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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 22:01   #21
John from Paris
laughs in the face of fear
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Join Date: 24 Sep 2006
Location: Paris (since 1985)
Posts: 982
Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

I have highly ambivalent feelings about stage and film adaptations of novels. I fully understand that people working in those media should want to try these adaptations, but then certain features of a film imprint themselves on the mind, and the book becomes a different kind of experience, and, in my opinion, a more limited one. (Though some people might argue the opposite here.) I can no longer go back to the text of Madame Bovary without visualising the admittedly excellent Isabelle Huppert in the admittedly rather good adaptation by Claude Chabrol, about fifteen years ago.

Did anyone here see the stage adapatation of Wuthering Heights at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds some time back? That was very awkward; they'd felt obliged to have the two narrating characters at the sides of the stage rather than involved in the action... it didn't work.

Middlemarch in two hours, even in three? This would put me in a seriously difficult position. I would be so curious to see it, and yet on balance I think I'll probably stay away. In fact I'm pretty sure I would. Middlemarch is a novel to be read and to be savoured over a period of two or three weeks.

And then, as mentioned by jerkass way back in this thread, those bits where George Eliot pops in and says "This is how things were back then" (I always feel it's George Eliot, taking us gently and sagely by the hand, not a "narrative voice"... ) Would these bits just be left out? Quelle horreur. Made into a voice-over? Shudder shudder.

No, I think I'll choose to live without Middlemarch on the screen.
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