Jane Eyre Takes Over New York for Two Nights

Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre book, Jane Eyre classic,

Posted by Jason Diamond

While Mikki Halpin readies the first issue of what I’m going to have to guess is the best Jane Eyre fanzine ever, “Eyresses,” she decided to throw a few events to coincide with the release of the latest adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel.

The parties are taking place March 11th (WORD in Brooklyn) and 14th (Housing Works) and feature under about a dozen people paying homage to one of literature’s most famous heroines.  (Check out the Facebook invite)

I asked Mikki a few questions.

Why does it seem like every decade there is a renewed fascination with the works of the Brontë clan?

I did not know that! I make no claim to being a Brönte expert or scholar. I was going to say because every generation gets assigned it in school, but that doesn’t make sense. For me Eyresses came about because I’ve been really sick the past couple of years and consequently watched a thousand hours of BBC costume dramas—everything from 4 different versions of Emma to stuff being made today that’s set back then, like Lark Rise to Candleford. Then I had a job at a fashion magazine in the fall and I kept joking about “the Jane Eyre trend,” until I found out there was a movie coming out and I was like, oh shit, this could actually happen. (Note: No one thought my joke about the Jane Eyre trend was funny. But why let that stop me?)


You’re doing a presentation on “Jane Eyre as post-apocalyptic science fiction.”   Are you a fan of Jane Slayer and other books of that sort?

I am just reading Jane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin right now–she will be at the event at Word on Friday, reading from her book. You know, I am a giant nerd and I am fascinated by fan culture, so things like Jane Slayre or Wide Sargasso Sea, a retelling of the events in Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys that focuses on the character of Bertha and the colonial setting of the book, gets me excited. (I don’t mean to insult Vol 1 readers by explaining Wide Sargasso Sea, but you never know. Also I think someone should add in a plotline about a writer who is imprisoned  for gross indecency and call it Wilde Sargasso Sea.) There are even Jane Eyre fan videos on YouTube!  It has been pointed out to me that this kind of thing just reinforces a canon of white writers, and I think that is valid, but it also erases the multicultural responses to Jane Eyre and other texts that are out there.


The parties take place on the weekend when a new film version of the book comes out.  I never realized how many adaptations of the book there actually were.  Do you have a personal favorite?

I really love Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier. She only picks out one part of the story, but she utilizes a really rococo emotional approach and much faster pacing so it’s the kind of book you rip through. Adaptations I haven’t experienced but would very much like to: the Bollywood version and the musical version staged in the 80s starring Alyssa Milano as Jane.


Do you think anybody will show up in costume to either of these parties?

I think people should show up in costume to EVERYTHING.

I know it’s a different sister, but what musical tribute better suited the Brontë clan: “Wuthering Heights’ the Kate Bush song or Wuthering Heights the metal band.

Well, I think the best musical tribute is the song that Anna Copa Cabanna wrote (see below) for Eyresses!   Wuthering Heights fronts as a Brönte band but they’re straight-up Hobbit Rock, right? Not cool.

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  1. Fun fact I just learned–there are a lot of film and tv versions of Jane Eyre because it is much cheaper to stage than Austen stuff that require multiple estates and party scenes, etc.

    Also we set up a tumblr–eyresses.tumblr.com

    Yours in Jane,


  2. OK, I just read the NYT review and I realized that the “fun fact” I shared up there, which someone told me over breakfast, is from the Times piece. Not exactly insider information.

  3. Mikki- You are so talented! I hope your sick days are over and you can be out there writing all the time.