Posts Tagged ‘samuel richardson’

Books 5 and 6

I haven’t finished my reading of Pamela, but I decided that I would work on the other readings for that class for that week. I was quite surprised to find that Book 5, Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, seems to be fashioned after Pamela as if Pamela was Joseph’s real sister and that Fielding’s book was only a response to Richardson’s. The section that I had to read was smaller than Pamela‘s (Chps 1-7), and yet the plot was the same, only reversed in gender. I was supposed to read the preface, and I tried to, I really did, but I guess I missed whether Fielding’s imitation of Richardson’s work was intentional or not.

The only thing I can think of in reading these two books for my Print Culture class would be to examine their differences in form. That week of readings supposedly studies the rise of the novel, and Pamela is an epistolary novel (written in letters to her parents). Joseph Andrews seems to be a translation of epistolary to firmer novel form.

I do have to say how annoying Pamela is. The way she presents herself in her letters makes me think of her as some beautiful innocent girl, and yet her behaviour and the way she writes is so annoying. I don’t know how to explain it, but she seems like the girls of today who are so silly and yet want the world to know that they were justified, almost as if this were chick lit. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being so negative to this character because I can’t see myself finishing off the reading before next Wednesday. I really REALLY don’t want to hear any more about her complaints, her virtue, and about everything that happened to her between each letter and the next.

Maybe the novel form of Joseph Andrews allowed me to complete it much quicker because of its distance. Fielding assumes a third person omniscient narrator and uses this as a means of showing Joseph’s situation. Perhaps this distance makes us see Joseph as a more likeable character. He’s not portrayed as silly like Pamela is, though he has the same object in the book: to keep his “virtue” (whatever the hell that is). His accomplishments are much worthier in my eyes, probably because Pamela’s accomplishments are silly, and Joseph seems like he has more of a right in keeping his virtue. Maybe that is it: maybe because of Pamela’s beauty and her silliness in her letters makes me believe that she doesn’t have the right to keep her virtue.

Alright, I am annoyed about this subject, so I am going to talk about Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which is Book 6. I actually found this kind of interesting. We were only supposed to read a small portion of this novel: 15 pgs before Crusoe begins keeping a journal. There were things in this section that could be seen as mundane, but it was interesting as well. I guess I just like adventure, especially on the sea, during that time, because I might read more of it. Keyword: might.

This did remind me of Lord of the Flies too much. I don’t remember much of that book since it’s been almost ten years since I’ve read it back in high school, but I remember them digging latrines, and when Crusoe is talking about building a secure place for himself to sleep, I was torn between thinking of the boys digging latrines, and whatever the contestants did on Survivor. Crazy.

Well, I still have portions of three books to read. I have to read Book 7: Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro by Jan 11 (?). I have 50+ pgs of dry, disorganized McLuhan from The Gutenberg Galaxy which I had on a count for my last semester’s readings. Then there is The Sweet Hereafter. And I have an essay due Jan 18. I don’t know how I’m going to get all of this stuff done. I feel like all of my time is going to be taken up before school starts.

My only recourse for relaxation time is The Jane Austen Book Club movie (maybe book as well) and North and South. I have seen the whole adaptation of N&S and I really like it. When I finished reading the second half of the book, I wondered how the heck Sandy Welch was going to compress all of those events into two hours. It didn’t seem possible. But I think she did it better than Gaskell did it herself. It seemed like we lost sight of Thornton in the book and then he pops up again at the end, but in the adaptation, we see his problems with the mill early and we get to watch the reluctant friendship build between him and Higgins. I also liked how Welch sent Mr Bell off to South America instead of waiting for him to die to make Margaret an “heiress”. And seeing Thornton’s reaction to Margaret’s being his landlord: priceless.

The ending was also beautiful. In the book, Thornton goes to London and they reunite, but in the adapt, he and Margaret meet in between Milton and Helstone. An accidental meeting and Margaret decides for herself to continue her journey back to Milton with him, rather than going back to London with Henry to explain to her family her reasons for marrying him. This is more active than in the book and more agreeable to me. And the look on his face when he sees her… wow. Great ending. And the music is beautiful, haunting. I wish the BBC would put out a compilation of the scores they use for their period pieces, because most of it is beautiful.

