“Middlemarch” is also available as a Web site

“Middlemarch,” by George Eliot, was not immune to the kind of change that is now visited upon the works of nineteenth-century writers. Novelist Kay Woodward adapted Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” into a chapter book for young adults called “Jane Airhead,” and Jane Austen’s works, from “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” are constantly expanding. or “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” a web series. won an Emmy four years ago for translating Austen’s novel into vlog format.

But why not in “Middlemarch”? Why is the novel so resistant to revision? There is, however, a history of creative novelists weaving references to Eliot’s work into their own fiction, using man’s relationship with fiction as a marker of his developing the right, while giving a false message to the writing team. the historian wants to preserve. In Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence,” Newland Archer finds a box of books sent from England, including “a story called ‘Middlemarch,’ which contains interesting things mentioned in reviews.” (He tries to read but finds himself alienated from the story of English domestic life by thinking about the cosmopolitan character of the Countess Olenska.) In “To the Lighthouse,” he uses Virginia Woolf in Eliot’s novel tells of the social and intellectual anxiety experienced by Minta Doyle, one of the Ramsays’ housekeepers, who is afraid to speak at the literary dinner table of Mr. . (Ultimately, she resolves his troubled nature by pretending to be “more stupid than he is, because he wants to tell her he’s stupid.”)

Recently, Adelle Waldman joins this noble tradition with “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” His scenes, gathered at a housewarming party, discuss the fate of Eliot’s Tertius Lydgate, the ambitious doctor whose career is ruined by his wrong choice of marriage. Eliot was “not inconsistent,” one person noted. “Smart women have a right to abuse men who don’t respect smart women.” Eliot’s themes – the problems of internal communication and celibacy; the limits placed on actions and expectations by established social norms; the gradual evolution of abandonment instead of thought – has proven to be a constant inspiration to generations of writers, and readers. But the complexity of the nature of the story, and its psychological complexity, made it very difficult for “Clueless”-like works in a commercial move to a new context.

That is, the constant effort to do so is worth watching, for its own sake and beauty. “Middlemarch: The Series,” written and directed by Rebecca Shoptaw, an undergraduate student in the film department at Yale, is a web series that runs, in the end, seventy times. Currently, the first part is available online; the series will resume in August. Shoptaw returned to Eliot’s hometown of Middlemarch as a student at Lowick College, in Middlemarch, Connecticut. Dorothea Brooke, Eliot’s heroine, is Dot Brooke, a thoughtful, thoughtful student, played by a Yale undergraduate named Mia Fowler, who is vulnerable and intelligent on camera. But Dot doesn’t know what’s important, and she decides to get herself and her friends for a year, just to see what she can do with the results. “I think if we can look and understand where we are now, it will help us think about what we want to do next,” he said in the first episode. “And it’s like half the time we just sit around and wait for things to happen.” The series, which mostly consists of Dot and her friends talking directly to the camera, was filmed in settings intended to show various bedrooms, and the kitchen of a pizza parlor. called Stone Court (which is, of course. a great name for a pizza place).

In his first work, available on his YouTube channel, Shoptaw explored classic literature on LGBTQ topics. In one video, he took Shakespeare’s Sonnet 23, which begins, “As an unfit actor on the stage / Who with his fear is laid by his side,” and was transformed into a romantic love story in a short four minutes. His most famous innovation with “Middlemarch: The Series” is gender reversal, seeing a social group where gender identity and comparison are changing. Sir James Chettam, Dorothea Brooke’s first suitor, is, in Eliot’s novel, the figure of conservative conformity. In Shoptaw’s reimagining, Chettam becomes Jamie, a mild-mannered scientist who wears a knitted beanie and button-down shirt and hides behind owlish eyes, whose preferred feminine word is “they.” (Jamie is played by Lola Hourihane, whose cast bio states, “They first played the bar in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ a role their grandmother cast (out of shame).) Mary Garth, the quiet and strong young woman known to readers as the other heroine of Eliot’s novel, turns out to be Max Garth, a gay townie like Mary in her youth. and her intelligence, if not her appearance. Mary Garth, whom Eliot describes as “dark,” with “a broad face and square forehead, fine eyebrows and dark hair,” features that in the world of Eliot’s “Middlemarch”, it is simple and ordinary. Kai Nugent, the African-American actor who plays Max, has a broad face, a square forehead, a good friend, and dark hair, but in above him these features are read as very beautiful.

In an interview with the website Fandomania, Shoptaw said that he was able to think of “Middlemarch” through this LGBTQ lens because, unlike other Victorian novels he had read, his ” healthy relationships that are not so close to the power of women. make relationships in ancient stories. Shoptaw has honored the profession in questioning the gender of the characters in “Middlemarch.” Henry James, who Aware of such problems, he thought deeply about Will Ladislaw’s husband, whom Dorothea loved. James found Ladislaw to be indecisive: “he knew and did not see . . . a womanizer.” In Shoptaw’s new work, Ladislaw becomes Billie, played by an actress named CBG, and it will be interesting to see, as the story progresses, how Shoptaw manages to finally incorporating Dorothea’s thoughts and experience into Ladislaw’s—a psychological effect that many feminist readers, from the eighteen seventies to the present day, have considered appealing in Eliot’s page.

But one can complain about Shoptaw’s opinion about the “healthy aspect” of the story where the main focus of the story rests. It is true that the relationship between Mary Garth and Fred Vincy-perhaps the most healthy in the book-can be seen as an example of gender equality, or inequality. But Eliot’s main task in “Middlemarch” is to anatomize bad relationships—show, with emotional involvement, how they don’t understand each other, and are embarrassed and angry at their partner’s inability to reason. If the marriages between Dorothea and Edward Casaubon, her pedantic intellectual husband, and Lydgate and Rosamond Vincy, the typical urban beauty, were more healthy, it would be a better read.


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