Thursday, April 15, 2010

Embroidered Handkerchief and Best Intentions

I know I didn't post a progress report on my socks yesterday -- that's because there's been very little progress. Instead, I've been frantically working on something I want to use for a giveaway, and intended to post that today. Unfortunately this one, like so many of my best intentions, gang aft agley.
So you'll have to wait just a little while longer -- maybe it can be something to lift you from the depths of despair in Wuthering Heights. Meanwhile, as the Bronte-along leaves Jane Eyre behind this week, I leave you with the finished handkerchief (the free pattern's available in the download section) and some thoughts about film adaptations.

I love the way outline stitch is really just backstitch in reverse. It makes for such a tidy wrong side -- perfect for things like hankies that don't end up framed.

A lot of literature lovers -- especially academics -- are critical of film adaptations. I certainly don't advocate using a film in place of the actual novel, especially in a classroom or lecture setting (in fact, this makes me shudder), but films so often play a role as a jumping-off point for new readers. I've seen more tweets and blog posts during this Bronte-along that mention never having read Jane Eyre, but as soon as the writers see the film, they're hooked and dying for more of the story and they turn to the novel. Sometimes a film helps a reader get the feel of the story, and gives a reader a visual handle with which to manage characters and events, all of which makes the written prose more accessible. This is especially the case with Victorian and earlier novels, written in a style that's rather difficult for modern readers to manage. Is the book better than the movie (any version)? Undoubtedly. Is it frustrating to a book lover to find people who claim intimate familiarity with a novel, only to discover they haven't actually read it, they've just seen the film? Absolutely. It also drives me crazy that I can no longer remember how I pictured Mr. Darcy when I read Pride and Prejudice at age 14, because I've seen the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version enough times for the actors to supplant the characters in my mind. But overall, I love film adaptations, and anything that brings someone closer to being a reader is a good thing in my book (ahem. Unintentional pun, I promise). And I love seeing all the participants who've worked their ways through not only Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre but her Villette and Shirley, as well as Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell (the Bronte sisters' biographer, by the way) and up through Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair (haven't read that one? You must, if you don't mind a dash of Douglas Adams and Doctor Who with your Victorian literature).

A bouquet of rosemary lends a wonderful scent to the handkerchief.

So, haven't read Jane Eyre yet? Check your local library for the print edition, the audiobook (many libraries also have downloadable audiobook services, with audiobooks compatible with both Mac and PC platforms), or get it right now from Project Gutenberg. Quickly, before we're sunk in the mire of misery known as Wuthering Heights next week!


  1. This turned out beautifully! *applause*

  2. Super-cool! That's beautiful! It also bothers me that I can't remember how I first visualized Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, and various other characters before the films! I also hate it when they put out books with new covers with pictures from the movies on them! I do have to admit though that I love Colin Firth as Darcy!

  3. that is just beautiful .I got your letter yesterday and a reply is going out tommorow .

  4. thanks, leaf!
    sorry beth, i've already been using my handkerchief, so you probably don't want it now. but the pattern's free, and it doesn't take long!
    nicole, i feel the same way about movie tie-in covers! i won't buy a book that has one.
    cathy, glad you got the letter!


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