These are some of the oldest stories, collected and told here in an effort to revive stories of the past. Some are old favorites and some are new to me, but I am looking forward to reading all of them! There are classics like The Three Little Pigs and Snow-White, and even more new stories like The Old Witch and The Gypsy Woman that I am so excited to read. And it is such a gorgeous copy, I am so proud to add this to my shelves!
There have been countless adaptations of these stories in literature, film, music, and performances across the ages. Even the ‘original’ stories that were written were adapted from stories that were passed down through oral tradition. Authors are drawn to revisiting literature and reworking stories in an effort to create a conversation between themselves and the great works of the past. This illustrates how literature adapts to a new age and its new media, making universal age-old ideas modern and relevant. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants here meaning major texts, “canonical texts”; texts that have withstood time; ancient texts that are still studied today; texts that offer ancient pearls of wisdom; texts that are referenced and made new by modern authors. These folk tales are those great texts.
Thank you to @watkinsbooks and @penguinrandomhouse for sending me this beautiful ARC of The Watkins Book Of English Folktales by Neil Philip. All opinions are my own.
Generally, I appreciate all page-to-screen adaptations: all press is good press, and whether you love or hate the new film, it is doing a lot for reigniting interest in the book.
When I found out that this adaptation would be inspired by the book rather than a faithful adaptation of Persuasion (a la Bridgerton) I had high hopes for it. HOWEVER. My personal opinion of this movie is that it is absolute trash.
“I am all agony, no hope”
I saw a lot of criticism around the film, and it kind of influenced my opinion before I could even watch for myself. TBH I was skeptical of the criticism. I wanted to believe that it couldn’t be as bad as people were saying. But after watching for myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the critics.
I think the most disappointing thing is that this adaptation was passed over for the Sarah Snook version, which seemed to lean more towards a faithful adaptation, whereas this version is clearly only based on the book and takes MANY creative liberties.
Fans of this version found the variety refreshing and funny, and seem to appreciate the deliberate changes. And if you found this version relatable and enjoyable, I am happy for you, and I am not here to change your mind. But I, personally, did not find this version relatable or enjoyable.
To be clear, I am a Janeite, but not a purist. I have no possession over Anne Elliot. I had never even read Persuasion until just before the release of this movie. So it’s not like I was set on hating this movie from the start. My personal favorite of Jane Austen’s is Pride and Prejudice. I bring it up to make this point about adaptations: I find value in the 1995 P&P for it’s gold-standard accuracy. I love the dreamy Hollywood 2005 version for its nostalgic soundtrack and cinematic scenes. I appreciate silly spin-offs like Lost in Austen and Austenland. Because, at the heart of them, they are able to take my favorite story and re-tell it, in different ways, but it is still the same story I love told over and over. Unfortunately, this ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion attempts to rewrite the story itself rather than retelling it, making it unrecognizable for those who do love the original story of Persuasion.
The point of an adaptation is found in the name—it is meant translate, modify, and adapt the text. At their worst, adaptations can lack real understanding of the source material, which seems to be exactly what happened here with Carrie Cracknell’s ‘adaptation’ of Persuasion.
I definitely agree that it seems like no one on the team at any point read Persuasion. It’s like they read the wiki summary and then wrote a play inspired by that bad summary. The script itself doesn’t seem to take much from the text. It seems that the actual story of Persuasion merely inspired the script. Which is weird. Fans understand the need to modernize the dialogue of Austen’s works, but here it was taken so far that it completely changes the story. It’s not at all how it goes in the book, and that is why fans are so upset. So many liberties are taken to make a new story, that at this point, they should have just written a new story. It’s irritating. Like, if they wanted to do a new modern movie set in the Regency Era, why not just do that? Don’t ruin a favorite classic and then claim to be reinventing the period drama.
