Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Accessibility of Classic Novels

I think that one of the greatest things about these adaptations is that they make the novels so much more accessible.  I just finished reading Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South for about the third time and was in tears again on the last few pages.  Not only do I know that I wouldn’t have read this novel but for the adaptation, I also know that I enjoy it more because of the adaptation.  It is as if I need a bridge to the “other world” of the 19th century and the adaptation gives me that.  I am not an English scholar so I need a bit of a leg up, to picture the world and the relationships in my mind before I tackle the book.  I usually then actually enjoy the book better than the film, although there are usually ways in which the films are as good if not superior to the original novel.
North and SouthNorth & South In the case of North and South, which is quickly becoming my favourite novel/adaptation combo, the final scene with Margaret and Mr. Thornton is done equally well in novel and adaptation, even if the kissing at the train station is a bit unrealistic for mid-Victorian times.  It is delicious to those of us watching in the 21st century so we can suspend our disbelief that Margaret would have been so indiscreet.  But the much more discreet scene in the book makes me cry even more than the one in the film.
In any case, I think we can all agree that the readership of these old novels has surged in recent years because of all these lovely adaptations and the fact that some of us want the feeling we get from the films to continue, so we read the books.  And we are rarely disappointed.  So thank-you to the BBC and all the other filmmakers and screenplay writers for lighting a fire under those of us less likely to pick up a Classic novel without a little nudge.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting into words exactly how a felt about films and novels from the BBC. I recently watched the North and South series, and I can't wait to read the book! By the way, I really enjoy reading your entries in this blog. Congratulations on the good job! Greetings from Mexico!




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