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Nothing Sacred [Sep. 21st, 2006|01:01 am]
the Angela Carter Community


I’ve been reading more of Angela Carter’s Nothing Sacred. The essay on William and Dorothy Wordsworth and their junkie friends was amusing. And Dorothy’s rather pathetic devotion to her brother, which to Carter at least appears to have a very large element of repressed sexuality to it. I must confess I know little of Wordsworth and I loathe his poetry.

I loved her piece on British television drama, and the essential folly of trying to turn Great Books into decent television. As she points out, great novels are by their very nature usually not suited for film or TV adaptation. It’s the things that make them great as novels that make them unsuitable for TV or movies. If you want proof you need look no further than the BBC’s disastrous adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels.

Her hatched job on Gone with the Wind was fun too. God I hate that movie.

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[User Picture]From: stilken
2006-09-22 05:41 am (UTC)
I mean, for the sake of discussion, I actually think the bbc does a great job of turning classic books into watchable television. It's not like they try to fit it into an hour and a half, usually.

Im glad you posted. I really like getting posts from this comm on my flist.
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[User Picture]From: dfordoom
2006-09-22 07:17 am (UTC)
I still think the nest way to appreciate Jane Austen, for example, is to read her. Translated onto television her work comes across as simply soap opera for the middle classes.
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[User Picture]From: stilken
2006-09-22 04:14 pm (UTC)
I mean.... I agree that that's true, but I think it's more complicated than a simple substitution. I have both read Pride and Prejudice and seen the BBC version, and I quite enjoyed both, for entirely different reasons. With a different medium comes a different purpose, and those people who think that the BBC version is a substitute for the book don't know what they're missing out on. However, I think there is a sort of pretentious and false intellectualism in dismissing television as a medium of worth.
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[User Picture]From: dfordoom
2006-09-22 04:28 pm (UTC)
there is a sort of pretentious and false intellectualism in dismissing television as a medium of worth.

I agree completely. And I certainly don't dismiss television as a medium of worth. I just think that the best television is generally stuff devised and written specifically for television rather than adaptations of great novels. As Carter says in her essay, "what makes a novel good are just those qualities that make it difficult to translate it out of fiction into anything else."

In fact, to me, the practice of adapting Great Books into TV productions shows a lack of faith in television. It's an attempt to make TV respectable by borrowing the respectability of Great Literature, and I don't think it's necessary. I think television can stand on its own merits.
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[User Picture]From: stilken
2006-09-22 09:12 pm (UTC)
okay, I get what you're saying and I agree.

But I still enjoy the BBC's adaptations - I just spent a lot of time as a kid watching their version of Narnia on PBS and because of that have a bit of a soft spot for it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-04-14 02:46 am (UTC)

Your "Gone With The Wind" comment

You are an absolute half wit! I do agree that the movie adaptation of "Gone With The Wind" is no as amazing as some say, but to discount such a book, yes you fool it was a book before a film, simply because you dislike someones oscar winning interpretation is just stupid. If you have not read the novel don't comment on it. Do you have a best selling book or an Academy Award I think NO!
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[User Picture]From: dfordoom
2007-04-14 02:51 am (UTC)

Re: Your "Gone With The Wind" comment

If you'd actually read what I said, you'd find that I made no comment on the novel. I was talking about the movie. Which was awful. But then why am I bothering to respond to someone who doesn't have the guts to make anything but anonymous comments?

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