So let’s begin with how they ruined Anne Elliot. Anne’s emotional intensity is a huge driving force of her character. Austen writes of Anne’s “elegance of mind and sweetness of character,” sensibilities, and compassion. In the book, her feelings are super intense inwardly, but she is still classy and has manners. Controlled passion! But this Anne is just a crybaby! In contrast to the book, the movie shows her pining from the start, and that just didn’t seem like Anne to me. The movie made her a damsel in distress, and completely misses the nuances that make Anne endearing. Which becomes an issue later in the film when we see Louisa’s declaration that “she won’t hear any ill talk of Anne”. Because as far as the film goes, it doesn’t make sense that Louisa would defend Anne like that. The film did a terrible job of showing Anne’s merits, making her snarky and dislikeable instead of the compassionate Anne we love.
I am seriously displeased that Anne’s ‘thing’ is breaking the fourth wall. It takes away from her character. If revolutionary was what they were going for, I hate to break it to them, but the rupturing of the fourth wall has already been done (see Patricia Rozema’s charming take on Mansfield Park from 1999). And it’s pointless if there’s no purpose behind any of it. Though Cracknell comes with a hefty portfolio, her work on Persuasion comes off as a gimmick capitalizing on current trends. How exactly does the line, “it is said if you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath”, improve on Austen’s work or make it any more palatable to modern audiences? Or what about the comments on being “an empath” and focusing on “self-care”? These are all just marketing buzzwords.
These memes really highlight the language barrier, for me:
And whyyyyy did they have to make her an alcoholic? What is the point of that? It was supposed to be funny and plucky, but it’s just painful. I really loved the cinematography during the hangover scene, with the ASMR toast-scratching… and then it was shattered with the bad acting. They didn’t have to make her an alcoholic to make that a powerful scene, she could have just been hungover one day, and it would have hit even harder.
I can’t even talk about the octopus. Please don’t ask.
Sir Walter, Mary and Elizabeth were all well cast. Mary is my favorite kind of Jane Austen character, and thankfully she seems to be a fan-favorite. I love the complain-y blabbering ones, and the humor that makes Mary worked really well with the tone of the film. She is the silver lining in a dark raincloud of horror.
I also liked Wentworth, but it didn’t seem like he had much chemistry with Anne unfortunately, It’s unique though because I don’t usually see a romance that only has chemistry on one side. His acting is really good, but Anne is ruining the illusion for me. I think she would’ve made a pretty good Jane Austen, like if they remade Becoming Jane she probably would’ve been good in that role. I don’t think she did bad in this role–I’m just upset that they made her break that fourth wall and do all of that like Jim-from-the-office eyebrow work. I admit that I liked what they did with the cinematography and the set design and the costumes I think the only thing I didn’t really like was the script. But it is so bad that it makes everything else unforgiveable. I really loved Mary’s Musgrove‘s character, but I think they really disrespected Anne and Wentworth, specifically.
The cinematography and set design were the standout early-on in the film. With lavish and bold sets, this show really could have done so much more as a satire of wealth, and unfortunately, misses so many points. The director was still able to do some great things with the camera though—take a look at this shot of Lyme, for example. Here we see everyone walking along the sea-wall, but the last lady (Mary) skips off on her own, oblivious, as-always marching to the beat of her own drum, while everyone else keeps in formation. This is a great play on the Regency rules of society, and gives us a small glimpse at women who break away from that mold (if only for a moment).
They should have done more with Sir Elliot, IMO. To me, his fall from grace was a huge point. The tone of the film could have done a lot as a parody of privilege, but instead they focus on modernizing Anne’s character, which just butchers the story. The vanity of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall is highlighted really spectacularly with grand shots like this one:
And I really liked that last line about “dont let anyone tell you how to live, or who to love. “(But even then she was more narrating, she wasn’t talking at us through the screen, so maybe that’s why I liked that little scene). I like how they redeem it and they come back to the sextant thing, that’s cute too. But nowhere near enough to redeem the film, for me. This is an adaptation I will not be able to watch over and over, sadly, this is going to bottom of my list.
It was 2013 and I was browsing old paperbacks in a local bookshop that sadly no longer exists. I remember the shop well, it was one of those cozy narrow stores that was crammed full of leaning stacks and overflowing shelves. I liked it because they had low prices on classics, and bought used books for store credit. So I shopped there a lot, always looking to add something to my collection that I didn’t already have. I had never seen or heard of this book before, but when I saw it and had to have it.