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The Jane Austen Book Club

I have a copy of The Jane Austen Book Club, but I never got around to watching it until today. I have recently re-taken an interest in what Emily Blunt has to offer viewers and was curious if she was going to be speaking with her native British accent or with an adopted American accent. I have since found that there are many actors in this movie that I’ve seen elsewhere, and some in strange places. Hugh Dancy was in King Arthur? Kathy Baker played Mia on Gilmore Girls? Maggie Grace looks like Odette Yustman in Cloverfield, and I’m extremely confused as to why Maggie’s face is so familiar and yet I’ve never seen any of her shows.

Now, onto the movie. Maybe I should be honest, I did use this movie to glean insight into Jane Austen’s books. The wide range of characters allowed for a wide range of perspective into the six books that Austen wrote. And, I may like this movie because I am partially a Janeite, but OH WELL! It was fun to go through the books again, one by one, and relive bits and pieces of them, as well as Austen’s life. For Mansfield Park, it was harder for me to understand what the characters were talking about as I haven’t read that book and I’ve seen one adaptation once. For me, “once” is remarkable.

There are plenty of things to say about the movie itself. The characters were indeed a lovable bunch, especially in their opposing ideas about what Austen meant with this or that. We have Allegra vs Prudie when the book club begins, along with Prudie’s ideas of what an Austen book club is supposed to be about. Jocelyn trying to set up Sylvia with Grigg even though Grigg wants to be with Jocelyn–that was fun to watch and I loved its resolution.

I have to admit the way the book club begins is quite interesting. Going into the movie, I was under the impression that all of these people knew each other.  But they didn’t. Bernadette meets Prudie when she bursts into tears at a movie theatre for Jane Austen movies. Jocelyn meets Grigg at a hotel that is having a Buffy convention and allows for a nod to science fiction/fantasy lovers. Chance encounters. That are believable at least.

Looking at the stats for the movie, I find that this was originally a book by Karen Joy Fowler. I will have to read it some day and compare this adaptation with its original, especially since I have seen Robin Swicord’s name on other adaptations I’ve seen and liked. Interesting. Also interesting is the fact that this is yet another adaptation that I have to read the book for, and that, at the moment of viewing, I had no idea it was an adaptation until after the fact. I didn’t even see the ‘Based on’ title they always add. Must’ve slipped by me.

So… for The Jane Austen Book Club

Screenplay: Robin Swicord

Directed: Robin Swicord

Based on the book by: Karen Joy Fowler

Rating so far: A+

Yes, Austen’s novels are about women, and as men may not feel that the lives of women living and loving are that interesting, they will scorn my rating, but I believe that this movie, and Jane’s books too, should be enjoyed by many. I myself have learned that Jane’s books are about living: the way we live, whether it’s right, how we change, why we change. For me, that is interesting. It just so happens that Jane’s books have a female slant (ie, this is about women and how they change ) and may be seen as “chick lit” by those who scorn chick lit because these women fall in love. But beware, falling in love is only one piece of Jane’s puzzle, and it may not even be a piece at all.

Now I’m not really making any sense. I suppose I should move on and tell you that I have started Book 3 for my semester: Pamela (or Virtue Rewarded) by Samuel Richardson, Letters 1-25. I am on Letter 12 and I will say that I am glad that I am not a poor, beautiful maid in the power of a master. I’d be very scared if the master tried to make sexual advances on me and that world is not empathetic to women who have been molested. The Garden of Eden at work, where woman’s virtue is precious and if she should lose it because someone took advantage of her, well it must be her fault, right?

The beginning doesn’t bode well for the rest of the book. It doesn’t help that I have many other books I should be reading before school starts, like Sweet Hereafter, and I have ideas bouncing around my head about a modernized version of Sense and Sensibility. I started working on a screenplay for it. The ideas are good, but so far it seems a little dry to me. There are some good scenes between characters that I might use for my Creative Writing class, but I think it’s like SNW: I have to let the idea of the two sisters’ stories germinate in my head for awhile (a year at least, lol) before I can get used to the idea of them in a modern setting and what might happen.

Okay, I’m tired. Going to bed. Read Jane Austen with pride, dear readers!