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.

In no particular order:

Little Men and Jo’s Boys by Louisa M. Alcott

How many different adaptations of Little Women and Good Wives are there in existence? Yet my favourite novels in this series are the two which come after. Little Men and Jo’s Boys tell the tales of the boys and girls who attend Jo Bhaer’s school, Plumfield, detailing their friendships, triumphs, flaws, and relationships from their school days until they become young adults. The novels deal with issues of class, disability, and gender inequality as an array of very different characters come to respect and love each other. Both novels are episodic so they would work well as a series, either on TV or as a web series. If I had the knowledge, money, or time to make any series I wanted, this would be the one.

The Romance of a Shop by Amy Levy

I think I mentioned in my review of this novel that my first reaction to reading it was to think that it would make a great film. The Lorimer sisters’ journey to create a photography business for themselves in London is a fantastic narrative that would fit well within the genre of period drama. We see a lot of the same Victorian novels and authors being adapted again and again, I would love to see Levy’s work adapted for the screen.

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Over Easter, I was watching a programme about the history of the BBC adapting works by the Brontë sisters and was surprised to find out that there is a lost series of Villette. I did not realise until that moment how much I really wanted to see an adaptation of this novel. I think this is a novel that would work being adapted into a series rather than a feature-length film, similar to the BBC’s North and South which I reviewed earlier this year. I could also see it working well as a modernisation, maybe as a web series.

Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I may not have mentioned my love for Aurora Leigh on this blog before, and that is very remiss of me. This novel-poem was the subject of my MA dissertation, and it is one of those texts which I love more on every re-read. However, I also think it would work really well as an adaptation: a film, specifically. This is a fantastically engaging narrative of a female poet’s struggle to make a name for herself in a male-dominated field, and the characters she encounters along the way. It is visual and dramatic in an almost cinematic way, and I would love to be able to watch this text I love to read.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I am aware, of course, that the film rights for The Night Circus have been sold and that there is, apparently, a film on the way. However, it seems to be a long time coming, so I’m including this on the list too. The Night Circus is a beautifully written fantasy novel, which could be adapted into a visually stunning film. The tone is so specific that it would be easy to get wrong, but I am convinced that, in the right hands, there could be a film which maintains Morgenstern’s tone and visualises the world of the Circus for cinema audiences. This seems the most likely of all this list to be made, but it also seems the most likely to be done badly, so I will just have to wait and see.

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