Seeing Hardy: Film and Television Adaptations of the Fiction of Thomas Hardy
“Great authors” are increasingly being encountered by general audiences and critics thanks to films and television programs that have been adapted from their best-known works. Thomas Hardy is one of those authors. His work has inspired filmmakers from the silent age and modern times. This book is the first book-length study in what has become a growing field of interest in film adaptations of Hardy’s novels. Part One of this book analyzes the popular image of Hardy and his work, the reproduction of this image in film adaptations, and critical stereotypes about him and his fiction. Part Two juxtaposes Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd and Schlesinger’s adaptation, Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Polanski’s adaptation, and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Winterbottom’s adaptation. Each discussion of the novel and adaptation in question considers the novel itself, the critical history of the novel, how it has been adapted to film, and how the individual filmmakers have struggled with problems inherent in Hardy’s novels. Part Three analyzes adaptations of The Woodlanders, The Scarlet Tunic, and The Claim, all of which have scarcely been seen in the United States or which were not distributed in the United States, and four television movies and miniseries that were based on Hardy’s work.
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