Now that I have time to partake in summer reading, I’ve been working on sorting through my giant to-read list to determine what will take precedence this summer.
I’m close to (finally) finishing J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and when I finish that, my next non-project read will be Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, which I can’t believe I’ve never read. I also hope to complete the next read for my From the Film Back to the Book reading project, Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as Diana Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, about which I’ve heard nothing but good things.
Today, I bring you my first post in my new From the Film Back to the Book project, which I introduced here.
As I began to explore the films of Vivien Leigh, I eventually found The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, which is notable for being Leigh’s last true starring role, and thus I watched it with immense curiosity. When taken alongside Leigh’s portrayal Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire and Mary Treadwell from Ship of Fools, Leigh as Karen Stone seems like part of a trifecta of women chasing lost youth.
In The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Leigh plays an aging actress who, on the way to Rome, lost her husband and is now seeking some sort of purpose in life. She finds something – not exactly “purpose” – in young Paolo, played by Warren Beatty, and embarks on an affair with him as she drifts through her new life in Rome. For those of you unfamiliar with the film, here is the original trailer:
Rediscovery is feeling I don’t experience often enough.
It’s the thrill of seeing something through new eyes, of gleaning new wisdom and new appreciation from it.
I recently had this experience while rereading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Before I jump into my newfound love for the book, a little bit of background:
I first read the Great Gatsby when I was 16 in my advanced English class in junior year of high school. Junior year English was an odd year for me, as I had trouble connecting to many of the works we read. The Great Gatsby was no exception.
I found the book to be tedious at best, pretentious at worst. I remember discussing the symbolism – the colors, the ash heaps, those eyes – with several of my friends but finding them too heavy-handed for my liking.
I can’t tell you why I disliked Gatsby other than that I just didn’t “get” it. I understood what I was supposed to appreciate, but it didn’t click.
Screenshot of Anderson and Fontaine from the Rebecca trailer (public domain – I really don’t know why it’s inverted) – via Wikimedia Commons
News broke a year ago that someone was eying a new version of Rebecca, and it seems as though the project is indeed moving forward. Two days ago, it was announced not only that a script has been drafted but also that Danish director Nikolaj Arcel is attached to the project.
Inevitably, backlash against “remaking a Hitchcock film” started anew.
The timing of the announcement in particular struck me. Not a week ago, I used the new version of Rebecca as an example in my defense of readaptations.
I won’t rehash all my arguments from that post, but the main idea is this: Hitchcock did not create the story; it began as a novel by Daphne du Maurier. Why shouldn’t we see a new adaptation?
That said, here are five reasons why I, as a fan of both the book and the 1940 film, am terribly excited about the prospect of a new film.
This post contains minor spoilers for Villette by Charlotte Brontë.
“‘Lucy, I wonder if anyone will ever comprehend you altogether.’”
This statement comes towards the close of Charlotte Brontë’s final novel, Villette. I don’t think I can think of a more perfect way to sum up the book. But I will endeavor to try.
Considered Brontë’s most autobiographical work, Villette follows Lucy Snowe, a young English Protestant who goes to work in the cosmopolitan city of Villette (modeled after Brussels) on European continent as a schoolteacher. There, she comes at odds with the school’s devoutly Catholic literature teacher, M. Paul Emanuel.
While reading the book, I wasn’t sure what made Lucy tick, and many others have noted that she’s an odd heroine. Villette is an introspective work, but sometimes, I couldn’t understand why Lucy was describing certain things she did.