A Document of Madness (The Borrowers That Lend, 2016)

A Document of Madness (The Borrowers That Lend, 2016)

One thing I’ve found about Literary-Inspired Web Series is that it will often take a few episodes for me to get truly invested: it’s pretty rare for me to start watching a series and have it go straight into my ‘favourites’ list. But A Document of Madness was one of the few that had me incredibly excited, right from the beginning. I mentioned in my recent review of RSC’s 2016 Hamlet  (spoiler alert: it was amazing, do try to see it if you can!) that, of all Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet is probably the one of which I have seen the most adaptations, although few had any lasting impression. A Document of Madness stood out to me as a solid adaptation which remains faithful to the tone of the source material whilst raising some very relevant issues about grief and mental health. Read more

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Books I Hope to See as Adaptations

Books I Hope to See as Adaptations

For my birthday this year, my housemate bought me a ‘Literary Listography’: a notebook with different categories of lists about my reading life to fill. I’ve been enjoying thinking through these lists over the last few weeks and, since I have been talking a lot about adaptations recently, I thought I would share my list of books I hope to be able to see as adaptations someday. Read more

Hamlet (RSC, 2016)

Hamlet (RSC, 2016) directed by Simon Godwin

I have seen a lot of Hamlet adaptations. When I was in my first year of University, we spent a week studying the text of Hamlet and then spent an entire term watching through a myriad of different adaptations: so many that I no longer remember them as specific adaptations and more just a blur of ‘to be or not to be’ in different settings. Maybe it was the number we watched, but none of them stood out to me at all; a huge disappointment given that Hamlet remains one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. So when I saw that the RSC would be screening their new adaptation of Hamlet, with Paapa Essiedu playing the eponymous character, live to cinemas across the country, I made sure that I would be able to get tickets. I am so glad that I was able to do so: this was such a fantastic, lively, and engaging adaptation. Read more

True Friendship

True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts

We don’t talk about friendship enough. This is a sentence I’ve said many times, usually accompanied by a rant about the devaluing of friendship in media and Western society, and often received with a resigned eye roll. It is a subject I am passionate about, not just in terms of media but also in Christian teaching: for every word we say about friendship, there are hundreds of thousands about hospitality, or parenting, or marriage. However, towards the end of May, a few things happened in quick succession: I decided to make more of a conscious effort to prioritise media which prioritises friendship; I had a thought-provoking conversation with my Dad about the portrayal friendship in literature; and my church’s sermon series in Proverbs meant we had the privilege of an entire sermon dedicated to Biblical friendship. The sermon served as a great reminder that we need to devote more time to hearing what the Bible says about friendship, and the preacher recommended some great resources for doing so. I bought True Friendship from the bookstall afterwards, and I was so happy to be able to take some time to read more about the Biblical view of friendship. Read more

Love and Friendship (2016)

Love and Friendship (2016) adapted from Jane Austen’s Lady Susan by Whit Stillman

I mentioned in my review of Lady Susan that the reason I sat down to read Austen’s epistolary novella was because a friend suggested getting a group together to watch the film adaptation: Love and Friendship. As time went on, and the evening we were going to watch the film came closer, I became more and more intrigued about this film and just how, exactly, they were going to adapt it; in my opinion, the strength of Lady Susan lies in its ability to inform the reader of events happening off-screen very much through the eyes of a specific character. Having now seen it, I can say that it is a very funny, very enjoyable film, but that some of these difficulties of adapting an epistolary narrative do show through. Read more

Lady Susan

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

One day in May, a friend of mine floated the idea of going to see the new Austen film, Love and Friendship. I had been vaguely aware of the film, but wasn’t aware it was an Austen adaptation; I knew of the existence of Lady Susan, but it had never been on my To Be Read list. Of course, this intrigued the English Literature student in me and, before the week was out, I had got hold of Lady Susan and read it. As a novella, it didn’t take long. At the time of writing this, I have not seen the film nor read the other Austen work which inspired the film’s title: Love and Freindship (not a typo!). By the time this is posted, I will hopefully have done both and will be working on getting posts up about them. (Later update: reworked my post schedule so my review of the film Love and Friendship will be up next week.) Read more

Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Do you have those books which make you think ‘why have I not read this before’? Sometimes I can’t quite believe that it has taken me until now to get round to reading Frankenstein: it is such a cultural phenomenon, written by an incredibly influential female writer, that I surely should have picked it up years ago. However, it was only a few weeks ago that I found myself sitting down to read this important and radical novel. Unsurprisingly, I found it an engaging, narratively fascinating novel which asked big questions about what it means to be human, and which I very much enjoyed getting to grips with. Read more