e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Jane Austen”

30 Day Book Challenge – day 17: Book turned into a movie that was completely desecrated

I can’t really answer today’s challenge. I can’t remember that many films made out of books  I’ve read – I discovered long ago that I prefer the book so tend to avoid the films.

If we include TV I can say I have a general dislike of Jane Austen adaptations. This is firstly because there is an poster of film‘Austen’ style – clothes, general look, acting, direction – all come out of the same mould at each adaptation. Another reason is that they seem to miss a lot of the subtlety of the books, lose the irony and emphasise the love aspect at the expense of the social comment. I wish I’d seen the Bollywood version; I think I might like that.

But I’m not  sure what to ‘desecrate’ a book means.

film posterSpielberg’s 2005 War of the Worlds was a fairly good film that had little to do with Wells’ original. Does that mean it ‘desecrated’ it? It’s not a term I would use – I’d more likely say it tried to elbow in on the book’s fame.

Sherlock Holmes has suffered from some terrible films. So have Dracula and Frankenstein. I suspect that others could add to this list. Here I think ‘desecration’ might be an appropriate term.

Pics from IMDb.


The books that bind – Jane Austen and Timbuktu

burning book

Yesterday the BBC TV news carried two literary-related items.

Yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Yesterday the French army seized Timbuktu, only to discover that a library of ancient manuscripts had been burned and most of the books destroyed.

What a contrast! The peace of English village life/the violence of war; a book loved/books destroyed; appreciative readers celebrating/an act of childish spite.

The arsonists have achieved nothing but to rob the world of a treasure, and to weaken an age old connection between the local people and their ancestors.

I sometimes think of books as links in a chain joining the past to the future via the present. The chain is anchored in the past when the book was first made and its links uncoil into the future for as long as it’s remembered. Each generation adds a new one.

If the book still exists the links are strong, but once it’s gone the chain depends on human memory to keep forging.

Memories of some of those old scholars who built the library and wrote the books will start to fade. They do not deserve to be forgotten.

Austen however goes from strength to strength and this year will be celebrated all over the world.

Picture from dontstepinthepoop.

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