The Cinematic Jane Austen: Essays on the Filmic Sensibility of the Novels
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Jane Austen's novels are loved because they possess a comedic power that is often conveyed through the singular voice of the narrators. Film adaptations, however, have often been unsatisfactory because they lack or awkwardly render features, particularly the voice of the narrators. This work argues for a fresh approach that begins with a reading of the novels that emphasizes their auditory and visual dimensions. Building on their examination of Austen's inherently cinematic features, the authors then develop productive new readings of the films.
also include the card game “Speculation” played by the Bertrams and Crawfords since it metaphorically reveals the nature of the different characters around the table. 23. We could think, among many others, of Welles’s The Lady from Shanghai (1948), or Michael Powell’s Peeping-Tom (1960), not to mention the numerous adaptations of myths or fairy tales in which the mirror plays an important role, as in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (1950) or Walt Disney’s Snow-White (1937). 24. The ﬁlm, like the mirror,
introduced early with Mr. Darcy himself: Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his ﬁne, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within ﬁve minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a ﬁne ﬁgure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at in great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the
unforgiving temper. His disposition must be dreadful” [1, 16, 90]. “There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences,” Fanny Price is to suggest in Austen’s next novel, Mansﬁeld Park (II, 4, 243). Memory is indeed as volatile, unpredictable and complex as eighteenth-century psychologists since Locke have contended. Few people recall the exact words spoken in a conversation, and most remember
Wentworth. A comparison of three meetings between Anne and Wentworth, the ﬁrst during a concert held in the Assembly Rooms and the other two in the Musgroves’ lodgings at the White Hart, highlights the very different types of problems posed by a decadent old order and an unsophisticated new one. The Elliots, demonstrating their typical disdain for broader social obligations, attend the concert only because it provides an opportunity to enhance their own prestige by cultivating an acquaintance
discussion of this topic. 10. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction, 247. 11. Booth, The Rhetoric, 256. 12. Byrne, Jane Austen, 123. 13. Monaco, How To Read a Film, 186ff. 14. Quoted Gibbs, Mise-en-scène, 57. 15. Cohen, Film and Fiction, 23. 16. Gregory, A Father’s Advice, 26 17. Miller, The Secret of Style, 71. 18. Miller, The Secret, 68. 19. The ﬁlm’s handling of sound is interesting: Mrs. Croft and Mrs. Musgrove’s chatter virtually disappears from the soundtrack when the camera focuses on Harville