I honestly couldn’t place what drew me to Lost Horizon. Perhaps the stunning vintage paperback art style and the striking sprayed pages? Maybe it was the smell of old book that greeted me every time I flipped a page? Or simply that the short tale captured my imagination and took me on an adventure. At the time I was really into hiking and maybe I was drawn to the mountainous cover art, or maybe my wandering soul craved the isolated utopia I found within the book. I guess it was all of it, the experience as a whole.
Lost Horizon is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopianlamasery located high in the mountains of Tibet. Though I had heard of Shangri-La before, I never really thought about what it symbolized or where it came from. Until I found Lost Horizion.
The first time I read The Old Man and the Sea was freshman year of high school. I recently won a free e-ARC from NetGalley, which is why I chose to revisit it. But I am always happy to do re-readings because I like comparing and contrasting my notes*. You can read a book one way, and have a completely different experience reading it again. There are so many different ways to read a book, and each reader has a different perspective and interpretation of it. You may even have multiple perspectives of a book you have read before, because you may be a different person than you were the first time you read it. This is true for me, because I was so young and have grown so much from the first time I read The Old Man and the Sea.Continue reading “Analyzing The Old Man and the Sea”
Have you seen the new Emma movie yet? I didn’t get a chance to see it before the theaters closed (thanks, Coronavirus), so I got to enjoy it from the comfort of my own couch—but I’m not complaining! LOL I actually prefer seeing movies from home, it is way more comfortable to lounge around under your own blankets, and you can pause/rewind the show if you ever need to take a snack-break! So shelter-at-home premieres don’t bother me, so much. Plus, all the time at home got me inspired to make some bookmarks! You can check them out on my newly launched etsy shop, WandererLitJournal Bookish Bookmarks.
Tarot cards have been used throughout the ages for gaming and fortune-telling, but their symbolism suggests their deeper purpose may be to gain insight into the human mind and enhance personal development. Some read fortunes to gain insight into the future, but I believe tarot provides much more insight into the reader. The cards provide us with excellent advice at any juncture and, if taken to heart, can help us to understand ourselves better and plan how to live better in the future.
“Tarot cards … can serve as an advisor and help in widening the users’ vision. Tarot cards are deemed as a map of life, or a signpost, to tell you how to lead a good and correct life.” –Royal Thai Tarot, Sungkom Horharin
I thought it would be fun to compare tarot cards to book covers, and I found some really great similarities! I tried to find titles that match in content and cover, and for some cards I found multiple books that would work. Leave a comment with the books you would choose for these cards!
The Fool represents a youth setting out on a path of discovery. Like the Fool, Alice strides towards a precipice and skips into the unknown. Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of wonderful creatures. Throughout her fantastic journeys, Alice retains her reason, humor, and sense of justice. She has become one of the great characters of imaginative literature, but the story and the card offer some advice: look before you leap.
I – The Magician
Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling
I mean, obviously. Traditionally, The Magician is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic — as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, bringing the magical to every aspect of life. A modern Magician is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth; one who seeks to reveal hidden knowledge and bring forth the divine light within themselves. With all of the drama that happens in the course of seven novels, The Harry Potter Saga is a perfect representation of the Magician’s confidence, action, and ability to change.
II – The High Priestess
Emma by Jane Austen
The High Priestess is a card of insight, wisdom, and integrity, all of the characteristics which Emma strives to embody. The open book in her lap is a symbol of learning while the pillars surrounding her stand for duality. The Empress herself is a wise counselor, much like Emma who seeks to guide with her matchmaking: people flock to her for guidance in making major decisions.
Marmee (or Margaret March) is the core of her family, managing the household by herself while her husband is away, helping war efforts, and teaching her daughters — by example — how to grow into smart, strong, and kind women. Even though Little Women rejects traditional feminine roles, Marmee is a perfect representation of The Empress, the maternal card of domestic comfort and security.
