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Victorian Vogue

Victorian Vogue: British Novels on Screen

Dianne F. Sadoff
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Victorian Vogue
    Book Description:

    Ranging from cinematic images of Jane Austen’s estates to Oscar Wilde’s drawing rooms, Dianne F. Sadoff looks at popular heritage films, often featuring Hollywood stars, that have been adapted from nineteenth-century novels. Sadoff contrasts films not merely with their nineteenth-century source novels but with crucial historical moments in the twentieth century, showing their cultural use in interpreting the present, not just the past. _x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7074-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Cultural Work at the Millennium
    (pp. ix-xxii)

    Ken Russell concludes his cheeky film about the Byron circle’s Villa Diodati ghost-story contest with a twist. InGothic’s (1986) pen - ultimate sequence, Byron (Gabriel Byrne) assures Mary Godwin (Natasha Richardson) that the night’s revels bear no relation to the morning’s calm. As Byron and Polidori (Timothy Spall) sprawl on pillows in the foreground, the mansion solidly anchors the background. Voice-over: “Three years after that fateful night, Mary Shelley’s son, William, was dead.” The nineteenth-century figures dissolve out, twentieth-century figures dissolve in; the stately mansion remains exactly as it was: in a long low-angle shot, women and men, adult...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Heritage Film, Classic Serial, and England’s Jane
    (pp. 1-46)

    The National Heritage Memorial Fund’s First Annual Report identifies the conservative uses for contemporary culture of imagining the past, the ways audience enjoyment may be mobilized to consolidate national cultural hegemony, and the ways anxiety about perceived threats to national heritage may be aroused. Seeking to stimulate tourist traffic at Britain’s museums, historical attractions, country houses, and on preservation lands, adherents of heritage culture generally take retrogressive positions in the ongoing debates about public access to and private ownership of estates, gardens, and cultural treasures, disputes that, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, took place in print and through political...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Being True to Nineteenth-Century Narrative
    (pp. 47-100)

    About her dramatization ofPride and Prejudice(1980), Fay Weldon claims, “Not a word was said— well, only about 20— that wasn’t in the book, nor a scene either– well, only one or two” (quoted in Ozick). Jane Campion maintains that she and her screenwriter were “broadly faithful” to Henry James’sPortrait of a Lady— a “damn extraordinary book” and her favorite novel (Interviews 196, 177–78). Lindsay Doran and Emma Thompson hoped that people who “love Jane Austen” would find their film ofSense and Sensibilityfaithful to the novel’s “humour and wisdom” (Screenplay 16). Yet the avant-garde filmmaker...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Reproducing Monsters, Vampires, and Cyborgs
    (pp. 101-148)

    During the 1990s and beyond, numerous stories about harvested organs, frozen embryos, cyborg babies, and human and animal clones hit the major newspapers. In 2000, a British widow discovered that her husband’s brain had been removed at death and given to Manchester University medical researchers; in 2004, UCLA officials disclosed that the Willed Body Program’s director had been selling body parts on a “nationwide black market” (Lyall; Broder; Madigan). In 2003, two British women lost court battles to save frozen embryos because their former partners had withdrawn consent for embryonic implantation (“British Women”); a thirty-year-old cancer patient became, in 2004,...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Middlebrow Audiences, Cinematic Sex, and the Henry James Films
    (pp. 149-196)

    Not all filmmakers and critics agree with John Fiske’s assessment of Henry James’s impossible—and unpalatable—availability for popularization. Nevertheless, moviegoers rejected three of the millennial films of James’s novels, refusing to identify them as popular cultural texts. WhereasThe Wings of the Dovegarnered four Academy Award nominations, after which it opened nationally in multiplex theaters,The Portrait of a Lady, Washington Square,andThe Golden Bowlopened in “selected cities,” played for several weeks in university towns and large urban areas, and promptly disappeared from large-screen view.¹ All four films, however, earned remarkably mixed reviews. Stephen Holden called...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Styles of Queer Heritage
    (pp. 197-244)

    Perhaps it is inevitable that this book on remediations of nineteenth-century British fiction should end with Oscar Wilde and those who invent, imitate, or appropriate him, for Wilde has one of the century’s most powerful afterlives. In her groundbreaking work on Wilde and on queer theory, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick argues that gay male culture has undertaken, during the last century, a “rehabilitation of ‘the sentimental’” that shapes gay culture and encourages “the larger culture” to appropriate a sentimental male homosexuality as “spectacle” (Closet144–45). She reminds us, too, of sentimentality’s rhetorical history: its function as term of “high ethical...

  10. EPILOGUE: Mass Culture and Global Heritage
    (pp. 245-260)

    There will always be an audience for classic serials and film adaptations of nineteenth-century British fiction and, Andrew Davies cheekily suggests, a production company or television network eager to provide them. As a new spate of Austen adaptations and spin-offs hit the theaters in 2007, Marty Moss-Cowane, host of Philadelphia’sRadio Times,announced, “Jane Austen Mania” is “back”; indeed, “it never went away.” Not just Austen fandom but advertising and marketing, cinema spaces, and exhibition practices created such cultural frenzy. Although a multiplemovie deal or sequels to, prequels to, and remakes of a property, all generally owned by one studio...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 261-276)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-304)
  13. Filmography
    (pp. 305-308)
  14. Index
    (pp. 309-329)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 330-330)