the way Jane’s childhood was presented, not all in a lump at the start, which is always tough to get through.  In this one, Freya Parks is luminous, radiant, or whatever, in the all-too-brief role of Helen Burns (she also appears in two of the deleted scenes).  On the whole I think I like this better than the other two Janes I have on DVD, the classic 1944 version with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles (Orson Welles!), with my darling Margaret O’Brien as Jane in childhood, and the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds version, a 1997 TV movie from A&E.  Perhaps what really got to me in this one was the music, relying heavily on solo violin; the featurette on the music has the director, Cary Fukunaga, absurdly talking about “violin without the usual vibrato” when the violinist is shown at that very instant using vibrato (it’s also prominent in all the violin music).  Since there are probably half a dozen other Janes that I haven’t seen, I won’t say that “this is the best ever.”  Indeed, there’s a scene in the ’97 version that really scorches the screen (and rescues the movie)—nothing that strong here.  84% and 76% from RT.

Something from Neuroscience News:  “Researchers reveal how patients who received fecal transplants showed improvements in bipolar symptoms, as well as reductions in anxiety and ADHD behaviors. Fecal transplants may help in the treatment of a number of mental health disorders.”  So get your shit together, okay?


My latest blog post has gotten eighteen views in the last two days, the most since the Twitter blowup.  If this post had been “Viagra: My Desperate Gamble” I could understand it; but it was “Sanditon Spoilers,” just a sort of appendix to the previous day’s post, titled “Sanditon.”  What’s different?  The Spoilers post did not include, by accident, “Diary: 3/20/22.”  Somehow, I don’t think this was a factor.

Had a late, three hour phone conversation last night with Nog.  We didn’t really focus on any one thing, apart from his statement that he “doesn’t want to be a member of our Dirty Old Man Club,” a reference to the Hemlock Club, a statement he made at our last meeting.  He mentioned that after that, he had been the loudest and “dirtiest” of us all when he had talked about an old girlfriend of his—which wasn’t dirty at all, I think.  <shrunt>

He also mentioned being bored a lot lately, there being nothing he wanted to do; I said that I had too many things that I was excited about, I seldom focused on any one thing for more than a day, and thus have many incomplete projects covering all the back burners in existence (not in those words).

We were at it until almost 1:00 am.

Is it weird that I have three versions of Jane Eyre on DVD?  I also have three versions of Jane Austen’s Emma, and three of Pride and Prejudice.  It seems that I am a fan of movie and miniseries adaptations of old English novels.  I picked up maybe four of these at the library book sale mentioned last week, at a dollar apiece.  On my living room floor I have two stacks of DVDs that I haven’t watched yet, each about a foot tall.  I buy some things, like, say, Starship Troopers, that I’ve seen a million times and have no intention of ever watching again…can anyone explain this to me?  I have six DVDs on a stack of books in the bedroom, to be donated.

Speaking of old English novels, I got into the BBC miniseries of Middlemarch, 2½ hours worth so far (the first episode was a double).  It reminded me of how depressing Middlemarch the book was.  It’s been compared to War and Peace, ridiculously in my opinion, but I suppose you can “compare” anything to anything, like an iPad to an elephant.  It starts with the depressing hooking up of Dorothea Brooke with the dreadful, foolish Casaubon, of whom in the novel it is said, “They put a drop of his blood under a microscope—it was all semicolons and parentheses.”  I think it’s the only line that I can quote from the thousand-page (approximately) novel.

I can’t quote any line from War and Peace, though I know there’s one about Prince Andrei’s father blowing his nose “like two pistol shots.”  I praised this line excessively in my prison diary; it’s from Constance Garnett’s translation, one of the reasons I’m a fan.  Andrei is leaving his father’s estate to go off to the 1805 business against Napoleon at the end of Part One—it’s a wonderful scene.  I’ll quote the last two paragraphs:

“The little princess lay in the arm-chair; Mademoiselle Bourienne rubbed her temples. Princess Marya, supporting her sister-in-law, still gazed with her fine eyes full of tears at the door by which Prince Andrey had gone, and she made the sign of the cross at it. From the study she heard like pistol shots the repeated and angry sounds of the old man blowing his nose. Just after Prince Andrey had gone, the door of the study was flung open, and the stern figure of the old man in his white dressing-gown peeped out.

“‘Gone? Well, and a good thing too!’ he said, looking furiously at the fainting princess. He shook his head reproachfully and slammed the door.”  Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace, Constance Garnett (tr), Barnes & Noble Classics, New York, 1904-2005, p. 96-97.

Andrey had just had an interview with his father as the last thing to do before he left; “the old man” had been proud and unsentimental about his only son’s going off to war.  These two paragraphs show the varying reactions of the four characters and economically revealing the emotionality of the old man in a way both subtle and vivid.  I can hardly think about it without tearing up.

I seem to recall comparing the translation of this part to the Pevear and Volokonsky translation—the names may be misspelled—and finding this more to my taste.  I previously extolled Garnett’s work here on 3/17.  I once called her rendition of Vronsky’s horse race, in Anna Karenina “the most exciting thing I’ve ever read.”

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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