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Jane Austen's fourth novel, Emma, is noteworthy for its distinctive style and character development.
First published in three volumes in 1815, Emma revolves around social status and marriage
in a subtle satirization of English high society mores.
Contrary to Austen's belief about her unlikable heroine,
Emma Woodhouse has been a beloved literary character for generations.
There have been over a dozen adaptations of Emma, from musicals to modern-day reimaginings,
so today, we'll take a look at four of the more recent traditional adaptations
of this charming novel.
This is Emma, by the book.
"Very dull in fact, I should be sure to say three very dull things as soon as I open my mouth, shan't I?"
"That may be a difficulty."
"I'm sure I never fail to say things very dull."
"Yes dear, but you will be limited as to number, only three."
The '90s saw an increase in productions inspired by Jane Austen's works,
including this theatrical film adaptation of Emma released in 1996.
The picturesque visual effects enhance the fairy-tale aspect of the film,
with the eponymous character herself glowing in each scene.
Although most of the plot remains intact, the film does not stress absolute fidelity
to the source text.
For instance, Harriet, described as pretty and good-tempered, lacks confidence,
but the film seems to emphasize her unsophistication
and depicts her as a one-dimensional contributor to Emma's development.
"Miss Woodhouse, do talk and make me comfortable again!"
"I suppose this would not be the right time to mention that Mr Elton was engaged."
This adaptation updates the tone of the narrative,
imbuing more romance into the dialogue and action.
The archery scene adds further symbolism to Emma and Knightley's discussion
as well as the film overall.
Jane Austen's use of free indirect discourse as a narrative device
enables us to empathize with Emma through her point of view
while also establishing an emotional distance.
The film endeavors to achieve the same ends through various letter writing scenes
that reveal Emma's self-deluded thinking.
"Well, he loves me!"
With its romantic and comedic take on the perfectly imperfect heroine
in an idyllic country village,
this adaptation of Emma aims to capture the hearts of the audience.
"I shall be sure to say three very dull things as soon as ever I open my mouth, shan't I?
Do not you all think I shall?"
"But there may be a difficulty for you, Miss Bates.
You'll be limited as to number--only three at once."
"Yes, to be sure."
Towards the end of 1996, a television film version of Emma
aired on ITV and later A&E.
Filmed on a smaller scale, this adaptation presents a more believable look at the characters
inhabiting Highbury, with reminders of the era's class divisions scattered throughout.
Scenes of the servants and lower classes provide social context
all the while still minimizingthe mention of poverty.
What also sets this adaptation apart are the scenes that bring Emma's fantasies to life.
The film's dream sequences add an imaginative touch and reveal her romantically naive nature.
"Miss Woodhouse, we meet at last."
The focus on conveying psychological nuance
allows us to get a fuller picture of Emma's personality
and how she matures with compassion and kindness.
Viewers are able to see the social cues that Emma misses,
emphasizing how appearances can be deceiving in such a well-mannered society.
In this version, Emma not only undergoes a self-transformation
but also becomes socially conscious in an invented harvest supper at the end of the film.
"And I hope that you will come and visit us soon at Hartfield,
with your sister, of course, and Miss Smith."
Nonetheless, this version takes care to include small details of etiquette
that are crucial to defining the environment of the time,
resulting in an understated adaptation of this well-loved novel.
"Well then, I shall do very well at your game, Miss Woodhouse,
three things very dull indeed.
That would be tailor-made for me, you know,
I can be relied upon to say three dull things as soon as I open my mouth, shan't I?"
"Oh, but there is a difficulty.
You will be limited as to number--only three at once."
This four-part BBC TV series was created with the contemporary audience in mind,
to the extent that the adaptation attempts to be simultaneously modern
and yet faithful to its Regency setting.
The result is an energetic retelling that eschews the rules
of 19th century manners and propriety.
"I'm sick of England.
I'd leave tomorrow if I could."
"Sick of being rich and prosperous?
Sick of indulgence?"
The adaptation starts off with a Dickensian montage,
replacing Austen's famous first line with a mournful omniscient narrator.
Rather than meeting Emma as a carefree young woman,
the viewer sees the unfortunate events that link Emma, Jane Fairfax, and Frank Churchill
through their childhoods.
In doing so, we see more of Emma as a spoiled, self-centered child
who grows into a willful and mischievous young woman.
Additional scenes and dialogue are used for these extended backstories
and to further flesh out secondary and minor characters.
"I congratulate you on your choice." "Harriet."
This vision of Emma focuses on demonstrating the relatability of this 200-year-old story
for a younger audience.
The way that the characters act and speak, despite their surroundings,
prompt us to see them through a modern lens.
"Three things very dull indeed.
That will do just for me.
I shall be sure to say three dull things as soon as I open my mouth."
"Ah, now there is the difficulty. When have you stop at three?"
The bold, highly aestheticised look of the film uses delectable backdrops
and a playful musical score to create its own heightened world.
Remaining largely faithful to the original source material,
the film leaves sections of the dialogue untouched
but also includes unexpected additions to the story.
Reminiscent of the screwball comedies popular in the '30s and '40s,
the film features a blend of physical comedy and choreography.
The fashion is historically accurate for the Regency period and changes throughout the seasons,
reflecting the passing of time and growth of the characters.
As with previous adaptations, Emma's transformation also includes taking actions
that would be more acceptable in a less class-conscious society.
"He comes to Highbury next week on purpose to meet with me."
"Then I hope you will bring him to Hartfield."
Modern in spite of its Regency trappings, the adaptation presents a new interpretation
of the initially unsympathetic, yet well-meaning antihero.
As readers continue to gravitate towards the novel's authenticity and wit,
filmmakers have demonstrated that there is no single approach to adapting this iconic story.
Emma's flaws and gradual character arc are what make her
such a compelling and realistic protagonist.
The novel is unique in that the style of narration allows the reader to see
Emma's failures of perception and the observations of the limited world around her.
In their discovery of new perspectives on love and society,
Jane Austen's rich characters teach lessons that are still valuable today.
Which adaptation of Emma is your favorite?
Thanks for watching!


艾瑪的書籍和改編影視 (Book vs. Movie: Emma (1996, 1997, 2009, 2020))

47 分類 收藏
Vera 發佈於 2020 年 4 月 21 日    Vera 翻譯    Evangeline 審核
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