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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!

Jane Austen's fourth novel, Emma, is noteworthy for its distinctive style and character development.

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Book vs. Movie: Emma (1996, 1997, 2009, 2020)

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    Vera   に公開 2020 年 04 月 21 日
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