The epic Game of Thrones books bring together adventure and fantasy as we follow the fight to be the King of the Seven Kingdoms. The Kingdoms need a strong, logical ruler like the Emperor card depicts. But this story is like getting a reversed reading of this card, and instead of strong leadership we see complete chaos. The show suggests that by the end we will see a strong leader in Bran, but until Winds of Winter, who knows!
Astrology is one of my long-time hobbies: I have been studying it for years and have countless books, workbooks and notebooks on the topic. It is the study of the influence of the planets and stars on our lives. You probably know your sun sign if you like to read your daily horoscope, but natal charts can be much more in-depth. Anyway, I was watching more Jane Austen movies the other day and started wondering which sign some of my favorite characters might be. There is little written evidence of characters birthday months, so here is what I imagine based on personalities!
LYdia Bennet ♈ Aries
Sweet and flirty Lydia might not seem like a headstrong Aries upon first acquaintance, but do not be fooled by her childlike innocence. Though confident and eager, she can be reckless, impatient, and irresponsible. Aries is a fire sign—red-hot, impulsive, and ready to go. What her sisters see as carelessness appears to suitors as fearlessness, and her desire for independence gets her into trouble.
Elizabeth Bennet ♉Taurus
Earthy, practical and down-to-earth are perfect descriptors of Eliza Bennet. Although easy-going and respectful, the Taurus can be unbelievably stubborn and reluctant to compromise (as proved by her prejudice of Mr. Darcy). Like any Taurus she loves the beauty of nature but can be self-indulgent in reading and walking, sometimes to a fault. She is also incredibly determined, patient, and enduring—once she knows what she wants!
Emma Woodhouse ♊ Gemini
Gemini’s are witty, bright, and talkative, very much like the social butterfly Emma Woodhouse. Studious and clever, Emma is a great example of this airy sign. She is a thoughtful neighbor and is quick to help her friends. However, she can be gossipy and shallow. Thankfully, Mr. Knightly consistently keeps her in-check with his honesty.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is the best romance writer of all time.Don’t @ me.
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen’s now classic romance novel, has been beloved by readers for the last 200 years. The story charts the emotional development of Elizabeth Bennet, who learns the error of making hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial and the essential. The comedy of the writing lies in the depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the British Regency period.
A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.
Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.
It has been regarded by fans that Disney has tactfully captured the essence of the original cartoon which so touched our hearts as young children, but how faithful do these Disney remakes remain to the original tale of La Belle et la Bête?
Henry David Thoreau is considered by many to be the environmental father of the green movement. As a teacher, scientist, historian, student, author, and naturalist, Thoreau has made a number of contributionsto the ecological movement, his most significant including his own personalpublished reflections on conservation and his search for the meaning of life through the relationship he had with nature. His published works have “helped to launch the American environmental movement that continues to this day,” (Weiner, 30) and understanding Thoreau is key to conservation efforts today. Thoreau offers counsel and example exactly suited for our perilous moment in time: By studying Thoreau and putting his ideals into practice, we can overcome the challenges facing the modern environment.
Henry David Thoreau, disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson, sought isolation and nearness to nature. In his writings he suggests that all living things have rights that humans should recognize, implying that we have a responsibility to respect and care for nature rather than destroying it. Thoreau proclaims, “Every creature is better alive than dead, men moose and pine-trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it” (Neimark, 94).
Names have been used for eons, though not always; there was a time in history when there was no linguistic need for personal names. In the modern world though, names are essential to to individual. While most people have a vague idea what their own name means, few give it much thought. Many parents will carefully select names with meaning for their children, either rooted in family tradition or bourne of carefully considered meaning. Authors treat their works similarly, putting much thought into choosing names of characters, in the hopes of expressing traits or habits of the character by deciding on a name that epitomizes that character themselves.
The study of names is called onomastics, a field which touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, philology and much more. When referring to the “meaning of a name” however, they are most likely referring to the etymology, which is the original literal meaning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines etymology as “the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history”.
The development of character identity is essential to understanding individual motive; It has been suggested that, often, authors will select names for characters that will reflect actual traits of or decisions made by the character themselves. This not only adds meaning to the work of literature but adds an element of realism to the characters.