Since both works reiterate the theme of Thornfield Hall in a lively interplay between reception and creation they give insight into the notion of adaptation. Adaptations are translations, transpositions as they revision and relocate a source text into a target one culturally, geographically and temporally. Since adaptation implies both the concepts of relocation and creation it has been linked to the postcolonial notion of hybridity, which, in the case of adaptation, can be the result of either amplifying or pruning the source-text.
In fact, stage adaptations use what Charles Sanders Peirce calls indexical and iconic signs, i. The key element which distinguishes the early adaptations of Jane Eyre by John Courtney and John Brougham is the introduction of servants into the Jane Eyre plot. It is Mrs Fairfax who informs Jane about the existence of a secret at Thornfield.
Remarkably, Bertha does not appear on stage, and her story is told to Jane by Rochester as soon as she hears from Mrs Fairfax about a secret haunting Thornfield Hall. The madwoman appears shortly afterwards to set the house on fire. Significantly, the madwoman has no name in the play. Jane Eyre had become a bestseller, and a must for women, not only in Britain. Patsy Stoneman writes in her recent book on nineteenth-century stage adaptations of Jane Eyre that.
The German-language play was also performed in America on numerous occasions between and Nevertheless , The Orphan of Lowood marked the highpoint of her fame. In , it was prominently reviewed in the Leipziger Zeitung , thus providing evidence that it enjoyed great popularity. Eugenie Marlitt, who in that year was in Munich at the court of countess Mathilde Sonderhausen and acted as her Gesellschafterin and Vorleserin , i. Since The Orphan of Lowood was a successful play, rich in sensational motifs, it may have been a good source of material for the stories which she later published in instalments in the Gartenlaube , the most popular nineteenth-century illustrated German magazine which dealt with domestic and family matters.
Eugenie Marlitt, who began to write in , published all her novels, including The Second Wife , first in this family magazine, whose stories celebrated the peacefulness of an interior private space. This scandal causes her husband to bring his wife back to England. The loss of her baby and the death of her lover deprive Lady Henrietta Rochester of her reason. Before dying Arthur begs his brother to bring Adele to England and remove the maniac to Thornfield Hall.
Here the envy and cruelty of his brother and of a priest who accuse her of being a prostitute break their love relationship. Gisbert Mainau falls ill and dies while his lover becomes mad and is confined outside the castle. Arguably, the different causes of the madness of the colonial woman are crucial to understanding the migration of the meaning of the Thornfield Hall theme. The intervention of this lady, whose name recalls one of the cruel aunts in the original novel, underlines on the one hand the moral polarisation whereby the poor, good young heroine is confronted with a rich, bad older woman, and on the other stresses the concentration on a class meaning, thus partly continuing the tradition of British stage adaptations.
The more the heroine wants to explore the unfamiliar house of the lover, the deeper her desire to know her beloved becomes. In this sense the telling mode allows consideration of those nuances that resonate also on the level of representation. Charlotte Birch Pfeiffer silences the racial otherness of the imprisoned woman and Eugenie Marlitt transfers it exclusively into a gender oppression in the service of a romantic story. Viewed from the perspective of postcolonial studies, one of the aspects that makes Bertha overdetermined and thus ambiguousis her figurative blackness.
Bertha stands for both the centre and the margin, or, more exactly, she is the margin that enters the centre to disrupt fixed notions of representation. The ambiguous centredness of Thornfield heralds the ambiguous place that the story of Thornfield occupies in the text: far from being fully inscribed inside a traditional romantic love story, the tale of Thornfield Hall exceeds formulaic patterns.
Thus, while at face value Thornfield Hall represents the heart of the narrative—the scene of the love story between Jane and Mr Rochester—it surreptitiously stands for a place that encloses the private tale in the public dimension of history, which remains hidden in the text.
It is during this visit that Jane meets Bertha, her double. We read:. There was a light on the dressing-table, and the door of the closet, where, before going to bed, I had hung my wedding dress and veil, stood open: I heard a rustling there. The excessive and carnivalesque body of Bertha confronts the privatized, compressed and virginal body of Jane and makes it vulnerable.
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From this perspective, an interesting gap is represented by an object which accompanies Jane during her journeys from a place to another, a trunk. Present in the two first places Jane visits, Gateshead and Lowood, as symbolically representing her condition of disconnection and her absence of property, this trunk disappears when Bertha sets fire to the house to suddenly emerge again at the end of the novel when Jane enters the final mansion of Ferndean, the place of the happy-ending marriage. In her unruliness Bertha embodies a nature that has not been domesticated, like that of the Caribbean: on the verge of death, Bertha is on the roof of Thornfield, turned into a volcano-house 37 that is going to blow up.
This restriction of meaning is exemplified both on thematic and discursive levels. At the same time the suspense related to the story of Thornfield heightens the emotional dimension of Jane and enables a deeper presentation of selfhood that goes beyond prescribed outlines. Nevertheless, it is not central to the development of the main heroine but to the development of the plot. While Bertha tends to remain concealed, the Indian woman enters the novel early on and unambiguously. It is Liane who discovers the little house where she is kept imprisoned and on peering inside she discovers that:.
A lamp was burning in the middle of the room, and in one corner stood a cane bedstead. On the snow-white sheets lay a small, delicate head with the face hidden in the pillows. Was it child or woman soft white muslin enveloped the figure from the head to the feet, which were bare and beautifully small, but colourless and very still.
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One arm was bare, so slender and thin, that it might have belonged to a girl of twelve or thirteen, and the broad gold band which encircled it seemed almost too heavy for the tender flesh it rested on. The representation of the colonial woman in The Second Wife accentuates the oppression of gender. She is very weak after being abused by the majordomo in both ethnocentric hatred and lust for her.
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