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Monday, May 07, 2007

Adaptation: the Cage Match

Forgive the silliness of this post but the news today is a little silly, and having just finished the coursework for my master's degree, I am ever so slightly giddy this afternoon. The MA colloquium at Dalhousie University was last friday. I presented a paper on 21st century adaptations of Jane Eyre on a panel about 18th and 19th century constructions of gender, authorship, and identity. It all went well, after the equipment arrived for the video clips... During question period, comments came simultaneously from the Victorian moderator and one of the ph.d's about- of all things- the elements of Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea which they claimed were obvious in the clips I had chosen! This is the beautiful thing about conferences - getting a totally new perspective on your work. I always take notes during question period, but I had to ask them to slow down so I could get everything.

This brings me to a bit of silly from The Herald:

Perhaps TV bosses feared the wrath of Wellsian literary purists, who have consistently complained that Lee Evans, playing the drama's underdog hero, Alfred Polly, is much too much the knockabout prole.

Then again, no TV exec ever paid any heed to literary purists, as the latter are mostly blinkered, vinegar-faced, nit-picking plonkers who do nothing but complain - as I know from having incurred such folks' wrath in reviewing Jane Eyre (at this point, allow me to wave two fingers at all the blinkered, vinegar-faced, nit-picking plonkers who run the website bronteblog).

(You will probably find a retort from said BB here, or at the sidebar link). I am quite glad that I didn't get into criticising critics in this case. I do enough of that as a graduate student. I must say, I'm not enjoying writing academic papers on adaptation simply because most of the critical writings go something like this:

It's unfaithful! It's corrupt, and debased, and sacriledge!!
Hey, adaptations can't be just like the book. In fact, adaptation is a hugely complicated issue which leads absolutely nowhere.
It's the best version evaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!
That means absolutely nothing.
Yeah, well, so does saying that it's hugely complicated.

It might be better if we adopted an American Gladiators sort of forum to settling the matter, at least then it would be entertaining.


Amy said...

Congratulations on finishing your coursework! You must feel so relieved. I'm so glad to hear your presentation went so well. I hope you have some fun things planned for your break.

Brontëana said...

It is a relief, but it is difficult to keep motivated while writing my thesis. My break was a whole two days long. I enjoyed the sunshine, cooked myself a special meal and had a picnic. It was lovely!