Adapting Nineteenth-Century France

Adapting Nineteenth-Century France: Literature in Film, Theatre, Television, Radio and Print

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Adapting Nineteenth-Century France
    Book Description:

    This book focuses on adaptations in and of nineteenth-century France, assessing the reworking of Emile Zola in radio, Honoré de Balzac in silent cinema, Gustave Flaubert in contemporary fiction, Victor Hugo in musical theatre, Guy de Maupassant in television and Jules Verne in sound film.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2595-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Kate Griffiths and Andrew Watts
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The french nineteenth century and its cultural products have long fascinated those who adapt. adaptation, as a cultural phenomenon, is key to the artistic life of this era, characterised as it is by cross-media/genre dialogues as novels, plays, operas and paintings nourish each other adaptively. Zola’sNana(1880) offers a powerful case in point. the novel mocks, in adapted form, the operettas of offenbach (La Belle Hélèneis recalled in Nana’s abysmalLa Blonde Vénus). it is comparably indebted to the painting of its heroine done by edouard Manet in the winter of 1876, based on nana’s brief appearance in...

  6. Chapter One Labyrinths of Voices: Emile Zola, Germinal and Radio
    (pp. 17-46)

    The critical silence surrounding the adaptation of emile Zola to radio is deafening.¹ it does not stem from a paucity of adaptations of the author in radio.² Rather, this silence is the result of two factors. First, the discipline of adaptation studies has tended to ignore radio as an adaptive medium.³ Secondly, Zola, an author who famously privileges the visual in his attempt to make us ‘see’ reality, does not appear suited to a purely aural medium that is, in the words of andrew crisell, ‘blind’.⁴ However, using two BBC radio adaptations ofGerminalwritten by david hopkins and diana...

  7. Chapter Two Diamond Thieves and Gold Diggers: Balzac, Silent Cinema and the Spoils of Adaptation
    (pp. 47-79)

    As Jacques Rivette’sNe Touchez pas la hachereaffirmed in 2007, cinematographers continue to profit from the textual riches ofLa Comédie humaine. however, while present-day filmmakers remain fascinated by Balzac, no period in the history of cinema has shown greater enthusiasm for his work than the silent era. Between 1906 and the onset of sound film in 1927, at least eighty-two silent adaptations of Balzac were either produced or planned. 1 these european and american films include adaptations ofLa Peau de chagrin, Le Colonel Chabert , La Duchesse de LangeaisandLe Père Goriot. silent filmmakers also reinterpreted...

  8. Chapter Three Fragmented Fictions: Time, Textual Memory and the (Re) Writing of Madame Bovary
    (pp. 80-113)

    Since its publication in 1856,Madame Bovaryhas continued to fas cinate writers, dramatists and filmmakers, who have shown a compulsive enthusiasm for recreating the novel in their own media. The film adaptations by renoir (1933), Minnelli (1949) and chabrol (1991) have attracted much scholarly attention.¹ However, rewritings ofMadame Bovaryin fiction have been largely neglected.² Over the past thirty years, literary homages to flaubert’s text have appeared in both french and english. A select bibliography compiled by the centre flaubert at the université de rouen lists twenty-four such works, eight of them published since the turn of the...

  9. Chapter Four Les Misérables, Theatre and the Anxiety of Excess
    (pp. 114-142)

    While theatre has had a key role in sustaining the cultural legacy of hugo’s work, some critics have treated stage adaptations ofLes Misérableswith contempt. This is particularly true of reactions to alain Boublil and claude-Michel schönberg’s west end musical, which on the one hand has been labelled ‘overlong, overcomplex, [and] overdifficult’.¹ On the other hand it has been ridiculed for condensing hugo’s novel into a three-hour show: ‘Toute violence dans la contestation et toute réflexion sérieuse en sont bannies,’ writes Jean Gaudon disdainfully, ‘la comédie musicale ayant pour fonction de remplacer le livre-action . . . par un...

  10. Chapter Five Chez Maupassant: The (In) Visible Space of Television Adaptation
    (pp. 143-171)

    The space occupied by Guy de Maupassant in the cultural output of television is visible and shows no signs of declining. Jean-Marie dizol’s filmography for the period 1908 to 1993 details some forty-six adaptations of the author for television. The first dates from 1949 in the USA, S. Rubin’sMademoiselle Fifi, and the most recent, from 2011, is an eight-part anthology for France 2, the third in a highly successful series entitledChez Maupassant.² Yet the place of these adaptations both in Maupassant criticism and in adaptation studies more generally is far less assured. In comparison to their counterparts in...

  11. Chapter Six Le Tour du monde en quatrevingts jours: Verne, Todd, Coraci and the Spectropoetics of Adaptation
    (pp. 172-205)

    Adaptations are arguably the most haunted of all art forms. In a new medium, they simultaneously reincarnate and dispossess an earlier art form. Derrida writes of the haunted nature of any canonical work’s recreation at the hands of its would-be artistic heirs: ‘L’oeuvre animée . . .s’ingénieàhabiter sans proprement habiter, soit à hanter, tel un insaisissable spectre, et la mémoire et la traduction. Un chef-d’oeuvre toujours se meut, par définition, à la manière d’un fantôme.’¹ The bond between this chapter’s three case studies, Jules verne’sLe Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours, the 1956 academy award-winning large screen...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 206-212)

    Balzac, flaubert, hugo, Maupassant, verne and Zola show no signs of disappearing from the adaptive landscape. Their work continues to be adapted and re-adapted across time, media and nation. However, this book has sought not merely to illustrate the artistic potency of nineteenth-century french prose fiction, but also to highlight the sometimes unexpected affinities between certain authors and specific media. Zola, the novelist famed for his claim to translate the impressionists into fiction, for his attention to colour, light and detail, finds a natural home in the reputedly blind, black medium of radio. While radio cannot show us the spaces,...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-224)
  14. Index
    (pp. 225-236)